It Only Took Eight Years – Chapters 6 – 8

Fifth Year

It was late at the BAU and Spencer was just sitting at his desk, head down and his heart was heavy. Aaron was finished and on his way home. The events of the day lay heavy on his heart as well. The team lost a valuable member and friend when the State Department insisted that JJ be transferred.

“Reid?” Aaron saw the young genius was still at his desk, but not really concentrating on anything.

Spencer wiped a hand over his face before he looked up at Aaron, “Yeah Hotch?” He asked in a not quite steady voice.

Aaron sighed. He wanted to go home to Jack. The boy was still so devastated by his mother’s loss that Aaron was trying to get home earlier so that he could be with him more. But when he looked at Spencer he saw that his youngest agent had been crying.

Aaron sat in a chair opposite Spencer, “I’m going to make you a promise Spencer”

“What?” he asked as he looked down at his hands.

“I’m going to get her back, that’s what. It may not be right away, but I am going to fight this and get her back, okay?”

“Well, you’ve never let me down before Hotch. I believe you.” Spencer smiled sadly.

“Let me take you home Reid and remember that she told you she’s still here. There’s no reason you can’t visit. I know, it’s not the same.” He anticipated what Spencer was going to say.

“I know; I’m just going to miss her when we’re out on cases.” Reid frowned as he tried hard not to be upset that the sister of his heart was gone from the team.

“Reid, come on let’s go home.” Aaron patted the young man on the shoulder. But when he looked back he noticed that Spencer hadn’t moved, he also noticed that he was rubbing his eyes as if he was in pain. Aaron walked back over to Spencer’s desk.

“Reid, are you okay?” Aaron asked with concern in his voice.

Reid looked up and saw Aaron’s concern, “I’m um, I’m fine,” He said as he squinted, “Just a bit of a headache Hotch, I’ll be okay.”

“Reid, you know you can tell me if there is anything wrong, right?”

“I know, I’ll be okay, it was just a stressful day, that’s all.” Reid got up grabbed his bag and headed out the door with Aaron.

Aaron ached to reach up and touch Spencer but he held back. The memory of their night together still crept up on him sometimes and it left an ache in his heart that he knew could never be acted on, or so he told himself. He more than once over the last few months had to take matters in hand when it got to be too much.

He drove home after dropping Reid off and worried about the young genius and hoped that he could make good on his promise to get JJ back on the team. He was angry that the State Department didn’t respect the wishes of him and his own agent and he wasn’t sure of their agenda, but he was determined to find out.

Unfortunately, no amount of investigation told him who really wanted JJ or what she was doing. It gave him a bad feeling, but he trusted her and knew that whatever was going on she was strong enough to handle it.

Hotch was worried about Reid. He noticed the dark glasses more and how he was drinking more tea than coffee. During briefings Reid sometimes zoned out just a bit. At first he was worried that for some reason Reid had fallen back to drugs. He worried that their one night together might have affected his youngest agent and best friend more than he realized, but he soon figured out that wasn’t the case.

They were in Miami Florida and this time Reid was wearing the dark glasses almost constantly. When he went off on his own after the unsub Hotch grew frustrated. The last time this happened they almost didn’t get him back. They quickly found him in a house across from Elian Morales’s community center. He had subdued the unsub and was now talking to Elian who had just given something to Reid and walked off.

“What do you need protecting from?” Hotch asked as he overheard the conversation between Elian and Reid.

“I have no idea,” Reid couldn’t quite look Hotch in the face as his voice trembled slightly with emotion.

“Are you alright?” Hotch asked, genuine concern laced every word.

“Yeah, oh yeah, yeah I ah pretended to have a headache in order to distract them,” Reid tried to play it off but he somehow knew Hotch didn’t really believe him.

“Pretended?” Hotch asked with a tiny bit of sarcasm because he knew Spencer was lying.

“Yeah, pretended.” Spencer didn’t look Hotch in the eye as he bowed his head and left the room.

A few hours later after processing the scene and interviewing the suspect they had all gone back to the hotel to get some rest before they left in the morning to go back home.

There was a knock on Reid’s door and he let out a sigh as he saw Hotch standing there. “Um, what are you doing here Hotch?” He asked slightly confused.

“Reid, I think we know each other too well by now that I know when you are lying.” Hotch said as he pushed past his subordinate and friend and entered the room.

“Aaron, I’m fine okay?” Spencer winced at the pain in his head.

“You are obviously not fine. Have you seen a doctor?” He didn’t hide his concern for his friend.

Reid wanted to lie wanted, to keep up the charade that everything was okay, but he couldn’t, not with Hotch. So he sighed deeply, “Yes. That’s why I was late to the briefing, I had an MRI done.”

“Okay.” Reid was glad that Hotch didn’t ask a million questions, he didn’t push and prod like Morgan, and Reid was always grateful that his unit chief was often a man of little words but they always had meaning when he did speak.

“When do you get the results?” Aaron asked.

“I have an appointment on Friday.” Reid sat down on the bed and closed his eyes against the pain in his head.

“Do you want me to go with you?” Hotch quietly asked as he sat next to his youngest agent on the bed.

Reid was going to say no, but he remembered the times he helped out Hotch, “Yeah, yeah could you?”

“Of course,” Hotch could see that Reid was still suffering, “What are you taking for them?”

“I’m just taking some high dose Motrin. Many of the migraine medications have terrible side effects and the strongest ones available are narcotic in nature.” He didn’t elaborate more, he didn’t need to. The unspoken fear was there.

Hotch sighed, he moved to the head of the bed and leaned against the headboard, “Come here, sit in front of me with your back facing me.”

“Um Hotch, why?” Reid was confused and apprehensive.

“Spencer, just indulge me?” Hotch didn’t want to think about how there was a double meaning in his statement. Reid obeyed and positioned himself like Hotch asked and ignored the heat burning his cheeks as he thought of the vulnerable position he was now currently in.

“Take of your vest and loosen your shirt.” He ordered.

“Hotch.” Reid was apprehensive and he let it show in his voice.

“Just do it,” Hotch ordered.

Reid took off his vest and tie and loosened up his dress shirt as Hotch asked. When he felt strong hands start to massage his shoulders at first he tensed up.

“Relax Reid,” Hotch said softly. And slowly Reid relaxed and let his unit chief, his friend try to help. After a few minutes it started working his neck and shoulders were relaxing and the pain lessened in his head.

“There are lavender eye pillows that help also. Haley would get migraines during her pregnancy and we tried a lot of homeopathic treatments. I can look to see if I can find her books-” Hotch’s hands stilled as he took a deep breath fighting to reign in his emotions. Part of him still felt frozen in place, like he couldn’t move on even though he knew he needed to. After a minute he gained control and went back to massaging Reid’s shoulders and neck.

“Um, only if you can find them.” Reid tried to get back that relaxing atmosphere that permeated the room just moments before. “Thank you, Aaron. That did help.”

“Get some sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.” Hotch started to walk out of the room.

“Aaron,” Reid sat up and took a deep breath, “Please stay.” He wasn’t sure what he was asking and Hotch wasn’t sure of the answer. When his hand reached the handle he hesitated a moment then looked back at his friend.

“Okay.” Hotch walked over turned off the light stripped down to his t-shirt and boxers and laid down. Reid did the same and curled up on the other bed in the room as he tried to relax enough to sleep.

Hotch watched Reid toss and turn as he tried to get comfortable. Hotch sighed deeply before he got up and laid down behind Reid. He pulled the younger man to his chest and started to rub his temples. Reid relaxed even more not just because of the massage, but also the body behind him holding him. He quickly fell asleep content for the first time in a long time.

They woke several hours later with Hotch stretched out on his back and Reid curled up next to him with his head on Hotch’s chest.

“Um Aaron.” Reid sat up feeling better than he had in a long time.

“Nothing happened Reid.” Aaron smiled. He was sorely tempted for something to happen but again that frozen state he was in and those ingrained fears held him back.

“I know that, of course.” Reid became very flustered at the position they had ended-up in. Hotch hadn’t held him like that since their night together and he didn’t want to admit how good it actually felt.

“How is your headache?” Hotch deflected the conversation and Reid knew that no amount of prodding would get Aaron to open up.

“Better, thank you.” There was more meaning in those two words but Hotch didn’t want to explore it, didn’t want to bring-up possibilities and his fears. So many things were holding him back and he knew that one day Reid was going to slip through his fingers and he was going to lose something precious before he even had it.

“Well, I’ll let you get ready to leave.” Hotch cleared his throat and it felt like the morning after that night several months before, and he didn’t know why he felt like suddenly grieving. He pushed all those feelings down as he slowly got dressed and went back to his room.

Spencer sat on the edge of his bed cursing himself. He thought that if he got Hotch to stay one night that maybe, just maybe he’d admit what was really happening between them. However the opposite happened. Hotch again pushed everything down and Reid thought not for the first time that he was going to have to learn to move on and it broke his heart just a little.

Aaron still went with Spencer to get his results and when they came back negative Spencer stormed out of the hospital and sat fuming in Aaron’s car.

“So I take it that it didn’t go well.” Aaron said dryly.

“He said there’s nothing wrong. That’s the third doctor to say that Hotch. He tried to tell me…” His lips thinned and Aaron could see the anger on Reid’s face.

“Tried to tell you what?” Aaron asked gently.

“He tried to tell me that they could be psychosomatic and had the goddamn balls to tell someone with a goddamn master’s degree in psychology what the fuck psychosomatic means. I’m not crazy Hotch…” He angrily yelled.

Aaron stopped him mid rant, “Spencer! Stop, I know you’re not, so calm down.”

Spencer was breathing heavy and the pain was worsening, “I’m sorry. I’m just frustrated.” He laid his head back and tried to breath deep.

“Let’s get you home and comfortable. We’ll figure this out, I promise.” He wanted to grab Spencer’s hand to reassure him but Aaron didn’t, again he held back. He kept telling himself, he’s just a friend, my best friend, but just a friend. Fear is a powerful thing and Aaron kept believing that if he takes that step over the line, he just might shatter and break something precious.

Emily’s dead, Emily’s dead, Emily’s dead, kept going through Spencer’s mind as he sat curled up on the floor next to his couch. He’d recently spent a lot of time at JJ’s crying, trying to understand how one of his best friends could be dead. But now he just wanted to be alone, he wanted the silence, he wanted the dilauded. It was sitting there on his table and he stared at it, could almost taste it flowing through his veins, taking him to that space he needed to get away. It was calling to him like never before.

There was a knock on his door but he ignored it. He didn’t want to see or speak to anyone. His mind was whirling with too many thoughts, mostly haunted by those who have left him in one way or another.

“Spencer, open this door.” Aaron had been frantic. Spencer hadn’t shown up at JJ’s in days, he also wasn’t answering his phone. He’d come to work and Aaron could feel the waves of grief off of him. The grief assessment didn’t do justice to how much his best friend was hurting. And he’d asked for a few days off, which was not like him and it worried Aaron.

“Spencer, open the door, please,” Aaron pleaded this time. Spencer finally gave in and opened the door just so his neighbors wouldn’t complain.

Aaron took in his appearance, pajamas, three-day growth on his face, hair disheveled and an old stained bathrobe. The apartment was no better. Take out boxes and coffee cups littered everywhere. This wasn’t like Reid and Aaron’s fear grew.

Spencer huffed out a sigh as he opened the door. “What do you want Hotch?” He asked with reservation.

“I’m worried about you. You haven’t been answering your phone and JJ called to say you haven’t come around in a few days. I know after the assessments it wasn’t easy for you.” Aaron wanted to reach out but he held back.

“Fine, you’ve seen me now go away.” He started to shut the door.

Aaron put his foot out to stop the door from closing. He knew something was terribly wrong, so he shoved Spencer, and the door aside and took a few long strides in. When he saw the bottle out in the open his face blanched.

“Spencer,” Aaron quietly whispered, “Please tell me you haven’t.”

“No, no I haven’t. I’ve been sitting staring at it, but I don’t see where it’s any of your business.” Spencer wanted to yell at him to get out but he didn’t. He knew deep down he was in crisis and if Aaron walked back out that door Spencer might not recover.

Aaron snatched it up and put it in his pocket, “Is there more?” His tone was hard and he was angry at Spencer for not coming to him in the first place. But of course Aaron couldn’t tell Spencer the truth, couldn’t tell him that Emily was actually alive, though he wanted to more than anything. It was breaking his heart to lie to the genius. Especially when he promised Spencer he never would. Deep down inside he knew that when or if it’s revealed that Emily is alive there was that real possibility that his friendship or whatever it was he had with Reid would be over. He was unfortunately willing to take that risk to keep Emily alive, but at the same time it was shattering a piece of his heart. He knew his best friend was going to feel betrayed. Reid’s anger was usually righteous and it would hopefully be directed at him and not JJ. He didn’t think he could stand the guilt if that relationship was ruined. He came out of these thoughts as Spencer finally spoke-up.

“No,” Spencer said quietly as he curled up tightly on his couch, “No just the one bottle. I don’t know why, I just…” He buried his face in his legs and started to cry. He wasn’t even sure why he was crying anymore. There wasn’t anything he could do to bring Emily back, but yet again his abandonment issues reared their ugly head.

Aaron sat down next to Reid and pulled him into his arms. His heart was heavy with guilt but he wanted to comfort Spencer as much as he could. When he calmed down he laid his head on Aaron’s shoulder.

“I miss her Aaron. She was funny, kind, and she understood my geekiness.” He didn’t want to cry anymore, didn’t want to hurt anymore, “I just,” He took a deep breath as his lips brushed against Aaron’s neck. It was soft, subtle and Aaron moaned in pleasure at the feel of those lips on his neck. He wanted to push Spencer away, but he didn’t.

By the time they were in Spencer’s bed, naked and kissing Aaron knew he was lost. He had promised himself that this wasn’t going to happen again, but it had been so long. So long since someone had touched him like Spencer was and maybe it was his turn to give the young genius the same comfort he had received after Haley’s death. If a part of him felt guilty he pushed it aside for now and he’d think about it later.

Afterwards as they lay curled around each other Aaron’s mind was whirling what have I done kept repeating in his head.

“Aaron for god’s sake for once in your life just stop thinking and do what you want for a change.” Spencer said as he clutched tightly to his friend, lover, friend, Spencer wasn’t sure what they were. They never talked about what they meant to each other, each one fearing the question and the answer.

Aaron closed his eyes tight against the tears that wanted to flow because he felt he was betraying this beautiful, intelligent, funny, sweet man that was in his arms. He wanted to tell him everything, wanted to tell him about Emily, about how he felt, how he’d always felt but he didn’t. Instead he turned once more to Spencer and let himself get lost in that pliant willing body under him. He didn’t think anymore, but he felt too much and when he knew Spencer was asleep he left.

Those frozen places in him had shattered and it was painful. He broke open under the body of his best friend and it hurt. He wanted to cry, to scream, to let himself have this confusing, wonderful, beautiful relationship but he got scared. Fear of himself, fear of what the team would think, fear that he’d lose his job or his son all those fears came rushing at him all at once and he ran.

When the morning came and Spencer found his bed empty he wasn’t surprised. He knew something profound had happened to Aaron and he figured that Aaron would run. This time there was no morning breakfast with cheeky conversation. There was pain and sorrow as his heart broke yet again. He knew they wouldn’t talk about this one, that it would go unspoken, no quiet talks if it came up in conversation. No thank you’s for the comfort, no pleasant memories, no not this time. Something enormous happened and Spencer knew that he’d never get Aaron to open up, to tell him what happened and it made him a little angry. He started to distance himself, started to protect his heart and the shattered remains of his life. He started to drive himself again, got his own coffee, stopped with the gifts because he just couldn’t.

Aaron noticed Spencer pulling away and he knew he was the cause and he thought that maybe it would be better this way. That maybe it would lessen the blow when he could bring Emily back and reveal the truth in their ruse. It hurt and there were times when he’d stare out into the bullpen and his heart would ache. He wished he could go back to that frozen state but it was too late.

Sixth Year

Aaron was sitting in his apartment with the lights off and a large glass of scotch in his hands. He had Jessica keep Jack for the weekend because he knew he was not going to be in the right frame of mind to take care of his son. Bringing Emily back and revealing the truth in their ruse went pretty much how he thought it would. The part that hurt the most was Reid’s reaction to JJ. Aaron knew that relationship was broken and there was nothing he could do to help fix it. When he heard the pounding on his door he almost instinctively knew who it was. He sighed in resignation as he got up from the couch and opened the door to see a seething Spencer Reid.

The young man stormed into Aaron’s apartment, “How the hell could you do that to me Hotch?” Not Aaron no that went out the window months ago when Aaron had abandoned him after they had slept together.

“Reid, we were trying to keep Emily sa-“ Reid cut him off and Aaron was right his friend’s anger was righteous.

“You fucking lied to me. You could have told me the truth, you know that I wouldn’t have said a goddamn thing. And turn on a damn light Hotch.” Reid stalked off to the other side of the living room.

Aaron turned on the lights and it startled him. He blinked several times to get himself adjusted to the bright glare before he answered Reid, Spencer, Reid, dammit his feelings were confused and he didn’t know what to do about it. He didn’t know how to make this right.

“And what would you have done if any of you knew and one of Doyle’s men had taken you?” Aaron didn’t want to think about that, didn’t want to think about Reid, Spencer, fuck, being captured again.

“I didn’t betray any of you when Tobias had me, what makes you think I would have if Doyle’s men had tried? Do you think they could have done anything worse to me? Do you really think that I’m that weak?” Spencer was breathing hard he was angry because he was hurt that Hotch didn’t trust him and that was what hurt the most. “I can’t believe you didn’t trust me, trust us-“ He cut himself off trying to calm down but it wasn’t working.

Aaron closed his eyes trying to get his emotions under control. He didn’t want to lash out at the young man because he knew how deeply he had betrayed Spencer’s friendship.

“Reid, I don’t think you’re weak, not at all. After everything you’ve been through I think you are one of the strongest men I’ve ever known.” Hotch frowned deeply as he watched the younger man pace. “Look, we trusted you but we didn’t trust them. JJ and I didn’t trust them not to hurt you, any of you. We were sincerely trying to protect everyone.” Aaron was trying to get Spencer to understand, but he knew he wasn’t getting through to him.

“You know what Hotch? Keep telling yourself that.” Spencer stormed out the door and went home.

“Dammit,” Aaron growled out to no one in particular.

The team dinner went better than Aaron had anticipated and he was genuinely surprised when Spencer showed up. There was still a lot of tension between them,  but he hoped that in time they could at least get a little of their friendship back.

It was late when most everyone went home but Aaron stayed around at Rossi’s for a little longer. He helped him clean up and hoped he could talk to the older man.

A glass of scotch appeared before him as Rossi took a seat across from his friend.

“What’s on your mind Aaron?” Dave knew something was going on with his friend but he’d been patient and waited till Aaron was ready to talk.

“I messed up Dave. Spencer.” He took a deep breath and downed the scotch, “He’s still so angry at me.” Aaron frowned down into the glass he was holding.

“Aaron, what’s really going on? You’ve never second guessed yourself on major decisions like this.” Dave had a pretty good idea, but he was wondering if Aaron was even admitting it to himself.

Aaron swallowed hard, “I’ve lost Reid’s friendship and I miss it. I don’t know how to get it back.” He slumped back in the chair and just stared off to the side.

So, still going to deny what you really feel, okay I’ll play along for now. Rossi thought to himself.

“It wasn’t just Emily was it?” Dave looked at his friend knowingly.

“Dave,” Aaron didn’t want to talk about that night and he hoped Dave wouldn’t prod.

“Aaron you’ve been standoffish and Reid has been nothing but painfully professional with you. That isn’t like the two of you, and it started before you told us about Emily being alive. Now, what is going on.” Dave pushed because he knew Aaron needed to talk it out.

Of course he is going to prod, Aaron thought. He sat there for a while wondering if he should tell Dave the truth.

“I slept with him.” The words were out before Aaron even thought about it. He hadn’t meant to say it. It was something private between him and Spencer, Reid, Spencer, goddamn it.

“Okay.” Rossi wasn’t sure what to think about that. He took a quick swallow of his scotch. “Did you freak out Aaron?” He thought that maybe Aaron’s ingrained fears may have caused him to get scared.

“Not exactly.” In for a penny, He thought, “It was actually the second time. We ah, we were together a few days after Haley’s funeral. He stayed and we had breakfast together” He closed his eyes trying to clamp down on his emotions.

Dave took a deep breath before he continued, “So, what was different the second time?”

“I felt so guilty. I couldn’t tell him about Emily and,” He looks to the side, “I don’t know what happened Dave, but those parts of myself that had frozen-up after Haley’s death broke open and I didn’t know what to do. He,” Aaron stopped talking, “You know what, I need to get home. Jack was expecting me a while ago.”

“Aaron.” Dave started to say something, to stop his friend that was obviously in pain.

“Dave, I don’t really want to talk about this anymore.” Aaron shut down, threw up his stoic mask and let himself out of Dave’s house.

“Damn stubborn ass profiler.” Dave cursed under his breath.

A couple of months later Spencer had started to shore up his feelings for Aaron. He pushed them aside and into a small part of his heart. A part of him would always love the man, but he didn’t want to get hurt by it anymore.

As he made his way to the conference room he heard Aaron and Dave talking.

“Is she cute?” Dave asked.

“Yes, but I need to focus on my training Dave. I don’t need to be distracted.” Spencer heard Aaron say. He didn’t want to hear anymore and went into the conference room to wait.

“What’s her name?” Spencer heard Dave ask.

“Beth,” Aaron said to him. It was like a stab to his heart and Spencer wanted to flee the room.

“I like it. And you know what they say about riding a bicycle.” Spencer kept his eyes forward and cleared his throat.

“Who’s getting a bicycle?” He stared at Aaron and the Unit Chief could see the hurt in the youngest profiler’s eyes.

Aaron smiled, “Nobody,” But it didn’t quite reach his eyes.

“Hm,” Spencer hummed under his breath.

They went on with the case, and it was one of those times that no one felt good about the outcome. A little boy still died and the father went to jail. It was a terrible case of one father not being able to let go and his aggressive nature took over. In his pain he had hurt people who had gotten in his way.

Aaron was sitting in the back of the plane trying to process just what had happened during this case. Spencer cursed himself but went and sat in front of Aaron holding his book reading. He didn’t say anything he just sat there hoping that at least his presence gave some comfort.

Aaron didn’t push but he knew what it was that Spencer was offering and he’d take it for what it was. They sat in silence the whole way home.

When they landed, Aaron hesitated outside the plane till he saw Spencer exiting, “Reid,” Spencer turned to look at Aaron, “Thank you.” Was all he said.

“It’s okay. You don’t need to thank me,” Spencer said as he walked off to his car.

Rossi stood back and watched the exchange wondering just when Aaron and Spencer were going to admit to each other just what they felt. But unfortunately neither man wanted to give in and admit their feelings. So Aaron buried his and through training for a triathlon he got to know Beth a little better.

Spencer tried to stay away from Aaron but he just couldn’t. He was also tired of being angry and one Saturday he showed up with a movie in one hand and a bag of popcorn in the other. Aaron was startled to see him standing there and a little part of him was elated. He missed the weekly presence of his friend and opened the door wide.

“This is a surprise.” Aaron tried to keep his tone neutral so as not to scare Spencer off.

Spencer walked in the apartment, “I’m tired of being angry with you. I know we aren’t going to talk about what happened between us but let me just say this,” Spencer shuffled his feet, “I don’t know what happened or why you left but it hurt Aaron, I thought we were better friends than that.”

“Spence,” Aaron’s breath was shallow and his heart was racing, “I,” He took a moment to get his emotions under control, “I felt guilty Spence. I was lying to you, for a good reason.” Aaron wanted to re-iterate that, “But, I couldn’t look you in the eye Spencer. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt you like that.” Aaron moved into his kitchen to pour a glass of scotch. He felt he needed the fortification.

“Okay, I get it, but Aaron.” Aaron’s heart swelled just a little. Spencer hadn’t called him Aaron in months and he knew it was stupid, but just that small gesture made his world right itself just a little bit. “We can’t ever do that again, I couldn’t take it.” Spencer went into the kitchen and grabbed a bowl from the cabinet, went back to the living room and dumped the popcorn in. “So let’s just keep it at friends, nothing more.”

Aaron was more than happy with that, “Okay, I can do that Spencer.” He picked-up the DVD to put it in and He raised a brow at Spencer, “The Odd Couple?” He shook his head, “Trying to say something Spencer?” Aaron grinned at the youngest profiler.

“No.” He smirked at his boss, “Did you know that although much of the story has Felix and Oscar playing poker with some of their friends if you actually watch closely Felix is not actually playing.” Spencer smiled down into the popcorn.

“Oh really, well we’re just going to have to watch it to find out if that fact is correct.” Aaron played along with Spencer.

They spent the next hour and a half watching the classic comedy settling back into one of the past-times both men had missed. When it was over Spencer helped Aaron clear the small amount of dishes, grabbed his things and started to go home.

“Spencer.” Aaron knew Spencer didn’t want to talk about what happened but he had to get this out now or he never would. “It meant something to me, I don’t want you to ever think that it didn’t and again, I am sorry for hurting you the way I did.”

Spencer took a deep breath, “Okay,” He walked towards the door, “But I’d really rather not talk about it again, okay?” Spencer gripped the handle of the door ready to flee if Aaron tried to talk more about it.

“Okay, I won’t bring it up,” He reached for the door and their hands met, Aaron quickly jerked back, “Goodnight Spence.” He said as his best friend walked out the door.

They were back to weekly movie nights. They talked often about anything except the two times they had been intimate with each other. Those two days were taboo. It hurt them both too much for either of them to broach the subject.

Slowly they got back to dinners out, it wasn’t as often as it used to be, but they tried to make time. Spencer knew Aaron was training and it took up a lot of his time. He agreed to help Jack with his homework and help out when Aaron wanted to go on a run during the week.

When it came time for the big race Spencer was there with the rest of the team, though the women each sported quite the hangover and Spencer took the opportunity to tease them quite mercilessly about it, especially since he had spent the entire night with a difficult Henry. They were all there to cheer Aaron on when he passed the finish line.

Spencer was cheering as Aaron finished crossing the finish line and the team approached as he was grabbing a bottle of water. A woman called his name and Spencer turned and saw her. Beth. The woman that Aaron had been training with, the woman he wanted to ask out on a date, the woman that Rossi practically told Aaron to go after. Spencer knew he had no right to feel the surge of jealousy but he did.

They all ended up at a diner close to where the race had taken place.

“So, Beth you work at a museum?” Spencer asked not so subtly.

“Yes, I just love art so much. It’s a fantastic job, I feel so lucky to be doing what I love to do.” She said smiling at Spencer then sending Aaron an even bigger smile.

Spencer was quiet the rest of the meal. When he was finished he sat back for a moment listening to the conversation all around but he just didn’t want to be there anymore.

“Well this was fun,” He said with no small amount of sarcasm as he picked up his bag, “But I ah, I need to get going.” Before anyone could protest he was out the door and driving back to his apartment.

“Was it something I said?” Beth frowned thinking she had offended the younger man.

Aaron smiled at her, “No, nothing you said Beth. He’s just gone through a lot lately.” He put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to him. Dave gave him an undecipherable look which he wasn’t going to dwell on.

“I’m exhauseted, I think it’s finally caught-up to me. Come on Jack, lets go home, you’re old man needs a nap.” He looked to Beth, “I’ll call you,” He smiled down at her.

“Of course, get some rest.” She stayed a while making small talk with the rest of Aaron’s team then went home herself.

“Does anyone else think that Aaron is being a goddamn stupid idiot?” Morgan said as he sat back in his chair.

“Um, Morgan what do you mean?” JJ asked.

“Oh come on Jayje, when are Hotch and Reid going to actually acknowledge that they love each other?”

“You mean you see it too?” Emily looked over at Morgan.

“All of us see it. I don’t know why they don’t, or at least why Hotch doesn’t.” Morgan sighed in frustration.

“He’s too stubborn to let go of his good ole’ Southern upbringing, his fears are pretty deep seated Derek. He really does love Reid, but he hasn’t even admitted it to himself. I think it will take a very dramatic act on Spencer’s part for him to finally figure this out.” Rossi ruminated on the problem wondering what he could do to help.

Reid was dancing with Emily and she was telling him she loved him and would keep in touch. He knew she was going to leave them, but at least this was a real goodbye. He was sad that she was going, but knew that she was having a hard time after her ordeal with Doyle.

“I’m going to miss you.” He gave her his famous pout.

“I’ll stay in touch, I promise.” She pulled him in for a hug. “Reid, I think you need to tell Aaron how you really feel.” Emily knew this was her last chance to talk to Spencer like this.

Spencer frowned, “I don’t know what you mean.” He looked over to where Beth and Aaron were dancing and he felt miserable.

“Reid, I’m not blind. I can see what you are feeling and I think you need to tell him.”

“Right and lose my job? No, no I can’t Emily. He’s too important to me to lose him and if all I ever get is his friendship, then I can live with that.” Spencer continued to dance with Emily for a few more minutes.

“I’m going to go home, I’m going to miss you Em.” He let her go, picked-up his bag and went over to Will and JJ.

“JJ.” Spencer hugged the woman close. He was beginning to let her in again, but it was slow going. “Congratulations.” He was genuinely happy for them, for the family she was creating.

“Thank you Spence.” She smiled wide her eyes sparkling with her happiness. “Are you leaving?” She asked sadly.

“It’s been a long day and I want to get home. You look beautiful.” He smiled crookedly at her.

“Spence.” She wanted to say something to help ease his heart, but she didn’t know how to help her best friend, “I’ll see you in about a week,” Is what she said instead. Tell him Spence, tell him how you feel. Is what she thought. She saw Spencer glance back at Aaron one last time before he left.

“Oh Will, I don’t know what to do for him.” JJ turned to her husband and laid her head on his chest.

“Cher, you need to let him work it out on his own. Don’t interfere.” Will told her as he held her close.

“I know, I just see how hurt he is. I wish they weren’t so stubborn.” She thinned her lips as her mind whirled.

“May I?” Aaron smiled at Will as he stepped aside to let the Unit Chief take JJ for a dance.

“Congratulations JJ. Will and you deserve this.” He smiled down at the media liaison turned profiler. Aaron had seen Spencer leave and it clutched at his heart for some reason.

“And you deserve to be happy to Hotch.” She looked up at her boss as they swayed on the dance floor.

“I am. Beth is a wonderful woman,” The smiled didn’t quite reach his eyes.

“Mm hmm,” She quirked up a brow but didn’t push it. She knew that he wasn’t going to admit to her what he truly felt, but she could at least put the thought in his head, “I see that you and Spence are talking again.” She said.

“We’re trying to be friends again.” JJ could tell that was all she was going to get out of the ever stoic Unit Chief.

“Thank you Hotch, now go back to your date I want my husband,” She laughed.

Aaron went back to dancing with Beth but his thoughts were a million miles away. A part of him so desperately wanted to go see how Spencer was doing, but he held off. A couple of hours later the party was breaking-up, Will and JJ had already left for the hotel they were staying at for the night. Aaron took Beth home and before he realized it he was heading towards Spencer’s apartment.

The knock on the door startled Spencer as he was trying to wind down and was lost in a book. When he opened the door Aaron was standing there.

“Aaron, what, what are you doing here?” Spencer stammered out.

“I wanted to make sure you were okay. Emily told me about her job offer and I got worried how you were going to take it.” Aaron was standing there expectantly.

“Come on in.” Spencer stood to the side to let the man in. This is a bad idea Spencer thought.

Aaron moved into the apartment and went to sit on the couch, Spencer followed behind sitting next to Aaron.

“I’m okay Aaron. I mean I’m upset she’s leaving, but I think I understand. She’s not happy and she’s having a hard time so I’m okay.”

“Good, I” Aaron didn’t know what he wanted to say, so they sat for a while in companionable silence. “Spencer you know I care about you right?” He still felt on shaky ground with their renewed friendship.

“I know Aaron, I care about you too.” Spencer frowned, “What is this about Aaron, why did you come over here tonight?”

Aaron let out a deep breath, “I don’t know, I’m sorry, I guess I just wanted to let you know that,” He pushed down what he was really feeling, “Spencer I won’t lie to you again. You are too important to me and I don’t want to lose your friendship again.” It was a partial lie and he knew it. The feelings he had were deeper but he pushed them down.

“Thank you, Aaron.” Spencer felt the truth in those words and hoped Aaron kept his promise.

“Well, I should get going, taking Jack out for pancakes in the morning.” Aaron got off the couch and headed out the door.

Spencer was just closing it when a hand grabbed it and pushed it open. Aaron surged inside and pushed Spencer up against the wall, holding him there. It was a couple of minutes before anyone did anything then Aaron’s lips crashed down on Spencer’s.

Spencer moaned at the feel of Aaron’s lips on his and it took everything in him to push the older man away, “Aaron, we promised.” The pain in Spencer’s eyes was too much, Aaron just wanted to take away the pain and hurt he had caused. He kissed Spencer again and the younger man didn’t protest, he pulled Aaron tighter against him.

“Dammit Hotch, what are we doing? What do you want from me?” His confusion coming through.

“I don’t know Spencer.” Aaron held the younger man hostage against the wall, his breath shallow, “I don’t know.” He lay his forehead on Spencer’s and they stood like that for a while just breathing each other in. Just as suddenly as Aaron pushed his way back into the apartment he pulled away from Spencer and left.

“Damn you Aaron Michael Hotchner, damn you,” Spencer slid down the wall and hung his head in his hands and cried.

Seventh Year

Spencer was again angry at Aaron.  He had left the young agent after making all of those buried feelings surface and Aaron knew he had hurt Spencer yet again.

He was sitting back in his office chair with a glass of scotch in his hands trying to come to terms with these confusing feelings.

“This is new, sitting in the dark and drinking when you could be out with your lady friend.”  Rossi came into Aaron’s office and sat down in front of his friend’s desk.

“I just didn’t want to go home yet Dave.” Aaron took another sip, still staring off towards the window in his office.

“You want to talk about it?” Dave had been worried about Aaron for the last couple of weeks. He had withdrawn into himself even more than normal and he didn’t know how to help his friend.

“Not really.” Aaron turned in his chair to stare at Dave.

“Aaron something obviously happened after JJ’s wedding. You and Reid have backed off from each other again.” Dave was trying to get at least one of his friends to admit their feelings for each other.

“I keep hurting him Dave,” Aaron said under his breath.

Dave sat back and contemplated, “Well maybe you should stay away then.”

Aaron glared at Dave, “He’s my friend.  I can’t just ignore that.”

“Then don’t do whatever it is you’re doing that is hurting him,” Dave said matter-of-factly.

Aaron smiled down into his glass, “I think maybe I care too much for him.” He took the last swallow of scotch that had been in the glass.

“And just exactly what does that mean?” Dave pushed at Aaron hoping the man would finally crack.

“I don’t know.” Aaron deep down knew what he was feeling but he refused to bring those feelings to the surface.

“I think you better figure this out Aaron or you are going to lose even that bit of friendship you still have left with Reid.” Dave stared Aaron down till the younger man looked down at his desk.

“I know, you’re right.” Aaron got up, grabbed his coat and briefcase and walked out of his office, not even saying goodbye to Dave.

“Aaron Hotchner, you are a damn fool,” Dave said under his breath.

“Spencer’s got a girlfriend,” Morgan teased when he finally got his friend to open up.

Aaron’s head shot up at that and he frowned. Spencer hadn’t mentioned anything about a girlfriend during either movie nights or the few dinners they had a chance to go to.

Spencer just smiled shyly and didn’t elaborate further. He was worried about Maeve and the stalker, and he tried to get Maeve to go to the authorities, but she was more afraid for his life than she was for hers.

Aaron wanted to be at least a little jealous and deep down a part of him was. Later that week when he was buried inside Beth, fucking her, a part of him pictured a different body under him. He was having a hard time finishing till he thought of a certain young genius and all of his lines and angles, soft curly golden hair and full lips that knew just what to do to him. Those two nights with Reid had left an indelible mark on Aaron and whenever he thought about them he didn’t know what to do with that knowledge.

Beth moaned at all the right times, wrapped her legs around him at just the right angle, kissed him in just the right way, but really it truly wasn’t right. Picturing the genius in his head he was finally able to come after having gotten Beth off first.  He fell beside her and pulled her to him, stroking her hair and the name Spencer almost, but not quite, spilled from his lips.

Beth was happy, Aaron was a great lover and such a sweet person to her but she just didn’t understand his relationship with Spencer Reid.

“Aaron,” Beth started to ask a question.

“Hmm?” He stroked her back slowly.

“Why does Dr. Reid come to your place every Saturday night?” Beth asked not so nicely and using his title instead of his name put Aaron off a little.

“What are you asking me Beth?” Aaron was a little apprehensive.  Haley had welcomed Spencer into her heart and understood, why didn’t Beth? He thought.

“I just mean he’s here every Saturday with movies and, well what if I wanted to make plans for us?” Beth knew this was a touchy subject and she wasn’t sure how Aaron was going to react.

“Look, Spencer is a very good friend and he and I have had some difficulties lately. I just want to get our friendship back on an even keel.” Aaron lets out a deep breath.

“I get it, but every week Aaron?” Beth was pushing it and she knew it.

“Do you have a problem with this Beth?” Aaron sat up in the bed and frowned down at her.

“I guess not.” She tells him but he heard a hint of sarcasm underneath. “It just seems that he’s more important in your life than I am.”

Aaron glared at her and she knew she had pushed the subject too far. “Spencer is not more important than you, but he is very important to me. If you can’t handle this, because I am not giving up his friendship, then maybe we need to re-evaluate this relationship.” Aaron angrily got out of bed and went to go take a shower. He knew he needed to calm down because his girlfriend had pushed all the wrong buttons.

Beth realized that Aaron wasn’t going to compromise on this issue. Usually she would stay through the night, but she could feel the anger coming off of Aaron.  She decided it was best if she left. She knew at that moment not to bring this up again and if she wanted this relationship to work she was the one that was going to have to compromise.  Aaron wasn’t going to give up his friendship with Spencer, not even for her.

“Please Hotch, help me find her,” Aaron couldn’t help but feel heartbroken for his friend. Spencer was always different, so it was no surprise that such a strange relationship had developed between him and this woman he only knew as Maeve.

The team stayed the weekend and used their own time because they were determined to help Spencer find this woman he had fallen in love with. Aaron tried not to be jealous but a part of him was. He knew he had to get his feelings under control, that Spencer needed his undivided attention.

Unfortunately Diane was more unbalanced than any of the team could have realized and when she pulled the trigger that killed both her and Maeve they were all devastated.  Spencer had dropped to the floor on his knees not believing what he was seeing. His pain was palpable; everyone was affected, but none as much as Aaron. He relived Haley’s death as he watched the scene before them and his heart was breaking for Spencer.  No one moved for what seemed like forever and it was Aaron who made the first move. He dropped next to Spencer, eyes wet with tears and grabbed his youngest agent, his friend around the waist and held him.  Spencer doubled over in Aaron’s arms and let his grief overtake him.  The rest of the team left them alone for the time being, left Aaron to help Spencer as they helped take care of the bodies.

Aaron eventually got Spencer up and to his apartment. He could tell that Spencer was going into shock and shutting down and Aaron knew the feeling well. He knew at this point there was nothing he could do for Spencer. He needed to work through his grief. Aaron hated leaving Spencer alone and if it wasn’t for Jack he wouldn’t have.

“Spence, I’m just a phone call away okay? It doesn’t matter the time you call me if it gets too much.” Aaron closed his eyes as he cupped Spencer’s cheek, trying to get the younger man to see him. But Spencer wasn’t, he wasn’t seeing Aaron, he wasn’t seeing anything around him, the only thing he was seeing was Maeve being killed in front of him.

Aaron gave Spencer a chaste kiss on his forehead, reiterated to Spencer he would be there and left with a heavy heart.

Aaron had left Spencer alone for a week, but he knew he couldn’t hold back any more.  He knocked hard on Spencer’s door and got only a single knock back.  He closed his eyes and slid down the doorway.  Pulling out a notebook and pen that he brought he wanted to see if Spencer would at least write back.

Spencer, I’m right here. He slid the note under the door. He waited a few moments and it was slid back.

Go away, Aaron somehow knew that was going to be his answer.

I’m not going anywhere Spencer. I’m not going to let you go through this alone. He slid the note back under the door.

I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do. She died thinking I didn’t love her Aaron. There were tears on the paper and Aaron closed his eyes trying to think of a way to help his friend.

You once told me that you weren’t going to give me the platitudes that everyone else gives. I’m not going to do that to you either. She knew Spencer, she saw the truth in your eyes you have to believe that. Let me in. He hoped that he could get through to Spencer.

How’d you get through this Hotch? How’d you get through this pain? It’s too much.



Let me in Spencer, talk to me.

I can’t. I don’t want you to be disappointed in me.

I won’t.

There was a long wait and Aaron wondered if he had pushed Spencer too far.

I bought a bottle Aaron.

Aaron sighed. He thought that might happen. He had hoped that Spencer hadn’t but it wasn’t a surprise.

Give it to me Spence, please.

There was another long wait and something was pushed through the mail slot and dropped into Aaron’s lap. Aaron sighed deeply as he clutched the bottle in his hand. Silent tears fell as he felt for his friend on the other side of the door.

Is this all?


Do you promise me?

Yes Aaron, that’s all.

I’m still not leaving. Aaron wrote back.

You have Jack, go home Aaron.

Jack is going to stay with Jessica for a few days. Let me in Spencer.

I can’t…………I didn’t have enough time with her Aaron, not enough time.

Aaron heard the quiet sobbing on the other side of the door and his heart broke for the young genius. He stretched out but stayed leaning against the door. He wasn’t going to leave Spencer alone, not while he was hurting this much.

There never is enough time Spence. I still miss Haley every day. Come on Spence, let me in.

Why? Why do you want to see me like this?

I just want to make sure you’re okay.

Please just leave me alone



Spence, you are too important to me. I know I’ve made mistakes with you, but you know I care too much to see you in this much pain. Please let me in.

Spencer opened the door till just the security chain stopped.

“Please Aaron, I don’t want anyone here. Why can’t you understand that?”

“Not taking your own advice.” Aaron had moved till he squeezed his tall frame across the doorway.

“What advice?” Spencer asked quietly through the small opening.

“You told me to let the team help me after…” Aaron still had a hard time saying Haley’s name. “You were there for me Spence,” Aaron said softly so only Spencer could hear, “Let me be there for you.”

Spencer shut the door and it was like that for a long time. Aaron even started to fall asleep, he wasn’t about to leave. He wanted Spencer to know he was there and that he cared. It startled him awake when the door slowly opened.

“Fine,” Spencer moved aside and let Aaron into the apartment.

Spencer was thankful that Aaron didn’t say anything about the state of the apartment, he didn’t know if he could take that. All Aaron did was pull Spencer into his arms and hold him. When he did Spencer let go, he let the hard-wracking sobs that he had held back come and in the arms of his best friend he completely broke.

Aaron stayed the night and just held him till he could fall asleep. He left in the morning to go to the office, but he left Spencer a note saying he would be back later.

Aaron came back and it was much like the day before. Spencer didn’t let him in this time he didn’t think he could handle it. So they passed notes back and forth. Aaron even fell asleep in the doorway and woke-up early in the morning to a pillow behind his head and a blanket thrown over him. He was stiff and exhausted, but he was determined to let Spencer know he was there.  He stood and stretched, folding the blanket and putting the pillow on top. He knocked on the door and Spencer knocked back once letting him know he was there.

A couple of days later they got a case taking the team to San Francisco. Aaron hated leaving Reid because he was determined to do everything he could to be there for him.  So it was quite the shock when Spencer entered the San Francisco Police Department after Morgan had called about the problems they were having nailing down the profile.  The case wrapped up in just a couple of days but the team stayed one more night because the plane needed some minor maintenance.

Aaron was stretched out on his bed in the hotel room trying to read. He’d already called Jack and said his good nights and now he was just trying to settle, trying to get Spencer out of his head. It startled him when there was a knock on his door.

“Reid,” They just stood there for a minute staring at each other, “Um come in.” Aaron stood back to let Spencer into the room.

“Aaron,” Reid took a deep breath, “Can I,” he looked down at his feet, “I was going to stay with Morgan but he was watching some game and I’d really rather-“ Aaron cut him off with a squeeze to his shoulder.

“You can stay here.” Aaron went back to his bed and tried to go back to reading but his thoughts were heavy as he saw the grief in Spencer’s eyes. “Spencer, it’s not going to happen today or tomorrow but you will get through this, you will be okay.” Aaron put the book aside.

“It doesn’t feel like I’m ever going to be okay again.” He sat down heavy on the other bed. He set his messenger bag aside and lay down.

“You will, and if you ever need to talk it through, I’ll be here.” Aaron looked over and saw the sad smile on Spencer’s face.

“Thank you, Aaron, for everything.” He didn’t have to elaborate; Aaron knew what he was talking about.

“Did you not pack a go-bag?” Aaron gave his friend a quizzical look.

“No, I just grabbed my messenger bag after getting dressed.” He laughed quietly.

Aaron just shook his head at the younger man, “Well I have an extra toothbrush and razor, feel free to use anything else. They’d be a bit baggy on you, but I have some extra sweats and a t-shirt.”

Spencer actually let out a sigh of relief. “Thanks,” He went to the bathroom to take a shower and Aaron left the items there for him. He came out a few minutes later and fell onto the bed exhausted.  Aaron quickly took a shower and got ready for bed himself.  He lay there for a long time as thoughts of Haley and how difficult it was for him to let anyone in, how frozen he had felt and that fateful night that he left Spencer when all his feelings came crashing down on him. Thankfully though his physical exhaustion finally overrode his mind and he was able to fall asleep.

Sometime in the very early morning Aaron woke to Spencer curled around him. He smiled softly and just pulled him closer knowing the genius just needed some comfort. He was slowly falling back to sleep when he felt Spencer stir and when he felt lips connect with his he moaned into him, but frowned as well.

“Spence, I don’t think this is a good idea,” Aaron’s heart was racing.

“Please Aaron, I just, I need to feel something other than this pain,” Tears slid down his face as he crawled on top of Aaron, “I promise I won’t get mad, whatever happens.” He leaned down and kissed Aaron’s neck, sliding his hands over his chest fingering the scars. “I don’t think I could handle losing you too Aaron,” Spencer whispered under his breath.

“Spence.” Aaron wanted to push him away, wanted to stop whatever was going to happen, but hearing the anguish and pain in his friend’s voice, the pleading to feel something other than the pain he was going through went straight to Aaron’s heart. He suddenly pulled Spencer up to him cupping the back of his head he kissed him with hard bruising kisses. He slipped his tongue into Spencer’s mouth seeking entrance and when Spencer complied he groaned in the back of his throat.

It didn’t take long for them to shed their clothes and were moving together, bodies pressed close, lips locked, hands wandering in a fervent need to feel something other than the pain, loneliness, and depression they had each found themselves in.

After they were spent, both panting from the effort Aaron held Spencer close. He closed his eyes and silently cried because he knew this was only temporary. He wanted so much, but felt deep down inside that he couldn’t have this wonderful man that he called best friend. He didn’t run this time, he stayed and he let Spencer curl around him and held him close.

When Spencer woke-up later in the morning and Aaron wasn’t there he started to curse him thinking that he left again, even though there really wasn’t anywhere to run to. It startled him when the door to the hotel room opened and Aaron walked in with two coffee cups and a bag in his hand.

“Here, the hotel coffee sucks so I went to a little café down the street.” Aaron handed him the coffee cup.

“Um, thank you,” Spencer looked up at him confused.

“You thought I left again didn’t you?” Aaron sat down hard on the bed in front of Spencer.

“It ah, it crossed my mind.” Spencer looked down at his coffee cup and frowned. He knew he was the one who initiated it and he knew he said he wouldn’t get upset, but a part of him did feel anger. When Aaron came back in he breathed a sigh of relief and his heart stuttered just a little.

“Spence.” Aaron wanted to say so much, but he held back. “I,” He took a long sip of his coffee then looked back into the face of the young man across from him, “I care too much about you to let you go. I want to be there for you. I know I’ve made some pretty dick moves, and I’m sorry. You can always come to me Spence no matter what.”

Spencer gave Aaron a small smile, “Thank you Aaron. Thank you for last night.” And that was all either man would say on the matter.  They ate the bagels Aaron had brought back, finished their coffees and made their way with the rest of the team to the plane.  Spencer sat next to Aaron and they shared a companionable silence as they flew home and settled into a new easier friendship.

The rest of the year wasn’t any easier. The team was being stalked by someone from the BAU’s past, specifically Dave, Erin and Alex’s past.  John Curtis was out to undermine and destroy the unit, but fortunately the team figured out his plan.  They didn’t come out unscathed, though, Erin Strauss paid the ultimate price and it broke their senior profile. Dave Rossi had cared very deeply for Erin and losing her, he lost a little part of himself. He then made it his mission to make his two friends finally confront each other, even if it took a while.

Aaron went home with a heavy heart. His brother was now in jail facing up to his past and present mistakes. He hoped that they could actually connect again. This was another person that Aaron knew he made mistakes with and he was determined to try to make it right again. Beth had called but he didn’t want to talk. Their weekend together had turned for the worst and losing Erin like they did cut right thorough him. He had always respected her even though she was hard on him and the team. They had come to an understanding after Foyet and their working relationship had improved. Aaron also knew what this was doing to Dave and he tried to comfort his friend but he had wanted to be alone. He talked to Spencer though, and they were both feeling much the same thing. They talked for over an hour and when Aaron finally put the phone down he went to bed and fell into an exhausted sleep but not before uttering one name, Spencer.

Spencer was having a hard time processing, losing his boss so closely after losing Maeve tore a little piece out of him. He couldn’t say that Strauss was ever a friend, but she had tried to get closer to the team after Foyet. He respected her and understood what a difficult position she had been in.  After hanging up with Aaron his heart was heavier than it had been before. He knew he needed to finally tell Aaron how he felt, he couldn’t go on anymore like this because it was tearing him apart. He was in love with his boss and he didn’t know what to do with that knowledge. Losing Erin and Maeve made him realize how short life really was. He fell into bed both mentally and physically exhausted. He held one of his pillows close to him and wished it was the body of the man he was in love with. Knowing that could never be he cried into the pillow and had one name on his lips before falling into a dreamless sleep, Aaron.