( Part 1 )
The petal of the rose it was that stung
Message Content: Motel at 10, same room. I’ll show you what I’ve done. If you still wanna talk afterward, we’ll talk.
Hotch knew the knock, the force applied, the pauses in between. It was their code.
The whore had done what he’d been told. Hotch’s eyes scanned the combination of the outfit as he closed the door. He was getting hard already. Hotch had never thought he was capable of this; then again he’d never thought he was capable of killing a man with his bare hands.
“Didn’t think I’d hear from you again. Almost threw these out.” The whore gestured the clothes. The costume.
Hotch’s eyes darted toward the closet by the bed. He had to will his eyes back to the other man. “Strip from the waist down.”
The whore smirked but didn’t argue. Hotch walked past him, unbuttoning his own shirt as he sat on the bed, facing the closet door.
“Keep them on,” Hotch said when the whore moved to yank off the socks. They were matched but it wasn’t the man’s fault that Hotch hadn’t been specific enough on the phone.
The button-down shirt under the dark sweater vest was draping low just above the half-hard cock. Hotch looked up and saw the whore walking toward him, eyes waiting for the next command.
“On your knees,” Hotch said, pulling off his own undershirt. When the whore was on the floor, Hotch leaned back on his hands. “Get my dick out.”
Able fingers worked the button and zipper, pushed down the trousers and boxers until they bunched around Hotch’s knees. Hotch felt the warm palm around him, pumping earnestly. Heat slowly rose in his belly and his eyes found the closet door again.
“Suck it,” Hotch ordered through clenched teeth, looked back at the man before him. Soon enough his cock was strainning in the warm mouth and Hotch felt his arms giving in under him.
The whore obeyed, finding his way up before settling on Hotch’s lap, presenting a silver square package. Hotch hissed as the rubber rolled down, tried to focus on the sensation, keeping his eyes on the nimble fingers. Hotch watched as the whore rose, grabbed his cock and sank down. The tightness gripped him and his head jerked as he slipped in further. Settling neatly inside, Hotch looked down and watched the lean body move. The whore was slick around him.
“Lift the shirt,” Hotch said.
His cock was sliding in and out, slowly, deeply, but Hotch wanted more, needed more. He pushed himself off the bed and sat up, one hand on the mattress, the other grabbed the waist, and started to thrust up, hard and fast. The whore moaned, arms around Hotch’s shoulders, letting Hotch take over. Hotch pressed their bodies together, hips snapping harder, faster. He knew he wouldn’t last much longer.
“Make yourself come.”
Hotch felt a hand reach between their bodies, and after a few hard tugs and a long wail, Hotch felt the whore come, twisting, tightening, clamping, holding on as Hotch continued to push.
“Now.” Another code.
The whore was off his lap and on the bed, ripped off the condom and leaned in. The first spurt shot out before the thin lips could wrap around the head and the thick white liquid landed on the flushed cheek and the long hair. Warm hands worked on his hard length and tight balls, and Hotch bit down a growl as another load left his body, filling the waiting mouth.
When it was over, Hotch flopped back on the bed, panting, the blinding white ceiling hurt his eyes. He heard the whore spit and remembered the stickiness on his skin. He pushed himself up.
“Take the money and go.”
He didn’t look at the whore when he stood and pulled up his pants, keeping his eyes on the floor all the way from the bed to the bathroom door.
He’d set the water so hot his skin turned red when he stepped out of the shower stall. He reached for the towel through the steamy fog and winced as the rough fabric rubbed his skin. Hotch ignored the pain, drying his hair roughly before wrapping the towel around his waist and turned to unlock the door.
Spencer was sitting on the crumpled bed, leaning forward, elbows on his knees, fingers entwined. He didn’t look up.
Hotch didn’t understand. The money was gone. The whore was gone. Spencer was supposed to be gone too.
“You need help,” Spencer said, low, flat.
Hotch’s heart sank.
“That,” Spencer looked up, “was the most degrading thing I have ever seen.”
Hotch’s knees weakened.
“I feel insulted. I feel violated.”
Hotch’s eyes stung.
“But I also came twice.”
Hotch was hard.
Spencer reached for him and Hotch was walking, taking the hand.
What happened next was beyond Hotch’s comprehension.
Spencer touched the mark just above the towel before leaning in and kissing it. Hotch shivered at the contact. When Spencer looked up and met his eyes, Hotch wanted to pull him up and kiss him and hold him, but the thought perished when a warm hand sneaked under the towel and wrapped around his cock. Hotch felt light-headed and his hand found Spencer’s shoulder.
Hotch didn’t know when the towel was gone. All he knew was Spencer’s mouth was on him, kissing the sensitive skin at the base of his cock before a wet tongue dragged along the hard length. Once soft lips wrapped around the crown, Hotch’s only thought was how, oh sweet Jesus, how he (or anyone) could have ever presumed that Spencer Reid had never done something like this.
Then Hotch felt the warm hand leave his balls and he looked down. The hand was reaching inside Spencer’s slacks and Hotch felt the moan around him once the hard cock was freed and the hand started a slow stroke.
Hotch groaned at the sight and felt the warm flux building, rising. He started to pull away when the hands gripped his hips, stilled him, mouth and tongue working faster, deeper. Panic hit and Hotch pushed the shoulders, slapped them, hit them, but they wouldn’t budge.
“Please, I can’t…”
Brown eyes glanced up, daring.
Wet lips stretching, moving.
The dam broke white hot and Hotch pushed through the pain. The room spun as thick spurts ripped out his body. He closed his eyes, let it unload, waited it out, but it kept coming. The ground sank under his feet but he was floating. The hands grabbed him, pulled him down, and Hotch opened his eyes. Spencer was climbing up, lips red, wet, swollen. Hotch couldn’t look away. He didn’t understand what he was seeing.
Until Spencer pressed their lips together and pried his tongue in, letting Hotch taste it. Hotch felt his body sway because that was, hands down, the most erotic (and possibly most romantic) thing he had ever experienced.
He didn’t know who pulled away first, but when he saw Spencer again, eyes dazzled, cheek flushed, lips reddened, there was only one thought on his mind.
Spencer smiled and those lips were on him again, only they weren’t demanding, claiming, making a point. They were teasing, tasting, suckling. It was a kiss for kissing’s sake and Hotch thought he was going to pass out. He knew the kind all too well. It was the kind that had died with Haley.
Hotch froze and Spencer pulled away.
Spencer stepped back. “You said we’d talk.”
Spencer stared, hurt, humiliated, disillusioned. It stung deeper than Hotch had thought it would.
“So you prefer a knockoff.”
You deserve that.
Hotch forced himself to meet the glare. “Maybe I can’t afford the real thing,”
It wasn’t until Spencer backed away that Hotch spotted the fresh stain on the Spencer’s slacks. This man had come apart under him, because of him, for him, yet Hotch was still drowning in his own regrets and righteousness. Hotch realized then, as the door slam filled the room, he had just crushed his chance with the one person who truly knew him.
Maybe you don’t deserve the real thing.
Love at the lips was touch as sweet as I could bear
When the door finally swung open, Hotch was on his feet, watching as people started to shuffle out. After a few minutes he spotted Spencer, hands in his pockets and Hotch told himself to move. It was then that he recognized the man by Spencer’s side. They were deep in conversation and Spencer was wearing an open smile. Hotch stepped back behind the column.
It was probably the way they stood a little too close. It was probably the way Spencer looked a little too relaxed. It was probably the way the other man spoke and Spencer listened. Hotch didn’t know which, but he stepped out and made sure Spencer saw him.
Spencer’s expression turned alarmed and annoyed when he noticed Hotch. In his head, Hotch was back in his car, dialing the number he still hadn’t had the guts to erase. In his head, Spencer was going home with someone else.
The other man finally said goodnight to Spencer. Hotch nodded at the man as he strode in Hotch’s direction. The man returned the gesture and continued walking.
Hotch felt the eyes on him. It took him a while to find the words.
“It’s been two months.”
Spencer didn’t move, said nothing, but Hotch knew Spencer remembered. The time and place. The whole ordeal.
“I haven’t gone back there since.”
Spencer looked at him, studying him. Hotch held his breath.
“We can talk, but not here.”
Hotch didn’t think he deserved it, but he’d take what he could get.
It’d never crossed his mind, the idea of being where Spencer lived a normal life. In fact, Hotch had never imagined Spencer having a normal life, where Spencer drank his sugary coffee while working on his latest dissertation, or ate his Cocoa Puffs while watching ‘Battlestar Galactica’ reruns, or fell asleep on the patched-up couch in his favorite pajamas. Hotch had never allowed himself to associate Spencer Reid with anything remotely real, normal, possible.
The couch sank under Hotch as he shifted to find the most comfortable position. Spencer was digging through a small fridge that looked virtually empty from where Hotch was seated. Spencer came back with a tall red carton and a couple of glasses. When Spencer set them down, Hotch saw it was some kind of tropical fruit juice and thought how fitting it was to find something like that in Spencer Reid’s refrigerator.
“Sorry, I don’t keep liquor in my place,” Spencer said, sitting on the other end of the couch.
Hotch nodded, knew the reason.
“I thought there’d be books everywhere,” Hotch said. There were bookshelves on all walls, but most of the books were in place, dusted and organized.
“It’s more logical to keep the place tidied when you’re hardly here to clean it up,” Spencer said.
Hotch found himself smile at a simple philosophy. Spencer looked at him, waiting.
“How long has it been?” Hotch asked.
Hotch nodded. “Do you still crave it?”
“It’s always there, the craving, I think,” Spencer said. “I don’t think it’ll ever go away.”
Hotch remembered how Spencer had skipped a job in New Orleans, how he’d fooled everyone to save Owen Savage, how he’d punished himself for not noticing Tobias Hankel in Adam Jackson.
“I should have done more,” Hotch said. “Helped you somehow.”
Spencer shook his head. “You couldn’t. I was stupid. I needed to grow up.”
“Is that what you think of me?” Hotch couldn’t help himself. “For doing what I did?”
Spencer sighed. “You were in pain. You adapted.”
“I’m not saying it wasn’t stupid,” Spencer said.
Hotch inhaled, almost nodded.
“So what do you do…,” Hotch eyed Spencer. “…when you get the craving?”
Spencer tensed up. “Is that why you’re here? You wanna fuck?”
“No.” Hotch’s heart sank. “I wanna talk.”
“About what?” Spencer sat up. “Us being addicts?”
“I want to get better,” Hotch blurted out.
“I want to feel things for what they are again.”
Spencer stared and Hotch told himself to breathe.
“I want to be able to hold Jack without feeling Haley’s blood on my hands.”
“I want to be able to take a shower without feeling the blade going through my body.”
“I want to be able to make love without feeling Foyet all over me.”
Hotch saw Spencer’s chest heave.
“And the only thing I can feel for what it is…”
“…is sex,” Spencer said.
Hotch nodded. “The body feels what it feels.”
Spencer watched him, saw him, and Hotch never felt more exposed.
“And you asked me why you,” Spencer said.
The voice was warm and tender, and by the next second Spencer was by his side, wearing a smile so open and loving and shy. Hotch felt goosebumps traveling up his arms and neck. Spencer wet his lips as he stared at Hotch’s mouth. Before Hotch knew it, their lips met, sealed like magnets, natural, gravitational, irreversible. It made everything absurdly tactile, and Hotch could feel everything—lips, teeth, tongues, saliva, oxygen. It made his head spin and when they finally broke away for air Hotch heard himself say, “Haley’s sister has Jack tonight.”
A chuckle was hot against his cheek, and Hotch watched Spencer stand, hand pulling Hotch along. He stood and let the hand pull him further into the apartment.
I long for weight and strength to feel the earth as rough to all my length
Spencer smiled from the bed, hands pulling him in. The gaze on his bare body made Hotch flush and he tried not to stare at Spencer’s equal bareness. But the touch made Hotch look down. Spencer was kissing the thin mark just above his navel and Hotch shivered. He closed his eyes, waiting for the flash to come, of sharp pain, of Foyet’s face, but all he felt was Spencer’s fingers and mouth, and all he saw was Spencer’s eyes and smile. Just like in that motel room two months before where everything had still been in theory. Now everything was…
“I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
The voice pulled him back and Hotch looked down. Spencer’s eyebrows knitted in concern.
“No,” he said, finally understood the question. “They don’t hurt anymore.”
A soft smile broke and Spencer leaned in and kissed the mark again. Hotch brushed the stray hair from the other man’s face. Spencer looked up and Hotch felt a warm hand running up the inside of his thigh. He swallowed.
“What do you want?” Spencer asked, palm wrapping around his cock.
“You,” Hotch choked.
Spencer smiled, amused, hand started moving. “How do you want me?”
Hotch gasped. He didn’t have to look down to see how hard and helpless he was.
“I had this dream.” Hotch heard himself say.
“You had this dream,” Spencer repeated, eyebrows raised, wicked.
Hotch felt his face burn. “You were telling me things.”
“What things?” Spencer asked, fingers fondling, teasing.
Hotch wet his lips. “Things you wanted me to do to you.”
“And what would those be?” Hard thumb found the wet tip.
And that was it. Hotch’s knees hit the floor before Spencer could react. When Hotch grabbed the cock and took it in his mouth, Spencer clutched the bedding and let out a shout, arching, pushing himself in further.
Spencer tasted sweet, but not sugary sweet. It was the kind of sweet people used to describe the smell of grass after the rain: simple, nondescript, yet mysteriously finding its way to imprint itself on your brain. Hotch tried not to think about people before him who had tasted Spencer this way.
A trembling hand stretched through his hair. Hotch glanced up, meeting the other man’s eyes, wide, dazed, needing, begging. And Hotch moved, earning a relieved, sighing moan. Before long the hand started to guide him what to do and not to, what felt good and what didn’t. Soon Spencer was making whiny noises and Hotch applied more speed and force.
“Gonna…” The hand gripped Hotch’s shoulder, pushing him off.
Hotch pulled away, fisted the straining cock, pumping it, rough and fast. Spencer writhed under his hand, making a sound so obscene Hotch had to reach down and squeeze his own cock.
Spurts of thick come shot through the air. Some landed on Spencer’s stomach, some on his chest, but most of it on Hotch’s hand that was still moving, guiding the other man through the high. When Spencer finally opened his eyes, Hotch was kissing him deeply and Spencer noted the unfamiliar taste.
“Have you ever tasted yourself?” Hotch asked, hovering over the young man. “I thought you tasted sweet, but this…” Hotch lifted his hand and lapped up another spot. “This is even sweeter.”
Spencer groaned. “Fuck me already.”
Hotch chuckled before turning to reach for his trousers on the floor. He found his wallet quickly.
“And you said you came to talk.”
Hotch sat back up and pulled out a square package, ignoring the other man’s teasing.
“I hope you keep the lube close by because I’m not gonna last long.” Hotch threw the wallet back somewhere on the floor.
Spencer smirked and reached for the nightstand, pressing said item in Hotch’s hand when he returned. Hotch looked at the half-empty bottle in his palm and it hit him, the magnitude of what they were about to do, what Spencer was about to let him do.
“Lie down,” Hotch said.
Finally Spencer was under him, and Hotch was looking down, forearms on each side of Spencer’s head.
“We don’t need to do this tonight,” Hotch said.
“Are you kidding me?” Spencer scoffed. “After everything you told me, of course we do.”
Hotch swallowed, knew Spencer was right.
Hotch leaned in and sealed their lips, pressing their bodies together. Spencer was hard under him and Hotch reached down, pulling up one of Spencer’s knees and pushing it to the side. The moment Hotch’s slick finger breached him, Spencer’s body tensed just a little too much, and Hotch started to doubt his latest assumption about Spencer’s sexual experience.
“You’ve done this before.” Hotch tried not to make it sound like a question.
Spencer looked up. “Not with anyone that mattered.”
Hotch nodded and started adding another finger. It took a while but finally Spencer was making pleasant noises, letting Hotch know he was ready.
Hotch watched Spencer’s face as he pushed in. The slim body tensed around him and Hotch paused, stroking Spencer’s side, kissing the arching neck.
“Breathe,” he breathed against the skin.
Once the body under him relaxed, Hotch held Spencer close and started to push. This time he didn’t stop, not when the nails dug into his back, not when he heard the whines and hisses, not until he rested fully inside. When Spencer’s hand found his backside and pressed on, Hotch started to move. The sensation was unreal: the tightness, the hotness, the sweetness, and Hotch couldn’t wait to feel it again and again. Spencer clutched Hotch’s arm and shoulder as Hotch pushed the bending knee further and went deeper. At one point Spencer yelped quite unmanly and Hotch memorized the spot before reaching down between their bodies.
“Harder. I’m not gonna break.”
The words made Hotch groan and he obeyed. Spencer made a sound like he was in pain and Hotch leaned in, sucking the tongue, catching each moan. Hand working Spencer’s cock, Hotch felt the young man’s body starting to shake, so he pushed himself up on his elbows and began thrusting in as hard, as deep and as fast as he could.
“Look at me.” Hotch touched the flushed cheek.
Brown eyes pried open, staring, piercing, begging, and Hotch gave it to him.
Spencer’s body contorted under him, not even Hotch’s words could keep those eyes open. Hotch felt a warm squirt on his abdomen and hand and he leaned in, covered the gasping mouth, focusing on the tight heat as he pushed through.
Then Spencer opened his eyes, looking right into Hotch and said, “Come,” as he held on, letting Hotch take whatever he needed. Hotch felt it building quickly as he kept on drilling, and once it got too heavy, Hotch buried himself deep and let it burst, flooding out like lava, hot, thick, never-ending.
When Hotch opened his eyes again, he found Spencer had been holding him up. A sated smile left Hotch tingling and he leaned in, pressing their mouths together. He felt Spencer wince as he pulled out so he kissed the mouth again and flopped back down on the bed. Hotch could feel Spencer’s arm against his but he made no move to grab the hand and entwine their fingers. For now this felt enough: just listening to Spencer breathe and taking in the scent of sweat and come.
It took a while for Hotch to feel Spencer’s eyes. The gaze shook him. Hotch could feel Spencer’s super brain processing a million thoughts.
“What are you thinking?” Hotch asked.
Spencer turned on his side, eyes stayed on him. Hotch felt damp fingers around his hand, thumb circling the inside of his wrist.
“What though the radiance which was once so bright / Be now for ever taken from my sight, / Though nothing can bring back the hour / Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; / We will grieve not, rather find / Strength in what remains behind.”
It was only when Spencer finished that Hotch realized he had been holding his breath. He inhaled, deep, as he let the image of himself in Spencer’s eyes sink in. In there, as it was out here, Hotch was lying bare, satiated. But in there he didn’t look scarred, worn out, desperate. In there he looked beautiful and strong and hopeful.
“You think about poetry after sex?”
“I think about poetry after sex with you.”
Spencer suddenly looked confidence, mature, wise.
“You’ve changed,” Hotch said.
“I adapted,” Spencer replied.
I crave the stain of tears, the aftermark of almost too much love
Hotch tread on the floorboard as lightly as he could, but Spencer stirred as he reached for his tie.
“You going?” Spencer looked confused in the dim light. It was still dark outside.
Hotch hung the tie around his neck, forced himself to look at the man on the bed. “I promised Jack I’d give him a ride to school.”
Still looking a little confused, Spencer nodded, pushing himself up. “Okay.”
Hotch felt Spencer’s eyes as he buttoned up his shirt. He glanced back. Spencer was sitting up, the covers draping just below the hipbones. He was studying Hotch, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
“You still don’t get it, do you?”
Hotch felt exposed, his feet itched to run, but Spencer pulled at his hand and Hotch sat down. A little tug at both ends of his tie made Hotch look up.
Despite their dark surroundings, Spencer saw Hotch as clearly as he would if they were sitting in the sun. It didn’t seem fair that the man almost twenty years his junior seemed to already embrace what was lying ahead while Hotch still couldn’t begin to fathom how this had begun; how after all the things he’d done, after all those… crimes, this man was still sitting here, touching him, loving him.
“You remember the Blue Ridge Strangler case?”
The killer with amnesia. Hotch nodded.
“You remember what you said to Matloff when we found him after he’d escaped?”
“I talked him out of suicide, made sure someone paid for those girls’ deaths,” Hotch recalled.
“Yes, but you also saved a man, not innocent, but no longer a killer.” Spencer said, hand caressing Hotch’s arm mindlessly.
Hotch remembered the heating discussion about memory and identity between his team members.
“You gave him a new start, not a blank slate, but a chance at a life he understands,” Spencer said. “And I knew how hard it was for you to do that, to give a killer that.”
“Despite what we do, despite what we’ve seen, you still believe in the good in people.”
But don’t we all?
“But so do you.”
“No, I want to believe,” Spencer corrected him. “But you do. Somewhere in there you just do.” Hotch felt the fingers pressing against his chest. “And it’s not something you grow out of. It’s not something someone can take away from you.” Not even Foyet, Hotch heard the forbidden word.
Somewhere in there Hotch knew Spencer was right.
“Was that when you…?”
“Fell for you?”
A shy smile made Hotch tingle.
“No, but that was when I stopped having doubts,” Spencer said.
The face he was seeing was open, welcoming, waiting, and Hotch tried to find something, a response that would equal what Spencer had just given him, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment when it’d happened. It was a sum of all things that they’d gone through, small, big, good, ugly, and before Hotch had known it, he was already lovesick.
Hotch leaned in and sealed their lips. The kiss was chaste, silent, yearning. It was the kind of kiss that made his chest hurt. And he hoped it was enough, that it gave Spencer enough.
“I’ll see you at the office.”
Hotch remembered something Spencer had said after Matloff case. Something about closure.
‘People’s emotional lives aren’t linear like that. To say that one single event can suddenly bring peace to a man, I don’t think it’s possible.’
Hotch hadn’t disagreed with Spencer then; and he still didn’t. But as he stepped out of Spencer’s apartment, he felt this light filling him, warming his insides, making him feel lighter; then a thought came, one that hadn’t occurred to him in a very long time:
Everything is gonna be okay.
And Hotch thought to himself,
- The summary was actually a psychiatrist joke. The full text was: “Psychiatrists like to joke that everything is about sex except for sex itself, which is another way of saying that just about every human behavior is permeated with hidden sexual meaning.”
- Robert Frost’s “To Earthward” (used as section breaks throughout the story)
- William Wordsworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” (recited by Spencer, also used in “Tabula Rasa”)
- “Honestly OK” by Dido
- “Lose You” by Pete Yorn
- “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles
- “Be Still” by Kelly Clarkson
- “Rootless Tree” by Damien Rice
- “Absolutely Zero” by Jason Mraz
- “Stigmatized” by The Calling
- “Be Be Your Love” by Rachel Yamagata
- “Never Think” by Robert Pattinson
- “Never Say Never” by The Fray
- “2 Steps Away” by Patti LaBelle
- “Ballerina” by Leona Naess
- “Colorblind” by Counting Crows
- “Under You” by Better Than Ezra
- “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
- “Deep” by Binocular
Note: There are some of the songs I listened to while I wrote, so I thought I’d share them. The order of the songs is correlated with the storyline.
(You can download them separately or download them all here.)