The sun was shining, the clouds were white and puffy, and the road was open. Aaron had gone out and bought a motorcycle. He had one in college, and it was how he had gotten around most of his time there. Finding the old Triumph and learning how to restore and repair it took up the whole last year of High School. At 18, a senior and the top of his class he had more freedoms than some of his classmates at Hargrave Military Academy. He had found an ongoing workshop on restoring old cars, motorcycles, and scooters that was given by the local Adult School. It was one thing that let him get away from everything, and he found he had enjoyed it. He rode that motorcycle all throughout college, Law School, and even his first year in the firm.
Haley had made him get rid of it, which broke his heart. It wasn’t the only thing she didn’t ‘approve’ of. It was a huge resentment inside of Aaron that he had locked away for no one else to see.
But, now he had the means to purchase a new Triumph. He even got one that had that vintage look, but better gas mileage and room for his partner. Aaron had also bought the sidecar that could be attached for Tony to sit in with Jack. But, this day was just for Aaron and Tony.
“You going to tell me where we’re going and what’s in the saddlebags?” Tony raised his voice just a bit to be heard over the engine. While Triumphs were historically known for their quieter engines, especially over the American Harley’s, it still made enough noise that it was hard to hear.
“I want to surprise you.” Aaron smiled as he pressed down on the gas a little more to gain some speed. The wind felt amazing. The freedom of the road like this he had not experienced in a very long time.
“Fine. But it better be one damn good surprise.” Tony scooted forward a little and wrapped his arms tighter around Aaron. Aaron rumbled deep in his chest at having his lover wrapped around him like he was. “Though I have to say, this is one amazing way to travel.”
Aaron laughed like he hadn’t in so very long. He had reason to celebrate. Tony had forgiven him of his moment of stupidity. Healing physically took a while. Healing mentally took even longer.
“Yeah, it really is.” Aaron wanted to really open her up and see what the bike could do, but he didn’t want to be stupid. He thought that maybe one day he could take the bike to the local track and have at it. It wasn’t long before they pulled up to their destination. A little bed and breakfast in an out of the way mountain town in Virginia. Far enough away to be out of the city entirely. Close enough to get back home if there was an emergency.
Aaron parked, got off the bike after Tony, opened up the saddlebags and pulled out two overnight bags. One for him, one for Tony.
“This place is gorgeous. But tucked away, no one would really know it’s here.”
“That’s the point. You and me, a couple of days away. We don’t need to be back at our desks until Tuesday. Jessica is watching Jack. Come on.”
Aaron took Tony’s hand and led him up towards the entrance. The road they had been traveling still stretched on for miles, but there was a peace and quiet where they were.
Stepping up to the desk, Aaron pulled off his helmet and set it aside. He pulled out his wallet for his ID and credit card.
“Reservation for Hotchner.”
The desk clerk smiled as she quickly got them checked in and gave them a room key. Once they gathered their things, they headed upstairs. Opening the door both Aaron and Tony were impressed. It was modern but very comfortable looking.
“One bed,” Tony remarked as he walked over and set down his bag inside the closet.
“Is that okay?” Aaron looked a little hesitant like he had made a mistake. Tony shrugged off his jacket, then walked over to Aaron and took his face in his hands.
“It’s one thousand percent okay. Whatever you’re comfortable with, Aaron.”
“I don’t know what I’m ready for, but sharing a bed with you has been wonderful. I think, maybe I’m ready for a little more intimacy.”
“We’ll take it slow. I’d never push you, Aaron.”
Sighing, Aaron took Tony in his arms and kissed him. It was slow and exploring at first, then the press of lips made him feel like this right here he could be happy with for forever. Reluctantly he pulled back and took off his jacket.
“Why don’t we shower and nap. The restaurant makes these picnic dinners that I thought might be nice.”
Tony smiled and gently ran his fingers down Aaron’s cheek.
“You don’t have to keep trying so hard, Aaron. I forgave you already. You didn’t have to make some grand gesture.”
“This isn’t about that. And, I’ve been talking to someone to help with everything lately. I just wanted time with just us.”
“Alright, then an evening picnic sounds perfect, but after a nap and some cuddling in that bed that looks amazing.”
Aaron chuckled, then bussed a kiss on the side of Tony’s mouth before he went to the bathroom, dropping his clothes wherever as he took them off. When he was mostly naked, he looked back over his shoulder at Tony and wickedly grinned.
Tony took in a sharp breath and got out of his clothes as fast as he could.
“Oh, hell yes.”
Aaron woke first, he usually did and felt more comfortable in his own skin than he had in a very long time. He wrapped tighter around Tony and buried his face against his lover’s neck.
They had explored each other’s bodies. Touched, kissed, teeth and tongue were involved at one point. Aaron had let Tony touch him in ways that he hadn’t been in a far too long. A mouth had wrapped around him, and he almost had a small moment of panic, but it passed quickly and what followed was something Aaron had no words for. Haley had not even pleasured him in such a way. When he tried to reciprocate, being years since he had done anything like it, Tony had stopped him and said that it was okay, there were other things they could do.
Aaron let the memory linger for a few more minutes before he finally was able to pull himself away and into the shower. When he exited, Tony was waking up, a smile on his face.
“Hey there, sexy.” Aaron chuckled at Tony.
“Last night was wonderful, Tone.”
The smile Aaron got in return for his words was the most beautiful thing he had seen in a long time.
“Get up, take a shower and get dressed. The woman who checked us in gave me the name of an interesting abandoned church not far from here. They even will pack us a lunch to go.”
Tony stood, gave Aaron a quick kiss then proceeded to do as asked.
After breakfast, getting their lunch and heading out it was only about an hour and a half after getting up. The drive to the abandoned church, more like small cathedral thought Aaron, didn’t take long.
“Wow, this is gorgeous.” Tony looked up at the abandoned building in a kind of awe.
“It really is. Come on, let’s go look around.” Aaron held out his hand for Tony to take. They walked through a section of tall arches where Ivy was growing up around each arc. When they entered the air became cooler, but the sun poured in and lightened some of the shadows. As they wandered, Aaron was holding Tony’s hand. He felt himself letting go of things he had been holding on too tightly to.
“Hey, what’s going on in your head?”
“That my life right now is close to perfect. I have Jack who is the most amazing little boy. I have you who has been so incredibly patient with me. A job I care about, friends. I don’t feel the need to hold onto that anger that’s been with me since I found out about Jack’s parentage.”
“Aaron, you are Jack’s father. Biology doesn’t mean shit. Look at my asshole of a father. Sitting in jail where he belongs. Besides, he stopped really being my parent when he left me in Hawaii. You have been there from day one for Jack. Don’t ever doubt yourself, Aaron.”
Aaron stopped by one of the arches and pulled Tony close. The sun streamed in through the opening, bathing Tony in the golden light of the early afternoon. His hair lightened, and his face had a glow that made Aaron touch him with just his fingertips, almost as if he was afraid that Tony would suddenly disappear from him.
“Everyday I am with you I feel so lucky, Tony. Your trust and belief in me is sometimes overwhelming.”
“Because, Aaron Hotchner, no matter how much guilt and self-doubt you keep down inside of you, you are worth it.”
Aaron tilted his head just a bit and kissed Tony. He pulled Tony in closer and wrapped around him like he never wanted to let go.
Tony pulled back and chuckled.
“Come on, let’s explore.” As they started back down the corridor, Aaron looked to see a woman in a long robe walking past them. She turned and smiled.
“Don’t ever lose what you two have found,” The woman said before she smiled at them, then walked away. Tony and Aaron frowned at each other and started towards her, but she was gone. They quickly looked around and found no one there. Chalking it to a bit of strangeness they continued on with their explorations.
The interior of the cathedral was beautiful in its decay. Tapestries hung from walls that were being chipped away by time. Light streamed through the stained glass windows throwing an array of colors all around them. The pews, though grimy from disuse stood as sentinels to a congregation that would no longer meet. Fragile books almost disintegrated in Aaron’s hands.
“Watch it. Spencer might disapprove.” Tony chuckled at the half-glare from Aaron.
They moved on, and after they went everywhere they could, they chose to return to the main chapel to have their lunch. There was something that called to the both of them. Maybe the place was a kind of reflection of themselves. A little broken inside, but with colors that mingled and shone through who they were as men. There was a kind of peace, or reverence in that chapel as they ate their sandwiches and drank their water. Aaron reached over and took Tony’s hand, pulled it up to his lips and kissed each finger. Something shifted deep inside of him, and Aaron knew, somehow, that they were going to last a lifetime.
Waking up on Monday, Aaron and Tony didn’t want to get out of bed, but they knew they had to. They went through their morning routines quickly, packed up their bags, cleaned up the room as much as the could then made their way downstairs to check out.
Breakfast they kept it light, neither of them liked heavy stomachs while being on the bike.The waitress offered to make them a lunch for them to take, but they politely turned her down and asked about the nearest general store. She gave them directions after they paid their check.
A quick stop at the general store for gas and snacks, they loaded up and were on the road in no time. A few roadside attractions tried to catch their attention, but Aaron passed them all by. That was until their stomachs growled and they wanted to stop for something to eat. Finding a little diner on the way, Aaron pulled in and parked.
“At this rate, we should be home by 2. Gives us time to rest a little before Jack comes home. That is if you want to stay.”
Tony wrapped an arm around Aaron’s waist and pulled him close.
“Of course I want to stay. Now come on.”
As they were getting back on the bike, Aaron heard a little plaintive cry. Frowning he looked around and didn’t see anything, then he heard it again. Bending down, Aaron looked under the car that was next to where he parked the bike and saw a tiny kitten.
“Oh, poor little thing.” Aaron took a stick of string cheese from their stash of snacks, pulled off a piece and enticed the kitten out from under the car. It took a while, and Tony waited patiently while Aaron was down on the ground murmuring to the little thing.
After about ten minutes the kitten, eating greedily at the pieces of cheese finally came out. Aaron carefully picked it up and immediately it started purring.
“Come help me, Tony.”
Tony wasn’t sure what Aaron wanted, but he came closer to Aaron.
“I’m going to hold it close to me, and I want you to lift the tail, gently, and tell me if you can tell the gender.”
Tony looked a little apprehensive, but Aaron told him that everything would be fine. Tony sighed and did as Aaron asked.
“Well, I don’t see any extra parts down there.”
Aaron chuckled, then held the kitten in his hands and lifted her up to his face. She reached out with her paw and patted Aaron’s nose, Tony could already tell the man was completely gone.
“I’m going to tuck her into my jacket, then we can leave.”
Tony wasn’t going to argue, he knew Aaron was going to have to be the one to tell Jessica.
The kitten settled down in Aaron’s jacket and fell asleep, she purred against Aaron’s stomach, the man was already gone.
When they arrived at Aaron’s house, Aaron set the kitten in the bathroom, then he made off to the pet store. While there the store was having pet adoptions. There was the tiniest gold colored retriever. It reminded him of the dogs he had growing up around his Uncle’s farm. He made an impulsive decision and went home not only with things for the kitten, but a puppy, a crate, training pads, and food for said puppy.
Getting home, he called for Tony to come help him. When his lover got outside, he stared at Aaron in shock.
“What the hell did you do?”
Aaron had the biggest, goofiest grin on his face that it made Tony melt.
“Couldn’t help it. He’s just too adorable.” Aaron held the puppy in his arms.
Tony laughed and walked forward, then kissed Aaron on the cheek.
“Well, Jack and I will have our hands full when you are out of town.”
“Tony,” Aaron bit his lip and felt his heart swell. “You don’t have to.”
“Hey, I love spending time with Jack. Now, we have a couple of someones to take care of when you’re gone.”
Aaron pulled Tony close with his free arm and hugged him, then the two of them started to haul everything inside. Thankfully most of the downstairs had hardwood floors so it would make cleanup easy.
The kitten they set up the litter box in the laundry room just off the kitchen. The kitten immediately took to it. Her bowls were set up in the kitchen along with the puppies.
The crate went into the nearly empty room across from Aaron’s office. They put a pillow, a few toys Aaron had purchased and a puppy pad inside the crate.
After all of that was done, the two men collapsed on the couch, with the puppy and kitten in the living room with them. The two were curious about each other, and as time went on, they would bounce towards each other sniffing.
Then, Jack came home, and the puppy almost knocked him over, licking him everywhere.
“Aaron Michael Hotchner!” Jessica fake admonished because even she was charmed by the animals.
“Jack, do you want to name them?”
Jack patted the head of the dog, and the toddler giggled at being licked.
“Shiny, Daddy.” Jack laughed, and that was how the dog got his name. Tony didn’t even hold in the chuckle as he shook his head.
The kitten, finally curious walked over to Jack and curled up in his lap, purring almost loud enough for the adults. She sat up when the puppy flopped on his stomach, and the kitted bopped him on the nose. The puppy gently licked her paw, and that told them the two would get along just fine.
Jack carefully pet the kitten and giggled when she flopped on her back, playing with Jack’s hand.
“Pretty it is.”
Jessica just shook her head at the ridiculousness of the two men and Jack.
“Okay, I think you all need a nap. Especially Jackers. He had a full day at the park. And you two are practically falling asleep on the couch.”
By the time they were all in bed for their naps, the kitten having followed Aaron, the puppy with Jack, Aaron knew their lives were only going to be all the better for it.