It’s been two weeks and that may sound juvenile or easy or something but to the people who have watched over the same failing body for fourteen days, two weeks has been the longest days of their lives.
Even then, when his eyes open up to just a sliver of blown pupils and slow motor function it’s all they have and they take it.
The vent isn’t out yet. He’s too pale, too thin, too weak.
He doesn’t even fight it. He just keeps writing her name down on the paper he’s given.
She’s not there. So Rossi just calls the doctors in and they just tell him what he already knows.
By the time that Emily is back, he’s already slipped back under and she’s missed what they’ve evaluated.
“They ran this thing over his legs. He didn’t even realize they were doing to his left leg. They stabbed him with a needle and everything. But when they did the right one, he jerks away.”
Rossi tells her this, while she holds Hotch’s hand. He’s gone, stuck in the haze of painkillers.
“They think that the right hemisphere of his brain is swollen. They might be able to fix this but not until he’s a little stronger.”
She can’t help but disagree. Dave knows Aaron just as well as she does and how can he not see that if Aaron is going to need help all the time that it’s going to kill him? Because he’s broken and now they’ve finally made it so that his broken mind will fit his broken body.
“They’re going to relieve the pressure in his head by cutting this part skull out. He should be fine, though.”
“Hey.” She’s smiling, even when she has to take a long breath in to stop her nose from running and wipe her eyes to hide her tears. “I missed you.”
She stands up, kissing the left side of his head and standing close. They cut his hair and they still won’t take the tube out of his mouth but he’s still the same man she fell in love with. The same man who she has been hiding a relationship with. Or has been.
His eyes look her over. Stopping for a moment on her eyes and smiles. It’s just the left half of his face in the very corner of his mouth but she smiles back anyways and kisses his mouth.
“I love you too.”
“Good morning, hot stuff.”
He’s smiling at her from the bed, mouth still twisted by the tube but he’s not having any trouble so she's just trying to think around it.
She kisses him like she always down and settles down on the chair beside him.
The soft tapping of his fingers draws her attention to him, he uses his middle finger to tap his writing board.
Since he woke they had a good system.
Reid brought a clicker, it was loud enough that if whoever was in there with him could hear him clicking instead of tapping.
Garcia brought a whiteboard with letters and numbers on one side and blank the other. Along with it, as many colors as you could think of for writing.
Music which he can turn on by a little remote.
The only problem was keeping it all on his left side and keeping him calm when he can’t communicate what he needs to say.
“Aaron,” she says softly, looking on the bed to make sure she’s looked everywhere for what he’s trying to tell her before giving up. “Babe, you didn’t write anything on the paper. I don’t know what you want.”
He smiles and points at her.
She points at her own chest,” me?”
He nods his head a little and taps the bed.
“You want me to sit on the bed?”
He nods again.
“Aaron, I don’t really know-”
He signs the word ‘no’ and motions her over again.
She stands and smiles, “so you were paying attention.” Carefully, she seats on the edge of his bed, scooping his hand in between both of her. She had been showing him some basic sign language, words she thought were helpful. Yes, no, hungry, tired, pain, and love.
Her motions her closer and so she leans closer.
He moves his hand out of hers and flattens her hand on her leg. On her palm he traces letters.
“I...L...O...V,” she smiles at their hands. “...E...Y...O...U.” She kisses his hand,” and I love you, too.”
She knows that this calm, loving man will be gone soon. That they have him suppressed with chemical cocktails. So when the vent comes out, because he’ll finally be strong enough to be moved out of the ICU, that he’ll become callous. He will know what they have all been avoiding but for now…
“I really do.”