Title: Darkness Inside
Series: Love Heals the Shattered Soul
Fandom: Criminal Minds,
Year: Season 7
Category: Angst, Romance,
Pairings: Hotch/Reid, JJ/Will,
Spoilers: Up through Season 7
Summary: While on a case, the power goes out in the town the team is staying at. Three days of hunting an UnSub with no power strains more than just the case.
Notes: Spencer is also for this series gay. Maeve never happened obviously and would never happen in this universe.
The case was over but after three days of chasing an UnSub in a town running on generators, after said UnSub destroyed the power station, the team was drained. The call to the airfield delayed their departure until the power came back on. The locals felt better with the FBI presence in town and Aaron was more than willing to stay for an extra day.
It was late spring so the weather wasn’t bad. The little bed and breakfast they were staying in did have a generator, but it was being used to run the kitchen as it was the only place in town that served food. The rooms were unlit because of this.
There was something digging at Aaron’s tired mind and it wasn’t letting him sleep. It was after eleven and he knew the rest of the team should be asleep at that point, tired from the case. Moving to the open window, Aaron looked out at the dark town. Even the moon was dark that night.
Taking in the darkness for a few long seconds, Aaron finally got what was wrong with him. He grabbed a t-shirt and then was out the door. He tried the knob of the room next to him and found it locked. He debated what to do next. Morgan or JJ had the spare to the room, he knew that, but was unwilling to go to them. Neither one of them would give him the key. JJ had good reason and Morgan would just want to check on Spencer himself.
In the end, he moved back to his room and grabbed supplies, set on picking the lock. It had been years since he’d picked a lock so it took several minutes but he finally got the door open. Slipping inside, Aaron tried to spot Spencer. The room was just as pitch black as his own but what worried him was there was no sound. He couldn’t trace Spencer by his breathing. He made his way to the bed carefully, running his hand over the comforter as he got close. Spencer hadn’t even tried to lay down in the bed.
Aaron was fairly certain that other than the few cat naps he’d seen the younger man take, Spencer hadn’t slept since the power had gone out. Now that his mind was off the case, he could remember the signs in the way the young man looked and acted. Everyone else had missed it as well. He felt horrible. He was supposed to look after his team and this hadn’t even entered his mind.
A light flared in the farthest corner from the door and Aaron turned to face what he saw. He could barely make out Spencer’s face in the very dim lighting. The genius’s eyes were focused on the MP3 in his hand. Barely visible were the cords from the earbuds that ran from the device to his ears. Aaron sat on the edge of the bed and waited. He didn’t want to scare Spencer. The screen went dark for just a second and a finger was moving to press down the button to wake it back up.
Aaron’s heart broke at the fear on Spencer’s face. He had seen him in the grips of his fear of the dark before. This was something different, something more. What he wanted to do more than anything was pull him into a hug and never let him go but Spencer was nowhere near ready for that. He didn’t know what to do to show the genius that he was in the room. He didn’t need the younger man screaming.
A thought occurred and Aaron stood up to go back to his room to get the flashlight that he’d borrowed from the police station.
“Don’t go.” Spencer’s voice was soft and broken.
Aaron looked down at him and saw that Spencer was looking at him. The only light was the MP3 player and there was no way that Spencer was seeing him with that. Yet, the genius’s eyes were locked on his own. The earbuds were still in his ears so Aaron crouched and pulled one out. The strains of classical music burst from the little bud.
“I was just going to get the flashlight I have. Your MP3 player isn’t going to last all night and neither are the phones. I promise, Spencer. I will be right back.” Aaron waited until Spencer nodded before he stood up and quickly made his way out of the room. He grabbed the flashlight as well as a long sleeve t-shirt that he still kept in his go bags for Spencer. He made sure to lock his door and checked that the key was in his pants pocket. Slipping back into Spencer’s room he shut and locked the door.
The light from the MP3 player was shaking. Aaron dropped his items on the floor and moved to reach out. Spencer started and pressed his back farther into the wall and as far from Aaron as he could. He wasn’t seeing what was in front of him. He wasn’t seeing Aaron. Grabbing the flashlight, Aaron turned it on and set it down on the vent next to him so he could use both hands.
Cursing himself, Aaron let his body drop to the floor so he was a smaller figure. It didn’t take a genius to put two and two together and get four.
“Spencer, it’s Aaron. You’re shivering. Come on, Spencer. I need you to see me. I need you to hear me.”
Aaron knew where Spencer’s mind was. Lost in thoughts his mind had created to fill in the void of what had happened to him and JJ that night. He touched the back of the scared man’s hand and when it wasn’t jerked away he smiled. Spencer knew he was here. This he could do. This he could help with. He rubbed the back of the hand and when it relaxed more, he gripped it with both of his. The genius’s wrist was next. He messaged it as well as using it to gauge Spencer’s heart rate. It was fast but not as fast as it had been.
Spencer was dressed in his normal sleep pants as well as a tank top. He wasn’t shivering as much but Aaron knew that he was cold. He was always cold when he was like this. Keeping the pace slow, he worked his way up the arm. When he reached the shoulder, Spencer was leaning against him. He helped his former lover into the long sleeve shirt, worried that he still hadn’t spoken. While they had been together, the younger man had used the shirt when he was having trouble sleeping on cases. Aaron had never stopped carrying it, instead it had just switched from bag to bag. The MP3 player was on the floor where Aaron had set it while helping him into the shirt. Spencer didn’t reach out for it.
“Thanks.” Spencer pulled at Aaron until he was leaning against the wall and the younger man was sitting between his splayed legs. Pulling him close, Aaron let Spencer get himself comfortable. It was the exact position that Aaron had always ended up holding him during nightmares that just wouldn’t leave. The young genius closed his eyes and was asleep less than a minute later.
Aaron let his head tip backwards into the wall. His right arm curled around Spencer and his left shifted up to play with Spencer’s hair. He ignored the tears that fell down his face, he didn’t want to take his hand away from Spencer to wipe at them. He held his former lover close so that nothing could get to him. It showed Aaron that Spencer had healed some from the shattering that he had done to him. Spencer trusted him with his body and his mind. It was his heart that he really wanted but he could and would wait for that.
Hours later, he heard the door opening and he instinctively reached for his gun but it was in his bedroom. JJ’s head peaked in, zeroing in on the bed. Fear washed over her face before she saw Spencer and him. She slipped inside, shutting the door behind her.
“I came in and he was sitting in the corner using his MP3 player to keep his area of the room lit. I couldn’t leave him.”
“I’ve never seen that shirt before. Did…” JJ stopped when she read the words on the shirt. It was an old SWAT shirt. “Oh.”
Aaron laughed at the look on her face.
“He’s got a few hours of sleep but I don’t want to wake him up before I have to. Jayje, I don’t think he’s slept at night at all since the power went out. How did we all miss it?”
“He’s good at hiding. He’s gotten a lot better at it. Rossi just told me that he found him taking a nap in the SUV yesterday after we caught the UnSub. That’s why I came up here. I’ll bring you guys up some food and a carafe of coffee.”
“Thanks, JJ,” Aaron said with a smile. He watched as the blonde let herself out of the room, locking the door again. He settled down again, waiting for the promise of food and coffee. It was the only way he was going to survive today. He’d do it a million times over though, if it meant protecting Spencer.
As if sensing that Aaron was thinking of him, Spencer started to shift in his arms. The genius’s head tilted upwards and a sensation that he hadn’t felt in a while caressed his neck. Lips trailed from the lower part of his neck to the upper. It was exactly like every other morning that they had woken up from nightmares. A questing hand was snaking down his torso. Lips became tongue and then teeth and it felt so good.
“Aaron,” Spencer breathed as he shifted to be able to get a better angle to snake his hand down inside Aaron’s pants. The older man wanted to jump and run but he knew he needed more tact than that. He grabbed the hand and pulled it up. Half awake Spencer rarely knew what he was doing. Especially after little sleep.
“Spencer, wake up.” Aaron tightened the hand in Spencer’s hair and pulled his face away from where he was trying to shift and kiss him. It wasn’t that he didn’t want it but this wasn’t the time or the place and they were nowhere ready for it.
“Aaron, please. I need you.” Spencer’s voice was low and sleep roughened and it pushed all of Aaron’s buttons, but he had to be firm. The younger man was going to be mortified. With head and hand still held tight, Spencer still shifted and Aaron felt how much Spencer wanted him. Hardness was pressed into his hip where Spencer was straddling his thigh. He groaned and felt himself start to harden. JJ would be back any moment and he needed to get them both under control.
Letting go of Spencer’s hair, Aaron grabbed his upper arm and pulled the both of them up. Spencer nearly fell back down, but he quickly started to wake up. His eyes snapped open as he woke up the rest of the way. He took a step back and Aaron only let his hand go when he was sure that the younger man wasn’t going to fall. He watched as Spencer processed everything. He waited for the shame or stuttered words from him, but he was surprised instead with a hug.
Spencer tucked his head against Aaron’s neck and just held on. Aaron flailed his hands for a few seconds before he wrapped them around his former lover. Spencer pulled back several minutes later with a light peck to his lips and then was grabbing his bag and heading into the bathroom for a shower. Aaron had never been happier to take a cold shower. He passes JJ in the hall and told her that Spencer was taking a shower. She left the tray of food in his room, handing Aaron the key as she did so. The look that she gave him told him that he was doing to die if he did anything. He told her with his own eyes that he wouldn’t. Not anymore.