Hello everybody! Giving another go at slash fiction. I'm obsessed with Hotch/Reid, in case you couldn't tell. I hope you enjoy this one.


The words, photocopied and splattered on the office wall, greeted Spencer Reid like a slap in the face. But the pages beneath the typed, all caps font, was even worse. Reid's own handwriting. His journal entries, torn and photocopied, lined the hallway walls in neat rows.

His heart began to pound. His palms were sweaty but cold, despite the cup of coffee he was holding onto. He hastily put the cup on the floor, and grabbed fistfuls of paper, stuffing them into his satchel.

"God, please, please no-" he choked. Page after page, filled to the edges, all of them about Hotch. Pages of filth and humiliation.

It did not take long for his bag to be filled up, unable to take any more of the pages he tore from the wall. Tears fell down his cheeks when he saw how many more there were along the hallway, and in the bullpen. And -please no, please this can't be happening- the other agents were looking at them. He let out a small cry of anger and horror. Those that weren't standing back, casually looking at them as if they were at an art museum, were reading them out loud. Not a single one of them was trying to take them down.

"Damn," he heard Morgan chuckle, "didn't think our pretty boy genius had it in him!"

Reid turned from them and fled. He ran into the bathroom, and finally let out a deep breath when he was behind the locked door. He was unable to move for a moment, unable to even think, which was quite remarkable.

He looked up, and a sob escaped him. Pages and pages of his journal were taped to the men's room wall. Certain passages were underlined or magnified onto their own sheet of paper. He tore the sheets down, and tried to keep himself from hyperventilating. How many people had seen these? How many people knew?

Oh God.

Had Hotch seen?

A wave of nausea suddenly hit him. The feeling was frighteningly intense, but soon was replaced by dizziness that sent him stumbling backwards. He made his way to the sink and splashed cold water on his face. There was always the hope that he was dreaming, that, really, he was home in bed with a rather sadistic subconscious.

If only he could stay in the bathroom until everyone left for home. If he could just stay locked in and wait the day out, perhaps everything would be alright.

Great idea, he thought. And what about tomorrow? And the day after that?

He had to quit. That was the only solution, wasn't it? The only thing he could do was leave forever, and never see these people again.

Never see Hotch again.

The thought made him shudder. He choked back a sob and tried to clear his head. Quitting was the easy way out, the coward's way. And, he thought, what about the references he would need for whatever job he took next? Hotch's letter of recommendation was sure to read something like "Smart kid, but prone to rattling off useless information, along with a tendency to fantasize –in remarkable detail- about going down on his male superiors."

Reid looked at his watch. Maybe Hotch wasn't even here yet. He probably had Jack today, and if Jack was there, then obviously Hotch had to get him ready for school. And of course, kids sometimes liked to drag their feet, causing their parents to be late for their very important FBI jobs. It was a perfectly reasonable thing to hope. There was still time to take down all the posters before Hotch saw them. And as for the other agents, well, he'd have to tell them it was some kind of bizarre prank, that it wasn't even his writing, it was the writing of a very dedicated and talented plagiarist. He could even get mad, and accuse them of making this up themselves as a misguided attempt at humour. Because highly trained psychological analysts would not possibly see through blame shifting like that.

But it was still worth a try, wasn't it? What other choice was there?

He left the restroom quickly, in a sudden panic. Had he already wasted too much time, hiding like a coward? Was he too late? Turning the corner, the answer came to him. He felt like he'd been punched in the gut.

Hotch had one of the copies in his hands, apparently one of the pull page ones. His brow furrowed darkly over his eyes. That expression was practically unreadable, perhaps it was anger, perhaps it was confusion. It would make sense for it to be both, of course. That glower was bad enough when focused on the paper. Then, he looked up.

"Reid." He choked out the name.

Reid only glanced up for a second, just long enough to see how red Hotch's face was.

Oh God, he hates me. Reid turned his gaze away from Hotch, biting his lip, hard.

"I'm not feeling too well," Reid whimpered. "Could I please have the rest of the day off?"

Hotch opened his mouth to speak, but what came out sounded nothing like any language either of them knew. He shook his head. "Reid, I, I think we should talk about this."

"Please, Hotch," Reid gritted his teeth, trying not to cry. "Please."

"I'm not mad, Spencer." Hotch's voice was soft. It was beautiful. "Come on, let's go into my office and talk about this."

"I can't go into your office with you! Are you crazy-you, I can't go into your office, Hotch! It would make everything worse, with what they're already saying about me…" He stopped himself when he realized his voice was rising in shrill hysteria. He put his hand over his quivering lips.

Hotch's expression held more kindness and pity than Reid could stand. He wiped the tears from his cheeks. "I'm sick. I need to go home."

Finally, Hotch nodded. "Okay. But I'm going to come by later, to see how you are. Alright?"

Reid shook his head. "Don't. It would be a bad idea." The tears kept rolling down his face. "I'm sick, Hotch, there's something wrong with me and you should just stay away." He brushed passed him, holding his satchel close to his body like a shield.