Aaron and Spencer picked Jack up from school, from the principal’s office no less. He’d been suspended for three days for fighting. When they were in the office Jack wouldn’t tell the principal what the fight was about.
Jack went to his room and for the time being Aaron and Spencer let him be. After dinner, Aaron went in and sat next to his son on his bed, “Buddy, you want to tell me now what you were fighting about?” Aaron’s voice was gentle as he tried to coax the truth out of his son.
“They were making fun of you and Papa,” Jack said sadly. He had his head down and his hands were twisting together.
Aaron sighed, he had wondered if something like this might happen, “Jack, we haven’t really talked much about this with you have we?”
Jack looked at his father, “You didn’t have to. You’re happy Dad, happier than you’ve been in a long-time. Papa’s good for you. I just got so mad, they don’t understand.” Fire flashed in his son’s eye and Aaron was secretly proud that Jack stood up for them.
“You know you can talk to me about anything, right?” Aaron worried often that his time away hurt his children, but Jack seemed to take it in stride.
“I know Dad.” He leans over and hugs his father tightly, “I love our family just like it is. I just wish the kids weren’t so mean.” He sighed as he laid his head again Aaron.
“Jack, there will always be mean people, but it’s how you handle it that shows who you are.”
“So I should be more like Papa and talk them down?” Jack looks up at his father.
“We should all strive for that Jack he’s pretty good at it.”
Aaron stood holding a gun on the unsub. His thoughts twisting and swirling inside, another monster who hurt children, why can’t I just kill him? What would that make me? Would I become one of them if I did? How do I keep Jack and Sarah safe knowing what’s out there?
These thoughts always entered his mind when the person they were looking for went after children. The temptation was there to just end their life. Aaron was always wrecked after these types of cases and today would be no different. Finally, Morgan was able to take the suspect down and Aaron slowly put his gun away regretting that he couldn’t do what he really wanted already entered his mind. He stalked off and the team, well most anyway, knew not to approach him.
“What do you need?” Spencer had cornered him.
“I don’t know,” Aaron said gruffly almost angrily as he stalked off so Spencer let him be for now.
They were back at the hotel and when on cases the married couple often got separate rooms. They both considered it unprofessional to be together on a case, except for times like this. Spencer expected him and when Aaron knocked he was prepared.
Aaron often was frantic, demanding and sometimes would cause pain. Spencer took it, took it all, and relished the bruises and the bite marks. He reveled in the fact that Aaron came to him to release the pain and torment these cases always marked him with. He let Aaron indulge his darkness, harness it then purged it, and hours later when they lay sweaty in a tangle of limbs Aaron would desperately cling to Spencer and cry.
Each time he thinks he’ll give in and let the bullet fly and damn the consequences.
Morgan had been watching Reid and Aaron closely over the years. He had always known that there was more to their relationship than they even let themselves acknowledge. He knew Reid had always harbored a crush on their boss and he knew Aaron was always a little more protective of Reid. He knew they never acted on those feelings, not till almost three years ago. At first when he saw the way the relationship was going he felt compelled to step in. Both of his friends had been hurting but he hadn’t known what to do about it. It frustrated him because he cared, he cared deeply for them but he knew they needed to work it out themselves.
When they finally did work it out and came out to the team Morgan was thrilled for them. He knew the tragedies they suffered changed them both, had frozen them in place and neither man had found it easy to move on. Morgan also knew that Beth was never going to be enough for Hotch. She wouldn’t understand him the way he needed to be understood, the way Haley never did. He was finally relieved when the two men admitted their feeling for each other.
When they got married Morgan’s happiness for them soared. And he vowed to always be there to protect both of them in the field. So, as he sat in another hotel bar and watched the two men sitting in a secluded table cuddled together and quietly talking it set Morgan’s heart at ease that at least two of his family had found the happiness that they more than deserved. And he vowed to always protect them no matter who or what came after them.
Spencer stood in the kitchen unblinking staring at the coffee pot that wasn’t on and had no coffee in it. He hadn’t wanted to run out to get coffee because they had too much work to do.
Aaron walked into the kitchen and saw his husband standing there just staring, “Reid,” when Spencer didn’t respond Aaron touched his shoulder and the younger man jumped.
“Hey, it’s ah just me Spence,” Aaron couldn’t keep the amusement out of his eyes.
“Coffee,” Spencer was glassy-eyed as he held out his cup, “Gone, all gone.”
Aaron huffed out a laugh, “Just make another pot Spence,” he said as he started to search the cupboards.
“Gone, like I told you,” Spencer’s heart was beating too fast, he really needed his coffee.
“Calm down I’ll go get us some, you go back to work,” Aaron told him.
Just then an agent ran into the kitchen “I’m so sorry there was a mix-up with the supply order and,” She stepped back by the look in Reid’s eyes, “And there is no coffee, at all the whole building is out.” She squeaked as Reid slowly walked toward her. She turned tail and ran from the BAU office in fear of Spencer Reid.
“Spence, I can go get us coffee,” Aaron told his husband with amusement in his voice
Spencer spun, eyes slit, “You think this is funny, it’s not funny Aaron, not funny at all.” He stalked off to his desk in a rather foul mood.
No one dared speak with Reid until Aaron came back with a rather large overly sweet cup of fresh coffee.
The agent from earlier came into the office and dropped off several canisters of gourmet coffee and ran.
“I think you scared her,” Aaron said as he passed by Reid’s desk.
Spencer noticed it more and more. Another glass of scotch here and there and it worried him. He knew that Aaron and Dave often shared a drink after some of their tougher cases, but he noticed that Aaron started to drink more at home. He was worried that Aaron was starting to use it as a crutch and he wasn’t sure how he was going to confront him.
Spencer asked Jessica to take the children for the weekend. He wanted to confront Aaron without the kids around because he knew this might get heated. He was pretending to read when he noticed out of the corner of his eye Aaron reaching for the bottle yet again.
“Don’t you think you’ve had enough, Aaron?” Spencer wasn’t subtle.
Aaron narrowed his eyes at his husband and wondered at the tone in his voice, “What are you talking about Spencer?” He asked as he was about to pour his third glass.
Spencer took a deep breath, put the book aside, and walked over to where Aaron was standing.
“That will be the fourth glass of scotch you will have had tonight.” Spencer grabbed the bottle out of Aaron’s hand went to the sink and poured the rest out.
“What the hell are you doing?” Aaron got angry, wasn’t he entitled to relax a little he thought.
“Aaron,” Spencer turned around and looked hard at his husband, “I think you have a problem.” He waited for the yelling or the quiet anger he wasn’t sure what he was going to get.
“Spencer, I don’t have a probl-“ Spencer cut him off with a look.
“Yes you do, I think you need to talk to someone.”
“I’m not a fucking alcoholic Spencer,” Aaron said coldly.
“Not yet,” Spencer said as he walked away.
Aaron was still angry over what Spencer had done over the weekend. He went through the house packed up all of the liquor and took it over to Morgan’s. They had a terrible fight and Spencer actually slept in Jack’s bed.
“So, what’s got your panties in a twist, Aaron?” Dave asked as he sat down in front of his friend’s desk.
“Nothing,” He growled out.
“Okay, that isn’t nothing Aaron. You’ve been snapping at Reid all day and he is just taking it. That’s not like him since you two got together. He’s learned to stand up for himself more. So tell me, what is going on?”
Aaron glared dangerously at Dave, “He thinks I have a damn drinking problem.” His lips thinned in a grimace.
“And do you?” Dave asked in that certain way of his.
“I’m not my damn father,” Aaron said angrily.
“No one said you were Aaron.” Dave narrowed his eyes at his friend. “Maybe you need to step back and take a look at yourself. If your husband is worried about you maybe he has some insight, don’t you think?” Dave gave him one last long look before he got up and walked out.
Aaron glared after Dave as he walked out of his office.
Penelope softly knocked on Aaron’s door, “Um bossman,” She jumped when he swung his gaze over to her, “We got a case.” She said quietly as she ran into the conference room.
Damn, he said to himself. He hadn’t meant to scare the analyst. I’ve got to get it together.
When they got on the plane Spencer sat at the farthest seat opposite Aaron. This didn’t go unnoticed by the rest of the team but they knew better than to interfere.
“Let’s get started,” Aaron said ignoring Spencer.
Aaron couldn’t take it anymore. Spencer was ignoring him other than working the case. They had been in Miami a week and they were only marginally closer to the Unsub than when they first got there. They were sharing a room, but Spencer had been silent all week.
“Goddammit Spencer talk to me.” Aaron was angry still and he wasn’t sure why.
Spencer looked up from the case files he was reviewing, “And say what Aaron? You obviously don’t want to talk about what happened, so what is there to say?” Spencer gave him a good imitation of the Hotchner glare.
“This is fucking ridiculous Spencer, we are grown, adults.”
“Yeah, well when you were yelling at me for getting rid of the booze it didn’t feel like you were very adult.” Spencer set the files aside and sat back in the chair he was in.
“You had no right-“ Whatever Aaron was going to say was cut off by the look Spencer was giving him.
“No right? No right Aaron? What? I had no right being concerned about you? This has been going on for months and I didn’t say anything. I’ve kept quiet, but when you go in Jack’s room to read him a story and you’re fucking drunk I couldn’t hold back anymore.”
Aaron looked horrified. He didn’t remember doing that. “I didn’t do that. I would never-“ He surged off the bed and left the room. Spencer knew Aaron’s pride was rearing its ugly head and he didn’t know what to do.
A couple of hours later the hotel bar called his room telling him to come to get his Unit Chief luckily none of the other team members saw him take a very drunk Aaron Hotchner back to his room.
“Papa, what’s wrong with Dad?” Jack asked as they stood on the doorstep of David Rossi’s house.
“Jack, we’ll talk in the morning, okay?” He was trying to hold it together for the kids but it was taking everything he had. He knocked on the door and waited.
A minute later Dave opened the door and was shocked to see Spencer and the children. “Reid, what’s going on?”
“Dave, can we stay with you for a few days?” The misery in the young man’s eyes pulled at his heart.
“Of course come in.” Dave didn’t know what was going on, but he had a pretty good idea.
“Jack, take Sarah to the game room. I need to talk to Uncle Dave okay?”
“Okay Papa,” Jack said quietly as he grabbed his sister’s hand and made their way around the familiar house.
“Okay kid, what’s going on?”
He blew out the breath he was holding as he folded himself on the couch, “Aaron won’t admit that he might have a problem. It’s been going on for months. Tonight he yelled at Jack and I-I,” Spencer finally broke and cried, hard wracking sobs that had Dave seeing red. He wasn’t normally a demonstrative person, but he found himself pulling the younger man in for a hug.
“Reid, you guys can stay here for as long as you need.” His heart was hurting for the sensitive young man.
After a minute Spencer pulled away and sat up, “I’m sorry, it’s just been difficult. I know all about denying addiction, but Aaron…” He hung his head and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.
“Reid, I’ll get a couple of rooms ready, you guys rest tonight, and tomorrow we’ll try to figure this out, okay?” Rossi got up and cursed Aaron Hotchner.
It was the next morning and Spencer was wrecked. He knew the stage Aaron was in and he knew he needed to be careful, but he didn’t want the children to witness what was happening.
“Papa, what’s wrong with Daddy?” Jack asked again.
Spencer pulled the eleven-year-old on his lap, “Jack your Dad is going through a difficult time right now. He’s having some problems that he needs to figure out. I want you to stay with Uncle Dave while I go talk to your Dad okay?”
“Will he be okay?” The sadness in Jack’s eyes broke Spencer’s heart.
“He will be Jack, okay? I promise,” Jack just nodded his head and went back to comfort his sister.
“What are you going to do Reid?” Dave sat down with him handing him a cup of coffee.
“There are two things I won’t do. One is gang up on him, that never works and, Two leave him to figure it out on his own. Gideon did that to me and it was,” Spencer looked into his coffee frowning, “Painful, but he needs to understand. I’m going to call Morgan, maybe the two of us can get through to him. If not,” Spencer looked to the side and closed his eyes, “I won’t give up on him Rossi, I can’t. He was there for me when I was struggling through my addiction it’s the least I can do to be there for him.” He struggled to keep his emotions in check, “I love him too much.”
Dave stared long and hard at the younger man, “Okay Reid, whatever you need just let me know.” Rossi was worried about Morgan’s temper.
“Thanks.” Rossi got up and left as Spencer called his own sponsor to help steel his courage.
“Reid wait. Are you sure you want me here?” Morgan put a hand on Spencer’s shoulder holding him back before they went into the house.
“Morgan I know you’re angry,” Spencer frowned, “He’s broken Morgan, and I don’t know why. He won’t tell me, he’s not thinking straight believe me I’ve been there.” Morgan closed his eyes and old regrets came to the surface.
“Okay, okay, come on.” He slowly walked up to the house behind Spencer.
“Aaron?” Spencer called out softly.
“You came back?” The hope in Aaron’s eyes broke Spencer’s heart just a little more.
“Well, that depends on you, Aaron.” Spencer sat down across from Aaron, “It depends on if you are ready to admit there is a problem.” He said quietly
“Hotch, we’ve all noticed something going on with you. We’re here but you have to make those first steps.” Morgan tamped down his anger at seeing how desperate his friend, his Unit Chief looked.
“Spencer,” Aaron’s voice deepened, “I,” He couldn’t say it, couldn’t admit it. He didn’t want to show weakness.
Spencer closed his eyes and couldn’t hold back the tears, “Aaron I’ll be there for you but I can’t stay here if you can’t admit what’s going on. I love you,” He took his husband’s hand, “And when you are ready to confront this I’ll come back, we’ll come back.”
“Spencer, you can’t take Jack..” His breath hitched and his heart was heavy.
“Aaron I’m not going to let the children see you like this. You yelled at Jack for no reason, he’s afraid of you right now Aaron.” Silent tears kept falling as Spencer’s heart was breaking.
“Hotch please, we all need you.” Morgan pleaded.
Aaron’s face darkened, “I can handle this, come home please.”
“I can’t,” Spencer left and Aaron broke.
Aaron couldn’t believe that Spencer left and took the children. He didn’t believe that his husband would follow through on his threat. I don’t have a goddamn problem. I don’t have a – shit. Aaron stopped a moment, looked around, and finally realized the consequences of his actions. This wasn’t like him why was he drinking more?
He didn’t often look inside himself but he decided to do just that. He tried to find where everything started going wrong. Then it hit him, it was that case several months ago when he realized just how easily he could actually kill in cold blood. It had shaken him to his core and slowly he started to drink a little more to drown out those deadly urges.
He had yelled at Jack. Oh God, I yelled for no reason at my son, Haley, what am I doing? He sat down hard on the couch and the first thing he noticed was that he wanted to pour himself a glass of scotch. Tears slipped down his face as he began to realize how much trouble he was in.
“Oh God Spencer, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” He said to the empty room. He then broke down realizing just how badly he messed up. He hadn’t let go like this since Haley’s death. He knew he should have listened to his husband. If anyone knew the signs of addiction it would be him.
With shaking hands he opened his laptop and looked for the nearest AA meeting. He sat in the back and just listened. When they asked if there was anyone new he stood on shaky legs.
He knocked on Rossi’s door and Spencer opened it.
Aaron handed him a 24-hour commitment coin as tears again silently slipped down his face.
Spencer went home with Aaron, but the kids stayed at Rossi’s. He didn’t want them to watch what was going to happen to Aaron.
“Aaron, are you sure you want to do this here?” Spencer was worried because he knew how difficult detoxing could be.
“Please Spence, I just,” They were laying down in their bed holding each other needing the contact after being separated for almost two weeks, “I just need you.”
“This isn’t going to be easy for you Aaron, trust me.” He held his husband close.
“I know,” He closed his eyes and curled closer to his husband, “I’m scared Spencer,” He whispered softly.
Spencer closed his eyes and schooled his emotions. Aaron didn’t need to see him breakdown he knew how difficult it was for his husband to admit his fears.
“I’m right here, I’ll get you through this, but you have to really want it, Aaron,” Spencer held his breath waiting for the answer.
“I can’t lose you, I can’t lose our children. Please don’t leave,” Aaron buried his head in Spencer’s shoulder. “I want it, Spencer, I need to do this.”
“Okay.” He ran his hands through Aaron’s hair, softly stroking and soothing his husband. “I already got us some time off. I just told Matt we needed some time away. We both have some accumulated time so he gave us two weeks.” Spencer thought about all the times Aaron had helped him and he knew he wasn’t leaving.
Just as Spencer predicted it wasn’t easy. Aaron sweated and shook, had nightmares and mood swings, nausea, and headaches. He hadn’t been drinking heavily long enough so thankfully no hallucinations. Spencer let him yell, curse and beg then held him at night when he broke down. In the end, Spencer knew they would be stronger together.
A couple of weeks after Aaron’s detox he went to another meeting. This time Spencer went with him holding his hand giving him strength and encouragement. It was one that catered to those that were in law enforcement, not unlike Spencer’s own NA meetings.
Tonight Aaron took a chance and felt the need to share.
“Hello, my name is Aaron,” The group greeted him, “I don’t know if I’m an alcoholic but I know I have a problem. It started a few months ago, we ah had this case, it was another psychopath hurting children,” He swallowed back the tears that wanted to come, “I found that,” He stumbled on his words, “I found that at that moment I could actually kill this man, I wanted to kill this man in cold blood. I felt I was no better than the unsub’s my team pursues.” His breath was shallow and his heart was beating fast, “I started drinking more because I was afraid of what I was feeling.” He looked at Spencer who just looked at him with love and encouragement. “If it wasn’t for my husband I don’t know where I would be right now.” Aaron couldn’t talk anymore, this was more than he revealed to anyone at any time other than Spencer. He fled the podium and went back to his seat.
The group clapped their encouragement and the next person approached.
“I’m proud of you Aaron,” Spencer whispered in his ear.
At the end, Aaron wanted to flee but he was stopped at the entrance by a familiar face. “Seeley, what, what are you doing here?”
“Hello, Aaron. I’ve been coming here for a while now.” He shook his fellow agent’s hand, “Why don’t we talk.” And that’s how Aaron got his sponsor.
Spencer and Aaron were home. It had been a difficult case and there were times when Aaron wanted a drink but Spencer was there to hold him, to talk through it but they hadn’t been intimate for a while. The children were with Jessica so they had the house to themselves.
It was Spencer that took the initiative because Aaron was suddenly hesitant. His sobriety was still new and he wasn’t sure how Spencer was feeling. As soon as they walked over the threshold he found out just exactly how Spencer was feeling when he was pushed up against a wall and his husband was all over him, tearing at clothes, trying to get closer, to feel more.
“Aaron, I need you, it’s been too long,” His lips connected with Aaron’s and he was lost, they both were. Spencer had the sudden thought that Aaron’s taste changed, he sort of missed that hint of bourbon mixed with coffee that was uniquely his husband. But he didn’t miss what the alcohol was doing to Aaron, to them as a family so he was happy to explore the new Aaron.
Suddenly the need to get to flesh overtook the both of them and by the time they made it to the bedroom clothes were strewn all over the house and there was an air of desperation surrounding them.
“Oh god Spence, yes, faster please,” Aaron begged by the time Spencer buried himself in his husband. Their lovemaking was fast and frantic. They both were starved for the attention of the other, and when they came they shouted each other’s names and held each other close.
Spencer felt Aaron’s tears, “Hey, are you okay?” He quietly asked.
“I thought I lost you,” Aaron held Spencer closer to him.
“Never,” Spencer held on tight.
Jack had been tentative around Aaron. At night he wanted Spencer to read to him because he was still scared of what his father would do.
Spencer let it go on for a couple of weeks knowing how Jack was feeling. But he decided to finally confront Jack to let his father back in.
“Jack, Buddy can I talk to you?” Spencer put the book aside.
“What Papa?” Jack thought he knew and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to talk about it.
“Jack, are you still mad at your Dad? I understand if you are and it’s okay but you need to tell him. You need to tell him why you’re mad.” Spencer said to Jack holding the boy close.
“I don’t want him to be upset with me,” Jack whispered under his breath.
Aaron had been standing outside Jack’s room and his heart broke and he let silent tears fall. He had so much to make up to his son from the last few months he didn’t know where to start.
“Well, if he is then we deal with it, together. Okay, Jack-Jack.” Spencer left the room and saw Aaron in the hallway. “Give him time Aaron, go talk to your son.” He pulled Aaron in for a hug and wiped the tears.
Aaron sat down next to Jack, “Hey buddy, I know you’re mad at me and all I can say is I’m sorry. I know,” Aaron frowned as more tears slipped out, “I know I scared you. I never want to hurt you.”
Jack threw his arms around his dad and cried. He’d been holding back, “Don’t leave me, daddy,” Jack held on tighter.
“Never Jack, I will never leave you.” Aaron held his son close.
“Even superheroes have bad days,” Jack whispered in Aaron’s ear.
Spencer had been on a custodial. It was the first time since Aaron’s ordeal with alcohol that he left the family alone. When he came back it was late and everyone seemed asleep so it was a surprise when he saw Aaron sitting on their bed with Sarah Jane on his lap with her head on his chest.
“Papa, Daddy said you were sick,” Sarah said softly.
Aaron closed his eyes a moment before he answered, “I was sweetheart, but I’m getting through it.” He held her closer.
“Were you sick like my real Daddy?” The fear in her voice was evident and Aaron cursed himself that he had put it there.
“No, not quite like your real Daddy sweetie. I have a problem, but I’m working through it.” He laid his head on the nine-year-old’s , “I promise you that I will never hurt you, your brother, or your Daddy. I love you, baby.”
“I love you too Papa.” She took a deep breath, “I was scared when you yelled at Jack. It was like when my Daddy yelled at us.” She held on tighter.
“I am so sorry Sarah Jane. I never want to scare you. I should never have yelled at Jack. Jack, you and your Daddy are way too important to me.” He laid his head back on the headboard as feelings of guilt washed over him.
“It’s okay. Daddy says you can make a mistake once and you should say you’re sorry. I know you won’t ever hurt us.” She turned in Aaron’s lap and hugged him tight by the neck. He wrapped his arms around her holding onto the little girl.
She released her hold and ran into her room. Aaron silently cried thinking of the family he almost lost.
The team noticed but didn’t say anything. They noticed that Aaron didn’t order his usual scotch and soda or glass of wine at dinner. An unspoken rule was formed with the other members of the team. No alcohol at dinner. No one consciously said anything but they were all in silent agreement. They would do anything for their friend and Unit Chief, even going so far as to forgo a small simple pleasure.
Aaron had noticed, but he didn’t say anything at first. He knew they were there to support him but he didn’t want to be the cause of them not enjoying something as simple as a glass of wine. When there was a lull in the conversation he cleared his throat.
“Look,” He took a deep breath, “I appreciate the support, but please don’t feel pressured to not enjoy yourselves-“
“Hotch, stop,” Morgan looked pointedly at his friend, “It’s our decision so let us do this.”
“Morgan’s right Aaron. We’re your friends so suck it up and take it.” Dave teased.
Aaron graced them with one of his rare shy smiles, his emotions getting the better of him.
Spencer reached down under the table grabbed one of Aaron’s hands and held it, giving him support.
“Aaron, you’ve been there for each of us at one time or another. Let us be there for you,” JJ took a sip of her ice tea and smiled.
“Well, I myself shouldn’t even be drinking so it’s not a problem for me,” Kate smiled at the stares from the team.
“Kate, something you need to tell us?” Aaron furrowed his brow.
Her smile widened as she put a hand on her stomach, “I’m pregnant,” She announced.
Aaron settled amid the congratulations knowing the depth of care they had for one another.
Aaron was lying down on the couch with Spencer stretched across him his arms around his husband holding on tight. Jack was curled up at their legs and Sarah Jane squeezed in on the side of Aaron. It should have been uncomfortable, but it wasn’t. It was comforting and wonderful.
Aaron had a renewed sense of hope and love. His struggle had taken a lot out of his family and he would always carry around that guilt, but it was less with them surrounding him. He would always be grateful for Spencer’s understanding. Every day his hope grew that he wasn’t on the verge of losing them anymore.
He reached his left hand up and carded it through Spencer’s hair, his right he wrapped around Sarah Jane. He shut his eyes and let his emotions flow over him. He kissed the top of Spencer’s head and watched his husband stir and once again held the younger man tightly to him.
Aaron closed his eyes and relaxed back into the couch, “I love you,” Slipped from his lips and he didn’t feel the smile that graced Spencer’s lips.
“I love you too,” Spencer said sleepily.
Aaron smiles wide, “Go back to sleep, didn’t mean to wake you.” He whispered in Spencer’s ear.
“Aren’t you uncomfortable?” Spencer lifted his head to look into the contented face of his husband.
“Nope,” Aaron smiled again and just pulled Spencer tighter to him. “There is no place I’d rather be.”
Spencer kissed Aaron lightly on the lips moaning at the simple pleasure. He laid his head back down and fell back into a gentle sleep. Aaron’s hope had never flared brighter at that simple gesture from Spencer. His mind was content and happier than it had been for months as he slipped into an easy sleep.
Aaron tried to recount to Rossi just what happened, but even as he was telling his story it still sounded false to him. He wasn’t exactly sure what happened and it had shaken his confidence.
The drive home was silent and Spencer let him have his quiet. He knew whatever was going through his husband’s head wasn’t good, but he’d wait him out.
Once they got home and settled in bed, Spencer pulled Aaron to him, “Talk to me, Aaron. What happened back there?” He asked quietly.
“He got in my head Spence,” Aaron closed his eyes and tried to calm the storm of emotions that were coursing through him, “He made me see,” He held Spencer close to him as he started to cry, “He made me see you getting shot in the head. Oh god, Spence I almost shot you when you came through that door.” Guilt came crashing down on Aaron at what could have happened.
Spencer shut his eyes tight against the storm of emotions he was feeling for his husband. Aaron didn’t need this after his recent struggle with alcohol.
“But you didn’t Aaron. I’m right here, I’m right here,” He pulled Aaron tighter to him kissing him softly, “Feel me, Aaron, feel me and know I’m not going anywhere.”
“I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself, Spence. I wouldn’t have come back from that.” Aaron broke down in Spencer’s arms. The want, no need for a drink was coursing through him and the only thing he knew to do was hold on to Spencer, his anchor.
He finally fell asleep wrapped up in the arms of his husband, and when the nightmares came Spencer was there again holding him tight and anchoring him to reality.
Roy Brooks has never forgiven Aaron for what happened to his daughter. He’s also never forgiven him for moving on. So when Spencer walked in the door and saw Roy sitting at the dining room table Spencer stiffened and waited for the customary accusations the man always threw at him.
“Hm, so the replacement decided to come home?” Roy shot a glaring look at Aaron.
“Dad,” Jessica said sharply at her father.
“It’s okay Jessica, I’ll just be in the den.” Spencer started to move off when he heard Roy address him.
“Not even going to say a decent hello?” The man said sharply.
“Why should I when you’ve never said a decent word to me?” Spencer wanted to say so much more but he held back for Jessica’s sake.
“Hm, I shouldn’t expect any less,” Roy said under his breath, but just loud enough for Spencer to hear.
“Aaron, I think I will take Sarah out for a few minutes. Call me when you’re done.” He spun on his heels, gathered up his daughter, and left before he said anything else.
“You don’t have to take your anger with me out on Spencer. He’s been nothing but patient, especially after the way you’ve treated Sarah.” Aaron was glaring at his ex-father-in-law.
“You had no right to move on.” Roy glared back at Aaron. “You had no right to replace Haley.”
“I have every right to move on and Spencer is not a replacement. He is his own person and he deserves respect. Jack loves him and so do I.” Aaron dared Roy to say anymore.
“My daughter is dead because of you. You don’t deserve to move on or to be happy.”
“I’m sorry this upsets you, but I do deserve every bit of happiness Spencer brings me.”