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REPOST: Fic - My shadow stays with me (CM, Hotch/Reid)
by e. (madeofsequins)
at May 27th, 2010 (01:38 pm)
Tags: ,

Title: My Shadow Stays With Me
Pairing: Hotch/Reid
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1384
Warnings/spoilers: Very vague spoilers through 5x07
Summary/prompt: :"And I want to wake up with the rain falling on a tin roof, while I'm safe there in your arms. So all I ask is for you to come away with me in the night."
A/N: Takes place before 5x09. Title from Eddie Vedder’s “Far Behind.” Written for slash_girl for the 2009 cm_exchange (original posted here).


Reid starts to work late more days than not as fall rolls into winter, preferring the after-hours quiet of the office to the steamy, crowded metro and nothing to come home to but wilting lettuce and overdo library books.

The office is quieter after five but not empty. Morgan often stays late now, working in his office with the door swung wide open. Garcia, too, puts in a few extra hours sometimes, holed up in her lair, but her sunny presence can be felt through closed doors and office walls. JJ leaves right on time as often as she can, eager to get home to Henry, but she never fails to stop by Reid’s desk to wish him a good evening, sometimes accompanied by a granola bar or her leftovers from lunch. And Hotch, of course, seems to have taken up permanent residence in his office, settled in and working before the rest of them arrive in the morning and still there when the last of the working-late finally call it a day.

Hotch is different after-hours. Always driven and focused during the day, he becomes sharper, quieter, and somehow exponentially more dangerous the minute the clock strikes five and he shuts his office door, shifting his intensity from their current case to Foyet. He comes out through the bullpen every once in a while to use the bathroom or refill his coffee. His eyes meet Reid’s as he passes through. He doesn’t smile, but he nods, and the lines in his face seem to ease a little. Reid twists his fingers around his pen as feelings he can’t put a name to press heavily on his breastbone.

--

Morgan begins to adjust to his new workload and leaves in time to have a real evening now, most days. Kevin often swings by to leave with Garcia around the same time. The decreased activity in the office should feel too quiet, too empty, maybe, but it doesn’t.

Reid starts to brew a double batch of coffee at five. Hotch starts leaving the door to his office open.

--

Fall and winter in Virginia don’t bring bitingly cold days or feet of snow, just seemingly endless days upon days of rain. On a particularly wet and dark Friday, everyone but Hotch and Reid clears out of the office by five thirty. By six twenty, Hotch has yet to emerge from his office for his usual evening coffee refill, presumably deeply involved on a new lead, a new thought, or maybe just a new strand of hope

Adapting to the routine and trying not to think about it too much (or at all, really), Reid carries the carafe of not-so-freshly-brewed Folgers to Hotch’s office and pours what’s left in his empty mug. The mug is white with the name and address of Jack’s school printed in bright red. Reid has never been there, but he can place the location immediately. Jack wouldn’t be going there now, though.

With the mug filled and the pot empty, Reid can suddenly feel the silence around them. Uncomfortable, he steps back to leave and starts to calculate how much longer his current pile of paperwork will take. Hotch looks up from the papers on his desk, then, catches Reid’s gaze with much more intensity than any bullpen run-through has ever yielded.

“Why don’t you bring your work in here?” Hotch asks, eyes sliding to the table against the wall and back. “It’s just the two of us left this evening.”

Reid cracks a half-smile. “In general, productivity increases when people work in close proximity of one another.”

He walks back to the bullpen, trading the coffeepot for two manila folders and his favorite, albeit chewed-on, pen. They work well into the late evening, mostly in comfortable silence punctuated by case-related questions and the occasional bit of small talk. Hotch mentions the long wait between metro trains at this late hour and offers Reid a ride home at the end of the night.

Reid fiddles with the radio for a few minutes before settling on a classical station, sharing Mozart trivia over the sound of rain pounding down on the roof and windows. When Hotch drops him off at his apartment with a small smile and a “goodnight, Reid,” he feels the same rush of accomplishment he gets from making a breakthrough on a case or solving a math problem. He takes a long moment to unbuckle his seatbelt and exit the car, reciprocating Hotch’s “goodnight” before he opens the door and walks into the downpour.

--

Reid takes to working in Hotch’s office most evenings. The smaller, lamp-lit space feels somehow safer and a little further away from the pain and danger they analyze every day. He finds that he and Hotch brush up against each other more than what’s probably necessary on their ways in, out, and around. He concludes it’s subconsciously intentional and tables the thoughts that follow that one for a later time.

The long, dark nights stretch into weeks. There’s something nearly cozy about the soft light of the office lamps, the comfort of the expensive leather chairs, rain noisily pattering against the windows. Something is building, something small, sweet, and hopeful here in the midst of darkness and destruction.

--

It should seem sudden when it comes, but it doesn’t. They’re drinking coffee in Hotch’s office, paperwork long since put away (if only the accompanying worries were, as well), Reid sprawled comfortably and diagonally across the chair that’s become his, Hotch upright in his own. He listens to Reid talk about potential upcoming climate change legislation while re-reading the relevant article from that morning’s Post.

Reid gets up from his chair to read over Hotch’s shoulder, letting a hand fall on his back when he leans further in to focus on the tiny newspaper text.

Hotch stops reading and looks up at Reid, whose eyes are still moving rapidly, taking in the article. “Let me take you home,” he says, voice warm and low and inviting much more than just a car ride.

Reid looks up, then, gaze dark and steady beneath his eyelashes. He blinks once, unsurprised, and nods, squeezing Hotch’s shoulder once before sliding his hand away, hobbling out the office to put away his folders and retrieve his bag. Hotch watches him descend into the bullpen before moving to gather his own things. Though his worries are still very much present and prevalent in his thoughts, something else in his mind settles slowly but surely into place. It feels foreign but undeniably right.

--

If Hotch was expecting Reid to be shy or uncomfortable (which he wasn’t, really, since he wasn’t expecting anything at all; the decision to invite Reid home had been spontaneous although rooted in a logical build-up), he would have been mistaken. Reid is quiet but self-assured, comfortable in his own being and the knowledge that he is here at Hotch’s invitation.

They drink white wine with ice cubes in it; Hotch doesn’t expect the company of anyone but serial killers these days, and the bottle was unopened and unchilled. Reid looks, strangely, not at all out of place in Hotch’s kitchen, relaxed in his chair, dark purple shirt unbuttoned at the collar with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He rests his bad leg on the framework of another chair and talks comfortably while Hotch bustles more or less unnecessarily around his kitchen before finally settling and taking the seat next to Reid’s.

They each only drink one glass of wine and manage to synchronize their final sips. Subtle but not shy, Reid leans forward into Hotch’s space, and Hotch meets him halfway, catching his mouth in a kiss that’s over almost before it begins, hot and sweet like burnt sugar, unhurried but heavy with promises. Hotch slips a hand down to rest at the small of Reid’s back and helps him up, resting the other hand on Reid’s thigh once they’re both standing and on their way to the couch in the next room. Each point of contact between them warms with electricity.

Outside, the night is cold, wet, swimming with the potential for danger, but tonight, inside, they create a slow, easy heat between them that doesn’t fade like shadows of a nightmare come morning.