Spencer slipped his dishes into the sink where he had the water still in there from washing the dishes to make his dinner. He’d let the pan soak while his leftovers cooled. He’d be able to take two meals for his lunch that week. One of them was going to be Jack’s probably. The boy liked to eat lunch with him on Fridays, so Spencer always made sure to take enough for him. The school had only been closed for a week after the invasion. It had been hard for everyone that first day back. The worst had been when the final class of the day happened. So instead of actually having class, Spencer and the kids had discussed the entirety of what happened. All of the kids were seeing the school psychologist, and Jack had gone in for a visit with his personal psychologist. She was the same one that had helped him in the aftermath of his mother’s death. Spencer discussed with them exactly how what happened did happen, and how it would never happen again. Thankfully, none of the kids blamed Jack, they had been more worried about him. A few of the kids were having nightmares about the shooting, but thankfully the smoke had stopped them from seeing the blood and bullet hole in the man’s head. It was why he had chosen to teach the girls how to make a lot of smoke with things that he had in his desk drawer. Thankfully, Eliana and Deanna were very smart and followed his directions to the letter.
Jack had been a surprise, popping the clip of the gun. He hadn’t been that shocked, though, once he’d thought about it. Jack was around guns on a regular basis. How to get the clip out, and how to flick the safety on were very good lessons. Spencer wouldn’t be shocked if he knew how to eject the bullet in the chamber as well, but didn’t have the strength to do it yet. One bullet in a gun was safer than a full clip. Most of the kids in the school knew the basics of what to do when kidnapped. Many of them faced it on a daily basis. As long as he stayed calm, the kids would.
Spencer was staring out the window that looked into his backyard when he heard a knock on his front door. He was shocked because it was fairly late. He’d been working on a project for the students in his senior science class and he’d lost track of time. He had plenty of casseroles in the freezer that he just had to pop into the oven. He moved to the window in the front room and looked out. It was dark, but the streetlight was shining just enough for him to see the car parked on the street. Whoever it was had decided not to park in the driveway. After two more seconds of looking, he recognized it. Hotch’s car. He looked at his phone as he moved towards the door and found no missed calls or texts. Hotch had taken to texting him when he was dropping off Jack at school. The older man didn’t let Jack out of the car until Spencer opened the main door of the school. It was the only contact they’d had since that day. Spencer still hadn’t figured out what he wanted. If he wanted to invite him into his life more.
Jack couldn’t be the only reason that he did it. Wanting a family couldn’t be the only reason as well. He’d gone on dates over the years, but even on second and third dates, none of them felt like Hotch had that night. The feel of Hotch’s lips on his own had felt better than anything had in a long time. At the crux of it all he knew that he was scared. He’d depended on Hotch once and it had backfired. It hadn’t been either of their faults, the universe had decided to mess with them.
The knock sounded again and Spencer could just feel in the bottom of his belly that something was wrong. Something had gone wrong. Hotch was a man of his word and he’d said he’d leave it in Spencer’s court. He wouldn’t be here unless he felt that he needed to be. Spencer moved to the door and opened it.
“Hotch?” Spencer asked.
“Can I come in?” Hotch asked, looking up at him. He’d been looking at his hands. Spencer backed up allowing the older man to come in.
“Did something happen? Is Jack okay?” Spencer shut the door as Hotch cleared it. The older man wasn’t turning around. His eyes were on a chessboard. He walked to it, touching the white rook that was in the middle. His hand went to the letter on the side of the table the chessboard was sitting on. His fingers brushing the words.
“Jack’s fine.” Hotch picked up the letter and then looked down at the board. He touched the black king next. “Jack’s at home with Jessica.”
Spencer didn’t know what to think when Hotch tipped the black king over. That game was nowhere near done. They were only twenty moves into it. The letter. Hotch had to know the writing. The look on Hotch’s face told him more than anything. It was his bad news delivering face. He’d seen it every single time that Hotch told a family that someone was dead or taken.
“Hotch?” Spencer asked. He could feel his stomach clenching. He started to feel sick. That couldn’t mean what he thought it meant. Did it? Spencer stumbled, unable to get his feet under him. His vision whited out and then he was being held. Arms held him up and he curled into the body. A hand wrapped around his waist and then one buried itself in his hair. Hotch was the only thing holding him up. He let himself go in that moment and Hotch’s hands tightened even more on his body. He wasn’t crying, but he couldn’t breathe. He scrabbled at Hotch’s back to try and secure himself there.
“Shush. I’ve got you, Reid. I’ve got you.” Hotch’s voice was firm and it was only then that Spencer realized that he was gasping for breath.
“No. Tell me I’m wrong,” Spencer begged.
“I can’t.” Hotch lifted him up. Spencer didn’t even try and fight him. He held on tight as he was gently manhandled to the living room. He expected to be deposited on the couch but instead, Hotch turned them and sat down so that Spencer was in his lap. Head tucked under his own. There was no pressure on his bad leg. He felt a child in their father’s lap, but he didn’t want to move. “Breathe.”
“Can’t,” Spencer said. He tried to exhale but nothing was coming out. Hotch pulled his head in tighter. It brought his nose right into the area where Hotch’s tie should have been. He looked and could see skin. Not only had the man taken his tie off, he’d unbuttoned several buttons. When Spencer finally was able to exhale, it meant he had to inhale and he did, hard. All he could smell was Hotch. The faint smell of his cologne along with the smell of the outdoors. He’d been to Gideon’s cabin. He’d never got a hint of suicidal tendencies in his letters from the man. He tried to look up but Hotch’s hand kept him where he was.
“An UnSub that Dave and he tried to catch back in 1978 started again. Gideon saw it in a paper and rushed home. The UnSub shot him from far away with a rifle in his dominant arm, and then came into the house and shot him two more times. He was able to give us clues, though, on who killed him and we found him. We found the UnSub, Reid.” Hotch’s voice was low and steady, but it was driving Spencer crazy. How could he be calm and collected? Spencer had only just reconnected with Gideon a year ago. Spencer fought against the hand holding his head to Hotch’s chest. He looked into Hotch’s eyes, only to see calm. He wanted something more. Gideon had been the first of the team that he had reached out to. “Dave killed him.”
Spencer didn’t know what possessed him to do it but he shifted on Hotch’s lap to straddle it instead of laying over it. He grabbed the older man’s head and held him still, kissing him. Trying to get any reaction out of him. There was no feeling in him at the moment. He wanted to feel something and Hotch could make him feel anything. He wanted to feel alive, and this was the only way he knew how. He clung to him,and he knew it was only shock that had Hotch’s mouth opening up. Hotch’s hands gripped his upper arms, trying to pull him away, but he fought it. He knew that Hotch wouldn’t hurt him, wouldn’t throw him off because it would hurt his knee. He needed to only get Hotch’s brain to get with the program and it would all be fine.
Thrusting down into Hotch’s lap, Spencer moaned. Hotch started to kiss back, his hands gliding down to Spencer’s waist, moving to cradle his ass, to bring him closer. Spencer relaxed his hands, moving one to Hotch’s throat to tip his head up just a little farther. He started to feel something. More than just emptiness. It wasn’t until he was gently shifted to a new position that he realized that he was crying. He could taste the salt in their kisses. He took a breath and let out a sob. Hotch moved them again and Spencer found himself lying on Hotch’s chest while the man was lying down on the couch, their legs tangled but his bad one was sheltered, unhurt, protected. He wrenched his lips away from Hotch’s, burying his face in Hotch’s neck, he let the sobs out. He couldn’t even seduce Hotch into helping him drive the pain away. It was like the floodgates had been opened and everything that he had been ignoring for over five years came flooding into him.
“Let it out, Reid. I’ve got you.”
Spencer was sobbing into his shoulder before he knew it. It was an extreme reaction, but he needed it. He needed to let it all out. He didn’t know how long he laid on his former boss crying but he didn’t care. He cried until he couldn’t cry any more and then promptly passed out.
Waking up in a strange place was a weird feeling for Spencer. He was used to falling asleep on his couch, and he was used to falling asleep outside in summer, but this wasn’t either place. It wasn’t until what he was sleeping on moved that he realized he was still asleep on Hotch. He lifted his head up and looked to find Hotch staring at him. His glasses weren’t on his face but he could see the other man’s face well enough.
“Even if I am asleep on you that’s still creepy,” Spencer muttered. He couldn’t look away from Hotch’s face, even if he wanted to. There was so much emotion there. So much that he wasn’t ready for. He still didn’t know what he wanted, even after his horrible display before finally breaking down.
“That was more than just mourning Gideon. What’s up, Reid? You cried for an hour before you fell asleep.” Hotch’s hand that was rest on his back started to move. Just a gentle caress of his spine through his shirt. Fingertips rubbing as they moved down his back, turning to a light scratch as they came back up. Even though he seemed to have napped, he was still tired.
“It took three years before I was declared as good as I was going to get. I had several surgeries each with it’s own recovery time and whatnot. I had to be strong. I couldn’t not be. If I had been anything less than a steel rod, I would have broke, and I’d probably be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.” Spencer didn’t know if he wanted to go on, but he knew that he had to. Hotch had to understand everything. “I couldn’t be weak. I never grieved properly for the loss of the team. I couldn’t. I locked it all down inside,and even when Prentiss died, I had to be strong. I was just out of another surgery and shouldn’t have been there, but I knew I needed to go.”
“You were there? I didn’t see you.”
“I was hiding in a group of other agents from Interpol. JJ knew I was there and helped to deflect any eyes from me. I wouldn’t have just not gone, Hotch.”
“I looked for you to be on the edges like you were at Haley’s funeral. Not right there in the middle.”
“Even after, once I was as fixed as I was going to be, I never gave in.” Spencer brought his hand up and settled it on Hotch’s chest, picking at the top button that was buttoned. “Thank you.”
“I knew what you were doing, and I knew that you wouldn’t go through with it. I felt that it was better to let yourself fizzle out than to force you to see what was happening. Stephen hasn’t told me when the funeral is. I’ll text you when I find out.”
“I’ll let the Deputy know. The Headmistress is almost ready to be released, and she’ll be back in a few weeks. That bullet did a lot of damage. We are preparing a welcome back party for lunchtime on the day she gets back. The cooks are already ordering in the necessary food items that have a long shelf life.” Spencer was done discussing himself. He wanted away from emotions that made him feel in ways that he hadn’t in a long time. Including how he felt about the man underneath of him. Hotch’s sigh told Spencer that he was allowing the change of topic, even if he didn’t like it.
“That’s good. If the school needs anything to help set up something better let me know. Especially when it comes to security.”
“The Deputy has already sent out feelers to a few people. Our digital security is the best in the country. I was told that Garcia tried to get in after it was all back up and running, and she was unable to. The Deputy was very happy about that. The DOJ is doing a very thorough check on remaining staff. They also wanted to give me a medal in some kind of ceremony. I told them I wouldn’t come. So they are going to have the Headmistress give it to me in front of the school. That’s going to be embarrassing enough. I’m sure Jack will tell you all about it in a few weeks.”
“You got your kids out, Reid. You did so with minimal harm to yourself and no injuries to the kids besides a few scrapes when they were getting out. You took out two hostage takers, and used a deaf kid to make a smoke bomb without said hostage takers knowing you were signing to them. If you didn’t get something, I’d be upset.”
Spencer buried his head in Hotch’s neck, not wanting the man to see his face as it turned red in embarrassment. He’d just done what he needed to. What was needed of him to get the kids out alive.
“And the fact that you don’t want the medal means that you deserve it even more.” Hotch’s fingers stopped in their maddening up and down trail on his back and moved up to his head. He felt the other wrapping around his back and he was hugged. “You protected Jack, Spencer, and you don’t understand how much I can never thank you enough for that.”
Spencer didn’t know what to say to that so he left his head where it was. The smell of nature was fading from Hotch’s body. In fact, all Spencer could smell was his cologne and the earthy scent that he’d always equated with him. He burrowed in closer to smell more of it and before he knew it he was asleep again.