Summary: Reader was very close friends with Hotch since they each worked for the BAU. Reader is assigned to a different unit, separating themselves from Hotch only to be reunited years later when they’re called in to help with a case.
Author’s Note: Lots and lots of fluff ahead. Hope you enjoy! x
I sighed as I placed my mug onto the desk, it was too early to care about the loud chink noise that emitted from the contact, nor the liquid that threatened to slosh out. It felt like I was just walking into a dead end every day. Our case had hit a point where we didn’t know where to go from there, we were stuck. It was like writer’s block for the author, but taken to a much farther extent. Writer’s could go back in and rewrite, we didn’t have an option so sweet. We had to sit and over analyze until we found a way to continue and deal with the inevitable self hatred and frustration it was sure to bring.
“Well, looks like someone didn’t sleep too well.” Jasmine spoke as she sat into her designated portion of the desk. She had a coffee mug that matched my own in her hand, seeming to have just walked into the office considering she was putting her personal belongings away. It was still early, some of the team still had yet to arrive.
“You’d be very right.” I sighed, bringing my hands up in small fists to rub against my eyelids, as if I could physically rub away the stress and sleep deprivation.
“That’s no good, we need you working at your best.” Jasmine frowned slightly.
“I’m trying, it’s difficult.” I replied. I knew she meant well, but it couldn’t help, but strike a nerve. I wasn’t a child, I didn’t need to be lectured, especially by one of my peers. I knew what was needing to be done, and it wasn’t that I neglected to get the sleep I craved or continue on with the case, it was that it was something I was incapable of. You can’t force yourself to sleep and you can’t force yourself to crack something that’s uncertain. I could only continue to try to work at the fullest extent of my abilities. I can only do what my mine allows me to. I can’t work from someone else’s perspective, I can’t create the things they do, I can only try. And that was a task that came close to impossible.
“I know, honey. But when you’re on your off time, try and get some rest for all of us, okay?” She spoke softly, I should’ve known she would’ve picked up on my tension.
“Okay.” I nodded, offering a small smile. The smile felt like a necessary action, but it only felt foreign. The simple expression felt straining on my features.
“If it helps, I heard they’re flying in one of the teams from Virginia to come help with the case, hopefully move things along a bit faster. They left early this morning, they should be here any minute.” Jasmine explained. Her words actually did bring me some bit of comfort. New sets of eyes and different perspectives to work through the case. It was true, two heads worked better than one. In this case, I suppose close to seven other heads. It takes a lot to stump an entire team of people, I only hoped this meant we could move along faster and eventually bring it to a close.
“I’m surprised they didn’t sooner.” I murmured, the sounds muffled slightly from the porcelain that was now tucked between my lips. I tilted my head back slightly to get a taste of the coffee, enjoying the moderate burn it left on my throat. The first sip of coffee was like signifying the day had officially started. I glanced up out of instinct at the sound of the doors being pushed open, the coffee hitching in my throat and causing me to choke when I saw the one person I never even would’ve dreamed of seeing. Luckily, most people would assume I started coughing from the liquid, rather than a person. Unluckily, it attracted that very person’s attention. Their eyes locked eyes with mine, their lips parting slightly. The most reaction you would probably ever get out of that man. They seemed to have closed just as quickly as they’d opened, his facial features returning to their usual stoic appearance. He had continued walking even when his eyes landed on mine, continuing to be lead by our director. I was too shocked to realize they’d been heading in my direction. She kept speaking to him, I don’t think she realized she didn’t hold his attention and that’s because I did. Even once the man stood in front of me, he still chose to refrain from holding in his shock.
“You’ll be working closely together on this case. She’s one of our most fully rounded agents so you can talk with her about nearly anything. Any questions, she’d be my recommendation to ask. This is agent-” Diana spoke before being cut off by the very man beside her.
“(Y/N) (L/N).” He finished, I smiled at him, a genuine one this time and it seemed to be the rare occasion where he flashed one of his own.
“Aaron Hotchner.” I grinned up at him from my seat. Momentarily forgetting about the stress that had consumed my being for the past few weeks, all forgotten because the man I had missed the most stood in front of me.
“You’re familiar with each other, I assume that means working together won’t be an issue.” Diana spoke, a smile took over her face, but she couldn’t hide the annoyance in her voice from being cut off.
“Not at all.” Aaron responded, shaking his head slightly, but his eyes still focused on me.
“I’ll leave you here then and (L/N) can fill you in on our case details.” Diana nodded once to me and once to Hotch before heading off, I assumed to brief the rest of his team.
“It’s good to see you somewhere other than a screen.” I smiled, scooting back slightly to pull up a chair for the man. He took my silent offer and took a seat in the chair, scooting forward to the point his tie brushed the edge of the desk.
“It’s quite the surprise.” He admitted.
“A good one, I hope.” I replied as I pulled out the manila folder to inform the man with the actual reasons why he was here, nearly forgetting he was here for a case and not just as a pleasant surprise, although it was one.
“Seeing you is always a good thing.” Aaron mused, earning a chuckle from me. Aaron had a kind side, and he had no issues showing it. It was just who he was showing it to and he made sure that singular person is the only one to see it. It’s quite the special feeling. Kind words are nice, but when you’re fully aware that you’re one of the only people that those words are being spoken to, it’s incomparable. It feels like you’ve gained something with every word.
“I’m gonna go ahead and assume you’re pretty informed already, correct?” I inquired as I flipped open the folder.
“Correct.” Aaron nodded as he leaned over the table, his head coming a bit closer to mine so he had a proper look at the papers I had laid out before him.
“Then this is mainly just a formality. You can take this with you back to your hotel tonight and read through it.” I replied, quickly sorting the papers in order of their priority before setting it closed, sliding it over to the man. He took it within his grasp, his eyes looking back up to my own.
“They aren’t the idealistic circumstances, but I am very happy to see you.” Aaron spoke.
“Maybe before you leave we can get dinner together.” I spoke quietly, my words weren’t meant for anyone else to hear.
“You can show me your favorite spot.” He replied.
“Sounds like a plan.” I grinned at the man. A childish aura always overtook me when I was in his presence. I wanted to tease him, I wanted his attention and I wanted to give him all of mine.
All of that could wait though. There were things that currently held a higher priority than our reunion. As ecstatic as I was to see the man, we still had work that needed to be done and that was what currently needed to hold our attention and I knew he would also recognize that fact.
With the help of Aaron and his team, the case was brought to a close within a week. I suppose there was a reason they were brought in, they showcased their skills without holding back in the slightest. They had two days left before their scheduled departure, and that was how I found myself sat across from the man I’d spent my childhood with, and a good portion of my adulthood and here he was again. Coincidences didn’t exist in our case. There was always a reasoning behind our presence, we’d silently come to that conclusion. I was okay with that, he was never a nuisance. It always excited me to be around the man, there was no one else who I wanted to give all of my time to.
“You seem to have found your place here quickly.” Aaron spoke as he brought his glass up to press against his lips.
“I work with really great people, I think I just got lucky.” I chuckled, taking a bite from the plate full of food that sat in front of me.
“Is there anyone you don’t get along with?” He inquired.
“That’s a funny question. It can be taken lots of ways, lots of factors.” I shrugged, reaching for my glass before taking a small sip.
“Oh? Like what?” He questioned, raising an eyebrow slightly. Only slightly. His eyebrows were so thick to a point it would’ve had to been moved up to his forehead to make a prominent difference on his face. It was something I’d always teased him for. He’d act as if I annoyed him, but never flat out asked me to stop. It never seemed to actually get to him, he seemed to enjoy the teasing, the man would never admit to that.
“It’s not a matter of if I get along with them. If I don’t enjoy someone’s company, I won’t put it in my life. If I have to be with someone in a professional environment, I’ll treat them as just that. Like a professional, no relationship should get in the way of my work.” I shrugged.
“You’re the same as ever.” Aaron grinned.
“Is that a good thing?” I teased.
“It’s a good thing.” He chuckled. We fell into a comfortable silence, taking the time to actually eat the meal placed in front of us rather than diving into a conversation that easily would’ve lasted hours. I wanted to talk about him, I wanted to ask how things had been, I wanted to know how he was, how his home life was.
“How’s Jack?” I asked bluntly, a bite of pasta was twirled around my fork. I let the utensil hang loosely in my hand as I looked up slightly to meet his eyes. He brought a napkin up to his mouth, quickly cleaning himself off before meeting my gaze.
“He’s doing really well. He misses you.” He replied.
“I guess I’ll have to visit sometime soon then.” I chuckled.
“He’d really like that.” Aaron smiled.
“Only him?” I mused, enjoying the slight tint of color that now adorned his cheeks.
“I’d really like that too.” He nodded.
“I’ll definitely look into it.” I smiled lightly, finally placing the bite of pasta into my mouth that I’d previously prepared. The meal continued in silence, mostly so we could finish our food quickly, leaving more time for just the two of us. It may have been only us out to dinner, but we still weren’t alone. I only wanted him, I only wanted to be around him.
It took less than 10 minutes for our meal to finally come to a close. My hand gently curled around his arm in the place where his elbow formed a crook, I lightly kept my grip there as he paid for our dinner. It may have looked like a possessive action, but I only wanted to be near him, I didn’t want to take this evening for granted. Once he collected the receipt, we both turned to exit the restaurant.
“Would you like to go for a walk? I’m not okay with letting you go just yet.” I grinned.
“That’s completely fine with me.” He smiled, straightening his arm so my hand momentarily fell, only to be held in his within seconds.
“There’s a really pretty park near here, I’ll show you.” I spoke, tugging slightly on his hand to indicate he had to move with me. He eagerly followed, his eyes on me as I continued to lead the way. I liked that about him. Aaron was very assertive, a leader. He knew when to step away though, even if it was something as simple as this. He treated those around him as his equals. He was a leader, but that doesn’t equal superiority always. A leader teaches you, shows you different things, their job isn’t to make you feel inferior. Aaron recognized that fact and seemed to have mastered it.
It was only a five minute walk at the most. It must’ve been a little past nine, causing the park to be deserted. I continued on the path I had walked countless amounts of time. It calmed me when I was angry, when I was escatic, I wanted to walk this path. Walking along this path seemed to keep my feelings in check. It was my place, but I had no issue sharing it with Aaron. Therefore it seemed like the ideal place to ask the questions that pegged my mind.
“How are things back home? It’s been so long since I’ve last visited.” I questioned.
“In general?” He asked.
“More so what’s going on with you.” I answered.
“Things have been going well lately. We had some issues with Jack in school, nothing too out of the usual. Kids being nasty to each other, we brought it to the attention of his school and it’s been resolved. He’s really taken a liking to soccer. He’s been talking about you coming to one of his games some day.” He spoke. He may not have noticed, but he spoke excitedly about his son. Everyone has a topic that once it gets brought up, they could go on for days about that topic and still talk with that same fire they started with. It’s never ending for them, it’s what gets them out of bed, it’s what makes them strive for greater things. In some ways, it’s their faith. The one thing that keeps their sanity. For Aaron, that was Jack.
“I really miss him. I’d love to come watch one of his games.” I stated, and it was true.
“He’s incredible, he’s getting really tall, too. At the rate he’s going, he really will accomplish great things.” Aaron smiled absentmindedly while thinking about the boy he raised.
“You’ve got a great kid, Aaron.” I smiled softly.
“I can’t wait for you to come back home and see him.” He murmured.
“I’ll make sure it’s soon.” I nodded.
“Do you want to head back? We have to be up in the morning. I’d hate for you to lose an opportunity to sleep because of me.” Aaron reasoned.
“We probably should, but it would be worth it.” I chuckled, turning on my heel to head back in the direction of my apartment, Aaron continuing to walk at my side. I knew I wanted to talk more. I wanted to hold onto the words he said to me. While we spoke one on one like this, those words became ours. You could relay the conversation to someone else, but they wouldn’t take those words how you did, they wouldn’t have experienced it. That moment is ours, and ours alone. And I wanted to keep talking, I wanted to enjoy this and the words that became ours, but they weren’t needed. I enjoyed the silence and his presence as much as I would’ve if he was actually talking.
We arrived within 15 minutes. I stood in my doorway, while Hotch stood in my doorstep. I always laughed at the cliche in movies, but right now I loved the feeling and swore to never make fun of one of those scenes again.
“Would you like to come in? You can call a taxi. I’d rather have that than you walking back to your hotel.” I explained, leaning against the door slightly. Aaron nodded and at that I stepped aside to let him into my home. Once he was inside, I shut the door behind him before walking in the direction of the kitchen.
“I have a phone book in here you can use.” I stated, pulling the bulky book from my counter top and handing it to the man. He quickly flipped through the pages before settling on a company, dialing the number, and giving them his information. I took the book from him as he pressed end call.
“Do you want anything to drink?” I asked.
“I’m alright, thank you.” He shook his head, stretching his arms slightly.
“We can sit in the living room until they’re here, they’re usually here pretty quickly.” I spoke, gesturing to the doorway we had walked through minutes before. Aaron followed closely behind as I lead him into my living room, taking a seat on the couch and Aaron taking his place beside me. I let my back lean into the cushions and Aaron sat slightly hunched over, collecting the hand closest to him within both of his hands, resting our hands on his knee and fiddling with my fingers in silence. He continued to stare like he was memorizing every detail. All the indentations within my hand, the slightly crooked length of my fingers, the chipped polish I had collected from the night’s events.
“Thank you for tonight.” He spoke finally after analyzing my hand thoroughly.
“I should be thanking you.” I mused lightly, trying to make light of our environment, but couldn’t help the way I took his words. They were so softly spoken, so kind, so genuine. The kind of words that make you feel like you’re about to make a complete fool of yourself.
“It was my pleasure entirely. I’d missed you greatly. I had no idea I would be getting to see you and you could’ve spent this time anyway you wanted, so thank you for choosing to spend it with me.” He spoke, raising my hand slightly to press it against his lips, his eyes still focused on it.
“Aaron Hotchner, I would never turn you away and spending time with you is never a waste of it. Thank you for spending your night with me.” I responded, bringing my other hand up to curl around one of his.
“You promise to come see Jack and I soon?” He asked, finally looking up to meet my eyes.
“I promise,” I chuckled, “I might just drop by unannounced some day. You gonna kick me out?” I teased.
“Never.” He shook his head. His statement was punctuated by the honking of the taxi outside.
“I think that’s for you.” I commented.
“I think you’re right.” He responded, standing up from his seat and letting my hands fall with it.
“I’ll walk you out.” I spoke, standing up with him before we made the short walk to my door together. I opened the door and Aaron stepped in front of me before turning around.
“It was an honor to spend the evening with you.” He teased, bowing slightly.
“You’re going to make me blush.” I laughed.
“it really was a wonderful night. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He spoke.
“I look forward to it. Goodnight, Hotch.” I replied.
“Goodnight, (Y/N).” He nodded. I leaned up slightly, pressing my lips against his cheek for a few seconds before departing.
“Get some sleep, yeah?” I grinned, waving slightly before shutting the door softly.
And once again, I had said goodbye to the man I loved dearly.