Status: complete

All the Madness in the World

Giving In

"The ultimate choice for a man, in as much as he is given to transcend himself, is to create or destroy, to love or to hate." – Erich Fromm


Already he had begun the rounds; wandering in and out of the rooms with rehearsed familiarity. Steps he’d taken so many times before there would be grooves worn into the wood soon enough. I didn’t bother to contain the smile on my face as he made it all the way to the closet at the end of the hall before stopping. Only then did he turn with a half confused-half amused look and laugh.

“Old habits, I guess.” He shrugged out of his jacket and slung it over one of the breakfast stools before joining me on the couch. These spots were so claimed by our bodies in these specific positions that I imagined the imprints that would be left.

These were things that went unnoticed: the little things that proved that yes, at some point in the past or present someone lived in this space. Worn floorboards, imprinted couches, pennies lodged between cushions, water spots on plumbing fixtures—these things could not be alphabetized or organized or colour-coded.

After spending enough time with anyone you learned to respect the unspoken claims that were made on certain objects. The middle cushion was always mine—the right, his; I always used light-coloured mugs—him, dark; the bottom-most hook on any given coat rack was always my first choice—his, the top. Like counting freckles, you never noticed how numerous these tidbits of uniqueness were; nor, most times, how important they were despite their minute size and significance in the grand scheme of things.

But these were all the structure of our lives. Reliable things that could be noticed when needed and ignored when not. It was kind of like the way we all have memories that seem pointless: a tree in the school yard or a stranger’s face you only saw once or a completely un-remarkable fragment of an abhorrently average day. If we only remembered important things, well, we’d have quite a poor life to recall.

“What’s up?”

His voice tore me from my day-dreaming and I looked over at him. His eyebrows were raised slightly and he turned towards me more as if he thought I had something important to say. But I didn’t. Have anything to say. But there was something I’d been waiting a long time to do, and for some reason I felt like if I didn’t do it now I never would. So, without hesitating a moment longer, I leaned forward and pulled his lips to mine. For a moment, at least, he indulged me; but soon enough he pulled away.


“What?” I said, slightly irritated. “Hotch, I like to think I’m half-decent at my job—you know, reading people?”

“It…It isn’t that, it’s just…”

“What then?” I huffed, sitting back. “Look, if you tell me you’re not feeling this then I’ll back off and we’ll act like none of this ever happened. But if there’s any part of you that feels something more...”

“It’s not that simple.” I held his eyes for a moment, waiting for something more, but that was where he stopped. With a sigh I began to push myself up, but he reached out to keep me put. “Wait…Natasha there’s just so many factors that need considering.”

“Like what?”

“Our jobs, for instance. There’s protocol involving—”

“Penelope and Kevin. The team all knows about them, they never got reported.”

“Have you considered the possibility that maybe I’m too old for—”

“Hotch, do you really think I would have kissed you if I gave a damn about that kind of thing?”

“Then there’s the issue of…Jack.” At this I calmed, because it wasn’t something that could just be dismissed.

“That, I can understand. If…if we’re going to do this and Jack decides he doesn’t like what’s going on then we’ll call it quits. He comes first, I get that.” He wore a weary expression. I cupped his face in my hands, forcing his eyes to mine. “Look Aaron…You kind of get your priorities straight when you’re almost stabbed to death. I don’t want to hide things anymore; I don’t want any more games.”

For a while—it felt like an eternity, though it was probably only a few moments—his eyes searched mine; looking, looking for some other reason to throw at me or an obstacle we’d have to overcome. I wasn’t stupid enough to think he was doing this because he didn’t want something more: he was doing it because he did, and they were just the reason and logic side of him trying to make themselves heard. Left brain versus right ventricle. Or collective unconsciousness.

Eventually, with nowhere left to run, head caved to heart and he gave in. His hands were steady as they rose to pull me towards him. In a heartbeat his hand flattened against my back, bringing me closer to him. I didn’t hesitate to crawl forward, securing my arms around his neck. My heart was racing, fingers winding their way into his hair. I began to tug at his tie, getting to my feet and pulling him with me. Taking careful steps backwards, we inched down the hall and into the first door on the right. He stopped at the threshold as I worked open the knot of his tie.


“Oh just shut up and take your goddamn shirt off.”

Without waiting for his approval I removed my own, eagerly meeting his lips once more as we shed our layers in unison. Layers of tension, layers of boundaries, layers and layers of paperwork, they fell to the floor in crumpled heaps of uselessness. These forgotten barriers that we willingly forbade from separating us any longer.

The curtains were closed—just as they were any day after 5 o’clock. It was always to ensure privacy (although more recent events had called for their permanent closure) not that there was usually anything to see. However tonight’s would-be Peeping Toms would have done well to bring a blanket and popcorn. They would be on the edge of their seats as my back met the mattress, his fingers winding into mine as his lips moved down my neck and chest.

This was definitely not in the job description.

I wondered if he’d been with anyone since his wife died; he definitely wasn’t the one-night stand type. I hadn’t given the possibility of this scenario much thought, but the times I did I always predicted it to feel the same as it had with Luke. With him it was never like this. Never comfortable or safe. It was too angry, but maybe that was just Deimos. I hurried to push the thought out of my head. All I knew was that with Luke it was difficult enough because although a few years had passed I kept thinking about what Ares did to me. For so long any form of intimacy had been ruined—even with Luke I didn’t have that. I thought it had been lost. But I’d had much longer to get over it now, to move on.

Things were different.

He was gentle and attentive and in tune with everything I felt. He knew, without me having to say a word, what the boundaries were. What to do but more importantly what not to. He kept bringing his lips to mine, the action muffling the sounds escaping me. His hands released mine, one trailing over the bumps marking where I’d been sown back together before slipping under my arched back and the other tucking under my head. My hands wound up and secured themselves behind his neck.

Eyes rolling into the back of my head, the lungs in my chest worked overtime to keep up with the pace of my breath, the rate of my heart. I thought about the weirdness of the whole situation as my head lolled back onto the pillow. I struggled to control myself as my nails scraped down his neck, musing at the absolute correctness of everything. How it felt, but more importantly who it was with. Things felt safe.

Things felt right.


“Hotch, what happened to your neck?” Spencer asked, eyeing the red marks trailing out from behind his collar. I held my breath and did my best to act like I didn’t recognize the nail marks I’d left behind. He was quick to come up with a cover story, but unlike Spencer and the others Derek didn’t seem to be buying it.

“I went camping with Jack last weekend and the mosquitos were horrible.” Hotch kept his eyes on the file in his hands as everyone’s focus shifted back to whatever they were doing before. Except, of course, Derek. He turned to me, analyzing my every nervous twitch.

“You like camping, don’t you Tash?” He challenged. Inside I was squirming—but I had to focus on my current objective: successfully duping a plane full of behavioural analysts. My eyes did not grow wide, I did not shift my body away from Derek or put anything between us. Instead I took the cheap way out.

“Actually, I’ve never been. The closest I ever got to the woods was when a psychopath trapped me there.”

That quickly killed the conversation and I resisted the urge to glance over at Hotch. I wanted to get up, to move far away from Derek and the knowing looks he kept throwing at me—but to do that would be to inadvertently admit he was right. He probably knew he was, anyways, judging from what he’d said when I was in the hospital about Hotch’s actions.

Derek knew Hotch had been at my place yesterday. I began to panic, thinking what if he came by my place yesterday and heard us? But it didn’t make sense: not once in our entire friendship had Derek ever just ‘dropped in’ on me. He always called first—and we rarely ever hung out at my place. We always went out somewhere. No, he didn’t hear anything. I would still have to do some damage control when we landed, though. I had to do something to stop any future plans of his for ongoing innuendos.

I tried to focus on the case but my mind just kept drifting to the previous night’s events. This was exactly why fraternization between coworkers wasn’t allowed. It caused distractions and removed all objectivity. Hotch seemed to do a great job at pretending like nothing was different; I just needed to learn to be more like him. Separate work life from private life. But I couldn’t get two sentences into a paragraph without my thoughts leaving the page.

We hadn’t even properly discussed what on earth it was we were; what this thing was that we were involved in. I figured it was best that we didn’t explicitly give it a name. It would be easier to deny if there wasn’t an official title. And there I was again: overthinking everything for the hundredth time. I forced myself into the case file, gluing my eyes to every detail in an attempt to actually do what I was trying to: read the stupid file.

“Morgan and Natasha take victimology, Reid—see if there’s any geographical profile you can make. Rossi and Prentiss with me, we’ll visit the first crime scene. JJ I need you to stay at the station in case any more families come forward.”

Part of me wondered if this was Hotch’s attempt at helping me without communicating. Pairing Derek and I together would give me the opportunity I needed to shut him up, stop him before he really started. If there was anything I was certain of in regards to Hotch and I, it was that we absolutely had to keep things quiet. I figured I could wait until Derek and I were alone and then ask him about. With a plan set in motion I could at last find the control to focus on reading the case file.

When we landed I was almost anxious to get off the plane. It meant I was getting closer to putting my fears to rest. We went through the usual actions—greetings with the police chief or lead detective, a quick tour of our temporary facilities and a promise that we’d been linked up to Garcia. The team sat down for one last run-over in our designated meeting room before breaking and setting out to do each predetermined job.

Spencer and JJ were taking longer to leave, though, and so I tried to come up with a casual way to make them disappear. Spencer was pacing around the room searching for the map that he’d requested over the phone. JJ was on the phone with her husband, her panicked tone regarding something about Henry dissipating as she was reassured. I kept my eyes averted from Derek as I sifted through the files that were left for us to use. After a few minutes JJ told Will she had to call him back and that another call was coming through. Another family had come forward as having suspected being victimized by our unsub. She started to walk out of the room as she delivered directions on what they needed to bring.

“Spence, why don’t you ask Saunders where he put the map?” I offered as JJ left the room. He stood with a perplexed look on his face as he scanned the room for any hiding places he might have missed.

“I guess I’ll have to.”

“Morgan, you need to stop.” I said quietly once the room was cleared out. He smirked as he turned to me, crossing his arms across his chest and tilting his head to the side.

“Stop what, T-Bird?” He pushed. I rolled my eyes and turned away from him, shaking my head.

“You know what.”

“So I’m right, then?” He followed me around the room as I started to pin up the pictures of the deceased on the evidence board. “You and Hotch?”

“Shut up!” I hissed, spinning around to face him. I looked around anxiously to make sure no one was around to hear. “I’m serious, Derek. You can’t keep dropping hints. No one else can know. You aren’t even supposed to know.”

“Alright, I hear you Tash.” He eased up on the cockiness, but the smile didn’t fade. “So how long has it been?”

“I am not discussing this with you. Least of all now, we’ve got a case to work.”

“You’ll have to tell me eventually, girl.”

“Oh yeah?” I challenged, looking him dead in the eye. “I guess everyone should know about the time you got completely wasted and I caught your antics on film?”

“Blackmail, now that is a criminal offence.”

“Trust me, so were half the things you did that night.”

“Check and mate.” He laughed in defeat, helping me set up the boards. And, just as quickly as the teasing had begun, he switched right back into Profiler mode. “Alright, so what’ve we got?”
♠ ♠ ♠
And they FINALLY hook up. It only took a few months, a serial killer, and a near-death experience for it to happen.

Hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as I did!