Interlude 9-Grave Silence
There was something about graveyards that Spencer liked. He knew that it was weird. but he had a feeling it had to do with the fact that the people in the graveyard weren’t judging him. There had been a graveyard not far from his house and it was his go to spot to be alone growing up. He had waited until just after dinner to walk into the graveyard. He wanted to be alone and after dinner was a good time. He parked at the edge of the graveyard, the road leading into it, and walked in. He was still using a cane but the movement was good for him at the moment. He took his time to arrive at his destination, looking at all the headstones as he passed. Some were so old that he had to lean over and sometimes even crouch to read them.
The sun was beginning to set and it was casting shadows all through the graveyard. It had him thinking of Halloween. He adored Halloween. It was his favorite holiday. He used his own birthday as the excuse time and again, but it was the mysticism of it more than anything else. The fun to be had. He also found that the costumes people wore told him a lot about them.
It was peaceful in the graveyard. Serene and beautiful, for all the sadness it represented. Spencer found the fresh grave and sat on the bench. He figured it was where Hotch sat when he came to talk to Haley. He’d overheard Rossi talking to him on the phone. Discussing Hotch’s return to work and what they were going to do until then. The rest of the team had been shocked but to Spencer Hotch had made the only choice that would save himself.
The team, and Morgan especially, didn’t understand him at all. Or his relationship with his own son. Jack looked up to Hotch and maybe it was because Spencer saw them together in a different setting than the team. Jack wouldn’t be able to understand his dad quitting his job.
“Hello, Haley,” Spencer said as he finally looked at her grave. There were flowers, fresh and fake littered all over the top of the mound of dirt. He smiled as he laid his own flower on top. White roses had been Hotch’s pick but Spencer had a yellow one on him today. He arranged it to be the top most. The other flowers were starting to wilt and he knew that the groundskeepers would be pulling them soon, his own flower with it.
“You made me promise that I would take care of him until he no longer lets me. I think that it’s going to be a long time before he wants to let anyone in. I don’t even know if he is going to let me in anymore. He’s taking the time that Strauss gave him and spending it with Jack. Even if he doesn’t allow himself to come back, i’ll do whatever I can for him.”
Spencer watched as a car drove by from the back area of the graveyard. It was even darker now so the car had its headlights on. Spencer closed his eyes as the lights shined over him. When he felt the light leave, he opened them again.
“I don’t want to hurt him but I can’t let him hurt himself. If I feel that he is using me to hide away from the world, if he’s hiding behind me instead of trying to find someone, I’ll put a stop to it. You knew he needed it. Things may not have been the best near the end of your marriage but you never denied him what he needed. I don’t know if you did it out of fear or you truly understood what he needed and you knew that you couldn’t give it to him.
“I don’t know what I am going to do now though. I won’t talk to Rossi about this. Even though he knows. Even though you always started the contact, I knew that if I needed to talk, you’d be there. You know Hotch in ways that I don’t. And even just coming here tonight, I feel weird. Talking about sex with a dead woman in a grave.
“You never made me feel like the mistress. Even though you had every right. It made it better. Made me feel better. Even in New York, he never crossed that line. Never made me feel scared of him. Even after I slapped him, if I’d have said Quantico, he would have stopped.”
Spencer sighed when he felt his phone vibrate. He ignored it. They had been promised three days of office work before going out given Foyet and then the case they had been called from Haley’s funeral for.
“Jack is going to grow into a fine young man. Maybe a little driven because of Hotch, but is that ever a bad thing?” Spencer remembered Morgan and the man trying to get Spencer on his side about Hotch needing to take Strauss’s offer. He’d thought that Spencer would be his ally. “Morgan lost his father in the line of duty. He only sees that when he sees Hotch staying in the job instead of retiring. He thinks that because my dad left me that I should be pissed. That I should dislike Hotch for staying. I see beyond that though. I see Hotch’s love for this job. I know that you never did. Not really. But I see it, Jack sees it. Forcing himself to leave this job would kill him quicker than a desk job would. You wanted him to stay home. Become a nine to five worker but even then he wouldn’t have been with you.
“He’d have been looking at deaths and wondering. Seeing body counts add up in town’s two states away. Figuring out where we were going and wondering if him being there would get the UnSub quicker. This was the only job I saw myself doing. I would resent the hell out of anyone who made me change jobs to make them happy. Hotch would never say it outloud but he’s scared of coming to resent Jack if he left. He’s not said anything close to it but I know him. He could lose his life in this job but he could die crossing the street. I could state statistics but they make me feel better. They won’t make you feel better.”
Spencer stood up, grabbing his cane as he did. He looked at her name on the headstone. “I don’t know what I feel for him. I don’t know if I am just spinning my own head with the closeness that he wanted while we were healing. I’m good at reading emotions on people, except when that emotion is directed at me. I proved that with JJ. I don’t want to lose him and I am so scared of that. I could give him up if it proved to be what either one of us needed, but if I clung too hard and lost him, I couldn’t take that.” Spencer closed his eyes, swallowed, and then started to move away. He needed to stop that line of thought and he knew it. When he was on the edge of the grass in front of her grave he turned back. “Goodbye, Haley.”
The phone vibrating in his pocket again had Spencer pulling it out.
Are you home?
Sorry I was busy. No, I am not home at the moment.
Okay. Sorry to bother you.
Spencer debated for two seconds before typing out his reply. I am on my way back home though. It’ll just take me half an hour to get there.
Spencer wondered for a few minutes as he walked with phone in hand, staring at the lit up screen if he’d misjudged. Hotch was supposed to be spending time with Jack. He looked at the time and figured that Jack was probably asleep. Was Haley’s sister watching him? Or did Hotch want him to come to his place.
Do you have your car?
Would you mind coming here?
I do not mind coming to your place.
You are welcome.
Text when you are in the elevator and I’ll unlock the door. Lock it and set the alarm when you come in.
That was a little troubling to Spencer. He wasn’t sure that he liked where Hotch’s head was if he was leaving his place unlocked even for the time that it would take him to go up in the elevator. I will.
On the back of the couch will be something. Wear it if you want but come back to my room. Jack sleeps pretty heavy so don’t worry about waking him up.
Do you want me to wear it?
Want? Yes. Need? No.
I will wear it then.
Spencer waited several minutes after getting to his car before he started it and joined traffic. He knew he had a go bag in the car but he wasn’t going to take it up. He didn’t need to be there the next morning.
Stepping into Hotch’s apartment and taking care of locking it down, he smiled to see evidence of Jack. He wasn’t there on the days that followed a weekend with Jack. He didn’t know what it looked like after the boy had spent time with him. He was happy to see the toys on the table that was obviously just Jack’s. He found the back of the couch and wasn’t shocked to find a gag on the back of it. Silence. Hotch needed silence. He could give it to him.