The Missing Piece

Title: The Missing Piece
Fandom(s): Criminal Minds
Relationships: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid
Tags: Established Relationship, Light Angst
Warnings: No Warnings Apply
Summary: It was the missing piece in him, knowing that he wasn’t to blame for the bad things, they just happened.
Word Count: 1,603
Year: Unknown Middle to Late Original Series
Spoilers: Up Through Season 5
Notes: Written for the Fan Flashwork Challenge 382: Healing.
Beta: Grammarly

Aaron grabbed his jacket from the coat stand in his office but stopped as he looked down into the bullpen. He looked at the way Spencer was sitting at his desk. He looked tired. His arm was in the sling, which kept him back at the office when on cases or if it’s not something that involved too much, he was allowed to go and stay at the station they were working out of.

Spencer looked like he was having a bad pain day. The bottle of over-the-counter painkillers was sitting beside his other elbow like he was just waiting for the time to take the pills.

Aaron felt bad about it. It hadn’t been his fault Spencer was injured, but it had been partly everyone on the team’s fault because no one had figured out what was going on in time to save him. Aaron had just been happy Spencer hadn’t been hurt worse than he was. The injury had scared Aaron enough that he pulled back out of the relationship they had just started to figure out. Aaron had said he needed time, but then he realized he would never go back to Spencer if he didn’t force himself to.

It seemed this was the forcing part of things. Aaron slipped his jacket on, and he grabbed his things to head home to Jack. He smiled at Spencer when Spencer looked at him.

“How about we go to mine? Jack’s already asleep. You can spend the night and do breakfast with us in the morning.”

Spencer looked at Aaron with a calculating look in his eyes. Aaron could see the thought process as Spencer worked through it. Years of working together and a few dates here and there had given Aaron a deep look into the man. He wasn’t sure what Spencer would decide about this, though.

“Okay,” Spencer said a few seconds later.

“Good. I’ll carry your bag so you can get your mug and anything else that doesn’t go into the bag. You still…” Aaron trailed off as he didn’t want to push too much on the front of things. “We can stop at yours for clothes.”

“The things at your place are fine.”

Aaron nodded, and he smiled at that. Spencer gave him a smile back. Aaron lifted Spencer’s jacket off the back of his chair, and he held it out. Spencer put his goo arm through, and Aaron draped the other side over his other arm, holding it so Spencer could grab the edge with his injured arm.

“I’m already packed up for the night. I was just…” Spencer waved his hand in a way that said he didn’t want to talk about why he was waiting around.

“What do you want for dinner?”

“The muscle relaxer I was given makes my stomach upset, so I need to take it after I eat, or I won’t eat at all. Not our usual spice either.”

“Italian it is.”

Spencer nodded and picked up his mug, swilling it around and taking the last drink. Aaron raised an eyebrow at him.

“Garcia made me a tea latte before she left. It’s decaf, but I couldn’t get the kind of tea out of her. She was distracted by Morgan and Prentiss talking.”

“Ah, well, at least I don’t have to deal with you and coffee and not wanting to sleep because it mixes with the pain you’ll be in. When do you take the next round?” Aaron picked up the bottle and shook it before putting it into Spencer’s bag.

“Probably about the time we get to your apartment.”

“Okay, I’ll get you some juice to take them with.”

Spencer nodded.

“What kind of pasta do you want?”

“Anything that doesn’t require cutting or juggling. You know what I like.”

Aaron waved for Spencer to start to head out of the room. Aaron snagged the book Spencer had been reading earlier and tucked it into Spencer’s bag. He caught up to Spencer outside the elevator as he waited for it to come up and get him. After a few seconds of standing there, Spencer moved a little closer to Aaron. Aaron juggled, moving Spencer’s bag to over his shoulder and then his briefcase to the other side so he could wrap his arm around Spencer and hold him.

Aaron heard the click of the door as it was opened and then shut again. He didn’t move from the bed. He knew it wasn’t Jack as the boy couldn’t be that quiet. Aaron didn’t think Spencer could be either with the strength of the medication he was on since he couldn’t take narcotics.

Spencer sat down on the edge of the bed with a small sigh. Aaron reached out and laid his hand on Spencer’s thigh, so he didn’t hit his arm at all.

“Can’t sleep?” Aaron asked.

“No, my arm is aching too much,” Spencer answered.

“Okay, I’m going to turn on the light.”

Spencer lay down as Aaron rolled over to turn on the light on the stand. He turned to look at Spencer as soon as he did. He looked miserable. It was the downside to the kind of broken arm Spencer had and the no narcotics. There was no issue with Spencer’s shoulder, so Aaron tried to figure out how they could do this. It was the arm above the break that was the biggest issue.

“Why don’t you lay down on me? I’ll rub at your arm above the cast and your shoulder?” Aaron knew the biggest issue was being alone. Even if nothing had happened, Spencer had slept in Aaron’s bed since their first date. It was strange to sleep in the guest room again. Their relationship had been fast and strong, and then it had fizzled because Aaron freaked out.

Aaron hadn’t been able to save Haley, and then Spencer got hurt. It had unsettled Aaron, and he worried about what it meant for the first time in his life. He thought he was the reason for both of the issues, and both lay at the hands of UnSubs.

“How is that?” Aaron asked after he pulled Spencer to him and got him settled half on top of Aaron.

“Good.”

Spencer’s casted arm was laid over Aaron’s body, opening up Spencer’s upper arm for him to rub down. Aaron was gentle at first, then he started digging in a little more. Spencer’s body became laxer and laxer as he worked on his body.

It wasn’t long until Spencer was half snoring from his deep sleep. Aaron smiled before turning off the light and plunging the room into the dark.

Spencer only hesitated for a few seconds when he slipped out of the hallway and into the kitchen, his eyes on Aaron. Jack was sitting at the table.

“Good morning!” Jack called out as soon as he saw Spencer.

“Good morning, Jack,” Spencer said. He looked at Aaron, and that hesitation was back.

Aaron held up the cup of coffee he had made for Spencer when he heard him in the bathroom when Aaron slipped back to check on him.

“Thanks.” Spencer took the cup, and he leaned in to give Aaron a kiss.

“Welcome. I made oatmeal. I put fruit in yours, and it’s in the fridge for you. Jack’s finishing up his right now.”

“Good. I’m not that hungry yet, but let me get a little coffee into me, and I’ll eat some. Is that okay?”

“Yes, it’s more than okay.”

Aaron leaned in for another kiss. He was glad that he hadn’t ruined things between them. Spencer had always understood him better than anyone else. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but sometimes it made Aaron feel like he was too seen by the man. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for the day, but he had Jack and Spencer with him, so as long as they were together, he was happy.

“Hey, dad, can we go to the park later today?”

“When?”

“After lunch? I wanna kick the soccer ball around. Spencer can sit under the tree he likes, and we can play until you get tired and want to go and cuddle him.”

“Spencer?” Aaron asked.

“That works for me. I can read through a few of your spy novels in the bedroom while we are there.”

Aaron chuckled, and he snagged the coffee carafe to refill his cup. Spencer sat down at the table with his cup of coffee and reached over to snag the piece of toast Jack hadn’t touched and, at this point, wasn’t going to. It was so normal and routine it made Aaron’s heart ache for what he had nearly let himself learn.

Just like Spencer’s arm, it would take a while to heal from this, but Aaron felt like maybe he had finally let go of that last little piece and would heal from everything in his life. It felt like Spencer had been the piece he had been missing to complete his healing.

“Spencer?” Jack asked.

“Yes, Jack?”

“Are you going to stick around more now?”

“I will. I think I might stay all weekend long.”

“Good. Good. I missed you.”

“I missed you too, Jack.”

Aaron looked at Spencer before he went to get the oatmeal from the fridge. He picked up the spoon and trashed the napkin he had set it on after using it to stir in the fruit.

Spencer smiled, and despite the pain, he looked happy.

Aaron didn’t want to let go of this and would do everything he could to hold on.

The End

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