Status: complete

All the Madness in the World


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." – Helen Keller


The notion of feeling safe is a strange one, able to be associated with a variety of things. Safety can be under a blanket or in a parent’s room or in a familiar town. Safety can be a favourite toy or a house of worship or string of words. For me, safety was him. Safety was in his arms.

I could see the ocean from where we stood, waiting for us just beyond the glass doors that led to the backyard. I could see the dock where we’d lounged during the day, the pail I’d used to douse him with water when he’d fallen asleep on the beach, the lumps that had once been a sand castle when the children inside of us came out to play.

Rossi had been kind enough to lend us the key to his summer home for the weekend, and Jack was safe at Jessica’s while the two of us celebrated our second anniversary. The fact that we had gotten the time off work was a miracle in and of itself, everything else was just extra. The wine bottle was standing empty on the dining table: a reminder of the dinner he’d cooked up himself.

It was only a few months after the hostage situation that he’d proposed: and of course, he had to do it in front of the team so they could all see me weeping like a fool before I finally stammered out a yes. It was a spring wedding: the kind I never imagined myself having. Everyone important was there: the whole team, Jack’s brother and mother, Jessica, some other family on his side that I’d never had the chance to meet before, and even Spencer’s mom was able to make it.

His memory was astounding, because the record he’d set up on Rossi’s ancient record player was the very same one we’d first danced to as newlyweds: Ben E. King’s Stand by Me. I admired my ring, the gold and silver band with a purple gemstone, as we swayed around in circles. I sighed, laying my head on his shoulder and knowing in my core that this was where I was meant to be. All roads led to this.

When the needle hit the end of the vinyl and returned to its spot, filling the room with silence, we stood there for a minute. We parted a little, still holding each other, and he tucked a stray hair behind my ear. I brought my hands down and began to fiddle with the collar of his shirt.

“Do we have to go back tomorrow?” I complained quietly, cracking a smile as he laughed. “We could just stay here…or we could buy a boat and live on the water. We could be pirates, Aaron. Think of the possibilities!”

“Pirates?” He teased, raising one eyebrow at me. “That’s really the first thing your mind went to?”

“Pirates make their own shift times.” I reasoned, kissing him. “They don’t have to work for their gold, the get fancy weapons—”

“They steal, the murder, and they had pretty poor hygiene.”

“Killjoy.” I moped, wrapping my arms around his neck once more. He smiled, pressing his lips to mine. He looked at me for a moment in silence.

“I love you.” I should have gotten numb to this by now. All of this, all the “honeymoon stage” things that were supposed to disappear after the first 365 days, I was supposed to be used to it by now. Everything pointed to the notion that whatever love we had would slowly begin to die the minute we said “I do,” but it hadn’t happened yet.

“I love you more.” Little things he did still made my heart flutter. He could look at me a certain way and make me feel like I was the only thing he saw in the world. He could hold me and touch me and kiss me like it was the very first time. They were silly things, but they still made me feel like a little school girl with a crush on the popular boy. The difference was that he was mine and I was his, completely.

My hands trailed down his neck to his chest, pausing for a moment before tugging up at the edge of his shirt until he let me peel it off. He worked at the zipper at the back of my dress, letting the fabric fall to the ground as he pulled me backwards to the bedroom.

I pushed him backwards onto the mattress before crawling on top of him, our bare skin brushing as I crashed my lips onto his. I had managed, in the past two years, to pull this off in his office on two separate occasions. Both times had been, of course, on late nights when we were between cases and drowning in nothing but paperwork. He liked to pretend we didn’t, because it was so overwhelmingly against every rule, but I teased him about it all the time. It was nice to know he had a weakness, and that it was me.

His hands gripped my waist as I straddled him, bracing myself on his chest before meeting our hips. He let his hands wander my body before he wrapped an arm around me, sitting up straight and holding me against him. His lips moved up my neck to mine and I gripped his shoulders, resting my forehead against his own. The sound of the waves was rolling in through the open doors that lead to a picturesque vista; the smell of salt finding its way to my nostrils as I took shallow breaths.

I pressed my mouth to his shoulder, trying desperately to muffle the noises escaping me despite the fact there was no one around to hear. Old habits. He turned me around in his grasp and my hands grabbed hold of the footboard, skin tingling as he pressed his chest to my back. I could feel the low moans reverberate against me as he wrapped his hands over mine.

He kissed my neck and shoulder, his legs pressing hard against mine. One hand trailed all the way down my front, sending shockwaves through my body. My muscles tensed up as he laid his head on my shoulder. My nails dug into the varnished wood as I struggled to take in as much air as I was letting out. I cursed under my breath and he paused for a moment, giving me a moment to breathe as I turned, laying my back on the sheets while he ran a hand down my side.

He pressed his lips to mine and I wound my hands behind his neck, desperate to keep him close. He tangled one hand in my hair, muffling my moans with his mouth until my head lolled backwards. With a final cry my body tensed around him and he held me against his chest for a few moments longer. We fell away from each other and after I had a minute to recuperate I rolled over, lying on his chest.

I was perfectly content to just lay there for hours. Maybe I’d drag him to the beach later; maybe we’d light the fireplace; maybe we’d just stay inside and find a movie to watch (if Rossi had anything that wasn’t atrocious). All I knew was that anywhere would be fine, so long as it was with him.

After everything that we’d been through, after all that had happened to the both of us, it was just nice to have a place, have a person to call home. My fingers brushed against the scar on my neck and I wondered if it would ever properly fade away. Despite how long it had been I still had nightmares, still woke up some nights thinking I was locked in that basement with him waiting to burn. But he was there to calm my screams; he was there to help me remember that it was over, that it was all just a bad chapter in my life that I’d already written. It was over. He was gone.

And although going through that, reliving those four months in the basement with Miller was an experience that would change me as much as the first time; it changed me in a different way when I had the team to help me recover.

Have you ever had something in your life and some days you just sit there and wonder how you ever survived without them? What on earth you did before they existed? It’s like having that thing, those people in your life, has changed you so deeply and impacted the way you live so drastically that functioning without them just doesn’t even feel like an option anymore. They complete you, they are a part of you essential to the whole.

All of them, I couldn’t go a day without them. I couldn’t remember how I lived before we’d become a family. It was this fantastic circle of mutual dependence, of unwavering love and friendship. They were the greatest group of people I’d ever met, and I would give my life a thousand times over to keep any one of them safe.

“Is that your phone?” His voice drew me from my thoughts and I groaned, clinging closer to him and refusing to move.

“Just ignore it. Probably just Spencer calling to say he’s killed another one of my fish.”

He laughed at the remark, wrapping his arm tighter around me and kissing the top of my head. I listened as the buzzing continued a few more times and then took solace in the silence. A breeze flew in through the open doors, turning the curtains into flags and chilling my sweat-covered skin. I was considering whether or not to just fall asleep right then and there when my phone buzzed again.

“Give me a break…” I muttered, crawling over Hotch to the bedside table and flipping the phone open. “This better be good.”

“Enjoying the summer house?” Rossi asked, immediately taking the snark I would have used with Spencer out of my voice. I told him how much we were enjoying it and how much I appreciated it but he seemed to have more important things to say. “I’m hate to cut the getaway short—you know I wouldn’t call unless I had to—but we’ve got a case. A big one.”

“Big as in it can wait till morning?” I whined, knowing full well what his answer would be.

“Big as in we’re bringing everyone in as soon as possible.” He said regrettably as I sighed. “Sorry kiddo. We need you guys on the case.”

“Alright. We’ll be there as soon as we can.” I said goodbye and threw my phone onto the table, looking over at Hotch. He was propped up on his elbow, looking at me with raised eyebrows. I couldn’t help but smile, knowing we were going to have to savour our last moments in this place before we returned to the harsh reality of our jobs.

“Well?” He asked, one hand reaching out and absently tracing designs on my leg. I crawled forward, bringing his lips to mine before sitting up straight again.

“It looks like vacation is over.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Well...that's the end. Oh God. I can't believe it's over.
Thank you SO much to those of you who commented and commented frequently because honestly it made me feel so much more secure and confident about what I was posting. I truly hope you enjoyed this story, I had a lot of fun writing it!

Keep an eye out for my blogs to find out about any future stories and please feel free to message me!

And just for kicks, you can find a picture of the ring here.