Title: The Tradition of Sprigs
Author: Kuria Dalmatia
2012 FFN Christmas Exchange: written for Kadeeleigh
Rating/Warnings: FRM/R (profanity, case-related violence, discussion of drug use and withdrawal)
Characters/Pairing: Hotch/Reid, Jack (with some Hotch/Haley)
Summary: Hotch holds the sprig of mistletoe by the stem, cocks an eyebrow, and waits for an explanation. Because, in the four months Spencer Reid has been on his team, Hotch knows that there's going to be one.
Word Count: ~9,400
ARCHIVING: my LJ, AO3 and FFNet account... anyone else? Please ask first.
COMMENTS: Spoilers for S7. Written for the FFN Christmas Exchange for Kadeeleigh. My assigned song title prompt and 3 prompts were: Baby It's Cold Outside, peppermint, mistletoe, snow. I hope I hit the marks.
Special thanks to Hotchaolic for the beta and discussion on about the ending. Any mistakes you find are mistakes are mine, all mine.
Feedback always welcome.
DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. Salut! I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying to get these images out of my head.
10:26PM, Reagan National Airport, DC. December 24, 2004 ~~~~
Hotch can only stare at his subordinate in disbelief before he's able shake off the shock. He holds the sprig of mistletoe by the stem, cocks an eyebrow, and waits for an explanation. Because, God knows, in the four months Spencer Reid has been on his team, Hotch knows that there's going to be one.
Yet all the younger man does is shrug and say, "You didn't have time to stop at a gift shop before they closed. This is Eastern mistletoe, one of the types found in Florida. Have a good Christmas."
Then, the newbie stuffs his hands in his pockets and saunters towards the airport's Metrorail exit like he's unaware he's just broken one of the biggest unspoken rules about sharing a room: pretend you don't hear a private conversation, particularly between your boss and his wife. What Reid doesn't know is that the 'I promise to bring you something' line Hotch always says means exactly the opposite. The last thing Haley wants is a reminder of all the places he's been because of the BAU, especially when he's forced to travel during a major holiday.
Hotch is tempted to pitch the mistletoe—there's no way in hell he's going to give it to his wife, even if it is a very romantic gesture and seasonally appropriate—but instead wraps it in a tissue and tucks it carefully in the front pocket of his briefcase.
Throwing away Reid's thoughtfulness—and just where and when did he get the fresh sprig while they were working that case in Lakeland?—would be rude.
Aaron Hotchner, despite all his flaws, tries his best not to be rude to those he cares about.