Title: Deal With The Devil

Warnings: T/PG-13 (profanity)

Pairings: Hotch/Reid

Summary: Reid is ordered to seduce Hotch so Hotch loses his position as Unit Chief but Reid falls in love with Hotch in the process. Written for hotchxreid promptmeme.

Word count: ~12 000

DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. I just took them out to play and I promise to put them back when I'm done. I also don't own anything else you can recognize from other places.

Semi-necessary Author's Note: This is the reason I'm not uploading It Had to Be You. It took me three days of nonstop writing but I had to fill that prompt, and yes, I went over the board again, I know it but I enjoyed every moment of it. Also, I encourage you to visit the meme, it's wonderful and you won't be able to unglue yourself from the screen.

Feedback is welcomed with open arms.


Deal With The Devil

"So?" she asked as she twirled the pen between her fingers and looked at him over the rim of her glasses. "What do you say Doctor Reid?"

He straightened in his uncomfortable chair that was growing more and more uncomfortable by every minute he spent there with Dragon Lady and he was already in there for fifteen minutes.

The most obvious answer was: 'With all due and undue respect, Madam, you could do me a huge favor by heading to the roof and trying out if you can fly.' It was the answer he wanted to give but his own foolishness prevented him from being true to himself with Strauss.

Why? Why he didn't stop himself sooner? Why he didn't stop day before? Why he had to wait another day? He just had to head out, find that son of a bitch, get himself spotted by no one else than Strauss herself. He should have known that under the coat of blissful ignorance sooner rather than later she would summon him to her office and say that he owned her a favor.

He was disgusted with himself by considering accepting her offer but he didn't have much choice either. If he said no, she would blacklist him everywhere, he wouldn't be able to find a job in any of government agencies, nor with big fishes in private sector. If it was just about himself he would have said what he wanted to say, sent her back to hell where she belonged but he couldn't, his Mum depended on him, depended on the money he made and if Strauss used all of her contacts he wouldn't be even allowed to step inside the casino even to use the toilet, let alone to get withing two feet to machines or the table.

Drug addict, whore, double-crosser, narcissistic, materialistic son of a son of a bitch and you aren't twenty-six yet. Ever wondered who you would be by turning thirty-six?

If I don't say yes I might not live long enough to turn thirty-six, he silenced his conscience which felt very sarcastic today.

"I will take it," he said quietly. "But I will need time."

"You have three months for a start but no longer than a year. I will see you next month," she said. "Have a good day Doctor Reid."

I had a good day, until you summoned me here, he wanted to reply.

"You too, Madam," he replied curtly before he stood up and with all dignity he could muster, and he didn't have almost any left, he walked out of her office into the hall.

Luckily for him by the time he reached the bullpen it was completely deserted, even Hotch headed home. He should too.

When he entered his small rented apartment in Van Ness he shed his jacket, dropped his bag on the couch, wandered to the kitchen and returned to the couch with a glass before he flopped down and proceed to empty the bottle of Johnny Walker he purchased on his way back home.

He was going to hate himself in the morning but it made no difference, he already hated himself by accepting Strauss's offer, what difference a hangover would make and at the very least alcohol was the numbing agent he could purchase legally without getting himself into more troubles.

Deal With The Devil

He managed to avoid addressing the issue for about six weeks. Strauss of course approached him once again and reminded him of his mission but he managed to appease her with scraps and mentioning that he needed more time. She answered that if he wanted to keep his job he should start doing the job he took

He hated himself. He was earth's lowliest vermin.

He had no other choice.

He knew that he had to seduce Hotch, that wasn't the problem, the problem was how?

How one seduces heterosexual alpha male, recently separated from his wife and son, one that might have never consider his male subordinate as anything more than well... his male subordinate.

He should just quit and be done with it.

He couldn't just quit and be done with it.

Deal With The Devil

The idea occurred him finally when he finished his case-load and pretended to busy himself with playing chess against himself. It was Friday after their return from Los Angeles and anyone with social life had fled or started considering fleeing about an hour ago. Morgan and Garcia already left, they were closely followed by JJ and Prentiss both were airport bound: JJ to New Orleans and Prentiss to Atlantic City, both planning to be gone for the weekend. After few minutes of trying to cajole Hotch into leaving with him Rossi also left and the only ones left from the team was him and Hotch, plus team B which started to slowly wander away from the bullpen with no plans to show up earlier than on Monday.

It had been dark for few hours when Hotch stopped by his desk and touched the black rook.

"You aren't heading out?" Hotch asked pensively.

"No, the only company I had at my apartment in last few months was a dust-bunny I named Elmo before I decided that when dust-bunnies develop intelligent form it's the highest time to vacuum the space under the couch," Spencer answered.

"I don't name dust-bunnies," Hotch said. "But since you mentioned I think that mine actually developed intelligent form and are planning my slow demise. Maybe I should get a Furby to have something talking to... at me, other than TV."

"You want to purchase an electronic robotic dust-bunny to keep you company?" Spencer asked skeptically.

"How pathetic is that?" Hotch grimaced.

"It's non-allergic; doesn't eat, doesn't drink so it won't die from starvation or dehydration; doesn't require going on a walk which saves you from suffering from poor weather; is not alive so it won't run away and when you are angry you can throw it at the wall to see how it bounces back; the worst that can happen is batter dying," Spencer counted out.

"You had a Furby?" Hotch asked skeptically.

"For a week," Spencer shrugged. "Don't forget that I have a PhD from mechanical engineering, dissecting it was funny and an undergraduate colleague of mine tweaked the program and that's how the most lecherous Furby named Percy the Perv came into being. He managed to place him in the locker rooms of our female swimming team, I didn't suspect that Percy had something to do with it until I was slapped silly by the captain of the swimming team because she saw me dissecting him and automatically assumed that I was wholly responsible for scaring the living daylight out of them."

"Percy the Perv?" Hotch asked.

"The mildest sentence he ever said was 'Nice buffers you have here," Spencer grimaced. "Everything else was under socially acceptable level of maturity. So I orchestrated his opportunistic abduction, took out his batteries and for safety measure I buried him behind closed gas station somewhere in Nevada."

"And before that you dissected him," Hotch said. "Then you put him back together, dissected him again and buried him in a place you could revisit."

"I'm not a psychopathic sexual sadist," Spencer protested.

"Not to people," Hotch gave him a very small smile. "To them you are a bit eccentric scientist. But to Furbies..."

"It's a good thing that for a very long while artificial intelligence won't match human intelligence and decades if not centuries would pass before robots will start to think and feel on their own... if it would ever happen," Spencer said. "Who by then would remember about Percy the Perv and Doctor Furbies-Disecter Reid?"

"We are talking about robotic toys," Hotch said. "The highest time to call it a day."

Spencer sighed heavily.

"Pack up and take the board," Hotch said suddenly. "I can grill a steak while we would play a round or two."

"It's good to have backup while dust-bunnies are planning mutiny," Spencer smiled.

Deal With The Devil

In retrospect it was a good evening. They shared steaks, played two games of chess, two rounds of poker, discussed interesting articles in New England Medical Journal and caught the end of the Wizards game.

Spencer had fun and Hotch seemed to relax more as the evening passed.

It was a start.

Next week was Jack's weekend so Spencer pointedly strayed from inviting himself until he discovered that Hotch was staying late at the office again, with the door to his office actually closed. There was no sign that said clearer 'I'm pissed off and I don't want to talk about it' and 'Haley rescheduled my weekend with Jack.'

Again everyone who could had left early, and again Spencer ended playing a game of chess against himself until he and Hotch were the only ones left. Then he switched tactics.

It took him fifty-four paper planes directed at Hotch's door to get the other man to even approach the door but when Hotch stopped by the pile of paper planes he looked down and something akin to a small smile passed through his face.

"You have my undivided attention," he said. "You know that we have phones," he added. "And that if you pick the receiver and dial extension 121 I'd pick up."

"I know," Spencer shrugged. "But I like my tactic better, it got you to the door and before you will close it, I know a cafe in Alexandria which is hosting a supposedly raising star of stand-in comedy and I happen to have two tickets."

"Reid..." Hotch sighed.

"You never profiled a comedian?" Spencer offered.

"I never had to," Hotch said. "What brought this up?"

"Your self-imposed exile to your desk. I didn't say anything when you went to Rossi's office at lunch to take three of his consults but to my estimations you were done with your case-load and nicked consults about an hour and half ago and now you are making inventory of office supplies. I beat you to that, we are getting to the bottom stack of the notebooks and JJ took the last block of post-it notes," Spencer said simply.

"I'm not making the inventory of office supplies," Hotch protested.

"But you aren't denying opportunistic kidnapping of Rossi's consults," Spencer smiled.

"I'm pretty sure that it's on surveillance," Hotch grimaced. "Stand-in comedy?"

"The opportunity to profile an idiot who is making an idiot out of himself in front of the audience," Spencer offered. "Beats ongoing war with dust-bunnies and Stella the cleaning lady. I heard her talking to the cleaning lady from the academy that if that tall, dark and handsome stormy-faced cookie won't leave his office today before midnight then I will be forced to call the security to pry him from his desk. I saw her going the other side of the floor ten minutes ago."

"Stella?" Hotch mouthed. "Stella?" he echoed.

"I think that she might be Garcia's long lost and distant aunt, several times removed," Spencer said simply.

"Give me five minutes, I will meet you by elevator," Hotch said.

"Thank Einstein for the cleaning ladies," Spencer whispered to himself. "Strike that, thank Einstein for the fiery cleaning ladies that also happens to push sixty," he smiled.

Deal With The Devil

"So," Hotch said during the break, nursing the glass of wine. "The pieces are in the right place," he shrugged, "oiled," he raised his glass an inch above the table, " and fueled," he motioned at the plate with remains of lasagne. "But this thing is not working."

"Complexity of the machinery," Spencer said simply. "If the pieces of machinery are in place, oiled and fueled and the machinery is still not working then the problem is in programing. How about we ditch this place for the one next door where we can talk without being disturbed by spontaneous fits of giggles?"

"Motion eagerly supported," Hotch said as he fished out few bills and placed them on the table.

The next bar was better, at the very least entertainment was less pitiful though still dubious since it was a karaoke evening. But Hotch found the table in the furthest corner of the bar by the billiard tables where moans and groans of wanna-be singers weren't as hearing-assaulting like by the bar. Soon enough the table next to them cleared off and Hotch offered playing a round of billiard which Spencer eagerly accepted.

"I want a rematch," Hotch grunted at the end of the first round. "And don't say that you have a PhD in mathematics... There has to be a game one can win with you."

"Darts," Spencer offered. "You saw the results of my firearms qualifications, passable at best."

Hotch raised his eyebrow questioningly.

"The only way I would be able to win this one would be if you held me through the whole game at a gun-point," Spencer said simply.

Spencer won the rematch too, they finished their drinks, ordered another round through the whole time discussing Spencer's recent studies in philosophy. Spencer had fun and Hotch relaxed enough to entertain him with few quirky, funny stories from the time he worked in Seattle. It was nice to see this side of him again.

They went to their separate homes by two in the morning.

Deal With The Devil

It was a risky move but after dropping the rest of the team off Spencer picked two bags of take away moo shoo pork from Mama Chang, showed up at Hotch's door and knocked forcefully.

"Who's there?" Hotch snarled through the door.

"Delivery," Spencer replied. "It's burning my fingers."

The door opened and Hotch looked at him skeptically.

"Moo shoo pork," Spencer said as he held up the containers with food. "I've got chopsticks for you," he added.

"Reid, I don't need to be babied," Hotch grimaced.

"If I were going to baby you I would have come here with a pacifier and plushy mascot and not with food," Spencer shrugged. "And if I had done so you would have shot me through the peep-hole... Actually you wouldn't have to because as soon as this idea would have occurred me I would bang my head against the door-frame to get it out of my head."

Hotch looked at him skeptically but after a moment he stepped back and let Spencer in.

"I will get the plates," he said.

The house didn't change much since Spencer had been there last time two weeks ago. The only thing that did change was thicker layer of dust on the shelves which he observed as he followed Hotch to the kitchen.

They ate the meal in silence, not trading a single word, both for most of the time stabbing their food with chopsticks or fork. When they were done Spencer washed the plates which Hotch dried and put back in the one of upper cabinets.

They didn't speak through the rest of the evening either as they watched Washington Capitals playing against Florida Panthers. Hockey wasn't the sport which utterly fascinated Spencer, he was a closet basket-ball fan and Hotch knew that but to certain degree he found the game fascinating enough. They shared two beers, still without a word but as the evening passed Hotch seemed to relax more and more and Spencer didn't want to spoke him as the other man sat with his arm pressed slightly against Spencer's arm, quietly sipping his beer.

At some point of the evening Hotch drifted off to sleep, slumping slightly against, first Spencer's arm and later after Spencer stood up and arranged Hotch so he was laying more comfortably on the couch. He covered the other man with a blanket he found in a closet, took the bottles to the kitchen and put them in the garbage bin, turned the TV off, checked entrances and let himself out after arming the alarm.

Deal With The Devil

"You are kidding me, right?" Spencer asked as he opened the envelope Hotch just passed to him week later.

"It's the real thing," Hotch said. "You like it?"

"Are you kidding me?" Spencer smiled. "I love it."

Few feet away from them Morgan mouthed to Prentiss, "Tickets to museum." Prentiss nodded and they both left the bullpen.

Spencer wasn't going to inform Morgan how wrong he was, not at all. Tickets weren't to musuem but to a charity basket-ball game between Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks and there were preciesly two of them.

"Two," Spencer said.

"You sat with me through hockey game last week," Hotch said. "And I know that your opinion on hockey is as high as your opinion on football, actually I believe that you once said that hockey should be renamed into football on ice."

Spencer looked up at him and opened his mouth.

"Haley rescheduled, again," Hotch grimaced. "I'm grateful that she didn't reschedule Christmas break. I've got evening on Christmas Eve until afternoon on New Year and I'm planning to use every minute of it."

"I hope that you will have fun," Spencer said.

"I'm planning to," Hotch said. "That's if I won't set the kitchen on fire with the turkey. What's your plans for Christmas?"

"I'm spending them with my mum," Spencer answered. "Christmas Eve to Boxing Day for sure and later... I don't know myself yet, I might fool around in Vegas or come back to DC in order to start New Year with an order, or at the very least with preventing dust-bunnies mutiny. You coming?" he asked as he raised the envelope.

"You don't have anyone better to ask?" Hotch asked pensively.

"It's not football and JJ is bound south anyway; it's not female volleyball so Morgan won't enjoy it either, I also saw Garcia heading out with Lynch and it isn't soccer so I don't think that Rossi would be inclined to go, plus the rest of my acquaintances aren't interested in sport. I don't want to waste a good ticket," Spencer explained.

"Prentiss?" Hotch asked.

"Virginia Beach, here I come," Spencer mimicked Prentiss's earlier happy sigh.

"It's not that I don't enjoy your company because I do..." Hotch started. "Never mind, I'll be at your place by six o'clock."

Spencer smiled.

Deal With The Devil

The Wizards sucked, majorly, even he had to admit it and he rarely cursed, yet he couldn't help but immensely enjoy the evening. Hotch might not have been the loudest cheer at the center but once he grew more comfortable with the idea that he was wearing jeans, a polo and a cap and not the suit which meant that he hardly would be recognized by someone else he most certainly allowed himself to enjoy the game as much as Spencer did.

Another thing Spencer immensely enjoyed was the sight of Hotch in jeans, a sight which should be outlawed. He noted, not without small satisfaction that he wasn't the only one who thought that Hotch looked great in blue denim, certain flock of females made the same observation but Hotch didn't appear to care for them.

They shared a box of popcorn between themselves and two cans of iced tea. When the match ended they parted their ways with smiles on their faces.

Deal With The Devil

The pounding on the door did nothing to abate his headache. Even pulling the pillow over his head did nothing to drown that relentless knock-knock-knock-knock... For damned four minutes and thirty-four effing seconds.

"Would your arm do my the courtesy of just falling off?" Spencer growled as he sat up and without straightening his rumpled clothing he reached for his Glock. "All right, all right, I'm coming you relentless woodpecker," he yelled and quickly barked "Just so you know I'm permitted to carry a gun and I'm very tempted to use it."

He yanked the front door open without checking who was so intensely trying to knock out his door from the hinges. Hotch stared at him with amused expression.

"Relentless woodpecker?" Hotch asked. "You look like something a sick cat first chewed through and then spit back."

"I feel like a sick cat," Spencer grumbled. "My friend Johnny came around, he walked and... I really need to use the bathroom, make yourself at home."

He reached the bathroom sink just in time to puke into it and not at his shoes.

It wasn't happening. Hotch just had to come around to him when he was at his lowest, still reeling from the shock of falling Ryan Philips, granted the kid was the unsub, a complete cretin who decided that kidnapping and a murder was fun but for God's sake he pointedly didn't believe in, the kid didn't deserve to die. Spencer failed him by being unable to talk Jack Vaughn down, and that idiotic girl...

Stop right there, she was a victim, she saw her friend being murdered, of course she wanted revenge on her captor...

But there were better ways.

He was still reeling from shock when Strauss summoned him to her office to question him about his progress with his... other job, he managed to appease her by saying that it was going slowly and she reminded him that his time was slowly running out while extending the deadline. She wasn't going to wait past first week of May.

His first reaction was calling his dealer, arranging a meeting, in the middle of an effing forest to not be spotted again, but he managed to clench the craving into purchasing another bottle of Johnny Walker and drinking himself into sleep.

When he finished dry-heaving he washed the vomit off, rinsed his mouth two times and turned the shower on. Quickly he disrobed and stepped under shower-spray, leaving his clothes on the floor.

After scrubbing himself thoroughly and washing his teeth twice he stepped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around his middle and padded his way to the bedroom to find fresh change of clothes.

Finally after putting on his jeans (because there was no way he was going to wear slacks today), his old Cal-Tech long-sleeved shirt (because he was in no mood to fumble with more than one button today) and a pair of mismatched socks that could almost match (because one was new and one survived bleaching with his shirts) he padded his way to the kitchen where Hotch was finishing pouring coffee into the mugs and placing the reheated pancakes on the plates.

"I don't need to be babied," Spencer muttered.

"If I wanted to baby you I wouldn't bring pancakes, I would bring a pacifier," Hotch said simply. "We can talk about what happened in Chula Vista or we can not talk about what happened in Chula Vista, it's entirely your choice."

"I don't want to talk about what happened in Chula Vista," Spencer said quietly.

"Then don't," Hotch looked at him warmly.

They ate the breakfast in silence that wasn't wholly uncomfortable but filled Spencer with certain kind of uneasiness. He managed to clench it by clearing out the plates after breakfast and then he looked at Hotch.

The other man didn't look like he wanted to leave any time soon, in fact he shed zipped hoodie he was wearing and placed it on the couch as he walked to one of the shelves and started looking for something. At some point he wandered to the shelf which was exactly on the opposite side of the room to Spencer allowing Spencer a clear view at Hotch's denim-clothed backside and white-FBI issued t-shirt did nothing to keep Spencer from staring.

Strauss doing striptease, for Stella, wearing fishnets and stilettos, he told himself.

The mental image however produced such violent reaction that for a moment he feared that he would end puking his guts again and he really didn't want to.

"Double Deluxe Scrabble?" Hotch asked. "Well that explains it," he added quickly.

"Extreme violation of copyright rights, I know," Spencer sighed. "Makes the game slightly more challenging than usual one. You should have seen Quadruple Delight we had at Cal-Tech, that thing was huge and I never won it."

"Never?" Hotch asked.

"Never, we always played with sixteen players, that means at least sixteen rounds and each round started from a shot of tequila and each time you folded you had to take a shot of tequila too. Once I managed to cheat my way up to tenth round before I was kicked out from the table and for most of the time I was too uncoordinated by the sixth round," Spencer said.

"Cal-Tech?" Hotch asked.

"Grad-school," Spencer said pointedly.

"That's still not legal," Hotch said.

"I remember what you told me when I managed to set Morganstern on fire in my early days," Spencer said with a snort. "Something about being freshman in college and setting your buddies pants on fire because you stumbled, poured a shot of vodka on him and someone else threw a cigarette on him."

"Want to play?" Hotch changed the topic.

"If I can use Middle English words," Spencer said.

The day ended being great in overall and Spencer managed to push Chula Vista as far away from the front of his mind as possible. They played Scrabble until Spencer's butt started feeling slightly numb from sitting for way too long in the same position and while Hotch cleared after the game Spencer managed to start preparing lunch and he bullied Hotch into staying for it by saying that there was no way that he was going to eat all of it by himself and he didn't want to let it waste if there were to be called away on a case by Monday.

By the end of the lunch they were in the middle of discussion about anthropological excavation in Russia which Spencer found particularly interesting due to the violent nature of the victim's death. They spent few hours just on theorizing what happened before the man's death. It was safe, it had been over one hundred and fifty years and it wasn't that his offender was walking around killing more people.

Hotch left Spencer's apartment late because anthropological discussion at some point turned into discussion on coins and it lasted for hours on end.

Spencer didn't have nightmares that night, instead his dreams were filled with images of Hotch seated on his couch, sipping on his tea and smiling at Spencer and while he was unable to tell precisely where the dream had lead him, his sticky pajama bottoms gave him pretty good idea. He was royally screwed.

Deal With The Devil

Time was passing faster than Spencer wanted it to pass. January turned into February and February was getting him closer to May and the deadline he didn't want to think about. In the meantime he had few more meals and few more outings with Hotch and with each of them he found himself more and more drawn to the older man and at the same time more and more jealous of the man's attention.

Like fucking now.

The harlot couldn't be making herself more obvious. Her eyes were practically glued to Hotch's backside as Hotch leaned on the bar to signal the barman tp refill their drinks. At the very least she had a good taste, she just picked wrong man to contemplate as evening entertainment.

Spencer looked around and grinned. She wanted entertainment and entertainment she was going to get.

His victim was a average blue-collar man, recently divorced, frustrated and unsure of himself. He looked like he could use a bit of cheering up.

"Life sucks," Spencer said emphatically as he slid into the chair opposite to him

"Sure it does, matey," the man sighed. "What ails you?"

"I have a little problem and I was wondering if you could help me," Spencer said confidentially. "I'm here with a friend of mine, he and his wife are going through a rocky path, I'm playing the mediator and a matchmaker of some sort. She just called me that she is running a bit late. My friend is at the bar getting drinks for us and there is this woman," he made a point to look over his shoulder to check if the harlot was still there and luckily she was, "who has been eying him for longer than I consider healthy in this situation."

"What you want me to do?" the man asked.

"I want you to buy her a drink," Spencer said as he fished out three hundred dollars from his wallet. "And for you to have fun. My friends are really a match made in heaven, a bit too thick-headed match made in heaven and I don't want all my mediating efforts to be thwarted just because some chick thought that it would be great to buy my friend a drink."

"You are really invested into helping your friends," the man said. "And very generous."

"I'm invested into helping anyone who deserves some happiness," Spencer said simply. "You look like you need something to take your mind off your troubles. Sometimes taking a break is the best thing we can do."

"Thanks man," the man smiled. "You are a good person."

"You're welcome," Spencer smiled as he stood up and walked to the booth he and Hotch took earlier.

As Hotch walked up the stairs to get to their booth Spencer observed how the man he just finished speaking with approached the harlot, stopped by her, ordered small drink for himself and said something to her. The harlot brightened, after all the man might be a prospective customer.

"What you are grinning at?" Hotch asked pointedly as he set a beer in front of Spencer.

"Nothing, I just love helping other people," Spencer smiled at Hotch innocently.

"I can't help but feel that there is some sort of a hook in this statement but I will let it slide," Hotch said as he sat down in front of Spencer.

"Thanks," Spencer beamed.

Hotch gave him small smile.

God, why the man had to be so damn hot, especially when he was smiling.

Deal With The Devil

The joy of thwarting harlot's efforts to get Hotch's attention made him perhaps a bit too giddy and for sure slightly uncaring about his alcohol intake, for sure he shouldn't take the second shot of tequila after three beers. When Hotch maneuvered him finally to the front seat of his Suburban Spencer was positively inebriated in a maddeningly giggly manner.

He leaned his right arm on the arm-rest of the door and turned slightly in his seat so he could admire Hotch's profile. He was gorgeous and so positively eatable that Spencer really wouldn't mind unwrapping him like a long-awaited Christmas gift.

He managed to stifle a giggle in the last moment which turned it into something that sounded to Spencer's ears like a gurgle.

"No more tequila for you," Hotch sighed. "Ever."

"Yes, Bossman," Spencer chipped.

God, he started channeling Garcia. That thought caused him to let out another, this time not stifled, giggle.

"Are you going to puke?" Hotch asked.

"Nada," Spencer grinned."I'm good, I'm very, very good."

"You are pretty inebriated," Hotch sighed.

"I'm pretty," Spencer snickered. "I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I fell pretty and witty and gay..." he howled. "Seriously... pretty, witty and gay..."

"Seriously inebriated, light-headed and way too cheerful for the hangover you are going to have tomorrow," Hotch said. "I will suggest your next-door neighbor to take a tap-dancing lessons."

"Aww," Spencer groaned. "Don't be so stormy, stormy petrel."

"Next time we will go out and you will even look at Tequila bottle I will smack you so hard that your head will be ringing for the whole evening," Hotch muttered.

"You want to spank me?" Spencer asked curiously.

"Reid," Hotch groaned.

"Shutting up," Spencer piped and he made a zipping motion over his mouth, not that Hotch was going to see it.

But the idea of Hotch spanking him was way too good to pass so Spencer spent the rest of the ride immersed into the fantasy that he snapped out of it only when Hotch hauled him out of the car and wrapped Spencer's left arm over his shoulder and wrapped his right arm around Spencer's bag.

"I can walk," Spencer pouted.

"Sure," Hotch nodded.

"Seriously," Spencer protested. "I can make it up the stairs."

"Okay," Hotch said as he continued to lead him to the elevator.

Then it occurred to Spencer that he really had no reason to protest, after all Hotch had his arm wrapped around him and he had his arm around Hotch's neck. Sure this wasn't the particular configuration he really wanted but that could be easily amended once the door would close behind them.

He did nothing as Hotch hauled him through the corridor on his floor, nothing still when Hotch got him into his flat after short fumble with the keys, nothing as Hotch closed the door behind them. But when Hotch got them to Spencer's bedroom Spencer allowed himself to use all of his conserved strength to push Hotch against the wall as he maneuvered himself so they were standing face to face. Of course surprise was huge factor of his success and it wasn't going to last long so he done something utterly idiotic.

He leaned his head closer to Hotch's face, still holding tightly on Hotch's shoulders and pressed their lips together, nibbling on Hotch's bottom lip to get the other man to open his mouth.

He didn't succeed because strong hands grabbed him by the shoulders, he was forcibly walked backwards and pushed on the bed.

By the time his head stopped spinning he heard a thud of the front door closing forcibly and he realized what he had done.

Idiot.

Cretin.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

He should just find his gun and put a bullet through his brain and be done with it.

He tried to stood up but as he straightened the room spun violently and he ended falling backwards on the bed.

Tomorrow, he promised himself, I will shot myself tomorrow.

Deal With The Devil

He did not shot himself tomorrow, nor on the day after though he felt intensely tempted to do it. But JJ called him when he was in the middle of pondering where would be the best place to shot himself, well the body part was pretty obvious, the head but he was more concerned about the mess it would made and he snorted over the irony that he was worrying about the mess while thinking about putting a bullet through his brain.

Third girl gone missing in a matter of ten days in the same county in New York state took the priority over his suicide.

On the flight there was no time for considering how awkward the situation was for him and Hotch, and Hotch made it sure that Spencer knew that by assigning him first to Rossi, later to Morgan and finally to Prentiss. He even made sure that they weren't staying on the same floor at the hotel.

At the very least the case was a win, in a way, they found the unsub and the girls within three days. All of them alive, though no one felt really sympathetic towards the unsub.

Spencer spent the whole flight back to Quantico at playing cards with JJ, ignoring curious looks Morgan was sending in his way or Hotch's glower.

Deal With The Devil

Major part of the next ten days went as A is for awkward and Hotch didn't pair up with him even to work at the police station.

Then came the Friday after the Valentines.

Thursday, Valentines itself, was in so far the most awkward of all the days in the week and the overwhelming heart-shaped redness that seemed to be ready to jump out of your drawer squalling 'Happy Valentines!' managed to grate on Spencer's nerves despite his very high tolerance for other people's traditions.

But he wasn't the one who was taking the whole holiday the worst, that was Hotch, who locked himself in his office, closed the blinds and through the whole day emerged from it only three times, twice to get a refill of the coffee and once to go to the bathroom.

Friday was... Friday. Red as Thursday because after 'mood-killers' as Weston from team C dubbed non-believers had left the office the rest threw up a spontaneous party. Even cleaning staff had to have fun because Spencer had to sanitize his chair first thing in the morning not really wanting to ask Garcia for the security footage to learn who the fuck had balls to had an intercourse in his chair.

"Reid!" Hotch barked from his office. "Do you happen to have a Ziploc bag in that bag of yours? And a pair of gloves?"

"Did you sit down in your chair?" Spencer called back.

They could shout at each other through the bullpen because in so far they were the only people in itr.

"Why you are asking about it?" Hotch asked as he peeked out from his office.

"Because you might want to sweep your office with UV scanner," Spencer said as he stared pointedly at his own desk. "I know that I won't sit down until I will."

"Get the scanner from forensics," Hotch said. "And a brown paper-bag if you can find it. Some party it was," he shook his head.

They ended sweeping not only Spencer's desk and table and Hotch's office but they also swept the kitchenette and the conference-room. Something definitely happened in Hotch's office and in the conference-room and Hotch left the scanner on Rossi's desk with a note 'Use first before you will start working.'

"It makes one wonder about the level of maturity of people you are working with," Hotch sighed as he leaned against Spencer's properly sanitized desk.

"I feel like a crime scene technician," Spencer snorted as he leaned back in his chair. "I'm not going to have problems with getting a kick out of seeing Morgan's face when he will see the bag and what's actually inside it."

"Busy night he doesn't remember having," Hotch nodded. "He might even want to sanitize his desk."

"I should have hid it in his car," Spencer muttered. "I happen to occasionally travel in it and the only time it's spotlessly clean happens to be on Friday evening."

"Speaking about Friday evening. Do you have plans?" Hotch asked quietly.

"Making pizza and watching reruns of Andromeda or Star Wars, the original series," Spencer answered. "You?"

"Studying linguistics of dust-bunnies in the garage," Hotch shrugged. "I'm trying to figure out if if the sound I heard yesterday meant 'kill him in his sleep' or that Mrs Florentino's dachshund managed to break into the garage again and happened to let out a gas. Personally I'm banking for the later but I didn't spot or stepped into surprise which points to the contrary."

"It's the dachshund," Spencer said. "They are evil. Their evilness is genetically passed and honed by their owners. People think that they are cute with their short legs and their shaking tummies... genetic abnormalities with sociopathic tendencies and life goal to eliminate everything that is bigger than them," he added swiftly.

"You ran into Mrs Turner dachshund again?" Hotch asked.

"I have long legs," Spencer shrugged. "John Hombolt IV... to the contrary," he added. "I swear that one day when I will get my hand on a boxer glove..."

"Would be the same day Garcia would chew you for animal cruelty," Hotch said.

"It wouldn't be cruelty, it would be self-defense," Spencer grunted.

"Have a good day," Hotch gave him small smile. "Of work," he added seriously, "not plotting retaliation on evil dachshunds with a fetish for your converses."

"Yes mum," Spencer quipped. "I will be a good boy and I will be quietly doing my homework."

Hotch shook his head as he walked away from Spencer's desk but as he walked to his office Spencer could swear that he saw a shadow of a smile.

So he smiled to himself, reached for the topmost file in his stack and he started working. He made Hotch smile and that was an accomplishment itself.

Deal With The Devil

He prepared toppings long before he started preparing the dough for pizza or as Rossi once deemed it vegetable-meat pie without topping crust because... 'Everybody has their favorite image of pizza, sir,' Garcia cut Rossi's comment in the middle and after giving Spencer once over she added 'Look at him, he is skin and bones, do not discourage him from eating more, we barely managed to fatten him up.'

Truth be told he liked his vegetable-meat pies with cheese and tomato sauce regardless of what Rossi, and everybody who ever tried a real Italian pizza said. He liked his version because his Mum taught him how to bake it when she had a good day once and even if he thought that he could attempt preparing a real pizza he just didn't want to.

And if he danced to Leonard Cohen's Dance Me To the End of Love while preparing pizza who cared? It wasn't that anyone witnessed him swaying around the kitchen and the song itself was deeply ingrained in his memory of this particular setting; baking pizza and dancing with his mum in the kitchen, with pizza dough and flour stuck to their hands and dusting their clothes.

He dusted his hands from the flour over the the cake before he closed his eyes and allowed himself to succumb to the sway of music with all the eagerness and joy it once gave him. He managed to make two not overly fast turns before he collided with something solid on the third and he opened his eyes knowing that the fridge couldn't possibly move out of its place to stop in the middle of the kitchen and he knew that he was too far away from the column.

He found himself staring in a pair of dark-eyes strangely filled with warmth and something softer he couldn't name and as he contemplated what it was strong arms sneaked around his waist and pulled him closer into Hotch's toned body.

"I freaked out," Hotch said quietly. "I'm sorry."

"I gave you a very good reason to freak out," Spencer answered in equally soft voice. "Not everyday your male subordinates make drunken pass at you."

"Not everyday," Hotch agreed. "You are the first."

"Sorry," Spencer mouthed sheepishly.

"It's insane," Hotch breathed out.

"Yeah," Spencer agreed.

"I don't know how to do it," Hotch admitted.

"If it's any consolation you are the first one for me too," Spencer admitted.

"First?" Hotch asked with intense spark of this thing Spencer couldn't define.

"Man I threw myself at," Spencer clarified. "Usually I let them throw at myself, not that it happened of..."

Hotch silenced him with a kiss so fierce that it left Spencer breathless, speechless, and for a longer moment thoughtless. That never happened before with anyone else and he allowed himself to melt into the kiss running his hands through Hotch's short hair. It was crazy but he liked it, he really, really, really liked it and when Hotch pried his mouth open with his tongue Spencer completely melted into a puddle of warm, brainless and utterly happy goo.

He would have really melted or at the very least fell on his butt if it wasn't for Hotch's arms around his waist which kept him firmly in place and... Were they moving? As in swaying? Actual dancing?

Dance Me To the End of Love was still on, of course it would be because he put it on repeat and yes, Hotch was really swaying them gently to the tune. Another memory to cherish with the song.

But the song ended and Hotch let him go.

"You are letting the cake plan the escape," Hotch said.

Spencer blushed so furiously that he was sure that his blush matched the redness of the paprika but he took a deep breath and willed himself into controlling his body's reactions, well at the very least his coordination because as hard as he could try he couldn't control overly certain reactions.

How he managed to get the pizza into the oven without dropping it several times was completely beyond him. He just did and he was happy that he did.

They didn't kiss further that night, they ate their pieces of pizza, discussed philosophy, concentration camps, Cohen and weather (tornado's in particular). Spencer enjoyed himself immensely and he was sure that so did Hotch.

Deal With The Devil

There were more, mostly Fridays, sometimes Saturdays, at times Thursdays because the weekend happened to be Jack's.

They didn't graduate past more than kissing and touching above the waist. Hotch needed time and so did Spencer.

February turned into March and April was approaching in a matter of days.

It was 28th March to be exact, to other people, completely normal Friday but Spencer was all but giddy inside because yesterday Hotch invited him to come to dinner and told him to not bring the take out.

When Morgan asked him what caused his good mood especially after yesterday's sourness over broken coffee-express and Spencer delivered him a dissertation about the documentary of unraveling thirteenth century mummy without a single blink which Morgan cut in the middle by saying that it was Friday and they both had work to do.

He was insanely pleased with himself and his good mood lasted through the rest of the day, past saying goodbye to JJ and Prentiss, both again bound towards airports, Rossi bound home, Morgan and Garcia clubbing, Hotch who left earlier than usual with certain spring in his step that made Spencer feel even more giddy.

He was readying himself to leave to prepare himself for the date with Hotch when his phone rang.

"Doctor Spencer Reid, BAU. How can I help you?" he asked quickly.

"Are you making progress Doctor Reid?" Strauss asked.

"Progress?" Spencer coughed.

"May is approaching and you seemed to want to keep your job," she said.

"It's small," Spencer said calmly and he licked his lips.

"Will you finish before deadline?" she asked.

"Yes," Spencer answered quickly.

"See you at the end of April then," she said and she hung up.

Something cold and very heavy settled in his stomach and it was a miracle that he made it to the bathroom before he puked out half-digested remains of his lunch accompanied by sickening smell of coffee into the sink.

He washed the vomit off, rinsed his mouth and washed his face.

He was an utter fool, complete idiot to forget what it really was about.

Drug addict, whore, double-crosser, narcissistic, materialistic son of a son of a bitch.

'Are you pleased with yourself, genius?' the tinny voice from the back of his mind surged to the surface. 'You thought that you could just forget? Get yourself lost in the spur of the moment? You are pitiful, scumbag, and when it will crush you and yes it will crush you and you know it, you will wish that you never agreed to it in the first place. Enjoy the rest of your pitiful, lonely existence and trust me it will be, lonely and pitiful.'

It wasn't true, it couldn't be. He still had time and he still could salvage... maybe not everything... but something.

Something could be salvaged, he kept telling himself on the way to Hotch's place, he just needed to decide what.. who and how.

When he reached Hotch's place he was wound up tighter than a string and practically frantic with worry that his demeanor would make Hotch suspect that something was wrong. It took all of his control to not break into a sobbing mess when Hotch sat him down at the table in the dinning-room.

He didn't deserve this wonderful man but he wanted to have him, more than anything, more than anyone before and if he kept his end of the bargain with the devil he would lose him completely. He would lose him either way with the end of April because if he didn't keep his end of the deal with the devil Strauss would inform Hotch of her findings and she would force Hotch to fire him.

Hotch couldn't lose his job, Haley left him because she couldn't stand it anymore and it wasn't fair for Hotch to lose something, someone yet again.

He couldn't win, on either of the fronts. He should have seen it coming right away and save his own dignity by resigning, then and there.

"You seem troubled," Hotch said sympathetically. "You were smiling when I was leaving."

"Bennigton called," Spencer said quickly. "There are some problems with mum... I'm..."

"You can tell me," Hotch said. "You know that you can tell me everything."

Not this, I'm sorry, I can't, I'm so sorry.

Hotch was looking at him hopefully, willing Spencer to share his worries with him. He wanted to, he really wanted, but he knew that he couldn't.

"I..." Spencer started and faltered. "I've done some pretty stupid things last year," he said softly. "Some of them really, really stupid... I lied, Bennigton didn't call me..." he faltered again. "My... my ex-girlfriend did... she is pregnant.. it's my child and I can't... I'm not going to win this one Hotch and I really sorry that I dragged you into the mess of my life... I need to be the father now and she won't let me otherwise... I'm so sorry... I have to go," he rambled. "I'm sorry."

He fled, he got to his car before Hotch reached him and was out of the street long before Hotch got his sedan out of the garage.

It was over.

Deal With The Devil

He managed to avoid Hotch all weekend, Monday through Tuesday till on Wednesday JJ called him to inform him that Hotch wanted him to know that they were doing a VICAP interview with Chester Hardwick and that he didn't care that Reid was pretending to have a flu.

It was awkward, not only because Haley was hounding Hotch to sign divorce papers uncontested, not only because Hotch was in foul mood and he ready to take one on one fight with Chester Hardwick.

"What I want I'm not going to get," Hotch said.

What Spencer didn't say was 'Me neither. I'm sorry.'

Following two weeks was a downward spiral for Spencer, cravings he managed to abate previously were eating him up. His own misery over losing Hotch made him short-tempered with the rest of the team and it wasn't fair for them, it wasn't fair for Hotch. He was all but lost in complete darkness, inching his way towards the wall looking for door to let the light in and he was so fucking scared.

Right stressor in the right time, that's what made an unsub.

In the end he saved a life and that was what mattered.

"You knowingly jeopardized your life and the lives of others," Hotch said with a sigh after he sat down in front of Spencer.

Spencer nodded, he knew that but Hotch needed a sigh that Spencer heard him. Spencer also knew what would follow so he braced himself for the outcome.

"I should fire you," Hotch said heavily causing Spencer to look up.

I should fire you? Not you are fired?

"You are the smartest kid in a room but you aren't the only one in that room. You pull something like this again and you will be. Am I clear?" Hotch's voice was angry.

Spencer nodded twice as he said, "Yes, sir. It won't happen again," he paused and added, "Thank you."

He didn't deserve it, he didn't deserve Hotch's trust and he most certainly didn't deserve a second chance.

"What you were thinking?" Hotch asked.

Spencer lowered his eyes and said, "I was thinking that would be the second time a kid died in front of me."

"You are keeping score, just like Owen," Hotch said.

"It was my turn to save one," Spencer sighed.

"Doesn't work like that."

"It should," Spencer whispered.

"I know it's painful when the person you identify with is the bad guy," Hotch said cautiously.

"What's that make me?" Spencer said softly.

"Good at the job," Hotch said which made Spencer look at him as he stood up and added, "I know it's none of my business but when we land you should go and catch the rest of that movie" he added and as he passed by Spencer he patted him on the shoulder.

Hotch returned to the seat he occupied previously and it took all of Spencer's strength to not burst in tears. He made a decision before he even stepped on the jet, before he learned about Owen and what kind of life the kid had.

It was supposed to be his last case with BAU either way and at some point he stopped caring if he was going to resign by himself when they will get back or if Hotch would give him a boot sooner rather than later. Except he didn't, after everything Spencer put him through in last few weeks Hotch was still willing to give him a second chance, something he knew he didn't deserve, not from Hotch, not from the others.

At the very least he was walking away with remains of dignity. Before they boarded the jet on route back home Hotch told them that he didn't want to see either of them at the office until Wednesday which gave Spencer four days to prepare his next move.

He shook off all invitations to head out from Morgan, Prentiss, JJ and Garcia, thanking each of them politely and saying that he wasn't really not in mood to head out and that he wanted to finish his report while the case was still fresh in his mind.

The bullpen emptied slowly as Spencer worked on his reports. Even Hotch headed out, long after Rossi left and a bit too late for Spencer's liking but he had time, he had four days ahead of himself.

So he printed what he needed to make his next move. Packed all of his belongings into a cardboard box, signed all of the required paperwork and padded his way to Strauss's office.

The Dragon Lady wasn't in and perhaps it was for the better, he didn't have to explain himself to her. So he left his signed resignation on the desk of her assistant and padded his way back to the bullpen.

Going to Hotch's office was much more harder than heading to Strauss's not just physically but also emotionally because the tinny voice in the back of Spencer's mind chimed in that Hotch deserved better than having his good-will thrown in his face.

Slowly he placed his resignation on the desk and placed his credentials and Glock on the top of it. Hotch would see it first upon entering the office on Wednesday long after Spencer would be gone from DC...

He took a shaky breath as he allowed his fingers to slip over Hotch's name-tag.

"Goodbye," Spencer whispered to the empty office. "I hope that one day you will find your happiness."

He knew that he was walking away from his.

The road home never before seemed these long and these painful because it wasn't going to be his home anymore. Tomorrow he would pack his belongings and ship them off to Vegas and if tomorrow wasn't going to be enough he still had Monday to finish packing, ship his things away and buy one way ticket to the place which wasn't home for a very long time.

Today he just wanted to forget, curl in his bed and wallow in his misery, sipping Johnny Walker, wishing that he never accepted Strauss's offer.

For a short while he had a shot at something meaningful, something he didn't deserve but wanted like he never wanted anything before. A real chance with Hotch.

Hotch would recover, eventually. The shock of Spencer's departure will wear off and he will keep going. Maybe one day he would be happy. Maybe one day he will find someone worthy of his trust, worthy of his affection, someone who would make him smile like Spencer used to.

And like he wanted he ended in his bed, sipping Johnny Walker, tearing himself up over the bliss of few weeks he had with Hotch, few weeks which showed what their lives could be like if Spencer hadn't done something idiotic like accepting the deal with the devil and covering his tracks with a cowardly lie.

He could have been happy, he could have make Hotch happy because Hotch deserved to be happy like no one else in the world.

He drifted off to sleep clutching on the pillow and almost empty bottle of whiskey but even in his dreams his mind didn't stop torturing him.

At first it was a dip in the mattress right next to him and nothing more just the feeling of someone else in the room. Then a strong, callused hand reached out and pulled the curtain of hair from his face, drawing strands behind his ear.

Spencer couldn't stand it anymore, he clutched harder with his left arm on the pillow and after weeks of keeping himself in control, keeping himself together he chocked out the first sob. The second followed shortly after, quickly succeeded by the third, fourth and fifth. Soon enough he was bawling his eyes out, allowing the pain to pour out of himself.

The hand brushing his hair smeared away some of the moisture and didn't relent, didn't stop touching him, didn't stop caressing him in the way he didn't deserve to be touched.

He knew that it was a vision his conscience threw in his way to torture him more but he didn't care, he knew that he didn't deserve it but he would take the selfish comfort of having Hotch's hand on himself again even if it was just a dream, just a vision spun by the drunken, tortured mind.

Hotch wasn't really here, he was home, probably sleeping to have an early start on tomorrow with Jack. Spencer was safe and alone in the overwhelming blackness of his apartment.

"I'm sorry," he chocked out between sobs, knowing how foolish it was to talk to someone who wasn't really there but he was past the point of caring. "I'm so sorry."

"What you are sorry for Spencer?" Hotch asked quietly as he continued brushing the hair out of Spencer's face.

"I made a deal with the devil," Spencer admitted. "She asked for more than my soul and... I couldn't... I was terrified, I couldn't afford it, I was an idiot, I didn't know what to do... I took it, I took it, I'm so sorry... I'm so sorry. I betrayed your trust, like no one else did before... I deserve everything which comes in my way... She asked me to seduce you... I tried to play it off, appease her with lies to draw the deadline away.. but it didn't matter... I forgot, I forgot to even look for alternatives and when I realized... it was too fucking late and I'm so fucking weak.. I should have told her to jump from the roof, I should have sent her to hell where she belongs... But I couldn't, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm sorry," he howled.

"I fucked everything up right from the start," he added mournfully. "I just didn't know it yet and that isn't the worst... I over-invested myself... I didn't mean to hurt you but I did, I didn't mean to fall for you, but I did it too... I don't deserve you, didn't deserve from the start... if only I could... I know that's not how it works but if only I could turn back the fucking time I would have never..."

"Ex-girlfriend?" Hotch asked as his hand stilled in Spencer's hair.

"I lied," Spencer chocked out. "I was going to lose you anyway... it didn't matter.. I didn't want you to know what kind of weak, pitiful excuse of a man I am... Too much of a coward to tell you the truth. It doesn't matter anymore... nothing really matters... and it never will... I ruined everything... I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry."

The hand in his hair withdrew, the weight on his bed left, even in his drunken hallucination he couldn't keep Hotch by his side, not that he deserved it.

He curled around the pillow even tighter and allowed himself to cry.

But the hand returned, this time left one, gently cupping the right side of his face, raising him slightly to press a glass of fuzzy lemon liquid to his lips.

"Drink," Hotch said quietly. "For me."

And it was stupid that even in his hallucination he would have done everything for the man.

The hand withdrew as soon as he swallowed the last sip of the drink. Hotch placed the empty glass on the nightstand, sat on the bed, but differently than before, with his back to Spencer.

"Scott over," Hotch said softly.

Spencer did, pulling the pillow with himself but Hotch snagged it from his hands as he lied down next to Spencer, pulling him closer until Spencer's head was pillowed on his left shoulder and his arms were securely wrapped around Spencer.

His conscience was a sadist and he very much deserve it.

"I'm sorry," Spencer whimpered into Hotch's shoulder.

"I know," Hotch's voice rumbled in his chest.

"I'm an idiot, an utter fool," Spencer whispered. "I don't deserve it, not even here, not even... I know that it's my conscience torturing me further and I'm so pathetic to..."

A forefinger was pressed to his mouth quickly followed by, "Shush."

"It's true," Spencer said softly. "I love you and I don't deserve to love you. You don't deserve to be loved by the man who even for a moment wanted to use you for his own gains.. You deserve someone who will spend the rest of their life showing what kind of a wonderful man you are. Someone," a finger was pressed to his lips again but he continued talking, "who will spend the rest of their life making you smile, cherishing you... I don't even... I don't even remember who said it... I'm so weak, I'm so pitiful... Love me when I least deserve it.."

"I love you, you idiot," Hotch grumbled as he strengthened his hold on Spencer. "I love you because... I love you regardless... I don't care if you sold your soul to the devil because I'm going to get it back... I let love slip out of my life once and I'm not letting it happen again. I can't lose you, Spencer. To death, to your foolish misdeeds, to your misjudged nobility. I can't lose you, I won't lose you."

"It's just a dream," Spencer whimpered as he snuggled closer. "It's a good dream but it's just a dream."

But he wasn't going to be sorry for basking in the warmth of the illusion and it was going to hurt like hell tomorrow when he would wake up to empty bed, clutching on a pillow alone... like the rest of his life was going to be.

"I love you," he whispered into Hotch's chest. "I'm sorry."

"I know," Hotch said quietly.

Deal With The Devil

He woke up to overwhelming warmth and this strangely comforting feeling of being protected by the strong arms wrapped around him.

It was a hell of a dream but that was what it really was, a dream and his conscience was still not done with torturing him in the waking hours of the rest of his lonely life.

It was strange because though he was awake he could still hear Hotch's heart under his ear and the smell of wind and dust mixed with Hotch's cologne. He knew that he was alone and that as soon as he would open his eyes he would be wishing that he kept them closed.

But he snuggled closer to the pillow, closer to the illusion of his dreams, closer to the world in which Hotch loved him back, loved him regardless. He knew that it was illusion his heart threw at him to ward of his conscience for just one fucking moment.

"Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it," he whispered to himself.

"I do," he heard a rumble. "Go to sleep, it's too fucking early."

He wasn't drunk enough to imagine it he realized, he should have metabolized some of the alcohol to know the difference and that realization sent him backwards... or rather it would have sent him backwards if he wasn't held tightly against Hotch's chest.

It was all real... and he wanted to burst in tears again.

"You aren't quitting," Hotch said firmly. "And I'm not letting you out of my sight for as long as you are going to even think about it. I will deal with Strauss as soon as we get to the office on Wednesday."

"Hotch?" Spencer whimpered.

"Sleep," Hotch mumbled. "We will talk later."

Deal With The Devil

And they did. They talked, Spencer admitted to every foolishness he felt himself responsible for and Hotch... Hotch raged, threw few plates at the wall but in the end like he promised he didn't let Spencer out of his sight farther than the bathroom and barely let Spencer out of his arms.

He completely, utterly submitted himself to Hotch's mercy, it wasn't that he had a choice, nor that he deserve it and it was a selfish thought to feel protected in Hotch's arms and to never leave their security but the reality was too frightening to Spencer.

They headed to work together, Hotch crowded his personal space through the walk to the elevator, would have crowded it through the road up to sixth floor if Rossi didn't join them on the ground floor.

"You are never going to believe who got themselves deployed to Pakistan, after claiming long and much needed vacation," Rossi said dryly.

"Not you," Hotch muttered.

"Strauss," Rossi said. "She also said that she left you a cold case she wanted to know your opinion on, though now you will have to pass it over to Weston once you are done with it."

Spencer hunched in himself thinking that somehow Strauss got a hold of his resignation even if Hotch admitted that with Spencer's gun and credentials he recovered both copies of it.

When they left the elevator Hotch motioned at him to follow him to his office and Spencer did it.

He spotted the big white envelope in the center of Hotch's desk and he hunched in himself even more when Hotch picked it up and opened it.

He observed Hotch's face to gauge his reaction but he didn't expect what he saw, he didn't expect shock, he expected anger and Hotch tearing the envelope, not passing it to Spencer.

He grasped the paper with shaking fingers as he concentrated on the text.

I, Erin Strauss, Section Chief of Behavioral Analysis Unit grant the exception from breaking the fraternization rule between Unit Chief of BAU Team A, Supervisory Special Agent Aaron William Hotchner and Supervisory Special Agent Doctor Spencer Aaron Reid.

SSA Hotchner and SSA Reid are capable of keeping their private relationship from affecting their work and SSA Hotchner is capable of treating SSA Reid like any other agent in his team regardless of the personal relationship between them. Thus I find nothing at fault to not grant the permission for their relationship to continue.

SSA Erin Strauss,

Section Chief of Behavioral Analysis Unit

"If I kill her, will you help me to hide her body?" Hotch asked hopefully.

"I can get my hands on sulfuric acid," Spencer said. "There is something else in here."

He fished it out and held it up to Hotch. They were two tickets for a flight to Atlantic City with the reservation for a four stars hotel in the city, with access to everything the hotel offered. Under them was a small note Spencer quickly read and showed up to Hotch. It read:

Congratulations. Have a good time, gentlemen.

"I still want to kill her," Hotch said.

"Me too," Spencer nodded eagerly.

"But after everything she put us through it's a fair re-compensation," Hotch added. "For the moment."

"Revenge is the dish best tasted when it's in ice-cream form," Spencer said.

The End.

...

For Now.


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