Title: Collision Course
Series: Fic-A-Week Challenge
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season 7/8/9
Category: Trope Bingo, Rivals to Lovers,
Spoilers: Up through Season 9
Summary: Hotch and Reid had a rivalry going, the thing was, they were the only ones who knew about it, at first.
“Why such a rush?” Morgan asked Hotch as he boarded the plane. Hotch didn’t answer.
Hotch had put out the call to meet on the plane instead of at the BAU. Morgan was the last to arrive. JJ moved to and signaled to the pilot that they were ready for takeoff.
“We are headed for Arizona. Flagstaff to be exact,” Garcia said as she settled in beside where Morgan had taken a seat.
“Wait, Reid’s team is in Flagstaff. What happened?” Morgan was concerned.
“While searching for their UNSUB they found a burial site that had fourteen bodies in it. Doctor Reid places the first death at ten years ago and the most recent a few weeks. It’s not his UNSUB so he called for another team to work that serial killer. His team is down two members at the moment. He doesn’t have the man power to work on two cases.”
“Has…” Rossi stopped talking and looked down at the case file in front of him. “Strauss hasn’t said why the two members of his team quit.”
Hotch knew the answer to the question but he wasn’t sure if it was something that he should share. Every team had issues but the two members who had left Doctor Reid’s team had been on his team for four years. Not the longest on his team but close.
“His team was having a get together at his house to celebrate having the highest closing rate in the BAU for the last three years running. Agent Seaver answered the doorbell when it rang and was surprised to find a very drunk man standing there. The man proceeded to berate her and demanded to see Doctor Reid. It seems it was Doctor Reid’s boyfriend and he decided to get drunk and break up with him, given that he wasn’t around enough. Agents Smith and Howards couldn’t take the fact that their Unit Chief is a bisexual man and Strauss gave them the option of moving out of the BAU and leaving the FBI. Howards took a job in Seattle while Smith left the FBI.”
Hotch watched the reaction of the entire team. No one was shocked, mad at the agents yes. Hotch’s team knew all about Reid’s boyfriend of almost a year. Hotch thought everyone in the BAU knew.
“How could the not know? Pretty Boy was outed years ago. I didn’t think there was a person who didn’t know.” Morgan laughed a little but it wasn’t a happy laugh. Reid hadn’t told Morgan about the breakup. It had been a week. Hotch knew that Morgan got on well with Doctor Reid. There had been a time when Reid had been set to join what was then Gideon’s team and was now Hotch’s. A decision had been made from on high for him to join another team. He’d been the youngest FBI agent and then youngest to join the BAU. Now he was the youngest Unit Chief after upheaval with the other team. Reid’s team had floundered a little after he had taken over but after a few months, his team had come together. Hotch was a little jealous that while Hotch had him and Rossi, the two BAU members with the longest standing, Reid’s team was closing cases with a better rate than his own team.
Never in a million years would Hotch have ever thought that he would have had a rivalry going with a thirty year old genius with three PhDs. It didn’t help that Hotch was attracted to him. That shock had come at a late night meeting with the rest of the BAU Unit Chiefs. Hotch hadn’t spent much time in the younger man’s presence over the years but he had spent enough to know that there was a small rivalry going on between the two of them. It might only be in Hotch’s head but he was enjoying the fact that the younger man had to ask for help.
Hotch heard the words coming out of his mouth but he couldn’t stop them. He watched as the look on Reid’s face went from confusion to downright anger. If the young genius was like Hotch or Morgan, Hotch was sure that he would be on his back right now after a good right or left hook.
Both teams were looking at him like he’d grown a second head. He turned and left the small conference room. He moved to the bathroom to get a grip. He knew he was acting like a bully again. He was treating Reid like he treated the members of his teams instead of like he should treat the Unit Chief of another team.
He had to figure out what he was going to do. This was shaping up to be a long case. Reid was closer to closing his case and Strauss had already stated that Reid’s team would be helping Hotch’s if they finished first. Part of the problem was that he’d seen one of the LEOs flirting with Reid and the genius hadn’t even noticed, had just talked and talked to the man. It raised Hotch’s hackles and he hadn’t had a chance to lower them before Reid had picked apart part of Hotch’s profile that he and Rossi were discussing. Hotch knew that Reid hadn’t meant it in a malicious manner. It was just the way that he was.
The rivalry really existed only in Hotch’s head but the teams played off each other well. Or at least they did before Hotch had treated Reid like a dog. Hotch felt lower than slime. He really would need to talk to Reid after the case was over. Preferably where no one could over hear.
Reid opened the door to his house and Hotch could read the shock on his face. Hotch pushed past him and into the house. Reid wasn’t trying to throw him out which was a good sign.
“Agent Hotchner? To what do I owe the pleasure of your barging into my house at…” Reid looked at the clock on the wall. The use of Agent Hotchner instead of Hotch told him all he needed to know about Reid’s anger. “Eleven at night.”
“It’s come to my attention that I may have been a…” Hotch stopped when Reid smiled at him.
“Morgan called you out for being a bully on our joint case didn’t he?” Reid smiled broadly as he leaned against the island that separated the kitchen from the rest of the house. A glass of alcohol was sitting near his hip. “Would you like a drink? I have scotch, beer, wine, and brandy.”
“Scotch, neat.” Hotch watched as Reid moved into the kitchen, grabbing a tumbler from the drainer by the sink and pouring him a glass. He’d never been inside Reid’s house before. He hadn’t known that he even owned a house, figured he lived in an apartment or a flat until the meeting with Strauss about the upheaval on Reid’s team. Homophobia couldn’t exist in the BAU. No phobia could exist on the teams. Usually those who hated a certain part of the human race never made it as far as getting onto a BAU team. The members had falsely represented themselves. Hotch would have kicked them both out of the Agency.
“You team seems to be doing fine after the issue.”
“After two of my members found out I sleep with men and tried to beat the gay out of me?” Reid handed him his glass and took a sip of his own, staying on the kitchen side of the island. Hotch sat on the stool on the living room side.
“They attacked you? Strauss never told the rest of the Unit Chiefs that.”
“It was only Smith. Seaver was actually the one to pull him off me after he got a few jabs into my ribs. My team took him home and sat on him until the next morning where they filed charges against him and Howards for harassment. I wasn’t even aware what they were doing until I was called into Strauss office after her meeting with the three of you.”
“Strauss is seeing pressure to make the BAU not seem as elitist as it is. If it had happened between just the three of you, you could have swept it under the rug but given that your team is fiercely loyal…”
“Just as loyal as your team.” Reid shot back with a smile. “I was surprised that they didn’t know. I don’t hide it. John had picked me up from the office before.”
“There is something bugging me about the whole thing. Morgan got the whole replay from your team and told me when I asked. You stated to Strauss it was because of your long hours at work. Yet, that’s not only what Seaver said.”
“I am not pining for a member of my team, no matter what John stated. The only non-straight member of my team is Jenny. Marks and Anderson are ruler straight. Seaver is sweet but she’s like a little sister.”
“Then it’s a member of another BAU team?” Hotch asked, looking up at Reid through his eyelashes. “I know it’s not Morgan. You two have been like siblings since you joined the BAU. JJ is a sister. I just noticed that outside your own team, you only hang out with mine. Wow, how have I never noticed it before?”
“When Gideon was around, I spent most of my free time with him. Chess. My own team didn’t know how to treat me. It took a while to get used to me. I spent so much time with Gideon that I got used to your team. When Elliot left, Strauss wanted to move me to your team before those above her gave me the team.”
“Why did she want to do that?”
“She thought that I might do better with your team.”
“Do better? I am not sure that the BAU can handle you doing better.”
“Strauss likes the rivalry that our teams have with each other, the willingness to try and outdo each other. Yet, on this last case you seemed angry with me. It’s not like I am shooting for your job. We have the same job. I haven’t tried to poach any member of your team. What pissed you off so much about me on this last case?” Reid drained his glass and set it in the sink beside him, never taking his eyes off Hotch.
“That’s not something I am comfortable talking about right now.”
“Seaver went to Strauss, behind my back. Prentiss and Morgan did as well. I doubt it’s long before we are pulled in. I would like to know what to expect when I do. This is the longest conversation we’ve ever had outside of meetings.” Reid moved around the island to stand in front of Hotch. “What have I done that pissed you off so much?”
Hotch looked into Reid’s confused and hurt eyes. He wanted to make that hurt go away. Surging up, Hotch cradled his head, holding the back and his cheek before he kissed Reid on the lips. It was a quick peck and then he was leaning back.
“Doctor Reid, speechless?” Hotch asked. Reid wasn’t freaking out. He wasn’t running away and he wasn’t trying to move out of Hotch’s arms. He closed his eyes and Hotch watched as emotion after emotion passed over his face. Reid was still. Hotch moved to step back but a hand on his waist stopped him.
“John was right.” Reid’s body relaxed and Hotch stepped closer. He claimed Reid’s mouth in another kiss, this time it wasn’t chaste. Not after Reid moaned, pulling Hotch flush against his body and opening his mouth. Hotch pushed him into the island. Several minutes of the all-consuming kiss later, Hotch was pushed back.
“Doctor Reid, how about a date? Friday? Cases willing of course.”
Reid smiled at him, giving him another peck on the lips before nodding.
6 Months Later
It was after four am when Hotch and his team returned to the BAU. Everyone had decided to finish their reports before heading home and trying to sleep for a day. The team stopped when they saw Garcia and Seaver sitting and waiting in the middle of the bullpen. Waiting on them.
“Baby girl? Shouldn’t you be at home?”
“I have your newest marching orders. I know that you guys just got off a case but Rossi, you need to report to Will at the MPDC. Hotch, Seaver will drive you to George Washington Hospital. The rest of the team needs to help…” Garcia looked flustered.
“Garcia, what happened?” Hotch demanded.
“Reid’s team was called in to help with a case with the MPDC. The UNSUB was taken captive but shot two members covering him and two outside the building. Reid’s team is down to two members and Anderson is with Will and could use all the help he could get.”
Hotch knew what she wasn’t saying. If Anderson was with Will and Seaver was there. Then Reid was in the hospital. Hotch ran to his office, dropping his bag and grabbing an envelope of paperwork from the desk, just in case. He stuffed it in his jacket pocket and was ready to go.
“Keep me informed. Rossi, you take control of the case. I know that…”
Seaver gave him the rundown as they moved out of the building. “Anderson and I have already ceded control over to Agent Rossi. Doctor Reid is in room 203 recovering. He was the worst member of the team. Marks was shot in the arm and Gerard and Brown were both clipped in the sides. Those three have been moved to a multi-bed room for better protection. Strauss wants you to take Doctor Reid’s statement and to keep him there. She’s afraid he’ll check himself out AMA without someone there to keep him there.”
The ride wasn’t silent but he didn’t respond as Seaver told him all about the case from the first second they joined. She never answered him when he asked about Reid’s condition. Hotch jumped from the SUV as soon as she stopped it in front to let him out. He found Reid’s room with no issue. There was a guard outside the room and flashing his credentials got him inside in seconds. The curtain was drawn around the side of the bed facing the door.
“Doctor Reid is doing well,” a nurse stated as Hotch rounded the curtain. She was taking his blood pressure and pulse. “I was told by Agent Anderson that a stern looking man in a suit would be joining me in keeping vigil on Doctor Reid. You must be Agent Hotchner. I’m Amanda. He should be waking up at any time. He’s doing well, the wound looked a lot worse than it was. It didn’t nick an artery.”
All Hotch could see was the bandage around Reid’s neck, telling him how close it came to killing him.
“He was asking for an Aaron. I wasn’t able to ask Agent Anderson who that was. I have no Aaron on file.”
“I’ll get a hold of Aaron,” Hotch promised as the nurse nodded and left the room. Hotch touched Reid’s hand, frowning at how still Reid was. He was never still. Even when he was reading, his hands were moving. His phone vibrated and he pulled it from his pocket.
UNSUB on way to hospital. Lock down Reid’s room. No one but you in or out to limit. UNSUB wants him dead. The message was from Morgan. Hotch relayed the message to the guard and then pulled the door shut. If a nurse needed in, Hotch would let her in but no male nurses. Turning the chair so he had a good eye on the door, Hotch settled in.
Three hours later, his phone buzzed again, waking him from a light doze. All Clear.
“Hotch?” Reid asked.
Hotch turned to look and saw that Reid had been eating from the cup of Jell-O sitting in front of him. He looked like he’d been awake for a while. Hotch hadn’t even noticed. The hand not holding a spoon was caressing Hotch’s wrist.
“The UNSUB was caught. I don’t have the details, we’ll have to wait. The rest of your team is fine. Gerard and Brown suffered minor clips in the gut. Marks got shot in the arm but is perfectly fine. It was a through and through. Your neck would was the worst of the bunch.”
“That’s because the UNSUB was a worse shot than me. He was aiming for my gut when he shot me. I watched him. I don’t think his aim improved after he shot me.”
“Strauss wanted me to debrief you but you never woke up and he’s in custody now.”
“He got Brown’s gun from him. I don’t even know how.”
“That I can tell you. Brown is going to be spending a great deal of time with Morgan over that. Footage from the scene tells us that Brown wasn’t watching the UNSUB as close as he should have been. The UNSUB was more scared of you and that’s why he took you out first. He shot the rest while fleeing.”
“Sorry you got pulled into this. I know that you team is running on less sleep than mine.”
“Don’t.” Hotch moved to sit beside him on the bed, grasping his lover’s hand more fully. “Your team won my team the bet in the pool.”
“What?” Reid looked up at him with wide, shocked eyes. “What do you mean bet?”
“There’s a bet going around on which team was going to be called in to save the other, your or mine. I guess the rivalry between you and I has hit the point where the whole of the FBI is waiting for us to come to blows.”
Reid started to laugh, wincing as he did. He reached up and rubbed gently at the gauze around his neck. “When is the rest of my team going to get here?”
“Your chicks will be here soon. I figure that Morgan will drive them in. I know that he wants to see you. JJ is mightily pissed at Will for not telling her about you getting shot.” Hotch knew that Reid wouldn’t be happy until he saw all the members of his team. Hotch knew the feeling well.
“I didn’t know when you guys were coming back and I didn’t want to alarm you. JJ would have never kept it quiet so I had will promise me that he wouldn’t tell her.”
Hotch felt another vibration. He looked down at his phone. Suicide by cop as Reid predicted. It was Morgan again.
“Suicide by cop,” Hotch said.
“I profiled he wouldn’t go back to prison. We tried.”
“Hey, he tried to kill four Federal Agents today. I think that all in all it’s a good case. You tracked him down and stopped him from killing again, including your own agents. He was taken down with no loss of life on our side and only his on the other.”
“I want to get out of here,” Reid said, looking away from Hotch and at the door, pulling his hand away at the same time. Seconds later, the door opened and Hotch shifted down into the chair again. Morgan, Will, JJ, and Prentiss entered with Seaver and Anderson waiting behind to talk to the guard. After a few words, Seaver entered and then Anderson. The small room was pretty packed. Seaver moved between Morgan and Garcia to slip up beside Reid. She handed him her phone. Reid’s face broke out into a smile.
“Hey, boss man!” Marks’ voice echoed around the room. Hotch leaned so he could see. On the small screen was the image of the remaining three members of Reid’s team. Marks was in his bed but Gerard and Brown were leaning over from their beds so that they could be seen. A nurse or a guard had to be holding the phone.
“We thought you might sleep better seeing them and since the nurses won’t let any of you out of your rooms, we thought this was the best way,” Seaver said as she took her phone back, turning off the video chat. Reid smiled up at her.
Hotch let the sounds of the teams talking to lure him back into a restful state. He was dead tired and he knew it.
“I had an interesting conversation with a nurse.” Rossi’s voice pulled Hotch out of his second nap. He didn’t react but he listened. There was no sound of anyone else breathing in the room other than the three of them so that meant thankfully that the other’s had gone.
“Yes?” Reid sounded genuinely confused. Hotch wasn’t even sure what Rossi was talking about.
“Seems that before you went into surgery, you were calling out for someone.”
Hotch swallowed and forced himself not to open his eyes or react at all. Reid didn’t say a word for a few minutes.
“Aaron. Now I know that Aaron is a pretty popular name but I was in the room for several minutes before I actually shut the door. I’d been wondering for a while now. The rivalry between the two of you changed. I couldn’t place my finger on it before but seeing you two holding hands there, I knew that I was right.”
“Who has the bet on that?” Reid asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I know that your team won the bet on which team was going to be called in to help the other.”
“We have bets going for everything. I won a nice pot on how long it would take for Morgan to figure out that you were hustling him.”
“Three rounds. Giving out my number on national TV was not fun. Seaver nearly had a heart attack when I may have made a crack about a reporter’s mother.”
“Oh, Garcia has the footage of that. The MP3 player hack was awesome by the way.”
“Hotch, you’ve not been asleep since two minutes after Rossi came in.” Reid’s hand reached over and clasped his again as Hotch opened his eyes. Rossi was sitting on the edge of Reid’s bed. A cup of coffee from Starbucks was sitting on the table beside him.
“Prentiss won the bet by the way. Morgan had a simple one off. Prentiss was the only one with relationship.”
Reid smiled but he didn’t laugh. He did reach up and take the cup of coffee, taking a long drink. Hotch knew that he wasn’t supposed to have caffeine. He frowned at Rossi. Rossi only smiled.
“Tomorrow morning you can be released, as long as you have someone to stay with. The rest of your team will be released tonight. Anderson and Seaver are back at the BAU writing up reports. Strauss wants yours three days after you are released. Both teams are on stand down for the next week.” Rossi knocked on the table as he stood to leave. Hotch was silent as the older man left the room.
“Everyone is going to know,” Reid said as he shifted up in the bed. He reached out for his coffee but Hotch beat him to it, taking a drink and grimacing at the sweetness of it. He handed it back off to Reid, letting the genius finish it off. “I don’t want to stay here, Aaron.”
“Don’t worry, Spencer. I am sure that someone will take you home.” Hotch slipped up onto the bed beside him. He leaned down to kiss his lover. Reid wrapped an arm around Hotch’s neck, keeping him close. Neither one of them heard the door open.
“Watch it. You’ll pop your stitches.” Morgan’s voice was full of laughter.
Hotch pulled back but made sure that Reid didn’t jump and hurt his neck. The younger man was blushing.
“Yea, everyone is going to know,” Hotch admitted as he turned to find his own team standing there, minus Rossi. Garcia had a basket of things, Morgan another cup of coffee, JJ was holding flowers, and Prentiss a book.
“Rossi said you could be sprung in the morning. I was going to offer my place but I think that you have a much better offer. Not sure it’s going to be the rest that you doctor wants you to have…” Morgan trailed off when Hotch leveled his sternest glare but the damage had been done. Reid’s face was not pink anymore, it was red. The rest of the team was trying not to laugh. Reid would get Morgan back somehow and the agent wasn’t going to be expecting it.
One Year Later
Reid was sitting at the picnic table closest to the one of the three grills. The day was perfect for a BAU picnic. Every single member of the BAU was present with their family. Morgan, Rossi, and Anderson were covering the grills. Reid was talking to Morgan while drinking a glass of lemonade. Jack was at the playground with Henry.
“Hotch.” Cruz moved up to stand beside him. Cruz had said that he wouldn’t be able to make it.
“Cruz. I thought you couldn’t make it?”
“I’m only here for a pit stop. There have been some changes that the Director wants to see. A Unit Chief is asking to step down.”
“Really? I haven’t heard a word.” Hotch looked at the rest of the Unit Chiefs. Reid was where he had been before. The other two were with their families.
“He’s kept it quiet. He just wants to step down. He wants to stay in the BAU.”
“His team is willing to take on another Unit Chief? With him wanting to stay on the team?”
“No. He wants to change teams.” Cruz looked around but his eyes didn’t settle on anyone in particular. Hotch wondered which of the two other chiefs wanted to step down.
“This is going to be a shit storm.”
“I don’t think so. He’ll be transferring to your team. Prentiss’s leaving opened a spot and you’ve been loath to fill it. Both you and Rossi have more time in than him.”
“Health reasons, he stated.”
Hotch turned and looked at Reid. Reid was looking everywhere but at him. Hotch would have talked him out of it. The migraines were bad but he was getting a handle on them. It wasn’t a reason to step down.
“So you know about the health reasons with Doctor Reid.”
“Sir, you can’t…”
“Place Agent Reid on your team? What are you afraid of? Your team will look to him more than you? He’ll try and take over? There is no way that would ever happen. If you can tell me that you will act different if he is in a situation than you would with the rest of your team, I’ll put him on another.”
“Sir…” Hotch really didn’t want to tell Cruz here about their relationship. The words that Cruz said though stuck in his mind.
“I’m not blind. I’ve seen the ring on your finger, Hotch. It’s on your middle but then again, you aren’t married and it on your ring finger would draw attention. I got a good look at his tattoo. It’s the same design as your ring. The director was the one to push where he went. Reid filibustered for ten minutes on why it wasn’t a good idea, in general terms. I just stared at him in shock.”
“The Reid Babble. The best distraction method in the world.”
“The director just nodded and listened. Reid finally stopped and it was silence for a long while. The director brought up something that for several minutes had Reid so pissed, he couldn’t see straight but the director just kept fiddling with his own wedding ring and it was then that I knew part of what was going on.”
“What was it?”
“BCC. I don’t know what BCC is. I’ve been in the room with Reid and an UNSUB who had him so mad I swore he would reach orbit; this was so much more than that. The director knew about the two of you. He knew but was placing him with your team anyway. He was settling down Reid in his own way while keeping the secret.”
Hotch knew was BCC was. He knew why it had made Reid mad as well. He could understand why bringing it up had been in bad taste but how did the director know about BCC? That was speculation that Hotch didn’t need to be getting into.
“So as long as we keep it…family like, there will be nothing done to the two of us?”
“Doctor Reid was ready to leave if he wasn’t allowed to step down. The director wants him on a team that will use him and the other two teams would have issues not following him instead of their chief. Your team though would put him in third in the chain of command and listen. It’s the best fit. The director would rather look the other way than to lose him.”
Hotch looked at where Reid was and found that he was staring at him. Reid hadn’t been into the BAU today so the conversation had to have happened the night before. He’d been late getting to Hotch’s but hadn’t said why. Hotch wanted to be mad but he couldn’t.
“When is the announcement happening?”
“In about…” Cruz looked at his watch. “Three minutes. It’s the best option. Everyone is here and it’s a nice forum for everyone to talk and air things out without fear of repercussions. I know that your team will keep quiet and if you like, you can tell them. Take them aside and talk to them now.”
Hotch relaxed back on the couch with Reid draped between his legs. The news had been broke and while it had confused everyone, no one questioned it. Anderson was being put up in Reid’s place and while his team was upset that he wasn’t staying with them, they understood.
Reid had been asleep for over twenty minutes but Hotch was loathed to disturb him. The stress of talking to the team, his team now, had been enough to bring on one of his headaches. It had finally started to subside and Hotch had carded his hands through his lover’s hair until he had fallen asleep. Jack had went to bed an hour before.
The shocks of the day hadn’t stopped when they had left the picnic. No, there was a shock waiting for Hotch on his front porch in a box. Hotch hadn’t wanted to open the package but the sobriety coin taped to the top was a sign to him.
“It’s from John,” Reid had said as he grabbed it up and used his key to enter Hotch’s house. Jack had run off to his room the second he entered the house and it had given them time to open the box. On top was bureau paperwork naming them both as each other’s emergency contact. Under that was information on good realtors in the area where Reid lived. A bottle of really good bourbon was at the bottom as well as a bottle of scotch.
“Why would he send his coin?” Hotch had asked.
“I’ll give it back later.”
“Spencer, I’ve never asked but…”
“BCC, I know that Cruz probably told you what the director…” Hotch covered his mouth with his hand.
“John?” Hotch asked. Reid had only nodded. Hotch had uncovered his mouth. “So the director of the FBI is telling us to move in together?”
“I’ve told John that I don’t spend much time at home. With Jack it’s easier for me to come here.”
Pulling out of his thoughts, Hotch looked at the papers on the coffee table again. Reid had already placed a few calls to realtors. The plans were to move him out of his house the next weekend that there wasn’t a case.
Hotch had been married once before and it hadn’t ended well. Reid wasn’t interested in getting married. The tattoo on his chest was as close to a forever commitment as he was going to get. Hotch hadn’t wanted a tattoo so he and Reid had picked out a nice ring. Combining houses hadn’t even really been a thought. It was all he could think about now.
“Thinking too hard,” Reid whispered as he turned his head slightly to look up at Hotch. Hotch kissed the top of his head. “Let’s go to bed. Too old to sleep on the couch with you.”
“You’re too old?” Hotch asked. Reid smiled up at him and darted off the couch quicker than Hotch would have thought he could. His head must have been feeling a lot better. Hotch jumped up to follow. He found Reid standing at the foot of the bed. His shirt was half undone but he was just staring off, hands poised above buttons. He slid in behind his lover, resting his arms around his chest, pulling him close. “Second thoughts?”
“No. I’ve just never lived with anyone before. I was so much younger than the rest of my classmates in college that I had a room to myself. Once I turned 18, I lived off campus.”
“You practically live here.”
“But I don’t consider it home. Not really. I don’t allow my bad habits to slip through.”
“I think it will be fine. Jack’s excited that you are going to stay here full time. I am looking forward to it as well.” Hotch let his head dip and rest on his shoulder. “I’ve seen your office. I don’t think that it’s as bad as you think.”
“I fall asleep on the couch.”
“You do that here,” Hotch interjected. He turned Reid around in his arms. “Don’t over think this.”
“I overthink everything.”
“You said yes. You thought about it for ten minutes, pros and cons. Don’t…” Hotch stopped, closing his eyes. He didn’t want to think about not having Reid in his home now. “Just don’t.”
Reid didn’t answer. He leaned in and kissed Hotch. There was so much in that kiss. His fear, his happiness, his love. The one thing that was never in question. Reid loved him and he loved Reid. Their commitment had been shared months ago. This was just another step. He’d give Reid his space and the room to freak out if he needed but he knew that Reid would come to live with him and Jack.