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Beast In A Portrait

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Gideon had taught Reid many things. When they worked together, Reid was Gideon’s apprentice. He lived by and clung to his every word. Many other academy students had said they doubted Reid was even capable of thinking for himself, in the sense that Gideon had even influenced his style, furthering the eyesore that was slacks and sweater vests. Hotch remembered vividly, how he had met Reid. He’d been visiting Gideon, he was sitting in his office when this shaggy-haired kid walked in and opened Gideon’s filing cabinet— Gideon’s filing cabinet, and paged through from various files until he found one with a red stripe, one Gideon would surely quiz him on later. Hotchner had raised his hand in acknowledgement to Gideon’s student, and he received a stiff wave in return. And that had been their first time seeing one another. In the passing months of Hotch and Gideon’s meetings, Hotch noticed that Reid was very quiet. Gideon used him almost like a dictionary, he’d lose a word and began snapping his fingers and looking up as if trying to locate the syllables in his brain, and Reid would supply it to him from where he sat on the couch, where he always sat, and Gideon would thank him and move on. Hotch found it odd. He spoke to Morgan about it.

 

“He just sits there?” Morgan had asked, as he turned from the coffee pot to look at his superior.

 

“Yes,” Hotch leaned against the counter and stared as if he did not know what to say.

 

“You think Gideon’s using him?” Another question Hotch did not have the answer to.

 

Hotch missed those days when things had been slack between him and Morgan. He missed being able to easily voice his troubles to Morgan, whose trust and respect he had earned. He often thought about those days, just like he thought about how Reid had been when they first met. It was easy to get Reid into the BAU. Strauss and Cruz could overlook the fact that he was maybe one hundred pounds dripping wet because his mind was something that had never bared witness to before. Gideon quizzed him, right in front of them. Then Strauss, then Cruz, and Hotch remembered sitting at the table with them, their eyes on Reid as if he were some great specimen the world had never seen before. Hotch remembered how Reid looked, underneath their eyes, and he remembered the flex of his fists, uncomfortably loosening before they would tighten up again. Hotch promised himself he would never treat Reid like Gideon.

 

Gideon had a cabin. He bought it a year into his return to the BAU, although he had always rented it out. Hotch had been there a handful of times. Reid practically lived there. Every time Hotch went to visit, Reid was sitting on the porch in the swing, reading away at the crime novels Gideon gave to him. Reid’s clothes outside of work looked foreign to his trademark vests and converse. Hotch recalled a time he was walking up the stairs, poker deck in his hand, and he stopped to look at Reid, who was not sitting with a book. He was sitting though, staring at the floor, fists stuffed between his knees, his legs tightly closed and his shoulders lifted to his ears. Hotch had almost asked him what was wrong, but Gideon opened the door and invited him in the house. Hotch frowned, but he walked inside anyway. He had recognized the sweater Reid wore. At first, he thought it was a thrifted varsity jacket until he placed the colours. Stephen had gone to high school in DC.

 

Today was another day. Hotch was going to see Gideon and play poker with him again. Morgan had tagged along. Hotch had told Morgan that Reid would be there. Hotch’s car pulled up to the front of the cabin, and sure enough, Reid was there. He was just sitting there again, this time wearing clothes just a size too big for him. Stephen and Reid weren’t all that different in size. 

 

“Hey! Pretty boy, what’re you doing here?”

 

Reid looked up at him, “What time is it?”

 

“Like two?” Morgan looked at his phone, “It’s one-thirty.”

 

Reid nodded, then leaned over and picked up some thick novel that was sitting beside his foot. Gideon’s door came open, and he let Morgan and Hotch inside. One rule of Gideon’s place was no guns. No work talk. No bad thoughts. Hotch wondered if that was why Reid was wearing Stephen’s clothes, but Hotch also knew that Reid had the means to buy his own stuff. Gideon giving him clothes didn’t make sense at all. It was dark when Hotch and Morgan headed towards the door.

 

“Hey kid,” Morgan nearly touched Reid’s back, but Hotch made a stiff noise that sounded like he was clearing his throat, telling Morgan not to, so the hand retracted, “Do you want a ride home? It’s really late.”

 

Reid just shook his head. Hotch and Morgan climbed in Hotch’s maroon car, and the two of them watched as Reid stood and walked into the cabin.

 

“C’mon, this is so weird, man.”

 

“Reid is different,” Hotch defended, but he was trying to convince himself too.

 

“Not like this.” Morgan gestured, “He’s wearing Gideon’s clothes.”

 

“Stephen’s,” Hotch corrected as he pulled out of the drive, “Stephen’s clothes.”

 

Hotch ,” Morgan said as if he were asking Hotch if he really believed nothing was going on.

 

He could not bring himself to reply after that.

 

It was a late Friday night at the BAU. Hotch had always been the first to arrive and the last to leave. He was collecting his things when he heard a distant clatter. It wasn’t loud, and Hotch figured some desk agent had dropped their pens, so he disregarded it. As he was leaving, he noticed a light from Gideon’s office. He was walking past, and he stopped to peek inside, his eyes peering through the door that was cracked open ever so slightly, and his stomach twisted at what he saw. Reid was on his knees in front of Gideon, whose pants were at his knees, and he stood rather prominently in front of the agent— the far, far younger agent, who opened his mouth and collected Gideon as if he were something of a gift. Hotch staggered back. He felt sick. Repulsed. Angry.

 

“Do it right, bitch ,” He heard Gideon whisper, and he was all but flying down the stairs, with his heart in his throat.

 

He wanted to tell Morgan. He wanted to tell someone, but he feared he was wrong, and he’d end up incriminating both Reid and Gideon. The next day, Hotch found himself unable to speak to either of them all day. He had neglected to check his calendar that morning because Reid came into his office with a cup of coffee and a small smile, which let Hotch know it was their day to unpack old cases. Reid had a hunger for knowledge that could not be satisfied, but there were some things that just weren’t appropriate to teach. Especially at work.

 

“Reid—”

 

“Hi, Hotch. I was looking over some cases Gideon and his old team had,” Reid excitedly sat down and crossed his legs. “I was wondering if you could tell me anything ab—”

 

“Reid.”

 

“Sir?”

 

“I can’t today, Reid,” Hotch said, “I have too much work.”

 

“What? But you always clear your schedule for our meetings. I-It’s like a tradition. Every other Thursday. Did you forget?” Reid sounded so sad, Hotch couldn’t stand it.

 

“I didn’t forget, but I neglected to tell you. I have a lot on my mind.”

 

“Is it your wife?”

 

Reid. ” Hotch’s voice was almost scolding.

 

“What is it then?” Reid pushed. “I don’t understand what made you forget about me. Did I do something?”

 

“No, no, Reid. I didn’t forget about you. I neglected to tell you that I’m too busy for our—” Hotch paused, “Discussion.”

 

“Are you upset with me?”

 

“No, Reid.”

 

“You haven’t talked to me all day. And you didn’t greet me this morning. I saw you in the lobby talking to Shauna and you didn’t even say ‘hello’, even after I did. Are you upset with me? I can do better!”

 

“Did Gideon teach you that?” Hotch didn’t mean to sound so disgusted, “Did he teach you that things are your fault? That you can always do better?”

 

“What?” Reid’s voice was small.

 

“Did he teach you that, Reid?” Hotch asked, wanting nothing more than to ask him about the other night, “What other things does Gideon teach you, huh? How to sit quietly? How to wear Stephen’s clothes?”

 

“Stop!” Reid’s voice was loud, hurt, hoarse, and Hotch knew the others had looked towards the room. “Why are you saying those things?”

 

“I saw you wearing his jacket, Spencer. His shirt, his shoes, you two even have the same haircut. Can’t you see what’s happening?”

 

“Gideon isn’t trying to turn me into his son!” Reid stood, and pushed his hands on the desk.

 

“Of course, of course. Cause he’d never fuck his son.”

 

Hotch regretted it as soon as the words flew out of his mouth. The colour drained from Reid’s face. He turned on his heel and left, leaving behind his coffee. JJ had been talking with Elle and Morgan, the three of them murmuring about what the muffled shouts could possibly be about. Reid stormed past them, nearly bumping into Garcia, who he had not quite sat and spoken to yet. Hotch stood, and just closed his office door. JJ went after Reid, who had gone down the stairs.

Chapter Text

“The BAU has guidelines against sexual harassment, Hotchner.” Strauss had said to him, as he sunk into the chair in front of her desk, “It has very, very clear guidelines.”

 

“I understand.”

 

“Accusing your subordinate of sleeping with his superior falls within what we consider being against said guidelines. I am within my rights to fire you— but I will not. Instead, I am urgently insisting you attend 39 hours, at minimum, of the lecture on what is and is not consider sexual harassment, and how to approach difficult situations. 32 hours, at minimum, or our bureau’s anger management class, held on Wednesday nights, and that you apologize to Dr Reid.”

 

Hotch nearly groaned. Attending those seminars would no doubt spark rumours at the bureau, rumours that would get out of hand, especially since the whole team had seen Reid storm out of his office, and God only knows what he told those who followed him. Hotchner wondered if he was just wrong, about Gideon hurting Reid, and maybe Reid was just insecure with himself and his relationship, so he didn’t want anyone to know. Hotch wondered if he had absolutely destroyed any chance at friendship with Reid.

 

The following Monday morning, Hotch came into the office early. Gideon’s door was tightly shut, the blinds closed, and as Hotch walked by, it came open so fast that he nearly bumped into Reid. The two of them flew backwards, as if afraid of touching one another.

 

“Reid.”

 

“Hotchner.” The agent replied as if it were a greeting and not an attempt at beginning a conversation.

 

“It wasn’t my intention to—”

 

“You’re making me uncomfortable. If you want to apologize to someone, apologize to Jason.”

 

Jason? Hotch hadn’t the time to ask why Reid would even utter Gideon’s first if not supplying someone with his full name, because Reid was already hurrying towards the bathroom. Hotch walked into the room. Gideon seemed to be gathering himself, adjusting his shirt and reorganizing his desk. The room smelled far too much like Spencer’s cologne. 

 

“Jason.”

 

“Aaron. What can I do for you?”

 

“Reid said if I wanted to apologize, I should apologize to you.”

 

“I see. Aaron, I hope you see the harm you caused for Reid. He wouldn’t even look at me last night at the cabin.”

 

Hotchner caught the insinuation, “I hope you understand what you’re doing, Gideon.”

 

“He’s old enough to consent.”

 

“Sure, but you can’t put aside the fact that you still have a great deal of power over him. He looks up to you. He wouldn’t say no.”

 

“I’m his mentor. He learns only what he feels he needs to learn.”

 

“Is he gay?” Hotch asked.

 

“You could ask him.”

 

“Are you gay?”

 

“Would that be an issue?” Jason sat at his desk and leaned his elbows on the table.

 

Hotch shook his head. He felt like he had to tell someone, but Morgan might end up killing Gideon and anyone else would have both him and Reid fired. He could confide in JJ, but she was just as protective as Morgan. If Reid knew that everyone fawned over him, he might be angry. He would stop at nothing to prove that he did not have to be worried about. Reid was the kind of person who would throw himself into the line of fire just to prove he was not weak or afraid.

 

Eventually, Hotch left, because Gideon’s answers were all leading him in circles. Two days passed, and still, he could not bring himself to look at Reid. The others had heard that Hotch had to attend the seminars, and it sparked interest between them. Morgan had been the first to approach him about it. It was an ugly discussion and an even uglier accusation. Morgan had asked if Hotch was so angry about Reid spending time with Gideon because of his own issues. Hotch hadn’t the strength to reply to him.

 

It was a Friday when Gideon asked the team over to his cabin. Elle and the girls were excited because they had never been. Elle would never voice her excitement, but JJ and Garcia were more than pleased on the way there. Morgan had decided to give them a ride. The lake, Gideon had said, was beautiful on Saturdays. JJ took his word for it, but Morgan had seen it firsthand. As they drove up to the cabin, they saw Reid standing and staring at the lake, hands locked in front of him, shoulders just as tense as they always were. He was quiet and looked to be contemplating something. He turned when he heard Morgan’s shoe creak on the stairs.

 

JJ was the first to speak. “Spence? What happened?”



Spencer touched the bruise on his chin, “I was putting away some books when the shelf in my apartment snapped and fell. I guess I’m just not as handy as Morgan.”

 

“That’s pretty fresh,” Elle noticed, “Haven’t you been here since Friday?”

 

“No. I was at my apartment. The shelf fell. I came here earlier this morning.”

 

JJ and Elle exchanged looks, but the conversation did not drift any further. The day at Gideon’s was nice. The team never expected him to be such a good host, though it seemed more like Reid’s home than anything else, because he kept standing to fill everyone’s lemonade. He sat near Gideon too, clung to his words, only spoke when questions were directed towards him. Hotch was late. It was not unusual, especially on Saturdays, because those were his days with Jack. It was nearing sunset when he arrived. Elle had gone home early because she was tired, and JJ had left because Will called to say Henry missed her. So it was Garcia, a very tired Morgan, Hotch, Gideon, and Reid. Morgan eventually convinced Garcia to turn in, because he was sick of driving back and forth and just wanted to get home.

 

“What made you think I was sleeping with Reid?” Gideon had been the one to ask.

 

“I just had a feeling. He’s always here, he’s wearing Stephen’s clothes, he seems quite fond of you.”

 

Gideon scoffed, “Reid, are we sleeping together?”

 

“No,” Reid’s voice was an embarrassed whisper.

 

“Would you sleep with me if I asked you to?”

 

“No,” Reid replied.

 

“There you have it, Hotchner. From the mouth of the person who’s in the middle of all of this. Did you even think about Reid’s feelings, before you accused me of trying to turn him into Stephen?”

 

Hotch stammered. It was rare he was unable to find his words. Gideon’s smug expression got on his nerves.

 

“I saw you.” Hotch decided on, “I saw him on his knees in front of you, Jason. I heard you call him a— I can’t even repeat it. You told me you teach Reid what he wants to learn. Why would he want to learn how to—”

 

“If you are homophobic, Hotchner, I understand. I mean, you were raised on the backbone of God’s word,” Gideon leaned back, “With your father beating any femininity out of you and Sean, it’s no surprise that you’d hate Reid.”

“I do not hate Reid.”

 

“You hate that he’s gay.”

 

Reid looked at Gideon as if he had lost his mind. He was already shaking, terrified of Hotch having seen them, having heard them, and now he was hurt, because Gideon had gone and blurted his biggest secret just to hurt Hotch. Was this a test? Was he meant to say something?

 

“I’m not gay,” Reid got the attention of the two of them, “Whatever you saw was misinterpreted, Hotch. I’m not gay.”

 

“Quiet,” Gideon’s voice was sharp, “This doesn’t concern you.”

 

Hotch hated this. He hated how Gideon treated Reid. He hated how he spoke to him as if he were nothing. He hated that Reid lived with him, slept with him, and admired him so much. If Reid were gay that was fine, Hotch had nothing against him for it, but if he weren’t, that just made Hotch’s stomach twist more than it already was. The though of Gideon grooming Reid was sickening. The thought of anyone being groomed was dreadful, but somehow Hotch knowing Reid was a potential victim made him angrier than he had ever been before.

 

“Gideon. Let Reid speak for himself.”

 

“You need to leave, Aaron.”

 

Hotch stood, as did Gideon, and so did Reid, who was ready to throw himself between whatever foray might unfold. Nothing happened, Hotch just turned and stormed out. Reid watched Hotch go, afraid of what was to come.

Chapter Text

Gideon and Reid had not stopped whatever they had going on. Hotch knew that. Morgan had an idea, and he hated Gideon for it. He’d become more protective of Reid since then, and kept pushing him to speak to women on the rare occasions he and Gideon joined the team’s outings, but Reid seemed so reluctant to so much as look at one of the strangers, so Morgan stopped pushing so hard. Reid and Morgan got close. Thanks to Morgan, Reid spent more time at his apartment and developed a love for some show Hotch couldn’t name. Something about two brothers, hunting, maybe? Garcia seemed to like it, she and Reid spoke of it often. It was nice, seeing Reid come up with his own conversations and not having Gideon take the wheel at all times.

 

The locker room at the BAU was the kind of place that felt like a distorted reality. It was almost as if time did not exist between those tiled walls. The locker room was large, the showers were down a narrow hall and around a bend, and a long time ago academy students used to sneak into the shower area to be in the company of one another. There were no cameras in the locker room. Hotch went down there to use the bathroom when he wanted time to think. Sometimes he would sit there and read, because it was quiet and never used, and the smell of sweat had long since faded from the walls and been replaced with a faint old smell that Hotch had grown used to.

 

He’d sat on a bench, and he’d opened the front cover of his novel, prepared to flip through the pages to find the folded corner when he heard a short, cut-off whimper. Or at least it sounded like a whimper. Hotch stood, and quietly closed his novel. He walked down the hall and turned that bend. Hotch stared. His heart had fallen to his stomach. Gideon was behind Reid, he was holding his wrists against the wall with one hand, and the other was tangled in his hair. The older agent was moving at a quick pace, and Reid was squirming but remained quiet. Hotch wanted to rip Gideon from Reid. He wanted to protect him. Instead, he pushed his back against the wall so he was hidden. He listened to Gideon speak.

 

“If anyone found out you and I were doing this, you would be fired. Do you know that, Spencer?”

 

“Y-Yes.”

 

“You would be mocked and ridiculed. Do you know that?”

 

Reid said nothing, so Hotch assumed he’d nodded. Hotch winced when he heard what sounded like Reid being struck. He felt tears in his eyes, in response to the dreadful whimper that escaped his subordinate.

 

“How would Hotch react if he knew you wanted this? If he knew you asked for this? Begged for it?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“Profile him, then. Speak clearly.”

 

Another strike, another whimper. Hotch felt unable to move.

“H-He would be confused. Hurt, maybe. Because he thought he n-needed to protect me, but I don’t need p-protection from you.” Another strike, “Gideon, I don’t know.”

 

“I hate it when you’re wrong, Spencer.”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“He’d be disgusted , Spencer. He’d be angry. All that trouble he went through to protect you. And you reported him. Based on something that was true. He lost time with his son because of you. Because you were uncomfortable. You can’t do that, Spencer. It’s selfish.”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“Stop saying that!” There was a quick shuffling, and after a moment, Reid released a sound that was a mix of a groan and whimper. It sounded ugly. Terrible.

 

Hotch went flying. Gideon had Reid against the wall now. Hotch’s fingers dug into Gideon’s bare shoulders as he pulled him back. Reid just barely caught himself, and he immediately covered up as he stared with wide eyes. There was no hiding. There was no explanation. What were they to say?

 

“I can explain.”

 

“It’s over, Reid.” Gideon stood, “We were caught.”

 

Hotch faced Gideon, “Jason, I swear to God—”

 

“I know, Aaron. Look, I’ll get dressed and leave.”

 

“No,” Reid began, “No, please. I-I can do better.”

 

“This isn’t your fault,” Hotch said to him, far too firmly, “Stay put. Gideon is leaving.”

 

And he did. Hotch stayed while Reid got dressed, but he did not watch him. When he tie was adjusted the way he liked it, Reid stood in front of Hotch with his arms around his middle. He looked weak, much skinnier, and that bruise on his lip was becoming an afterthought.

 

“Am I in trouble?”

 

“No. Do you need to go to the hospital?”

 

“Why?” Reid looked at him, “He didn’t hurt me. I asked him to— to teach me those things.”

 

“Did you ask him to hit you?”

“Yes.” Reid sighed, “I insisted he did.”

 

Hotch stared, “You’re lying.”

 

“I’m not.”

 

“Reid, I can tell when you’re lying.”

 

The younger agent blinked a few times, “Gideon would never hurt me. He was just teaching me, Hotch.”

 

“Why did he dress you up? Keep you away from us? Why did he hit you hard enough to bruise?”

 

“I told you, it was from the shelf.”

 

“Bullshit, Reid. Do you think a team of profilers didn’t know that something was going on? Elle said it had something to do with Gideon. I-I knew I was right. I knew he was hurting you.”

 

Reid looked desperate, “Please don’t tell anybody.”

 

“Reid.”

 

“Please. People already think I’m weird. I don’t want to be the FBI agent who was— I don’t want people to know me as— Hotch, I don’t want anyone to know. Especially not Morgan. He’d kill Gideon.”

 

“He deserves it.”

 

“Hotch,” Reid’s voice cracked, “Please.”

 

“Fine. Nobody needs to know,” Hotch paused, “But Reid, you should talk to someone.”

 

“Can I talk to you?”

 

“Sure. Do you want to go to my office?”

 

“No,” Reid shook his head, “Just come to my place. It needs a new presence anyway. I haven’t been there much.”

 

“Tonight?” Hotch asked.

 

“Sure.”

 

 

Gideon had not picked this place. Reid had. He’d like the green walls and dull lighting. Hotch had never been to Reid’s apartment, and for a long time, he doubted that he would ever get to go. Now he was here, standing in the foyer with his work shoes on the tips of his fingers as Reid went to retrieve a bin for him to set them in. Reid was tidy. Just like Gideon. Hotch laid his shoes down when Reid set the plastic container near the door, and the two of them moved slowly over the floor, towards the couch. Reid sat as Gideon had him sit, with his fists locked between his knees and his shoulders risen. He looked meek like that. Easy to manipulate. Gideon craved control in a life that lacked it, and Reid had become his muse, to bully, to boss around— to manipulate.

 

“Why did you lie for Gideon?”

 

“I think a part of me loves him, I don’t know. I’d lie for him now, if it meant he’d let me back to his cabin.”

 

“Even if he made you wear Stephen’s clothes?”

 

Reid nodded.

 

Hotch paused, “Did you begin the relationship?”

 

“Sort of. I was eighteen when Gideon and I met. I asked if he’d join me for coffee. He said bourbon was better. So he drank, and I drank, and he started asking me all these questions. He started quizzing me.” Reid sighed, “He convinced me to put my mom away so I would come to live in his cabin. Stephen and I were friends, but then he left to study culinary arts. Gideon was disappointed.”

 

“Is that when he started dressing you like Stephen?”

 

“Yeah. I asked about it. He couldn’t give me a straight answer. The, um, the first time I slept with him, I’d cut my hair. He likes to pull it, and not having enough made him mad. So, he shaved it. And he said he wouldn’t touch me or look at me until it grew back.”

 

“Is that why you don’t cut it now?”

 

Reid hugged himself and nodded, “It’s silly, but I’m afraid people won’t like me if I change it too much. I asked him to teach me how to get into the BAU. I knew he had more than just a foot in the door. He offered to teach me other things too. Sex somehow got mixed up in that deal.”

 

“Was he your first?” Hotch asked softly.

 

“No,” Reid sighed, “I don’t remember the guy’s name. Gideon was angry he wasn’t my first. He hit me a lot that day. I couldn’t get out of bed.”

“Oh, Reid.”

 

“The first time we met, Hotch, I thought maybe you and Gideon were alike. I thought he was going to pass me off to you and you were going to treat me the same. I thought I’d gotten myself into some endless cycle of being passed around by older men.” Reid wiped away a tear, “But you knew my name. And you always greeted me, even if you’d had a bad day.”

 

Hotch watched him quietly, “Have you been with men at the BAU besides Gideon?”

 

“Mhm. I spent a few nights over Cruz’s house,” Reid cleared his throat, “He didn’t want to sleep with me though.”

 

“What did he want?”

 

Reid shook his head.

 

“God, Reid. Why didn’t you tell anyone?”

 

“I didn’t want to be the reason two highly respected men got fired. I mean, you almost got fired. That scared me. I begged Strauss to give you a slap on the wrists. Those classes, they were your punishment so you wouldn’t be suspended.”

 

Hotch closed his eyes, “Reid, I’m sorry again.”

 

“It isn’t your fault. Thank you for worrying about me.”

 

“Do you think you’d go back with Gideon?” Hotch questioned.

 

“Yes,” Reid nodded, “I’ll do anything he asks.”

 

“That’s scary.”

 

“It is,” Reid agreed.

 

Hotch did not know what to say. This whole thing was so odd. Reid was very open, about the things Gideon did and made him do. Hotch expected it to be like pulling teeth. He also did not expect Gideon to be such a scary person. He was just like the people they studied all day. Reid’s phone rang, alerting the two of them. Hotch became tense, while Reid somehow looked calm and rigid at the same time. Reid turned away from the device on the table and looked to Hotch. There seemed to be an echo in the room despite the fact that neither of them had said anything for a moment.

 

“Does Hayley know Gideon?” Reid asked.

 

“She does.”

 

“Does she like him?”

 

“She’s not incredibly fond of him, no.”

 

Reid nodded, “She’d make a good profiler.”

 

“The best,” Hotch agreed.

 

“Do you love her?”

 

“I do. And I always will. But she and I met at the wrong time. In another life, we would be perfect, but I dedicated my life to this job and I can’t give it up too easily.”

 

“Would you give it up for you son?”

 

“In a heartbeat.”

 

Reid looked away, “My father used to say that. He used to say that he’d give me the world. That he’d give up everything for me and my mother. Then she got diagnosed. And he left.”

 

“Did your father hurt you?”

 

Reid nodded.

 

“Mine too.” Hotch said, and Reid stared at him with wide eyes, “What? Are we not sharing secrets?”

 

“I just didn’t know. Y-You, talk about him so highly.”

 

“He was a good man. Just a terrible drunk. And the cancer took him away, but even if it hadn’t, the alcohol would’ve.” Hotch looked at Reid, “How old were you when your father left?”

 

“I’d just turned ten.”

 

Hotch frowned, “You were dealing with that and your mom’s diagnosis? That had to be hard.”

 

“I survived.”

 

“You survived this too.”

 

Reid looked away again, “Can I show you something?”

 

“Anything.”

 

Hotch watched Reid stand. He stood there for a moment before he began unbuttoning his shirt. He peeled it off and set it across the arm of the couch. Reid had bruising here and there, bite marks, healed welts, and even a few scars. Hotch reached out and dragged his finger across an especially long scar on Reid’s arm. And the doctor, so scared of touch, did not so much as flinch under Hotch’s hand.

 

“Did Gideon do this to you?”

 

“Would it make you want him dead?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“Then no,” Reid sighed, “I haven’t the slightest clue how any of it happened.”

 

“Spencer, I’m so sorry, I wish I could have done something to stop it.”

 

Reid reached out and touched his arm, “Don’t start blaming yourself. It’s like you said, Hotch, I survived.”

Chapter Text

I don’t really have an explanation for this story, I think I was just feeling angsty and decided to write this. I don’t really have a timeline for my stories either, I think of them more as filler if they were to be involved in the actual show. Plus it’s just a fanfic, more like an AU, so idk. Anyway, I’m discontinuing this story FOR NOW, but I might visit it in the future when I’m feeling especially angsty. Thank you for your feedback and criticisms, they held me become a better writer!

 

-Vex

Chapter Text

Spencer still carried the letter around in his messenger bag. It was tucked between some worn-out books and his mother’s thin red poetry book. It was special to him. Hotch could not understand it. Their relationship began shortly after his and Gideon’s ended. Too soon, Hotch thought sometimes, but Reid had been the one to come to him first. Even if this was the case, Hotch could see how someone might think he was taking advantage of his younger subordinate. He could see why someone might be angry. He wasn’t really sure what he and Spencer were, but he knew Jack liked him quite a lot and their relationship seemed more paternal than anything else. Spencer put Jack to bed. He read him stories. He cooked dinner for them.

 

“Reid.”

 

“Sir?”

 

“We need to talk.” Hotch sat beside him on the couch, “I know you want to be included in something.”

 

“Hotch.”

 

“I know you miss Gideon.”

 

“Hotch.” His voice caught.

 

“But you aren’t healthily dealing with this. Pushing yourself into my life won’t help at all.”

 

“You’re breaking up with me,” Reid concluded.

 

“It’s not because I don’t like you. It’s because I care about you too much to see you devote your entire life to me and my son,” Hotch explained, “Our relationship should have never happened.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“I want what’s best for you, Reid.”

 

Hotch could not begin to explain the confusion he felt when Reid stood up, slipped into his shoes, and left without even getting his coat. He called Hotch when he got back to his apartment, simply to let him know that he had made it. The following weeks, in Gideon’s absence, were both odd and calm. Reid and Morgan seemed to be getting even closer, they even picked up a silly little prank war that Hotch had the audacity to be jealous over. Hotch felt he had every right to feel a bite in his throat when Morgan touched Reid. When his arms snaked around him. When he ruffled his hair. When he kissed him playfully and loudly on the cheek. Morgan was a very comfortable man, and in turn, he made Reid comfortable as well. They were on their way to Michigan when that comfort arose.

 

It was Prentiss who brought it up, “I can bet there’s not a man on this plane who would wear a dress for any reason.”

 

“My friend Ethan and I planned to wear gowns underneath our robes for when we graduated from the academy,” Reid interjected, a plain look on his face, “I stayed true to my promise.”

 

“You did not,” Prentiss hissed, emphasizing the last word, “I can’t even imagine you in a dress.”

 

“I can always wear one to show you.” Reid focused not on all the eyes on him, “I-Gideon used to dare me to wear one.”

 

“What?” Morgan looked up, “He what?”

 

“It was a joke. He’d have one delivered and dare me to put it on.”

 

“Really?” JJ whispered, concern in her voice, “Did you want to do that?”

 

“Not all the time,” Reid looked at her, “I did it because he asked.”

 

“Did you just do everything he asked of you?” Morgan’s tone was dark. Deep.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Why?” JJ asked, and Hotch’s grip on the file became deadly.



“I’d do anything Gideon asked of me,” Reid whispered.

 

The conversation sort of flattened out after that. There was nothing more to talk about. That sentiment held far too much weight for any of them to carry on to something else. Once they landed, Hotch paired himself with Reid, to both scold him and save him from the curiosity of his teammates.

 

“Reid.”

 

“Mhm?”

 

“I thought you didn’t want to talk about him.”

 

“You and I always talk about him.”

 

“Reid. I want that sick bastard locked up, OK? And I know you don’t. But if you start going on and on about the things Gideon made you do, you might as well be telling on him.”

 

“Why are you upset with me?” Reid asked, “I didn’t say anything bad.”

 

“Spencer—”

 

“Reid,” A soft voice corrected.

 

“Reid,” Hotch repeated, “You could lose your job.”

 

“Because he assaulted me?”

 

“You said you asked for him to hurt you,” Hotch pulled over.

 

Reid looked out the window, “Sometimes I didn’t ask. Sometimes I didn’t say anything at all.”

 

“Reid.”

 

“I’d pretend I was elsewhere. My favorite place is with my mom. So I would pretend she was reading to me. I would pretend that things were perfect even if they weren’t.”

 

“Reid,” Hotch said again.

 

“You say that so much,” Reid looked at him, and Hotch nearly shuddered at the coldness in his eyes, “Reid, Reid, Reid. Like you want to say something.”

 

Hotch said it again.

 

“We should get to the station,” Reid whispered, “Before people start talking.”

 

The little station in Michigan was cold, and Reid shoved his hands into his jacket pockets as he and Hotch went to introduce themselves. The lead detective on the case was a man named Amar Marvins, and he looked at Reid as if he were lain out completely for him. Reid did not notice, but Hotch did. They were here for a case, Hotch said, though not directly, they needed to bring these girls home safe. Four more girls were missing after a string of murders in the small town. All the girls who had gone missing had aspirations of joining the military. The killer’s comfort zone was not too far from the station, meaning he was taunting them. Two days into the case, Hotch decided he hated Amar, and Reid was not done surprising him. Amar was about Reid’s height, and around his weight too, and he was a year younger, which was new to them. He touched Reid’s hair, not in a friendly way either. He pushed his hair behind his ear before he commented on how soft it was, and Reid had fully turned to him to look him dead in the eye.

 

“Maybe we could get coffee once we solve this case,” the agent had said, “Would you like that?”

 

“Yeah,” Amar was just as shocked as everyone else.

 

“Good.” Reid handed him a card, “That’s my phone number.”

 

Then, he went right back to tracing out a pattern he’d sworn he’d seen. Morgan talked about it at the hotel. He wasn’t rude or anything. The team had gathered in Hotch’s room for takeout and to discuss all that was happening. This included Reid’s interest in Amar.

“So? Are you going to tell us about your plans or do we have to pull teeth?”

 

“My plans?” Reid asked, pouring more duck sauce on his rice, much to JJ’s disdain.

 

“With Amar,” Prentiss butted in, “I didn’t know he was your type.”

 

“I usually go for older guys,” Reid said, “But he’s attractive.”

 

“You’re into men?” Morgan asked.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Are you gay?” JJ questioned.

 

“No. I don’t like labels,” Reid ripped open another duck sauce, then glanced to Hotch, “I like older men though. If anything happens with Amar, he’ll be the youngest man I’ve ever dated.”

 

“Do you like women your age?” Morgan pushed, interested.

 

“If they like me. I’ve been with older women and I’ve been with women my age. I don’t typically date women younger than me.” Another duck sauce.

 

“I don’t like to date women who are more than five years younger than me,” Morgan supplied, not wanting Reid to feel cornered, “So I can understand how you feel.”

 

“I’d date you, Morgan,” Reid said casually, “If we weren’t coworkers.”

 

Morgan’s eyes widened, and he flashed a playful smile, “You’ll make me blush, pretty boy.”

 

“Would you date Hotch?” JJ asked, earning a stern look from her superior.

 

“No,” Reid said, too quickly, “The break-up would be ugly.”

 

“What about Gideon?” Prentiss offered.

 

Reid froze. He opened another packet but did not pour it on his rice. He was still for a long time. The team took it as him being upset with Gideon leaving.

 

“No. Gideon is the sort of man who would want you to do everything for him. He can’t let go of the people he’s already in love with and he’d try to turn you into them by any means necessary. When Gideon’s son left to pursue his dream of being a chef, Gideon was so sad and angry that he wouldn’t join the BAU, that he turned to me and I think he was trying to make me everything Stephen wasn’t.

 

“Willing. Compliant. Ready to obey his every command without second-guessing. And Stephen was smart, but not in the same areas, so Gideon found all those pressure points and he stabbed at them and poked at them until he felt I was ready to even be called by my first name. A-And Stephen came back, and Gideon was all done with me, and when he went away again, all of a sudden I was Stephen again. So no, I’d never date Gideon, nor would I date anyone who reminded me of him.”

 

When Reid was done speaking, no one knew what to say. Morgan put a hand on his knee and squeezed his leg. 

 

“We appreciate you sharing that with us. If it’s any consultation, I’m really glad you’re Spencer.”

 

“I’m tired,” Reid stood, then tossed his rice in the trash on his way out.

Chapter Text

“This guy obviously doesn’t like the idea of women being in power,” Reid spoke up one day, making Hotch and Morgan look at him.

 

“We can see that,” Morgan’s tone was teasing.

 

“We should talk to men in the military recruiting office. It’s in the comfort zone,” Reid continued.

 

Hotch looked at his watch. Prentiss and JJ should be back from talking to the parents in a few hours. He looked to Amar, who paged through the files Garcia had faxed over for Reid earlier. He even brought out some of the old cases his department worked on concerning missing women. They were connected in some way, being it the same MO or the fact that they were all going to the military. It was a wonder no one thought to connect them before.

 

“Sure. Why don’t you go with Amar?” There was a hint of emotion in Hotch’s tone, “He knows the locals better.”

 

Amar stood up straighter and looked at Reid, “I know exactly what office you’re talking about, Dr. Reid!”

 

Reid glared at Hotch for a split second, but it wasn’t quick enough for Morgan to overlook. When they were gone, Morgan stood and walked to the crime board.

 

“The kid’s been surprising me lately,” Morgan said to him, “You think it has something to do with Gideon?”

 

“It’s not our business.”

 

“Sure,” Morgan shrugged, “He’s always been private. He wants to keep life outside of work separate, but it doesn’t make any sense. Quantico and Michigan are like two different worlds. What interest does he have in Detective Amar?”

 

“They’re both young.” Hotch shrugged as he flipped through a file on one of the victims, “His interest makes sense.”

 

“Does it? I mean, I’ve never known Reid to be as hollow as he is now. It’s like he’s a shell of what he used to be,” Morgan sounded worried, “I don’t understand it.”

 

“It’s not for us to understand, Morgan. He misses Gideon. We all know that. We have to let him deal with it in his own way.”

 

“I don’t get how he misses him. You heard what he said about Gideon dressing him up. He admitted it, Hotch. We can’t just ignore that.”

 

Hotch set the file down, “And we can’t do anything if he doesn’t ask for help.”

 

“Bullshit!” Morgan said, his voice hard.

 

Hotch stood up, and the air was tense for a moment before Hotch turned his eyes away.

 

“Take a walk, Morgan. Go cool down.”

 

Morgan scoffed, but grabbed his jacket and left the room. When he was alone, Hotch sat down slowly and pushed his hair from his forehead, trying not to mess it up too much. He had no right, really. He had ended things with Reid, although he had loved him long before he found out about Gideon. And he knew that Reid was moving on too soon because he was hurt. He was scrambling around for someone, something that reminded him of the control Gideon had. With Hotch, he figured it was his age. Hotch wasn’t extremely older than Reid, but he was old enough. He couldn’t understand the appeal towards Amar. Maybe it was the courage he had. After all, he had flirted with Reid in front of the whole team. Or maybe the appeal was that Amar was so different from Gideon. Either way, Hotch didn’t like it. 

 

Two hours passed before Reid and Amar returned. Their trip to the office had led them to three different houses, each belonging to a different recruitment officer, all of which had a story about the missing women who have gone above and beyond to prove themselves in a field otherwise male-dominated. Reid had told one officer that he admired their courage. When he laughed, Reid’s expression was unchanging, but Amar stood up and screamed at him. All the drive back, Amar figured Reid was upset with him.

 

“Doctor Reid,” Amat’s tone was desperate, “I understand your frustration, but you have to understand why that guy got under my skin. My mother taught me to respect women, I couldn’t sit there and let him bash a victim like that.”

 

Reid turned to him quickly, “I know. I’ve said it three times already, I know, I know, I know. But sometimes we have to set our emotions aside if it means it can help us solve the case.”

 

“What’s going on?” Prentiss asked.

 

“The detective lost his cool on one of the recruiting officers. He kicked us out of his home,” Reid seemed too angry, “For all, we know it could have cost us the case.”

 

“Reid,” JJ’s voice was firm.

 

Reid looked at the floor. He clenched and unclenched his fists for a moment before he pressed his hands to his face. His movement of pushing his hair from his face was too sporadic for Amar’s liking. He approached him, and locked hands around his wrists, nearly making him panic, but he was calm once he looked at the other.

 

“This case is stressful, Doctor Reid. And I am very sorry I lost my temper. I know it’s important to you, finding whoever’s been killing these girls.” Amar sighed, “We just have to hunt this guy down.”

 

Reid paused. He furrowed his brows and pulled away. As he did, Morgan walked in, laying his coat down. He watched Reid hurry over to the map. He picked up the red marker and pulled at the cap a few times before he got it. The team and detective stood back as he started marking it up, and when he turned around, there was the shape of a half-moon.

 

“JJ,” he turned to her, “You talked to the mother of the first victim? Didn’t you make note of her nickname having been ‘Moon’?”

 

JJ paused, then nodded. The team wasn’t sure what direction this was going in. Reid set the red marker down and pulled at his fingers.

 

“It’s her father. The first victim’s father.”

 

“How do you know that?” Amar asked.

 

“Well, it’s quite simple. Sometimes when doing things, we unconsciously make decisions that often can lead other people to conclusions about us. Moon’s father disagreed with her being in the military, and once he discovered she may end up a rank above him it frustrated him. So, he killed her. But of course, his hatred for her would make him look like a suspect, so he covered his tracks by killing other girls,” Reid looked down, “And after killing four people, he suffered a psychotic break and became addicted to it.”

 

“Addicted was to killing people?” Amar whispered.

 

“It’s actually really common. Even if it’s by accident,” Prentiss fastened the sides of her bulletproof jacket, “There are some instances where committees of involuntary manslaughter have become addicted to that accidental high.”

 

“So you’re just going to go to his house and arrest him?” Amar asked.

 

“We’re going to ask if he can come back to the station to answer some questions,” Morgan replied, looking around for Hotch, “Then we’ll try to corner him.”