Title: Crimes and Minds
Disclaimer:The characters from Harry Potter books and Criminal Minds TV series do not belong to me (I merely use them in my plot for fun).
Pairs:Harry Potter/ Aaron 'Hotch' Hotchner
Summary: Aaron Hotchner has just felt his world crumble and he needs help with Jack. That is when Harry enters the picture. HP/AH. Slash
When he woke it was not because of his alarm clock, but because of a nightmare. This one was not about Haley for once, but because of a case. It did not help his mind any. A glance at his clock showed that it was just ten minutes shy of five in the morning. The bed was cold. Aaron lay back, taking deep breaths for a while. There was no going back to sleep either, so he stood from his bed and entered the shower. After he got out of his room he stood just outside Jack's room. He got in and for a few minutes he just stared at his son, the way the little boy's chest rose & fell. It gave him a sense of serenity he could not describe.
Then he headed towards the kitchen. He doubted he could stomach breakfast so early. Perhaps some coffee first. Aaron Hotchner paused just at the threshold.
The kitchen was not empty. His house keeper was up. The table was set.
"Harry," Aaron said.
The green eyed man stopped and turned to him.
"You are not leaving without eating something," the British accent was very evident.
"Why are you up?"
"I heard the shower."
"You did not have to."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Well, I did. If only so that I won't see you drink coffee and then go. Caffeine is not breakfast. Now sit down."
"You're awfully bossy," Aaron commented, his face expressionless.
"You pay me to take care of the house and the people living here."
"I meant Jack."
The glared that pinned the Supervisory Special Agent almost made Hotchner squirm, almost. "And Jack needs his father healthy."
There was no way Aaron could argue against that. He sat at the table and reached for the toasted bread and the various other foods his housekeeper had readied.
"Jack has a school trip today, to the museum; it's about the history of dinosaurs. Should be fun," Harry said as he served his boss some juice.
Hotchner recalled signing for permission.
"And after that he asked to go to the movies; some of his friends are going as well. He also has a project to finish by Monday and a party on Saturday."
Harry's boss nodded. "Will you take care of it?"
Twenty minutes later Aaron Hotchner had left for work.
By the time he returned he was tired and it was well after nine. He did not entertain any hopes that his son was awake and it made him feel terrible.
Harry was there again, waiting for him with a warm meal and news about Jack. No condescending comments about being late even though he had just gotten back two days ago from Kentucky were he stayed fifteen days working on a case. Haley would have been yelling by now. Her sister would certainly be frowning even though she was more tolerant. But Harry... Harry just welcomed him back and told him about Jack's day. He even had pictures about certain events that took place during the week (Jack finger painting with Harry or eating Mac N' Cheese, or watching a movie) and a video from the trip to the museum.
"I asked his teacher," Harry told Hotchner. "She found it a nice idea. She just sent this via email. Jack was well behaved. He is also rather fixated with dinosaurs right now, just so you know."
Harry was the best idea Aaron had. After Haley died he had briefly considered asking his ex-wife's sister for help, but the part of him, deep down, that was still aching from the divorce and the infidelity and then his ex-wife's murder had decided that he did not want to see a reminder of Jack's mother so often. He had also briefly toyed with the idea of retiring. His superior, Strauss, had been quite eager to help there. But then Aaron recalled his talk with Rossi, both after the funeral and during his visit to Haley's grave. He would be there for his son, but the BAU was family too and the job was part of him.
Reid had given him the idea of a live in housekeeper and carer for Jack. That was how Harry Evans came into Aaron and Jack's lives. The head of the BAU had searched rigorously for someone who could take care of both and the house, not have other responsibilities, no criminal record and could pass his evaluation. At first Aaron had not even entertained the idea of a male housekeeper, but after the first ten failed interviews (one had been an ex drug abuser, the other was a germ phobic, one had been a kleptomaniac and another refused to do housework) the FBI agent considered seeing the man that he had ended up hiring. He had not regretted it. Not only was Harry not nosy or prying, but he gave the grieving man his space, adored Jack, and took care of the house and father and son. And he made sure Hotchner was up to date with the events in Jack's life.
When Aaron had first questioned Harry about the photographs he took of Jack in various activities his answer had pleasantly surprised the taller man.
"Just because you cannot be there does not mean you cannot join in afterwards. And Jack loves it when he knows that these pictures are a present to you, so that you won't miss him growing up. He even asked about a picture of you and the team he thought it fair that way. I thought to warn you before he asks."
Hotchner had got a picture of the team for Jack and so far two albums with pictures of Jack with snippets of his life. It was a small comfort but a comfort none the less.
The FBI agent offered a small smile and a thank you to Harry when the man served him dinner for the night.
"Will you be leaving tomorrow?" Harry asked.
"Nothing came up today," Hotch replied in a tone that implied that he had no idea what could happen tomorrow. "You don't have to wait up for me; I can clean up any mess I make."
Harry laughed. "I'm a bit selfish Aaron. I actually like to converse with adults when I am able; I have few chances during the day."
"Don't you have friends?" the FBI agent asked. "I told you that you could use the phone..."
"I know, but there is no one to call. The few people I have prefer when I write to them."
"That's why you have a quill and fine paper in your room?"
Harry smiled, not the least bit concerned that his boss knew something like this. The green eyed man knew that Hotchner had reason to distrust people, especially with his recent family history and the job he did. In fact Harry liked how protective the man was of his son. So he did not begrudge the man for snooping around or trying to make his profile. The latest, Harry kind of dreaded it. He knew he had a lot of issues from the way he grew up and that he had yet to resolve some of them.
"Partly," Harry agreed.
"So adult conversation..." Aaron trailed off. "Do you watch sports?"
There was no way for Harry to describe Quidditch and as he really did not follow Muggle sports he shrugged. "I prefer books." Which he did. Finally Hermione's influence was shining through, and Harry thought the witch ought to be proud. "And chess."
"Just like Reid," the older man commented.
"That genius colleague you have?"
"Come to think of it, he's your age too, twenty five?"
"I'm twenty three, since July," Harry replied.
It did not happen often, but sometimes after work Harry knew his boss joined his team for drinks. More often than not it was that Rossi guy who got to Aaron and convinced him to stay as the stoic man usually did not hang out with the rest of the team no matter how closely knit they were. Those nights when he would return to the house Harry knew well enough to leave the man be for a while. It was on those days that Aaron Hotchner's mood would darken with memories and failures and the man would seek out more alcohol from the cabinet and stay up until he could no longer walk straight. Then he would fall asleep and have fitful dreams until morning. Harry had one day decided to confront his boss in a way. When he was on his second glass at home, Harry put a hand to stop him when he reached for a third.
"Just go to sleep, it's enough for tonight."
Harry sighed. "You know it does not help you any. Why?"
"In a way I deserve to be tormented," Aaron muttered, his glass forgotten. He now had his head in his arms as if he was in pain and Harry knew that to be true. He used to be like that, every death struck him personally, whether he knew that person or not. Tom Riddle had been clever when he orchestrated his plans. Dumbledore too, he had played to Harry's weaknesses. Now, the green eyed man was smarter than that, he knew better. So he helped his boss up and returned him to his room and the coming morning they both acted as if nothing had happened.
It was Sunday, and Jack was drawing in the kitchen while Harry made lunch. Aaron Hotchner was somewhere else in the house.
Curious eyes peered at Harry.
The wizard pretended not to notice. He wanted little Jack to ask first. The boy knew a lot of words but he had a bit of trouble remembering which ones he wanted to use. He did not want to speak like a baby, like the rest of his four year old friends. Harry gave him all the time he needed
"I have daddy but mommy is dead. Aunt Jessica said she's with the angels but daddy said she is just gone, taken because of a bad man."
"I know," Harry replied.
Jack scrunched his nose a bit. "Do you have a daddy and a mommy?"
"No, I don't, not anymore," Harry replied. "They were taken by a bad man too. I was younger than you were when you lost your mum."
Jack cocked his head to the side. "You know daddy catches bad guys, did he catch your bad guy?"
Harry shook his head. "No, my family was in another country, love. Your daddy could not help."
"Oh!" Jack pouted.
"But the bad guy is gone and not coming back."
Later after Jack had been sent to bed, Harry's boss confronted the green eyed wizard.
"I heard what you and Jack were talking about," Aaron commented.
Harry sighed. "You have questions I suppose?"
"Not like this," Aaron told him. "Do you need a drink?"
"I hate whiskey and beer, most alcoholic drinks really. I'll make myself a cup of tea, do you want one?"
"Sure, why not. I believe the moment you see me with a glass of scotch you will tackle the glass out of my hand."
Ten minutes later they were seated around the kitchen table with a pot of tea shared between them.
"My father worked for law enforcement and my mother was a researcher," Harry began. "Dad was old money, title and all, but mum was from a middle class family. They married straight out of school."
"You mentioned this before," Aaron agreed.
"What I did not mention is that they were murdered when I was fifteen months old," Harry stated. "First he got my father. He was yelling at my mother to take me and run. My mum and I, we got trapped upstairs. She begged him to spare me. In a way he did. She died protecting me."
"You remember seeing them die?" Aaron asked.
His voice was level. Harry guessed that he had seen and lived worse things in his work and did not take offence.
"I heard my father dying, I only saw Riddle kill my mum. That was his name by the way, Tom Riddle."
Aaron frowned. "And they caught him?"
"No, not then. It was much later that he was taken down," Harry replied. "Recall the bombings and explosions, the houses filled with dead people in Britain a few years ago?"
"That bridge that collapsed due to foul play." He eyed the wizard. "It was a terrorist attack then."
Harry agreed with a nod. "That was his work. He fashioned himself as leader. He had a terrorist group backing him."
"It was all hushed up."
"It would be, they were all members of aristocratic and wealthy families," Harry scowled.
"You alluded you are one yourself."
Harry blinked. "Hm, not until I'm thirty. I am learning how to manage my investment portfolio but all the decisions pass from the committee in charge of them. I work with kids because I like kids. I used to tutor for a while too, but they were brats."
Aaron looked thoughtful. "Do you know what happened to Riddle?"
"Killed, last time I heard," Harry replied, recalling Voldemort's AvadaKedavra clashing with Harry's Expelliarmus. "I won't put Jack in danger due to ghosts from my past."
"Yes," Aaron said.
"What is that thing?"
"Hm, cinnamon, mint, cardamom, clover petals and a few more spices in there."
"Smells and tastes amazing," Hotchner said.
"You made the mix?"
"Hope you don't mind, but I have several pots of herbs..." Harry looked unsure.
"You can use the garden if you like. The back yard is quite big and rather empty."
"Thank you!" Harry told the man.
"Just make more of this. All the effects of coffee and a different taste."
"How many coffees a day do you drink?" Harry asked. "I like the smell, but the taste... I need at least three spoonfuls of sugar before I attempt to drink."
"Reid," Aaron muttered again.
"That young genius again?" Harry asked.
"He has sugar coffee, more sugar than coffee really. You remind me of him, some things you do," Aaron said. "You have better people's skills."
"Thank you, I think."
Aaron's lips quirked.
The doorbell was ringing and Harry motioned to Aaron and Jack to continue eating. It was another weekend that Harry's boss was home.
"I was not expecting anyone," Hotchner said as he made to stand.
"Sit, eat with Jack," Harry told him. "It might be Miranda from next door."
"Which one is it?" Aaron asked.
"The blonde that hits on you?" Harry asked.
Aaron raised an eyebrow.
"The one with the biggest ... eyes," Harry finished, mindful of Jack's presence.
The FBI agent shuddered. "By all means, you get the door."
Harry rolled his eyes. Sure enough it was the perky housewife from next door. Apparently she thought his boss was a catch. She was divorced and while Haley was alive she kept her distance. Now she was all over Aaron, when he answered the door, not that this was a frequent occurrence. Harry listened to her, managed to keep her from barging into the house and after five minutes shut the door in her face, politely of course.
Aaron was smirking knowingly when he returned. "Fended of the big monster?" he asked.
Jack raised his cute head. "We have monsters?"
"I won this round," Harry declared, making Jack cheer and Aaron smirk. "And you owe me," he told his boss.
Rossi arched an eyebrow. "You actually have a Tupperware box with you."
JJ and Prentiss were looking. Reid had even leaned forward.
"Not for me," Hotch told his team. He gave the container to Rossi who opened it and took a cookie out. The smell tickled many noses.
"They're chocolate chip," Ross observed. He took a bite. "Dark chocolate and rum," he declared.
The others reached for cookies.
"Mmm, white chocolate!" JJ sighed.
"Mine's the same as Rossi's," Morgan said.
"Coffee and sugar!" Reid smiled.
"Do I smell cookies?" Garcia popped in with an armful of files.
Morgan took the container from Rossi and extended it towards her.
"Who made these?" the tech genius asked.
"My housekeeper," Hotch replied.
"Is she pretty?" Garcia asked, having not heard about Harry before.
"He," Hotch corrected. "And yes, he is. So hands off lest you scare him."
"Now can we please focus on the cases?" Hotchner demanded.
They all snagged more cookies and even Aaron took a cookie from the box before they started talking about their newest problem.
Harry smiled when Jack collided with his legs. The little boy was showing Harry his project, a paper with glittery stuff glued on it. There was a smiley sticker on it and the green eyed man knew that the teacher liked it. The other mothers watched the pair and Harry tried hard to ignore them.
"Did you have fun today?" Harry asked Jack.
The boy nodded and started rambling about bananas and confetti and his favourite cartoon show. Harry let him, inserting appropriate noises when needed. It was part of the ritual. Harry would let Jack unwind from school before he returned home. Then it was lunch, colouring, a nap and afterwards they would play in the back yard. Now that Aaron had given him the green light to plant things in the garden, Jack wanted to help. So Harry did the digging and taught the little boy how to place the seeds. Then they would water them. It allowed the boy to play in the dirt and tire out enough to go to sleep early.
Aaron found them in the back a little after six.
"Daddy!" Jack yelled and tackled the man.
The FBI agent ignored the way his suit was ruined and picked his son up.
"I am a gar'ener!" Jack declared. He twisted to look at Harry. "We planted..."
"You helped plant mint, thyme and oregano," Harry replied.
"That!" Jack said. "And many more!"
Aaron smiled. "Is that so?"
The little boy nodded again.
"Good work," Jack's father replied.
Someone was shaking Harry awake.
He also knew the reason.
"Just a nightmare," the green eyed man croaked. His voice was hoarse, his body trembling with cold sweat.
The profiler nodded but he looked worried. "If you want to talk..."
"I really am okay," the raven haired man said. "Just... memories. Samhain, sorry, Halloween is soon."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Nothing good happens on October 31st, not to me," Harry replied tiredly. "Sorry for waking you and... Oh! Please tell me I did not wake Jack."
"It's fine, Jack's asleep."
Harry sagged with relief. "My parents died on All Hallows Eve. That was one of the things that took place that night. Sorry, but I really hate that day."
Aaron nodded in understanding.
"Go back to sleep, I'm sorry I disturbed you," Harry told his boss.
"It's nothing. I have kept you awake enough."
The younger man snorted. He rubbed his temples and Aaron stood.
"I will," Harry said even though he knew that it would be a while before he fell asleep again.
Aaron Hotchner was worried about the young man that was his housekeeper.
It was Halloween. The entire neighbourhood was filled with decorations. Jack had a costume as well. The house had pumpkins and lanterns and at least two bowls of chocolates ready for the kids that would be going 'Trick or Treating'. Jack had wanted to stay home.
"We have plenty of candy!" the young boy had said. But Harry had already taken the young boy to at least two neighbouring houses and the boy had been ecstatic.
Now they were home and an ogre dressed Jack was answering the doorbell with Harry. Aaron opened the door once or twice as well, much to his son's delight. He had refused to dress up but Harry had hats ready. The green eyed man had a wizard's hat that had stars shooting all over the midnight blue fabric and a cowboy hat for his boss.
"I thought you hated the holiday."
"But Jack loves it," had been Harry's reply.
Much later, after Jack had washed off the green paint and was tucked into his bed, the two adults in the house were in the kitchen. Harry was having tea and Aaron a glass of whiskey and they were munching on the leftover chocolate and candy apples
"Cures everything," Harry talked to the chocolate he was admiring before picking up a candied apple. He had never had one before and seemed like an interesting choice. Aaron was watching him as he took a bite, chewed and swallowed.
"You know," Aaron spoke up. "The other day... you said Samhain, not Halloween."
"I'm pagan," Harry replied. "Or at least partly pagan. Honestly, I follow a mixture of Christian and pagan traditions." A mixture of things he encountered in the wizarding world. He gave a shrug. "According to the Celts, the new year begins today. The veil between the two worlds is thinnest. I'm having a feast, of a fashion, right now and later I'll pay my respects to my ancestors."
"May I see how?"
Harry cocked his head to the side.
"Sure. Come on." He put his apple aside.
He led Aaron to his room where several candles were waiting to be lit.
"My parents are these two. My godfather, his best friend, distant relatives, mostly friends..." Cedric, the other kids lost during Voldemort's reign of terror and during the battle, distant ancestors and long dead family members. There were at least twenty candles there.
"It's just me," Harry said. "I have no other family. A traditional feast, the normal prayers... It's not my thing. I just light the candles and remember them." He eyed his boss. "I have a few extra candles."
"I'm not pagan."
"You don't need to be to pay your respects," Harry replied.
"One candle might not be enough."
"The number is mostly symbolic."
Aaron nodded. "Let's start then."
Harry smiled. He gave a candle to Aaron.
The FBI agent took it and then proceeded to light it up. Harry's presence while he thought about Haley, their life, her death, he was glad he was not alone. And by the way Harry was trembling; he knew that the younger man appreciated his presence as well. Afterwards, Aaron thought it was just his imagination, but that evening he felt closer to Haley since before he had buried her and his heart was lighter.
End of chapter.