Spencer wasn’t shocked when the knock came at his door. He’d been expecting it. He just wasn’t sure if he wanted to answer it. He’d been debating that with himself since he’d been able to slip away from the office. The letter sitting on his coffee table had been waiting for him when he’d got home. He recognized the stationary for the medical section of the FBI. He had opened the envelope up and found the results he wanted. The local section of the FBI to Georgia had tested Tobias for HIV and various other blood borne pathogens. He’d gone three weeks before and had more blood drawn to test him as well. This was the results of both sets of tests. Negative.
“Reid, open up, please.” Hotch’s voice carried across the door and to where Spencer was sitting on his couch. He wanted to open the door. He wanted to give in to what Hotch offered but he didn’t want it. He could feel the effects of withdrawal setting in. The knock sounded again, just this time louder. “Open up!”
Spencer let himself tip over on his couch. It was facing away from the door so he could almost block it all out. Before he could even think about telling Hotch to go away, the sound of a key in the lock startled him up and off the couch. Before he could jump and slam the deadbolt or the chain on, the door opened. As if expecting him to be there, Hotch slid his foot in the door to hold it open.
“Back up, Reid.”
“I don’t want company right now, Hotch. Just go home.”
“I can’t do that. Just let me in.” Hotch waited but when Spencer didn’t move away or say anything for several minutes he shoved at the door and Spencer stumbled back. Hotch was inside the apartment and the door was shut before he was steady on his feet.
“I didn’t invite you in. Go away, Hotch.” Spencer was now getting mad. Where the hell had the concern been in the days between being taken and now?
“Reid, we need to talk.”
“Go home to your wife.” Spencer turned towards his kitchen. He didn’t think he could drink a thing but he felt safer in the kitchen. His stomach was cramping and the nausea was starting. He wanted to crawl into bed and settle down to pass the worst of the symptoms. A hand on his shoulder stopped him and he spun around, surprised that he wanted to throw a punch. Hotch was looking at him with such worry in his eyes and he didn’t want it. He was fine and could take care of himself. Shoving Hotch’s hand away, Spencer muttered. “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”
“Is this what you have become?” Hotch asked as he followed him even farther into the kitchen.
“Don’t lecture me, Hotch. I’m not a child!” Spencer slammed the mug in his hand down and it shattered, shards flying everywhere. He moved to take a step back but a hand on his arm stopped him. He was barefooted and he didn’t want his feet cut to shreds.
“I’ll get the broom. Where is it?”
Spencer pointed and watched as his superior cleaned up the ceramic and placed it in the trash can.
“I know you are not a child but I can’t watch you handle this alone anymore. You never should have to begin with. I can’t believe that I let Gideon tell me to back off. You’ve handled everything else in your life alone but you aren’t alone anymore. You have the team and we forgot that. Haley reminded me.”
“You talked about this to Haley?” Spencer asked as he advanced on Hotch. Something on his face had to have scared him because the older man took a few steps back before he stopped. Spencer sidestepped him and threw open the door and then moved right back in front of him. “You talked to your wife about me and my problems?”
“Reid,” Hotch started but he didn’t get any farther because Spencer shoved at him. Hotch only moved back a step before he shoved again. Hotch didn’t move that time. Instead he waited for the third try and then grabbed Spencer’s hands, gripping them tight. The issues with his body forgotten for the moment, Spencer fought with all he had, trying to break the grip. The older man kept a hold of him and even in Spencer’s rage he realised that Hotch was going out of his way not to hurt him. It almost broke his resolve but he needed the man to leave.
“JUST FUCKING LEAVE!” Spencer shoved with his trapped hands and instead of shoving the man away they both tumbled to the floor. Before he could try and scramble away, Hotch wrapped his legs around his and between his trapped hands and now held legs, Spencer was stuck at his mercy. “Why won’t you just fucking leave?”
“Because you need someone.” Hotch sounded like he was near tears.
Spencer gave up then. He just let his body slump down onto the older man. He was so tired and he was in pain. Hotch let go of his hands and one of his arms slid around his upper back to hold him still while the other hand moved to his hair, petting him. He couldn’t stop how badly his body was shaking now. There was no way that Hotch was missing it.
“I haven’t had any in twelve hours, thirty three minute, and thirteen seconds,” Spencer said as he looked at the clock on the wall. “I started the symptoms for withdrawal at the office.”
“Where is it?” Hotch’s voice was a whisper and he was thankful. His head was now hurting and he just wanted to sleep.
“I broke the seals on the bottles as soon as I got home and poured them down the drain. I don’t want to live on it, Hotch. I know that I don’t need it. It just helped me forget everything.”
Spencer was silent for several long minutes. He closed his eyes and breathed in the smell of Hotch’s cologne and relaxed even more. He was exhausted and he slipped into sleep.
Spencer woke up covered in sweat. He tried to remember what happened. He was naked in bed with only a sheet over him. He could smell coffee and that scared him. Had he left the coffee pot on? He shoved himself up and tried to slip out of bed but his legs were jelly and he fell to the floor. He looked around for his clock. It was just after four in the morning. He couldn’t remember anything and that truly frightened him. Checking his arm, he didn’t see any fresh marks. What had happened?
The thud of feet drew his attention to the slightly shut door as it opened and Hotch entered, looking a little frantic.
“Reid, you okay?” Hotch crouched at his side reaching out to touch his shoulder.
It was the touch that did it. He remembered everything from the night before. Hotch showing up, the withdrawals, the screaming, the fight in the living room. He’d also told Hotch he wouldn’t try and get out of bed alone.
“I’m fine. I just forgot about telling you I wouldn’t get out of bed alone.”
“I could tell that by the look on your face. You were remembering.”
“Why am I naked?” Spencer looked down at his body. He was fairly certain that even if he had been wanting sex, there was no way Hotch would do it. There had to be a reason why he was naked as he never slept naked.
“You puked on yourself a few hours ago. I stripped you and cleaned you up.”
Spencer was mortified that he’d puked like that and that Hotch had been the one to take care of him. He held out a hand and Hotch helped him stand up. He was dressed differently than he had been. Sweat pants and t-shirt. He’s never felt so vulnerable in front of Hotch before. He crossed his arms across his chest and hunched in on himself.
It was a bad idea as his stomach rolled and he pushed off Hotch to rush to the bathroom to throw up. His legs gave out as he reached the toilet and he crashed into it. He barely got his head over the bowl as he threw up nothing but stomach acid. Hotch was right there at his back, rubbing and just being calming. When his stomach stopped clenching, he leaned back and Hotch cradled him close. His hand never stopped trying to soothe him. No one had done this for him since he’d been four years old and had caught the flu. His mother had babied him the entire time that he’d been sick and his dad had been distant.
“I found the number for the store around the corner and made up a list of things that I’m going to call and have them deliver when they open. I used your computer and did some research. Mainly I need to keep you hydrated.”
“Of course you do.” It sounded like Hotch was smiling. The older man shifted enough to grab a rag on the counter and he handed it over. Spencer wiped at his face and then Hotch took it back and wiped at the back of his neck and upper shoulders. “I found some sleep clothes for you. Feel like trying to get into them?”
“Why are you here?” Spencer asked. He felt Hotch stiffen at the words but he needed to know. Right now his mind was clear and he just needed to know.
“Because it never should have gotten to this. Gideon wanted you to find your footing after Georgia and we all followed what he said but…” Hotch sighed and rested his head against the back of Spencer’s head. “There is doing something because you need to and knowing that someone is there to help and catch you when you fall. You are stronger than this, Spencer but you needed to know that you weren’t alone and we just left you to hang.”
“Help me into the kitchen?” Spencer asked. He didn’t know if he could take Hotch being so open.
“In a minute. I know that you missed the plane on purpose. I also knew that confronting you about it wouldn’t do any good at the time. Morgan told me about his talk with you. Spencer promise me that you will call me, no matter what if you ever feel like you are going to lapse.”
Spencer wasn’t sure he liked hearing his name from the older man’s lips. He nodded his head.
“Words, Reid.” The tone was one that he was used to. It was the exact tone Hotch used when telling him what to do when they were having sex. It had the same effect. He felt his cock start to fill.
“I promise. Can I have a minute to freshen up some?” Spencer looked Hotch in the face as he asked. He could see the wariness on the other man’s face but after a few seconds he nodded and helped him stand before leaving. The door wasn’t closed but Spencer didn’t need it to be to brush his teeth. He felt like something had died in his mouth.
A few minutes later, Spencer exited the bathroom with his robe wrapped around him. Hotch was sitting on the bed. Spencer’s skin had started to crawl and he needed it to stop. There was a part of his brain that knew that sex with Hotch wouldn’t make it go away but there was another part, a louder part that was telling him that it couldn’t hurt and he wouldn’t know unless he tried. Hotch’s gaze was lost in the middle distance.
It was perfect. The older man wasn’t even paying him any attention. He didn’t right up until Spencer was sitting in his lap the robe on the floor at their feet. There was no way that Hotch was missing that Spencer was hard. He thrust his cock into Hotch’s stomach at the same time that he gripped his head to tilt it back for a kiss. Hotch was passive for several seconds and Spencer took it as consent. When the older man finally moved, Spencer moaned as hands gripped his arms and pulled them down. Hotch’s mouth was active finally in the kissing and Spencer was getting lost in it. His hands were drawn behind his back and Spencer shifted to allow it. He didn’t register something was wrong until he’d felt that only one hand was now gripping his wrists and it was really tight.
Hotch’s free hand gripped his hair, rougher than he had ever done it before and jerked. Spencer cried out in pain. He tried to get away but Hotch had him trapped. His breathing picked up and not in arousal. He was scared. It was fight or flight and there was no way that he was going to be able to fight. The safest room in the apartment was the bathroom. He needed to get to the bathroom and throw the lock. He just needed to get his feet under him.
As if the older man read his mind, Hotch spread his legs and it strained Spencer’s pushing them out to where he couldn’t move. Hotch was silent. That scared him more than anything. Spencer breathed in and out for several long minutes as he tried to calm down. Hotch wouldn’t hurt him. He was safe with Hotch.
“I’m sorry,” Spencer said when he thought he could talk without squeaking.
Hotch said nothing though. His grip on his hands didn’t lessen and neither did the one in his hair. Spencer’s head was tipped up enough that he couldn’t see Hotch at all. All he could see was the ceiling. It was a long while before he felt comfortable enough to try speaking again.
“Please, Hotch. Say something. Anything.” Spencer felt the tears at his eyes. He didn’t know why he’d done it. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. He gasped as his mind cleared and then he relaxed fully into the older man’s hands. Hotch’s grip on his hair was gone but the hand pushed his head down onto his superior’s shoulder but his hands were not released. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“I know. I know.” Hotch released his hands and then wrapped him in a hug. “I’m not mad. Let’s try and get some water in you and then get you on the couch. Do you want help getting dressed?”
Spencer shook his head, wanting that few minutes of peace to get his shame under control. Hotch helped him stand and even picked up the robe and handed it to him before leaving. Spencer took his time getting dressed, not wanting to look Hotch in the eye. He knew what that part of his brain sounded like now and he wasn’t going to be listening to it ever again. He didn’t need Hotch to think that he was a sex crazed idiot.
The kitchen to most people would have looked normal but to Spencer he could tell that things had been moved. He knew that Hotch would look through his things. It didn’t shock him.
Hotch must have noticed that he noticed because he spoke. “I didn’t find any stashes but then again I am not you.”
“It’s fine. Addicts lie and no matter what I am, I’m an addict.” Spencer had no trouble admitting it. He knew what he was but he also knew that if he stayed an addict, he’d lose everything else in his life and his want of those things was greater than his want of escape.
“You said last night that you wanted to forget.” Hotch stepped closer to him and Spencer took a step back. He didn’t remember saying that at all. “What are you trying to forget, Reid?”
Spencer turned to the cabinet to get a glass for water. He had several jugs on the counter as well as a few in the fridge. He grabbed one from the counter and filled up his glass, taking several sips before moving towards the living room. He wasn’t ready for that. He just hoped that Hotch let it go. He needed Hotch to let it go.
It was after eleven and Spencer just wanted Hotch gone. His breathing was irritating him to no end. His hands were shaking enough that he couldn’t hold a book and the noise from the TV had been driving him nuts so all he had to focus on was Hotch. And Hotch was driving him nuts.
Hotch had taken over the kitchen table and had been working on case files all day long. Every time that Spencer got up, the files would be put up in his briefcase. It was infuriating. He wasn’t allowed to do anything that would keep him occupied.
Spencer had spent the past ten minutes trying to figure out a way to get him out of the apartment because then he’d be alone. He could sit and do nothing and not be bothered by the scratching of a pen, the rustle of paper and Hotch’s annoying breathing. Hotch had chinks in his armor just as much as everyone else and Spencer knew at least a few of them.
“Hotch, I’m doing a lot better now. Why don’t you go home?” Spencer said as he stood up and moved towards the kitchen. Hotch predictably closed up the file he was working on and then put it up.
“I talked to Haley an hour ago. She and Jack are doing fine.” It was the same answer no matter what. The time of the call changed but the rest of it stayed the same.
“And if I said that I didn’t want you here right now? That I wanted you gone?”
There was the Hotchner glare. Spencer didn’t let it scare him. He wanted to be alone. He didn’t want to use, he just wanted to be alone. The food from the store had been delivered and Hotch had barely left him alone while he’d taken the delivery. He wasn’t used to being around someone so much.
“I’m not leaving until I know you are back to better.”
“It’s too fucking little too fucking LATE!” Spencer yelled at him. The younger man watched Hotch’s eyes widen in shock at the yelling and the cursing. “If you had fucking given a shit about me you and the team would have been here from day one. I wouldn’t have had to have gone through any of this. You all spout off on this team being a family but you only fucking care about yourselves. Who went home with JJ when she got the the concussion and needed to be woken up? Who walked Clooney for Morgan when he sprained his ankle taking down that UnSub in Florida?”
“Reid.” Hotch’s voice cracked but Spencer didn’t care. He had a full head of steam he wanted to get out everything.
“No one but you has even talked to me about my mom since the Fisher King case. No one has even fucking asked. I put her in Bennington the day I turned eighteen. I fucking celebrated my eighteenth birthday by sitting in my bedroom at the house my mother no longer lived in, crying my eyes out because I had no one.”
“No!” Spencer shoved at Hotch, pushing the older man back from him. He hadn’t realized the man had gotten that close. “Just NO. Do you want to know the sin I confessed to in front of Raphael? I sent my mother away. If I had been a stronger son she never would have had to have been put in that place. I should have been stronger. I am no better than my father!”
“You are nothing like him.”
“You don’t know shit, Hotch so stop trying to make me feel better. I knew what putting her on that plane was going to do to her. She hates flying and I had two agents take her from her home and bring her to Quantico. I never warned her.” Spencer wanted to smash something or even throw something at Hotch. There was nothing in reach and he wondered for a brief second if that was something Hotch had planned.
“You were afraid for her safety.”
“If I’d never sent her those letters, she would have never been in danger! It’s all my fault!” Spencer couldn’t dodge his hands this time. Hotch grabbed him and Spencer fought with all he had, which he knew wasn’t a lot. His muscles were sore and he was tired. Kicking and struggling, Spencer still wasn’t able to get away. Hotch spun him around to where he was holding him from behind. It wasn’t until he felt his shirt getting wet that he realized he was crying. He let out a sob and just slumped in Hotch’s arms, trusting the older man to protect him.
“It’s not your fault, Spencer.” Hotch tucked him into his body as they both settled onto the floor. His face was pressed against Hotch’s neck and he just let go, crying. “None of this is your fault. We all forgot how young you really are. We all forgot and we are so sorry.”
“You…are the…only one….who’s visited….me.” Spencer said in between sobs. He wrapped his arms around Hotch’s neck, molding his body to the older man’s and just cried. He didn’t care and Hotch wasn’t pushing him away. In fact, Hotch was holding him close and as he cried himself to sleep, he swore he felt wetness on his forehead from Hotch’s own tears.
Spencer woke when whatever he was sleeping on shifted. He freaked out and tried to get away but strong arms pulled him close and Hotch’s voice was in his ear settling him down. His muscles were cramping badly and if they hadn’t been he would have stayed where he was. He tried again to move but the arms stopped him.
“Shush. You’re safe, Spencer.”
“It hurts,” Spencer was able to gasp and Hotch’s arms released him some to where he could stretch out. His muscles were worse than they had been at the peak of his withdrawal. His back and arms were killing him. Hotch’s hand on his back settled him down, especially when it searched and found the sore muscles, kneading out the kinks and the cramps. He was almost asleep again when his stomach growled. That brought a chuckle out of Hotch.
“It’s after midnight. I have some soup that I can warm up for you. How does that sound?”
Spencer nodded because his throat hurt. He remembered the yelling he had done at Hotch and couldn’t understand why the older man was still there. He’d made an ass of himself but he didn’t want to bring it up. Instead he let Hotch help him up and get him settled at the table with a glass of what looked like Gatorade and a few crackers. Spencer ate the crackers and sipped at the Gatorade. He hadn’t been able to keep anything down since withdrawals had started. Everything that went down came back up.
Silence filled the apartment as Spencer sipped at soup. Then he saw the letter sitting on the table. He wondered if Hotch had looked at it. But he knew the answer, no. Hotch would never do that. So, Spencer scooted the letter closer. Hotch raised an eyebrow but picked it up. Spencer waited while he read it.
“That’s something that never even…he injected you with a needle that he was using.” Hotch let the letter drop at the same time he rubbed at the brow of his nose. “Shit.”
“I was going to show this to you Monday at work. Even though we haven’t…” Spencer trailed off.
“I didn’t even. I am your boss and I never even considered this. I…excuse me.” Hotch stood up and left the kitchen, moving to the living room. He stopped in front of the window and just stood there. Spencer finished his soup and the glass of Gatorade before he moved to the living room to sit on the couch. With food in his belly and his muscles at least relaxed for the moment, Spencer settled onto the couch and watched him, not realizing when he fell asleep.
Spencer was sick of throwing up. He woke up, jumping off the couch and running to the sink in the kitchen as it was closer than his bathroom. He easily expelled what was left in his stomach. A hand on his back told him that Hotch was there. The hand moved to his forehead and then it and it’s partner were holding his hair back while he threw up again. When there wasn’t even stomach acid left, the urge to throw up left and Spencer settled down into a chair. He wanted to go back to bed.
“How did you get time off?”
“I requested a few days leave to spend with my wife and son. Strauss approved it. It’s what Gideon and the team thinks as well. I also told them you had contacted me and called off with the flu.”
“And Haley?” Spencer kind of remembered something about Haley knowing.
“She knows exactly where I am and if I allowed it, she’d be here as well. I know how you are though. She doesn’t know about the drugs. If work calls the house, she’s going to tell them I am shopping and to call my cell. I would have done this for anyone on the team. Anyone.”
That was like a stab to the heart and Spencer didn’t know why.
“I told Haley you were having trouble with nightmares. David Rossi took me to a cabin in the woods after I was at the BAU for a few months. I screamed to the trees and I cried where no one could see me. Haley says that’s when I turned. When I smiled less, became cold.”
Spencer didn’t know what to say to that one. He just settled in the living room with a book, letting the silence permeate everything. He finished several books and was happy that the cramps were mostly gone and the irritability.
He went to bed at a normal time and only laid for a while before finally going to sleep. Hotch had settled on the couch, where he’d been the past nights.
For the first time in days, Spencer woke up and he knew where he was the second his eyes opened. He could hear Hotch moving around in the kitchen. He could smell coffee and possibly pancakes or even waffles. He wasn’t sure but he smelled cooked batter of some sort. He wasn’t drenched in sweat, vomit, or shit. He knew that he wasn’t over it all yet. He had at least a few days before the tremors left his limbs and before he was back to full speed but he felt better than he had in a long time.
Throwing the covers off, Spencer realized that again he was naked. There was a small pile of clothes sitting on the end of the bed though. He grabbed them as he stood up. He’d showered in the middle of the night after throwing up again. Hotch had stayed right outside the tub to make sure that he didn’t fall. He hadn’t realized he’d not put clothes back on.
The sound of someone else in the apartment was fast becoming something that he was very used to and he needed to stop that. He was grateful for everything that Hotch had done for him. He knew that he would have made it through it all alone but he hadn’t had to.
After he was dressed he stopped and leaned his head against his bedroom door. He felt as weak as a kitten. He wanted to ask Hotch to stay longer but that was asking for issues. He was already too used to him being here for as long as he had been. Asking him to stay longer would make it all that much harder for him to let the man leave. Once he’d eaten whatever the older man had fixed, he was going to make sure that he left. He was better now and could take care of himself. He needed to take care of himself. He didn’t need to get used to Hotch in his life as anything other than his superior, team mate, and occasionally a man that fucked him. There was no relationship there. There couldn’t be.
No matter how much he craved it at that moment. To have someone there for him like Hotch was for Haley. Every single thing he’d felt over the past four days, he shoved down into a box inside his head and made sure that he’d never open it. It was the smart thing to do and the only thing that he could do to keep himself safe.
So Spencer composed himself and then opened his bedroom door and moved towards Hotch, a bland smile on his face. He showed nothing of the turmoil that had been in his mind just moments before.
Hotch must have seen something on his face because he started to pack up the case files on the table. He put them away and Spencer could just tell that he was preparing to leave. When Hotch moved the briefcase over to the door, the younger man finally saw the go bag sitting there. There was a plate of pancakes at his spot at the table and a set of dishware in the drainer from where Hotch had eaten.
A nod of his head and then Hotch was gone and everything was back to normal. Like it needed to be.