Spencer relaxed back onto the couch. A book spread open on his lap. His eyes were seeing the words but his mind wasn’t processing them. His mind kept going back to Hotch. The man who had ignored him until the day before. Spencer had texted him every day and nothing. Nothing back until finally Hotch messaged him back. He’d read the message and was shocked that Hotch wanted to know why he hadn’t heard from him. Why he’d seen nothing of him. Spencer chose to ignore the texts. Wondering how Hotch hadn’t got the ones before.
Then a few hours before, Hotch had apologized for missing the texts he’d been sending. He’d just been released from the hospital and given his phone back. He’d been worried about why he hadn’t seen him and that was why he had texted like he had. Still though, Spencer ignored the texts. It had been two weeks. Two weeks since he’d heard from Haley. Two weeks since he’d tried to call and get forwarded to Hotch’s hospital room to find that he wasn’t taking calls nor messages. If he’d been in better shape he’d have gone to the hospital to see him but he wasn’t. Getting up the stairs into his apartment had been hell and that was with the help of two neighbors.
Thankfully, the grocery store a few blocks over delivered and if elderly or laid up, the delivery was free. Spencer always tipped the fee to the person who delivered. A pizza would feed him all day and the next morning for breakfast. He could order double Pad Thai and eat it for days. According to JJ, who was still dealing with the press fallout of both the case and Foyet’s attack on Hotch, they were both set to come back to work around the same time.
He wasn’t sure who exactly had circled the wagons around Hotch but he didn’t like it. He’d seen JJ once at the hospital and had talked to her every day since then. According to her, Prentiss and Garcia were hovering around Hotch so he figured that it was one of them that had him in a blackout. Probably trying to manage him and it had to be failing.
Spencer cursed his knee and threw his book across the room. He leaned his head back and shifted enough to lay down some on the couch, his former position causing his hips to hurt. There were only so many positions that he was comfortable in and he could only stay in each one for so long. In an hour he’d have to go to the bedroom just to be able to lay on his side.
Morgan had mentioned that Hotch was solely focused on Foyet and he should be. Spencer understood. He didn’t have anything to work with himself besides his memories and there was little he could add without knowing what exactly had happened with Hotch. He knew a little from Haley but no one on the team had the time to talk to him.
So his time passed as he watched it pass from his couch and his bed.
When he couldn’t take the position anymore he made his way slowly to his bedroom. What took seconds took minutes now. And it wasn’t even a few minutes. It took nearly ten. Even on crutches to get down into his bed. He had his pain killers on the nightstand and popped two of them. He was on a rotating schedule of pills to keep him off of narcotic based pain killers and hopefully pain free enough. Still he could feel the craving for Dilaudid.
A nap was the only thing that got him through the afternoons. Even in the hospital he’d take a nap. He’d laid on the blankets so he gave up moving to get them and just laid on them. It wasn’t that cool in his apartment so he closed his eyes and willed himself to sleep.
Pain upon waking was normal. It had been Spencer’s life for two weeks. But he expected to feel cold. Instead he felt hands on him. Steady hands worked the muscles of his hip and down his good leg to the calf. It wasn’t until he tried to roll from his position to another that he realized he wasn’t asleep. He was awake and there was someone at his back. A hand on his shoulder and another on his hip stopped him from jerking away and hurting himself. He blearily blinked and realized that his glasses had been removed.
“Shush,” Hotch said. His hands tightened for a second before moving away. “Don’t hurt yourself.”
“Hotch?” He reached to the nightstand for his glasses.
“JJ said you were home when I called her three hours ago. So if you were at home why were you not coming to see me? Why were you ignoring my texts? So I called Strauss. She wasn’t aware that I didn’t know about you. She was rather upset with finding out that Prentiss and Garcia hadn’t passed it along. Dave’s been working at the office and I told him the day of the attack to worry about the office. Worry about the cases. I’ve not been in contact with him since then except for his daily check ins on how I am. He was upset when I texted him and asked him why he hadn’t told me. He was of the thought that I had been told. I’ll deal with Prentiss and Garcia at a later time. Right now, I need to deal with you.”
“Hotch.” Spencer rolled over now that he was awake enough not to hurt himself. Lying on his bad leg with his other tucked up to his chest was the most comfortable way to sleep but it didn’t allow him to move quickly. His hands went right for Hotch’s chest. He could feel the bandages under the shirt but he was light with his hands, so he didn’t hurt him. “You should be at home, resting.”
“I can rest anywhere. Cabs can take me wherever I need to go, even if I am not cleared to drive.”
“Haley called me after she left you. She told me everything. She told me what he did to you.” Spencer shifted to a sitting position, even with Hotch on the bed. He touched the top button of Hotch’s shirt and worked it open. He worked every one open under it as well. It wasn’t until he had the last one open that he parted the shirt. He touched the edges of the bandages. There was still some swelling it seemed in the areas that were close to his waist and his shoulders. Minimal movements were still movements and had to hurt. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“I’m right where I want to be. If he was following me before, he knows about you already and stopping seeing you will tell him that you mean a lot to me. Now he won’t know whether it’s that I don’t care about you or that I don’t care about him. Either one will piss him off and show him that I am not breaking. I can’t let him see me break.”
“I understand but you…you should be resting at your place in your bed.”
“Your bed is just as comfortable. And you need help.”
“So do you!” Spencer cried out. Hotch smiled at him and started to laugh. Spencer just looked at him in shock. He didn’t know what else to do but stare at him. Hotch was laughing! Hotch was laughing!
“Between the two of us,” Hotch said in between breathes and laughs. “We can pretty much do anything needed. Reid, please I need…” Hotch turned somber. “I need this. I need to be somewhere that I can make myself believe that he is not watching me and I need a distraction. You told me that you would be my distraction.”
“You can’t exactly fuck me right now and there is now way I can be fucked.”
“You can distract me with words. With being a living body in the room with me. I can’t protect myself right now and neither can you. Together though, we stand a better chance.”
Spencer just looked at him. Looked him in the eyes and just stared. He didn’t like seeing the fear in Hotch’s eye. If staying there would keep that fear out, he could live with that.
“You are getting an alarm system.” The tone was one that Spencer was used to. It sent a shiver down his spine.
“Yes. Yes. I’d already planned on it. I’ve not been home long and getting used to being back and living with this…it’s been hard.”
“I can help now. I can go and get you what you need when you can’t get it yourself. I can also order some good pizza and Chinese and even some Thai.” It was a thank you. Hotch was strong. Hotch was one of the strongest men that he knew and right now he needed him. He needed Spencer to be strong as well. “I need help wrapping my chest, bathe, and you help showering. We can do this.”
Spencer nodded. He couldn’t do much but he could do what he could for him. He could be what Hotch needed, like he always was.
The ring of his phone made him jump. Hotch handed it over and Spencer it was his doctor from McLean.
“Doctor Reid.” He listened as he was told the results of the UnSubs tests as well as his own. Nothing transmittable in either result. He needed to be tested again in six weeks, just to be safe. His whole body deflated. Hotch shifted behind him and his hands brushed his shoulders, one finger teaching his scar. “Thank you.”
“Who was that?” Hotch asked as he laid his head on Spencer’s shoulder.
“The hospital. My blood tests came back fine.”
“Blood tests?” Hotch’s head shot up and Spencer turned to look at him.
“Did nobody tell you anything?” At Hotch’s shake of head, Spencer sighed. It was close enough to dinner time. “Let’s get set up in the living room and I’ll tell you everything.”
It took a while to get set up but they did. Hotch at one end of the couch and he was laying with his head in Hotch’s lap.
“Dave told me that the UnSub was shot but not killed. That the doctor and his son were fine. How did you get shot?”
“The UnSub. I pushed the doctor out of the way and protected him while bleeding. I had to shoot the UnSub. While we waited on medics, I kept pressure on my wound and the doctor did the UnSub. When medics arrived, they tended to him first and the Doctor came to me. No gloves and there was a risk of transmission. The UnSub had nothing that was transmittable through blood and that is what the call was about. I still need follow up testing in six weeks but I’m good.”
“Why?” Hotch asked. Spencer wasn’t completely sure what he was asking about but he had a fair idea.
“I don’t know. But probably because they didn’t want to stress you. You have you to worry about, plus Haley and Jack. They don’t know about this. I don’t know why Rossi didn’t tell you. He knows but like you said he must have thought you knew. Figured that the others were keeping you informed.”
“I don’t know either. If it hasn’t been for JJ telling me she’d talked to you, I don’t know what I would have thought. And then she said you were finally home and I just lost it. I wanted to know why you were finally home. Then add on what seems to be an HIV scare and I saw where the damage is and any lower and…”
“I was lucky. I know this.”
“How much does the team know?” Hotch asked.
Spencer looked away from him. “JJ knows it all but the rest…they haven’t asked other than to ask if I am okay and when I’ll be back.”
“Because they are worried about me. Well I’ll worry about you enough to make up for it.” Hotch manipulated him to where he was on his side, bad leg down, back to the couch. He shifted himself to lay in front of him. They were face to face and Spencer closed his eyes.
Hotch was looking for something that for him wasn’t changing. Spencer was there as he always was when everything about himself was being thrown around in a storm. He could be the eye.
Weeks later, as he took the dressing down from Hotch about lying about his flying status he took it. He didn’t even bring up Garcia’s comment about him being her bitch. He could see the stress rolling off of him and knew the cause better than any of the rest. Spencer still wasn’t in a place medically where anything approaching what their normal routine could be done. Even waking up with Hotch wrapped around him hadn’t made him hard until recently, the pain finally fading. But lifting his leg up and bending it left him shaking. Soon he’d be able to help him. Soon he would be everything Hotch needed again.