Summary: Reid has found an opening to tell Hotch how much he cares for him.

This is not slash. Just a close family/friendship.

Disclaimer: I own CM only in my dreams.

AN: I feel Hotch is the best I can do right now, hopefully the more I write the better I'll get at him. I've tried very hard to keep Reid in character but I'm not sureā€¦.

Thank you to all that read and/or reviewed my stories: I Would Rather, and The Suffering of Family.

AN2: All mistakes are my own since I have no beta.

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I knew something was wrong with our youngest as soon as he walked into the bullpen. He was still dressed as usual still, had that shoulder bag, still had those dark circles under his eyes but for some reason they seemed darker today. Which wasn't unheard of by any means but as the whole team has been on consults the whole week I couldn't help but wonder what brought on any insomnia this time.

Personal issues perhaps? Never the less I didn't say anything just a brief good morning in passing then we both got to our respective mountains of consults waiting for the rest of the team to get here.

It was maybe a half hour later the Garcia, JJ, and Emily walked in the door. Morgan a few minutes later. Rossi fifteen minutes after that but that was no surprise he always was last one in. Reid greeted them all as usual, the small smile smaller than usual the small wave absent as well. Rossi noticed and glances up, through the open blinds, to me in my office. Years of knowing each other comes in handy when we want to talk but not let the younger profilers know. We both come to the agreement we will do nothing for now.

After everyone is settled everything seems to return to the normal. Morgan gets frustrated every now and again walking off to Garcia's office for the information she can find on whatever consult he is currently working on. JJ and Emily bounce ideas off themselves in between their own visits to Garcia, sometimes asking Reid for some tidbit of information they know he will know. All in all it's a typical day in the BAU but I can tell something is not right with Reid.

Whenever someone passes a stack of folders to him as per usual when he leaves his desk to get coffee or his own quest for information from Garcia, he doesn't say anything just quietly hands the folders back to their owner asking that they do them instead.

That gets everyone's attention. He just tells them it's a headache and reading is making it worse so he is just gonna do his for today, and not to worry if they don't get them done he'll do them tomorrow if need be. That he'll clear it with me later so they can still leave at the same time. While I do accept this every now an again I don't think I will today, I don't want Reid to feel he needs to do this all the time. The others get paid just as much as he does to do their paperwork.

The others aren't satisfied with this explanation but they let it go for now. They know like Rossi and I that if Reid doesn't want anyone to know something to push him on it will just eventually get him mad, not that he gets mad easy, I think I could count the number of times I've seen him mad on one hand and still have room for one or two of his Phd's. So no one pushes except Morgan, he ends up following Reid to the break room and pushes. Reid tell him in an even tone to back off. There are days I hate that its so quiet in the bullpen even I can hear the conversations of my agents. I love the days that it's at its nosiest, but my team is the only one in today, every other one is on a case so it's quiet.

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Reid comes to me later that afternoon. Knocking on my door cause god knows he's never entered without knocking. I tell him to take a seat an ask what he needs.

"I-I just that -" Reid struggles. Then gives up altogether.

"Reid," I start. "What's wrong."

The way he looks at me I fear something with his mother. I know they are close, well as close as they can be given the circumstances of their lives.

"I got another job offer," he rushes to get out.

"Another?"

He sighs.

"Yes, another, I get several a year," he states looking guilty.

He must be considering this offer if he is losing sleep and acting like this.

It's my turn to sigh.

"Let me guess, better pay, better hours, next to no travel, more vaction time, and the best part no serial killers," I try to lighten the mood, but I'm scared that I may have to try to talk him out of leaving. And our relationship as friends is tedious at best, but as a boss and subordinate relationship is not really an option for this type of discussion, at least not to me, I know that won't keep Reid.

"Yes to all of the above," he sighs again. "I just-"

I cut him off.

"You have been in the bureau from twenty one years of age in the BAU from day one of that, of course this gets to you. You wouldn't be human if it didn't Reid," I begin then suddenly the full force of what it must mean to have an eidetic memory hits me. To never forget a case, never forget a body, never forget the look of pure agony on the face of victims and families when we tell them their worst nightmare is reality, and the list goes on. How can I ask him to stay if he's reached his limit? How can I?

"Hotch," Reid's questioning voice pulls me from my thoughts.

"Reid," I start over. "If you feel at anytime you are at your limit I want your badge and gun, but if you can still do this job, and you still want to do this job. I will always want you here to do it."

He smiles lightly looking down at his feet.

"Thanks, Hotch."

"Is this what's truly been bugging you, Reid?"

"Yeah," he replies. "But there is something else too. Do you remember when Rossi got shot several months ago?"

How could I forget even without an eidetic memory? I nod slowly wondering where this is going.

"Well I decided then that I needed to tell you guys how much you meant to me but I'm not good at it and I'm not entirely sure you guys feel the same way that I do," he rushes without taking a breath. "And I just wanted you to know that I love you - guys."

I start to laugh. Me the stoic king, starts to laugh. I can't help it.

The look of devastation on Reid's face sobers me instantly.

"Reid, I laugh that you feel you need to tell us this," I begin. "We've all been very much aware that you love us for a long time. And I know I speak for everyone when I say the feeling is very mutual."

He blushes.

The atmosphere in the room changes for me. I know he won't leave. He just needed an opening to express feelings, something neither one of us is truly good at. Now that its done we're both relieved, I can see it in his eyes, an I wonder if he has found the openings he needs for the others to hear those words from him, even if they are rather poor openings that make us think we will lose our genius. Rossi has, I know this like I know my name, but what about the others?

As he leaves with a quick goodbye I find myself wanting to get home quickly to Jack so I start on my consults again only to discover about three folders missing.

I simply shake my head, smile, and get back to work.

If he want's to do the consults who am I to argue? Thank you, Reid.

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AN3: I know there is a conflict within the story when Reid gives the consults back to the others but takes Hotch's. My thinking is that this would be a gift specific to Hotch during this story.