Consequences of Not Listening to the Heart

Title: Consequences of Not Listening to the Heart
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Category: Angst, Mental Illness
Ratings: R
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid,
Spoilers: None
Summary: Spencer gets the courage to ask Aaron Hotchner out on a date. While the date goes well, Spencer finds out something about his Unit Chief that makes him question whether he wants to pursue the older man. He does and they grow close over the course of several months but what happens when Spencer can’t handle the relationship anymore?
Warnings: Major Character Death, Hurt No Comfort, Depression
Tags: Demi-Sexual Hotch, Spencer Persues, Unrequited Love, Mental Illness, Drug Use
Beta: None. No non-consensual Beta
Notes:  So this story started out several ways, 1st was a conversation with DarkJediQueen about happy and not-so-happy endings. The 2nd was a prompt by SpencerRemyLvr about Reid being the pursuer in a relationship and lastly, I just had to go and read IntoTheWilds two stories First Impression and Angel Out of Sight. So my crazy brain started writing and this is what came from that.

Also, I did a lot of research on demi-sexuals as well as went onto a few chat rooms and talked with several people. They were wonderful in all the information I was given. One of the best resources I used was

Aaron was having a good time. Spencer had asked him out on a date, which had shocked him at first, but he had decided to say yes. He’d always had a cursory attraction to the young genius admiring his mind and enjoying his company more than anything. He appreciated that Spencer was good looking but he wasn’t sexually attracted to him. However, he knew if he had spent time outside of work with the younger man the possibility was there. When Spencer came to him last week to say that he had always been sexually attracted to him and wanted to take him out it surprised the unit chief. He never saw Spencer as the one to take charge but he was curious as he enjoyed Spencer’s company immensely so he said yes.

The dinner portion came to an end far too quickly for Aaron because he wanted more time in Spencer’s company. It was nice to have someone to talk to outside of work, even if it was just one of the team. He had asked the younger man up for coffee and smiled when Spencer said yes. The younger man had been over to Aaron’s house enough times that he made himself comfortable and waited. About a year after Haley’s death he had started to come around to take Jack out so Aaron could have time to himself. It was something that Aaron tried not to take advantage of but was greatly appreciative of as well.

The coffee was done in no time and Aaron brought Spencer his cup of sugar laden coffee. The team often teased him about how sweet he took his coffee. Spencer took a sip and made an appreciative noise in the back of his throat, his boss always got it just right. Aaron just smiled and shook his head as he sat down and they continued their conversation from earlier.

“Spencer, I wanted to tell you how much I’ve appreciated you coming around to help with Jack. He’s come to look forward to your visits. And, I admit, that I look forward to the time to myself. You know you are not obligated to do any of this.” Aaron raised his brows and gave the genius a small smile.

That smile went straight to Spencer’s groin. He couldn’t believe that he had actually asked Aaron, his boss, the man he has had the hot’s for from practically day one, out on this date and that said man had consented.

“Aaron, I enjoy it. Jack is so smart and he’s wonderful company. You never have to thank me.”

“Well I know our days away from the office are often few and far between. You know you don’t have to fill those up with an eight-year old.” There it was again, that smile and Spencer would swear he hadn’t seen it in a very long time.

“Aaron, stop, I enjoy it, Jack enjoys it so leave it at that, okay?” Spencer put down his coffee and made another bold decision. He swung around and straddled Aaron’s lap and kissed him.

Aaron closed his eyes against the kiss. It was nice, warm, soft and comforting. Aaron returned Spencer’s kisses with his own. Spencer started to unbutton Aaron’s shirt, and the older man didn’t stop him. He slid his hands to feel soft thick hair and warm skin. The genius was getting more aroused and touching Aaron Hotchner was better than he could have imagined. Aaron too wanted to touch and he slid Spencer’s vest off of him and pushed aside his shirt. He slid his hands along soft milky skin and surprisingly strong muscles. The kissing was only broken when Aaron took off the genius’s top.

Spencer was grinding against Aaron’s groin and those hands over his body made him moan in pleasure. He was finally going to be able to scratch that itch he had for Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner. When he slid his hand down to rub against the older man’s groin he stilled and pulled away for a moment.

“Aaron?” He had a questioning look on his face.

“What’s wrong Spencer?” Aaron had been enjoying the kissing and the touches and he thought Spencer was too.

“It’s just, well,” He indicated Aaron’s non-arousal. “Is something wrong?”

“Oh,” Aaron blushed a little. “Spencer I thought maybe you knew.”

“Knew what?” Spencer was getting increasingly uncomfortable because he wasn’t sure what Aaron might have to say.

Aaron sighed, “Sit down,” He indicated the chair across from the couch for Spencer to take.

“Spencer,” Aaron took a deep breath, “Do you know anything about demi-sexuals?” He asked with a serious look on his face.

“I know they fall somewhere in between sexuals and asexauls on the sexuality spectrum and many demi’s often feel more like asexuals. I also know that some sort of bonding or romanticized feelings have to come into play for them to become sexually aroused. Most demi’s don’t care about gender but some do often labeling themselves demi-hetero or demi- homosexual. They are not often attracted to strangers. While they can appreciate someone that looks physically attractive they may not become sexually attracted to them. Many demi’s will form attachments and bond only with people they’ve known for years….” Spencer’s eyes widen at what he just said, “Oh, um Aaron what, what are you trying to tell me?”

He takes Spencer’s hand, “Spencer I’m demi-sexual, with a leaning towards pansexual. Intelligence is a big turn on for me and I’ve never cared about gender. But I need to form a romantic bond with my partner to be able to get sexually aroused. I like touching, and kissing you was very nice but we’ve only had one date. I have always held your friendship in high regard and I enjoy your company immensely Spencer but if you wanted to have sex,” He was going to say more when Spencer stopped him.

“Are you saying you need to be,” Spencer took a deep breath because this was not what he had in mind when he asked Aaron out for dinner. He had wanted to get the man out of his system. The need had built-up in him over the years and he thought that if they just had sex, they’d get it over with and it would be done. However, this wasn’t working out like he had imagined. “Courted?” He almost squeaked.

Aaron smiled sadly because he figured out just what it was the younger man had wanted. “It’s more than that Spencer. It’s the main reason Beth and I didn’t work out she had a hard time with how slowly our relationship was building. She wanted me to be more aggressive in the relationship and that’s just not me. I do initiate, but it takes me time to get to know my partner.” He took his time, trying to find the words to explain what it was he needed. “Spencer I do care about you, I have come to value our friendship very much but I don’t have those romantic feelings for you, at least not yet, but I know that I could given time.” He frowned slightly at the expression on Spencer’s face.

“I, ah, I think I should go,” He said quietly as he put his clothes back on and gathered up his things he started towards the door, “I did have a good time though Aaron,” He tried to smile as he left but he knew it fell flat.

Aaron fell back against his couch trying not to let what happened bother him but he had to be honest with himself and admit that it did. After a while of going over the evening in his head Aaron decided to just go to bed and not think about this anymore and chalk it up to one more lost possibility. It hurt, but it was something he was familiar with so he didn’t let those hurt feelings go too deep. He did value Spencer’s friendship and if that was all they were going to be then he was going to be satisfied with that. He fell asleep thinking about just how soft Spencer’s skin was.
The next day Aaron tried not to think about the end of his date with Spencer. He had enjoyed an uncomplicated date, until the end. He was just going through the motions of paperwork but his mind kept going over the evening before. So it was a surprise when there was a knock on his office door and Spencer was standing there looking quite nervous.

“Reid,” Aaron looked up and gestured for the younger man to come in.

Spencer moved forward into the office and closed the door behind him. He sat down in front of Aaron’s desk but he was slightly fidgeting the whole time. He hadn’t said anything yet, he was trying to gather his thoughts together before he said anything.

“Reid, is there something you needed?” Aaron put his pen down and tried to wait patiently for his subordinate to tell him what was going on.

“I want to try Hotch,” He blurted out and looked up into Aaron’s face. “I really did enjoy our date and I’m sorry I ran out like that I just, I got nervous,” His words were quiet as he looked down at his hands.

Aaron sat back and studied the genius for a while. He could see that his silence was making the younger man nervous but he didn’t know how he felt about this. He was hurt by Spencer’s actions the evening before but he let his stoicism take over to protect himself. Did he want a chance with the younger man? He took a deep breath and let it out slowly trying to give himself time to consider.

“Okay,” He had a tiny smile on his face. “I’m willing to try. But Reid, I hope you aren’t entering into this lightly.”

“No Hotch I’m not. I went home and did some research, a lot of research actually. Did you know that a lot of demi-sexuals actually identify as more asexual but still form deep loving bonds with their partners? And that many have full lasting relationships despite some of the obvious obstacles… and I am rambling again.” His heart was pounding hard in his chest as his face flushed with his nervousness.

“Yes, Reid, I did now that but I am glad that you took the time to research. Let’s just take this one step at a time that is if you are truly willing to try.” Aaron had to admit there was a little fear on his part. He didn’t have a lot of history with dating and the time he and Haley were apart while he was in college was a frustrating time. He had a couple of relationships but nothing had worked out. Haley had understood him, at least in the beginning before everything went wrong. In the end, however, she still sought-out something else. Aaron knew it wasn’t just his job that had split them up. He had tried a few relationships when he recovered from his grief and Beth was just the latest. The problems between them were too great and Aaron was honestly tired of trying to explain himself and who he was. Now, here he was putting himself on the line again and he knew if something happened this time it would be the last. He was just tired of having his heart broken and he would rather be alone at this stage of his life than to continue to put himself out there.

“If we don’t have a case, I’d like to take you out Friday, if that’s good for you,” He fidgeted and bit his lip slightly which Aaron allowed a small smile to grace his lips. “Um, we can either go from here or I can pick you up then we can go. There’s a little Indonesian place I’ve been wanting to try and I ah, I’d like to try it with you.”

“That sounds good Reid. Why don’t we go from here to make things easier,” They would start out slow see where this would take them.

As luck would have it they didn’t get a case and the date went on as planned. Again both men had an easy time with each other. Conversation flowed and they enjoyed each other’s company very much. This time when Aaron asked Spencer up for coffee the younger man knew what to expect. They continued their conversation and just enjoyed the time with each other. Spencer had again straddled Aaron’s lap and kissed him but this time he knew what would and wouldn’t happen. The intimacy was nice and he actually relaxed more in the knowledge that there were no expectations on either of their parts. There was no pressure from either man and later on when Spencer left he felt more comfortable, more at ease and decide that he did want to be in Aaron’s company more. So, they made a standing date. If they weren’t on a case Friday was their night and slowly Spencer courted his unit chief.

Their dates were fun and often engaging. Spencer tried to find things that they both would enjoy and most of the time they were quite successful. Neither of them brought up the time Spencer took them to a seminar on the Pathology of the Psycho Sexual Predator. The visiting professor had started to talk about perpetrators who use knives as a substitute for sex both Aaron and Spencer because quite uncomfortable. They walked out and neither man brought up what happened. That was really the only failed date and it was better left unspoken.

After a while they added Saturday’s and would spend the day with Jack. The young boy started to grow even closer to Spencer and he loved that his Dad looked so happy. Jack started to call Spencer Uncle and the younger man was taken by surprise. He had grown to love Jack very much and their closeness made Aaron even happier. Things seemed to be working out better than the older man had thought. He noticed that he was beginning to develop deeper feelings for the young genius and his heart lightened and old hurts healed. This was something he could see as having for the rest of his life.
It was eight months into their relationship when Spencer and Aaron were in practically the same position as when they first started this. Spencer straddling Aaron’s lap, they had taken each other’s shirts off and were giving each other heated open mouthed kisses. Aaron had his arms around the genius holding him tight against him and relishing the close contact. This time when Spencer reached down his hand he had felt his partner’s erection and he was elated. They had been building to this for some time now and Spencer really wanted, no needed to feel Aaron inside him.

“Aaron,” He said breathless, “Please, god please I need you.” Spencer was opening Aaron’s trousers and pulling out his hard cock.

“Oh God, yes Spencer,” His eyes rolled back slightly in his head as he felt those long supple fingers grip the base of him then slowly move his hand up and down. They had gotten this far as lovers, but sometimes Aaron couldn’t maintain, but tonight, tonight he was. Spencer didn’t want to reflect on the reasons why he just had this burning need to take and be taken. He slid off his superior’s lap and positioned himself between Aaron’s legs and when he licked a stripe up the hard cock in front of him and he felt his lover shudder with desire. He wrapped his mouth around the already leaking head and gently sucked.

“God, Spencer,” Aaron lightly fisted his hands in the genius’s hair. The wicked things that Spencer was doing with his mouth and the feelings of love that had grown over the course of the last eight months were letting him maintain. He didn’t quite know when it happened but he had fallen in love with the genius and this physical connection was deepening those feelings. After a few minutes Spencer pulled off and stood. He held out his hand for Aaron and when he took it Spencer led him to the bedroom.

The two men quickly stripped and Aaron took Spencer in his arms, kissing him again passionately, running his lips across Spencer’s as he darted his tongue out and licked his way into his lover’s mouth. They slowly fell on the bed together with Aaron moving on top of the genius. After carefully preparing his lover he slid inside the willing body beneath him. After a few seconds of just enjoying the feeling of fullness, Spencer was begging Aaron to move. The older man quickly obliged and soon they were moving together, each giving and taking, and when that wonderful pressure built up then crashed blissfully over them Aaron had never felt anything so wonderful.

After cleaning up the lover’s lay together in each other’s arms and as he was falling asleep he tried to think back to when it was he had fallen in love with Spencer . He wasn’t sure when it happened, but it did and as he looked down at the curly head laying on his shoulder he smiled and for the first time since his divorce Aaron Hotchner was happy.

In the morning they again made love, it was lazy and sweet and it made Aaron’s heart soar. He wasn’t sure whether to tell Spencer his feelings yet or not. It had only been a few months since they started dating and he didn’t want to scare the younger man away. He knew there were still issues they had yet to discuss but he wanted to take it one day at a time.

Spencer was holding Aaron close to him and his thoughts were all over the place. He had come to care very deeply for his superior but a part of him was frustrated. He had thought there would be more passion, he knew Aaron to be passionate and aggressive when in the field but somehow this didn’t translate into the relationship. That was one of the biggest attractions for the genius and he hoped that maybe in time it would show. It didn’t mean that Aaron wasn’t a good lover, he was. Gentle and considerate which Spencer did appreciate but he has to admit that the burning passion he had desired, wasn’t there and he wondered if this need would go away in time to be replaced by what it was he had. He hoped he could get past this as he held his unit chief close to him.
Two months after they started having sex more regularly Spencer was feeling frustrated. That need for something more had built up in him and it was something he just couldn’t get over. He knew he might be making a mistake but he just couldn’t let their relationship continue as it was.

“Aaron,” Spencer pushed his dinner away and sat back. He had something to say and a part of him felt terrible about what he was going to do. He cared about the man seated across from him but he hadn’t fallen in love with him. During this whole courting phase of their relationship he had hoped to develop deeper feelings but he hadn’t. The sex was great and Aaron was a wonderful and considerate lover. The passion though that Spencer had always sought out wasn’t there. He knew part of it was Aaron’s sexuality and it was something that had been difficult for Spencer to deal with. So now he knew he was going to do something he thought he might regret later, but he wanted, no he needed more.

“Spencer, what is it?” Aaron knew something was wrong, had been wrong for a while but he waited for his lover to come to him about it. He knew Spencer well enough to know he couldn’t push the man or else he would clam up and not voice what it was that was bothering him.

“Aaron,” He took a deep breath and stared at the table, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t lie to you anymore. I care about you, I do you are my friend part of my family but,” He was hating himself at the moment and wished he could curl up in a corner and not see Aaron’s face. “I don’t love you Aaron, I wish I did, god do I wish I did. You’re an amazing person. Outside work you are funny and engaging, a considerate lover, good company but,” He looked up into the devastated face of his boss, his friend, the man he had been pursuing over the course of almost a year and his heart broke at the expression.

“But what Spencer?” Aaron asked in an almost cold hard voice. Spencer wasn’t fooled, he knew he had just broken Aaron’s heart in ways that may never be fixed.

“There’s no passion,” He said almost so softly that Aaron almost missed it. “I mean not to say that you aren’t passionate. You are, the way you work, take care of Jack, there is a passion there, but with us, it’s just not there.” Spencer twisted his hands together so he had something to do.

“I told you Reid,” And didn’t that cut Spencer to the bone, “I told you from the beginning who I am. YOU decided to pursue this, YOU asked me out and courted me, I fell in love with you dammit,” The broken angry voice wasn’t something Spencer had ever wanted to hear out of Aaron’s mouth.

“You, you, what?” Spencer’s breath was shallow. Aaron hadn’t said anything about love and here he was saying it for the first time. “Aaron,”

“You need to leave,” Aaron got up from the table and started towards his office.

“Aaron, please let’s, let’s talk about this?” Spencer rose from his chair and started to go after the unit chief.

‘No,” The look he gave the younger man was the same hard look he usually turned on unsubs during interviews, Spencer had never wanted to see that look directed at him, “I was going to tell you tonight. I was going to tell you that I was in love with you, that you made me fall in love with you. No, we can’t talk about this. No now, maybe not ever. Please leave.” He turned and stepped into his office and slammed the door.

Spencer stood there devastated. He had done this. He had pursued the one thing he thought he had wanted and now he broke a man he cared about. Shame and guilt filled his heart as he gathered up his bag and ran out of the house.

In his office Aaron was sitting with a glass of scotch and let silent tears fall. His heart was breaking and he let himself, just for tonight, indulge in the pain of losing yet another lover who couldn’t understand him. He never thought Spencer would be the one to hurt him this way and it cut him deep that it was. He downed the glass and poured another and tried to drown his sorrow.

When Monday came he was a complete wreck. He had cleaned-up but his heart hadn’t healed, it would take a long-time for that to happen, if it ever did. Plus he was nursing one hell of a hangover at the same time. The team tried to talk to him but he just ignored everyone as he made his way to his office and closed the door. JJ, Morgan and Alex looked over at Spencer.

“What the hell happened? Did he break things off with you?” Morgan turned to his best friend with questioning eyes.

Spencer closed his eyes and swallowed hard, “No, I ended things with him.” He said softly, the guilt creeping up again.

“Why? You guys seemed so good together Spence,” JJ looked at him confused.

“It’s complicated JJ. He ah, he said he loved me and I,” He turned and looked up at the office on the second floor of the bullpen, “I don’t have those same feelings.”

“Then why did you pursue him like you did?” Alex was trying to understand what was going on. She saw the devastated look on Spencer’s face and wondered if the young man was lying to himself.

“I,” He lay his head on his arms on top of his desk and groaned. After a few minutes he looked back up at the questioning stares, “I had a crush on him, from practically day one and it just, became too much and I wanted to see if there was more-“ Morgan gave him a look and shook his head.

“You wanted to scratch an itch didn’t you? You thought if you two had sex it would be over and it would be enough, am I right?” Morgan said angrily.

Spencer couldn’t say anything because the darker man was right.

“Morgan I-“ Spencer started to say more when the older man cut him off.

“Spencer didn’t he tell you about himself?” Morgan scrutinized his friend and saw the frown.

“What do you mean?” Spencer narrowed his eyes at his friend.

“Reid, I worked with Hotch and Gideon for almost three years before you came here. Don’t you think I found out a lot about Hotch before that? He told you didn’t he, he told you about his sexuality and yet you still pursued him. Reid-” Morgan wanted to say more but he couldn’t he was furious with his best friend. He shook his head and stalked away because he didn’t want to say something he would later regret.

“Morgan,” Reid started to get-up out of his chair when JJ put a hand on his arm.

“Don’t, not yet at least. Let him cool down then talk to him.” Spencer sat back at his desk and put his head in hands, “Why Spence? Why would you do this?”

“I don’t know Jayje, I just I’ve always liked Aaron and I thought,” He sighed as he sat back in his chair and hung his head. “I thought we would be good together. Look I don’t want to talk about this anymore, okay?” He turned to his desk and started working on consults that had been stacking up. JJ went to say more, but Spencer had closed himself off and there was no way anyone was going to reach him right now.

In his office Aaron had closed his door and shut the blinds. He didn’t want to think about Friday or the weekend. He didn’t want to think about Spencer and what happened. When the knock came he knew it was one of two people. It was either Dave or Spencer and he wasn’t all that enthused to speak with either one.

“Not now,” Aaron growled out as he returned to the work on his desk. The person at the door didn’t heed his wishes though as they opened the door and came in anyway. It was as Aaron feared, it was Dave. He was either here to pester him about what happened over the weekend or to mother hen him which he was not in the mood for either.

“Aaron,” Dave moved to sit down in one of the chairs in front of the Unit Chief’s desk. “What’s going on? You look like hell.” Dave scrutinized his friend.

“Thanks,” Aaron let his voice drip with sarcasm.

“Aaron, this isn’t like you. I’m just concerned that’s all.” Dave was looking at him with concern showing in his eyes. Aaron sat back in his chair and threw his pen on the desk in frustration.

“Reid broke things off,” He said as his jaw tightened. His stoic mask was in place and he wasn’t going to let it slip, let anyone see the hurt and anger in his eyes.

“Did he say why? You two seemed good for each other. No one here has objected, everyone has been happy for you.” Dave crossed his arms across his chest.

Aaron sighed, “He told me there wasn’t enough passion.” Aaron drummed his finger on his desk to keep his temper in check, “I told him I was in love with him then I told him to leave.”

Dave was trying to keep in his own temper. As much as Aaron was trying to hide it, the kid had hurt his best friend deeply. “Are you sure Aaron? And when did you realize it?”

“I’m sure Dave. It was a couple of months ago. I was trying to figure out the right time to tell him.” Aaron sniffed back the emotions that wanted to come to the surface but he wouldn’t let them. He pushed them down hoping that one day it wouldn’t hurt so much. “Look I don’t really want to talk about this right now.”

“Aaron, you know you can’t ignore this, you are going to have to deal with this one way or another.” Dave narrowed his eyes and analyzed his best friend. If he knew Aaron as well as he did he knew the man was going to repress all of those feelings and not deal with them. Especially since Spencer has rejected him.

“I’m not ignoring it Dave, but I now need to figure out how to work around him, how to push those feelings aside. Look, I just need time to figure this out.” He tried not to let the anger rise in him as he thought about what he’d lost.

“If you ever need to talk-“ Dave was cut off from saying anymore by the unit chief.

“I don’t, not right now at least. Give me some time.” That was all he was going to say at the moment and Dave could see how much Aaron was trying to hide the hurt. He would let it go for now, but in a few days he would cajole, brow beat, whatever he had to do to get the man to talk to him.

“Okay Aaron but don’t bury this.” Dave smiled sadly as he got up and made his way back to his office.

Later in the afternoon they got an urgent case of child kidnapping. Aaron gave Spence assignments that were away from him. He just didn’t want to deal with his subordinate and the feelings he had for him.

When Spencer came back and started on the geographic profile Aaron found something else to do. He didn’t want to be in the same room with the man and Spencer knew that he may never be able to fix this between them.
They came back from Texas emotionally drained. Aaron knew Alex was leaving and after Spencer being shot he knew he couldn’t take it. He had tried to push away those emotions. But every day that he had to work this closely with the man he was in love with, the harder it got. He had decided some things before the case came up and what happened to Reid just solidified his need to go through with his plans.

He had called a team meeting to discuss with them about his plans for his future. He grabbed his things and went in with a sad heavy heart.

“Before you ask, no we don’t have a case. I called you all in here because I have an announcement. I have put in my paperwork for retirement. I will be leaving at the end of the week and Morgan will be named Unit Chief.” He said in that calm measured voice they knew meant there was no arguing with him.

“Hotch what are you talking about?” Morgan frowned he wasn’t sure if he was quite ready yet to take over.

“Morgan, I can’t stay. There has been too much,” He tried not to look at Spencer while he was talking, “This last case just solidified my decision to be with my son more. I’m sure you’ll do an excellent job.” He looked around at his team and his heart was breaking. He didn’t really want to leave but he had to. He couldn’t be around the man he had fallen in love with and not have those feelings returned. “I have enjoyed working with each and every one of you. You are the best team I have had the privilege of working with. I wish you luck.” He smiled softly at all of them then left the room going back to his office to start the tedious task of boxing up and clearing out his office.

Morgan was the first person to come see him, “Hotch, you can’t be serious. You love this job.”

He took a deep breath, “I’ll have everything out by the end of the week.”

“Hotch, come on man, this is me,” Morgan walked around the desk. “What’s going on?’

“Morgan,” He let a breath, “Derek, I just can’t anymore. I can’t stay and know someone I care about doesn’t return those feelings. Just, please don’t make this anymore difficult for me that this already is.”

“Okay Aaron. I will miss you. I know we haven’t always had an easy friendship but I’ve always respected and admired you Hotch.” The two men embraced then broke apart quickly. “Take care of yourself and please keep in touch.”

“I will, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to call me, okay?” He gave Morgan a rare smile, “I have always had faith in you Morgan. You will make an excellent Unit Chief.” He clamped a hand on the man’s shoulder for a second then moved back to boxing up his things. Morgan wanted to say more but he knew when the man’s mind was made up there was no changing it. He left the office with a sad heart and made his way back to his own trying to wrap his head around these sudden changes.

Dave Rossi was next. He walked in, shut the door and sat down watching his best friend.

“Aaron, what are you doing?” Dave scrutinized his friend and waited to see if he would turn around and talk to him.

“I can’t Dave. I’ve tried to work with him but I can’t anymore. I feel in love with Spencer and he doesn’t return those feelings. I just need distance because it’s too painful. So, I’m leaving.” He continued to box up his law books while Dave sat there watching him.

“What are you going to do? Have you any plans?” Dave worried for his friend, but he knew Aaron well enough to know that he didn’t go into major decisions like this without a plan.

“I’ve been offered a teaching position at a small private college The Appalachian School of Law. I just need to finish the class I’ve been taking. My time with the Bureau, my court experience as both a lawyer and a witness was very desirable to them. They want someone experienced who can run the moot court sessions as well as teaching about how to interview clients. I’ll be teaching two different law classes as well. I’ll even use some of our cold cases, it was already okay’d by Cruz and the director. I was impressed with the school and what they are doing up there.” He stopped a moment to look at his best friend, “I think this will be good for me Dave. I’ll spend more time with Jack and I won’t have to travel as much. But, if you guys ever need help I will only be a phone call away.”

“Aaron, that’s like six hours away,”

“That’s the point,” Aaron sat down in his chair, “I need distance and while I was offered a position at a closer college, I felt this was better for me.” He cleared his throat to stifle the emotional toll this was taking. He stood back up and continued to sort through the items on his bookcase.

Dave stood and quickly hugged the man he had come to love as a son. “Aaron, I’m not going to lose you. So, when I come up there to see you I expect you to be available.” He smiled a crooked smile.

Aaron smiled, “Always Dave.” The older man left and went back to his office and tried to work, but his mind kept wandering to his friend and he hoped that he was making the right decision.

And so it went during the week various members of his team and other’s he had worked with previously all came to see him and give him their goodbyes and goodlucks. The only person so far that hadn’t was Spencer and that cut Aaron deep. He had everything boxed up, consults reassigned, letters sent to those local law enforcement officers he had developed good relationships with, pending interviews also reassigned, there was nothing else left to do. He had asked for no party or big to do, especially from Garcia, who he could tell had been crying off and on all week. He smiled at her as he pulled her into a hug and held her tight for a few minutes. She hadn’t wanted to see anyone leave but she knew there was no talking him out of it.

As he shut off his computer for the last time and gathered up his things Spencer finally came to him.

“Can I come in?” The genius asked softly.

“I was beginning to wonder if you were going to come see me.” Aaron tried not to let any emotions show on his face.

“Aaron, why are you doing this?” Spencer stepped into the office with a look of hurt and guilt. Aaron couldn’t let himself care, couldn’t let those feelings surface.

“Spencer, you come to me now? You’ve had all week to come see me and you wait till I am practically out the door?” His tone was even but Spencer heard the hurt behind it.

“I’m sorry Aaron, I never wanted to hurt you. I know it was selfish and stupid but I never wanted it to come to this,” He fidgeted with the strap of his bag as he shuffled his feet.

“But you did Spencer. You hurt me very deeply and its not something I can get over at your convenience. I fell in love with you and, with the way we were going I thought you loved me too. But I guess even profilers can be wrong.” He stood there staring at the genius for the longest time.

“Aaron, I, I don’t know what to say, I don’t want to lose your friendship,” His voice was quiet as he hung his head.

“Spencer I’m sorry but you lost even that the day you broke things off. I’m sorry if this is painful for you but you have no idea what this is doing to me and I don’t think you ever will. Goodbye Spencer I hope you one day find what you are looking for.” Aaron gathered up his briefcase and the small box of miscellaneous items. He turned back and sat the box down a minute and pulled something out of it.

“Here, you might want this back,” He handed something to Spencer then picked-up his things and walked out of his office not looking back. He calmly walked towards the elevators taking them for the last time. He made it home and congratulated himself for not falling apart. Jack was at Jessica’s for the night so he let himself get drunk. His heart was breaking and he had no one there to anchor him, so he let out those emotions he had been carefully holding onto for the last few months. Several hours later, drunk and emotionally exhausted he took a shower and crawled in to bed and vowed to never let anyone else into his heart. He was tired of lover’s who didn’t understand him so he resigned himself to being alone. He would concentrate on Jack and his new career and he hoped that would be enough.

Spencer opened his hand and in it was one of his film canisters that he used for his physics magic. Seeing that and knowing Aaron had kept it this whole time made Spencer’s heart hitch. He fell back into the chair behind him and held onto that canister tightly in his hand as he silently cried. That was how Morgan found him a couple of hours later.

“Come on kid, let’s go get a drink.” This time Spencer didn’t even protest. He let himself be led out of the office, then out of the building and into a quiet bar where he proceeded to get very drunk. Morgan took him home and stayed the night to make sure the younger man was going to be alright.

Spencer crawled under his covers and cursed himself. He didn’t understand what was wrong with him. Why couldn’t he have been happy with what he had with Aaron? The man was almost everything he had wanted. Smart, sexy, handsome, could hold a conversation on just about any subject and a good man. He didn’t understand it as he once again silently cried himself to sleep.
10 Years Later.

“Dr. Reid,” Spencer answered the phone while studying the geographic profile he had set-up. This particular unsub had been all over the place but they were narrowing down their search. Closing in on the suspect he just needed more information.

“Spencer, this is Jack Hotchner,” The young man on the other end of the line waited.

“Jack,” Spencer whispered as an old ache surfaced. “How, how are you?”

“I’m okay. Going into my third year of pre-law.” The boy had skipped grades and he had started college at sixteen. His father was immensely proud of him, “But that isn’t why I am calling. Spencer, Dad’s in the hospital. He wanted me to call you and tell you.” Spencer heard something in the young man’s voice that had a spike of fear arrowing through his heart.

“Jack, what, what’s wrong?” He was afraid to ask because he was afraid of the answer.

“Spencer, Dad had prostate cancer a few years ago. They were able to remove the tumor and he’s been on treatment for it and maintained, but earlier this year the cancer returned and it was virulent. We’ve moved back to Georgetown so he can be closer to better doctors.” Jack paused a moment before continued, “It’s metastasized in his hip and leg bones. He’s gone through all the treatments but there’s nothing more they can do for him.” Jack didn’t cry, he wasn’t going to, not with the man who hurt not only his father but him too. “Spencer, he’s dying.”

“No,” Spencer’s breath caught in his throat, “Jack,” Spencer sat heavily in one of the chairs in the conference room, “How, how long does he have?” It wasn’t a question he ever wanted to ask, not Aaron not him, why? Why him?

“The doctors give him a few weeks. I know it’s a lot to ask but he’s been asking to see you. Please Spencer, put aside whatever it was that happened and come see him. Please,” Jack didn’t want to beg but this was his father. The man who sacrificed so much for him.

It took Spencer a moment to find his voice, “Of, of course I’ll come. I’m in the middle of a case but I promise as soon as we get back. Where, where is he?” Jack gave him the details then hung up and Spencer put aside his phone. He couldn’t help it, he knew they were on a case but he couldn’t hold back. He was glad the doors were closed so he could let out the sob that bubbled up in the back of his throat. He sat there for a long time as he cried and his hands shook.

The team came back in and saw Spencer sitting there staring out the window, shoulders slumped and a cup of untouched coffee at his side.

“Reid?” Morgan walked in cautiously. This was worse than when Gideon had died, he could almost feel the waves of grief coming off his friend.

Spencer slowly turned around and the look on the younger man’s face was shocking. His eyes were red with dark circles and his face was pale, “I got a call from Jack.” He closed his eyes and tried to talk but more tears slipped out of his eyes, “It’s Aaron, Morgan. He ah, he’s in the hospital,” He tried to continue but was finding it difficult.

“Reid, what’s going on?” Morgan was by the younger man’s side in an instant.

“He’s, oh god Morgan, Aaron’s dying,” He looked up and saw the devastation on Morgan and JJ’s face. The rest of their team never had a chance to work with the infamous team leader and they knew this was personal. They excused themselves and left the three of them alone.

“What? What are you talking about pretty boy?” Morgan hadn’t used that term in a long time, except in social situations. This situation didn’t call for him to be the boss, this was not something he had ever wanted to hear.

“Spence, you, your wrong,” JJ looked devastated. She had been to Aaron’s new house just a few weeks ago. Jack and Henry were announcing their union and the families were ecstatic. Both young men wanted to finish college first but then after that they were getting married. “Will and I were just there, he, he didn’t say anything.”

“Did you know JJ? Did you know about the cancer?” Spencer looked at his friends and knew by their expressions that both of them had heard.

“Yes, but they got it Reid.” Morgan’s heart hitched, this could only mean one thing that the cancer had come back.

“Jack said it came back, that it spread quickly and has metastasized in the bones in his legs and hips,” He couldn’t look at them, they knew and they didn’t tell him. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Spencer sounded defeated.

“He asked us not to. He asked us to keep quiet about this because he knew you would go to him. He didn’t want that kind of stress at the time.” Morgan’s tone was soft as he explained Aaron’s wishes.

“I need to get out of here, I need to go see him,” He heaved out of the chair and started towards the door.

“Reid, we need to finish this, then we can go.” Morgan put on his unit chief persona. Even though he was devastated he had a job to do, they all did. Spencer came back in the room and with renewed vigor they worked to narrow down their search. They worked all day and into the early hours of the morning before they hit on their unsub. Morgan and JJ went on the raid but Spencer stayed behind. He knew he was emotionally compromised and wouldn’t be safe in the field.

A few hours later, after having caught their man, the team was exhausted as they boarded the plane. Spencer, JJ and Morgan all looked to the rear corner seat and sighed. That was always Aaron’s spot and they all sat with heavy hearts near the back. Each was lost in their own thoughts as they made their way home.

The next day Spencer went to the hospital and a big part of him was apprehensive. He knew Aaron wanted to see him but he was tremendously anxious. He was quickly directed by a nurse to Aaron’s room and what Spencer saw wasn’t the tall, broad, focused, devastatingly handsome man, now what he saw was an entirely different Aaron Hotchner. There were shadows under his eyes, his hair was thin and his normally athletic body was too thin and almost frail looking. Spencer took a moment to let himself adjust to seeing this Hotch. Plus all the machines he was hooked-up to was never something he had ever wanted to see.

“You don’t have to stand in the door way Spencer,” Aaron half-smiled and a bit of the old Aaron peeked through and the biggest emotion that seeped through was regret. Spencer stepped into the room gripping his messenger bag, using it like a shield.

“Still using that same bag?” Aaron smiled slowly as the genius moved farther into the room. Sitting down in the chair he slowly pulled it off him and set it aside.

“You gave it to me for my birthday.” He thought that would explain everything, but it didn’t he knew it was inadequate. “Jack called me, why didn’t you tell me Aaron? Why didn’t you let JJ and Morgan tell me?” He moved to take Aaron’s hand but the older man drew it back. He thought he was past the pain but seeing Spencer there he knew he wasn’t. It was still there, it was a dull ache, but it was still there, a constant reminder of love and loss.

“I didn’t want you to come to me out of pity,” It came out more bitter than he intended. This wasn’t what he wanted, he had wanted closure with Spencer before the cancer over took him and it was too late.

“Aaron,” Spencer bowed his head as shame once again filled him, “I’m so sorry. I truly never meant to hurt you.” When he looked back up and saw the pain on his former lover’s face it broke him.

“Spencer I gave you all of me. I was always honest with you about who I was and you took advantage of that,” Aaron laid his head back on the pillow and closed his eyes. “Did you ever find what you were looking for Spence?” Aaron asked softly.

“No, no Aaron I never did.” He didn’t want to say that he let slip what it was that he had needed. It took him a long time to figure out that he had cared more for Aaron than he wanted to admit, “I’ve never been able to forgive myself for what I did to you,” He kept his eyes on his fidgeting hands, he didn’t want to see the hurt in Aaron’s eyes, not now, not like this.

“Did you ever find someone Aaron?” Spencer had to know.

Aaron watched the younger man for a long time before he answered, “No Spencer I never found anyone else. I couldn’t let myself go through that again.” He swallowed back the tears and didn’t let them fall, “You would have been it for me. I wanted to give you everything Spencer. And dammit I still love you despite everything.”

Spencer kept his eyes lowered, this wasn’t what he had wanted to hear. He had wanted Aaron to find someone who would love him like he deserved to be loved.

Aaron took a deep breath before he spoke again, “Spencer look at me,” Aaron reached out his hand and the genius grabbed it, ignoring the fragility in those once strong hands. “I forgive you. I forgive you Spencer, I don’t want to die letting you believe I couldn’t forgive you. I do.” He smiled through the tears that finally fell.

“I don’t deserve it,” Spencer looked right at Aaron, “I lost you, the team lost you and the bureau lost the best agent they’ve ever had because of me. I’m sorry Aaron,” His breathing was shallow as they just sat there watching each other.

“Spencer, you have to forgive yourself. You can’t live the rest of your life with regrets.” Aaron took a chance and brushed a hand across the younger man’s cheek, “Like I said I never stopped loving you Spencer, I tried, god did I try but I just couldn’t.” He dropped his hand back on the bed and shut his eyes against a spike of pain that went through him.

“Aaron?” Spencer jumped up from his chair at the look that passed over the older man’s face.

When it passed he was able to speak again, “It’s okay, its just a pain spike. I’ve ah, I’ve gotten used to those over the last couple of weeks.” He looked over and saw the devastation on Spencer’s face. He wanted to refocus the man before his anxiety got the better of him, “I can guess that you have a couple of books in that bag of yours. Would you mind reading to me?”

Spencer’s face lit up a bit, this was something they used to do together and Spencer had to admit he missed it. “Of course,” He settled in the chair and lost track of time while he read to his former lover.

This was how Jack found them over the course of the next few weeks. Spencer took a leave of absence from the bureau, he had enough accumulated vacation time to last several months. He would come to the hospital every day and He and Aaron would talk like they used to and when the pain would spike he would pull out a book to read and it often helped to sooth the older man. Spencer also realized something in those few weeks, he realized he had loved Aaron all along and it was fear and longing for something that was so rarely achieved that had made him run. The day that he realized this he spent the entire night curled up on his bed crying. Pain and regret for the last ten years had flooded his heart. Ten years that he lost, ten years he could have spent with the man he loved and now he was going to lose him for good. The devastation of this knowledge changed him, broke him and he wasn’t sure if he could ever be fixed.

The next day he went to the hospital and when he walked into Aaron’s room he knew. Somehow he knew this was Aaron’s last day. It was almost instinct, when he walked in and saw the man on the bed so still, so quiet his pulse jumped and his breath caught in his throat. He put his bag down in the chair and crawled on the bed and held Aaron close.

“Spencer,” Aaron croaked out, his whole body was on fire with pain Spencer could see it clouding his eyes. He had just enough strength to wrap his arms around the genius and hold him close.

“Oh god Aaron, don’t go. Don’t leave me, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I was a fool you were it all along and I was too blind to see it. I love you Aaron, I love you,” Spencer broke against his lover as he held the man close.

“I know Spence, I’ve always known, that’s why it hurt so much.” Aaron was trying to hold on to wait for the one person in his life that had made it worth living, “Thank you Spencer, thank you for finally telling me.”

Jack had come into the room to see Spencer wrapped around his father. He somehow knew also that this was the day. He could almost feel it and the pain was almost too much. His father had been his whole world for so long. If Henry hadn’t been there for him, he would have been even more lost than he was now. He sat in the chair and grabbed his father’s hand.

Aaron turned his head and saw Jack sitting there, “Jack, I’m so proud of you son. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I won’t get to see you married. You take care of Henry, he loves you very much. Don’t make the mistakes I made with your mother. I love you Jack.” He gipped his son’s hand best he could as he lay back and closed his eyes.

A few minutes later and the arm around Spencer slipped and the heart monitor flat lined and two men grieved the loss of one amazing man. Aaron Michael Hotchner.
The funeral was over and Jack with Henry on one side of him and his aunt Jessica on the other was standing there as people passed and shook his hand, gave their condolences and moved on. Spencer thought he looked just like his father with that air of stoicism surrounding him. When it was Spencer’s turn the younger man’s face turned hard. The whole time that Spencer had spent with his father in the hospital they hadn’t talked, they avoided each other most of the time. The only time they interacted was the day his father passed away.

“Spencer,” Jack shook his hand as other mourners passed.

“I remember when you used to call me Uncle Spencer,” He tried to smile but it fell flat.

Jack’s face fell and old wounds surfaced, “You lost that privilege when you walked out on my Dad, on us.” Jack just stared at the genius waiting, for what he didn’t quite know.

Spencer didn’t know what to say, so he didn’t say anything as he moved on.

The team tried to engage him in conversation. Even Emily was there, Garcia having given her the news she flew out right away. Not even Alex could engage him. The pain was worse than anything he had ever felt, not even Maeve’s death was quite this painful. He felt like his whole life had crashed down on him and without a word he got up grabbed his bag and left. Several people tried to follow him but he just shook his head no. He wanted to be alone.

It scared him how quickly the depression fell over him, but it did. He was living in a cloud of pain and regret. He went to work every day, but that same enthusiasm, that same thrill he used to have for the job wasn’t there. In fact it hadn’t been there for a long-time. The day Aaron walked out of the FBI was the day that Spencer started to lose that love and passion he had for his job. Oh it was a slow progression and he didn’t recognize it, not at first. It was just more prominent now. He became the robot that the team always had teased him about being.

Morgan was worried about him and every time he tried to approach Spencer the younger man closed off, only talking about the cases. There was no more teasing, no more banter, no more magic tricks the Spencer Reid they all knew and loved was buried deep under that cloud of crushing grief. So when Spencer hadn’t called or shown up for work for two days Morgan wasn’t angry he was worried. He decided to go see what was going on.

The knock at the door pulled Spencer off the couch he had been slouched on for the last two days. Of course he didn’t really know that it had been two days because he had lost all track of time. The pounding at his door was more incessant and he rolled off the couch and made his way over to open it.

“What?” His words were slurred and he looked unsteady on his feet.

Morgan’s heart dropped in his stomach, “Reid, are you high?” He pushed the younger man against the wall and shoved up the stained bathrobe on his right arm. There alongside old scars were new track marks. “Goddammit Spencer, why?”

“It helps me to forget. Just leave me alone Morgan,” He stumbled towards the couch and slouched back down on it.

“Kid, I ain’t leavin’ you alone like this. Is this what you’ve been doing the last couple of days?” He looked around the apartment and it was littered with takeout boxes of food and coffee. There were books everywhere and it looked even worse than his depression over Maeve’s death.

“Just go, just leave me alone, its what I deserve,” He moaned out as he collapsed down.

“Spencer, you gotta stop this man, he wouldn’t want you to do this to yourself.” Morgan laid a hand on his arm and Spencer found an unknown strength and pushed the darker man away from him.

“Well he isn’t fucking here is he? He’s dead, He’s dead and I was an idiotic fool that let the best thing in my life slip away. LEAVE, JUST FUCKING LEAVE ME ALONE.” He shouted at Morgan.

“Kid, you need help, don’t let this destroy you. I can’t hide this. Aaron might have been able to, but I can’t.” Morgan tried again but Spencer pushed him away.

“What does it even matter. Aaron made the job matter and without him, we’re just chasing our tails,” He looked out the window with almost dead eyes and Morgan didn’t know what to do, “Just get out and leave me alone.” He said again as he continued to stare out his window.

Morgan sighed and hoped that he could somehow get through to Spencer. He wasn’t sure how but he was determined to help him. When he got back to work the next day he put in a medical leave of absence for Spencer and he hoped that he could do something within the allotted time.

Unfortunately they had back to back cases and Morgan didn’t get to Spencer’s for almost two weeks. When he got there Spencer wouldn’t open up so he used the key that the genius had given him years before. When he walked in it was worse than last time. Trash piled up everywhere, almost all of the books from his shelves were strewn about the apartment and he found Spencer laid out on the floor next to his couch. Fear spiked through Morgan’s heart as he ran to him. He felt his pulse and it was weak and thready. He looked him over and found the needle still stuck in his arm. Morgan didn’t waste any time, he grabbed the empty bottles of dilauded and stuffed them in his trouser pockets then he threw Spencer over his shoulder and hurried down to his car. He rushed to the nearest emergency room and ran in with Spencer in his arms.

Luckily it was the hospital that Savannah worked at and he had called ahead so when he burst through the doors of the emergency room someone was already waiting for him.

“Derek, put him here,” The nurse indicated a gurney that had already been prepared. “We’ll rush him in. Do you know what happened?” She stayed and asked Morgan questions as Spencer was rushed in to a cubicle so the doctor could work on him.

Morgan pulled the vials out of his pockets and handed them over, “I’m not sure how much he took. He was like this when I got to his apartment.”

“This helps, thank you. Now please just have some patience while the doctors work on him.” She indicated a chair for him that he could sit at to wait. Morgan couldn’t sit still though, his fear and worry spiked the longer the doctors took. He paced the room waiting to hear something, anything. It was two hours later when someone finally came out.

“Mr. Derek Morgan?” The doctor called out and Morgan was across the room in seconds.

“How is he?” Worry and fear shown on his face.

“You got him here just in time. We’ve been able to counteract the effects of the drugs. It’s lucky you brought those vials in or we would have wasted time in trying to figure out what it was the young man took.” The doctor paused to gather his thoughts, “Mr. Morgan I need to ask you some questions. I noticed the old track scars, how long has Dr. Reid been using?”

“It was over 18 years ago. He got himself clean and he’s been clean till now.” Morgan rubbed at his head as his mind was a jumble of thoughts.

“I see. Did he experience any major changes in his life recently?”

Morgan wasn’t sure how to answer that so he went with the simplest, “He ah, he recently lost his partner. It’s complicated Doctor. He fell into a depression and we, his friends, all tried to help but he just shut us all out.”

“I want to keep him a few days for evaluation. With this type of overdose I fear that there are underlying suicidal thoughts.” The doctor tried to be frank with Morgan and the agent appreciated it. “I’m going to keep him here for seventy-two hours. After he wakes-up I want to have him evaluated by one of our people from the psychiatric ward.” He said gently.

“Um, okay.” Morgan was now more than worried for his friend, he was terrified. He didn’t think Spencer was trying to kill himself, or was he?

“We have you down as his medical contact, is that correct?” The doctor asked Morgan.

“Um, yes, yes I am. Can I,” Morgan swallowed hard as he tamped down the emotional turmoil he was in, “Can I see him?”

“Mr. Morgan you can see him after the seventy-two hours. Then after his evaluation we’ll discuss options. For now he is going to be detoxing and it is a painful and terrible process. Once he is passed that you will be welcomed to see him.” The doctor shook Morgan’s hand then went back to check on Spencer.

It took longer than seventy-two hours. It was almost a week before the hospital called Morgan back. When the doctor did call he wanted to talk to the agent first before he allowed him to see the younger man.

“Mr. Morgan I am concerned about Dr. Reid’s mental state. The amount of dilauded in his system was quite a significant. The detoxing took a little longer than the average amount of time for that particular drug. When the psychiatrist first tried to speak with him he was silent and closed off, but a couple of days later Dr. Metzger tried again.” The doctor leaned forward on his desk and clasped his hands together, “Mr. Morgan I am afraid that you’re friend has experienced a significant Major Depressive Episode. This led to his drug relapse. The amount of drugs he took triggered a latent schizophrenic response. He is having paranoid delusions. My recommendation is for him to be hospitalized, at least for now. Its possible that this is a temporary response, that can sometimes happen with this type of overdose, but it’s also possible that with his family history with the disease its now manifest in him. We can either keep him here or this is a list of facilities that you might want to look into placing him in. All of these have a good track record in treating this type of mental disorder.” The doctor pushed over a list with some thick pamphlets with information on each of the facilities.

Morgan sat there stunned. Spencer had been so afraid of this happening for much of his adulthood and now his fears have come true. He took a few moments to gather himself before he decided to go see his friend.

Morgan walked into the room and was shocked to see how Spencer looked. His body was thinner, his hair was limp and lank, the almost perpetual circles under his eyes were darker and deeper. His hands didn’t stop fidgeting and he looked like he was calculating something in his head.

“Reid,” Morgan slowly came in the room and sat down in a chair next to the bed.

“Oh hey Morgan,” He smiled a boyish smile at his friend that Morgan hadn’t seen in a very long time. “Do you see him Aaron? I told you he’d come,” Spencer said off to the side. “What?” Spencer giggled slightly, “Shh, I can’t say that.” He turned back to Morgan, “Aaron’s being cheeky, you know like he used to be all those years ago.” Spencer laughed to himself.

Morgan closed his eyes and tried not to let his heart break. Spencer’s delusion was seeing Aaron and Morgan had to swallow back his emotions as he went along with Spencer’s delusion, “Well, that’s good to see. We missed his smile didn’t we kid,” Morgan knew from his years in the BAU that it was sometimes better to give into playing along with the delusion. He didn’t want to upset Spencer and trying to tell him that Aaron was a figment of his imagination would surely upset the genius.

“Did you know that there are about 20,000 species of butterflies in the world. About 725 species have occurred in North American north of Mexico, with about 575 of these occurring regularly in the lower 48 states of the United States, and with about 275 species occurring regularly in Canada.” Spencer spouted out and Morgan closed his eyes against the pain at seeing the brilliant but fractured man beside him. He smiled anyway and let Spencer ramble on.

“Something’s wrong, you never let me ramble this much. Now Aaron, he lets me ramble as much as I want, especially when we are alone. He never stops me, lets me run out of steam, its one of the things I love about him.” The genius smiled towards the invisible spectre and it broke Morgan.

“No kid, nothing’s wrong. Nothing at all.” He carried on the odd conversation with Spencer before he could no longer take it. He reassured his friend that he would be back the next day. He went home to his wife and later that night he broke apart in her arms. It tore at his heart that his friend was lost. Lost in the delusion of the man he had loved and let go of and he knew, he knew that the Dr. Spencer Reid he had come to know and love as his best friend was never coming back.