All he can think about is her voice as she said goodbye.
Hotch knows it's wrong, but it's the way things are and there's nothing he can do about it. Not right now. Time will heal this wound, like it did with every other wound inflicted on him. But for now, she's all he can think about.
He'll close his eyes and make himself believe the lips covering his own are Haley's, the tongue gently exploring his mouth is hers. Some days it's easier to believe that.
"Just don't think, keep your eyes closed and don't think."
And Hotch wants to do it, aches to lose himself in the feeling of another body next to his, the warmth and affection so freely bestowed upon him. Some days, like today, it's harder to believe the fantasy. Some days the body has rough edges, planes where there shouldn't be, a voice too deep for her.
But it doesn't matter, not really.
Deep down Hotch knows reality for what it is, and though he despises himself for taking advantage of them, he still allows for his team to comfort him in any way they can.
With his eyes closed, all he can see is Haley imprinted on the back of his lids. Haley the way she used to be: blonde, funny and so very alive.
"Aaron," the voice says, and for a moment it superimposes over Haley's, drowning the fragile fantasy, almost breaking it.
He opens his eyes to see a body definitely not hers on top of his, all planes and fair skin, sharp bones and lean limbs. He feels it moving on top, taking him in the way Hailey used to do when she was in that kind of mood. There is nothing of that playfulness here, only sorrow and comfort.
Hotch is not surprised at how little he feels from an act that used to be slightly overwhelming, but he's glad he's feeling anything at all. He hadn't at the beginning. He closes his eyes again and lets the fantasy come back, taking solace in the fact that his team cares enough about him to let him do it.
It seems to go on forever: the heart, the pressure, the friction--all of that not quite enough to bring him that perfect moment of oblivion, but getting there. Slowly, building up like the tide, taking with it the pain and the guilt for just one instant. One instant that gets longer every single time, that comes faster with each repetition.
When it's finally over Hotch keeps his eyes closed, drifting blessedly into much needed sleep. He knows he'll be alone when he wakes up; no Haley and no Reid either. But he's fine with that. It's easier during the day, with Jack around to keep his mind busy.
And in the night someone else will come; Emily with the soft body and sharp mind, Morgan with his silent companionship, Garcia with her endless chatter or Rossi with his good whiskey and deep understanding. All of them, pulling him back from the brink with their particular brand of caring.
Hotch knows it's not right, and he probably doesn’t deserve it.
But he has it, and he's grateful for that.
And for now it's enough.