"Reid? My office, please," Aaron Hotchner said shortly after Spencer Reid entered the bullpen. Reid had only just returned from a week on sick leave, and in that week the team had been to Las Vegas, Nevada on a case. Reid thought it was a pity he had missed that case, because he could have visited his mother if he had been there.
Reid looked up and saw that Hotch looked sad and somewhat concerned. The sadness was quite logical, with Jack and Haley being in hiding, but the concern couldn't mean anything good. He quickly stood and walked towards Hotch's office. Once inside, Hotch motioned towards the couch. No, definitely not good. When, on top of that, Hotch closed the blinds, Reid really started to worry.
Hotch sat across from Reid in a chair and looked at loss for words, as if he did not know where to start. After a minute or so, Reid spoke up. "Hotch, is something wrong?"'
Hotch startled but quickly regained his composure. This had Reid really worried. Hotch did not startle. Never.
"Are you alright?" Reid asked; at loss as to what was going on.
"Spencer.." Hotch never called him Spencer. And Reid was somewhat glad never did. There really was something wrong, and Reid had no idea what it was. "As you know, we went to your hometown last week," he continued.
Reid nodded, not understanding where this was going.
"I take it you have not read the case files," Hotch said, but he appeared to be stalling. Hotch did not stall. Reid grew more worried with each passing second.
"No, you asked me to come almost as soon as I sat down. Why?" Reid asked.
"The case was that of a pedophile preying on boys between the ages four and nine." Hotch stopped talking for a minute. He didn't want to continue, and tried to find the words to say what was coming next.
"Four and nine? That's unusual, quite a large gap. Are you sure it's only one Unsub?" Reid mused. "It could be a pair, working together and assisting one another." Reid jumped. "It's not Jack, is it? One of the victims?"
In any other circumstance, Hotch would have had to suppress a smile at Reid's behavior. It was just so.. Reid.
"No, it's not Jack. And we are sure it was only one person. He has confessed and is currently awaiting trial. Reid.." Hotch was quiet for a few seconds, and then rushed the words out of his mouth. "The Unsub was William Reid, your father."
Reid paled dramatically and stiffened. He had an unreadable expression on his face, and Hotch began to grow concerned. "Are you sure?" Reid said in a strained voice after a few minutes.
Hotch nodded. "Yes, we are. And that's not the only thing. Reid.." Hotch could barely say it. Could barely think about it, even. "At his place, we found photographs and videotapes of you as a kid. Naked. In compromising posi-"
"Stop." Reid had rapidly paled further when Hotch was talking. "Stop, just.. stop." Hotch looked at him in concern. Reid was breathing very quickly.
"Reid?" Hotch neared the couch on which Reid was sitting and crouched down before him. "Is there something I can do?" He didn't know what state of mind Reid was in, so he used his most gentle voice.
"Water, please?" Reid croaked in a small voice. He sounded as though he couldn't breathe, and seeing as he was nearly hyperventilating, that was most likely true.
"I'll be right back," Hotch said. He had a pitcher on a small table in the corner of his office, along with a few glasses. He filled two glasses and held one out for Reid, who was trembling. Hotch squatted down again and put both glasses on the floor.
Hotch didn't know what to do, exactly. If it was Jack, he would have held him – but that was Jack, and Jack was small and therefore easy to hold. Even if he fought, Hotch could held him easily. Reid was a grown man so that option wouldn't work. Hotch was surprised he wasn't fazed in the slightest at the idea of holding an upset member of his team, although the only situations in which that happened before was after Tobias Hankel, when he and Reid had embraced for a few seconds. This was different, though. And touching a sexually abused man who was upset because of said abuse was never a smart thing to do.
"Reid, are you with me? I have water for you. I don't think you can hold the glass, so is it alright if I put it to your lips?"
Reid nodded slightly and, with Hotch's help drank about half of the contents. The other half was splashed over Hotch, Reid and the couch. Reid didn't seem to notice, for which Hotch was glad.
"Do you want more? I have another glass," Hotch asked gently. He really didn't know what to do. With Morgan, it was different – Morgan knew that they knew and they didn't have to talk about them knowing. Reid had not known that they knew.
Reid shook his head. "Sorry," he said.
Hotch shook his head. "Don't be. It's a perfectly normal reaction."
Reid closed his eyes. "Gimme a minute, please?"
"Of course," Hotch said. "Take as long as you need." He didn't think Reid would fall asleep; it was more likely Reid wanted to calm himself. He was right: after a few minutes, Reid opened his eyes. Hotch was still squatted before him, concerned, but he was glad Reid had stopped shaking so much and breathed more evenly.
Reid seemed to have steeled himself, his face a hard mask, and although Hotch couldn't see through it, exactly, he saw and understood what the mask was made of.
"What happens now?" Reid asked, fire in his eyes. He looked vulnerable, but protected: as if he were a child in armor. Easy to break if you know where to hit.
Hotch returned to his seat, meanwhile thinking of an answer. "I think you should decide what to tell the team, and whether or not you want to testify. And how, or if, you will break the news to your mother."
Reid thought for a moment. "I'll testify, but.." he hesitated. "No, that's stupi-"
Hotch stood and sat down in his chair again. "What is it, Reid?"
Reid seemed to gather his courage before answering. "Will you go with me?" he asked in a small voice.
Hotch smiled a little, glad that Reid was asking for something he could give him. "Of course. Let me know when the court date is."
Reid nodded. After a moment, he asked, "What do you mean about telling the team? Don't they know already?"
"No, they don't," Hotch answered. "Only Rossi and myself. It is in the case files, though, so Strauss will likely find out, and the local PD of Vegas knows. It is possible the team will find out anyway. You can either hope that they don't, or you can tell them now on your own terms.
"I don't want them to know. I'll take the risk of them finding out," Reid said. "And I'll ask my mother's doctor if she can make sure my mother doesn't find out from other sources.
They sat in silence for a while, Reid being processed what had happened and Hotch considering everything that had, had not been said. After a few minutes, Reid spoke up.
"Yes?" Hotch wore an expression that was for those who knew him well an invitation to speak. For those that didn't know him well it was most likely not different from any other look he had.
"Do you.." His voice faltered. "Do you think my f-father left because I was too old? Do you think he only ever stayed because I was there?" He said that last part very quickly.
Hotch winced at the the tone of the younger man's voice. He stood and walked towards the water pitcher, returning with two full glasses. "Here you are," he said, handing him the cup. "Reid. I think that any other father would have cherished you only for who you are and not for your body. I think knowing that is more important."
Meanwhile, in the bullpen
Garcia walked towards Prentiss' desk, where Morgan and JJ had gathered. "Do you have any idea what is going on in there? Even Hotch's phone is off!"
"No, but it can't be good," Prentiss said.
"Hotch has been acting all weird. I know he's worried about his family but he'd better not take it out on Reid," Morgan added.
"I don't think he will, but they've been in there for over an hour. And with the blinds closed? Hotch's blinds are never closed. I've seen it twice before, once when Strauss was in there and once when he was making a phone call. But Garcia said his phone is off." JJ looked worried.
They nodded and pretended to get back to work, but it didn't help.
"Hey, what's going on in here?" Rossi said. "Something the matter?"
Morgan and Prentiss looked at JJ, Garcia looked as if she wanted to say something but thought better of it. JJ spoke. "Hotch and Reid have been in Hotch's office for over an hour. Blinds closed and Hotch's phone is off. That can't be good."
Rossi nodded. "I understand you're worried, but you shouldn't be. If Reid would be fired, suspended or reassigned I would know. And as far as I know, he won't be."
The four worried members sighed in relief, but were still thinking what was going on if it wasn't that?
Rossi turned to leave, but said one more thing. "He did look a little ill this morning. Perhaps Hotch called him in because of that."
Reid didn't look convinced. "So it's true? He only ever liked my body?" The strong façade Reid wore started to crumble. "Only my body.. and that's not even likable, I'm useless at sports and I'm too thin and I should have been fatter and more coordinated and he wouldn't have.." Reid had really started to cry now.
Hotch moved from the chair to the ground before Reid, where he crouched down again.
"Reid." Reid didn't look up or gave any notice that he had even heard Hotch. "Reid," Hotch said again, this time far more forcefully. "Look at me." When Reid didn't look up, Hotch grabbed his chin, ignoring the large flinch from Reid, and looked him in the eye. "You are a wonderful person. Your father was a sick man who could only look at children as objects of his desire. It is NOT your fault that he did those things to you. You were nearby, of course you were nearby, he was your father and she was your mother and you lived in the same house. And because you were nearby, you were often the object of his desire and he abused you. Any other kid that lived in your house would have gotten the same treatment. Do you understand?" When Reid nodded but didn't look him in the eye, Hotch sighed. He let go of Reid's chin, which he still had in a loose grasp, and filled the cups of water again.
He sat down next to the trembling Reid, who had still tears running down his cheeks. "Here," Hotch said. Drink some." Reid took the glass to his lips, spilling some water on his lap in the meantime. He blushed. Hotch pretended not to notice.
After the glass was drained, Reid handed the glass back to Hotch who put it on the table. He covered Reid, who was trembling and looked about to go into shock if Hotch wasn't careful, in a blanket. After they sat for a few minutes, Reid asked in a small voice, "Is it true what you're saying, or are you just saying it to make me feel better?"
Hotch, having expected this question in some way, nodded. "I didn't lie, Spencer." When Reid flinched, Hotch stopped. "Why don't you like you first name?"
"I don't like males who call me Spencer, or a variation thereof," Spencer corrected. "My father didn't usually call me anything, except for when he.."
"Say it, Reid." Hotch said gently. "Say it."
"For when he r-raped m-me," Reid said before breaking down in sobs. Hotch moved a little closer, intending to hug him, when Spencer's words stopped him. "M-messengerbag.. H-hotch, please.."
Hotch nodded and dialed Rossi's number, using the landline and not his cell, which he had turned off. "Dave, can you please take Reid's messenger bag and place it just inside the door? Obscure the view, you know how.. As well as can be expected, I suppose. Thanks, Dave."
Reid flinched when the door opened, but sighed when it was just his messenger bag being placed inside. Hotch stood and brought the bag to Spencer, who wildly searched inside until he apparently found what he wanted. It were two small bottles of about two ounces each. Hotch's eyes widened when he realized what they were. "Hotch, please.." Reid said. "I can't have these right now".
Hotch nodded, oddly relieved and very proud of his subordinate, colleague and friend. He took the bottles, saying "I'm very proud of you, Reid. You could have taken it, but instead did this.. Good job."
Reid sniffled. "I never used after Hankel, but it was.. knowing that I could was a comfort, but now, I would.. I can't control myself, Hotch, and it's scaring me!" Reid broke down again, well, he wasn't really recovered from breaking down earlier. Hotch couldn't stand it any longer and grabbed Reid in a hug, much like after the Hankel case. Reid stiffened at first but after a few moments he relaxed."Shh, easy. " Hotch murmured. Reid cried and cried but after quite a long while he slowly calmed down, until there were only a few sniffles left. His eyes were red and puffy and Reid obviously suppressed a yawn.
"Reid, you're going home. You need some time to process things and you need to sleep." When Reid looked as if he was going to argue, Hotch spoke again. "That is an order. I will bring you home."
They had been talking for more than two and a half hour. Lunch time had just started. Reid had been late that morning; it was an unofficial rule in the team that if you had been on sick leave and there was no case, you only started working at 10 o'clock. It was now 12:35.
Hotch walked to the window and, moving the blinds slightly, looked into the bullpen. It was nearly empty, with no members of their team being present.
Hotch nodded to himself and turned to Reid. "Reid, the bullpen is nearly empty. I think we would best leave now."
Reid nodded, seeing that it was pointless to argue that he didn't need to go home. "Ok. How did you keep the team from finding out he was my father anyway?" That had puzzled Reid since the beginning of the conversation, but with all the crying he hadn't had time to ask.
"He changed his name," Hotch answered, looking closely at Reid. He twitched and had an unreadable expression on his face, which was a little unnerving for Hotch, who was trained to read expressions. "Garcia was on sick leave on the day we found out, so we worked from the local PD's records – name changes can still be found in one's criminal record, and your father had one for peeping in the girl's bathroom. It never went to court, but that's how we found the name change. Rossi found that and thus Rossi and I decided to do the interview, to keep this from the team." Hotch sighed. "Give me a minute to get my stuff," Hotch said. "You grab your messenger bag." Reid did just that while Hotch took some case files from a pile and put it in his bag, along with the files on his desk. He quickly touched Reid's shoulder. "Keep your head down and mumble if you get any questions. Just put everything you normally take home with you in your messenger bag, Wear your coat as tight as possible. Then you quickly have an ill look. Is that alright?"
Reid nodded. "Let's go."
The way to the car passed without incident. They had left the bullpen after sending a message to Rossi; namely that Hotch was taking Reid home. Once in the car, Reid took the passenger's seat – Hotch, of course, was driving.
After a while Reid noticed they were not going in the right direction. "Hotch, this is not the right way to my home."
Hotch nodded. "I'm taking you to my place." Seeing that Reid was about to argue, he said "Wait a moment," and drove to a nearby parking lot. Then he turned to Reid.
"Reid. You are not well. You have just been through an emotional rollercoaster that made you nearly physically ill, not to mention that you have just returned from sick leave and are not totally well yet. I know that because you would rather start when you still have to run to the bathroom after every meal, than wait until you are perfectly healthy. Not to mention you are, or will quickly be, craving Dilaudid. You don't have to go through that alone. I want you to stay at my place for a few days."
Reid couldn't disagree, but he didn't feel comfortable going to the house of someone who had power over him. There were things he'd kept from Hotch today, even. And going home with an authority figure that had just been kind to him and "saved" him, then offered him a ride home but went to stop at his own home first. Reid's breathing increased and he didn't notice the looks of concern Hotch gave him. "NO! What are you playing at?"
Hotch looked shocked, but remained calm. He did lock down the doors of the car, afraid Reid would run. He suspected he knew something about what had Reid so upset. "Reid, I care for your wellbeing. As far as I am concerned, I will take you to my home. You will have your own bathroom and bedroom which I will not enter without your permission. I will not force you to do anything besides resting somewhat."
This appeared to calm Reid down a little: Hotch had never gone back on a promise as far as he knew. "P-promise?" Reid asked in a strained voice. Somehow he managed not to make it sound childish.
"Yes, I promise," Hotch answered, meeting Reid's eyes. Not an ounce of deception was visible on his face.
"O-okay," Reid said before turning his head away. Hotch started the car again and drove them home.
"And this is your bedroom," Hotch said. "I suggest we either have lunch or that you lie down for a little while. Whatever you prefer."
"I'm not really hungry," Reid said by way of an answer.
"Alright," Hotch said. "I am not going back to work today – that's not up for discussion – so if you need me, I'll be in my office or in the living room."
Hotch quickly made sandwiches and ate lunch, then moving to his office to do work on the report of a few cases. After he was working for about an hour, he jumped. Someone was screaming. Reid! Moving towards Reid's bedroom post-haste, his gun in his hand, he was relieved when he saw Reid was only having a nightmare. Although "only" didn't seem to be the right word, seeing as it appeared to be a violent one. It was heart-wrenching to see. Reid was tangling in the covers (he had fallen asleep on top of them), scratching at his thighs, pleading with an invisible attacker. No, he wasn't scratching at his thighs – he appeared to be trying to keep his pants up, although they were just that.
Holstering his gun, Hotch crouched next to the bed, trying to avoid the flailing limbs if at all possible. "Reid. Reid. Reid!" Hotch repeated, each time a bit more forcefully. When that didn't appear to be working, Hotch stood, knowing that it was probably a mistake, and shook Reid's shoulder. With a cry, Reid lashed out at Hotch, who ducked to let the fist pass him harmlessly. Changing tactics, Hotch took Reid's wrist in a loose but firm grip. When his other arm lashed out, Hotch also took hold of that one. Reid didn't stop struggling but wasn't really a match for Hotch, mainly because the older man was in a better position and was moving far more coordinated and a lot less panicky. Hotch sat down on the bed, holding Reid's arms pinned to his own torso with one of arms, and used the other arm to wake Reid, mainly by touching his face. Really, cold hands or cold water in one's face were the most effective wake-up calls.
After about a minute, Reid stopped struggling and shakily woke. Hotch immediately let go of Reid's arms and resumed his crouch next to Reid's bed. "Reid. Are you alright?" Hotch asked concerned. At Reid's confused look, he continued, "You were having a nightmare."
"Oh. Sorry," Reid said apologetically.
Hotch shook his head. "It doesn't matter," he said. "That's one of the reasons why I wanted you to stay here. Why don't you go and fresh yourself up while I make coffee? Your go-bag is in the bathroom." Reid nodded, stood and shakily made his way to the bathroom, leaving Hotch staring after him.
Twenty minutes later, Reid and Hotch were both sitting in the living room. Sipping his coffee, Hotch considered the man in front of him. Although he looked a lot better than just after his nightmare, he still looked shaken. No wonder, thought Hotch.
A voice startled Hotch out of his thoughts. "Why are you doing this?" Reid asked. Hotch could hear the uncertainty in his voice.
"Because I care," Hotch answered.
"Why?" Reid asked, sounding honestly puzzled.
"I just do," Hotch said. "Because you're my friend, and I don't want you to be hurting. Especially not if there is something I can do about it."
Hotch could see that answer wasn't enough, but it was the best answer he could give. Why indeed? He cared because the man opposite him was Reid, and he couldn't not care. Perhaps it was because Reid still had what Hotch had already lost – that enthusiasm, that innocence, the ability to do things because they're the right thing to do, and not just because it is what you do.. Foyet had taken a lot of things from Hotch, but most prominent was perhaps the last bit of belief in a world where there was at least a little bit of black and white. Had Shaunessy been right, and should he just have stopped hunting Foyet, hoping that by the time Hotch was dead, Foyet was too? Hotch hadn't, hadn't stopped hunting, because Foyet was a criminal and catching criminal was what he did – but perhaps he should've had. Now Haley and Jack where in danger, and other people were dead, and that could, perhaps, have been prevented by Hotch, if he had made the deal..
Karl Kraus once said, 'A weak man has doubts before a decision. A strong man has them afterwards.' Perhaps he should stop doubting. What mattered now was that he had made the decision and nothing was going to change that. What he could do now was trying holding on, and trying to preserve in Reid what he had lost himself.. He had never understood Gideon's decision so much as he did right now.