The rest came to him in vague flashes.
He remembered baring his teeth when Morgan held him back.
He remembered the way his pack smelled wrong, upset - needing comfort.
He remembered the strain of muscles and the shocked-wide of Morgan's eyes when he'd over-powered him. Shoving him aside. Lurching unsteadily to where JJ and Emily were keeping his Omega away from him before Morgan had him in a head-lock and Rossi was yawning sounds he couldn't understand in his ears.
He remembered the bottom falling out of the world when Spencer let go of a needy whine. Staring at him over the other's heads. Trying to reach him as Emily and JJ kept grabbing his hands, keeping him from finding him. He remembered how the echoes of the whine drove him crazy, fish-tailing in Morgan's grip.
He needed to get to him.
"Don't!" Reid shouted, ringing his ears. Anxiety and want coloring the tones in such a confusing mix he wanted to tuck his nose into his own collar to escape it. "It will just make it worse. Let me go. I know what I'm doing! Morgan, trust me."
His fangs scored red across his lower lip as he snarled. Trying to get the traction to throw Morgan off. But one of his shoes had slipped off in the scuffle. Keeping him off balance. Skidding across the tiles with insane energy that refused to get him anywhere.
"Reid, you sure? If I let him go-"
He was hard in his slacks, painfully hard. Feeling like a fever was roaring through him as sweat broke out everywhere. Slicking his shirt to his skin. Mixing with the blood in a way that made him want to pound his chest. Feeling like he was dying. Like he was finally alive. Like-
"I'm sure. Just-"
He felt the wind as Spencer rushed forward. Timed so Morgan could scramble back as he grabbed the Omega up. Burying his face in his neck and hugging him fiercely. Finally. Finally. His.
He inhaled, panting into his Omega's neck.
He dragged his lips over the fattening gland on Reid's neck. Worrying it. Enjoying the sounds the Omega made as he paid special attention to the swelling patch of skin. More sure than he'd been of anything in years as instinct whispered what happened next.
There were too many bodies in the room.
Something told him that wasn't right.
But they smelled like pack and den.
Not a threat.
"Alpha," Reid whispered, distracting him from their audience. Tucking his head into the curve of his shoulder. Fingers trailing down the broadest points of the bone before arrowing up like they were looking for something. "Alpha."
Someone sucked in air harshly through their teeth.
But the fever under his skin roared at the omission.
He was too engrossed with scenting down the Omega's neck. Saliva pooling in his mouth as he prepared to sink his teeth, that he was caught off guard when Reid suddenly pinched either side of the equally swollen gland on his neck.
He spooled across the floor, forcibly relaxed. Mouth slack as a rush of calm cut through the need. Muffling the desire to fight, fuck and claim as Reid and Morgan propped him up against the wall.
"What- what was that?" he slurred, chin dipping into his chest. Unable to keep it up on his own as Reid's hair feathered like individual apologies across his skin.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry! I just needed you calm! We can't do this here!"
"Reid, what did you do?" Rossi demanded. Hand wide across the center of his chest. Keeping him upright as his body did its best to cave forward. Tired.
He blinked slowly. Room happily out of focus.
"Omegas have calming pheromones. I read a paper that talked about the Alpha's bonding gland. There is historical evidence. The Ancient Greeks and Romans wrote about it. Most North American indigenous tribes included how to do it in their oral histories. It's universal. If an Omega can get a hold of it, you can stop their response to-"
"A little too much gas there, Reid," Morgan chewed out as Spencer's shoes shuffled sheepishly. Leaking guilt. Pressing into him with affirming touches as he tried to shake off the stupor.
Someone's phone went off, leading to a muffled curse.
"Is this for real?" JJ murmured quietly.
"Yes," Spencer replied, choking back an upset sound. "It's a rut. I think he was exposed when the bomb went off in Hindes hallway. No one noticed because his body didn't react the same way. It's why his tests came back negative. We need to get him somewhere safe to ride it out. I can-"
"What do we do?" Prentiss replied, in control and focused despite the obvious quaver in her voice. "If it's a rut, what if-"
A sudden hammering on the door broke the tension.
"Agents? What's going on in there?"
He snarled. Head coming up in response to the new threat. Feeling a wave of fever and rage wash over him as he tried to push off from the wall. Out of control in a way he knew he would hate if he'd been in his right mind, but now could only relish. Finally himself for the very first time.
"Shit! Reid! Do it again!"
"Doctor Reid? May I speak to you for a moment?"
He woke with a jerk as the click of a closing door carried in the quiet.
"Spencer?" he murmured, head rasping across an unfamiliar pillow.
No one answered.
He opened his eyes slowly, frowning when he couldn't scent him. In fact, his senses felt strangely dull. Muffled. He pulled himself upright, recognizing Spencer's bag and an open book on the chair by the far window.
He scanned the room carefully. Alert for threats. Mouth dry and head pounding as the lack of anything - good or bad - put him on edge.
He didn't like it.
He was alone in a large room. It had a hospital feel, but was obviously more expensive than any he'd ever been in. He looked down at himself, looking for any injuries. But save for some bruises and cuts, there was nothing to indicate why he was here.
The last thing he remembered was-
He pinched the bridge of his nose. Mildly appeased to find himself in soft draw-string pants and a plain white t-shirt this time around. More comfortable than a hospital gown, but still not his own as a sensor on the wall started blinking blue.
He remembered everything, all of it.
The hotel with Reid.
The explosion at CIA Headquarters.
He'd been out of control.
"It's a rut. I think he was exposed when the bomb went off in Hindes hallway. No one noticed because his body didn't react the same way. It's why his tests came back negative. We need to get him somewhere safe to ride it out. I can-"
His fingers clenched around the railing.
He flushed through a nervous burst of discomfort. Vaguely remembering the unit in high school biology on Alphas. Or more accurately, the cat-calls and giggling as the teacher sighed and ploughed through a bland, dispassionate lecture about knots, breeding and rut-fever.
It hadn't felt anything like what she'd described.
It felt like he'd been falling apart.
But he'd liked it.
That was the worst part.
He'd never felt more himself.
He looked down, cock soft but twitching with lazy interest at the subject matter. Realizing he didn't feel like that now. He felt calm, controlled. Not coming out of his skin. Not desperate. From what he remembered; ruts were supposed to take days to resolve. Something told him that wasn't what had happened here.
The door opened before he could get any further. Relief flooding through him when Reid peered in. Smiling shyly when he found him sitting up.
"Oh, hey, you're awake. Can I come in?"
He nodded, clearing his throat. Using the opportunity to push back the covers as Reid sat in the chair closest to the bed.
"Where are we? How long have I been out?"
Reid made a face.
"Almost seventeen hours. They medi-vaced you here after you stabilized. As for this place? I don't know if it has a name, but the Agency is footing the bill. From what I can tell, it is a hospital, but I think you're the only patient in the entire wing. They're keeping Agent Butcharn and Timson downstairs. Garcia checked it out, everything is legit. Do you remember Doctor Janner? From the hospital? She's liaising with the doctors here. They are trying to figure out why you reacted differently to the serum. Butcharn's presentation was immediate, yours was so gradual the first tests came back negative. They just redid them, and they are positive. …How are you feeling?"
He opened his mouth, then closed it again.
How was he feeling?
Complicated, for starters.
"I don't know," he answered honestly. Shaking his head ruefully. "Embarrassed, currently. Is the team alright? I remember being pretty rough on Morgan."
Rough was an understatement. If he'd been able to regain his grip, he would have flung him into the table. Pack or not. Reid had been the only thing that mattered.
"They're fine, they're holding Strauss back from flying here. She isn't happy."
"I'll bet," he muttered darkly. Having a vague recollection of ignoring her inane, micromanaging emails. Knowing he would have a fight on his hands when this was over. She'd try and use this as an excuse to get rid of him for good. Already able to imagine the word choice with the review board. 'Compromised' came immediately to mind.
Reid snorted a laugh, making the corners of his lips twitch in spite of himself. Hazing the room with good feelings until the man sobered again. Looking at him searchingly.
"The last few days? It's been a lot. It's okay if you aren't okay with this yet. You don't have to be. You know that, right?"
He scented the air reflexively. Realizing how much he'd come to rely on it when he found he couldn't pick up on anything more than the obvious. The gently sterile smell of the room. Dust. The faint scent of coffee. It felt wrong. Knowing that just hours before he'd been able to parse almost everything about Reid from his fabric softener to his mood.
"I can't smell you," he admitted. Leaving it there like an open wound. Deciding that as small and incomplete as it was, it was still progress. At least he could say what he felt. No longer having to be cautious now that everything was in the open.
Reid looked at him from behind his hair. Hesitating.
"It's the suppressants."
"Suppressants?" he repeated, cocking his head. He'd seen Reid's over the years. Small green pills that managed his heats down from once a month to twice a year. "Like heat suppressants?"
If anything, he was surprised they had come up with something so fast
"They are similar," Reid nodded, hands clasped and restless in his lap. Like he wanted to get up and pace but didn't dare. "They aren't perfect. But considering you were the guinea pig, you're lucky that's the only downside so far."
He stretched restlessly at the mention of side-effects. Knowing full well the process it had been for Omegas to develop viable heat suppressants. Not to mention the fight to have the right to control their sexual health. The extinction of Alphas had helped, in no small part. Without Alphas, the ugly truth was, there wasn't much in the way of backlash towards Omegas suppressing their heats.
The fingers wrapped around the railing tightened again.
He wasn't like that.
He'd never be like that.
"Hotch, I don't know how you did it, but you fought it. What happened in the evidence lock-up? That was you reaching the end of your rope. I think you were in rut longer than the doctors are saying. If I had to guess, I would say before the attack at the CIA. Historically, an Alphas first rut is at the age of majority. They have time to rest and bulk up. You didn't. Your body went through a massive change in just over a week. So, the doctors decided it would be safer to try and push it back."
Just before the attack at the CIA?
The hotel room.
Well, that explained a lot.
But not all of it.
He might have been in rut, but there was only one person he'd wanted.
He opened his mouth to try and explain it, but Reid was already talking.
"They think your next rut will be in three months, if it follows the usual cycle. I hope you don't mind, but when it came down to it, they were deadlocked on whether to let you have the rut or suppress it. I told them you'd want the suppressants. The choice. That you'd want to decide what happens next, rather than your biology forcing you into it when you weren't lucid."
He swallowed thickly. More grateful than he could express. Hating himself for not saying it as he nodded. Never wanting that extra sense of smell more as Spencer looked down at his hands. Fidgeting.
He wanted that.
What they weren't saying.
Seventeen hours ago, he'd known what to do.
He'd known what he felt.
It had been simple.
His gums throbbed like a reminder. Unable to help tracing his tongue across the dull line of teeth. Knowing it was a lie. And suddenly, like a switch had been flipped, he was angry.
He'd never taken himself for a coward.
"I owe you an apology," he started. Struggling with it. Knowing that with every word he was making it impossible for them to come back from this. "I'm not sure where to start, actually."
Reid shook his head.
He wished he was better at this. At explaining this wasn't about the serum or a rut. Maybe that's how it started. Or maybe it had been like this for a while and Genesis had dragged it into the open. Forcing him to reconcile that he'd quietly felt something more than friendship when it came to Spencer for years.
"Don't apologize," Reid told him, voice cracking.
He couldn't run from this. Something told him that wasn't an option anymore.
"I knew," Reid blurted suddenly, like one of Jack's toys popping off after being wound too tight. "I knew what was happening, but I didn't say anything. I didn't know how."
He exhaled a continent of stress, then – shockingly - laughed.
"So did I," he admitted, holding back an amused huff. Afraid that if he let himself go he might not be able to stop. Because he had known, in a way. Part of it had been deliberate avoidance. The rest had happened so naturally he'd just accepted it. Struck more and more by the realization that he'd never once wanted it to stop. "I think I knew the moment I woke up in the hospital. ...It was you. You were the only thing that made sense."
Reid stared. Blinking comically.
"How about dinner? With Jack. At a restaurant?"
They spoke at the same time.
Both laughing in the aftermath.
He couldn't help drinking it in as Spencer smiled. Eyes crinkling. Soaking in the good feelings as the world carried on around them.
"I'd like that," Reid answered simply, chin tipping up as the Omega stared openly back.
It was a start.
They made it to the end of their second date before he broke. Killing the space and claiming it for his own as he crowded Spencer against the door of his apartment. Nosing into the curve of his cheek before kissing him with reverent, aching firmness.
Just like he'd been wanting to do for ages.
"You're mine, aren't you?" he whispered, dragging his lips down Spencer's temple. Rooting at the skin until he finally found the honest smell of him. Scooping him closer as Spencer's knees went weak in response.
"Yes," Reid murmured, hands everywhere. Tugging at him as they ranged off the wall and thudded against the door frame. "Yes."
He bit back a guttural moan. Feeling the Alpha in him strain to rise to the occasion. Held back by a mix of unnatural chemicals and dormant receptors. But before the desire could morph into something darker, Reid was sliding downdowndown. Looking up at him through the fan of his lashes as he fumbled with the buttons of his trousers and tugged-
"Oh," he rasped, breathing through it as Spencer's cool palm closed around as much of him as he could. Fingers endearingly thin and delicate as his cock pulsed.
"Alpha," Reid whined, lips pursed like an obscene kiss around the crown as a blurt of fluid seeped out. Inexperienced but still utterly devastating as he fisted the door jam. Head thudding back against the wall, throat exposed when Reid whispered it again. "Alpha."
He wasn't going to make it to his god damned rut.
Spencer was going to kill him before they got anywhere close.
"Do you regret it?" Spencer asked later. When they were sated and mostly asleep. Curled together under sheets that smelled like Reid. But in a way anyone with a nose would be able to recognize if they got close enough.
Admittedly, he missed the intimacy that came with being able to scent more.
It felt unnatural.
The question was expansive and open, but he knew what he meant. Pressing a kiss into his hair as Spencer's ass hitched lazily against the cradle of his thighs. It wasn't urgent or going anywhere. It just was.
He looked over at the door that yawned into the kitchen. Staring down Hindes' ghost as the dead man rocked in the threshold, humming tunelessly. Smiling. Manic. Peaceful.
He looked away, kissing the shell of Spencer's ear before nudging him over. Making sure his eyes were no where but him as he let the most important part go freely.
"No," he answered, kissing him firmly.
No matter how it happened, he didn't regret it.
He didn't have it in him.
With so many of their cases, sometimes there were blips of good mixed with the horror. This was the opposite. The good parts outweighed the bad.
In the scheme of things, you couldn't ask for more.
And he wouldn't.