Title: The Roar of Silence
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid
Genre: Angst, Past Relationship
Beta: DarkJediQueen, no non-consensual beta
Warnings: Self-Harm, depression
Word Count: 2491
“Hello Darkness, my old friend/ I’ve come to talk to you again/ Because a vision softly creeping/ Left it’s seeds while I was sleeping/ And the vision that was planted in my brain/ Still remains/ Within the sounds of silence.” Simon and Garfunkel, The Sounds of Silence.
Hotch and Spencer hadn’t shared a room for a while and it felt odd. Not that it was odd sharing a room with Hotch, but Spencer noticed odd things. Things he hadn’t noticed before, or maybe they weren’t there before. Spencer sat on his bed and tried to remember all the times in the past they had shared a room and remarked to himself the differences. Like Hotch wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants in the middle of summer. Spencer also noticed that Hotch took longer in the bathroom than he used to.
Spencer waited patiently for his turn at the bathroom as he sat on his bed going over the files of their latest case and trying not to worry about Hotch. And that was the problem. He did worry, a lot. Hotch had been more withdrawn and quiet lately and Spencer didn’t know how to approach him about it. He wanted to help his friend, though they had drifted apart as of late and it made Spencer wonder. When did it happen? Was it his fault? Hotch’s? Did he keep his distance after Emily? When did their friendship lapse? Spencer realized in that moment just how much he missed Hotch. The Hotch before. Before Georgia, before Gideon leaving, before Haley and Foyet, before he lost Maeve. He rubbed at his forehead as he tried to concentrate on the files but his mind kept turning over and over. Is this what happened to people who spent too much time together? Did they take advantage of knowing they would always be there that they actually drifted apart? He was startled out of his thoughts when the bathroom door opened and Hotch walked out looking decidedly more relaxed than when he went in.
“Bathroom’s all yours.”
Spencer set the files aside and looked up to study his boss, his friend and one time lover for a moment.
“When did we stop being so close?” Spencer blurted out as he moved to get a better look at Hotch.
“What do you mean Reid?”
“I mean, we used to talk more. We’d go to lunch or go get coffee all the time, when did we stop that?” He set the files aside as he pulled his legs up under him.
“Don’t Reid. Don’t go back there..” Hotch sat back and frowned and Spencer recognized that look. It was his deep thinking look, the one he gets while studying a case, or when he would be at his desk at home working on cold files or a submission. Spencer’s heart lurched and knew the exact moment they stopped being close. “I admit, that I miss it.” He confessed as he turned his gaze to look up at Reid. “I miss it alot actually.”
“I do to. I think we need to remedy that.” Spencer saw a slow smile form on Hotch’s lips and for some reason that smile made his heart soar.
“Definitely need to remedy it. How about this, you know that coffee shop at the train stop just before I get off?” Spencer wasn’t sure what Hotch would want, but he knew that he missed the man terribly and wanted him back in his life, with whatever Hotch was willing to give.
“Yes, the one that opens early and has those bear claws you like? The one we would stop at…” Hotch didn’t finish that sentence. He wasn’t sure if he could go back there. Friendship, friendship he could do.
Spencer smiled and his eyes lit up. “Yes. That one. I propose we meet there a half-hour before we go into work.” He could practically see Hotch’s mind working through the problem knowing he had Jack to see to.
“Okay, I think I can agree to that proposal.”
“Good. And I have a theory on this case. Let me go take a shower and I’ll tell you what I’m thinking.”
“Sounds good. Are you hungry? I can go get us something to eat.”
At that moment Spencer’s stomach made a loud growl, which answered that question. He suppressed a laugh as he made his way into the bathroom. He peaked around the open door of the bathroom and could just make out Hotch changing out of his sleep clothes and into some street clothes. He tried to get a good look as Hotch took off his shirt but he didn’t see anything overtly wrong. He still had a nagging sensation in his stomach. It was just odd that at the station Hotch had been very intense, even more so than normal. No one else seemed to be bothered by his demeanor but Spencer was more sensitive to everyone’s moods. He was especially more sensitive to Hotch, he had known the man so intimately at one time but things had changed.
After getting back to the hotel Hotch had gone to take a long shower and when he stepped out of the bathroom, he was calmer and smiling more than he used to. Spencer didn’t want to speculate on what it could be, but he promised himself that he was going to pay closer attention to try to find out what was going on.
As soon as the bedroom door closed Spencer went right to work, he checked the bathroom for anything unusual and nothing. He grabbed one of the extra small trash can liners and laid it out on the floor then carefully dumped the trash on it. Taking another liner he used it like a glove and started to sift through the trash. When he found the bloody tissues he sat back on his heels and frowned. Setting those aside he kept carefully looking. He wasn’t sure why his mind was going where it was. Maybe too many cases where victims turned to this behavior to cope. He wasn’t even aware of why he was sure he knew what was going on, but it was the only explanation for Hotch’s behavior in recent months.
When he found what he was looking for Spencer’s heart broke just a little. He set the evidence aside and contemplated on what to do. He put the rest of the trash back, stood up and took the fastest shower he’s ever taken. When he got out Hotch was still not back and his valise was still on the counter, he hadn’t packed it away. Using a couple of tissues he opened it up and though he knew it was a violation of privacy he wanted, no he needed to know. Hotch always used cartridge razors, his favorite being a Lexington razor, one of the best on the market. He was still using the one Spencer had gotten him for his birthday five years prior, when they were still together. It was part of a high-end grooming set that he had special ordered. Hotch never used a safety razor and yet, there was a pack of them in the bottom of his valise. Spencer stood there holding them, with the bloody tissues and the used razor off to the side, his breath short and his heart breaking.
“What are you doing Reid?” Spencer hadn’t heard Hotch come back in, he was so lost in his head he hadn’t even heard him opening the bathroom door. He kicked himself for not having the forethought to lock it.
He turned his head and looked at Hotch, not even trying to hide the tears.
“The roar of silence.”
“What?” Hotch looked at him, anger and something else, something dangerous, was clearly written all over his face.
“You’ve been screaming so loud and none of us, not one of us was listening. I saw you withdrawing more and more lately and I was too afraid of making you mad to say anything. I’m sorry Hotch. I’m sorry that our lives have gotten so goddamned fucked-up that we lost that connection we once had. I’m sorry for all those small things that I’ve taken for granted. God, I’m just sorry Aaron.” He didn’t even try to stop the tears that fell as he held the packet of naked razors in his hand.
“I don’t know what you think you know but please put my stuff back and leave it alone.” The angry tone should have made Spencer back off but it didn’t. He put the razors back in the valise and before Hotch could get away from him Spencer grabbed a sleeve of his shirt and shoved it up. Hotch grabbed Spencer’s other hand before he went for the other sleeve and held it in an iron grip.
“I don’t know why you went through my things or what you think you know but just leave it alone.”
“I went through your things because I was worried about you. You’ve been on edge at the station all week. And as soon as we come back here you take your time in the bathroom and when you come out, you’re different. Calmer, and that isn’t normal. And dammit no matter what has happened I still love you.”
Spencer saw Aaron visibly swallow as he let go of his wrist and strode back into the room. He closed his eyes and tried to calm his breathing. He hadn’t meant to admit that, not like this but there it was sitting between them like always. So close and yet they were a million miles away from each other.
“Damn you Reid.” Hotch didn’t say anything else as he grabbed his jacket and walked out the door letting it slam shut behind him.
Spencer sank down on his bed and closed his eyes and wondered if he screwed up any chance at rekindling even a fraction of the friendship they once had.
He waited up and worried. When it was after 3 in the morning he was getting even more worried. Then Hotch was finally stepping through the door of their room. He didn’t look drunk, which Spencer had worried about.
“You’re still up.” Hotch swallowed as he moved over to his bed. He took off his jacket and threw it to the side before stretching out on the bed.
“I couldn’t sleep. I was worried. I am worried and I’m not going to say sorry Aaron. I see you pulling away more and more. Your silence is deafening.” Spencer frowned as he wrapped his arms around his legs.
Hotch took several deep breaths, “Beth is gone.”
“What happened?” Aaron was quiet so long that Spencer didn’t think he was going to answer, that he was going to retreat yet again.
“I tried, I really did I just, I couldn’t make her happy. I can never seem to make anyone happy.” Hotch closed his eyes and laid his head back against the headboard.
Spencer uncurled himself and stood up from his bed and walked over to Hotch. He sat next to him and placed a hand on his knee. He wanted to do more, god the man still drove him crazy, but he said things when he left that he could never take back. He knew it had been an uphill battle to even get to this point with each other.
“When did it start Aaron. Be honest with me.”
Aaron looked in Spencer’s eyes and knew that it was lies that had gotten them here.
“After you left.” Hotch turned his head to the side and didn’t want to see whatever look came over Spencer’s face.
Spencer moved to straddle Hotch’s legs and gently touched his face, forcing the man to look at him.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You weren’t listening.”
“Aaron, I never stopped caring about you.”
“No, you just stopped loving me. You didn’t have enough faith in me, in us. You left and I barely held it together. You didn’t even want to hear the whole truth. I was holding so much in that I yelled at Jack. I scared my own son Spencer. That night, I was in my study and I got drunk then I got angry and threw a glass. When I picked it up I wasn’t careful and I cut myself, several times actually and all of a sudden that pressure, that pain it was gone.”
“Let me see.”
“Just, let me see.”
Hotch reluctantly pulled off his shirt and looked down at his hands, not wanting to look Spencer in the eye. He was surprised when he felt wetness on his hand. He looked-up to see Spencer crying.
“Did I do this?” he asked as he ran gentle fingers over the overlapping scars. His heart ached for the man and what they had once been to each other.
“No. No it’s not your fault. I do it to myself. I’ve been talking to someone Spencer. I thought I was okay, but this case, rooming together, this distance between us….I relapsed.”
Spencer swallowed hard as he looked at Hotch. Relapse, he knew that word all too well.
“Yes, it’s an addiction, compulsion. I know intellectually what I’m doing is self-destructive, but…”
“You can’t always stop yourself.” Spencer looked down and placed a hand on Aaron’s heart. “I was wrong. I reacted childishly and selfishly and I’ve never apologized for leaving like I did. I didn’t see what you were going through. I called John one day and he told me everything. That it went way above your head, but they made you facilitate the charade. I…I knew I messed-up. I didn’t know how to get you back, if I even could.” Spencer hung his head as he fingered the scars on Hotch’s arms.
Hotch buried his hands in Spencer’s hair as he pulled the younger man to him. When their lips met he almost whimpered at the contact. Familiar and foreign at the same time.
Someone moaned, hands grappled, kisses became fueled with a fire of love, and pain. Teeth clicked as tongues fought for dominance. It was like a dam had broken and the two of them couldn’t get enough. Lube was found, neither of them questioned it as Spencer was splayed out on his back and Aaron was burying himself inside his former lover.
They didn’t make love, it wasn’t even purely sex. This was almost driven from long buried emotions that neither man spoke of. It was hard and frantic as Hotch pounded in and out of Spencer, driving him closer and closer to that edge. Love, pain, anger, guilt fueled their furious coupling and when Spencer came when Hotch had wrapped a hand around him it was explosive and almost painful. It didn’t take long before Hotch was coming as well. He buried his head against Spencer’s neck and cried out against teeth clamped on the soft flesh.
They were desperately clinging together waiting for one of them to break the spell. What Spencer didn’t expect was Hotch breaking apart on top of him. He wrapped his arms around Hotch and closed his eyes wondering what the hell they had just done.