Title: Healing Touch
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Category: Friends-to-Lovers, A/B/O, Healing
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, OFC
Summary: Spencer has been watching his Alpha for a while and knows something is wrong. When Aaron collapses during a case the whole team worries. What they find out about his marriage to Haley will shock all of them and when Spencer is asked to help Aaron with his recovery how will their friendship change?
Tags: MPreg, A/B/O Dynamics, mental and physical health recovery, touch starved
This story came about from several long conversations with AlexiCyn about the power of touch and how humans need touch to survive emotionally and mentally. The A/B/O dynamic is not something I normally play with so I hope I did it justice.
I was gifting the work to AlexiCyn anyway but it’s just an added bonus that I can gift it to her on her birthday. Happy birthday and hope you enjoy this gift.
Spencer had been watching Aaron closely over the last month or so and noticed that things were not right. He had tried to talk to his boss several times but the Alpha just glared at him and snarled that everything was okay and he should mind his own business. Spencer didn’t take the attitude to heart because it just reaffirmed to him that something was really wrong. He hadn’t brought it up to Dave or any of the rest of the team because he thought they would think he was crazy. But what they didn’t understand was being an Omega he was sensitive to Aaron’s moods. He may not be a bonded Omega and maybe that was why he was so sensitive to his Alpha. He watched a moment as Aaron stalked around in his office having a heated telephone conversation and sighed.
“Why don’t you just tell him how you feel Spencer?” JJ had caught him watching their boss.
“What are you talking about JJ?”
“You’ve been watching Aaron like a hawk for months now. If you like him you should say something.”
“Jayje it’s not like that. We’re just friends, that’s all.” He sat back and took a moment to gather his thoughts together. “There is something not right JJ. His smell if off and so is his whole demeanor. I can’t put my finger on it but I’m worried about him, as a friend and as an Omega. He keeps pinging my senses and I don’t know what it means.”
“I can’t say I know what you’re feeling, maybe Garcia has sensed something?” Spencer considered that for a moment. As the only other Omega on the team she might be sensitive also to what was going on with their boss. But being bonded with Morgan might have dulled her Omega senses to the Alpha.
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll talk to her and see if she can sense anything. Thanks JJ.” Spencer knew his smile looked forced but he wanted to reassure JJ that he would be fine. He looked back up at Aaron’s office once more and saw him sit heavily in his chair as he held his head in his hands. Spencer knew then that it was something to do with Haley but he wouldn’t pry, at least not yet.
A few minutes later Garcia was walking across the bullpen with a file in her hands and Spencer knew there was a case. He reached in his drawer and took out the wristband that acted as a pheromone inhibitor. He was glad when they came out on the market because he really hated taking the monthly shots. It reminded him too much of things he didn’t want to be reminded of. He didn’t wear it in the office because most of the Alpha’s and Beta’s in his area were mated and bonded or on their way to becoming bonded. He was also grateful that he had just finished his heat the week prior, he did not want a repeat of four months ago when the case went too long and he ended up going into heat in the middle of it. That was not a pleasant experience because his usual partners were not available and no one at the station or on the team could help him until he was at the end. He was grateful that it was Aaron that had come to him at the end and plied him with food, water and the vitamin supplements that were so important afterwards. Spencer sometimes wondered how the Alpha knew just how to take care of all of them and never let anyone suffer. He supposed it was just who Aaron was to consider the team and his pack above himself. When his boss came to the landing outside of his office Spencer was ready when Aaron asked them to meet in the conference room. Once they were settled Garcia quickly ran the case by them.
“Okay scoobies you are are going to the northern mid-west state of North Dakota so take your thermals and jackets because you’re gonna need ‘em.” The Omega turned and clicked on the view screen so everyone could see the pictures of the victims. “We have three women who have been strangled and posed nude in the middle of a very public park. Now because of temperatures dropping the ME can’t get a set time of death but he has approximations on all the victims in your tablets and for our resident Luddite in your paper files.”
“Any signs of sexual assault?”
“No, none of the bodies had any signs at all of sexual violations. No traces of any kind actually. According to the ME they were all washed clean before being posed.”
Spencer was quickly going through each of the files to see if he could get a better sense on what was going on. Something was niggling at the back of his mind as he was going through them and concentrating on the details of their deaths.
“Garcia, were all three women Omega’s?”
“Yes, actually they were.”
“And it says here that each woman had recently given birth but there was no sign of where the babies are.”
“Exactamundo my Junior G-man. That is the second reason that the state police have called us out. Not only to find the killer of these women but to find the babies as well.” Spencer was quiet as the team bounced around ideas as to what was going on. He was so focused on the files he didn’t hear Aaron calling his name at first.
“Reid, do you have anything to add?” The Alpha had a stern look on his face when Spencer finally looked-up at him.
“I think our killer is an Alpha female Hotch. The strangulation but no signs of sexual release, the care taken with the bodies and the fact that each woman had given birth but no signs of the children are all telling.”
“That’s a good theory. We’ll talk more on the plane. Wheels up in forty. If any of you need to go home to get warmer clothing let me know now.” The team all stood and each said they needed time to run home and re-pack so Aaron adjusted it to one-hour. Spencer, however, stayed behind. He had a warm weather go-bag in his car that he always had just in case.
“Reid, do you need to go home and re-pack?”
“No Hotch I keep a cold weather bag in my car. After Alaska I want to be ready.”
“Look I know it’s close to your next heat, will you be okay for this case or do you need the week off?”
“It’s okay Hotch, I went through a little early and had it last week. I’ll be fine.” He looked up finally at his boss’s face and frowned. “Are you okay Hotch? You look exhausted.”
Spencer noted the dark circles under his eyes and on close inspection saw that his Alpha had also lost some weight. This really worried Spencer all the more.
“I’ll be fine Reid. Come on get your stuff and I’ll drive us to the airport.” Spencer let out a breath because he didn’t want to argue with his boss but he knew someone was going to have to confront Aaron on what was going on with him.
An hour later and they were on their way to North Dakota. The team was bouncing ideas back and forth and a theory was forming. It was suspected that the Unsub was a female Alpha that had lost her mate and possibly her children and she was trying to replace them. The Omega’s were just a means to an end. They wanted to try to find the babies quickly because of the dropping temperatures in the area.
They were landing four hours later and they hastily made their way to the police station and promptly got themselves set-up. There were the usual remarks and catcalls aimed at Spencer and Aaron quickly shut them down by showing his dominance over Spencer. The Omega let him. It bothered him when he had first joined the team but Gideon had taken him aside one day and explained that it was more for Spencer’s safety than anything. It wasn’t until their encounter with Dowd that Spencer realized how much Aaron did respect him. From then on he knew Aaron’s Dominant stance with him was to protect him from someone trying to force a bond he didn’t want or worse. Being an unmated Omega had its dangers being on the team but he took precautions and for four years lived in a comfortable safety zone.
The team quickly got set-up and down to business. Aaron sent teams out to the ME’s, the dump sites and to speak with the families of the victims. Once they had as much information as they could gather they hammered out a better profile and called the officers together to present it to them. Spencer was watching Aaron a little more closely and noticed he was swaying on his feet. His worry amped up and he knew he was giving off a fear scent because both Aaron and Morgan were looking at him frowning.
As the team got set-up in the bullpen Aaron was stepping out of the small conference room they were using and Spencer was right behind him. They didn’t even get a few steps out of the conference room when Aaron collapsed right in front of Spencer. Because he was waiting for something to happen Spencer didn’t panic he went right into first aid mode.
“Hotch, can you hear me? Hotch?” He put his fingers on Aaron’s pulse point and noticed the very slow beat. He immediately called for 911 and ordered everyone around them to stay back.
“Why should we listen to a little Omega like you?” One of the Alpha’s that had given Spencer a hard time when they got to the station thought this was his chance to push in and intimidate Spencer.
“Because he’s my boss and our Alpha. And if you don’t move the hell away from me I will not hesitate to pull my gun on you, understand?” Spencer glared at the overly aggressive Alpha a moment and was satisfied when the man backed down and moved away. Morgan took that moment to stand next to Spencer with his arms crossed glaring at the two Alpha officers, daring them to try something.
Spencer took his pulse and after JJ had brought a first aid kit over Spencer was checking his temperature and heartrate. It was the temperature of 104.5 that worried him but Aaron’s heartrate was dangerously slow and that worried him more. He was never so grateful to see the EMT’s as he was at that moment.
“His temperature is 104.5, his heartrate is below 40. I was just getting to his blood pressure when you guys got here. He’s a 44 year old Alpha and in the last month I have noticed a drop in weight as well as signs of him not sleeping well.”
The EMT looked impressed and conveyed the information to the local hospital what Spencer told them. They got Aaron on oxygen and loaded him up in the ambulance ready to go when Spencer insisted on going with them.
“We’ll follow behind you pretty boy.” Morgan looked worried as they loaded Aaron and he was still unresponsive.
Spencer nodded and was grateful that no one protested his going with their boss and friend.
Everyone but Spencer was pacing the waiting room to hear what was going on with Aaron. At several points during the wait each had apologized to Spencer for not listening to him when he tried to say that something was wrong with their Alpha. Spencer brushed it off and said he understood. Finally after a couple of hours a doctor came out to speak with them.
“Is there a Dr. Spencer Reid here?”
“I’m Dr. Reid,” Spencer said as he stood and walked towards the Doctor.
“I have it here that you have Mr. Hotchner’s medical power of attorney when out in the field, is that correct?”
“Yes. We have each other’s, he’s the Alpha of our group.”
“Well I have the results of the tests but I’d like to speak with you in private for a few minutes first.”
The rest of the group started to protest and when Spencer finally got them to calm down he said he would share once he knew what was going on. The team reluctantly agreed and Spencer was following the Doctor back to his office.
“Have a seat Dr. Reid.” Spencer sat down across from the Doctor and waited patiently.
“I’m pretty sure you are aware of Omega Drop, correct?”
“Of course. I only had it happen once in college when I turned fifteen and went through my first heat. I had no idea really what to do. Are you saying that Aaron experienced> something like that?”
“Its not as uncommon as you think. Alpha Drop happens more often than the medical community likes to talk about. Mr. Hotchner is underweight for an Alpha of his height and structure. His temperature has climbed to 106 since he’s been brought in and we are doing everything we can to bring it down. Dr. Reid do you know anything of his home life?”
“No, I know he’s been having problems with his mate Haley but beyond that he keeps things pretty close to the chest.”
“For an Alpha to have gotten to this point it means that there has been systematic neglect for quite some time. I’m not sure how long but it has to have been happening for over a year now.”
Spencer looked shocked at the Doctor’s words as he sat back in the chair he was in.
“What are you saying Doctor?”
“I’m saying that he has been severely abused. There are no physical signs but I am guessing its mental and possibly sexual abuse. The withholding of sex for long periods of time for an Alpha is just as damaging to their mental and physical health as any other type of sexual abuse.”
Spencer cursed Haley under his breath but he wouldn’t say anything to the Doctor, not till he could talk to Aaron.
“What can you do for him Doctor?”
“I’m recommending he be placed in a rehabilitation center for a period of at least six-months. He needs mental and physical rehabilitation. I have three centers in DC that cater to the issues of Alpha drop and they are very discreet. Since you hold his power of attorney and I can’t get ahold of his wife I’m letting you look over these information packets and you can choose which would be best for Mr. Hotchner. Now having a lot of experience with Alpha’s I know he may argue with you on this and if you need help I will be around, just tell one of the nurses and they’ll come find me.”
“Can I see him?” Spencer asked and tried to tamp down on his growing concern. He kept a tight hold on the information packets just to have something to hold on to
“Of course. Follow me.”
Spencer stood and followed the Doctor out towards Aaron’s room. When they got there Aaron was sitting up in bed trying to eat some broth that had been brought to him. Spencer immediately went over and sat in a chair next to him and quirked-up a brow.
“You scared the hell out of me Hotch.”
Aaron set the cup down and looked at Spencer. “I know. I’m sorry Spencer. I shouldn’t have dismissed your concerns but it was a private matter and I thought I was handling it.”
“Well obviously you weren’t.”
Aaron closed his eyes and let his head fall back on the bed.
“What’s going on Aaron? You know you can talk to me. I thought we were better friends than this.”
Aaron was silent for quite a while as Spencer sat there patiently. “We are and again you’re right I probably should have talked to someone but I thought I was handling it fine.”
“Aaron, you’re my friend. One of my best friends and I’m going to ask you something and I would like it very much if you answered me honestly.” Spencer breathed in deep shoring-up his courage. “Is Haley abusing you?”
“I don’t know. We haven’t been…” Aaron looked to the side of the room so he didn’t have to look at Spencer. “Intimate with each other for a while.”
Spencer wanted to ask how long but he knew the question could wait. He reached out and touched Aaron on the arm and almost instantly his eyes rolled back in his head and he stiffened up. The alarm bells on the EKG and other monitors started to go crazy. Spencer jumped back and stayed in a corner while nurses rushed in with the Doctor right behind.
“What the hell happened?” The Doctor shouted over the noise.
“I don’t know, we were talking and all I did was touch his arm then everything went crazy.”
“Damn, its worse than I thought.” Spencer was ordered out of the room while the medical staff worked to stabilize Aaron. He was pacing back and forth worry and fear ramped up his hormones and he couldn’t help giving off a smell of anxiety and fear.
“Dr. Reid,” Aaron’s Doctor said as he carefully approached the distressed Omega.
“How is he?”
“I’m afraid it may be worse than I originally thought. His reaction to your touch means that he’s been suffering for years not months. It’s something called Touch Atrophy and he is lucky he is even sane at this point. Alpha’s need touch, just as much as Omega’s do but they don’t like to talk about it. He really needs the rehab Dr. Reid and I believe its going to be a lot more intensive than what I originally thought.”
“Okay. Then we’ll deal with this one step at a time. Thank you Doctor. Can I see him again?”
“Yes, for a few minutes he really needs his rest. Just be careful and no skin to skin contact for the time being.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
Spencer sighed deeply as he went back in the room with Aaron and sat down. He watched his boss sleeping and wondered just what happened in his marriage that caused it to get this far. He figured out rather quickly that Haley must have been seeking outside partners for her heats. It pissed Spencer off. He silently stood and walked out of Aaron’s room then stormed outside pulling his phone from his pants pocket and dialing Aaron’s house number. A few rings later and he heard Haley answering.
“You have a lot of explaining to do Mrs. Hotchner. Aaron is right now in the hospital from Alpha Drop. The Doctor treating him is worried and frankly so am I. When I went to touch him he went into shock. What the hell do you have to say for yourself?”
“Nothing. What happens in my marriage is none of your business. Besides I’m sure you know all about my husband’s sex life, don’t you Dr. Reid?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Oh come on. I know you bend over for my husband so this little theatrics you’re throwing can just end here and now.”
“You’re crazy you know that? Hotch and I are only friends. I’ve never had sex with him. He wouldn’t cheat on you but by you deflecting blame back on me and the way you don’t even seem to care that your husband could die I can infer that you are cheating on him. And if something terrible does happen and he does die I will make sure you go to prison for systematic spousal abuse. And that is not a threat that is a promise.”
“Look the Omega with a badge has got spine after all. I dare you to prove that I’ve done anything wrong,” Haley hissed at him through the phone.
“Oh, I will Mrs. Hotchner, don’t you worry. I will.” Spencer was fuming by the time he shut off his phone and shoved it into his pants. When he looked back up he saw the team standing there with their mouths gaping open.
“Kid, you better tell us what is going on.” Dave said as he carefully approached Spencer.
Taking several deep breaths while pacing back and forth Spencer was able to get himself under control.
“Hotch went into Alpha Drop. His temperature spiked but his heart rate and blood pressure are slowly normalizing. I barely touched his arm and he went into shock. The Doctor thinks he is suffering from something called Touch Atrophy. It’s bad enough that he is recommending a minimum of six-months of rehabilitation.”
The team looked devastated. No one made a move or said a word. It was finally Rossi who spoke up.
“And you think something between Aaron and Haley has caused this.”
“The Doctor told me that an Alpha only gets to this point when there has been years of systematic emotional and sexual abuse. I don’t want to break Hotch’s confidence but I may need your guys help in getting him to co-operate.” Spencer could feel the crash coming. He had been on an emotional roller-coaster in such a short-time that he swayed slightly as he stood there.
“Whoa there Reid. You haven’t eaten anything for hours now. Why don’t we go to that diner down the road and you can tell us more. Okay?”
Spencer was going to protest but looking up at JJ and Morgan he knew they were right. “Okay, you’re right come on.” They all piled into one SUV and made it to the diner in a short-time. The waitress quickly seated them and took drink orders then left them alone.
“Okay Reid, start from the beginning. You don’t have to break any confidences and you know whatever you tell us will go no farther than us right here.” Morgan gave him an encouraging smile.
Spencer took a long sip of his coffee to help settle him then he began with how he had noticed something wrong with Aaron for the last few months. Spencer went through everything the Doctor told him and how touching Aaron made the Alpha react. Once he was done he also told them his suspicions about Haley and that he wanted proof of her cheating.
“How do you know she’s cheating Reid?” Emily had been quiet trying to take in everything. She had wanted to understand what was going on before she asked any questions.
“Because no bonded Omega would go outside of their mates when they go in heat. Aaron used to take three days consistently every time Haley had hers. It was like clockwork. Except in the last two to three years he hasn’t been taking those days, and knowing the kind of Alpha, the kind of man Hotch is he wouldn’t leave her alone to suffer. So, either something’s changed with Haley physically or she is going to someone else.”
“That’s quite the accusation Spencer.” Rossi was trying to wrap his head around what Spencer was saying. He had known Aaron and Haley in their early days and he often remarked how close the two of them were. It was hard for him to believe that Haley was hurting Aaron.
“It’s not all I’m accusing her of. Hotch is showing signs of emotional and sexual abuse. The Doctor explained that the withholding of sex for an Alpha is abusive if it’s done over a long period and Hotch’s reaction to just me touching his arm is very telling.”
The team ordered food and talked some more through dinner. Spencer was still pissed but there wasn’t anything he could do about it at the moment. He wanted to go to the hospital and asked to be dropped off while the rest of the team went to the hotel to get some rest. Spencer went right to Aaron’s room and looked over the packets that the Doctor had given him. The one that looked the most promising was structured like a home. There was still medical grade rehabilitation equipment, nurses, psychologists and Doctors who came to administer care there rather than moving patients all around the city. Spencer liked the overall look of it so he dug out his phone and looked them up on-line. The reviews and testimonials looked legitimate but he had one more way to make sure.
“Garcia,” Spencer said quietly into the phone. “I need you to look up everything you can about Wild Oaks Rehabilitation Center.”
“Oh now Reid, give me something hard.” Garcia teased as he she tapped away at her computer.
“Well it’s got a 90 percent approval rate from many local doctors as well as glowing independent reviews by former residents. They are all…” Garcia stopped talking and Spencer knew that she had figured it out. “What’s going on Spencer?”
Spencer quietly and quickly told her what was going on but not the causes. When she pressed he told her to calm down that everything was going to be alright and he would tell her more when he could. At the moment he just cared about Aaron.
Spencer’s head shot-up and he saw Aaron sitting up slightly in bed.
“Hey yourself. How are you feeling” Spencer ended the call with Garcia put the packet aside and walked to the side of the bed.
“I’ve been better.”
“Well, we’ll get you home and feeling more like yourself in no time.”
“The Doctor already explained about the re-hab. He told me everything Spencer. So, have you made a decision?” Spencer didn’t miss the hard tone to Aaron’s voice.
“Yes. I think it’s the best option and I think you’ll be more comfortable there.” Spencer showed Aaron the packet for Wild Oakes and though he didn’t really want to go he liked the look of the place.
“I thoroughly checked it out and it’s safe and most Alpha’s who have come through have positive experiences. I didn’t want to arbitrarily choose and thought you should have a say in where you went. This is also close enough that Jack can come see you as well.”
Aaron handed the brochures back to Spencer and laid back on the bed. “It’s fine Reid. Thank you for showing me at least.” Aaron turned away from Spencer and looked out the window and into the darkening sky.
“Well, I’ll let you get some rest.” Spencer didn’t know what else to say as he started to leave the room.
“Reid,” Aaron called out to him.
Aaron frowned down at his hands before he said what he wanted. “Do you mind staying? I don’t really want to be alone.” Spencer knew how much that had taken for Aaron to ask and he wasn’t going to let his friend down.
“Just let me talk to the Doctor and I’ll be right back. Okay?”
Spencer saw how much Aaron was struggling not to show his vulnerability and it broke his heart, “Alright. Thank you Reid.”
“You don’t have to thank me Hotch.” Spencer gave him a quick smile before he turned to go find the Doctor. He didn’t have to wait long before he was escorted to the Doctor’s small office.
“I talked it over with Hotch and he’s okay with Wild Oakes. It’s close to his home and it wouldn’t be a burden to have his son come visit. He also liked the house type atmosphere.”
“Good, that’s a good choice and one I would have recommended in this situation. I’ll make the arrangements in the morning. Was there something else you had on your mind Dr. Reid?”
“I don’t know what hospital policy is but he doesn’t want to be alone and he’s asked me to stay. Is there any way that we can make that happen?”
“Normally I wouldn’t allow it but with Alpha’s in Mr. Hotchner’s situation it’s highly encouraged. The fact that he reached out to you is good. Why don’t you wait in the cafeteria and I’ll get it set-up.” The Doctor once more led Spencer out of the office and he directed him to the cafeteria. He really needed more coffee to help him settle. By the time he got back to Aaron’s room it had been moved around so the equipment was behind his bed but still in easy reach and a second bed was next to his. Spencer blushed a little seeing how close they were and the rails had been taken down. The nurse who was finishing up turned to Spencer and smiled.
“Here, these are for you, just-in-case.” It was a pair of long gloves. Spencer gave her a confused look so the Nurse took him outside the room and said quietly, “He may reach out while he sleeps. Not many people realize how much Alpha’s need physical contact. It’s something that isn’t talked about because we all see them as these strong unbreakable people. Don’t panic if he does reach out for you. Because of his earlier reaction skin contact for the time being has to be at a minimum. Wear these along with long pants and a t- shirt and you should be fine.”
Spencer looked a little overwhelmed at the moment but the Nurse gave him a reassuring squeeze on the arm. Taking a deep breath he called Rossi to ask if he could bring him his go-bag. Rossi was more than glad to help and showed-up quickly. Saying their goodnights Spencer went back into Aaron’s room and changed. He put on a pair of thin sweat pants and a t-shirt then the long gloves just in case.
Aaron woke-up a short-time later to see Spencer sitting-up in bed reading.
“Thank you Reid, for staying.”
Spencer set the book aside and looked over to his boss. The raw vulnerability in his eyes broke Spencer’s heart. He had never seen Aaron Hotchner look like that and it scared him a little. Shoring up his resolve he turned and studied Aaron for a moment before he said anything.
“it’s nothing Hotch. Tell me what you need.”
Aaron frowned and swallowed down his emotions before he was able to speak again. He knew he and Spencer had a strong friendship but what he wanted, no needed may be too much to ask but he decided to take a chance.
“I know it may be asking a lot but,” he stopped what he was saying and took a deep breath. “Never mind.”
“Hotch, I’m here to help you so tell me what you need.”
“Do you mind,” Aaron was having a hard time asking for what he wanted as he looked down at his hands. “Do you mind if I just hold you. I know we don’t have that type of relationship but…” Spencer put his book aside and slid over to Aaron’s bed. He lowered it back down and made sure there was no skin contact before he lay down and slung an arm around Aaron’s waist.
Aaron wrapped an arm around Spencer and held him close. The relief he heard in the sound his Alpha made Spencer knew he had made the right decision. He didn’t say anything or move positions when he felt the quiet sobs coming from the man he was holding. He kept his thoughts to himself about what he thought about Haley at the moment. Aaron didn’t need to hear it. What he needed was compassion and understanding.
Slowly he felt Aaron’s breathing even out as he fell asleep once again. He knew it had been bad but he didn’t realize it was this bad for him to sleep so much in one day. Spencer didn’t dare move except to shift a little and when the arm around him tightened Spencer placed his gloved hand over Aaron’s heart. He held in his own emotions over what he felt for his friend but a part of him had wanted to cry himself. Soon though he too was falling asleep hoping that the next day would be a better day.
The Doctor made the arrangements the next day and came to let Aaron and Spencer know. The hospital was going to send Aaron to Wild Oakes by medical air transport and Spencer would be allowed to go along. Now Spencer had to make a decision on whether to go with his boss or to stay and work the case. He was torn and pacing the waiting room when Rossi and Morgan came by to check on Aaron.
“Hey Reid, you okay?” Morgan laid a hand on Spencer’s shoulder stopping his pacing.
“Aaron is being released to the rehab center and I’ve been cleared to go with him but we have the case and I feel bad leaving you guys.”
“Reid, we’ll be okay. You go with Hotch. I think we’d all feel better anyway that someone we trust was with him.” Rossi gave him a reassuring smile.
“You guys sure? Do you want me to do anything before we go?”
“How about if we run into a problem we’ll call you and bounce the case off you but otherwise concentrate on Hotch.”
“Okay.” Spencer spent a few moments giving Morgan and Rossi his theories about the case when Aaron’s Doctor came to find him.
“They are loading Aaron onto the transport helicopter. He’s asking if you’re going to go with him.”
“Yeah, I’ll be right there.” He turned to his teammates and smiled a quick shy smile at them. “I’ll call and let you guys know what’s going on and when Aaron’s settled. “
“Okay Reid. Don’t worry about us, you take care of bossman, okay?” Morgan patted him on the back to help him settle a bit before letting him go.
Spencer nodded his head then slung his satchel over his head and grabbed his go bag signaling he was ready. The Doctor led him to the helicopter and Spencer quickly got settled next to Aaron. After they were in the air Spencer tried to relax a little. They didn’t talk much but Aaron kept unconsciously reaching for Spencer’s gloved hand.
Spencer tried not to look too deep into why Aaron specifically wanted him there he would just be there in whatever capacity was needed to help his Alpha get better.
The flight was long and by the time they landed and made it to the rehab center both Aaron and Spencer were exhausted. Neither of them were used to helicopters and the flight was not nearly as comfortable as the Bureau plane. Aaron was still shaky on his feet as they got him inside the facility. They were greeted by a pretty brunette who told them she was going to be Aaron’s rehab counselor. Spencer could tell from her scent that she was an Alpha female which seemed to put him at ease but Aaron on edge.
“Mr. Hotchner I’m sure you’re tired from the long flight and would like to rest. I can show you immediately to your room and Dr. Reid you are more than welcome to come. Once we get you settled if you’d like I can have some food brought to your room and we can talk for a little bit. How does that sound?”
Aaron looked up from the wheelchair he was forced into and glared. Now that he was out of the woods his pride and arrogance kicked in. Spencer could see the change and he just shook his head at his stubborn friend.
“If you insist.” Aaron crossed his arms as Spencer pushed the chair while the counselor, Maiya Simmons, led them to Aaron’s assigned room.
It was a long awkward trip for Spencer as he watched Aaron retreat back into himself. He knew this was going to be difficult on the Alpha and he felt bad for Ms. Simmons. Aaron could be very stubborn when he wanted to be.
“Well, here we are,” Spencer was inwardly thanking whatever god came to mind because he wasn’t sure if he could take the awkward silence anymore. Spencer left the wheelchair outside and helped Aaron up and out of it. The Alpha growled slightly at having to lean onto someone just to make it across the room to the bed. Spencer just lifted a brow and let his annoyance at Aaron show. When he finally got Aaron settled he looked around the room and saw how comfortable and non-hospital like it looked.
“Looks really comfortable at least,” Spencer said as he pulled up a chair to sit next to the bed.
“We try to make it as comfortable and homelike as possible. This usually eases most Alphas. We also try to use cleaning products that won’t interfere with your scent glands so you have better control with the staff’s and resident’s scent markers. Most of our general staff are Beta’s. We found this was more comfortable to the Alpha’s that come here for long-term treatment.”
Aaron looked around and tried to settle the internal emotional turmoil he was feeling. He didn’t know how to tell Spencer how grateful he was feeling that a familiar face was sill with him. He didn’t want to admit how scared he actually was and it came out as annoyance..
“Hotch, you need to have something to eat. Neither of us has had much today at all.”
Aaron frowned as he looked over at Spencer. He could practically smell the anxiety pouring off the Omega. He was about to refuse but he figured it would distress Spencer even more and he knew if something happened to his subordinate that he’d feel guilty.
“Okay, Reid, we’ll eat. Is it okay if we stay in the room? I hate to admit that the trip did tire me out.”
“Of course. Just give me a few minutes and I’ll be back with something for both of you.”
When the counselor left Aaron turned to Spencer. “Thank you Reid, for everything.”
“You don’t have to thank me Hotch. I care about you and I’ve been worried for a while now so I’m just glad I could help. Do you want me to stay a little longer?”
“I would appreciate that.” Spencer smiled as he laid a hand on Aaron’s leg making sure not to make skin contact.
Spencer looked up when he heard a soft clearing of a throat and saw the counselor coming into the room pushing a cart with food and what looked like a carafe of coffee.
“We’re having stew tonight. I brought one for each of with some toast and a salad.” She moved to the table in the corner of the room and set it up. Spencer helped Aaron off the bed and settled him in a chair at the table. Ms. Simmons was setting two coffee cups down and was pouring as the two men sat down.
“Okay, I’m going to go over what will happen over the next few weeks. Things can be adjusted as we figure out what will work best for you. This isn’t a cookie cutter regime Mr. Hotchner we tailor the rehab to the individual. Now I’ve gone over the reports from the Doctor who treated you in North Dakota and I have to say that I am quite surprised that you are even still upright.”
“What do you mean?”
Ms. Simmons set the file down and clasped her hands over it while she leaned forward a little.
“What I mean Agent, is that for an Alpha to have the kind of severe drop that you’ve experienced tells me that you are going through mate-bond rot. It means that your Omega has been neglecting you to the point that you are in constant distress and that I consider spousal abuse. This wasn’t just a few months Mr. Hotchner. This has been happening for a few years. The fact that you are sane at all tells me that you are either a very strong Alpha or you have someone that has been inadvertently helping you.”
Aaron picked-up his coffee and took a sip to help settle his emotions. He didn’t think whoever they got to work with him would be that intuitive. He knew then he was going to be forced to talk about Haley eventually, but it didn’t mean that he liked it. Setting his coffee aside he took a deep breath.
“I have certain members of my team that when I touch them, even slightly it helps settle me. I found this out quite by accident.”
“I see. That’s rare that an Alpha can stabilize outside of their mate-bond. You must be very close to your team to be able to do that.”
“They are more than my team Ms. Simmons. They are more like family. We’ve been through a lot together.”
“Traumatic events can bring people close and it sounds like you’ve created a pack with your team.”
Aaron looked to Spencer for a moment and carefully considered Ms. Simmons words. He hadn’t ever thought of it like that before. He barely knew his father’s pack and hadn’t really grown-up in a pack environment, though he did know a few members of the BAU did.
“I guess you’re right. I hadn’t really thought of it like that.” Aaron wanted to reach out for Spencer but he held himself back. He wanted to do this on his own and didn’t want to rely on anyone else.
“Well, its one of the things that we can talk about. Okay, let me tell you what’s going to happen. First I want to slowly up your calorie intake and bring your weight back up. I’m also putting you on a physical therapy regimen that will include mixture of aerobic and anaerobic exercises to help re-build muscle. Is there a particular activity that you especially enjoy?”
“Running. I like to do marathons.” Ms. Simmons made some notes on a chart in front of her.
“Okay, we’ll start with a treadmill at fifteen minute intervals three times a day. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot but Mr. Hotchner you need to rebuild your stamina. When I see a marked improvement we’ll up the length of time. Three times a week we’ll have individual counseling sessions. Now I know I can’t make you discuss anything but for you to get the most out of this you need to make the conscious decision to help yourself. I know it won’t be easy for someone like you, who is used to keeping things in, to talk about what got you to this place, but if you don’t talk about it I could see a relapse in your future.”
Aaron crossed his arms and glared at the counselor. He knew he needed to drop the stubbornness, but it wasn’t going to be easy. He contemplated his options and formulated a plan in his mind to try to get out of this as soon as he could. He would just think like a profiler.
“Also, you are going to need someone to help you with touch therapy.” Aaron was in his head planning his way around Ms. Simmons when he was caught off guard.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Just what I said. We need you to get used to touching and being touched again. This isn’t going to be a quick fix Mr. Hotchner. Your physical reaction to just Dr. Reid toughing a small part of your arm was alarming Agent. You need someone you trust that can stay with you. This person will have to be with you almost twenty-four seven. And, we are going to work slowly on the therapy. Now, I’d prefer if it was an Omega that you trust but a Beta would be fine too just not as effective. Regular humans won’t work because they don’t have the same comforting pheromones that Beta’s and especially Omega’s give off. I’ll give you some time to finish your dinner and come back in about an hour. If you know of someone that can help you, then I’d suggest you call them and talk it over.” Ms. Simmons got up to leave and as soon as she shut the door Aaron blew out a breath in frustration. Spencer ate in silence as he felt the distress coming from Aaron. He didn’t know what to say so he just concentrated on eating. After a few minutes of silence he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. He looked up and was startled once again by the raw vulnerability he saw in Aaron’s eyes.
“Reid, I know it’s a lot to ask and I know it would take you out of the field for the next six months but,” Aaron mumbled something before he continued. “I’d like it to be you.”
Spencer wasn’t prepared for Aaron asking him this. He set his spoon down, grabbed for his coffee and drank deeply to help settle him. He looked around the room and was glad to see that it was so different from his mother’s room at Bennington that it didn’t feel the same.
“I know it’s asking a lot and I know you probably hate anything to do with treatment centers like this. The enormity of what I’m asking is not lost on me, but Reid there is no one that I trust more.”
Spencer watched his Alpha for a moment contemplating what Aaron is asking of him. He took off the bracelet and let his Omega instincts take over. He got up and walked around the room. Looked in the bathroom, closet and the small connected room. He was surprised to see it set-up almost like a nest for Omega’s when they go into heat. It looked quite comfortable which surprised him. He still had questions but he would wait for Ms. Simmons to come back. When he looked back to the table he saw such raw emotions in his friend’s eyes he knew he couldn’t deny Aaron this. He’d set aside his own fears to help his Alpha.
“Okay. I’ll do it.”
Spencer didn’t want to look too much into why Aaron looked so relieved. It was something he would set aside for now and bring-up with him later. He walked back to the table and settled back down to finish eating.
“Spencer, thank you.” The use of his first name had Spencer frowning at his boss but he supposed that in this situation they weren’t boss and subordinate, he was just a friend helping a friend.
“You don’t have to thank me,” Spencer paused because he didn’t think using Aaron’s nickname was appropriate in their current situation either. “Aaron.”
A few minutes later Aaron heard a knock on the door which Spencer went to open. Ms. Simmons was back and she smiled at the two men as he settled back down at the table.
“So, Mr. Hotchner, have you been able to make a decision on who your rehab partner is going to be?”
“Dr. Reid. We’ve talked about it and he’s agreed.”
Ms. Simmons smiled and seemed glad that Aaron had chosen Spencer.
“Okay. Dr. Reid do you have any questions?”
“Well, I read a lot and like to have a lot of books with me, will that be a problem?”
“Absolutely no problem at all. In fact I’ll have a bookcase brought in and set-up for you.”
“Will I have to wear my suppressant band at all times?”
“Only when in the public areas of the facility. More for your safety than anything else. In the private areas, feel free to take it off. I assume you found the Omega room?”
“Yes I did. It looks quite comfortable.”
“We try to make all aspects of this as comforting as possible. Any other questions? I’m sure you are both tired and want some time to yourselves.”
“Nothing right now. Please Ms. Simmons call me Spencer.”
“Okay I will.” Aaron also told the counselor to stop calling him Agent and to use his first name. After a few more minutes of discussion Ms. Simmons got up and left the two men alone.
“I think I’m going to turn in Spencer. I’m exhausted.” Spencer helped Aaron get changed into sleep pants and a t-shirt and he did the same as well. They talked for a while and made plans for Spencer to go the next day and pack them both some clothes and Aaron wanted a few books and movies from his house. Spencer knew he needed to go into the office in the morning to sign some paperwork for both his and Aaron’s leave of absence while Aaron recovered. After a while Spencer noticed Aaron falling asleep as exhaustion took over. Turning out the lights and making sure he had the gloves on Spencer crawled into bed next to Aaron. When he felt his Alpha enveloping him in his arms Spencer didn’t protest, he knew Aaron needed, no more like craved the contact. He was like a thirsty man in a dessert and Spencer was now his Oasis.
Spencer didn’t know what to make of his own feelings as he felt comforted in the arms of his boss. He didn’t want to look too closely at what that could mean. He was here for Aaron, it didn’t matter what he felt so he put it aside as he too slipped into slumber.
Spencer felt bad for leaving Aaron, though the Alpha said enough times that he would be fine for the few hours that Spencer was going to be gone. The first thing he did was to go to the office to talk with Strauss.
“Dr. Reid, what is it I can do for you?”
“I’m sure you’ve been updated on Aaron’s condition.”
“Yes, I got the medical reports and the Doctors signing off on his leave of absence. But what does this have to do with you Dr. Reid?”
“Aaron has picked me to be his therapy partner. I can’t go into specifics as it is confidential but according to his assigned counselor I can assure you it is essential to his recovery.”
“This means that you too will be out on a six month leave.” Strauss gave Spencer a stern look, she was unhappy that one Agent was down now she was being told that two of them would be down.
“Yes. I have the paperwork signed off by both the center Doctor and Hotch’s counselor. It should be treated like a normal medical leave just like Hotch’s is.”
Strauss took the paperwork from Spencer and couldn’t quite keep the disgruntled look off her face. She carefully set it down on her desk and eyed Spencer for a few minutes before she spoke.
“I expect regular updates on his progress.”
“I’m not sure I can agree to that. Agent Hotchner’s therapy and recovery is covered under a confidentiality clause in the paperwork you just signed off on.” Spencer sat back in his chair and crossed his arms while he watched the play of barely controlled fury on his bosses face.
“Then speak with his counselor and find out what you can give me. You are both still Agents of the Bureau Dr. Reid. I’m not asking to betray his therapy, I just want to be kept in the loop on his progress.”
“I’ll see what I can do. Now I have other matters to take care of for Hotch.”
Strauss dismissed Spencer with a curt nod of her head. It made the Omega proud that he could stand up to Strauss who was always so contentious with Aaron. Spencer ducked out quickly before he could be spotted by Garcia. He didn’t want to have to answer questions that he didn’t have many answers to. He was also sure that Aaron wouldn’t want him discussing what was going on with the analyst, he would leave it to Morgan to tell his mate the generalities of Aaron’s condition.
Spencer quickly drove to his apartment and grabbed his larger suitcase he threw clothes in there that he knew would be easier to take care of. He left his suits alone and only took casual clothes. In a second bag he pulled books off his shelf that he had bought and hadn’t had time to read. He also grabbed his Doctor Who and Star Trek DVD’s and shoved them in. He checked his accounts and set-up auto pay for his rent and other bills that may come in. He put his mail and subscriptions on hold as well. He also turned off the gas and water and shut off the automatic central air. He didn’t want anything running while he was gone, he didn’t want to come home to unexpected expenses. He made a note in his phone to call Bennington and let his mother know what was going on. When he was satisfied he took care of his business he loaded up his car and made his way to Aaron’s house.
Spencer wasn’t sure if Haley was going to be there or not but he knew he had to get in there to get clothes and the other things that Aaron had asked for. He made sure his band was securely fastened before he exited the car and went up to the door. A car was parked in the driveway so he assumed that Haley was most likely home. If she wasn’t He had a key to the house that Aaron had given him before he left the center, but he found it only polite to knock just in case Haley was there.
After knocking he waited with a patience born of having to speak with victims’ families. He knocked again and called out for Haley and when he didn’t hear anything he used the key. Stepping inside he called out again just in case she hadn’t heard him previously.
When he heard a thump and muffled sounds Spencer pulled the gun out of his holster and held it loosely in his two hands.
“Mrs. Hotchner? Are you here? This is Dr. Spencer Reid and I’ve come to get some of Hotch’s things.” He called out as he started up the stairs. He heard a crash and more muffled voices which made him hurry up the stairs. When he burst into the room the sounds were coming from he identified himself while he held the gun aloft.
“What the hell are you doing? Are you crazy?” Haley yelled at him as she stood there in the room trying to get a robe around her mostly naked body. Spencer’s eyes flicked to the man on the bed and growled low in his throat.
“Well, now I have my confirmation. You’re cheating on Hotch.”
“And what business is it of yours Dr. Reid,” Haley hissed out as she finally got the robe tied around herself.
“It’s my business because your husband and mate-“
“Wait, you’re mated? You didn’t tell me you were mated you just said married.” The man on the bed yelled.
“Andy, it’s okay just shut up and don’t say anything else.”
“You didn’t smell a mate bond?” Spencer looked at the man before looking at Haley.
“No, no I didn’t.” Andy grabbed his clothes and shoved his tall frame in them then glared hard at her. “What did you do?” The Alpha growled low in his throat as he slowly advanced on Haley.
Spencer put his gun away and waited to see how this little scene was going to play out. He was angry enough for Aaron that he really didn’t care what happened to the Omega.
“No-nothing Andy.” Haley looked up fearful as the Alpha grabbed her by the shoulders and shoved her against the wall.
“Do not lie to me Haley. What did you do to your mate?”
A hard look came into her eyes when she looked at Andy, “I started to sever the bond. In a couple more weeks it would have completely rotted and I wouldn’t have to be mated to him anymore.”
Andy stepped back and looked at her horrified. “You willingly let a mate-bond rot? Are you fucking crazy? That can severely fuck up an Alpha. Where you going to try to mate with me after?” The man growled low in his throat as he glared at Haley.
“Andy come on, I love you we can be together now. I have the divorce papers all ready.”
“And how do I know you wouldn’t do something so heinous to me when you got tired of me? Huh?”
“I’d never do that to you. Aaron left me a long time ago he doesn’t care that he leaves me alone for days at a time all by myself. He just cares for his damn precious team. And this little Omega slut I know he’s fucking.”
Andy looked over at Spencer who moved his collar aside to show his mating glands were still intact. He also took off his band and let his natural scent free. Andy huffed out a not so amused laugh as he turned back to Haley.
“You stupid bitch. Your husband hasn’t touched this young man. I know because your husbands smell is all over this house but he doesn’t have any trace on him. You know what? I’m tired of this. Tired of your jealousy, your manipulative games and you leading me on. Now I know the lengths you would go to hurt an Alpha and I want no part of you. Fuck you Haley and goodbye.” The Alpha was about to turn to grab his wallet when Haley slapped him across the face her nails cutting into his cheek.
“You dare strike me?” Andy pushed Haley up against the wall and raised his hand like he was going to hurt her.
“Andy, stop right there. I know she’s hurt you, she’s hurt my boss to. Don’t worry I will have her up on charges of forced bond severance as well as spousal abuse. But, you don’t want to get sucked into any more of her games now do you?” Spencer used his calm Omega voice on the Alpha while he let some of his soothing pheromones wash over the Alpha.
Andy looked hard at Haley then turned to Spencer, “You’re right little Omega, she isn’t worth it.” Andy grabbed his wallet and keys and started out towards the door. He stopped and turned towards Spencer, “But, if you ever decide you want an Alpha, look me up.” He slipped a card into Spencer’s pocket before he left. As soon as he was out the door Haley made a move towards Spencer.
“I would not do that if I were you Mrs. Hotchner. What you are going to do is leave this room, let me gather a few of Aaron’s things then we are going to sit here and wait for the local police to show up.”
“You-you can’t do that, what about Jack?”
“You’re going to call your sister and have her come over here. I’m going to tell her everything then she’ll decide, understand?”
“And if I refuse?”
“Then I will make sure you lose custody and your sister gets him anyway.” Spencer glared at her and finally saw the fear in Haley’s eyes. He stared her down for a few more minutes before she started shaking and scrambled off the bed. Spencer was satisfied when he heard the phone and she was calling Jessica.
It was about two hours later and Spencer told Jessica the whole story and how Aaron was now in rehab. The woman was appalled and had no idea what Haley was doing to her mate. She called social services and filed emergency custody papers for Jack while the police waited outside to take Haley in.
“Dr. Reid, I can’t believe that I just took her at her word. I should have known something was off when she started saying all these things about Aaron that just didn’t seem to ring true. But, she’s my sister, you know?”
“Yeah, I do know Jessica. The police may want to talk to you about their marriage. And, it would do Aaron a world of good to see Jack as soon as possible. I don’t know if she’s tried to keep Jack from him or not.”
Jessica looked towards Haley as officers were putting the handcuffs on her.
“To be honest I wouldn’t put it past her. If she went to the lengths she did to separate herself from Aaron then I could see her keeping Jack from him. Why didn’t he say anything Dr. Reid?” She looked back towards Spencer.
“I don’t know Jessica, but I hope it’s something he talks about in his therapy.” Spencer looked at Haley who was glaring at him and growling. One of the officers told her to shut up which made her flinch and look up at her in fear. “Look I have to get back to the rehab center. I have to tell Aaron everything that went on here. I’ll talk to his counselor about him seeing Jack as well.”
“Just keep me informed Dr. Reid?”
“Call me Spencer. And I will.”
Spencer left the house with a heavy heart as he drove back to the rehab center. With the help of one of the orderlies he was able to get all of the luggage into Aaron’s room in one go.
“Hey, what took so long?” Aaron looked up from a book he was reading.
Spencer didn’t want to delay this conversation too long so he sat on the end of the bed and told Aaron everything that happened at the house. By the time he was done he saw shock and anger fill the Alpha’s eyes.
“She did this to me on purpose?” Aaron whispered as he closed his eyes.
“I’m so sorry Aaron. Do you want Ms. Simmons?”
Aaron stared at Spencer for a bit then nodded his head. Spencer was quick on his feet and was directed by one of the staff to her office.
“Dr. Reid, you’re back. How can I help you?”
“Something happened while I was getting some of Aaron’s things from his house. He’d like to talk to you about it.”
“Okay, can you tell me a little of what’s going on?”
Spencer told her everything as they walked back towards Aaron’s room. Settling down in the chair next to the bed Maiya gave Aaron a stern look. She knew she was going to have to be aggressive for a while with her patient. She could feel the anxiety pouring off him.
“This is what needs to happen. You need to get a hold of the divorce papers and look them over carefully. If they are to your satisfaction you need to sign them. Then I will have the police bring you ex-wife her and we will help you sever the bond completely. Now the easiest way would be to re-bond with another Omega but I don’t think you are emotionally ready for that, so you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way.”
“Okay.” Aaron simply said as he looked out the window. He wasn’t going to fight his therapist on this. He knew Haley had become spiteful and resentful. Their relationship had turned toxic and Aaron hadn’t known a way out. Spencer didn’t need any kind of bond to know that Aaron was in pain and hurting emotionally over everything.
“Thank you Ms. Simmons.” Spencer pressed his lips together to hold back whatever nasty thoughts he had over Aaron’s soon to be ex-wife. There was one topic that needed to be addressed right away before she left them for the day. “Before you go I need to ask about Aaron having his son Jack come by.”
Aaron looked over at the counselor with such hope and longing in his eyes that she knew he was starved for his son’s affection. She was determined to get to the bottom of just how deep the emotional and mental abuse went.
“I think having your son around will do you a world of good Mr. Hotchner. In fact I might add some family counseling sessions on Friday’s and he can stay with you the whole day after he gets out of school. Would that work for you?”
“Oh god yes.” The relief in Aaron’s eyes made Maiya’s heart break a little. She knew professionally she needed to be neutral but when she saw cases like Aaron’s it tugged at her heart which made her more determined to help her patients heal. “Thank you Ms. Simmons. You can’t know what that means to me.”
“It’s no problem Mr. Hotchner and I think it will be beneficial to both of you. And please both of you call me Maiya. You’re going to be here a while so let’s just drop the formalities all around, okay?” Both Spencer and Aaron agreed that it would be easier in the long run. Maiya squeezed Spencer’s arm and decided to leave them alone for the rest of the day.
The rest of the week was a flurry of activity. Aaron contacted Haley’s lawyer and demanded to see the divorce papers. They were sent over by courier that day and Aaron went over them carefully and made notes. Since the question of spousal abuse needed to be answered and Haley was still in jail he knew he had all the leverage. He agreed to the addendum that Jessica have temporary custody of Jack while he was recovering. Once the changes were made and he was satisfied with the divorce agreement he readily signed them uncontested. Basically Haley got nothing. The pre-nuptial agreement she signed Aaron kept all his money and the house. She got to keep her car, clothes, jewelry and any personal items bought during the marriage, unless went to jail. If that happened everything would be sold off and put into a trust for Jack. Aaron made plans to sell the house. He didn’t want to go back to the reminder of the hell he had been living the last three years. He would deal with living arrangements later.
Haley had been brought to the rehab center and they met in a neutral room used for either bond severance or even bond reaffirmation. When Aaron saw Haley he really looked at her for the first time in a long time and didn’t see any of the girl that he had fallen in love with. He cleared his throat and was finally able to speak.
“Why? You have to ask me why? I begged you to quit that damn job and go back to being a lawyer. I wanted my husband back, but your precious team was so much more important than me and our marriage.” The haughty tone had Aaron’s back going up as he glared at her. He came to a realization he should have a long time ago.
“No, Haley. Its more than that. You wanted me in politics. You wanted power, money and prestige. You didn’t care what I wanted and when I didn’t fall in line with your plans you decided to manipulate our bond. You haven’t been a part of this marriage for a while and it took me far too long to see. I’ve signed the divorce papers and you only get the car, your clothes and the personal items you bought while we were married, that is if you don’t go to jail. If you do all of your stuff will be sold off and put into a trust for Jack. I’m also selling the house and the money will go into said trust as well.”
“You bastard,” She lunged forward but the two orderlies there held her back as she struggled to get out of their grip.
Standing with the help of Spencer he moved to stand in front of her. “Hold still or this will hurt.” He growled in his Alpha voice. Her eyes widened as she looked at him, fear settled in her eyes.
“What are you going to do? Aaron?” Haley started to struggle when he reached up and held her head still by grabbing her hair and roughly pulling her head to the side to expose her neck.
“I said hold still,” he hissed as his mating teeth descended and he started to lean into her.
“You, you can’t Aaron, please not like this, please Aaron. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” she begged but it did no good when Aaron sank his teeth into the mating mark on her neck. She screamed as what little left of the bond there was snapped in her. Pulling out of her neck Aaron took the offered cup and spit out the fluid and blood that had combined to help sever the last link he had with his wife. He was wobbly on his legs but wouldn’t show her any weakness he would stay strong, at least till he could get back to his room.
Spencer helped him to walk back towards their room as Haley was yelling and cursing at Aaron. She was now a marked un-bonded Omega and every Alpha that came near her would know. It tainted her scent and made her undesirable. In Spencer’s mind it was what she deserved. The officers came back in the room and Aaron and Spencer turned to watch her being dragged away.
“You okay Aaron?” Spencer kept an arm around the Alpha’s waist as they kept watching Haley being taken from the facility, kicking and screaming.
“No, but I will be,” he said in a stronger voice than what he felt.
Spencer walked them back to their room and Aaron collapsed back on the bed. He was exhausted and just wanted to forget the day. He knew Maiya was going to want to talk about what happened but he wasn’t up for it.
“I’m going to take a shower. Do you want to watch a movie or something after?” Spencer wondered why Aaron was suddenly shy around him. He frowned a moment but decided to chalk-it up to a very stressful week.
“Sure, do you want or need help?” Spencer had been helping Aaron in the shower all week but the Alpha wanted to start doing these things for himself. He didn’t want to tell Spencer that the gloves he had to wear bothered him, he knew why Spencer had to wear them and he knew it was going to take time for him to be able to tolerate another person touching his skin. A part of him wanted Spencer with him because he had secretly enjoyed their showers together but he felt he was leaning on Spencer too much. They were going to be here for a while so he shored up his feelings and smiled at the Omega.
“No, its okay Spencer. I need to try to start doing these things by myself.”
“Okay but if you need help let me know. And I’ll get our dinner and a movie sounds good.” Spencer smiled back at the Alpha and winced when he saw Aaron stumble slightly. Spencer let out the breath he was holding when Aaron righted himself. When the door closed Spencer sat down heavily on the bed running a hand through his hair. Closing his eyes he tamped down on the sudden rush of feelings. He thought to himself that he is just reacting to the physical closeness of the last few days. Settling himself Spencer walked to the kitchens and grabbed one of the small carts and placed their meals with some sodas and a carafe of decalf coffee. By the time he got back Aaron was out of the shower and changed into sleep pants and a t-shirt. Their routine had been to have dinner in bed while watching TV or a movie. This night was no different. They both needed the stability of the routine.
Spencer knew Aaron needed to talk about all the things that happened with Haley but he wasn’t going to push, not yet at least. He did see marked improvements over the last few days in his boss. Aaron was sleeping better, his eyes weren’t as dark and clouded. He had put on at least two pounds and he had a comforting smell, he noticed almost immediately after the bond was severed from Haley that Aaron’s scent had changed. He smelled cleaner more like the Aaron he had met when he was at the academy. Spencer wasn’t going to dwell on that at the moment he was just going to eat his dinner and watch the movie and not think about his own feelings.
He noticed that Aaron was asleep soon after the movie ended. Spencer got up and turned off the TV. He wasn’t tired yet so he grabbed a book and made his way outside. There was a small well-lit hidden patio that he found in the first couple of days at the center. It was fast becoming a favorite place for him to sit back and relax if the weather was clear. He had observed that it was a place some of the counselors liked to take their patients if they wanted to be outside. He liked it because it was secluded and he could curl up on the couch and think. He had been reading and didn’t notice the person coming up to him.
“Spencer. I thought I might find you out here.”
Spencer looked up to see Maiya coming towards him. He sat up straighter and set the book aside, remembering exactly where he was.
“Hey. It’s quiet and out of the way. I sometimes need to seclude myself because I think too much.”
Maiya smiled at him but continued her approach. “Mind if I sit here with you?”
“No, not at all.” He had sensed that the counselor wanted to talk to him.
“How is Aaron doing tonight? It couldn’t have been easy for him.”
“It wasn’t, but I noticed the changes in him almost immediately.”
“Oh, and what changes did you notice?” Maiya leaned forward a little as she studied Spencer.
“Well, his scent pile changed. Before it was,” Spencer frowned as he tried to find the right words. “I don’t know, corrupted maybe? I’m not sure if that’s the right word all I know is
that his scent wasn’t right for a while. He smells better, cleaner.”
“That’s good. That means he’s letting go of an unhealthy bond.” Maiya leaned back in her seat and took in the way Spencer was sitting as well as the book he was reading. “The Philosophy of Love. An interesting read.”
“Oh ah I’ve read it before. Its something that I’ve referred to several times during my work. I like how he expounds on the ideas of the love map.” He avoided the real reason he was reading the book and he had a feeling Maiya knew he was lying to not only her but to himself as well.
“Spencer something we haven’t discussed because of the hectic week we’ve had getting Aaron settled and his wife’s taint severed from him is your heats.”
Spencer’s face flushed a little. While he didn’t mind talking about them with Aaron or even JJ and Garcia, talking about it with a stranger was different, though he was quickly learning to trust Maiya. He decided he would be open and honest with her.
“Oh, ah right. Well I had one a week before the case we went on in North Dakota. I only have them every three months but from what I understand its in the middle of normal for male Omegas.”
“It is, you’re fine Spencer but have you thought about how you will get through them if you’re here?”
“I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about it too closely. I noticed the small room next to the bathroom was set-up for an Omega. I just assumed that I would use that and just not have a sexual partner this time around.”
“You seem very comfortable talking about this. Most male Omega’s have a difficult time discussing their heat cycles.”
“I don’t see why not. It’s just a part of our biology and it’s not something we can help. Why get embarrassed over it? In fact Aaron has come around at the end usually to make sure that I’ve been taking my vitamins and that I have enough food.”
“He does that every time?”
“Not every time but often.”
Maiya didn’t say anything as she narrowed her eyes and set those thoughts aside. She would make notes to try to talk to both men separately about their obvious affection for each other.
“Do you think you’ll be comfortable with Aaron in the room?”
“I think so. We’ll find out in about ten weeks.” Maiya smiled at him and knew she didn’t need to worry about this aspect of the Omega’s life at the center.
“I want to start Aaron on the touch therapy tomorrow. And if all goes well I want to have his son come to see him in the afternoon. Are you sure you are going to be comfortable with this part of Aaron’s rehab? Touch therapy can get very intense at times for both partners. I know he trusts you and that’s why he asked for you specifically, but I want to know how you are feeling in all of this.”
Spencer took a breath and let it out slowly as he gathered his thoughts together. He focused on the question much like he would a problem on a case. He looked deep down inside himself and realized that he was okay with this part of Aaron’s therapy. Often he felt calmer when Aaron would place a hand on his shoulder or his arm. He thought back to the hug when they had found him in Georgia and how good Aaron had felt in his arms.
“Yes, I’m okay with this Maiya. Aaron is important to me and I want to help him. He…he helped me with a very dark time in my life and I want to return that favor.”
“Is it something you’d like to discuss? Remember I’m not here just for Aaron but I can be here for you as well.”
“No, Aaron knows what it is and-“ Spencer cursed inward a moment as he thought about his meetings.
“is there something Spencer?”
“I know you’re under confidentiality clauses, correct?”
“Yes. Anything you tell me stays with me and no one else.”
“I have a certain meeting every Tuesday. Well, I do if we are in town that is.”
“We have an outside group that meets here at the center twice a week. You are more than welcome to join if you feel the need to.”
Spencer wasn’t sure if he wanted to do this with complete strangers but he remembered how the first time was that way so he said he would think about it. He made a note in his head to call his sponsor to let him know what was going on.
“So, you see this as a sort of obligation to your boss?”
“Yes, no. I see it as helping a friend who is in crises.”
Maiya kept her thoughts to herself, she didn’t want to push Spencer but she knew there was more to the story of Aaron and Spencer than what either man was willing to admit. She would pick her time to force the issue and make them confront it head on. For now she would guide them through the therapy sessions.
“Well, I’ll let you get back to it. Don’t stay too long out here the nights can get really cold and I wouldn’t want to see you sick.”
Spencer wondered at the strange twisting conversation he just had with the counselor. He had a feeling that more was going on in her questioning than he could figure out. He picked-up the book and sighed as he headed back inside. By the time he got back to the room he realized just how tired he was. He changed and crawled into bed and when he felt Aaron unconsciously reach for him he knew the man needed the comfort. He let himself be pulled into the strong arms of the Alpha and went to sleep hoping the next day would be a better one for Aaron.
After breakfast, then physical therapy, one-on-one therapy, a calorie laden snack, and fifteen minutes on the treadmill Aaron was getting frustrated. He just wanted to slow down a little but he felt like he was being pushed. When he and Spencer were having lunch Spencer felt Aaron’s distress.
“Are you okay Aaron?”
“No. Its too much Spencer. I feel like I’m being pushed more and more and its goddamned irritating.”
“I know but Aaron you realize how bad it was right?”
Aaron threw his fork down as he eyed the brown rice, chicken and large side of vegetables that were on his plate. It was food he usually ate at home and especially while training but he wasn’t used to the portions. He pushed the plate away and sat back letting out a noise of frustration.
“Yes Spencer I do. I realize what a mess my personal life had become and its that personal life that I don’t normally like to talk about, you know that.”
“I do know that Aaron. I know how close to the chest you keep everything but isn’t that why you are in the situation you are now? Just drop that damn pride of yours and talk about what happened to you. If you don’t all of this means nothing.” Spencer shoved off from the table and stormed out the door. He didn’t want to get angry at Aaron but he was.
Aaron grabbed the two canes he had been given to help him walk independently of Spencer and started to go after the Omega. When he found Spencer pacing the library he stood there a moment and could almost smell the anxiety and fear on the other man.
“Spencer.” Aaron slowly walked up to the genius and tried to decipher the sudden emotional outburst. “What’s wrong?”
Spencer stopped and quirked up a brow. He was impressed by the progress that his Alpha had made over the last couple of weeks.
“Dammit Aaron, you’re important to me. You’ve been there for me in so many ways. When you collapsed it scared the shit out of me. I thought-“ Spencer turned around to look at the bookcase because he didn’t want Aaron to see the emotions on his face.
“You thought what Spencer?”
“I thought I was going to lose you.” The Omega whispered before he ran out of the room.
Aaron wasn’t sure just what had happened. He didn’t realize that he never asked how Spencer was taking all of this. He just assumed that their friendship was strong enough to handle it.
It was about an hour later when Maiya had found him in the library and sat in a chair across from him.
“I’m not sure. I think we had an argument but I’m not entirely sure.”
“Can you tell me what happened?”
Aaron pressed his lips together not wanting to delve into it with her but he knew this was exactly what Spencer was talking about. For the last two weeks he had been only talking about superficial things with Maiya avoiding the real issues that caused his collapse and need for rehabilitation. He thought if he appeared normal she would just let him slide right out of the center and back to his life. After Spencer’s reaction he knew that wasn’t going to be the case.
“Spencer’s angry with me.” Aaron looked to the side as he gripped his hands together tightly. He then told the counselor about what happened. Aaron also conveyed his feelings of guilt for not assessing how Spencer was taking all of this himself.
“Spencer’s feelings for you Aaron are rather complicated. For one he sees you as the pack Alpha, and you are. Your team you have taken in and made them part of your pack and he is the prized Omega. Two, he has seen you as a mentor and friend. He told me about Jason Gideon and how he saw through Gideon’s manipulations early on. He then turned to you for guidance. He doesn’t want to lose you and it scares him.”
“He’s important to me as well.” Aaron opened up a little about what he has been feeling himself for Spencer. When the man in question walked back into the library Aaron fought back down how happy he actually was to have him back in the same room with him.
Maiya was sensitive to both men but she kept her observations to herself for the time being.
“Spencer, come join us.” Maiya waited till the younger man came over and sat down next to Aaron. “I want to begin your touch therapy now Aaron. I know you’re frustrated by all of this but every step is important in your recovery. This, here and now is probably going to be the most important therapy you are going to go through. It’s going to be a mixture of painful, emotional and frustrating. But, because of the reaction you had in the hospital we are going to take this very slowly.”
Aaron breathed deep and tried to prepare himself for this next part in his regimen.
“Okay, I want you to sit facing each other.” Spencer got up and grabbed a chair and sat in front of Aaron as close as he could comfortably get. Spencer slipped off the cloth gloves that he had been wearing around Aaron. “Now all I want you to do is reach your right hands out and touch your fingertips together.” Steeling himself Aaron reached out and waited for Spencer. Slowly they touched their fingertips together and Aaron slightly shivered. It was the most skin anyone had touched on him in years. When the contact was maintained and Aaron didn’t go into shock like in the hospital Maiya directed Spencer to cover Aaron’s hand completely. Spencer almost pulled back when tears fell from Aaron’s eyes but he was stopped by the counselor. They then did the same with Aaron’s left hand, first just the fingertips then slowly Spencer covered his hand. Eventually Spencer held both hands in his and Aaron couldn’t help the breakdown at these simple actions.
Spencer was stressing out over seeing Aaron breaking down like he was but Maiya laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder and told him not to break contact. As soon as Aaron calmed down Maiya directed Spencer to slowly pull back.
“Thank you. Thank you, Spencer.” Aaron was emotionally exhausted and Maiya knew it was time to end their sessions for the day.
“We’ll work on this a little bit every day Aaron till it’s no longer as emotionally draining. Now, I have a surprise for you. Why don’t you go outside to the patio tables and I’ll bring dinner and the surprise. Okay?”
Aaron nodded, not trusting his voice he allowed Spencer, who put his gloves back on, to lead him outside. They didn’t have to wait long for Maiya. And when Aaron heard a little boy he turned in his seat to see Jack running towards him.
“Daddy,” Jack cried as he flew towards Aaron.
“Jack,” Aaron held out his arms and let his son fling himself into them. Holding the little boy close he buried his face in Jacks neck and took in his scent. Something huge settled in his heart as he held onto his son. The Parent bond he had with Jack had been corrupted because of Haley. Every time Aaron was home she had taken Jack out with her away from the house. They had fought about it so often that Aaron despaired of ever actually spending time with his son. He knew Haley was doing it to hurt him and to punish him for not leaving his job.
“You smell different Daddy,” Jack said into Aaron’s ear.
“Is it bad Jack?” Aaron didn’t want to upset his son.
“No, it’s nice. You smell good Daddy.” Jack wrapped his arms around Aaron’s neck and held on tight. “Mommy didn’t smell nice anymore Daddy,” Jack whispered quietly in Aaron’s ear and it broke his heart that Haley had hurt her son like this.
“I’m sorry baby. I’m sorry I didn’t try harder.”
“I love you Daddy.” Jack pulled back and sat on Aaron’s lap and started to talk all about school. Aaron had a few tears on his face but Spencer could tell that he wasn’t upset. In fact the emotions pouring off the Alpha was pure happiness. Something he hadn’t felt from Aaron in a long time.
Maiya let Jack and Jessica stay for a few hours after dinner and when Jack had to go home he started to cry. The counselor got down on her knees and reassured the little boy that he could come see his Daddy at any time. That seemed to appease Jack and he let Jessica take him home.
Aaron watched then leave and was emotionally exhausted. Spencer helped him back to their room and for a change he held the Alpha in his arms as he soothed him. Spencer wondered how much all this was actually helping but he kept those thoughts to himself and stayed awake all night worrying.
The team made it a point to come see Aaron and Spencer as time allowed. Aaron was grateful for the show of support from them but it was Dave he really got a grilling from.
“I can’t believe what an utter ass you were about this Aaron.”
“Oh gee thanks for the support Dave.” Aaron deadpanned as he quirked a brow.
“I just mean that you should have talked to someone before it got this far. I knew the kid was worried about you but I didn’t act of the anxiety he was feeling towards you and I will always kick myself for it.” Dave shook his head as he thought about all the things he could have done to get Aaron to talk but didn’t.
“Dave, I wasn’t at a place that I would have talked to you about what was going one. I would have brushed you aside and you know it.”
Dave took a short quick breath as he settled his thoughts.
“The locals let us interview her. She wasn’t co-operating very well with them.”
“Oh? Who talked to her?”
“Morgan and JJ. They played her pretty well. Morgan was pissed off enough that he scared her and JJ played to sympathetic Wife and Mother. After nearly four hours with them she finally caved and spilled everything. Aaron, I don’t even know how you survived what she did to you.” Dave pressed his lips together and tried to keep his emotions in check as he thought back to Haley in the interview room.
“You know it’s difficult to come to terms with reality when in the middle of the situation. I was the Alpha in the relationship yet she manipulated our marriage so well that I didn’t see a way out. I feel stupid and used.”
“This wasn’t your fault Aaron. When you start to come to terms with that, then you’ll be able to let it go.”
“I know and I’m working on it.” Aaron swiped a hand down his face as he controlled his emotions around Dave. He felt cared for by his team and it mean the world to him.
JJ would bring Henry by on Fridays and let Jack and him play together. The simple act of watching the children playing together was somehow a soothing balm to his soul. Spencer loved the fact that he could see his godson more and it wasn’t unusual to see him in the library sitting on the floor with both boys curled up next to him. Aaron would sometimes sit off the side and watch. He began to wonder if Spencer was a carrier or not. He thought about the Omega heavy with child and it made Aaron’s heart flip in his chest. He shook his head because he couldn’t think about that.
The next few weeks Spencer started seeing major improvements in Aaron. He was finally walking steadier, his scent pile was improving every day and he was getting stronger. He was also opening up to Maiya more about what went on in his marriage in the last few years and though Spencer wasn’t privy to those parts of Aaron’s therapy he knew it was bad. There were days when he would need time with Spencer to settle himself and if he was being completely honest with himself Spencer not only enjoyed the intimacy that had grown between them, he began to crave it. He was not going to dwell on what would happen after this was all over because if he did he knew his heart would break.
Maiya kept at him to talk about everything that was going on around him and if his feelings for his boss had changed in any way. He knew the talks were a way to help keep him grounded but he wasn’t sure he wanted to be anymore. Of course he didn’t know how his boss was feeling about him and it didn’t matter at the moment. All that mattered to Spencer was Aaron getting better.
The touch therapy was going well. They had graduated from just hands and arms to back. The first time Spencer had touched Aaron’s shoulders the Alpha almost had a relapse. It was more skin-to-skin contact than he’d had in a very long time. Spencer had to pull back and Maiya instructed him to just use his fingertips at first. Let Aaron get used to being touched over larger areas. Spencer was careful and it hurt him to see Aaron so emotionally distraught after their sessions.
It took a couple of days for the Alpha to settle and now Spencer was straddled across Aaron’s legs running his hands up and down his back. At one point Aaron moaned low in his throat and Spencer had to tamp down his own body’s response to the sounds Aaron was making. He was never more grateful for a session to end than he was at that very moment. It had turned entirely too erotic in Spencer’s mind. He stood on shaky legs and practically ran to the bathroom to get himself under control.
Spencer was never so thankful for a covered-up Aaron than he was when he came back into the room.
“You okay Spencer?” Aaron wasn’t a fool. He smelled Spencer’s arousal and chuckled inwardly. He wouldn’t bring it up in front of the counselor because he knew it would embarrass the Omega and that was the last thing he wanted. He could admit to himself that over the last few weeks Spencer had become more than attractive to him. He wanted Spencer he just didn’t know in what way. Aaron thought that maybe it was just the need for sex that had been building and Spencer was there. But, he told himself that maybe he was lying to himself. So, he left it alone for the moment and would deal with it at a later time.
The bright spot in Aaron’s day was always when Jack came to have dinner with them. Jessica would drop Jack off and let him stay for a couple of hours. Sometimes it was just dinner and play time, other times it was movies or Spencer introducing him to Star Trek or Doctor Who. Spencer had gotten some books for Jack on dinosaurs because he talked excitedly about his schools trip to the Smithsonian to see their Dinosaur collection.
Friday’s were special because Jack got to stay all night with Aaron and Spencer. One night when Aaron had been allowed to go off the grounds of the center and was given a free pass to have whatever dinner he chose he decided on pizza. When he came back forty-five minutes later with two pizzas and a movie rental he stopped at his room to see if Spencer and Jack were ready. What he wasn’t ready for was the scene he came in on. There was Spencer sitting-up on the bed with his back against the headboard and Jack on his lap. Spencer hand his arms around the little boy and was holding a book reading to him. Aaron had to take a moment to breathe as he took in the smiles on man and boy. Aaron wondered at the sudden rush of emotion that had come over him. And when Spencer looked up and smiled at him Aaron’s breath caught in his throat. He had only ever seen Spencer with Jack and Henry in the library and somehow this seemed more intimate, more family like and it again made his heart flutter. It was almost a full minute before he could finally speak.
“I ah, I brought pizza and I found a copy of The Sandlot at the video rental next to the restaurant.” Jack jumped off the bed and was practically bouncing on his feet.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that movie.” Spencer bit his lip and his cheeks pinked under the heated look Aaron was giving him.
“Oh well Jack loves it and I thought we could watch it together.” Aaron brought the food to the table and set the boxes down.
“Sounds like fun. Do you want me to go grab plates and drinks?”
“No, Maiya said a tray would be waiting when I got back. Give me just a few minutes. But if you want to get the movie cued-up that would be great.”
“Sure.” Spencer reached for the DVD box and their fingers brushed together but this was different as he felt a tingle ride up his arm. He almost shuddered at the contact.
“Okay, well, I’ll ah be right back.” Aaron didn’t know what to make of the touch so he schooled his expression and went to the kitchen to get the items that were waiting for him.
Later after pizza had been eaten, the movie watched, Jack cleaned-up and fast asleep in-between the two men who were currently laying face-to-face. Aaron reached out and took a chance as he caressed a hand down Spencer’s cheek.
“I think we need to talk about what’s happening between us.” Aaron carefully brushed a hand across Spencer’s mating gland which made the Omega shudder slightly in pleasure.
“Wha-what do you mean Aaron?” Spencer was afraid of what his boss, no his friend was going to say.
“Spencer you can’t deny what it is you’ve been feeling when you touch me. You can’t hide it because I can smell your arousal but there is something more underneath.”
“Do you really want to have this conversation right now with Jack between us?”
Aaron chuckled low in his throat and the sound had Spencer groaning in the back of his throat.
“That, right there is what I’m talking about. And, maybe you’re right but we should talk about this.”
All Spencer could do was nod his head and scoot in closer to cuddle up with Jack. That action alone had Aaron purring in pleasure. He had a feeling deep down that he could be
happy with Spencer and that the Omega would be a great parent to his son. He vowed to talk to Spencer as soon as possible because he didn’t think that after he was released form Wild Oaks he would be able to let the Omega go.
One morning Spencer woke-up in a sweat, his body feeling like it was on fire. Then a cool cloth was wiping his face and he almost moaned at the feeling. Slowly he opened his eyes and saw Aaron sitting next to him wiping down his face and arms.
“I knew it was coming. Your scent pile started to change a couple of days ago. Come on, let’s get you up and into the nesting area.”
“I thought I had a couple more days,” Spencer croaked out as his throat was on fire. Aaron pressed a bottle of water into his hand as he was being gently lifted from the bed and taken to the Omega room. Aaron stood him on his feet and undressed him.
“Aaron you don’t have to take care of me.”
“I am not going to let you go through your heat alone. Now I know you usually have someone and I’m here. You’ve taken care of me for the last almost four months, let me take care of you.”
Spencer blushed a little then nodded his head. He let Aaron undress him then he felt the soft thin robe being pulled around him. When the first wave of pain hit he almost doubled over but Aaron was there to catch him and hold him.
“I need the bathroom.” Aaron helped the Omega over to the restroom and waited right outside for him. After what seemed like a long time Spencer finally came back out and looked a little better.
“Come on.” Aaron wrapped an arm around Spencer’s waist as he pulled him into the nesting area. Spencer looked around a moment then rearranged a few things more to his liking. When he sank down on the pile of pillows and blankets he was never more relieved than he was at that moment. When Aaron started to undress Spencer’s eyes widened in shock.
“Aaron, you don’t have to…” Aaron put a hand on Spencer lips to stop him from saying anything. He too wrapped a robe around himself then checked the supplies he had stock-piled in the room. Vitamin enhanced water, electrolytes, high-protein snacks and other comforting foods that he knew Spencer liked. When he was satisfied Aaron knelt between Spencer’s legs and reached out to cup his cheek.
“I’m here for whatever you need Spencer.” The Omega’s breath caught in his throat and he couldn’t take his eyes off the Alpha as he leaned down ever closer till his lips were touching Spencer’s. He wasn’t sure who whined at the soft touch of lips on lips but he didn’t really care. At the moment it felt good and it eased the fire that was building in him again. With trembling hands he cupped Aaron’s face and leaned up to kiss him again.
“Do you need to come Spencer?”
The question had the Omega rolling his hips as the fire burned deep. He had been worried about how he was going to do this alone and though a part of him thought he was taking advantage of Aaron the more primal part of himself was glad he wasn’t alone.
“Yes, please.” The pleading tone and the thrust of hips had Aaron wrapping his hand around Spencer’s aching cock. Slowly almost maddeningly slow Aaron was moving his hand up and down, gripping him tight. Spencer threw his head back on the soft pillows and moaned into the touch. When he felt a finger breach his already slick hole he couldn’t help the cry that escaped his lips.
Aaron moved down Spencer’s body and lifted the Omega’s legs up telling him to hold them apart. Spencer wasn’t quite sure what Aaron was going to do but when he felt a tongue lapping at his slick he thought he was going to come undone right then and there.
“Oh god, Aaron, please, please,” the begging made the Alpha purr deep in his throat as one hand grabbed Spencer’s cock once again while he kept his tongue buried in the slick hole. Aaron could feel the trembling in the Omega and when he pushed two fingers in next to his tongue he felt it when the orgasm ripped through Spencer. One last swipe had the young man shuddering under Aaron’s touch. After another moment Aaron reached for the extra-large wipes that were made just for this purpose and cleaned Spencer up. He threw them away in the trash in the corner then settled behind Spencer and pulled him into his arms.
“That will take the edge off for a while. You have to tell me what you need Spencer.” The fire had died down for the moment and Spencer was lax in Aaron’s arms. He wasn’t sure how he was going to ask for what it was he knew he would need when the worst of his heat came upon him.
“I don’t know if we should take it that far Aaron.” Spencer looked to the side and didn’t want to meet the Alpha’s eyes.
“Are you going to need me inside you Spencer?” Spencer both shuddered and groaned at those words. He was grateful he was looking away because he didn’t know if he could look Aaron in the eye.
“Yes.” The word came out on a whisper because it was all too much at the moment.
“Tell me now Spencer if you want me to knot you. If not I can hold it back but if you want it we’ll be locked together for a while. Understand?”
Spencer nodded against Aaron’s arm.
“I need words Spencer. I need your consent on what you are willing to accept from me.” Aaron used his Alpha voice because he could see Spencer succumbing to the effects of his heat.
“Yes Alpha. I need you in me and yes you can knot me.” Spencer turned in Aaron’s arms and pushed the robe off him. He wanted skin, wanted to touch. When his hands slid over Aaron’s chest the Alpha moaned in pleasure. He arched up into Spencer’s touch and shuddered. Even in his heat fogged brain Spencer came to the realization that maybe Aaron needed this as much as he needed Aaron. The man hadn’t had touch from his own mate in more than three years. Spencer propped his head up on his bent arm and looked down at the man sprawled out before him.
“Aaron, tell me the truth, how long has it been?”
Aaron closed his eyes and wanted to look away but Spencer gently moved his head back and didn’t let Aaron look away.
Aaron frowned a moment before he reached out to Spencer, “Almost five years.” He finally admitted to someone just how long he had gone without sex.
“Aaron.” Spencer couldn’t help the shock on his face as bit his lip. “No wonder you’re a mess.”
Aaron thought he should be upset by that statement but he wasn’t in fact he started to laugh. The huge smile on his face and the laughter caught Spencer off guard for a moment the he started to laugh as well. This went on for a full five-minutes before the pain rushing though Spencer caught him. Aaron didn’t say anything when Spencer collapsed on him and cried out as his body started to convulse. Aaron wrapped his arms around his Omega and held on. The thought almost slipped by him and he began to wonder when he started to think about Spencer as his Omega.
When the pain subsided Spencer made to move off Aaron but the Alpha held him close.
“It’s okay Spencer. Just rest.” Aaron didn’t want to admit just how good it felt to have someone in his arms again. If he thought too hard about it he knew he wouldn’t be able to hold in the emotions but for now he kept a tight lid on them as he stroked his hands up and down Spencer’s back. The Omega curled up on top of Aaron and the soft caresses eased the lingering pain and he slowly fell asleep.
Spencer was being prodded awake by Aaron, which made him groan. Another bottle of water was being pressed into his hands as well as one of the protein bars.
“I know you can’t keep regular food down when in heat but these should ease your hunger. Drink that whole bottle.”
“Yes Alpha.” Spencer hadn’t realized what he said as he raised his eyes to Aaron who had an amused little smirk on his face. “I, I’m sorry Aaron. It just came out. Instinct maybe?”
“It’s okay Spencer. I kind of liked hearing it.” The heat behind Aaron’s eyes made Spencer pause. He didn’t want to hope that maybe that look was for him and not just because he was in his heat. So he wouldn’t have to say anything Spencer shoved the protein bar in his mouth and began to eat. When he was done he downed the water and noticed he needed to use the restroom. Slowly he got to his feet and stumbled into the restroom and took care of what he needed to.
When he came back he saw that Aaron had arranged some of the pillows as a sort of back rest. Holding out his arms he beckoned for Spencer to lay against him. The Omega didn’t argue as he crawled into Aaron’s arms and laid on top of the Alpha.
Later that night was when the worst of it hit him. Aaron had already made him come several times by then and each time it eased a little more but this time he was almost screaming out as need coursed through him painfully. He practically shoved Aaron back onto the nest of pillows and crashed his lips against his Alpha’s. He ignored the little warning bells that went off in his head at thinking of Aaron as his. Right now he needed as he kissed Aaron hard. Their teeth clicked as he ground down on the man under him.
“Now Spencer?” Aaron asked when he was able to get his voice back.
“Yes, god yes please Aaron. I need you in me please.”
Spencer shook his head no, “I’m clean. I don’t let my partners penetrate me. They ah, they use toys.” His face flushed with the admission.
Aaron quirked up a brow as he looked at Spencer. “We don’t have to Spencer. There are other things I can do.”
“I want this, I want you Alpha, please.” Aaron groaned as he reached down and slipped a finger inside Spencer. He noticed the Omega was still loose after the last round of fingering so he ordered Spencer on his hands and knees. Spencer quickly complied and before he knew It Aaron had breached him and slipped inside.
“Oh god, oh fuck,” Spencer cried as he gripped the pile of blankets that were under him. He relished in the feeling of fullness as Aaron pushed in further bottoming out as his hips were gripped tight. The slow thrusting was driving him mad and when he tried to get Aaron to go faster the Alpha slapped him on his ass and ordered him to stay still. When a hand slid up and down his spine in time to the slow controlled thrusts Spencer thought he was going to go out of his mind. The feeling of hands caressing him and the cock thrusting in and out of him had Spencer keening into the pillows. When he felt Aaron lean down and start to nip and bite at his back he thought he was going to lose it right then and there.
“Aaron,” he begged. When a strong arm banded around his chest and pulled him up to where he slid down further on Aaron’s cock the pleasure from it was almost as painful as the pain from his heat. He growled low in his throat as Aaron started to thrust up into him harder and faster. Spencer shuddered against Aaron as a warm hand wrapped around his cock. His head fell back onto Aaron’s shoulder and lips were on his as he was being fucked and jerked off at the same time.
“Spencer, I can’t hold it. Are you sure you want it?”
“Yes, fuck yes Aaron let me feel your knot.”
“Don’t come yet, I want you to come when I’m locked inside you. Understand?”
“Yes, yes,” Spencer panted out. Aaron thrust up and let himself go and let the knot form deep inside the Omega. He cried out at the feeling as he thrust up hard then pulled down, the knot keeping him locked inside Spencer.
Spencer couldn’t hold on anymore and when Aaron thrust up again, the knot dragging along his insides making him feel fuller than he ever had before he shuddered. The hand on his cock never stopped moving and he finally came hard as Aaron thrust up into him. He was shoved back down on his hands and knees and the only way he could later describe it was that Aaron was rutting almost primal in his thrusting. Gripping Spencer’s hips Aaron was grunting as he thrust in fast and hard chasing his own release. When he finally felt he screamed as he stilled and he bowed his back in pure ecstasy. Spencer felt claimed but he didn’t want to speculate on that feeling.
Panting hard he held Spencer to him as he slowly fell onto the pillows. Still locked inside Spencer he spooned the Omega holding him close.
“Fuck Aaron.” Spencer had no other words as he let his Alpha take care of him.
Aaron smiled into Spencer’s shoulder as he laid a trail of butterfly kisses all along the tantalizing neck and shoulders.
“Spencer,” Aaron whispered the name as he held the Omega tightly in his arms.
Spencer didn’t want to think about what all this meant. He knew Aaron cared about him but he was suddenly wondering if there was more there. He let his thoughts wander as he slowly fell asleep locked and cradled in his Alpha’s arms.
He wasn’t sure how long he slept but he was being woken-up by gentle thrusting. Aaron was still locked in him and for some reason that made him very happy. A hand was wrapped around his already hardened cock. All he could do at this point was hang on and when he came once again he thrust back hard against Aaron which made his Alpha find his own release.
Slowly he was fully waking-up and couldn’t help the smile that was on his lips.
They didn’t say anything and it was several hours and orgasms later when Aaron was able to finally pull form Spencer’s body. The Omega almost whined at the loss but he knew they both needed to clean up. Aaron stood on shaky legs as he helped Spencer up as well. They both stumbled into the bathroom and took quick showers. Spencer made sure to clean himself thoroughly as cum had started to drip down his legs. Rather than being horrified he was kind of proud that he could make Aaron so turned on that he had cum several times over the day they had been locked together. A part of him though had doubts and wondered if it was just because it had been so long for Aaron. Spencer didn’t want to worry about it because ultimately it didn’t matter. He was brought out of his thoughts when soft lips pressed against his. The kiss wasn’t quite chaste but it wasn’t the heated kisses of earlier. This was a soft caring kiss and it further added to Spencer’s confusion.
“I really think we need to talk.” Spencer looked up into his Alpha’s face and gently ran his fingers along his cheeks.
“Okay.” Spencer wasn’t sure if he was ready for this talk but he would see how far Aaron wanted to take it. They silently finished showering and drying off then put on fresh robes and collapsed back on the pillows in the Omega room.
Aaron pulled Spencer to him. Now that he could touch and be touched without it hurting he couldn’t get enough.
“Spencer, I will never know how to thank you for what you’ve done for me. You’ve given me my life back. You’ve given me the ability to be touched again and you can’t truly understand what that means. You made me face what Haley was doing to me and gave me the strength to let it go. What I’m about to say has nothing to do with these feelings of gratitude and everything to do with what I actually feel.” Aaron took a deep breath as he held Spencer close. “I think I’m falling in love with you Spencer.” Aaron’s heart was racing as he waited for Spencer to say something.
Spencer was quiet for a long time as his heart swelled at Aaron’s confession. When he moved on top of Aaron and kissed him he pulled back and straddled his Alpha’s legs smiling.
“I love you too Aaron. I don’t know when it started but I can’t deny what I’m feeling anymore. I love you.”
Aaron smiled wide as he wrapped his arms around his Omega truly happy for the first time in years. They didn’t say anything more as they cuddled close. Aaron finally knew what he wanted in his life and he wanted Spencer. They could talk about the rest later but for now he was content to just hold the younger man in his arms.
Aaron’s time in rehab was almost up but Maiya wanted one more session with each man before she signed off on Aaron’s release. She had noticed a change in their relationship after Spencer’s first heat at the center. Aaron had opened up even more and she was able to talk him through everything that had happened in his marriage. She was confident that Aaron had developed better coping skills so she felt utterly confident in releasing him.
“Aaron, how do you feel about being released today?”
“I feel good. I want to get back to my life.”
“And what do you see in that life?”
“My work, my son and,” Aaron took a deep breath as he smiled, “Spencer. You haven’t asked us but I’m sure you at least guessed.”
“I did but I wanted to give you two room to talk it out amongst yourselves. I saw the deep affection you had for each other even before the therapy began. I wondered often if something more would come of it. Do you think you’ll ask him for the mate bond?”
“Yes. We didn’t want to do it here. I want to be in our own place, wherever that will be.”
“That’s good to hear. And I believe this will be a better, healthier relationship for you both. Have you discussed children?”
“Not yet but I know he’s a carrier and I’d love for Jack to have a sibling.”
“About Jack. Are you going to allow a parent bond to develop between Spencer and Jack?”
Aaron laughed a little as he looked up at Maiya, “I couldn’t have stopped it even if I tried. Jack adores Spencer and the Friday nights he would spend here I couldn’t separate those two.”
“Does that make you upset or jealous in any way?”
“No, I’m not. Jack is very intuitive and he had already understood that something was wrong with his bond with his mother. Haley didn’t think about her actions against me and how it would affect Jack. When I severed the marital bond I inadvertently severed her parental bond with Jack. He was sad about it for a while but Spencer, he helped Jack cope and before I knew it Jack saw him as a second parent. Even if I hadn’t fallen in love with the genius I would still have found a way to keep them together.”
Maiya was smiling at Aaron and was glad to hear how much the Alpha had grown and changed in the six months he was there.
“Well, Aaron I don’t see any reason to keep you here any longer. You should be proud of yourself. The work you did was not easy, especially when we started the touch therapy. Now I’ve documented our sessions and if you feel that any of it will be relevant in you ex-wife’s trial you are free to share what you are comfortable sharing.” Maiya handed him a packet with several CD’s and full transcripts of their sessions along with an affidavit giving her permission to share what Aaron was comfortable with.
“Thank you Maiya, this means a lot.” Aaron took the packet and stood up. The counselor gave him a set of discharge papers to sign.
“I’m just going to spend some time with Dr. Reid then you will both be free to go.” Aaron shook her hand and went the room that had been his for the last six months. When he saw Spencer finishing packing up he leaned against the doorjamb and smiled.
“Maiya wanted to talk to you for a few minutes before we leave.” Spencer looked up from what he was doing and smiled at the relaxed stance of his future mate. Stopping what he was doing the Omega walked over to Aaron and cupped his cheek and leaned in kissing him fiercely. When they pulled apart Spencer smiled and said he would be right back.
“Aaron said you wanted to talk to me?” Spencer had found her in the library waiting for him.
“Yes, please sit.”
Spencer sat down and looked over at the counselor a little nervous about what she wanted.
“Aaron wasn’t the only one who had big changes in his life over the last few months. I wanted to talk to you to see how you were doing.”
Spencer smiled crookedly as he looked up, “I don’t think I could be any happier. When I agreed to be part of Aaron’s therapy it really was just me wanting to help a friend. I don’t know when I started to see him differently. I don’t think I could love anyone more than I do him.”
“I’m glad to hear that Spencer. When you first got here I knew how strong you were but I also saw an underlying vulnerability that you hide from people. I’m glad that you could open yourself up to your own feelings.”
“I was just worried that Aaron didn’t feel the same and when he finally told me everything changed, became better.”
“That’s how love is supposed to be. What I want to know is how you feel about being a parent to Jack.”
Spencer couldn’t help the smile that crossed his face, “He’s a great kid. I didn’t realize that we had started to form a Parent-child bond till one day I just felt Jack there. It was scary at first but now I don’t think I could ever let it go. Feeling what I do, knowing what this feels like I wonder how Haley could have done the things she did, how she could hurt Jack.”
“Sometimes people don’t want to acknowledge their actions. They don’t want to see that everything they do has a consequence. Haley will be irrevocably hurt and broken by the things she did but you, Jack or Aaron can’t be responsible for that.”
“I know and I know we see it in our work I just never thought Haley would do those things to hurt her family. I could never hurt mine.” His hand unconsciously went to his stomach and he rubbed.
Maiya smiled wider and looked at Spener, “Have you told him yet?”
“What?” Spencer’s eyes widened and Maiya indicated her head to Spencer’s hand. “Oh. No, not yet. I was going to when we got settled at Rossi’s place.”
“When did you find out?”
“I asked the nurse here to give me the test a couple of days ago. I’m almost 7 weeks.” Spencer blushed as he rubbed his stomach.
“Well congratulations. Out of all my patients you and Aaron deserve all the happiness you can get.”
“Thank you Maiya.”
“I just need you to sign these papers, then you are free to go.” Spencer signed where he needed to then shook Maiya’s hand. Aaron wasn’t the only one that had benefited from the touch therapy. Spencer had talked to her about why he didn’t like to touch other people. She had worked with him to help him overcome his fears and trepidation. He felt more confident about himself and looked forward to see how the changes in him and Aaron helped them in their work.
Finally the two of them were leaving Wild Oakes Rehabilitation Center arm-in-arm, as better, stronger people. When they looked up and saw Dave waiting for them both men smiled as they each gave him a quick hug.
“Well now, I know there is a story you two have to tell.”
“I think we’ll wait till we get to your place,” Aaron said as he slid into the front passenger seat. Spencer directly behind him.
“Okay, but I have to say I have never seen either of you looking as happy as you are.”
Neither of them said anything and Dave just shook his head as he drove them to his place and waited for them to come clean.
Six months later and Spencer was standing near the finished crib watching Morgan put away his tools.
“I don’t know if I can thank you enough Morgan. You’ve done so much for us already.”
“Hey, you guys are important to me. And that little person is going to come any day now. It was the least I could do.”
“Yeah but it’s just everything you’ve done around the house for us. Hell even finding this place for us.”
“Spencer, really it was nothing. You and Hotch deserve this.”
Spencer ducked his head and let his long hair hide the emotion in his eyes.
“Come on, the girls are down stairs and want to pester the hell out you.” Morgan teased as they went down to see what everyone was up to.
Strong arms came around him and hands rested on his rounded belly. Soft kisses against his neck as he melted into the arms holding him.
“Awww, you guys are so cute,” Garcia squealed as she snapped pictures of the couple.
Aaron didn’t even have to heart to pretend to be upset. Not when he was this happy.
“Thank you guys, for everything.”
“Oh believe me you are so gonna love me for that year long delivery of diapers.” JJ smirked at the two of them.
“Oh I remember it well. Thank you Jayje. Everyone, thank you for everything.” The team stayed for a little while longer then each person started to head home. When it was just
Rossi he came up with an envelope in his hand and handed it to Aaron.
“Something I think you deserve.” Aaron frowned as he opened the envelope. Inside was the verdict of Haley’s trial. Aaron didn’t need to be there and truthfully he didn’t want to. His lawyer sited unavoidable family obligations and the Judge agreed that Aaron’s testimony had been enough.
“Twelve years. That’s harsh.” Aaron sighed as he looked at the paper. It felt so very final. When he looked up at Spencer all he saw was love and understanding.
“Thank you Dave. I appreciate you telling us.”
Dave gave them a nod as he left the couple alone.
“Spencer, I think in all of the chaos of the last few months I completely forgot to do something.”
“What?” Spencer frowned as he watched his Alpha come close, then touch the mating gland on his neck.
“Oh, right. We did kind of get swept up in everything.”
“Spencer, I want you to be my mate and my husband.” Aaron pulled the box out of his pants pocket.
“Aaron,” Spencer whispered as he bit his lip and looked up at his Alpha with tears in his eyes. “Yes, yes, yes, yes to everything.” Aaron took the ring and first held it up for Spencer to look at.
“Is that.” Spencer looked stunned as he held it up and pictures of him, Jack, Aaron and the team were projected out. “This is a mini projector. The band, it’s the TARDIS. Where did you find this?”
Aaron couldn’t help the smile that came to his lips. “I wanted something special and Garcia helped me find it. The jeweler was willing to make the changes I requested. Now, you’ll always have our best moments with you.”
“Aaron.” Spencer slipped the ring on as tears slipped down his face. “It’s wonderful. I love it.”
Pulling him in close Aaron kissed him. Grabbing his hand they made their way to their bedroom and standing behind Spencer Aaron pulled off his shirt and wrapped on arm around his chest and the other rested on his belly. Aaron kissed the side of his mate’s neck gently nipping letting the mating teeth descend before he teased the gland with his tongue and light scraped his teeth across.
“Aaron, please.” Spencer pressed back into his mate waiting. When teeth gently pierced the gland and Aaron tasted Spencer’s sweet fluid he groaned in the back of his throat. Closing his eyes he thrust against Spencer’s back as they stood there for a moment locked together in the mating embrace. Aaron’s eyes rolled back when he pressed down a little more to take in all the fluid and felt himself come. Slowly he pulled the teeth form Spencer’s neck and greedily licked at the mark left behind.
“Well, that’s embarrassing.” Aaron licked behind Spencer’s ear as his hands caressed his mate’s belly.
“I just came in my pants. I haven’t done that since I was a teenager.” He laughed softly.
“Yeah I can top that.”
“Oh? Why is that?”
“Well, my water just broke.” Aaron stilled at Spencer’s words and finally noticed the floor.
“Okay, let’s get you to the hospital.” Aaron helped Spencer into his shirt, grabbed his go-bag that had been put together for this very reason and grabbed his keys. Spencer was right behind utterly bewildered by the calmness his mate was showing. Except for one small thing.
“Um Aaron, I’ll take the bag and go wait in the car. I think you need to change.” Spencer’s eyes flicked down to Aaron’s pants. He couldn’t help the laugh that came out at the look on his Alpha’s face.
“Right, good idea.” Aaron ran back into the room, grabbed fresh boxers and pants, cleaned up in the bathroom and came back out ready to go.
All the way to the hospital the mated couple kept laughing like idiots.
Eighteen hours later Spencer was holding his little girl. The C-section went exactly as expected and thankfully there were no complications. Aaron couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he sat there watching in wonder.
“What are we going to name her?”
“I was thinking Maiya Isabel Reid-Hotchner. What do you think?”
“I think it’s beautiful. What made you think of it?”
“If it wasn’t for Maiya Simmons, I don’t think we would be here Aaron.” Spencer looked up into his mates smiling face, “Want to hold her?”
Aaron stood and took his daughter in his arms. He couldn’t help the tears that pricked the corners of his eyes. A few minutes later Jessica was bringing Jack into the room. He immediately went to Spencer and crawled up on the bed next to him.
“You smell like Daddy.”
Spencer smiled softly as his arm wrapped around the little boy, “That’s because we mated just before we came to the hospital. That’s your sister Maiya, Jack.” The little boy looked at his father with wide eyes and smiled.
“She’s perfect. You’re perfect Spencer.” Aaron didn’t think his life could get any better than it was right at that moment.