Spencer stroked Aaron's hair in attempt to be soothing. After an injury at work (nothing life threatening, but an injury nonetheless), he kept up a stubborn facade of not being in too much pain. Spencer didn't miss the brief whimper of pain moments earlier, but knew better than to bring it up. Aaron was possibly the only person who hated being babied as much as him. That didn't make the wave of sympathy or protective nature go away, he was his boyfriend after all.
It was the little things he was doing so he wouldn't go full mother-hen that made Aaron grateful. He made the bed with Aaron's favorite sheets, got his favorite kind of take out (well, second. He needed a place that would deliver, as he couldn't leave Aaron alone,) and he even let him put on football. Or maybe it was baseball? Spencer wasn't paying attention, opting for a book instead. He needed a distraction from the pained look on Aaron's face.
He let out a sigh. Damn Aaron and damn his stupid ego. Of course, he chastises himself, he isn't that different. If someone tried to offer him help, he probably wouldn't take it. Unlike Aaron, this sprung from a strong dislike of attention and not an egotistical need to prove. . .whatever Aaron was trying to prove.
Either way, it was another similarity the two shared. Add "hates being taken care of" to the list. And it was a long list, a very long list. Just to name a few: wary of others, abandonment issues (although Aaron's were less noticeable,) and their intense aversion to showing others their emotions and vulnerabilities.
The similarities just made them understand each other better. It came in handy often, like when Aaron is upset after a hard case and shuts Spencer out. Spencer knows it's not on purpose, or to hurt him in any way. It's just instinct, and probably the same way he'd react. He knew not to push, and to let Aaron come to him when he was ready.
On the commercial, Aaron reached to his side to take the remote control to the television from his bedside table. He immediately knew this was not the right move and let out a harsh groan as his hands immediately went to press against his side in hopes of even slightly relieving the pain. He gasped, the pain making it feel like he had the wind knocked out of him.
Spencer worriedly rushed to put his book down and asses Aaron. "Aaron? Are you okay?" He took note of the hands clutched to his side.
Aaron took note of Spencer's panicked voice and instantly regretted his vocality surrounding his pain. Hoping to calm Spencer down, he attempted to say, "I'm fine." It came out more like a painful hiss.
Spencer glanced at the clock on his nightstand. "It's been long enough so that you can take another dose of your meds."
"Okay," Aaron relented.
"I'll get them for you," Spencer admonished when Aaron started to push himself up to get of the bed. "Where are they?"
"Briefcase," Aaron muttered. Spencer was next to his side in an instant, pouring a pill into his hand from the bottle. He helped Aaron sit up, and pushed some water to his lips before pushing the pill into his hand.
"That's odd," Spencer said as he re-read the bottle. "I figured they would have given you Percocet, not Tylenol. It's a rather painful injury, not a headache."
Aaron was on the brink of panic in an instant, glancing over to the pill bottle nervously. If Spencer knew the real reason he was prescribed Tylenol, he'd surely be disappointed in him. He imagined what Spencer would look like disappointed. He pictured it with Spencer biting his lip and shaking his head as his eyes stared into Aaron's.
"Aaron?" Spencer snapped him out of his reverie, sounding gently concerned. By now he was on Aaron's other side, laying down propped up on his elbow.
"I. . .I need to tell you something." Aaron Hotchner was nothing if not an honest man. He decided best to face it head on. Sure, Spencer may be disappointed. But he'd be even more upset if Aaron didn't trust him with this.
"What is it?"
"I. . .after Foyet attacked me they obviously gave me a lot of drugs and I was in such a bad place, I mean Haley and Jack were going into protection. . .wait, strike that, I'm not supposed to make excuses. The point is I. . .I got addicted to the drugs. I'm obviously clean now but that's why they gave me Tylenol." He waited for Spencer's reaction.
Spencer could only stare. He couldn't imagine, didn't want to imagine, Aaron in the same position he was a few years ago. Desperate for more, not giving a damn about anything but also giving a damn about everything (that was the whole point after all, he wanted to not give a damn about the shitty cards he was dealt in life.)
Did Aaron have to go through withdrawals alone, like he did. Or did Sean come and help? Was he scared? Did he feel the same shame and self hate that Spencer did?
Did he still crave sometimes? Was it a mistake on those days when he let Aaron ignore him, and retreat into his own thoughts. Did it do more harm than good?
"Please say something," Aaron's voice cracked at the end. He stared at his hands, which were slightly shaking in anticipation of Spencer's reaction.
Spencer looked up, snapped out of his daze. Still, he didn't know what to say. "I promise, I'm okay now. And I'm sorry I didn't tell you. . .I just wasn't sure if the 'don't talk about it' rules still apply even though we are in a relationship. I didn't want you to be mad at me for being so weak."
"You aren't weak," Spencer said with conviction. "It doesn't make you weak. You. . .you are so strong and I'm so sorry you had to go through that alone and none of us were there to help you and I'm not mad. I could never be mad, hell I'd be a damn hypocrite if I was."
"It's different. You, you were already an addict by the time Hankel was done with you. I. . .I chose to keep taking the drugs. I decided that I wanted more before they had given me a second dose."
"Well, I think we are both responsible for our actions, and ours alone. I hope you know that I'm really proud of you, and I'm glad you told me."
"Thank you. I was worried you'd be disappointed in me."
"Don't forget that I know what it's like. And even if I was disappointed, I'm happy to focus on the fact that you beat it. You did that. It's damn hard, and you did it."
"I love you," Aaron said with a grin.
"I love you, too," Spencer replied. There were some similarities to himself Spencer would never wish upon anyone, his struggle with addiction being one of them. However, he and Aaron were both proud to say they could have a difficult conversation and still come out okay with an understanding of how to healthily deal with it. And they'd both admit that it was a lot easier with each other.