Title: My bed or yours
By: Tiffany F
Pairing: Hotch/Reid
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Rating: AO
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't claim, no money made here.
Note: This fic was inspired by a moment at camp. Our cabins were divided by pieces of plywood, three bunk beds per room, six per cabin. We were all going to sleep when I heard one of the other ladies say "I think I'm in my bed." I had to roll over and bury my head in my pillow to keep from disturbing everyone.
Summary: The BAU team is forced to share hotel rooms while out in the field and Reid makes a wrong turn when going to bed. Or maybe its the right one.

***

Chapter 1

Owing to budget constrictions when the BAU team was traveling, which seemed to be ninety percent of the time, they had to share rooms. None of them really minded, except perhaps Jason Gideon, as they never spent that much time at the hotels anyway.

When they ended up in Nashville chasing a particularly nasty predator, Spencer Reid found himself sharing a room with his boss, Aaron Hotchner. When the team dragged back to the hotel around eleven at night, everyone went right for their rooms and the scant few hours of sleep they thought they could spare from the case. Everyone, save Reid, who thought he had seen something in the case files and wanted to review them one last time before he turned in so his mind would work over them while he was asleep. So he wouldn't disturb Hotch, who had been looking extra tired of late, Reid decided to sit in the lobby and read.

As he expected, by the time he got to the room, Hotch had all the lights out and was likely already asleep. Reid tucked his satchel into the closet as quietly as he could, closed the door behind him and was almost blinded when he turned on the bathroom light. As he brushed his teeth, Reid debated the best way to work out which bed was his without turning on a light. By the time he had stripped down to his boxers he decided that he'd prod the foot of the bed closest to the door to see if Hotch was there. Gideon had mentioned that he and Hotch couldn't share a room because they both preferred the bed closest to the window.

After blinking a few times to try and readjust his eyes to the darkness, Reid made his way slowly and carefully out into the bedroom and ghosted his hands over as much of the bed as he could reach. When he didn't feel anything there, he ran his hands over as much of the bed as he could and still didn't feel anything. Reid bit his lip and considered for a moment before pulling the covers back and climbing in.

"I think I'm in my bed," he whispered as he rolled over.

"Actually," an amused, sleepy voice said as the light over the bed clicked on, "I think you made a wrong turn somewhere."

Reid stared frozen into Hotch's brown eyes. The older man had been sleeping curled up on his side, so he just stretched out and propped his head up on his hand. "Is there anything you want to tell me, Reid?"

"Hotch, I'm so sorry," Reid finally managed to reply. His eyes were wide and he didn't seem to be able to break eye contact with his boss. "I didn't want to wake you up because you've been looking so tired lately so I didn't want to turn on the lights. And I remembered what Gideon said about which bed you preferred and I'll just move now."

"Stay," Hotch said. He reached out with his free hand and placed it gently on Reid's arm. "If you want to, that is."

"Hotch, the last thing I'd expect is for you to force me to have sex with you or punish me for not doing so," Reid said. "Okay, truthfully the last thing I'd expect from you is for you to come roller skating into the BAU in an evening gown dancing and singing."

The older man blinked a few times and then rolled onto his back laughing. He grabbed for a pillow to muffle the noise so he wouldn't wake his teammates sleeping in the next room. Reid was amazed. He couldn't recall the last time he had seen his boss laugh so hard and his lips started to twitch a little in response. He found himself just watching as Hotch's laughter eased and finally stopped.

"There are days I forget exactly how your mind works," Hotch said, his voice muffled by the pillow. "What color was it?"

"Navy blue with black and white accents," Reid replied.

"And the skates?"

"Hotch."

Hotch lifted up the pillow and reached out to run a finger along Reid's cheek. "I'm sorry," he said, lips twitching. "You're right that this is a very serious moment and there are better things we could be doing with our time."

"Like sleeping," Reid said. "You've been looking like a zombie lately, Hotch."

"From an A or B movie?" Hotch asked. He chuckled as Reid flopped back down onto the bed and took the opportunity to pull the younger man in against and then under him. "What I need to be able to sleep, Spencer, is physical release. I haven't told anyone this but Haley refuses to sleep in the same bed with me anymore and has actually been gone for the past month. I don't know if she's ever going to be coming home again. But I haven't been able to get hard since she left and that's why I've been so grumpy."

"I can help," Reid smiled. He used his hips in a move Morgan had taught him for self defense and rolled so he was on top. "Can you get hard at all? I mean have you tried watching movies, reading stories, things like that?"

"No and no," Hotch said closing his eyes. They snapped open again at the feel of a slender body sliding down his own. "Spencer, what are you doing?"

"If you can't figure that out then it really has been too long," Reid said. "Where's your tie, Aaron?"

"In the closet with my suit," Hotch replied.

"Strip for me," Reid said. He pushed off the bed and dug around for a moment, coming up with a slender black tie, a tube, and a small package. "I'll use one of mine, Aaron, so we don't stain yours. Do you always wear silk ties?"

Hotch was entranced watching Reid slip off his underwear and it took a moment for the question to register with his brain. "As often as I can," he finally managed to say. "Is that a problem?"

"Only if you want to explain the stains on it the next day," Reid smirked. He rejoined his boss soon to be lover on the bed and leaned in for a soft, reassuring kiss. Reid let his lips glide slowly over Hotch's own and worked to keep it light as well. Hotch finally made a noise of protest in his throat, slid his hands into Reid's hair and deepened the kiss, tongues meeting and tasting for the first time.

"Do you want me to tell you what I've been dreaming about doing to you?" Reid asked once he'd caught his breath.

"Yes," Hotch replied.

"I'd start by taking you to my apartment," Reid said softly as he ran his hands over Hotch's chest searching for hot spots. "I've got a toy box there that I think you'll really enjoy. Once I have you in my room I'll strip you and cuff you to my bed. Then, once I have you completely at my mercy, it'll be time to open up the box and play."

Hotch moaned as he felt a twitch in his groin. He'd never been into games or toys in the bedroom and wondered, briefly, if it was his tastes that were changing or just the fact that it was Spencer Reid whispering the words in his ear.

"How do you feel about feathers, Aaron?"

"Feathers?" Hotch asked, distracted by the fact that Reid was naked and sitting on his thighs.

"The soft slide down your chest and over your nipples, both tickling and arousing as it dances slowly over your skin," Reid said as he ghosted his fingers over bare skin. "I have a couple of toys with feathers on them that I can start with. Or, if you like, I can start by stretching your ass open and sliding a vibrator into you, making sure to angle it just right so it hits your prostate. Then I can put you in a cock ring and use a smaller vibrator to drive you crazy. How sensitive are your nipples, Aaron?"

"I'm not sure," Hotch replied. His hips started to push up for more contact. It all felt so good that he didn't want to stop. For all his confidence in asking Reid to stay with him, Hotch had never had a male lover before and wasn't sure about some of the things Reid had mentioned. None of his female lovers, or his wife, had taken the time to explore what made Hotch feel good. It was always up to him to make sure they were satisfied.

Hotch found himself grabbing for the pillow again as Reid leaned forward and lapped as his right nipple. He had never been overly vocal either and he didn't think a hotel room with his team sleeping close by was the place to discover that fact about himself.

Reid chuckled. "I have gags too, Aaron," he whispered. "But you won't have to stay quiet at my place if you don't want to." He rolled to the side and picked up the slender tie that had been lying so innocently on the bed.

"What are you going to do with that?" Hotch asked.

"Haven't you noticed, Aaron?" Reid smiled. He reached out and stroked down Hotch's erection with the tip of his finger. "You're hard and leaking for me and I just want to be sure you stay like that for a while."

"Don't tease me, Spencer, please," Hotch said. He held back a shudder at the thought of the tie, or anything, tied around his cock. It just didn't seem like it would feel good.

"Hmmm," Reid said, studying his lover for a moment before dropping the tie. "We'll have to play around a little to find out what your limits are. But trust me for now, Aaron. And keep the pillow ready."

It was a fair warning as Hotch was scrambling for the pillow as Reid's mouth slowly surrounded the head of his erection. The older man moaned deep in his throat as long silent nerves awoke and sparked as a slick tongue worked his erection like it was a treat. He couldn't remember how long it had been since he'd had someone willing to perform on him like this. Hailey had tried it once and refused, saying she didn't like it. Hotch had never pressed the issue again and he was starting to wonder why.

Reid's hands fastened onto Hotch's hips to keep the thrusts moderately under control. He wanted to have Hotch's first time be in a place other than a hotel room, but also wanted to get his new lover relaxed enough to be able to sleep and finish the case. So he put every trick he knew into play, sucking, licking and moving. He had a feeling that it wouldn't take long for Hotch to climax as it sounded like the other man had been on edge for far too long.

Hotch cried out into the pillow as he came. Reid swallowed quickly and then spent some time just licking his lover clean. "Spencer," Hotch panted letting the pillow drop back onto the bed. "What do I do?"

"You don't have to do anything," Reid said. "I was serious, Aaron. When we get home, I'm taking you to my apartment and I'm going to show you exactly how special you are. How much you deserve to be loved and treated properly."

"I want to touch you," Hotch said. He reached down and found that Reid was hard. It felt strange to be holding another man's cock in his hand, but the look on Reid's face was enough to erase the doubt in Hotch's mind. He stroked up and down slowly, doing what normally felt good to him and watched Reid for clues. It didn't take long for him to figure out that the younger man liked a firm touch with a slight twist in each stroke and used the information to his full advantage until he had Reid moaning into a pillow of his own.

"Aaron," Reid moaned. "I'm close."

Hotch leaned in and just kissed the tip of Reid's erection. The feel of lips on his cock was enough to push Reid over the edge and he screamed into the pillow. Hotch brought his hand up to his mouth and licked some of the semen off his fingers. It was an unusual taste, one he knew that he'd be able to adjust to without any problems.

"You didn't have to do that," Reid said softly.

"I wanted to," Hotch said. He shifted back up for another kiss. "Thank you, Spencer, I think I'll be able to sleep now."

"I'm not going to let you go any time soon, Aaron," Reid said. He waited until the other man was settled and then wrapped around him. "We'll make sure you're relaxed and able to sleep every night. Starting just as soon as we get home again."

***

Chapter 2

Hotch had awoke the next day feeling more rested than he had in a month. Part of him figured it was just because he'd had someone sleeping next to him, but he knew, deep down, that it was because of the wonderful things Reid had done to him the night before. While they were in Nashville the two profilers shared a bed in their room, Reid teaching Hotch more about his body than he had ever known before. Hotch was a little concerned about what would happen when they got home, but Reid just grinned at him, obviously confident that things would work out.

When Hotch got home from the airport, he found his house was empty. Everything was gone, except for his work related items, his clothes and other personal things that he'd bought at some point during the marriage. He checked upstairs and found that the bedroom was completely empty, and all the pictures of Jack were gone as well. He didn't know why Haley had done something like that; he would've given her everything, including the house, if she'd been adult about it and asked. At least he had some pictures of his son at work and knew that she wouldn't have been able to get into his office.

Reid had gone home and flopped on his sofa to watch a movie, trying to unwind after the case. He was jarred out of a light sleep by a knock on his door. He paused the movie and, after checking to see who it was, opened the door to find his new lover standing there. "Hotch?"

"She took everything, Spencer," Hotch said. "Everything but what was mine before we were married, or related to my work. The house is completely empty and she's gone. She even took all of Jack's pictures."

"Come on," Reid said pulling Hotch into his apartment. "You can stay here until we can find a bigger place."

"Spencer?"

"Aaron, all of our books won't fit in here, let alone two adults," Reid said. "I know I'm probably moving a little too fast for you, but I would love to be with you forever."

"I just don't want you hurt," Hotch said.

"I won't be," Reid smiled. "Do you just want to go to bed?"

"I need to sleep," Hotch said. "Because I've got to start the divorce proceedings tomorrow and put the house up for sale. It'll be a long day."

"Not aided by the fact that we both have to work," Reid said. "You should call Gideon and tell him that you're taking a personal day and we'll manage without you. You know how much paperwork is piled up on our desks at the moment. It really wouldn't hurt anything to have a day in the office so we can get caught up. I have ten profile requests that I really need to get done and I know Morgan has nearly that many as well."

"I'll see what I can do," Hotch said. "This is going to be hard because I don't know where she is. I'll just have to call and leave a message with her sister and hope that it gets to her."

"She's the one who left you, Aaron. You're doing the right thing in trying to move on."

Hotch pulled his younger lover in for a hug. "It still hurts."

"Of course it does, and it will for a long time. I understand that and I'm not going to push for anything more until you're ready," Reid said. "I'm perfectly happy with the way we were going while we were out of town. If you want to keep going or slow down, it's fine with me. You just have to let me know so that I can help you out."

"I want more," Hotch said.

Reid tilted his head back and considered his lover for a long moment. "Your body needs to be trained before I can do anything too complicated with you, Aaron," he finally said. "However, there are still some things we can do that would make you feel infinitely better about life. Do you want to try?"

"I want to make you feel as good as you've made me feel," Hotch said. "It hardly seems fair for me to be the one getting all the attention here. You need to teach me how to please you."

"What I have in mind will definitely please both of us," Reid said with a smirk. He reached up and undid Hotch's gray tie, letting it fall to the floor. Then he slid his hands up under Hotch's black suit jacket and pushed. Hotch took the hint and released his lover, letting his jacket fall to the floor. Reid leaned in and kissed Hotch, tongue sliding into his lover's mouth as his long fingers slowly undid the buttons on Hotch's white dress shirt, untucked it and let it fall to the floor as well. "Down the hall and finish stripping, Aaron; I need to lock up."

"Spencer," Hotch said looking more than a little dazed.

"I know, I won't keep you waiting long."

Hotch was still stunned by the offer he'd received from the younger man, but knew that he would accept it. He didn't know if what he felt for Reid was love, but it would be enough to keep them together until the feelings were able to deepen naturally. And Reid seemed to delight in teaching him new things about his body too. Hotch had never been in a relationship where he was the focus of all the attention and he was feeling guilty about it. He knew that he should be giving back to Reid as much, if not more pleasure than he received. He just didn't know how to do that yet. But he knew that he would be able to learn and then become more equal in the growing relationship.

"I'm going to show you something new tonight, Aaron," Reid said when he joined his lover on the bed.

"When did you get undressed?"

"Just now, you were thinking about something and I didn't want to disturb you until I was ready to get started," Reid said with a grin. He picked up the lube and poured some into his hand. "Are you ready to watch me, Aaron?"

"Watch you what?"

Rather than replying, Reid carefully slicked two of his fingers and turned around so his back was to his lover. Hotch was puzzled for a moment before Reid reached around and pushed the fingers into his own body, a moan escaping. "Doesn't that hurt, Spencer?"

"The first few times, yeah," Reid replied as he started to move his fingers. "I put a condom package on the pillow next to you, if you want to go ahead and put it on and coat it with some of the lube." He pulled out, reslicked his fingers and pushed three back into his body.

"You're serious," Hotch said, eyes wide as he watched the erotic display in front of him. He didn't know how he would be able to fit inside his lover's body.

"Very; you said you wanted more, but you're not ready for this yet. I'll spend some time working on your body until I can slide in there with little pain, but I'm more than happy with this right now. I love the feel of something hard and throbbing in my ass."

Hotch moaned at both the words and the visual he got from them. He found and opened the condom, rolling it on with ease and reached for the lube. "How much of this should I use?"

"You should be slick and wet," Reid said. "But not so much that you'll slip out of me." He wiped his hands on the blanket and settled onto his hands and knees, looking back at his lover. "I think you know where you need to go."

"I don't want to hurt you."

"You won't. Just do what comes naturally and you'll be fine. I know I kinda skipped foreplay, but it's late and we need to get some sleep," Reid said. He spread his legs a little and wiggled his ass in invitation. "Come on, Aaron."

Hotch swallowed hard and shifted into position. It was new, something that he'd never done before. Sex with Haley had been in one of two positions, one of them always on their back. He knew about other things that could be done in the bedroom, he had to because of his work, but the one time he'd suggested something even slightly different, she'd freaked. And truthfully, sex between them had been more of a chore lately than anything else. He pushed those memories and thoughts to the back of his mind, took his erection in his hand and lined up with Reid's opening. Hotch closed his eyes for a moment and then thrust forward. He gasped at the tight heat and muscle that surrounded his erection, contracting to both push him out and pull him deeper at the same time. It was a really unusual feeling.

"Come on, Aaron, keep going, I can take all of you," Reid said. "You're not hurting me. See?" He braced himself and reached back for Hotch's free hand, pulling it around until it wrapped around his erection. "This would be gone if I was in pain."

"I can't believe how tight you are," Hotch managed as he pushed forward. He couldn't believe it when he bottomed out, the feeling of so much tightness around his whole erection. It was indescribable.

"I'm always this tight, it doesn't matter how many times you're inside me," Reid said. He contracted his muscles, squeezing Hotch a little. "You can move whenever you want, Aaron. I'm fine."

Hotch took a hold of Reid's hips and pulled back until just the head of his cock was still in Reid's body and then thrust forward again. He knew, from his readings while researching cases, that he would have to hit Reid's prostate to give the young man ultimate pleasure, but wasn't sure how he went about finding it. Reid was pushing back against him, obviously enjoying himself, but Hotch had a feeling that there was something more to it all. Something that Reid was missing.

"How do I find it?" he asked.

"Change the angle of penetration on each inward thrust," Reid moaned as Hotch thrust forward again. "You won't be able to hit it constantly, but you'll know when you find it."

He still wasn't sure what Reid meant by that, but shifted his hips a little each time he went to thrust back into Reid's body. He had just about given up and was going to use his hand to get Reid to climax when the younger man cried out and pushed back against him hard. Hotch figured that had to be it and kept thrusting as close to that angle as possible, watching as Reid cried and moaned and clawed at the covers until his body started to spasm and he climaxed with a cry. Hotch wasn't ready for the intensity of the contractions around him and he came as well, slumping forward and pinning Reid to the bed, still buried inside him.

"So good," Reid managed as they rolled to let him breathe.

"Thank you," Hotch said. He wanted to stay right where he was, but knew that they had to clean up and get rid of the condom.

Reid grinned back at him. "When we're together long enough, we can stop using protection and you can fall asleep inside me," he said. "Do you think you'll be able to sleep now?"

Hotch glanced down at the mess left behind and grimaced. "I feel like I need a shower," he said.

His younger lover solved the problem by rolling over and licking him clean, sending sparks through Hotch. "I'll go get us a towel," Reid finally said. He kissed Hotch gently and pushed off the bed heading towards the bathroom.

Hotch's last thought was that it seemed stupid to sell the house when he and Reid needed a place to live, but wasn't sure how his younger lover would feel about that. He yawned and curled up on his side. It was something they could talk about later.

***

Chapter 3

"Where's Hotch?" Morgan asked looking around. "It's not like him to be late."

"He's taken a personal day to take care of some things," Gideon replied. "That means we're all in the unit today and it's time to get caught up on our reports and other paperwork that's been suffering while we've been so busy. I'll be in my office if anyone needs help with anything."

"It'll be good to be able to see my desk again," Elle commented, heading to get coffee. "I've been worried it's going to collapse under the weight of all those folders."

JJ laughed. "You should see my office," she said. "I might need some help just organizing my paperwork."

Reid had come in early and was already through two of his profile requests and had been working on a third when the team arrived. He felt their talk washing over him while he worked, words registering in his mind, but not pulling his attention away from his work. He really wanted to be with Hotch as his new lover took care of things, but knew it would be too suspicious for the two of them to take a personal day together. The last thing he wanted, especially when things were so stressful for Hotch, was to give the team any clues that their relationship was changing.

"Hey Reid, what are you buried in over there?" Morgan asked as he organized his files into stacks to make working on them easier.

"A request from the LAPD," Reid replied. "They've had a series of bank robberies and are wondering if it wold be possible to get a profile on their suspects."

"Engaging," Morgan said. "Were you up late again last night? You've got dark circles under your eyes again."

"I had trouble sleeping, but nothing that's not normal for me," Reid said. "I'll be fine, just too much information running through my mind and I couldn't get it to shut down enough to sleep."

"Anything I can do to help?" Morgan asked.

"No, but thank you," Reid replied with a small smile. "I'm sure I'll be able to sleep tonight, that is if the paperwork doesn't get to me before that."

Morgan laughed and looked at a folder. "I know what you mean," he said. "Look at this, it's a form from the brass wanting me to justify how many bullets I'm using a month in the field. Would they rather I use less and risk dying?"

"Cost cutting everywhere," Reid said. "I had something similar. I already filled it out, but I'm usually in the building of whatever police department we're helping, so I use far less bullets per month than the rest of the team. I did make a comment that it's better to have more bullets available to the team as unsubs are unpredictable and it's always possible one of the team could end up dying should we suffer any cuts to our supplies."

"Makes me wonder what's next," Morgan said. He finally sat down and pulled over his first profile request. "We're already sharing rooms when we're in the field, eating at some really cheap restaurants which isn't healthy, and now they want us to justify our equipment. I wonder if we shouldn't ask Gideon or Hotch to talk to them."

"It might not be a bad idea," Reid said. He finished the report he was typing out and hit print. "I'm going to grab some coffee, Morgan, do you want any?"

"Sure, thanks," Morgan said.

Reid shook his head an grabbed both mugs. Paperwork was the one thing they all agreed was the hardest part about their jobs on a daily basis.
***

Hotch got in touch with the Bureau lawyer first thing in the morning and asked to meet with him as soon as possible. He went back to the house to make sure he hadn't missed any papers lying on the empty tables, but there was nothing there. He also called Gideon and asked his friend to check the office to make sure there wasn't an envelope from a lawyer on his desk. Gideon didn't ask any questions, something Hotch was thankful for, and checked through the stacks of folders on his desk for him, finding nothing. It wasn't proof, but Hotch had a feeling that Hailey had left without filing any sort of paperwork. He still couldn't believe that she would have just left without saying anything to him and couldn't believe that his son was gone. That was the main sticking point, and something he was going to make sure was included in the paperwork he was going to file - full visitation with his son.

After his meeting with the Bureau lawyer, signing the paperwork and making sure copies would be delivered to Hailey's sister's house, Hotch went back to his house and looked around with a sigh. His thought about asking if Spencer wanted to move in didn't look as brilliant in the light of day, and Hotch thought that it would be better to put the house on the market and look for a new one. Something smaller, suited for two federal agents with lots of books. It took some looking, but he finally found the phone book in the bedroom, although the location made no sense, and called the real estate agent who sold them the house when they moved to Quantico for Hotch to work in the BAU. Hotch set up an appointment for later in the day to look over the house and sign the papers to put it on the market and then went to get boxes. He could rent a storage shed to keep his books and things in until he and Reid worked out where they wanted to live.

His life was in pieces, and Hotch wondered if it was healthy to feel like Reid was the only thing holding him together.

***

Chapter 4

"Gideon, I finished my paperwork for the day, is it all right if I take off a little early," Reid asked leaning in the office door.

"Come in for a minute and shut the door, Spencer," Gideon replied. He took off his glasses and leaned back in his chair. "Are you all right, Spencer?"

"Me? Yeah, I'm fine," Reid said. He sat down in his normal chair and leaned forward towards the desk. "Morgan pointed out that I look like a zombie running on low brain levels, but I just had a rough night last night. Too much data input and not enough time to unwind before I had to try and sleep."

"Is there anything you'd like to talk about?"

"Not really, although I'm thinking about moving. I tripped over a stack of books last night. Do you think I should get a bigger place?"

Gideon smiled fondly. "I've thought you should get a bigger place for years, Spencer," he said. "Will you be able to afford it?"

"Yeah, I've been saving up a lot. It's one advantage to living where I do, my savings account is huge," Reid said. "I mean, I'm not looking for a house or anything, just maybe an apartment where I could actually have a home office to keep most of my books in and so I wouldn't have to do any take home work on the coffee table in the living room. I don't think rent would be that much worse, would it?"

"No, it shouldn't be," Gideon said. "Would you like some company when you're apartment hunting? I'd be happy to help, and you know if you mention it to Morgan he'd be glued to your side until you found the perfect place."

Reid laughed at the mental image. "No, thank you though," he said. "This is just a thought that came to me last night when I tripped. I haven't looked at it seriously and probably should before I mention it to anyone else. It's possible that I could just sell some books to the used bookstore and I'd have more room in my current place."

"I know how much you hate to do that though, especially the books that can help us at work," Gideon said. "A larger apartment is a good idea, Spencer. Let me know if there's anything you need help with."

"I will," Reid said. "So, can I take off?"

Gideon laughed. "Yes, Spencer, you can leave for the day. You don't have any paperwork that's time sensitive left, do you?"

"No, just a few forms for the higher-ups that can wait until tomorrow," Reid said. "I thought I'd try and sleep a little this afternoon, if only so Morgan won't be staring at me all day tomorrow."

"He just worries, Spencer. We all do."

"Yeah, I know," Reid said. "See you tomorrow, Gideon."

"Have a good night, Spencer."
***

"Hey, it's me," Reid said, when he was connected to Hotch's voicemail, "I'm at the store and was thinking about cooking something simple for dinner tonight. Anything you'd like? There's not much I can manage, but I can make a fairly good pasta dish. Give me a call."

He'd learned the hard way not to keep food that could go bad easily at his place with how unpredictable his job was, but Reid enjoyed simple cooking and usually would make enough that he could freeze some left-overs. He also cleaned his freezer out once a month, and he'd just cleaned it out before the Nashville case, so there was nothing to eat at his place. Reid enjoyed wandering the grocery store when he had the time and wasn't in a rush, so he was in the produce section when his phone rang. "Reid."

"Hey there," Hotch said. "Sorry, I had my hands full of books and no place to put them down when you called. Pasta sounds great if you're going to be cooking."

"Okay," Reid said. "Is there anything you'd like from the store as long as I'm here?"

"No, or at least nothing that comes to mind. The real estate agent just left and I'm boxing up my books to go into storage until we work out where we want to live," Hotch said. "How was work?"

Reid put a bag with a couple of red apples in the cart and headed towards the vegetables. "Actually, Morgan and I were wondering if maybe you could talk to the higher ups for us," he said, starting to gather up what he needed for the pasta dish. "We both received forms asking us to justify our expenditure of bullets in the field and we're worried that this is going to end up being another cost-cutting measure, one that could be fatal should they reduce the supplies they give us."

"They could save money with less unnecessary paperwork," Hotch commented. "Yeah, I'll talk with them tomorrow when I get back to work. How long until you're home, Spencer?"

"Fifteen minutes and it takes about an hour to make this," Reid said. "Should I grab some real estate listings while I'm here?"

"Yeah, that's a good idea," Hotch said. "I'll finish up what I'm doing and see you back at your place."

"Okay, I'll see you in a bit," Reid said.

"Spencer, thank you for all of this," Hotch said softly. "I think I might have fallen apart otherwise."

"I won't let that happen to you, Hotch," Reid said. "See you soon."

***

Chapter 5

"We should get you a key," Reid said when he let Hotch into the apartment later that night. "I know we probably won't be here long, but I'd feel better knowing you can get in here whenever you can."

Hotch waited until the door was latched behind him before he kissed Reid gently. "I don't know how I'd be surviving without you right now, Spencer," he whispered.

"I'm here for whatever you need," Reid replied. He kissed Hotch again and turned to go back to the kitchen. "There should be space in the second drawer of the dresser if you want to put some clothes away, Aaron. I also dug out some spare hangers and put them in the closet for you."

"Spencer."

"No arguments, go put your things away. You don't want to have to explain to Gideon and Morgan why your suits are wrinkled," Reid grinned. "Dinner's almost ready and the real estate listings are on the coffee table in the living room."

"All right, I'll be right back," Hotch said. He had a feeling that he wasn't going to win the argument against Reid and decided to just be thankful that he had a place to go that wasn't his empty house. Hotch didn't know if he had the words to tell Reid what it was like to walk into a completely empty house and find his son gone.

He hung up his suits and dress shirts, a tie with each suit, but left his underwear and casual clothes in the bag. Hotch had left a lot of his clothes at his house and would get them on his next day off. The real estate agent wasn't going to list the house until the next week, giving Hotch a little time to try and find Hailey before the house went on the market, but at the same time, thought she had the perfect couple in mind to buy the house and wanted to be able to show it to them as soon as possible. Hotch would have said show it immediately, but he needed the time to get his things out.

"Aaron, dinner's ready whenever you are," Reid called from the living room.

"Smells wonderful," Hotch replied, walking out to join his lover. "You never mentioned you could cook, Spencer. How long have you been hiding this particular talent from the team?"

"Compared to the others, I can't cook, so it's never been a point I felt compelled to bring up," Reid said. He handed Hotch a plate and smiled. "We can eat in the living room. I have a kitchen table, but it's a bookshelf at the moment."

"Just one more reason to find a larger place," Hotch grinned. "Did anything happen at work today, beyond the paperwork you mentioned?"

"Gideon wanted to know if I was okay," Reid said. "I told him that I just had trouble sleeping last night and I'd be fine, but you should know that he's on the alert for something being wrong. Morgan called me a zombie, but he does that at least once a week, so I'm not worried about that at all. I know it means they're just worried about me. I did mention to Gideon that I was thinking about moving, but told him that it's because I tripped over a stack of books last night and wanted more space for them. He said that he's thought I should move almost since he met me."

Hotch laughed. "I'll talk to Jason tomorrow and let him know what happened with Hailey," he said. "I'm not going to mention our new relationship because I think he'd take it the wrong way, but I want him to know that I'm seeking a divorce."

"What do you think he's going to say?"

"I think he'll be upset for me, angry at Hailey, but give his usual silent support until I ask him for more," Hotch said. "The divorce rate in our unit is really appalling."

"The number has never surprised me," Reid said. "Given the nature of our work and the hours we have to put in, it seems only logical that personal relationships would suffer for it."

"It just makes me wonder if that's something we should be warning people about when they request a transfer in," Hotch said. He finished the pasta and started on the salad Reid had made. "Or hire only single agents."

"I think that might be borderline discrimination," Reid said. "I take your point though. I'm surprised more agents don't end up dating other agents truthfully."

"That can be even worse," Hotch said. "It's not easy to work with an ex and the Bureau isn't going to transfer for that reason."

"Aaron, what will happen when people figure us out?" Reid asked. "You're my supervisor. Is this going to cause problems for you?"

"No," Hotch said. "Spencer, the two of us are both very good at placing mental boundaries. I can't promise I won't react badly should you be injured in the field, but as I've done it in the past, I don't think anyone will know there's more to our relationship than there was before. We just have to be careful that we never give an indication that we're together."

Reid nodded. "Which means sharing rooms with others when we're in the field," he said.

"I think Morgan would miss trying to get you to try new movies," Hotch smiled. "We'll keep alternating like we have been. I don't know what will happen in the future, Spencer, but right now it seems brighter than it did when I walked into an empty house and found my life had been ripped out from under me."

***

Chapter 6

"Aaron?"

Hotch looked up from the folder he was reviewing. "Hey Jason, shut the door and have a seat."

"Is everything all right?" Gideon asked as he sat down in the chair farthest from the door. "I haven't known you to take a personal day in years."

"Hailey's gone."

Gideon blinked a few times and then sighed. "I'm so sorry, Aaron. What happened?"

"I don't know, and I've been trying to figure it out," Hotch said. "The house was empty when I came home from Nashville. The only things left were my books, my clothes and some of my things from before we were married. Everything else, including pictures of Jack, were gone."

"That's why you had me check for paperwork yesterday. You wanted to see if he lawyer had delivered papers to the Bureau to be sure to find you," Gideon said.

"There weren't any at the house, I double-checked before I contacted the lawyer here," Hotch said with a small sigh. "I signed the divorce papers yesterday and they should have filed by now. Not knowing where Hailey is, I had the papers sent to her sister's house."

"Did you site abandonment, Aaron?"

"I thought about it, but Hailey and I have been having problems for several months now, and I'm not home enough to go through counseling with her," Hotch said. "I don't know, Jason, I probably should have seen something like this coming, but with work as busy as it's been, it's hard."

Gideon nodded. "Are you staying at the house?"

"No, I've been packing my things up and am going to sell the house," Hotch said. "I've left messages for Hailey at the three places I think they're most likely to get to her and the house will be on the market on Monday. Reid's letting me sleep on his sofa until I find an apartment."

"I have a guestroom if you need it," Gideon said.

"Thank you," Hotch said with a smile. "I'll be honest, Jason, my life is so fragmented right now, if not for Reid and the rest of the team, I think I'd be in pieces. I feel fragile in a way I've never felt before."

"That's normal," Gideon said. "You've had your life ripped away from you in an unexpected and unfair manner. Are you going to tell the others?"

Hotch held up his left hand. "Morgan already noticed," he said. "I took it off yesterday, although I'm not sure what to do with it."

"The answer will come to you," Gideon said. "You'll let me know if there's anything I can do to help."

"I will," Hotch said. "I'd just really like some answers."

"I think we all would," Gideon said. "Especially about where Jack is. Hailey running like this, she's trying to keep your son from you before he's able to make the choice for himself."

"The paperwork lists full visitation," Hotch said. "That's the one thing I'm going to fight for. She's not taking my son away from me completely. Hailey may have wanted to stop being a family, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop being a father."

***

Chapter 7

"I think that's the last of them," Reid said as he slid a box into the back of Hotch's car. They'd made three trips to the storage unit Hotch had rented and one to Reid's apartment to drop off clothes and other daily necessities that Hotch would need until they found a place together. "Want to do one last walk-through to be sure?"

"Yeah, come with me," Hotch said. "It's hard, Spence, a lot harder than I thought it would be."

Reid waited until the door was closed behind them and they were out of view to hug Hotch tightly. "It's a part of you that's ending, a part that you've had for years, Aaron," he said softly. "I would honestly be surprised if you weren't having problems or pain handling this. I'm impressed you've been doing as well as you have, actually."

"It's because I have you," Hotch said. He kissed Reid softly. "I can't even imagine what I would have done if I'd come home from Nashville to the empty house, to my life gone, and didn't have someone to turn to."

"Come on, let's start checking rooms," Reid said. "I think you would have gone to Gideon, Aaron, and stayed with him. He's been through something similar and would have been the logical choice to help you through something like this. What did he have to say when you talked to him today?"

"He reminded me that he has a guest room if your sofa is too uncomfortable," Hotch said. He started to open cupboards in what had been the den. "Can you check those bookcases for me?"

"Sure," Reid said. "I've never discussed my sexual inclinations with anyone on the team, so Gideon doesn't know that I'm gay. I'll leave it up to you if you want to tell him of our relationship later on, once things have settled a little. There's nothing in any of these."

Hotch sighed. "All right, let's keep checking," he said. "The real estate agent will likely do another look when she comes in to get the house ready to show, but I'd like to be sure I have everything out if I can."

"Which is only good sense," Reid said. He started through the kitchen without being asked while Hotch was in the dining room. "Though why you have a house with so many cupboards and crannies, I don't know."

"Hailey liked it," Hotch sighed. "It's honestly not that big when there's more stuff in here, it just seems like it because of how empty it is." He paused at a knock on the door. "Are you expecting anyone, Spence?"

"No," Reid said, hand going to his gun.

"Stay here, let me see who it is," Hotch said.

Reid nodded and moved so he was hidden from the door, but had a clear line of sight with one step to his left. "Be careful, Aaron."

"Always am," Hotch said. He rested his hand on his own gun, they'd come directly from work and hadn't left their guns at Reid's apartment, and looked out the window by the door. He sighed and motioned for Reid to stand down before opening the door. "Jessica."

"What the hell is this, Aaron?" Jessica, Hailey's sister demanded, shoving an envelope at him.

"Divorce papers," Hotch said. "For Hailey, so why have you read them?"

"If a man shows up with papers at my house, I'm going to read them," Jessica said. She pushed past Hotch and into the house. "So I'll ask you again, what the hell is going on?"

Hotch shut the door. "Reid, would you check the upstairs rooms for me, please?" he called. "This is going to take a minute."

"Yes, Sir," Reid said, appearing in the hallway. "Call if you need me."

"Who the hell?"

"One of my agents who is helping me pack up the things that Hailey left me when she abandoned me, Jessica," Hotch said sternly. "I was in the field chasing a serial rapist who was cutting pieces of his victims off and taking them home to cook. When I came home, I found the house empty of everything but my books and some personal items from before our marriage. Why did you think I called and asked you where Hailey and Jack were?"

"I thought she was out shopping and hadn't let a note," Jessica said. "It's your fault anyway, Aaron. You're the one who is always gone for work."

"Hailey leaving me and taking our son with no warning is not my fault," Hotch said. "If she had an issue, she should have talked to me about it and we could have worked through the problem like adults. Now, I'm guessing by your reaction that you don't know where she is, but she's more likely to call you than she is me, so please tell her that those papers have been filed and are waiting for her."

"If anything, you drove her off," Jessica said. "Caring more about work than you do about your family."

Hotch drew up to his full height, something he normally only did when interviewing suspects and never with friends or family. "You shouldn't talk about things when you don't know the full story, Jessica," he said. "Hailey understood how much time my job would demand of me and knew that should could talk to me at any given time. That never changed. Now, I have to finish up here so the house can be sold. If you're done, I'd appreciate it if you leave."

"I wonder what Hailey told her about you," Reid said, joining his lover when Jessica was gone. "There was a great deal of repressed anger in her, Aaron."

"Yeah," Hotch sighed. "Is the upstairs clear?"

"Actually, no. I found something that I think you need to come and take a look at," Reid said. "It's in the master bedroom."

"The master bedroom?" Hotch asked, following Reid up the stairs. "I looked in there when I got home, it was completely empty."

"Not completely," Reid said. He turned off the light and clicked on the flashlight he'd been carrying to help at the storage facility. "Do you see that, Aaron?"

Hotch moved in behind Reid so he had the same line of sight as the younger man. "Yeah, I do now. It looks like a secret panel or something of that nature," he said. "How did you find it?"

"I tripped over my shoe lace and hit the wall," Reid said, flushing a little. "It sounded hollow, so I started checking for a loose board or a switch. It's a simple open panel."

"I can see that, now," Hotch said. He pulled the board free and looked at Reid. "There's stuff in here, and it's not mine. I had no idea this was even here."

Reid turned on the overhead light. "Take a look, Aaron."

"A notebook?" Hotch pulled it out and flipped it open. "Spence, this is...."

"Yeah, I know," Reid said, picking up the box that was next to it. "A kill journal."

Hotch frowned. "And not in Hailey's handwriting," he said. "Come on, back to work. I want to find out about these kills and find out who the hell has Hailey."

Reid followed Hotch down the stairs towards the car. "Do you think it's possible that Hailey didn't run, Aaron? Is it possible that she and Jack were taken?"

"I don't know, Spence," Hotch said. "Given that she's been drawing away from me, even going so far as to sleep in another room, I think it's highly probable that she's seeing someone else, and that someone else is not the man she thinks he is."

"Which means Jack could be in danger," Reid said.

"He touches my son, it's the last mistake he will ever make," Hotch said grimly. "Call Jason."

"You got it," Reid said.

***

Chapter 8

Hotch looked over his team, including Garcia, when they were all gathered in the meeting room. "I hadn't planned to tell any of you this until I was a little more sure of my feelings on it, but Hailey was gone when I came home from our most recent case," he said. "The house was empty of everything not mine in some way, and all traces of Jack were gone. No papers were filed for divorce and her sister doesn't know where she is. Or, if Jessica does know, she's not telling me."

"Is there anything we can do?" Morgan asked.

"I'll let you know," Hotch replied with a nod. "While clearing out the house in preparation for placing it on the market, Reid stumbled over a hidden compartment in the wall of the master bedroom."

Reid shrugged. "I tripped and fell into it," he said. "Inside we found a notebook listing a series of kills in the area and up into New York along with a box of trophies."

"Hailey?" Garcia asked.

"No, it's not her handwriting," Hotch said. He clicked on the remote to the projector and pulled up a page from the journal that Reid had scanned in. "Hailey and I had been having some personal issues and I'm beginning to believe that she was seeing and sleeping with someone else in the master bedroom whenever I was in the field with the rest of you."

"I'm sorry, Hotch," JJ said. "Do you have a list of names from the notebook? I'll check it against my files and see if anything has been sent to us on any of these."

"Thank you, JJ," Hotch said. "Reid has the list. Garcia, I need you to work your magic and find out everything you can about our victims and any investigation into their death. It's possible that the kills haven't been linked up as the work of a single person at this time."

Garcia nodded. "I'm on it, boss," she said, subdued.

"Morgan, I want you to work with Reid as information comes in and see what you can get for a profile on both our victims and our suspect," Hotch continued. "I'm going to start the official paperwork on this as a case and, Jason, I'm sorry, but I need you to talk with Hailey's sister."

"Of course, Aaron," Gideon said. "Do you think it's possible that Hailey ran with this man?"

"I have to," Hotch said. "Until I see their bodies, I have to believe that Hailey and Jack are safe. Thank you, everyone, for your help."
***

"This many victims, we're looking at someone with a low cool down period between kills, or someone who has been killing for at least ten years," Morgan said, reading through the list of names Reid had typed up while waiting for the team to arrive.

"I checked Bureau records while I was working on the list and found one match," Reid said, holding up a folder. "Chester McDonald, killed while on duty in D.C. by a single shot to the neck. It was ruled a stray shot as he was helping to guard the Bureau against protesters and called friendly fire. No bullet was recovered though, so there was no way to prove it was or wasn't one of ours who killed him."

Morgan nodded and flipped open the file. "You think it was our killer and he was at the protest," he said.

"It's not unlikely," Reid said. "Either that, or our suspect is an agent and it was friendly fire that killed McDonald, just not the kind the Bureau is thinking."

"You've got a point," Morgan said. "With this sort of range, it could well be an agent, maybe even a member of the BAU on one of the other teams."

"I think it's more likely a former agent, someone who has retired and moved on if that's the case," Reid said. "Our current agents are monitored too closely to be able to vanish for however long it would take to kill someone and get back to the hotel."

"I dunno, Reid, it could still be possible," Morgan said. "What do we know about McDonald?"

"He was thirty-four when he died, never married, had a girlfriend who moved out west after his death," Reid said. "Good reviews from the Bureau. His specialty was geographic profiles and he worked with a team of five agents during his time here in the BAU. No reason cited for leaving, but he took a lateral transfer to the Bureau in D.C. and worked with the group that became our terrorism experts."

Morgan nodded. "Sounds like an upstanding guy," he said. "I'll ask Garcia to add the girlfriend to the list of people we're looking for. So we have one line of duty death that could have been a murder. That's not a lot to be starting out with."

"I know," Reid said. "I'll go see how JJ is doing with her files."

"Okay, I'll go see our data goddess and meet you back here," Morgan said. "We'll bring Jack home alive, Reid. This guy isn't killing any innocent children."

Reid didn't say anything, but he hoped that Morgan was right. If Hailey and Jack were with their suspect, and the pair slowed him down, it was entirely possible that they would be his next victims. They needed to find him before it was too late.

***

Chapter 9

"Hey Hotch, we've got a problem," Reid said, leaning into the office. "We've got missing person reports filed on about half of our victims listed in the notebook, but Garcia and JJ are coming up empty on the rest of them."

"How is that possible?" Hotch asked, leaning back in his chair.

"Transients, prostitutes, or people who didn't have family to miss them," Reid replied. "The earlier victims are the ones falling into that end of the spectrum, at least as far as we can tell from paperwork." He shut the door behind him and leaned against it. "He started with people who wouldn't be missed and escalated from there."

Hotch's head dropped forward. "Serial killer or mass murderer, Spence?" he asked.

"Serial killer," Reid replied. "I did some more reading on the notebook while Morgan was talking with Garcia, after JJ told me she wasn't finding much on the earlier names on the list, and there were dates listed for the kills. He's organized, Hotch."

"Call the team together, we need to start working on a profile for this guy," Hotch said. He stood up and headed towards the door. "Spencer?"

Reid leaned in and kissed Hotch softly. "I can't imagine what you're going through right now, Aaron," he whispered, "but I'm going to be right beside you the whole time."

"Thank you," Hotch said. He pulled Reid into a hug and just rested there for a moment. "I'm worried about Jack."

"I know you are," Reid said. "Morgan wanted to know about putting out a BOLO for Jack and Hailey. We know it increases their risk with the serial killer, if they are indeed with him, but there would be eyes watching for them and it's possible that we could get Jack away from them."

"Yeah, tell Morgan to go ahead," Hotch said. "I don't have a current picture of Jack here, but this one is only a few months old." He picked up a frame on his desk and looked at it for a long minute. "He's so young, Spencer."

"We'll find him, Hotch," Reid said. He took the frame gently. "Take a minute and get your calm back. I'll get Morgan to call the locals and get the information out to just police along the eastern seaboard. We'll meet you in the meeting room when you're ready."

"Thank you, Spencer," Hotch whispered.

Morgan was at his desk when Reid came out of the office with the picture. "How's he holding up?"

"About as well as can be expected," Reid sighed. "Here, he agreed to a BOLO for law enforcement only along the coast. Let them know that the picture is about three months old and that the man with them is a serial killer."

"Yeah, will do," Morgan said. He took the frame gently. "Little guy probably doesn't know what's going on. We need to get him home again, back with Daddy where he belongs."

Reid nodded. "Hotch wants a meeting as soon as we can all get back in there," he said. "I'm going to start putting points up on the board after I let JJ know."

"Okay, I'll get Garcia. Gideon is still out in the field, where's Elle?"

"Bathroom, I think" Reid said. "I'll keep an eye out for her."

"I'll be there soon as I can," Morgan said.

***

Chapter 10

Hotch looked around at his team when they were all gathered back in the meeting room. "All right, go ahead, Reid," he said.

"Based on the notebook and information that we've found by looking into our files and missing persons reports from around the area, we are dealing with an organized serial killer who has been killing for the past eight years," Reid said. "His first kills were up in New York City and in the D.C. area where there are a lot of homeless and others who wouldn't be missed if they vanished suddenly. Bodies have not been reported as found, which means he has a method of disposal which eliminates most of the body, or a dumping ground that is isolated and has not been located at this time."

"Early kills are women," Morgan said, picking up the thread he and Reid had been working on. "Younger, but we don't know if they're a type or not. Garcia is working on finding pictures for us, but that will take time. Later kills are married couples, man shot once in the head from medium distance, woman kidnapped and killed later. Our unsub keeps detailed notes on everything he did to each victim. His trophies are jewelry or pieces of fabric. Nothing that will start to smell and can be carried without suspicion with him."

"So we have to ask the question, did he forget that he had stashed these things in Hotch's house or were they left there as a message?" Elle asked.

Morgan shook his head. "I don't see anyone this organized forgetting any of his things," he said. "It's possible that he had to leave them behind because he had Hailey with him and didn't want her to see them and he's planning to come back for them when he has a chance. Hotch, how well hidden were they?"

"Very. I wouldn't have known they were there if Reid hadn't tripped and fallen into the wall," Hotch said. "I think you're right, Morgan. If he's planning to hurt Hailey, then he would have to be hiding his true nature from her. These items are deeply personal and not something he would share with anyone. He would want them close, but not in a location where just anyone would be able to find them. Hiding them in my house was a risk, but a low one given how frequently I'm gone for work."

"Hotch, the part of the room I found them in, what was there when the house was furnished?" Reid asked.

"A bookcase," Hotch replied. "Right over them. I wouldn't have any reason to move that case, which would have made them secure."

"In speaking with Jessica, I found that she didn't want to tell me what she knew," Gideon said, speaking for the first time. "When I revealed that we believed Hailey was with a serial killer, she broke down and admitted that she knew about the other man, but hadn't met him or seen what he looked like. She's scared, Aaron. Not just for herself, but for her sister."

"Was she able to give you a name?" Hotch asked.

"Cedrick, no last name and no idea what he did other than travel for his work," Gideon said. He pointed at the door. "Aaron."

Hotch turned and stood up so fast that he knocked his chair over. "Where did you find him?" he asked the officer behind JJ. He took Jack and held him close.

"Restaurant not far from here," the officer replied. "Along with his baby bag and a note with him name and directions to bring him to you here at the Bureau. We had him checked by a doctor before we brought him over, he's fine. Scared and probably misses his mom, but healthy."

"Thank you," Hotch said. He took the baby bag and handed it to Reid. "Check that for clues, Reid. Officer Bradley, we're on the trail of a possible serial killer and believe that my wife and son have been traveling with him. Did anyone at the restaurant remember the people who left Jack there?"

"Not that I talked to, but I can go back and question them for you."

"Morgan, go with him," Hotch said. "Thank you again, Officer Bradley. I wasn't sure I would ever see him again."

"Agent Hotchner," the officer said.

"I'll call, Hotch," Morgan said softly, following the officer out of the office.

"Nothing in the bag, Hotch," Reid said. "Diapers, blanket, teddy bear, and formula. Why would Hailey abandon Jack like that? It doesn't make any sense."

Gideon looked up from Jack, he'd moved around behind Hotch just in case the younger man's legs tried to give out. "Is it possible that our unsub gave Hailey a choice and this was the better option?" he asked.

"She could be in danger," JJ said. "Hotch, now that we have Jack safe, do you want to issue a BOLO on Hailey? It's possible we could track them down more easily now and with a slightly lower risk."

Hotch kissed his son on the top of his head and sighed. "A BOLO will put Hailey at risk," he said. "Issue it to state officers only right now. Make sure they know that the man she's with is a serial killer and they aren't to engage them unless they are positive they can get Hailey away safely. She may have left, but I want her to be safe."

"We'll get on it," Gideon said. "Come on, ladies."

Reid shut the door behind the rest of the team and looked back at Hotch. "Aaron."

"I'd almost given up hope, Spence," he said softly. "Can we set up a crib at your place?"

"We can do whatever he needs," Reid replied. He picked up the teddy bear and handed it to Hotch. "I don't know how to be a good dad, Hotch. You'll have to teach me what I need to do."

Hotch smiled at him. "You're a good man, Spence," he said. "That's half of it right there. Come on, we need to stop at the store on the way home. I'm not leaving Jack alone again until we have this creep caught and secure."

***

Chapter 11

"Aaron, do you think we should go to a hotel or one of the Bureau safe houses until we catch our unsub?" Reid asked as they were pulling out from the local department store. "My apartment doesn't have an alarm system installed and, while I have multiple locks, now that we have Jack with us, do you think we need to be somewhere safer?"

"That's not a bad idea, actually, Spence," Hotch said. "You said that our unsub's type had shifted from young females to married couples. While it sounds like the couples are abducted together, he already has Hailey. We don't know if he's going to come for me or not. How packed is your go bag at work?"

"Week at most," Reid said.

Hotch nodded and turned back towards the base. "We're going to go back to the base and stay in one of the guest apartments tonight. Call ahead and see if they have one available for us."

"Do we have everything we need for Jack?" Reid asked, pulling out his phone.

"We can make do," Hotch replied. "We have enough for a week with us. If we have to stay beyond that, I'll have one of the team pick something up for us."

"Yes, this is Supervisory Special Agent Spencer Reid with the BAU," Reid said into his phone. "My unit chief and I are returning to base along with his infant son and need to stay in a secure apartment for the next week. It's possible that we are being targeted by a serial killer. I see. Yes. Thank you. The base is in sight now, yes. Thank you again." He turned off his phone. "They'll have something ready for us, Hotch."

Hotch pulled into the drive and rolled down his window to present his ID. "George."

"Agent Hotchner, hey Agent Reid. We got the call, you're clear to go in. Head over to the main building and they'll get you settled from there."

"Thank you," Hotch said. He took his ID back and drove in when the gate opened. "It's been a while since I've stayed on base, Spencer."

"Me too," Reid said. "I'm sorry I didn't think of it sooner, Hotch."

"I'm just glad you did," Hotch said. He pulled to a stop and turned off the car. "My mind is going twelve directions now that I have Jack. Come on, let's get inside and see what they've got for us."

The pair gathered up their things and headed into the building. Reid recognized the young agent waiting for them by the desk. "Nancy, it's good to see you again, how have you been settling in?" he asked with a smile.

"Good, Spencer, thank you," she said. "Is this your unit chief?"

"Aaron Hotchner, this is Nancy Bingmen," Reid said. "She's a transfer from Los Angeles."

"I miss the heat," Nancy said wryly. "Here are your access badges and key to the room. Normally we would have put you each in a room, but Spencer said that there might be a serial killer involved and, with the baby, thought that putting you together would make everyone feel safer."

"It will, thank you, Nancy," Hotch said.

"All right, if you have everything, follow me," Nancy said, heading towards the secure doors at the back.

The pair followed her through four layers of security until they came to the apartment they'd been assigned. Hotch took Jack inside, wanting to get him settled down a little and try for some dinner before a bath while Reid talked with Nancy about making sure no one but the higher ups knew that they were staying on base, and that no one was to have access to their rooms without verbal permission from either Hotch or himself. Nancy nodded and made notes, promised she would take care of everything and left. Reid secured the door behind her, engaged the locks and leaned against it. "I think we'll be safe here," he said wryly.

"This was a good idea, Reid," Hotch said, knowing that the Bureau sometimes had listening devices in the apartments. "Thanks for helping out with Jack, I really appreciate it."

"It's no problem, Hotch," Reid replied. "What can I do right now?"

"Go ahead and unpack and, if you want to heat up dinner, go ahead," Hotch said. "I'm going to feed Jack and get him ready for bed. We have a long couple of days ahead of us."

Reid nodded. "That we do, Hotch," he said. "That we do."

***

Chapter 12

"Jason, will you and Morgan go to my house, please?" Hotch asked, coming out into the bullpen from his office. "The real estate agent is there and called to say that someone broke in and vandalized the master bedroom."

"You think it's our unsub?" Morgan asked.

"I think it's a possibility we can't ignore," Hotch replied. "The other point we can't ignore, no matter how much I'd like to is that this man has shown a history of abducting couples and killing the man from a distance. Until we have him in custody, I'm not going to be able to leave the Bureau."

"A wise decision," Gideon said. "Morgan and I will be back as soon as we can, Aaron. Do you need us to pick anything up while we're out?"

Hotch sighed. "Yeah, I need more diapers and formula for Jack," he said. "Hang on, I'll get the brands for you. Thanks."

"No problem, Hotch," Morgan said. "We gotta keep you safe for Jack."

"He's neglecting to mention that women find men who like babies attractive," Reid commented, appearing with Jack in his arms. "He just woke up, Hotch."

"That was a longer nap than I was expecting," Hotch said, taking Jack. "Thanks for sitting with him, Reid."

"It let me get some paperwork done," Reid replied. "What can I do to help?"

"Go check with Garcia and see if she's found anything on our earlier victims," Hotch said. "I'll be in my office."

"Let me grab the information we need from Aaron and I'll meet you at your car, Morgan," Gideon said, trailing Hotch into the office. He shut the door behind them. "Aaron, do you mind a piece of advice?"

Hotch looked over from where he was putting Jack down in the crib he'd set up in his office. "Of course not, Jason. What's up?"

"You and Spencer are good, Aaron, you're hiding well," Gideon said. "But not well enough. Morgan and I have both noticed and, while we support you fully, the Bureau may not."

"How'd you know?"

"Your behavior with Spencer has changed since we returned from our latest case, when you found Hailey gone," Gideon said. "It wasn't hard to work out that something happened in the hotel where the two of you were sharing a room. Spencer also asked me about moving, something he's fought with me on for years. It all ties together, Aaron. We won't even mention how hard he's trying to learn what to do with Jack. That speaks to someone who is planning to be around long-term."

"Do you think I'm foolish?" Hotch asked. He handed over a bag with an empty formula tin and part of a diaper package in it. "Hailey and I had been having trouble for months before our latest field assignment and I was trying to work out if I wanted to leave or not. I had planned to stay for Jack, even with the problems, but then Spencer showed me that it was possible to still be a father and not be in a loveless relationship."

Gideon smiled. "I think the pair of you will work well together," he said. "You'll give Spencer the stability he needs while he gives you a different outlook on life. Just be careful, Aaron."

"We are."

"I don't just mean during this case. Staying here is a wise idea, especially if the unsub is still in the area or can return quickly," Gideon said. "I mean afterwards, when you're living together and raising Jack as a couple."

"We've talked about it," Hotch said. "And we have a few ideas and plans in place, including rotating roommates to keep suspicion down. When this is all over with, Jason, I'll tell you more, if you want."

"I'd like that, if only to be able to help you both out," Gideon said. "We'll get through this and find the two of you a nice apartment where you can raise your son."

Hotch sighed. "You think so too, huh?" he asked.

"I do. I'm sorry, Aaron, but I do," Gideon replied.

"Well, at least Jack is still a baby," Hotch said. "It'll hurt him, but not nearly as much as if he was older. It's still not going to be easy to explain, but at least I have a few years to figure out what I'll tell him."

"You'll be fine," Gideon said. "I'll call when we see what's happened at your place."

"Thanks, Jason," Hotch said. "For everything."

***

Chapter 13

"What do you think we're going to find, Gideon?" Morgan asked as the pair drove to Hotch's house. "Vandalism can take a lot of forms and Hotch didn't give us a lot of information."

"It's not difficult to conjecture that our unsub returned and found his belongings missing," Gideon replied. "This is a message to Aaron from the unsub, but it's also possible the man is near-by hoping to be able to abduct Aaron in order to kill him."

"So we go in and clear the scene first?"

"I believe that's a wise idea," Gideon said. "I cannot imagine the real estate agent would have looked through the house closely and it's possible the unsub is hiding from her. We can't know until it happens if he has fixated on Aaron and Hailey, or if he's looking for another couple to kill and Hailey is just traveling with him. Not without more data."

Morgan sighed. "Can you imagine that he's letting Hailey travel with him and risking her finding out about all of this?" he asked.

"It's possible that he's been feeling her out all this time, waiting and hoping that she would become a partner in his work," Gideon replied. "Hailey is upright and honest, very law-abiding, as you would expect from anyone Aaron had in his life, but you know as well as I do that love can make people do some very stupid things. Ah, there is the real estate agent. Let's see what we can find, Morgan."

"Ready when you are," Morgan said.
***

Gideon talked with the real estate agent about what she'd found in the house and if she'd had any calls to view the property, even though it wasn't listed with her office yet. She said there had been one call from a woman who wanted to know if the house was vacant or occupied and if it would be possible to view it once it listed. The woman hadn't left a name or number, just saying she would call back when her plans worked out. Gideon didn't say anything, but he was thinking that the woman in questions was probably Hailey trying to find out if Hotch was staying at the house or not. He made a note to get the phone records from the real estate office to see if they could track down a number that might lead them to their unsub, thanked the real estate agent for her time, and joined Morgan at the door.

"It's clear," Morgan said. "The locals and I made a thorough sweep, including checking for more hidden panels and rooms. Nothing. You need to see the main bedroom though."

"Call Garcia and have her pull phone records for the real estate office," Gideon said as they started up the stairs. "There was a call from a woman who didn't leave information asking if the house was empty or not."

"Could've been Hailey," Morgan said, pulling out his phone.

"My thought exactly," Gideon replied. He stopped in the door. "Oh my, this is brutal."

Morgan nodded. "We'll need to take samples to the lab to find out if it's blood or not, and if it's human," he said.

Written in red across the wall opposite the door was the message 'you took what was mine, now I take what is your' with an hourglass under it. "What do you think about the signature?" Gideon asked.

"Time is running out?" Morgan asked. "Hey babydoll, I need you to pull records from Hotch's real estate agent's office and see who all has been calling for the past week or so. We had an unknown woman call and ask about the house before it listed."

Gideon left Morgan to the phone call and moved into the room. He spared a thought that he was very grateful that Hotch had been able to get all of his things out of the house before the unsub came back. The hourglass puzzled him though. It was possible that Morgan was right and it meant that time was growing short, but Gideon wondered if there wasn't a deeper meaning to it. One they wouldn't be able to understand without more information.

"Garcia's on it," Morgan said. "The local lab is here and ready to work. I got pictures for us to take back to work for everyone to look at."

"Then let's go," Gideon said. "We need to go to the store and also I'd like to stop by Reid's apartment, just to make sure that our unsub hasn't been there."

"You talked to Hotch about it?" Morgan asked as they headed back to the car. "All yours guys, let us know what you find?"

"Will do, Agent Morgan," one of the CSIs said.

"I did, and it sounds like they thought this through carefully," Gideon said. He shut the car door behind him and buckled his seat belt. "I think, in the end, this will be good for them both. Especially if Aaron is suddenly going to be raising Jack alone."

"Not alone," Morgan said. "Not with us around to help."

Gideon smiled. "Very true, Morgan, and I know he'll be very happy to hear that. Reid's place first?"

"Yeah, it's on the way to the store," Morgan agreed.

***

Chapter 14

Reid's apartment was unmolested. Gideon had a key and let them in to check over things and also took the chance to grab some extra clothes for both Hotch and Reid. He locked the door behind them and shook his head. "I was afraid we were going to find something in there," he admitted.

"I kinda was too," Morgan agreed. "I suppose it's possible that our unsub doesn't know about Reid and that's the reason he hasn't been here."

"That's very possible," Gideon said. He stored the bags in the back of the car and got settled in the front. "I think they're both very wise to be staying at the Bureau until we're sure the threat is gone. Especially with Jack to worry about now."

"Yeah, that was one of Reid's better ideas," Morgan said. He pulled out into traffic. "Hey Gideon, we're being followed."

Gideon didn't turn around. "Color?"

"Dark, probably green but could also be blue or black, four cars back," Morgan said. "I saw it down the block when we were at Hotch's place but didn't think anything of it. I also didn't see it follow us to Reid's place."

"I won't insult you by asking if you're sure it's the same car," Gideon said. "Stay in the car and watch when we get to the store. I'll run in and get what Hotch needs for Jack. Call me if you have to leave."

Morgan nodded. "Easy enough," he said. "Think that's our unsub?"

"I think it's someone who is very curious about who we are and is wondering where Aaron is," Gideon said. "Park in the middle of the lot, see if you can get them in close to you. All right, I'll be right back."

"See you in a couple," Morgan said. He left the car running and turned on the A/C, even though it wasn't really hot out. He wasn't going to roll down his windows until he was sure there was no threat. He also locked the doors.

Gideon walked through the lot and stopped suddenly when he was cut off by the car they'd been watching. He started to the side to go around when the window rolled down and a man looked out at him. "Are you Aaron Hotchner?" he asked.

"No, I'm sorry, I'm not," Gideon replied.

"You were at his place, do you know him?" the man asked.

"I do," Gideon said.

"It's just that I've got a message for him and he hasn't been home," the man said. He reached back in his car and froze.

Gideon pressed his gun in against the man's head. "I don't think so," he said. "You just stay where you are."

"You okay?" Morgan asked, jogging up.

"I think, Morgan, that we might have our first lead in the case," Gideon replied. "Will you make sure our friend here is secure while I take a look in his car?"

"Hey, you can't do that," the man protested. "I'm just trying to deliver a message."

"We're with the FBI and the man you're looking for is under our protection," Gideon said softly. "So that means you get to come with us and answer some questions. Your car will be impounded and searched by the local crime lab. If you can satisfy us that you are not involved in the threats against Aaron Hotchner, then it is possible you'll be able to go. I think it's highly more likely you'll be staying with us for a while."

Morgan reached in and unlocked the door. "Put it in park," he said. "Now, we're not in a good mood. Don't mess with us."

"I really don't know anything."

Gideon put his gun away once Morgan had the man secure. "You know the name of a man we're protecting and you were tailing us," he said. "I would say you know more than you're willing to say. We're attracting attention, Morgan. Would you call the locals and ask them to come and arrange for transport for our new friend and his car, please?"

"Yeah, no problem," Morgan said.

***

Chapter 15

"Have you ever seen him before, Aaron?" Gideon asked. He and Hotch were standing in the viewing room attached to one of the interrogation rooms at the Bureau.

"No, I haven't," Hotch replied. "It's equally obvious he doesn't know who I am, not if he thought that you were me. What all did he have to say?"

"That he's innocent and really needs to talk to you," Gideon said. "Morgan is with the lab going through the car now and Garcia is gathering up all the information she can based on the man's ID."

Hotch nodded. "I don't think it's safe for me to go in there, Jason," he said. "If this is related to our case, to the unsub, then he either doesn't have pictures of me or is choosing not to use them. I think I need to have the lab go back through my house and see if they can find any other hidden panels. I find it interesting that this man was looking for me but doesn't know what I look like."

"It speaks to a lack of organization, something that our unsub hasn't shown before," Gideon agreed. He turned when he heard the door open. "Spencer?"

"Garcia finished her basic search," Reid said. "The man's name is Herbert Wilson of Baltimore. He's married with no children, works at a retail store. Hotch, it's possible that our unsub has this man's wife and is using her as leverage to make him do something."

"I'll go speak with him," Gideon said. "I believe that Aaron is correct that he needs to remain hidden for now. Spencer, come with me?"

"Sure," Reid said. He nodded to Hotch, eyes saying that he wished he could touch his lover somehow but knew they were on camera, and followed Gideon out and into the interrogation room.

"Mr. Wilson," Gideon said.

"How do you know my name?"

"We took your ID along with your fingerprints when you were brought it," Gideon said. "Mr. Wilson, I'm Jason Gideon and this is Special Agent Spencer Reid. We're wondering if you would be willing to tell us if we're correct about something or not?"

"Uh, sure I guess," Wilson said. "I just had a message to deliver is all. I wasn't expecting the FBI to get involved."

Gideon nodded. "I understand that," he said. "Mr. Wilson, is your wife being held hostage to get you to deliver this message to Aaron Hotchner?"

Wilson broke down. Reid looked at Gideon. "Looks like we were correct," he said. "I'll let the others know, Gideon. Are you okay?"

"I'll be fine, Spencer," Gideon said.

Reid shut the door firmly behind him and went to join Hotch. "So the question is, where's Hailey?" he asked softly.

"Jason and I both believe that she's dead," Hotch replied. "Come on, I'll walk back to the bullpen with you. I hope that the woman I married wouldn't condone such crimes."

"I hope so too, Hotch," Reid said, "but we have to take into consideration that she is alive and it's possible that she's helping the unsub."

"I know," Hotch said. "I need to call the lab and get them to go back to the house and see if there's anything else there. Why wouldn't the unsub show Wilson my picture before he sent the man out with a message for me?"

"You think that Hailey hid all pictures of you?" Reid asked.

"I don't know what to think, Reid," Hotch said. "Go tell Garcia to search for everything she can find on Wilson's wife and possible places they could have been taken from. I'll call the lab and meet you in my office."

Reid nodded. "Be there in a few," he said. "I'll get Jack too."

"Thank you, Reid."

***

Chapter 16

Hotch looked up when Reid appeared in the door to his office. "Shut and lock it, Spence," he said softly. "What did Garcia say?"

"No reports that this couple is missing," Reid said. "She's getting in touch with the retail store now to see when Wilson worked his last shift and when he was due in for his next one. Nothing is showing up on the wife, so it's possible she stays at home for some reason. Morgan called the local police up in Baltimore and they're going to swing by the Wilson house and see if there's anything there that could lead us to our unsub."

"Sounds like everything that can possibly be done is being done," Hotch sighed. He held out his hand once Reid had settled Jack in the playpen. "Come here."

"How are you holding up?" Reid asked. He sat down in Hotch's lap and wrapped him in a hug. "I haven't had a chance to ask that recently. I hate having to hide when we're in the apartment."

"I do too, but I agree that it's safer for us," Hotch said. "I don't know exactly how I feel, Spence. Part of me hopes that Hailey is dead, that she's buried out in the woods somewhere and then the rest of me hates me for thinking that."

Reid pulled back a little. "It's logical though," he said. "You want to believe that Hailey isn't involved in these abductions and deaths and the most logical reason she wouldn't be is for her to already be dead. Just don't beat yourself up for any of this, Aaron. You can't help what you're feeling."

"Deep down, I know, but it's hard to remember when my wife, ex-wife now, is involved in an official case," Hotch said. "I really should excuse myself from it and would if I thought it would help."

"You're too much a part of the team for us to not come to you for help and advice," Reid said. He kissed his lover softly and stood up just before there was a knock on the door. He crossed over and opened it. "Hey Morgan."

"Reid, hey Hotch, the lab guys just got in touch about the writing at your place," Morgan said. He walked to the near side of the desk and handed over a folder. "The good news is that it isn't human blood. It came back as cow, which is something you can get at the butcher section of the store if you know to ask for it. The bad news is that the unsub didn't leave anything useful behind when he wrote the message."

"Except for the missing "S" and the hourglass symbol," Hotch said. He handed the pictures to Reid. "Do you think that's deliberate, misspelling yours in the message like that or did something catch his attention and cause him to rush?"

"I don't think that's meant to be an hourglass," Reid said. "Morgan, did you take a close-up of the symbol?"

"Yeah, it's in there," Morgan said. "What else could it be?"

"A rushed ten," Reid said. "Usually when you see an hourglass depicted in this manner there's some indication of the sand in the top bulb because they are showing that time is running out. I think it's far more likely in this case that we're looking at a Roman Numeral with the top and bottom lines not extended out far enough because the person drawing it was in a hurry." He pulled out the close-up and studied it. "Not to mention that this was done with a different brush from the message and is in a different hand."

Hotch stood and came around the desk to stand behind Reid. "It is?" he asked.

"Look, the lines are slimmer and less pressure was applied when it was drawn," Reid replied. "Two people were in the room when this was drawn on the wall. Hotch, I'm sorry."

Morgan caught the meaning. "Me too, Hotch."

"If Hailey is involved with this then we treat her as an unsub," Hotch said. "And I'll excuse myself from the investigation for conflict of interest. Until we know that for sure, I'll stay in the background, but I'm giving Jason lead on this one. It'll let me get some paperwork done and I can spend time with Jack."

"I'll let Gideon know," Morgan said. "You two gonna review notes?"

Reid sighed. "You're not subtle, Morgan," he said. "I'm going to go and get some lunch for us both and a bottle for Jack. Do you want anything?"

"Nope, see you when you get back," Morgan said.

"Don't leave the buildings, Reid," Hotch said.

"I won't," Reid said with a smile. "See you guys in a bit."

***

Chapter 17

"Reid, can I talk to you for a minute," Gideon called from his office. He'd spent an hour in with their messenger and hadn't been able to find out much at all. "Close the door, Spencer. Aaron told me you think that this isn't an hourglass on the wall."

"I think it's a ten, Gideon," Reid said. "I just don't know if it's the start of a countdown or some other message for either Hotch or our team."

Gideon looked over the pictures again. "It's possible that it is a ten, I can see your reasoning now that I have a chance to study it closer," he said. "The different hands are also more obvious now that I'm looking more directly at it. Everyone is thinking Hailey, aren't they?"

"I think so," Reid said. "Morgan and I were in the office with Hotch when I saw the pictures for the first time and I spoke without thinking. I haven't had a chance to talk to him about how he's feeling, but this is the reason he's pulled back more."

"You two need to be able to spend some time alone," Gideon said. "There aren't any cameras or recording devices in his office, are there?"

"No, but Hotch is loud," Reid said. "Don't ever let on that I told you that. He figured it out for the first time in a hotel and is really embarassed about it. He wouldn't let me touch him in his office and we can't risk it in the apartment the Bureau has lent us."

"You can't leave the grounds because of the unsub," Gideon sighed. "We need to find him, Spencer, if only to give Hotch a little peace of mind. This isn't easy for him."

"He has Jack," Reid said. "I think that, more than anything, has helped, even if he's suddenly a single working father. It's not going to be easy for him, leaving Jack behind when we go on assignments."

"Do you know what he's going to do then?"

"Yeah, Jack will stay with the day care here on base and they'll keep him here until we're back," Reid said. "He's already made the arrangements. I don't know what will happen when Jack is school aged, but we have five years to work that out."

They paused at a knock on the door. "Yes?"

Hotch came in and shut the door behind him. "Are you two done plotting about me?" he asked with a wry grin.

"Aaron, we're worried about you," Gideon said. "I was trying to find out if there was a way for you to spend some time alone with Spencer while you're here on the base."

"There's not, I've been thinking about that too," Hotch said. "Garcia thinks she may have a lead. The rest of the team is waiting for you in the meeting room."

"Are you going to come listen?" Reid asked.

"I shouldn't."

"As long as you aren't active in parts of the case that could involve your ex, I think you're okay," Gideon said. "You're one of the best, Aaron. Come listen."

"All right," Hotch said, trying not to smile. He knew when he was outnumbered.

"Any idea what Garcia found?" Reid asked, following the older men towards their meeting room.

"Nothing super important," Garcia replied, picking up on the question, "but the car that Wilson was driving is a rental and isn't in his name. I called the rental company once I had the contract in hand and talked with one of the managers. The car was rented up in New York by a couple there on holiday, or at least that's what their story is. The company sent this picture down."

Hotch closed his eyes in pain when the picture came up on the scene. Reid reached over and squeezed his lover's hand under the table. "Sorry, Hotch," Garcia continued. "They rented the car a week ago and were due to return it in three more days. I ran the name on the contract, but it's an alias I think. I didn't find anything at all, not even a social."

"He's a contractor," Hotch said. "He was the lead on a couple of remodeling projects Hailey wanted for the house before Jack was born. I have his card in the office. It might be an alias as well, but he responded to it quickly, so if it is, it's one he's used in the past. Well, now I know how they met."

"Also how he was able to put in that secret panel without you knowing about it," Gideon said. "The lab boys haven't found any others, but they're still looking. Aaron, this doesn't make sense. The unsub saw you. He knows what you look like, so why wouldn't he tell Wilson? Why send the man off and into our hands?"

"I wish I had an answer for that," Hotch said. "I suppose he could be bait, trying to draw me out for some reason, or he could be a trap. We did search him thoroughly before he was brought in?"

"I searched him, Hotch," Morgan said. "He's not wired, I'll tell you that much."

"Have them go back through the car, check for bombs," Hotch said. "I don't think the unsub would plant a bomb in the car, but it's possible he was hoping that I would get in the car and go somewhere with Wilson. I think, Jason, our unsub was at the house watching and he was hidden well enough that you guys didn't see him."

Morgan pulled out his phone to call the lab. Gideon stood up. "I'll go talk with Wilson some more," he said. "Garcia, any word on his wife?"

"Nothing yet, I'm still looking," she said.

"Let me know."

"They're on it, Hotch," Morgan said. "They're going to move the car outside just to be safe."

"Good. Garcia, let me get you that card and see what else I have here," Hotch said. "I can't imagine it will be much, but anything can help right now."

***

Chapter 18

"We need somewhere we can be alone for an hour," Reid commented that night after the team had left. He and Hotch were back in their apartment for the night.

"I asked about monitoring equipment in the rooms here," Hotch said. "I said it was because I was worried that Jack's crying would bother someone if he woke up in the middle of the night and they told me that, because of the circumstances, there are cameras but no microphones in every room but the bathroom."

Reid looked over. "There's no monitoring in the bathroom?" he asked.

"I think there's a microphone in there," Hotch replied. "I don't know why, it makes no sense to me, but this is the federal government. I don't know where we'll have a chance, Spence."

"I'm just worried about how tense you are," Reid said. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Hotch sat down on the sofa with a sigh. "I don't know what all I can say. Hailey is involved in this, somehow, and it's making me question if I really knew her. How could I not realize that she was cheating on me for so long? How did I not pick up on her involvement with a serial killer? It makes no sense to me at all, Spencer. I know I'm a good profiler and I know we can't profile the ones we love, we'd go crazy, but was I really that blind when I was at home?"

"I think, and this is an opinion, that you were usually so tired when you got home from the field that you were just happy to be in your own bed," Reid said. He sat in the armchair, even though he wanted to be next to his lover. "On your days off, Hailey kept you busy enough that you wouldn't realize there was anything wrong. I can remember you commenting on how many chores she always seemed to have for you to do whenever we were in town. I worried that you weren't getting a true day off because of it."

"It felt good to be able to do some physical work," Hotch said. "They were always things that needed to be done and she couldn't do, either because she was pregnant or because they were chores that were just better suited to me. I'm still wondering how I missed the lover."

"He may have slowly gained control of her and really only had a major influence in her life over the past two or so months," Reid said. "When she moved out of your bed and then out of the house when you were home. It gives me a chance to love you and Jack, so as much as I hate what she's done and what she's doing, I find that I'm happy to have you."

Hotch smiled. "I'm happy to have you too," he said. He glanced down at his phone. "Jason, what is it?"

"I'm sorry to bother you, Aaron, but the local police just brought us our unsub and Hailey," Gideon said. "Their car had a broken tail light and the state patrol who stopped them recognized Hailey from our BOLO and arrested them both. I've called Morgan and he's on his way back in."

"I'll send Spencer over," Hotch said. "I'm going to stay here with Jack. Spencer can fill me in when he comes back."

"All right, that's your choice," Gideon said. "I'm so sorry about this, Aaron."

"I know, me too," Hotch said. "Spencer, go back to the unit. Jason's setting up interviews. A broken tail light caught our unsub."

"Hailey too."

"Yeah. I'm not going, Spence."

"I don't blame you." Reid stood up and stopped to squeeze Hotch's shoulder, something that they could explain away if they needed to. "Take care of your son, Aaron. Let us take care of this for you."

He nodded. "Thanks, Spence."

***

Chapter 19

"We have our unsub and Haiely in two holding rooms," Gideon said once the team was assembled. "At this point in time, we don't know any more about the missing woman, but the lab is processing the car the unsub was driving. For obvious reasons, Aaron is no longer going to be involved in the case."

Morgan sighed. "This has to be hard on him," he said. "Anything we can do to help him out, Gideon?"

"Find him answers to the questions that are plaguing him," Gideon replied. "Morgan, you and Elle talk with the unsub. Spencer, I want you in the observation room while I'm speaking with Hailey. Let's see how much we can find out. Garcia, will you keep working on record checks and other searches for us?"

"You got it," Garcia said.

"All right, let's go," Gideon said.

The team went as a group to the holding rooms. Morgan and Elle peeled off at the first one and started to secure their weapons. Gideon and Reid continued on down the hall to the fourth room. "I'm not armed," Gideon said. "Go on, Spencer. I don't want her to see you unless we absolutely have to."

"Usual code word?" Reid asked.

"Yes." Gideon waited until Reid was in the observation room before he unlocked the door and went in. "Hello, Hailey."

"Jason, what are you doing here? Where's Aaron?" Hailey asked.

"He's not involved with the case, it would be a conflict of interest," Gideon replied. He sat down across from her. "Do you want to tell me what you're doing here tonight, Hailey?"

She looked at him like he was stupid. "A state patrol arrested us and brought us here," she said. "I don't understand why, Tom and I were on our way north again after taking a small holiday down in Florida."

"You do know that lying to me isn't going to help you any, right?" Gideon asked with a sigh. "Hailey, we know the truth. We know who and what Tom is, what he's been doing. We found the hidden panel in the bedroom and the message painted in blood. You abandoned your infant son in a restaurant with nothing more than a note and two diapers. There is a woman missing and her husband is here afraid for not only his life but hers as well. Where is she, Hailey? Where do you and Tom have Hilda Wilson?"

"I don't know any Hilda Wilson," Hailey said. "You found Jack?"

"The restaurant did and the state police brought him to Aaron," Gideon said. "You lost any chance at custody behaving like you did, Hailey. Why clean out the house and run while Aaron was out of town on assignment? Why clean out the house and not take the kill notebook and trophies along with you?"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"So you don't know that you've been traveling with a serial killer," Gideon said. "A man who keeps very detailed notes on every kill he's ever made along with a box of jewelry and other small trophies to allow him to relive his kills. He had the box and notebook in your bedroom, Hailey. The room you shared with your husband. I'm very disappointed in you and the actions you've been taking."

"Jason, I don't know what you're talking about," Hailey protested. "What box? What notebook? Okay, yes, I'll admit that I ran away when Aaron was gone this last time, but I didn't clean out the house. I just took Jack and some of his things with me. What message in blood?"

Gideon opened his notebook and pulled out a couple of pictures. "This message in blood, Hailey."

"Oh my god," she gasped. "What is going on?"

"Your new boyfriend is a serial killer," Gideon said. "Morgan is interviewing him now. Tell me where Hilda Wilson is, Hailey. I want to know every spot you and Tom have been to over the past few days, and don't try to tell me Florida again."
****

Reid watched the exchange from behind the mirrored glass. He was noticing several tells that he was sure Gideon was picking up on, but made note of so Gideon would be able to ask about them during the follow-up interview. He turned when the door opened. "Oh, hey Garcia, what's up?"

"The police just found Hilda Wilson," Garcia said. "She's badly injured, but she's alive and in the hospital. The state lab is processing the scene and will let us know if they find any evidence to tie our unsub and Hailey to the scene."

"All right, I'll let Gideon know when he's done here," Reid said. "Thanks, Garcia. Anything else?"

"Yeah, action on Hailey's credit cards," Garcia said. She handed the folder over. "I'll keep at it, but could you take these in and give them to Gideon for me?"

"Sure," Reid said. "Thanks, Garcia."

"Any time, sweetie," Garcia said.

Reid flipped through the printouts before he took them into the interrogation room and noticed the locations where the cards had been used. With a sigh, he went and tapped on the door before opening it. "Garcia brought me some new information, Gideon," he said.

"What do you have for me, Reid?"

"They found Hilda Wilson," Reid replied. "She's in the hospital being checked over. Garcia said she's badly injured, but I don't have the details. Can I release her husband?"

"Go ahead," Gideon said. "What else?"

"Credit card activity for Hailey Hotchner," Reid said. He put the folder down on the table. "In the DC-metro area and in Baltimore. Main purchases were at a hardware store for duct tape, a saw, and two shovels."

Gideon looked back at Hailey. "You're going to tell me your cards were stolen, aren't you?"

"No," Hailey said. "My picture is on the cards and the company won't let the charge go through without entering information from my ID."

"Thank you, Reid, and thank Garcia for me as well," Gideon said.

"I will," Reid said. He left, shutting the door behind him. He took a deep breath to repress the anger racing through him and went to see about getting Wilson released and to the hospital under guard. He didn't want to let the man completely out of their sight until they were sure the case was closed.

***

Chapter 20

No one was surprised when Hotch didn't show the next morning. Reid took a break from the case and went to the apartment to check on his lover. "Hey."

"I don't want to know the details," Hotch said. "I'm too close to it, Spencer. I just can't."

"We know, and we're not going to talk about it around you," Reid said. He went over and put a hand on Hotch's shoulder for a minute. "We're all here if you want to talk about it though."

"Thank you," Hotch said. "One question, can we go home tonight?"

"Yeah, if you want to start packing things up, you can," Reid said. "Initial findings from the lab are enough to keep the unsub locked up for a long time. There's not going to be any bail pending trial."

Hotch sighed. "I'll get us ready to go," he said. "Is there space in your apartment for Jack's crib?"

"We might have to get a smaller one or rearrange some books," Reid said with a wry grin. "We can make it work, Hotch. It won't be for long."

"True," Hotch agreed. "How long do you think you'll be?"

"I've been keeping to the edges of the case, or Gideon is keeping me to the edges of the case, so maybe another hour or two," Reid said. "Definitely after lunch though."

"See you when you get back then," Hotch said. "Spence, thanks for everything during this."

"You're welcome," Reid said softly.
***

"Hailey told me that she's been using things she learned from Aaron to help Tom hide the bodies," Gideon said. The team was in the meeting room, minus Hotch and Garcia. "She's willing to give up locations in exchange for a deal."

"Might be worth looking into for the state," Morgan said. "Tom won't say anything other than he did it and he's not sorry. We can't even get him to tell us what was going on with the Wilsons."

"He's off the street is the important part," Gideon sighed. "Reid, how's Aaron holding up?"

"About as well as you expected him to be," Reid said. "I think he wants to put the whole thing behind him and move forward with Jack."

Elle nodded. "In a way, I'm glad Jack's as young as he is," she said. "He won't have any memories of his time with his mother to miss."

"It won't be easy, but Aaron is a strong man and can make it work," Gideon said. "He'll have all of us to help him out as well. I know I don't have to say it, but don't talk to him about this case unless he comes to you first. We all know, on paper, what he's going through, but it won't be that easy for him."

"Guess it's back to the interviews then," Morgan said. "This guy has a lawyer, but the lawyer is telling him to talk and try to make a deal. I think he knows that Tom is looking at the death penalty up in New York in addition to a bunch of other sentences. I think the lawyer is trying to get it changed to life everywhere if Tom cooperates. Too bad Tom isn't."

"Hailey's looking at life as well," Gideon said. "She admitted, in the presence of her lawyer, to killing one of the women. Brutally. I don't know what's happened to her, but this is not the woman I remember."

Reid sighed. "She got a taste of blood and it was enough to let her other side out," he said. "I wonder if we would have caught them faster if Hailey hadn't had access to Hotch's books and experience as a profiler?"

"Who knows," Gideon said. "All right, everyone, let's get through one more round of questioning and then we can take an early day and leave the police in the other cities to question the pair. Thank you all for your hard work. Reid, stay a minute, please."

"Gideon?"

"You've been on the edges, take Aaron back home and make sure he gets some sleep," Gideon said. "He has a long road ahead of him, one that is not going to be easy. He knows that we'll be there for him, but it will not be easy even with our support."

Reid nodded. "You're right," he said. "We'll have our phones on if you need us."

"Aaron and Jack need you more than the team does right now, Spencer," Gideon said. "Take him home and love him. He needs that more than anything else."

***

Chapter 21

Hotch looked around Reid's living room and sighed. "We definitely have to find a bigger place," he said. "How are we going to walk in here, Spence?"

"Carefully," Reid replied with a grin. "Come on, he's asleep. Let's grab some time for us and I'll come out when he wakes up. You need to try and get some sleep, Aaron. I know you're going to have nightmares, but it's possible I could wear you out."

"How?" Hotch asked.

"I never got a chance to show you my toy box," Reid grinned. "We know you don't want any sort of cock ring used on you, but I have a lot of other toys, Aaron. Do you feel like letting me try to wear you out enough to sleep?"

"You'll stop if I don't like it?" Hotch asked.

"All you have to do is say stop," Reid replied.

"Okay, we can try," Hotch said. He caught Reid's arm and pulled him in for a kiss. Reid moved them back towards the wall and pressed in, deepening the kiss. He knew that Hotch was letting him have control, that his older lover was stronger than he was, and Reid knew that he would have to move slowly and carefully to give Hotch exactly what he needed.

"Love kissing you, Aaron," Reid whispered, pulling back. "When we're not so tired and tense, I'm going to take my time and strip you slowly, kiss every inch of your skin as it's revealed and take you so high pleasure that you pass out. For now though, go strip for me. I'm going to get the things we need."

Hotch bit back a moan and nodded. "I love it when you talk like that, Spence," he admitted.

"Good, because I'm sure I'll be doing more of it," Reid said. "Go on, I'll be right there."

Reid double-checked Jack to make sure the baby was sleeping and would be okay for an hour on his own. Then he followed Hotch down the hall to the bedroom. "I've missed seeing you like this, Aaron," he said softly. Reid went to the closet and started digging through a few things on the floor. "Here we go, I keep this well hidden so no one ever sees it. It's easier to not have to explain what I like in bed to people who really have no business asking me about it."

"What all do you have?" Hotch asked, sitting up on the bed.

"I haven't done an inventory for a while, but I have a lot of variety," Reid replied. "For today we're going with a slender vibrator for you. It'll stretch you a little but shouldn't cause pain when inserted." He found the one he was looking for and set it on the bed. "This will take a little coordination, but I think you'll enjoy it. I can't wait until I get to slide into you, Aaron."

Hotch swallowed and settled back on the bed. He had trouble imagining himself trusting anyone that much, even Reid. The younger man looked over and smiled. "No rush," he said softly. "I know you're curious, but until you're totally comfortable with the idea, we won't do it."

"I do want to, Spence, but it's sort of daunting," Hotch said.

"I know," Reid smiled. He kissed Hotch softly and pushed back to undress. "I don't think seeing those larger toys in the box helped matters any, did it?"

"You really can take those?" Hotch asked. "I'd like to see that."

"I'll be happy to show you," Reid said. "We have plenty of time together. Lie back for me, Aaron. You get to relax and let me do the work." He knelt next to his lover and made sure the lube would be within easy reach once he was down by Hotch's hip. Reid hated working on a time table in the bedroom, but didn't think Jack would sleep much longer and he really wanted to get Hotch asleep before the baby woke up. That meant he would have to skip a lot of the early foreplay, so Reid settled into position and nipped Hotch's nipple. He rode the arch easily and nipped again before sucking on the nub. Hotch's hands came up to hold his head in place as Ried alternated between sucking and nipping, working both nipples into hard peaks. "Love how much you enjoy that, Aaron," he whispered as he started kissing down Hotch's stomach.

Hotch bit back a moan and tried to find his voice. "No one's every paid them that much attention," he managed. "Feels amazing."

"Slight stretch," Reid said. He made sure the toy was well-coated in lube and pushed it carefully into Hotch's body. "Relax Aaron, I know it feels weird. Does it hurt?"

"A little, sting more than hurt," Hotch said.

Reid nodded and turned it on low. "Don't tense up and don't fight it," he said, thrusting the toy gently. "There you go, it's going to move in a little more."

Hotch almost squawked as the vibrations ran over his prostate and his bit his lip to try and stay quiet. He didn't want to wake Jack. Reid grinned and lowered his head to take his lover's erection into his mouth. Hotch grabbed a pillow and pressed it over his face to muffle the moans he couldn't hold in. He'd wondered why Reid seemed to light up during sex. Hotch felt like he wanted to have something thicker in him and his body started to push back before moving up into Reid's mouth. Reid let him move until his whole body seized up and Hotch came harder than he had before.

"You okay?" Reid asked, carefully removing the toy.

The muttered words from under the pillow didn't make any sense, so Reid grabbed and moved it to the side. "Is that a yes?" he asked.

Hotch managed to nod. Reid chuckled and kissed his lover softly. "Sleep. I'll clean you up and take care of Jack," he said. "We'll see you for dinner."

***

Chapter 22

"I like it, Aaron," Reid said, looking around the living room of the house they were looking at. It was the tenth one they'd seen, working in appointments whenever they could around their work schedule. "It's roomy but feels cozy at the same time and there's room for everything."

Hotch nodded. "We'll have to share office space here though, Spence. Do you think we can manage that?"

"I'm used to working on the sofa," Reid shrugged. He picked up Jack, who was crawling past, and settled him on a hip. "Jack seems to like it a lot."

"Should we put in an offer then?"

"What do you think about it?"

"I've liked all of them, Spence," Hotch said with a smile. "I've been waiting for the two of you to find one that you liked."

"You're impossible," Reid sighed. "This is my favorite out of all the ones we've looked at, yes, but I don't want you to base your decision solely on my preference."

"I don't see why not, if I like the house and you like the house, then it's the one we should buy," Hotch said with a grin. He took Jack from his lover and started towards the door where the real estate agent was waiting. "We'll have to do a little work to get more bookshelves in here, but that's not a problem at all."

Reid just sighed and followed his lover. He still wasn't sure how to convince Hotch that they were equals in the relationship and Hotch didn't have to take second place in decisions. Reid really had a feeling that it all linked back to Hailey and it would just take time and patience. He was happy that he had both.
***

Gideon was the first to arrive at the house-warming party held two weeks later. "I hope I'm not too early," he said.

"Of course not, come on in," Hotch said. "Spencer is getting Jack ready. I never thought I'd see it, Jason, but they've bonded. Jack adores Spence."

"That's a good thing," Gideon smiled. "I like the feel of the house, Aaron. I think you picked well. How much work do you still have left to do?"

Hotch laughed. "I'm making bookshelves for the living room and also our office," he said. "There really wasn't much else to do once we had everything moved in and put where we wanted it."

"Oh, hi Gideon, I thought I heard the doorbell," Reid said, walking into the living room. He put Jack down on the floor and leaned against the sofa.

"Spencer, I wanted to come a little early and check on you both," Gideon said. "Neither of you has had an easy time recently."

"With the cases over, I think things will be better," Hotch said softly. The Bureau had shielded him from the worst of the press surrounding Hailey's trial, but reporters still tried to get to him for questions. "I still have to figure out what to tell Jack when he's older, but I have time to do that. If not for Spencer helping out, I think I might have fallen apart long before this."

Gideon nodded. "I'm surprised the Bureau took the news of your relationship as well as they did, especially considering how they found out."

"I was too, but they said something about it being a new era and every life-style was welcome in our ranks," Hotch said. "The supervisor part was a little harder for them to overlook, but with you there, they said you can do his performance reviews."

"It's a small price to pay to have you both happy," Gideon said with a smile. "Anyone who looks at you can see how much you belong together. Treasure the love, both of you. It brings me hope."

Owing to budget constrictions when the BAU team was traveling, which seemed to be ninety percent of the time, they had to share rooms. None of them really minded, except perhaps Jason Gideon, as they never spent that much time at the hotels anyway.

When they ended up in Nashville chasing a particularly nasty predator, Spencer Reid found himself sharing a room with his boss, Aaron Hotchner. When the team dragged back to the hotel around eleven at night, everyone went right for their rooms and the scant few hours of sleep they thought they could spare from the case. Everyone, save Reid, who thought he had seen something in the case files and wanted to review them one last time before he turned in so his mind would work over them while he was asleep. So he wouldn't disturb Hotch, who had been looking extra tired of late, Reid decided to sit in the lobby and read.

As he expected, by the time he got to the room, Hotch had all the lights out and was likely already asleep. Reid tucked his satchel into the closet as quietly as he could, closed the door behind him and was almost blinded when he turned on the bathroom light. As he brushed his teeth, Reid debated the best way to work out which bed was his without turning on a light. By the time he had stripped down to his boxers he decided that he'd prod the foot of the bed closest to the door to see if Hotch was there. Gideon had mentioned that he and Hotch couldn't share a room because they both preferred the bed closest to the window.

After blinking a few times to try and readjust his eyes to the darkness, Reid made his way slowly and carefully out into the bedroom and ghosted his hands over as much of the bed as he could reach. When he didn't feel anything there, he ran his hands over as much of the bed as he could and still didn't feel anything. Reid bit his lip and considered for a moment before pulling the covers back and climbing in.

"I think I'm in my bed," he whispered as he rolled over.

"Actually," an amused, sleepy voice said as the light over the bed clicked on, "I think you made a wrong turn somewhere."

Reid stared frozen into Hotch's brown eyes. The older man had been sleeping curled up on his side, so he just stretched out and propped his head up on his hand. "Is there anything you want to tell me, Reid?"

"Hotch, I'm so sorry," Reid finally managed to reply. His eyes were wide and he didn't seem to be able to break eye contact with his boss. "I didn't want to wake you up because you've been looking so tired lately so I didn't want to turn on the lights. And I remembered what Gideon said about which bed you preferred and I'll just move now."

"Stay," Hotch said. He reached out with his free hand and placed it gently on Reid's arm. "If you want to, that is."

"Hotch, the last thing I'd expect is for you to force me to have sex with you or punish me for not doing so," Reid said. "Okay, truthfully the last thing I'd expect from you is for you to come roller skating into the BAU in an evening gown dancing and singing."

The older man blinked a few times and then rolled onto his back laughing. He grabbed for a pillow to muffle the noise so he wouldn't wake his teammates sleeping in the next room. Reid was amazed. He couldn't recall the last time he had seen his boss laugh so hard and his lips started to twitch a little in response. He found himself just watching as Hotch's laughter eased and finally stopped.

"There are days I forget exactly how your mind works," Hotch said, his voice muffled by the pillow. "What color was it?"

"Navy blue with black and white accents," Reid replied.

"And the skates?"

"Hotch."

Hotch lifted up the pillow and reached out to run a finger along Reid's cheek. "I'm sorry," he said, lips twitching. "You're right that this is a very serious moment and there are better things we could be doing with our time."

"Like sleeping," Reid said. "You've been looking like a zombie lately, Hotch."

"From an A or B movie?" Hotch asked. He chuckled as Reid flopped back down onto the bed and took the opportunity to pull the younger man in against and then under him. "What I need to be able to sleep, Spencer, is physical release. I haven't told anyone this but Haley refuses to sleep in the same bed with me anymore and has actually been gone for the past month. I don't know if she's ever going to be coming home again. But I haven't been able to get hard since she left and that's why I've been so grumpy."

"I can help," Reid smiled. He used his hips in a move Morgan had taught him for self defense and rolled so he was on top. "Can you get hard at all? I mean have you tried watching movies, reading stories, things like that?"

"No and no," Hotch said closing his eyes. They snapped open again at the feel of a slender body sliding down his own. "Spencer, what are you doing?"

"If you can't figure that out then it really has been too long," Reid said. "Where's your tie, Aaron?"

"In the closet with my suit," Hotch replied.

"Strip for me," Reid said. He pushed off the bed and dug around for a moment, coming up with a slender black tie, a tube, and a small package. "I'll use one of mine, Aaron, so we don't stain yours. Do you always wear silk ties?"

Hotch was entranced watching Reid slip off his underwear and it took a moment for the question to register with his brain. "As often as I can," he finally managed to say. "Is that a problem?"

"Only if you want to explain the stains on it the next day," Reid smirked. He rejoined his boss soon to be lover on the bed and leaned in for a soft, reassuring kiss. Reid let his lips glide slowly over Hotch's own and worked to keep it light as well. Hotch finally made a noise of protest in his throat, slid his hands into Reid's hair and deepened the kiss, tongues meeting and tasting for the first time.

"Do you want me to tell you what I've been dreaming about doing to you?" Reid asked once he'd caught his breath.

"Yes," Hotch replied.

"I'd start by taking you to my apartment," Reid said softly as he ran his hands over Hotch's chest searching for hot spots. "I've got a toy box there that I think you'll really enjoy. Once I have you in my room I'll strip you and cuff you to my bed. Then, once I have you completely at my mercy, it'll be time to open up the box and play."

Hotch moaned as he felt a twitch in his groin. He'd never been into games or toys in the bedroom and wondered, briefly, if it was his tastes that were changing or just the fact that it was Spencer Reid whispering the words in his ear.

"How do you feel about feathers, Aaron?"

"Feathers?" Hotch asked, distracted by the fact that Reid was naked and sitting on his thighs.

"The soft slide down your chest and over your nipples, both tickling and arousing as it dances slowly over your skin," Reid said as he ghosted his fingers over bare skin. "I have a couple of toys with feathers on them that I can start with. Or, if you like, I can start by stretching your ass open and sliding a vibrator into you, making sure to angle it just right so it hits your prostate. Then I can put you in a cock ring and use a smaller vibrator to drive you crazy. How sensitive are your nipples, Aaron?"

"I'm not sure," Hotch replied. His hips started to push up for more contact. It all felt so good that he didn't want to stop. For all his confidence in asking Reid to stay with him, Hotch had never had a male lover before and wasn't sure about some of the things Reid had mentioned. None of his female lovers, or his wife, had taken the time to explore what made Hotch feel good. It was always up to him to make sure they were satisfied.

Hotch found himself grabbing for the pillow again as Reid leaned forward and lapped as his right nipple. He had never been overly vocal either and he didn't think a hotel room with his team sleeping close by was the place to discover that fact about himself.

Reid chuckled. "I have gags too, Aaron," he whispered. "But you won't have to stay quiet at my place if you don't want to." He rolled to the side and picked up the slender tie that had been lying so innocently on the bed.

"What are you going to do with that?" Hotch asked.

"Haven't you noticed, Aaron?" Reid smiled. He reached out and stroked down Hotch's erection with the tip of his finger. "You're hard and leaking for me and I just want to be sure you stay like that for a while."

"Don't tease me, Spencer, please," Hotch said. He held back a shudder at the thought of the tie, or anything, tied around his cock. It just didn't seem like it would feel good.

"Hmmm," Reid said, studying his lover for a moment before dropping the tie. "We'll have to play around a little to find out what your limits are. But trust me for now, Aaron. And keep the pillow ready."

It was a fair warning as Hotch was scrambling for the pillow as Reid's mouth slowly surrounded the head of his erection. The older man moaned deep in his throat as long silent nerves awoke and sparked as a slick tongue worked his erection like it was a treat. He couldn't remember how long it had been since he'd had someone willing to perform on him like this. Hailey had tried it once and refused, saying she didn't like it. Hotch had never pressed the issue again and he was starting to wonder why.

Reid's hands fastened onto Hotch's hips to keep the thrusts moderately under control. He wanted to have Hotch's first time be in a place other than a hotel room, but also wanted to get his new lover relaxed enough to be able to sleep and finish the case. So he put every trick he knew into play, sucking, licking and moving. He had a feeling that it wouldn't take long for Hotch to climax as it sounded like the other man had been on edge for far too long.

Hotch cried out into the pillow as he came. Reid swallowed quickly and then spent some time just licking his lover clean. "Spencer," Hotch panted letting the pillow drop back onto the bed. "What do I do?"

"You don't have to do anything," Reid said. "I was serious, Aaron. When we get home, I'm taking you to my apartment and I'm going to show you exactly how special you are. How much you deserve to be loved and treated properly."

"I want to touch you," Hotch said. He reached down and found that Reid was hard. It felt strange to be holding another man's cock in his hand, but the look on Reid's face was enough to erase the doubt in Hotch's mind. He stroked up and down slowly, doing what normally felt good to him and watched Reid for clues. It didn't take long for him to figure out that the younger man liked a firm touch with a slight twist in each stroke and used the information to his full advantage until he had Reid moaning into a pillow of his own.

"Aaron," Reid moaned. "I'm close."

Hotch leaned in and just kissed the tip of Reid's erection. The feel of lips on his cock was enough to push Reid over the edge and he screamed into the pillow. Hotch brought his hand up to his mouth and licked some of the semen off his fingers. It was an unusual taste, one he knew that he'd be able to adjust to without any problems.

"You didn't have to do that," Reid said softly.

"I wanted to," Hotch said. He shifted back up for another kiss. "Thank you, Spencer, I think I'll be able to sleep now."

"I'm not going to let you go any time soon, Aaron," Reid said. He waited until the other man was settled and then wrapped around him. "We'll make sure you're relaxed and able to sleep every night. Starting just as soon as we get home again."

***

Chapter 22

"I like it, Aaron," Reid said, looking around the living room of the house they were looking at. It was the tenth one they'd seen, working in appointments whenever they could around their work schedule. "It's roomy but feels cozy at the same time and there's room for everything."

Hotch nodded. "We'll have to share office space here though, Spence. Do you think we can manage that?"

"I'm used to working on the sofa," Reid shrugged. He picked up Jack, who was crawling past, and settled him on a hip. "Jack seems to like it a lot."

"Should we put in an offer then?"

"What do you think about it?"

"I've liked all of them, Spence," Hotch said with a smile. "I've been waiting for the two of you to find one that you liked."

"You're impossible," Reid sighed. "This is my favorite out of all the ones we've looked at, yes, but I don't want you to base your decision solely on my preference."

"I don't see why not, if I like the house and you like the house, then it's the one we should buy," Hotch said with a grin. He took Jack from his lover and started towards the door where the real estate agent was waiting. "We'll have to do a little work to get more bookshelves in here, but that's not a problem at all."

Reid just sighed and followed his lover. He still wasn't sure how to convince Hotch that they were equals in the relationship and Hotch didn't have to take second place in decisions. Reid really had a feeling that it all linked back to Hailey and it would just take time and patience. He was happy that he had both.
***

Gideon was the first to arrive at the house-warming party held two weeks later. "I hope I'm not too early," he said.

"Of course not, come on in," Hotch said. "Spencer is getting Jack ready. I never thought I'd see it, Jason, but they've bonded. Jack adores Spence."

"That's a good thing," Gideon smiled. "I like the feel of the house, Aaron. I think you picked well. How much work do you still have left to do?"

Hotch laughed. "I'm making bookshelves for the living room and also our office," he said. "There really wasn't much else to do once we had everything moved in and put where we wanted it."

"Oh, hi Gideon, I thought I heard the doorbell," Reid said, walking into the living room. He put Jack down on the floor and leaned against the sofa.

"Spencer, I wanted to come a little early and check on you both," Gideon said. "Neither of you has had an easy time recently."

"With the cases over, I think things will be better," Hotch said softly. The Bureau had shielded him from the worst of the press surrounding Hailey's trial, but reporters still tried to get to him for questions. "I still have to figure out what to tell Jack when he's older, but I have time to do that. If not for Spencer helping out, I think I might have fallen apart long before this."

Gideon nodded. "I'm surprised the Bureau took the news of your relationship as well as they did, especially considering how they found out."

"I was too, but they said something about it being a new era and every life-style was welcome in our ranks," Hotch said. "The supervisor part was a little harder for them to overlook, but with you there, they said you can do his performance reviews."

"It's a small price to pay to have you both happy," Gideon said with a smile. "Anyone who looks at you can see how much you belong together. Treasure the love, both of you. It brings me hope."

***