Can you do a part two to PTSD? I know it was suppose to be a one shot but it was really good.
I can most certainly do this! Here is the back-end of PTSD, comin’ ‘atcha!
It took Hotch two months to find a set of medications that helped with his episodes.
And things weren’t perfect. Jack was still worried about his dad, and while Hotch was lucid most of the time, his night terrors frequently woke him, causing him to sit up, since he didn’t have you to roll over next to and hold close.
And the sitting up caused him to stand.
And the standing caused him to get a drink.
And the drink turned into a quick bathroom break, and before he knew it, he was wide awake at 2 am, wishing to anything alive that he had the courage to call you up. To tell you that he was getting better. To tell you that he was smiling and playing with his son…being the father he knew he was and the team leader he knew he could be.
He wanted to call and tell you that the meds were working. That he had been back with the team for two weeks, and with the case that they just finished up, he had no flashback, and no episodes, and no fits of mania.
He wanted to call and tell you how much he loved you.
But when he got up one night, checking on Jack and giving him a kiss before starting down the stairs, he picked up the phone and dialed your number.
The number he had known by heart.
And was met with a message that chipped his already cracked soul.
“The number you have reached is not in service. This is a recording.”
Furrowing his brow as he holds the phone out from his ear, he checks the number before hanging up, dialing it again and recounting all of the numbers a second time before pressing the green dial button.
“The number you have reached is not in service. This is a recording.”
Clenching his jaw as he drops the phone down onto its base, tears springing to his eyes as he lets out the breath he was holding, Hotch meanders over to his couch as he plops himself down, resting his elbows on his knees as he places his face in his hands.
And right there, at 2 o’clock in the morning, with the darkness descended upon the house and his son sleeping soundly, Aaron wept.
It had been 2 months since he had left you.
2 months of sleepless nights and lonely baths and empty beds.
2 months of lonely movie marathons, dinners for one, and dateless nights.
2 months of not worrying about how he was on the job, or when he was coming home, or what you were going to encounter with his disorder today.
2 months of missing Jack.
2 months of missing Aaron.
Your friends had told you to snap out of it…that you needed to move on…that if Aaron really did want your help, he wouldn’t of packed up your bags and asked you to leave.
What Aaron hadn’t realized was that, in the process of living with him, you had failed to resign the lease on your apartment.
You thought, “What is the point? I’m never there, my clothes are here, no food is in the fridge…why waste the money?”
Aaron didn’t even notice that you weren’t going back.
And Jack loved having you around.
So when you had kicked your bags over to your car that fateful day, gritting your teeth as tears of anger and emptiness streamed down your cheeks, you threw them into the trunk of your car and started your engine, heading for a hotel across town.
You lived there for a month before your friends talked some sense into you.
“He’s not coming back, and you can’t keep living in a hotel.”
“You need a home, Y/N…and it’s not with him.”
“You’re better off…he was too much drama anyway.”
So, after 5 weeks of being broken up, you had found a little studio flat, 2 bedroom 1 full bath, a full kitchen and an open-concept living/dining area with a cute little porch that sat right above a bar and grille.
And two months after your break-up with Aaron, you had filled the studio with some furniture, a few decorations, your clothes, some food, and plenty of wine.
But it still didn’t help the sting.
You kept looking at your phone, hoping he would call…knowing that, even though his medication might be working, should he even choose to take it, that he was probably still waking up from his nightmares.
You missed him rolling over and holding you close.
But as you looked around your new home, the new furniture sitting exactly where it should, your bookcase filled to the brim with your novels, and your new pots and pans beckoning to be utilized, you realized something.
During the entire transition, he had not been there.
You had shielded his son from his sickness, rubbed his back at 3 am when he couldn’t sleep, dealt with his manic episodes of depression and anger, held him close when loud noises startled him, and took over the protective care of his son whenever he was gone working his job.
And here you were.
Swallowing hard as you grab your cell phone, you slip your feet back into your flats as you grab your keys, slinging your purse over your shoulder as you walk out the new front door to your new life.
If you were really doing to do this, you were going to cut off every avenue he had.
Including your phone.
“Dad?” Jack asks.
“Yeah, buddy?” Aaron replies.
“When’s Miss Y/N coming back?”
The question ached his heart every time he asked.
“I’m not sure, buddy,” he breathes as he ruffles Jack’s hair.
“Did you tell her you were taking your medicine?” Jack asks.
“Yeah, buddy,” he lies, “I did.”
“Did you tell her that she missed my birthday?” he asks.
“Yeah, buddy,” Hotch chokes out, trying to keep his tears at bay, “I-I…uh…I did.”
“Did you tell her that you miss her, too?”
The question caught him off-guard.
“What do you mean?” Aaron asks.
“Dad…it’s very obvious,” his son states matter-of-factly.
“Oh, is it now?” Hotch replies with a chuckle.
“Oh, yeah,” Jack says.
“And how’s that?” Aaron playfully asks, crouching down to be eye level with his son.
“Because I see you staring at the phone, just like I stare out the window,” he replies.
And that’s when the waterworks fell.
“Come here, you,” Aaron chokes out, pulling his son close as Jack wraps his arms around his father’s neck.
“We need her, daddy,” Jack whimpers.
“I know, buddy,” Hotch’s voice quivers, “I know.”
“Y/N…it’s been 4 months,” your friend begs.
“I didn’t go on blind dates before Aaron, and I won’t start after,” you bite into your cell phone, stirring your stock pot of soup as your friend yaps away in your ear.
“You need to get back out there. Look, he’s cute, he’s funny, he has a higher education…”
“Brenda,” you interject.
“It’s just dinner. I told him about Aaron-”
“You what!?” you squeal into the phone, your eyes widening as Brenda shrugs it off.
“…and he’s fiiiiiiine with it. He knows it’s probably just dinner, and he wants to do it anyway!” your friends finishes.
“Well what about what I want!?” you roar.
“If I gave you what you wanted, you’d stay at home in your pajamas not showering for days as you sucked back your adult juice boxes and tried one of your disgusting food concoctions.”
Looking down at your 3 day old flannel pajamas, your eyes peering into your stock pot on the stove as a piece of greasy hair falls into your face, you sigh as you shake your head.
“Fine,” you groan.
“Be ready by 6!” Brenda sing-songs.
But the phone call had already gone dead.
“…and that’s when I decided that I wanted to be a veterinarian.”
Nodding with a smile plastered on your face, you look at the green-eyed beauty in front of you, trying to look engrossed in a conversation you couldn’t care less about.
“And then it was a process figuring out which school to go to!” he chuckles.
“Oh, I bet,” you say, widening your eyes in mock interest as your mind drifts back to your own thoughts.
He looks like a giant 15 year old. God, I hate baby faces. Aaron had a manly face. With rough hands, and a tall stance…
Shaking your head lightly as your date continues to talk about himself, you fidget around in your seat as your food is placed in front of you.
“Thank you,” you nod at the waitress as she shoots you a pitying look.
You were gonna make sure to leave her a nice tip.
She seemed to understand your pain.
No one should understand this kind of pain.
Hearing that voice as you shoot your head over to your left, you stand from your seat and look around, catching his face as you stop in your tracks.
Watching him walk up to you as your date stands up behind you, he juts his hand out beside your right arm as your eyes continue to stay locked with Aaron.
“Hey! I’m Jacob,” he introduces himself.
“Aaron,” he says, nodding towards the man and shaking his hand.
“Wait…the Aaron?” he asks.
“Your ex, Aaron?” he whispers, looking down at you as your eyes continue to dance across his face.
Apparently, your silence was misconstrued as uncomfortable.
“Listen, we don’t want any sort of trouble,” Jacob says, holding his hands up as he presses his chest into your back.
It made you grimace.
“…we’re just here on a date,” he finishes.
“A date, huh?” Aaron says, shooting you a curious look as you feel yourself hold back a snicker.
“Yes,” Jacob says proudly, “her friend Brenda set us up.”
“Ah, so it’s a blind date,” Aaron muses.
Jacob was starting to catch on to his tone of voice.
“Well, as I can recall from what Brenda told me, it was more than she was getting from you towards the end of your relationship.”
Feeling your eyes widen as your jaw drops, you slowly turn your head towards him, watching out of the corner of your eye as Aaron’s expression drops.
“I know,” he mumbles.
“And she deserves better than that,” Jacob says sternly.
Feeling the anger well inside you, you reach back for your purse, sitting on the edge of your seat.
“Yes, she does,” Aaron bites, staring intently into Jacob’s eyes as you take a step away from him.
And then…he crossed the line.
“And I think I’m the one to give it to her,” Jacob states.
“You will give me no such thing,” you say, causing the two men to look at you, your expression wild as you tun towards Aaron.
“What you did to me was wrong. I was there with you every step of the way, and you kicked me out like I was a trinket you no longer wanted. When I began staying over every night, I didn’t resign the lease on my apartment.”
As Aaron’s eyes widen at your statement, you continue.
“I lived in a hotel for 4 weeks before I had the courage to find a place of my own.”
“Y/N, I…I didn’t know,” he stammers.
“I know. You were so far gone…and you were so bad off…but I didn’t hold it against you. I never did,” you state.
“And you,” you say turning to Jacob, “while you are very easy on the eyes, not once this evening have you asked about me. I know all about your childhood, your 4 sisters, your parent’s divorce, your schooling options, and your career, but I don’t even think you can tell me my last name.”
Looking at him as his expression sinks, you take a deep breath.
“You will not be giving me what I need, because you are not what I need,” you finish.
Feeling your hands begin to tremble as the guys take a step back from one another, you flag the waitress down as she comes over.
Taking out your wallet as you begin to flip through the money in it, you feel a tender hand come down on your wrist, causing you to look up at the green-eyed man you would probably never see again.
“Let me,” he says.
Nodding as you give a weak smile to the waitress, you pull out a $10 bill and hand it to her.
“Tip her anyway,” you say, shooting a glance over at Jacob as he furrows his brow in confusion.
And as you begin to walk out of the restaurant, the chilly night air hitting you at your legs, you begin to shiver as you hear a familiar voice call out into the darkness.
Whirling around as your eyes dart to every car parked on the street, you hear the clicking of a car door as you see the little boy you had come to love as your own step out, his little feet planting on the ground as he slams the door shut.
“Jack!” you call back.
Smiling from ear to ear as he comes running up to you, you dip down and hold out your arms, feeling him run into your arms as you hold him close, the tears falling heavily onto your cheeks as you bury your face into his beautiful hair.
“Did Daddy find you!? Are you coming home!?” he exclaims.
“Find me? W-what, what are you talking about, sweetheart?” you ask, holding the litle boy out as he smiles broadly.
“I got Daddy to use Miss Penelope to help find you. I tried calling your number, but it didn’t ring. It was just some voice I didn’t know on the other end.”
Swallowing hard as guilt begins to waft over your system, you draw the boy back into your arms as you pick him up, his legs locking around your waist as you stand to your feet.
“My beautiful boy,” you whisper, stroking his hair as you hear someone approach from behind.
Turning your tear-stained face around as your body follows, you find yourself looking into the face of a tired, haggard Aaron Hotchner.
But something seemed a bit different.
He was standing a bit…taller.
Furrowing your brow as your eyes rake over him, he holds his arms out haphazardly as he says, “The right medications look good on me, I guess.”
Feeling your lip begin to tremble again as Jack pulls his head away from your shoulder, he kisses your cheek as he wraps his arms back around your neck, locking his fingers behind you as he smiles big.
“I’m not letting you go until you come home,” he says.
“Jack…it’s…it’s not that easy,” you breathe, shaking your head slowly side to side as Aaron steps up to your side, putting his hand on the small of your back.
“We could start at the beginning, if you’d like,” he muses, his other hand rubbing Jack’s back as he looks between you and his father.
“Look,” he says, taking Jack from your arms and setting him down on the ground, “what I did was wrong. The entire situation was handled wrong…and the only one who seemed to keep everything grounded was you.”
At least he understood that truth.
Turning your body to face him, he raises his hands and grasps your arms.
“You’re freezing,” he says, taking off his coat and throwing it around your shoulders.
“Y/N…I can’t tell you that I’m 100%, because I’m not. And I don’t really know if I’ll ever be…”
Searching his eyes as he trails off, you swallows hard as he continues.
“But I’m back at work. We’ve had 2 months worth of cases and I haven’t so much as flinched at a gunshot or had a flashback.”
“That’s good,” you praise, nodding lightly, “that’s really good.”
“I mean…I still have the nightmares,” he adds, “though it’s not every night.”
“That’s good, too,” you whisper, involuntarily bringing your hand up to his cheek, cupping it lightly as he nuzzles his face into it.
“I should’ve never done what I did,” he whispers, a tear escaping his eye and caressing your palm.
“No, you shouldn’t’ve,” you whisper in return.
“The house…it’s so…”
“…empty?” you finish.
“Yeah,” he snickers, sniffling hard as he brings his hand to yours, grasping it within his as he peels it away from his face.
“Yeah…” he trails off.
“We can’t just…pick up where we left off. I’ve signed a lease on a studio apartment. I got furniture and food and cooking utensils…”
“That sounds…that’s great, Y/N…that’s really great,” Hotch says, nodding his head as he smiles lightly.
“But…maybe we could date again?” you question.
Watching Aaron’s eyes connect with yours, you feel Jack slip his hand into your palm.
“But, when will I see you?” he asks.
“Well, your Dad can drop you off anytime you need to. You can stay with me while he’s working, and when he’s not, your father and I can go on dates. You know, out to dinner and stuff.”
“So, you’re not coming home?” Jack asks, his eyes big and bright.
Crouching down, you take his hands within yours and bring them to your lips, kissing them lightly as he looks at you in sadness.
“Right now, I’m paying money to live somewhere. Now, if you were paying money that you worked hard for to live somewhere, wouldn’t you want to be there sometimes?” you ask.
“Well…yeah…” Jack lulls.
“So, how about this: your dad brings you over whenever you need to come, and me and him can go on dates and stuff, ad maybe, every once in a while, we all can have sleepovers, and after 12 months, if things are still going really well…well can talk about me coming home.”
“12 months is a long time…” Jack trails off.
“But it’s better than not coming home at all,” you muse, reaching out and cupping the boys cheek.
He nuzzled into your hand just like his father had done.
“That’s true…” he pouts.
“Besides,” you say, grunting as you pick him up, situating him on your hip, “I live right above a food place, and they have awesome molten lava cakes.”
“They do!?” Jack squeals, his eyes widening as he smiles brightly.
“They do! And if you come over a lot, we can eat them a lot,” you say, shooting Hotch a glance as you wink, tears of happiness clouding his eyes as he stares at you deeply.
“Dad! Dad! We gotta go over soon!” Jack yelps, wiggling out of your grasp and running back to the car.
Taking a step towards Aaron, you slowly slip your hand into his as you swallow hard, your gaze panning back up to his as he looks down upon you, his gaze hopeful and his smile true.
“I’m off this weekend, you know,” he murmurs, “federal holiday and all that.”
“Sounds nice,” you muse lightly.
“Are you, uh…doing anything Saturday night?” he asks.
“Not that I can think of,” you smiles slyly.
“What would you say to dinner?” he asks.
“Hmmmmmm…” you say, feigning thought as Aaron’s expression drops.
“I’m just kidding,” you giggle, nudging him as he snickers with relief.
“Oh. Oh, yeah,” he says, nodding his head as he squeezes your hand.
“Dinner sounds perfect,” you say lowly, craning your neck up to see him as he smiles down at you.
“Then I’ll see you at 6,” he says, bending down and kissing your cheek longingly, the warmth of his lips lingering as he pulls back, a flush raising in your cheeks as he begins to walk backwards, taking you in once more with his eyes before turning around and heading for his car.
You loved this man with your entire being.
And you would never stop.