Title: The Peace of Silence
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Jack Hotchner
Genre: Angst, Past Relationship
Beta: DarkJediQueen, no non-consensual beta
Warnings: Mentions of Self-harm
Word Count: 2992
This is where I want to be/ Here with you so close to me/ Until the final flicker of life’s ember/I who was lost and lonely/ Believing life was only/ A bitter tragic joke/ Have found with you/The meaning of existence/ Oh my love Tony Bennet – Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars
Aaron was sitting in the window seat looking out at the clear night sky as he sipped the cider that Spencer had made with the mulling spices. The cabin had been perfect and a way for them to get away for a while. The previous year had been hard on them both. Aaron was still in recovery, his arms and thighs still bore the scars of his addiction. He had a minor relapse in the time that he had been away from the Bureau, his uncertainty about his future had fueled it. Then they had gotten news that Peter Lewis had escaped. He started to stalk Aaron, and when he showed up at Jack’s game the Bureau wanted to put him and Jack in WitSec, but he refused because they weren’t going to let Spencer come along. Aaron took a deep breath and thought back to those terrifying weeks that his life had been disrupted yet again by a psychopath stalking him.
Emily had come back at his request when Derek decided to leave the Bureau, even though he was excellent at his job of Unit Chief. He wanted to be home with Savannah and Hank, especially after the escapees had been caught. He got word that Prentiss took over as Unit Chief and he thought it was a good fit. With his help, Lewis had been caught once again, and this time more securely than before. That was when Spencer suggested they go away for a little while, just the three of them for the Holidays. He smiled softly as he pulled the warm blanket around him and waited for his lover to join him.
“There you are. You look lost in some very deep thoughts.”
Aaron smiled as he put the cup aside, lifted the blanket, and held his arm out in a silent gesture for Spencer to join him. When the younger man settled in, his back to Aaron’s chest, he sighed happily. Wrapping his arms around Spencer, Aaron bussed a kiss to the back of his head and held him close. He didn’t answer right away. He was enjoying the hard won peace that he had found. Silences used to be filled with pain and so many unspoken fears and doubts, but now, now the silence was filled with love and hope and all those good things that he once had before life had thrown so many curve balls at him that he didn’t know how to deal with it all.
Spencer went with him to therapy sometimes, the two of them talking about what had made them implode the first time around. It was good, better than before, and Aaron was trying to make every single day count with both Spencer and Jack.
Jack was also healing from how Spencer had left them. He had been so angry at Spencer, but he, like his father, had kept his own counsel. Thankfully, Jack didn’t resort to self-harm like Aaron had. He drew, and he used clay to work out what he was feeling. He had turned to art and though some of it was very dark, the therapist said it was good for him, healthy even. Then one day Jack and Spencer had a terrible fight where Jack let it all out telling Spencer how sad and angry he was. The two of them hugged each other tightly, and they both agreed to go with Aaron to see someone to help work out what was broken between them.
“I’m just thinking about this past year, and how the silence is no longer frightening. It’s quiet up here, but it is filled with so many other feelings than pain or anger.” Aaron ran his fingers through Spencer’s hair, as his other hand caressed his lover’s arm.
“And we’re here now, the three of us together, a family again.”
Aaron smiled as he laid his head on Spencer’s, taking in the scent of his shampoo and letting Spencer’s words fill his heart with happiness. Family, they had been one at one time, and it all shattered in the wake of Emily’s pretend death, and the lies Aaron was forced to tell. But, slowly they were getting stronger, together.
“Family, that sounds amazing. There were days I didn’t think…” Aaron looked out at the stars, and the blue-black color of the night sky, and took a shuddering breath.
“Didn’t think what Aaron?”
“I didn’t think I’d make it. When you went to Los Angeles, it shattered me and I put too much burden on you. I put it on you to keep me together, and I never said how sorry I am for doing that.”
“Aaron, you’ve told me, in more ways than you know. You going to therapy and getting both Jack and I to go, keeping up with the support group, loving me, all shows me how far you’ve come.” Spencer grabbed his hand and wrapped it around his chest and held it there.
“Thank you, Spencer, for being there and never giving up on me. I know when you went to L.A. it wasn’t easy.”
“No, it wasn’t, but it was what was best for the both of us.” Spencer sighed a happy sigh and it filled Aaron’s heart that they could get to this place. “What brought all this up, Aaron?”
Aaron smiled again as he kissed the side of Spencer’s forehead after brushing his unruly hair to the side. He was quiet again for a few moments trying to gather his thoughts together.
“I was looking out this window, sipping the cider you made and realizing just how quiet it is. The silence, it used to scare me because I didn’t know how to crawl out of it and tell you how much I needed you. Now it’s peaceful, it’s nice.”
Spencer sat up and turned around. He settled on Aaron’s lap and took his face gently in his hands. They looked at each other, love, happiness, and hope shining in both their eyes.
“I love you Aaron, that was never in question. I will love you for the rest of our lives, and if you need time, need those silences, just let me know, then we talk about it.”
“I’m learning that. I love you so much Spencer.” Aaron laid his hand on the back of Spencer’s neck and gently tugged him closer kissing him slowly and tenderly. His other hand wandered under Spencer’s sweater, softly touching the warmed skin underneath. “Why don’t we go to bed?”
“I like that idea Mr. Hotchner,” Spencer teased as he pulled away. He grabbed their cups and took them upstairs with them. Aaron took his and put it on the nightstand before slipping out of his clothes, setting everything in a pile in the chair that sat near the bedroom window. When he looked up Spencer was naked and Aaron’s breath caught in his throat.
“I never get tired of looking at you. You’re beautiful Spencer, I wish you would believe that.”
“I believe it when you tell me. And you, Aaron are beautiful too.” A frown flitted across Aaron’s face as he kneed up on the bed, settling in the V made by Spencer’s spread legs.
“No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are. These don’t define who you are. None of them, these scars are a part of who you are, and you are beautiful. One day you will accept them like I do and they will no longer matter, because to me they don’t.” Aaron took a shuddering breath as a tear slipped down his face. Spencer knew just how to make him feel, everything, and he worked so hard to be worthy of the younger mans love. His words were stuck in his throat as he bent down and kissed him, lovingly, possessively. He let himself get lost in Spencer’s body. He worshiped him and before too long he had reduced the genius to babbling nonsense. When he finally entered his lover, the feeling was almost overwhelming, especially in light of the words they had exchanged earlier. He had to stop and hold himself still just above Spencer. Legs wrapped around him, and pushed him further down onto his lover. His breath hitched as he slid in all the way.
Aaron looked up into Spencer’s face and got lost in his eyes as he started to move within him. Gently, slowly he made love to Spencer. They were locked together, not just in body, but in soul and in heart as well. He sped up a little, sliding in and out, drawing out the pleasure for them both as he bent and kissed Spencer, his tongue a gentle exploration of Spencer’s mouth. He felt his lover’s breath catch, his body shake and knew the younger man was close. His movements faltered slightly as he was pushed closer to the edge.
Spencer gripped his hips and tried to devour his kisses, a tangle of tongues as he thrust up, trying to match Aaron’s movements. Then, Aaron stilled, a deep moan, but he didn’t break the kiss as he came, the orgasm crashing over him gently instead of violently. Finally, he broke away and wrapped his hand around Spencer’s hard length, stroking, adding a twist to his wrist as he stroked the head. It only took a few strokes then Spencer thrust up, stifled the cry on his lips and came in Aaron’s hand.
“Aaron,” Spencer whispered, overwhelmed with feeling. Aaron smiled as he bent and kissed him once again before he pulled out and went to go clean up. He came back out a few minutes later with a warm cloth to clean Spencer up. After throwing it aside, he crawled under the covers, joining his lover there.
“I love you Spencer, and the silence isn’t so frightening anymore with you here.”
Spencer settled at Aaron’s side, his head on Aaron’s shoulder, he rested his hand over his lover’s heart.
“And they aren’t so scary for me either. I love you to Aaron.” With a soft sigh the two men fell asleep wrapped together on the cold, clear night. More pieces to their shattered past being repaired. It wasn’t going to be perfect, the both knew there was no such thing as perfect, but what they had now was stronger and better than what they had in the past.
The morning came in cool and clear, the sun warm through their bedroom window. Christmas dawned bright, even with the forecast of snow later in the day. It had snowed the previous week when they had first arrived and Jack had been excited. The fresh cut tree in the living room with the ornaments they dragged up with them was bright and cheerful.
Aaron slowly woke and looked down at the chestnut curls splayed out over his chest and let out a happy sigh. He carded his fingers in the hair, playing with it knowing that Spencer was most likely awake.
“‘Morning,” Spencer growled which made Aaron chuckle.
“I’m surprised Jack isn’t bouncing on the bed demanding hot chocolate.”
“He knocked earlier and I let him peek in. He’s downstairs watching TV. We have some time.” Aaron flipped them and proceeded to make Spencer speechless once more before they went down to join Jack.
A couple of hours later, showered and dressed in comfortable jeans and sweaters, with only heavy socks on their feet, they made their way down.
“Dad! Papa!,” Jack practically yelled as he rushed them and hugged them both.
“Papa?” Spencer furrowed his brow as he asked.
“That’s okay, right Spencer?” Jack had a look of worry on his face and Spencer just melted. He went down on his knees and pulled Jack into his arms. He held back the tears, but Aaron saw the smile on his face.
“It’s perfect Jack. I love you,” Spencer whispered in Jack’s ear.
“I love you too Papa.”
Spencer stood, ruffled Jack’s hair and went to the kitchen to make his Christmas morning pumpkin pancakes. Aaron made the coffee, the bacon, and sausage. He pulled them off the stove, then opened the oven to see muffin tins with Spencer’s baked eggs in there. He pulled those out and set them to cool and finish setting.
The pancakes didn’t take long and before Jack could start complaining he was hungry, the table was set. They talked and joked around, Aaron smiling more and more and getting smiles from his two favorite men. It set his heart at ease and not for the first time in the last few days was glad they made this trip.
After breakfast, the dishes put in the dishwasher, and more coffee poured for Aaron and Spencer, Jack’s patience was finally at an end.
“Come on, can we now open presents?” He stood there, hands on hips in an almost imitation of his father. Aaron shook his head and couldn’t help the laugh that escaped.
“Come on buddy, you’ve been patient long enough.”
With Jack sitting near the tree, he passed the gifts around, the two men let him open all of his first. There were the requisite clothes, books, and a combined present from Aaron and Spencer.
“PLAYSTATION VR!” Jack jumped up and flung himself first in Aaron’s arms, then Spencer’s. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” The smile on his face was worth it.
“You’ve done well in school despite this year being hard on all of us. Now, same rules apply Jack. A set time limit after all homework is done. Nothing overly violent, and, for now, none of the horror games, okay?”
“I did download some of the VR games onto your Playstation, so you have a few ready to go when we get home.” Aaron was enjoying Jack’s enthusiasm as he looked at everything in the box.
“Okay, now you Aaron.” Spencer smiled at his lover.
The soft blue sweater from Jack he immediately loved, as well as the new watch from Spencer. There were a couple of hard to find hardbacks, one of them the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes. Aaron had said it was a secret pleasure of his and Spencer found him a beautiful copy.
“Thank you Spence.”
Aaron waited patiently for Spencer to open his gifts. A soft chambray shirt and sweater vest that went beautifully together from Jack. Spencer couldn’t help the chuckle.
“What? I love that sexy professor look.” Aaron smiled, but his eyes were heated with promises for later.
Spencer shook his head as he opened the last of his gifts. Books as well and a little coupon book that had him blushing deeply. It was filled with both mundane things, an afternoon of coffee and pastries at this favorite coffee shop, a trip to the bookstore, then there were the ‘good for one blowjob’ type ones.
“Aaron!” Spencer was practically crimson when Aaron turned his face and kissed him.
“I have something else. Just wait a moment.” Aaron left to get his briefcase and pulled out two things then went back to Spencer. He handed Spencer the folder first and sat down. “I know we had talked about this before, but I didn’t want us to do anything till we worked a lot of our issues out. I talked to Jack,” the boy came over and sat in Aaron’s lap and smiled up at Spencer. “He’s completely on board with it.”
Spencer’s fingers were shaking as he opened the folder. It was adoption papers.
“Aaron,” Spencer was speechless, which was rare for the genius. His eyes wet with tears as his fingers trailed over the legal papers. It took him a moment to find his voice again. “Yes, yes I will adopt you Jack, that is if it’s what you want.”
Jack flung himself at Spencer and wrapped around him.
“I love you and I want you to be my Papa.” Spencer took a breath as he held the boy close. A moment later they broke apart and Spencer kissed his forehead.
“There is another set in there. Something to think about. We have an appointment at the adoption agency when we get back. I know you wanted kids, and you thought by now you’d have them, but, well, mechanics and all.” Aaron nervously laughed.
“Aaron, this….” Spencer looked up with tears shining in his eyes. “Yes, yes let’s see what they have to say. But, I’m all in.”
“Good, because this last part,” Aaron slid to his knees in front of Spencer, took the folder and set it aside. “Is the most important.”
“Aaron? Wha-what are you doing?”
Aaron took the last gift out of his pocket, then took Spencer’s left hand. He took a moment, lifting the hand and kissing each finger. He then slid the ring on Spencer’s ring finger and looked up softly smiling.
“Will you marry me?”
Spencer’s eyes widened and he sat there in stunned silence for a moment then slid down into Aaron’s lap and wrapped his arms around him. The tears weren’t unexpected as Aaron held him close.
“Yes, yes, a thousand times yes I will marry you.”
The silence stretched on as they held onto each other. It was a good silence, one full of peace, hope and the undying love of family. Aaron’s heart and soul healed just a little more knowing what his future held. Spencer, Jack, and the possibility of building on their family. Aaron let the silence reign as he let the happiness of the day wash over them. Later there would be popcorn, hot chocolate, and Christmas movies, but for now, he wanted to bask in the quiet and the love.