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Coming Home

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"Yeah, I'm coming home."  That was what Spencer had said to him, and there was Spencer, home.  Standing in the hallway, fingers fidgeting at his sides, looking every bit as angry at him as Aaron had told him he should be.


"No Aaron, you don't just get to come back."

Aaron felt his breaths become just marginally faster, he stopped on the spot; allowing the door to swing shut behind him.  "What did you want me to do?  Stay in Afghanistan?"

"Not leaving would have been a great start.  Telling the truth would have worked out better."

"Spencer, you know I couldn't do that."

"I know all sorts of things Aaron, and no, I don't know you couldn't.  I don't know you couldn't tell me the truth, and I don't know that you couldn't desert your family."

"I did what I thought was best."  Aarons own hands were balling into fists at his side; Strauss had been kinder to him than this.  "Are you planning on forgiving me anytime soon?"

"Should I leave?"

Aaron stepped in front of Spencer, blocking his way to their front door.

"Hotch, should I leave?  Were you planning on things working out differently?"

"Spencer, I want you to be part of."  Aaron didn't get to finish the sentence, he had been planning on saying "our family".

"That's dr. Reid."  He spat out.  "and I am calm."

"Where did that come from Spencer?"

"From protecting you, the way you didn't protect your family."

Aaron closed his eyes and pursed his lips.  "I get that you're angry with me."

"You don't get why I'm angry with you.  You. Deserted. Jack;  and you took him away from me.  SSA Hotchner, who knows best, you let Jack believe that Emily was dead.  Was dead Aaron, not is, was.  You know what he said to me?  What the first thing he asked me when I went to pick him up at Jessica's was 'when is mommy coming back'?   That Agent Hotchner, is when I wanted to shoot up, because I had to tell Jack that his mommy wasn't coming back, and I had to try and tell him without telling him that his daddy had lied, to him and to me.  And that SSA Aaron Hotchner, who did the right thing for Emily, and for the FBI and for the USA, is when I wished that Hailey was still alive, and that Jack had his real family, and that I, just, wasn't, here.  You Aaron decided that he would stay with Jessica when you were away, you didn't even ask me.  You Aaron didn't tell him the truth, I did.  I broke his heart, and now he believes I lied to him, because that was the only way to pretend that you didn't;  and he needs a father that he can trust.  You destroyed his family all over again. "

Aaron had been going to kiss Spencer.  Right at that moment it didn't seem like a good idea, at all.


Spencer faced Aaron down; no one was going to blink.

According to Aaron he had done what he thought best.  According to Spencer, Aaron had destroyed his own family.  For a passing moment Aaron realized he was standing in front of an angry addict who could shoot a fly off a wall halfway down the block.  He blinked.

Aaron was shaking literally.  He was becoming dimly aware of what he had done to his family.  First he had driven Haley off, then his actions had forced Hailey and Jack into hiding, then his decisions had cost Hailey her life and Jack his mother, then he had brought Reid half-into-their-family, then he had pushed Reid out and pushed Jack onto Jessica,  then he had given Jack false hope that his original family would be restored, pulled him away from Jessica and alienated Spencer.    He couldn't expect Jack to love him.  Spencer was as good as gone.

"Aaron, I hate you right now, more than I hate my own father,  I'm angrier at you than I ever was at Gideon, I'm as sad right now as I was when we lost Emily.  I want to put that needle in my arm and just be gone.  You would have to tell Jack."  As almost an afterthought Spencer added "and I love you."

Neither man moved.