Title: The Hum of Silence
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Derek Morgan
Pairing: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid
Genre: Angst, Past Relationship
Beta: DarkJediQueen, no non-consensual beta
Warnings: Self-harm, depression, emotional manipulation
Word Count: 4110
“In restless dreams I walked alone/ Narrow streets of cobblestone/ ‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp/ I turn my collar to the cold and damp/ When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light/ That split the night/ And touched the sound of silence.” Simon and Garfunkel, The Sounds of Silence
Reid was sitting on his couch with a blanket tucked around him and his legs pulled up to his chest. He had one light on and a book balanced on his knees. He couldn’t concentrate on it however, because his mind was a terrible mass of confusion.
What started out as desperate, passionate, emotional sex has turned into something…..well he wasn’t sure what it was. He wasn’t even sure why he kept answering when Aaron came to him. He knew he was indulging Aaron’s newest addiction, which was himself. The problem was he loved Aaron, and maybe he was just addicted to the man. When he had discovered Aaron’s cutting, it shattered him in a million pieces. Even though Aaron kept reassuring him it wasn’t his fault he couldn’t help the feelings of guilt that rolled through his stomach. It had caused him many sleepless nights.
The sex was, well he wasn’t sure what it was. There was always a painful, despair to it like the both of them were trying to purge whatever demons were lingering in each of their psyches.
Spencer scrubbed his face and thought again about telling Aaron no. About stopping all of this and then he pictured the scarred arms and the bloody razors. He would let Aaron in again, let him be used again and thought that he was okay with that, especially if it saved the man’s life.
They never spoke, words never left their lips. They would fuck, then collapse next to each other, wrap around each other and cling, just like they had months before in a shared hotel room.
The knock came and Spencer sighed. He wasn’t sure if he wanted this but he stood and opened the door. Before he could protest he was pushed against the wall as his door was kicked shut. Aaron’s mouth was all over him. His pants were shoved down and his traitorous cock was hard. When that mouth engulfed him, he gripped Aaron’s shoulders to hold on. It didn’t take long, it usually never did, before he was coming and Aaron was swallowing.
A moment later the man was all over him. Hands gripped his hips in a bruising hold. He was pulled away from the wall and stumbling back towards his bedroom. Clothes were hastily thrown aside. It didn’t take long before he was bent over on the bed and being fucked into with a hard driving force that never failed to make his body shake with pleasure. A hand wrapped around him, he trembled and sweated as he was brought to another release. Aaron kept fucking him through his orgasm and he knew when his…lover? finally came. They collapsed on the bed, sticky sweaty messes, but they still clung tight.
Several hours later found Spencer unable to sleep. He was in the shower with only the nightlight on. The hot water was cascading down his back and hiding the slide of tears that were falling. He almost stiffened when he felt arms come around him but he didn’t. He turned in Aaron’s arms as he broke apart.
Slowly he sank to his knees where Aaron followed him down and pulled him into his lap. He felt a hand fist in his hair and hold him close.
“I’m hurting you,” it was more statement than question.
He tried to protest but Aaron stopped him.
“Spencer, tell me.”
He shook his head no as he clung tighter.
Aaron didn’t push, just like the other times they found themselves just like this.
Spencer woke up again and this time it was morning. Aaron was gone and a headache was starting in the back of his head. He sighed heavily as he ran his fingers through his hair. He stood, got dressed and made his way to his kitchen. He saw his to go cup and a note telling him the coffee was fresh and there was a breakfast sandwich in the fridge for him.
He grabbed the sandwich and sat at his counter eating and drinking his coffee. There was another pot that was still warm. After taking a few bites he set the sandwich down and laid his head on the counter. The headache was getting worse. His phone rang and he fumbled in his pants pocket for it and answered.
“Reid,” he was quieter than normal and he knew his friends were going to pry.
“Hey Junior G-Man, we have a case.” The bubbly tech analyst did not help the growing ache behind his eyes.
“I’m out the door be there as soon as I can.” He turned off his phone before Garcia could start probing him with questions.
He finished the food and refilled his cup, grabbed his satchel and was out the door. Normally he would take the Metro, but when there was a case he drove. He didn’t want to that morning, but he figured it would save time.
By the time they were briefed and on the plane, he was laying on the couch with his eyes closed. He felt him staring at the back of his head, but he didn’t move. He didn’t want to have to explain what he was feeling…which was numb.
They landed and Aaron had him at the station working on the geographic profile. The rest of the team was out. He was concentrating on the maps but he felt Aaron hovering behind him.
“You’re hovering. I’m fine Hotch.” He wasn’t, fine that was, but he didn’t want that conversation in a police station.
“What do you need?” He heard the quiet hesitation in Aaron’s voice.
“Colored markers and more coffee. Also, I want to see every piece of correspondence that the LEO’s have from both the crime scenes and what the supposed Unsub has sent them,” he said without turning around.
“That’s not what I mean Reid.”
“I know what you meant Hotch, but we are not having that conversation in the middle of a police station with the rest of the team due back at any time.”
Aaron thankfully left his alone. He got the requested items and put them up in the order that they were received in and found on the bodies of the Unsub’s victims. He was sitting cross-legged on the table looking at everything. He rubbed his head and was having a hard time concentrating. He knew the answers were there but he was distracted and he hated being distracted.
After a couple of hours, he moved off the table and went to one of the chairs at the back of the room. He was facing the wall with his eyes closed trying something different, trying to stem the tide of the pain of the headache. When he felt hands on his shoulders massaging them he almost moaned obscenely. Slowly he was relaxing as those hands worked on his neck and shoulders.
“You didn’t have to do that Hotch,” he moaned as the strong hands dug into a particularly bad knot in his neck.
“You are having trouble concentrating. When you came back here to nest I knew something more was wrong. Have the headaches come back?”
He took a breath and let it out slowly. Part of him wanted to lie, wanted to tell Aaron he was fine, but he wasn’t, not by a long-shot.
“Thank you, that’s helping.” Aaron withdrew his hands and Spencer tried not to feel upset over it. He knew what their affair could cost them, but at the moment he didn’t care. He spun in the chair and looked up at his boss, lover, he wasn’t sure what they were because they didn’t talk about it. He stood and ached to reach out to him but didn’t. He walked around him and went back to trying to figure out the Unsub’s motivations.
Hours later, the Unsub in custody Spencer was dropping from pain and exhaustion. He had kept up with the treatments that Maeve had suggested for him but he didn’t think this was that type if headache. He chalked it up to stress and the emotional upheaval he’s been in for days, weeks even. The room he was in was blessedly dark, the only thing he had on was the bathroom light but the door was closed to let in just a sliver. He had a cool cloth on his forehead and he was stretched out trying to get comfortable.
When the soft knock came he just knew who it was going to be and he was in no mood for whatever Aaron wanted. Slowly he stood and went to the door but opened it just till the safety latch stopped.
“Hotch, I can’t not tonight.”
“I just wanted to see how you were Reid.”
“I’ll be fine, please just go to your room and let me just rest.”
Aaron thinned his lips and Spencer tried to gauge what he was thinking but he just couldn’t.
“You aren’t fine, but I won’t push.” Aaron looked like he wanted to protest more.
Spencer laid his head against the door, fighting the war inside him. Shaking his head because he couldn’t believe he was going to do what he knew he shouldn’t. He closed the door and unlatched it then let Aaron in. He walked back to his bed and laid down on his side and curled up. He heard the soft click of the door and the sounds of clothes being removed. If Aaron thought, he was going to get sex he had a very rude awakening coming. It was Spencer who was surprised when all he felt was the man lying down next to him and spooning behind him. He tried to hold in his emotions but when he felt the gentle caress on his back he turned his head into the pillow and silently cried.
They got back from the case, and neither Spencer nor Aaron brought-up their affair and what was happening between them. Everything resumed, as it always did. He opened the door for Aaron time after time and each time it tore a little piece of his soul. Each time Aaron left before morning even broke it tore a little piece of his heart. Cases came and went and Spencer, in trying to give Aaron a different outlet for his pain and emotions, was losing himself more and more.
One day found him sitting in his favorite chair in his apartment looking out the window and wondering just what was happening to him. He scratched at that itch that plagued him during his darker times. The last time was when Gideon was murdered. That was the one time that he went to Aaron to forget.
He was sitting there sipping his hot coffee trying to figure out how to get himself out of this mess he had gotten himself so far into. His problem was that he loved Aaron. But, maybe it was a destructive kind of love. A love that maybe wasn’t reciprocated, he didn’t know because they Didn’t. Ever. Talk.
When the knock came, Spencer hung his head and pulled tighter into himself and didn’t answer the door.
The knock became more incessant, and Spencer tried to will the person to go away.
The knock came harder and he pulled into himself even more and tried to ignore it.
Then the pounding started.
“Spencer Reid, if you don’t open this door I’m using my key.” Spencer closed his eyes and almost wept with relief. It wasn’t Aaron, it was Morgan.
Slowly he got up and opened the door and left it open. He moved back to the chair he had been in and resumed the position he had been in. Morgan moved inside the apartment and closed the door shutting it softly. Spencer heard him moving around and let him. He continued to stare outside, his mind a whirling mess of thoughts and emotions.
Spencer didn’t even stir when his friend lowered himself in the chair across from him.
“Hey, kid, what’s going on?”
Spencer didn’t know what to say, he knew Morgan cared about him. He was the closest thing to a brother that Spencer had ever had, but how could he talk about this? How could he explain what was happening in terms that Morgan could understand when he didn’t even understand it himself.
“You’ve called out for three days and Hotch isn’t even bitching about it. This isn’t like you man. What’s going on?”
Spencer was silent as he tried to collect his thoughts. He took a long drink of his coffee then set it aside. Laying his hands on his knees he looked at his best friend and knew, just knew that he could trust him.
“I’m having an affair with Hotch.” There he said it, his heart was pounding in his chest. He didn’t even look at Morgan as he waited for the tirade. When it didn’t come and there was only silence he looked over at Morgan. “Please say something.”
“Is this something you want?”
Spencer looked down at his hands, that right there was the question he had been pondering for the last few days.
“Would you get upset if I said that it’s complicated?” Spencer frowned as his heart rate sped up. He knew he needed to talk this over to get it all out but in doing so he would break a confidence that he promised he would never break. It scared him to think that Morgan might break his own confidence to try to ‘save’ him when he wasn’t ever sure he wanted to be saved.
“Reid, you’re sitting here in your apartment having called out for three days in a row. I think things might be past complicated. What is going on?”
“What if I told you Morgan that what I’m doing is to help someone stop hurting themselves. That me being there for them is keeping them safe.”
Morgan frowned and leaned forward. He wasn’t sure where Spencer was going with this, the younger man saw the confusion on his face. He chuckled softly and shook his head.
“Aaron and I were in a relationship before the whole thing with Emily went down. We’d actually been living together for almost three years. When Emily came back I lost it with him. I didn’t let him explain what he was forced to do all I could think about was what it did to me. How I felt. I didn’t give him a chance and I walked out and walked away from him and our life together. I love him Morgan but, I think we’re broken.”
Morgan sat back and scrubbed the back of his head a moment.
“Why didn’t you guys tell us?”
“We talked about it, we almost did a few times but then Foyet attacked, Emily ‘died’ and came back, there was always something. Then I left.”
“And what changed?”
“Remember that killer couple we had a few months ago and Hotch and I ended up in the same hotel room?” Morgan nodded his head that he did remember it.
“I found something out. Something about Hotch, something……I don’t want to break his confidence, but it……anyway we had sex that night.” Spencer picked-up his coffee and took a drink.
“And you are back in a relationship?”
“No. It’s sex but I keep him from doing this other thing and it was working, for a while.” Spencer gripped the cup as he fought back the tears that formed at the corners of his eyes.
“What changed? Reid, why are you sitting here scratching at that itch.” Morgan’s gaze turned flat as he tried to scrutinize his friend.
“Because we don’t talk, ever, not about this. We talk about a million other things, but we don’t talk about this. I’ve tried but I can’t do this anymore and I’m afraid Morgan. I’m afraid if I end this, again, he’ll spiral and we’ll all lose him. Jack will lose him and I can’t let that happen.”
“Spencer, man you aren’t making any sense. If Hotch is doing something dangerous, to you or to himself you need to tell someone. You can’t take on the responsibility for whatever self-destructive behavior he’s gotten himself into.”
“But I am partially responsible. It was how I left. We all see the cool, confident Alpha male in the field but Morgan, he’s in pain and it’s partly my fault. When I left, I didn’t even look back and he..”
“He what. Spencer, he what,” Morgan laid a hand on Spencer’s knee. “Whatever you tell me stays between you, me and, if necessary, Hotch. What is he doing?”
“I’m afraid if I stop being an outlet for him, he’ll go back to cutting.”
Morgan sat back and Spencer looked up to see the stunned look on his face. They both sat in utter silence neither of them knowing what to say. Morgan got up and paced back and forth.
“I only told you so you’d understand Morgan. Please, please don’t do anything with this. I’m just trying to figure out what to do. I know we can’t keep going like this and maybe talking this out helped I don’t know but, let me handle it.”
“Reid, you know what this could do to both of you if it got out.”
“I am aware of the ramifications Morgan. I just, I needed time to think. Please, just go back tell the others I have the flu or something and please, don’t tell Hotch you know. I have some decisions to make and I don’t exactly know what I’m going to do.” Spencer sipped at his coffee as he watched his friend pace.
“Okay, but I’m watching him and I’m watching you. I care too much for the two of you and Reid, if you don’t get help, if Hotch doesn’t you know this won’t end well.”
Spencer knew what Morgan was saying was true. He just didn’t know what he wanted to do. He pulled back into himself and sighed. He had an idea that maybe some distance would help. A friend in California had invited him out to help with some Math’s research and he was thinking of taking him up on his offer. The Bureau was becoming a little more lenient with him and some of the research offers he kept getting. Though he never abused it, he often enjoyed the short stints outside of the team that he had been taking advantage of as of late.
“You’ll know my decision in a couple of days.” Spencer gave him a shaky smile then grabbed a book he had in a stack next to him signaling the end to this conversation. He felt more than saw Morgan leaving. He stood a little while later and went to take a long shower. He shored-up his feelings and knew that some hard choices needed to made. He had thought that all these months later that Aaron would eventually crack and talk to him, maybe get back some of what they had lost but, it wasn’t happening.
He got out of the shower, dressed and started to fix something to eat. It was later in the day than he thought but he had made some decisions while letting the water run over him, soothing him. After eating and watching something on Netflix that helped to still his mind he called Aaron first and asked him to come over, then he called Cruz and told him he was taking the sabbatical that they had talked about. He was thankful that his boss’s boss didn’t grill him for answers.
When the knock came, he thought he was ready but his nerves were getting the better of him but he opened the door and let Aaron in. He didn’t know what would happen after their talk but he knew it would change them.
“Come in. I have coffee if you want.”
“That’s fine.” Spencer could feel the nerves pouring off Aaron but he couldn’t be responsible for the man’s feelings anymore.
They each poured coffee for themselves and Spencer led Aaron to his living room. He knew there was no easy way to tell his…he didn’t even know what to call Aaron at this point. He plunged ahead and didn’t look away. He knew he needed to be strong.
“I’m accepting a temporary research position with a friend in California. I’ve already talked to Cruz, he’s been aware of the possibility for a while.”
“Okay, you know we’ve accommodated your outside interests Spencer. Why’d you call me here?”
“Because it’s going to be a minimum of four months. Cruz talked to Ashley, and on your approval, is willing to fill in my place on the team while I’m gone. She said she needed a break from Trafficking. Andi Swan already approved her temporary assignment. It’s all contingent on you.”
“Four months?” Aaron couldn’t quite keep the devastation off his face.
“At the minimum. It might be a little longer. I need to go Aaron. I need some distance. I can’t be responsible for your emotions anymore it’s hurting me too much.”
“No. Don’t, okay? You don’t need me. You can do this without me and I need to know I can do this without you. Aaron, what we are doing to each other, it’s taking little pieces out of me and I can’t…I love you too much and I know you don’t want to hear that but I’m saying it anyway. I need to do this Aaron and you need to talk to someone. I know you stopped going after we started this, whatever it is we don’t talk about that we do with each other.”
Spencer saw the frown come over Aaron’s face and wanted so badly to go to him, to touch and he knew if he did where that would get them.
“Don’t leave.” Spencer stood and moved to straddle Aaron, he took his face in his hands and kissed him. It was soft, slow, and tender, and it was breaking his heart.
“I have to. I must go for you, and for me. When I come back, it’ll be up to you if there even is an us Aaron. But, for that to happen, for there to be any possibility you need to break your silence and I need to stop enabling you. I know you have feelings for me and I know I hurt you and that’s why you haven’t said it back to me but this thing between us is tearing me apart. I can’t anymore not until you figure out what you want.”
He didn’t move he wanted Aaron to touch him, wanted one more time before he left, before he put all of this in Aaron’s court he wanted to know once more what he was both walking away from and fighting for.
He felt the hand in his hair and the arm around his waist as he was pulled in closer. He had known they’d end up in the bedroom but this time instead of a frantic, desperate, hard coupling Aaron made love to him. It was achingly gentle and loving. The caresses of those strong hands roaming his body made him arch up into the touch. He felt those calluses over his smooth skin and it made him shiver. Even Aaron’s thrusts were drawn out, slow and achingly wonderful. When he came, he shuddered in Aaron’s arms.
“Spencer, please don’t go.” Aaron pleaded as he held Spencer in his arms, and Spencer was wondering just what they were holding on to.
“Give me a reason not to. Give me something Aaron, talk to me.”
“Figure out what you want Aaron, let me go because if you don’t neither one of us will survive this.” Spencer buried his head against Aaron’s shoulder and shook with the emotions that he was so determined to holding onto.
Eventually they fell asleep but this time it was Spencer that woke early, he already had his bags packed, he left the letter he had prepared for Aaron and called the cab company to come pick him up and take him to the airport. His ticket was waiting for him when he got there. He boarded the plane with a heavy heart and hoped to god he was making the right decision.