Written for the HxR Prompt Meme over on LiveJournal. Enjoy!

He wasn't really sure if he could convince Aaron to stop it, but it couldn't hurt.


The man glanced at him from his bathroom, unblinking. Eight months, and still- still there were secrets between the both of them. Little things here and there that would slip out and be heard once in a while before there was some prodding, and finally another secret was released. The two of them had walls; hell, Aaron had a goddamn suit of armor that was slowly and steadily being chipped away.

Spencer gazed back at his lover and motioned him over to the bed. Aaron quietly walked over, frowning a little as the other man motioned him to sit down. He obliged, settling down on the mattress and sheets. "What is it?"

Already, though, the younger man's hands were roaming on the fabric of Aaron's shirt. He could tell the unit chief was tensing up, closing his eyes and hands already slowly grabbing the sheets. Was this... huh. Spencer slowly felt down Aaron's body and watched his reaction. The lower he got, the more those muscles under his touch tightened. The more Aaron scowled before finally, a hand came up and grabbed Spencer's wrist. "...I know what you're thinking."

"Didn't know you could read minds," he teased.

Aaron exhaled slowly. "That's not funny."

A shrug. "I just- want to know what's under here. I can feel it, but... I want to see it for myself, you know?"

"I can't."

That threw Spencer for a loop, and he frowned this time. "Why not?"

Aaron didn't answer. He slowly let go of his boyfriend's wrist and opened his eyes, biting the top lip. Spencer moved closer to him. "Don't shut me out," he told him quietly. "Let me help you with this. Please."

There wasn't much to say about the matter really, and Aaron didn't say a word. Spencer still watched him, biting his own lip and tentatively placing a hand on the cloth again. Then another hand, taking hold if it and gently pulling it up. Again, the unit chief tensed up, and Spencer continued to be slow, gentle about it. Like a knave peeling off his prince's armor after a long war, the younger man was easy in taking that shirt off, pulling it over his head and putting it next to him.

In front of him was a tan, slightly muscular body with nine scars, some longer than the others. Spencer traced the longest one, almost entranced by it before looking up at Aaron. "Is this...?"

The older man gritted his teeth, his voice bitter. Angry, but not at his boyfriend. "He won, Spencer. And every time I see these in the mirror, I'm forced to remember that night. And I hate it." His voice dropped to a whisper. "I fucking hate it with every fiber of my being."

Spencer blinked and moved closer to him, but Aaron moved back a little. "I lost, Spencer. He won. Foyet won, and..." His voice cracked. "...and now he-"

"He didn't win."

Aaron looked up with a hard swallow to have Spencer suddenly lean in and give the man a hard kiss on the lips; one filled with warmth, passion, a sort of possessive protectiveness as he slid his arms around his lover. Around his Aaron. His Aaron. For the first time in his life- in this relationship, even- the two men were chest-to-chest. Bare chest to bare chest. Some definition on behalf of Spencer to muscle and scars on behalf of Aaron. And Aaron was... loving it.

He felt safe in Spencer's arms. Safer than having a gun in the nightstand and a knife under the pillow. He was in his boyfriend's arms, and Spencer was there to protect him. To love him. To be with him through thick and thin.

The genius whispered in his ear again. "You won, Aaron. You beat Foyet. And even though... you may think he won with those nightmares and those days you sit around and mope about how you lost Haley, you have to remember. You have Jack. He didn't take Jack from you. And- no matter how far you push me away, no matter how bad it gets. No matter how many s-secrets you hide from me..." He tightened his arms around him. "...I will alwaysbe here for you."

Aaron slowly wrapped his arms around Spencer, head on his shoulder. Shaking so slightly; the young genius was pretty sure Aaron was crying. But to know that he could at least open up and do that around him- that was more than enough right now. Peeling off the armor had been the main objective, the main reason for tonight. Being his rock and holding him and meaning every word of his love...

The man breathed again. "I love you, Aaron Hotchner. Scars and all."