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Criminal Minds Exchange Fest

Upward Over the Mountain (2/2), for resolucidity, Hotch/Reid, R

Criminal Minds Exchange Fest


Upward Over the Mountain (2/2), for resolucidity, Hotch/Reid, R

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Title: Upward Over the Mountain (2/2)
Author: coffeecocktails
Recipient: resolucidity
Pairing: Hotch/Reid, with Rossi and Reid friendship
Rating: FRM / R
Word Count: ~12,700
Warnings: Swearing, sex, angst, humor, references to violence
Spoilers: Heavy on season five content, up to the end of s05e08, Outfoxed
Prompt: When Rossi realizes that Hotch is interested in Reid, he pretends to show interest in our favorite genius to make Hotch jealous enough to finally pursue the relationship.
A/N: The title and quotes come from this song.

Part One

David Rossi absolutely point-blank refuses to admit that he might be wrong; besides this being his default position, he is pretty sure he has plenty of evidence to the contrary. And yet this gangly, unteachable child is sitting in his office with his freakishly large eyes and his tale of woe.

“Look,” he says, in what he hopes is approaching a patient tone. “Aaron is not as bright as you and furthermore, he’s emotionally retarded and he’s had a rough ride. So first of all, you need to cut him some slack for not catching on right away. And second of all, you need to be a bit more fucking persistent. If you can lecture me on the jet once a goddamn week about the rise of nuclear alarmism and how chemical warfare is actually going to be the thing to kill us all, I’d imagine you could apply even a fraction of that bloody-mindedness to the task at hand.”

Reid peers short-sightedly across the desk and Dave wonders where in God’s name the younger man’s glasses are, but doesn’t ask because he really doesn’t want to know the whole doubtlessly sorry story.

“Are you making notes?” asks Reid.

“Actually, they’re minutes,” says Dave, resignedly. “Morgan and Garcia riot if they don’t get verbatim transcripts of these conversations.”

Reid has the skill to simultaneously go red and look appalled.

“See what I mean?” says Dave, pushing home his point. “The entire mental health of this team seems to hang on you and Hotch finally realising what you are to each other.” He glares over his own glasses at Reid. “Now get out of my office and do something about it so that I don’t have to say those words ever again.”

“Um, OK,” says Reid, scrambling to his feet and grabbing his crutches. Dave looks disapprovingly at his retreating back. “And I don’t think it would kill your chances to get a haircut, either.”

Reid quirks his lips up at the corners. “You never know,” he says, “not getting a haircut might actually help my chances.”

Dave really, really doubts it.


Spencer drove to Hotch’s apartment building four nights ago, fully intending to march up to the door, ring the buzzer and demand Hotch let him in; whereupon Spencer would say… something clever and romantic, the content of which had yet to be determined. Instead, Spencer sat in his car for four hours, morosely eating a pie, reciting verbs in other languages and pointedly ignoring Rossi’s, Morgan’s and Garcia’s encouraging text messages, before performing a U-turn and driving home.

All of that would have been perfectly healthy and normal, he thinks, except that he did the same thing again three night ago, and two nights ago, and tonight… Spencer pops the last crust of pastry into his mouth and rests his head on the steering wheel in despair. He has become a creepy, weird stalker. He has food wrappers on the floor of his car, like an unsub who stalks people. He groans, and tries to imagine himself into some kind of parallel universe where he is the sort of person who just marches up to people’s doors and rings their buzzers. He fails, because even his imagination is not quite that colorful.

God,” says Spencer, and starts over on the Latin verbs, because there are rules for those and they mean the same things every time you say them, and why the hell can’t life be a little bit more like that? Amare – to love; he thinks, the way he was taught. Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis amant. Amor, amaris, amatur, amamur, amamini, amantur.

He remembers being 13 years old and childish and stupid, and amazed that Latin was the only language where you learned the verb for loving first, before anything else. What an idiot. Amabam, amabas, amabat, amabamus, amabatis, amabant. As though love for Spencer Reid was ever going to be anything more than academic.

He moves furiously onto the subjunctive, because it’s more difficult and harder to think during. Amavissem, amavisses, amavisset; I might have loved, you might have loved, he might have loved… “Oh, shut up,” Spencer tells himself, embarrassed by his own self-pity.

He is going to drive home, and he will not sit outside Aaron Hotchner’s house again, because verbs are just verbs and they’re not the way the world works, and Spencer Reid will never (under any circumstances, in any universe) be the sort of man who just marches up and rings people’s doorbells.


Aaron bursts into Dave’s office, looking like he hasn’t slept in days and Dave instinctively puts a hand to his holster and then feels guilty about it, because Aaron is his best friend (although Dave is quite proud of how fast his reflexes are).

“I want –“ says Aaron and he coughs, and Dave sees his eyes are glittering. “I want –“

“Aaron, it’s OK,” says Dave, and it’s not, but he hopes that perhaps it might be.

The other man takes a breath and steadies himself. “Reid,” he says. “How am I supposed to tell him?”

Took you long enough, Dave thinks. He prides himself on the uncharacteristic amount of subtlety that has gone into this ridiculous, drawn-out affair. He thinks, not for the first time, that it would have been easier to hit Aaron repeatedly in the side of the head with a kettle until he asked Spencer out. But Aaron is the only person in the world ever who has stayed friends with Dave for what could be termed an extended period of time, so Dave will not treat that friendship lightly by engaging in common assault and besides, he has long thought that – mob connections or no – he would not do particularly well in prison.

He shakes his head a little bit, a smile threatening the corners of his mouth. “You don’t need me to tell you what to say to him,” he tells Aaron, gently. “You already know.”

“He’s too good for me,” Aaron mutters.

“Yeah, I know,” says Dave. “But sometimes that doesn’t matter.”


It is a Saturday night and it is raining and Spencer is just hobbling out to get some milk, when he trips over a dark shape hunched on the front steps of his building. “Fuck,” he says as his crutches go flying, and then he looks at the hunched shape, which is soaking wet and much too big to be a dog, so he says, “God, sorry; are you alright?” And the very wet person hunched on Spencer’s steps looks up and it turns out to be Aaron Hotchner.

“Hotch?” asks Spencer, and he is so shocked that he says the first thing which comes to his mind, which is, “You’re really wet,” and then he says, “Did I hurt you?”

Hotch sounds cold. “No,” he says. “I’m fine, I just came – I was just…” He looks up at Spencer. “You’re going out somewhere.”

“No! No,” says Spencer. “No, I was just going to get some milk and I don’t really need any; I just knew I wouldn’t feel like going in the morning, and the store’s just on the corner, and I… I don’t know why I’m telling you all this.” He laughs and then frowns. “You’re sitting on my doorstep,” he says.

“I know,” says Hotch. “I was going to ring the bell, but I was just taking a moment to organize my thoughts first.”

“You’re soaked.”

“Well, the moment so far had lasted for forty-five minutes,” says Hotch, dryly. “I guess the thought organizing was taking a bit long than I expected. I’m sorry, you probably think it’s really odd, me just showing up like this.”

Spencer thinks it is really odd, but for some reason – perhaps because he seems to have been put on this earth to embarrass himself horrendously – he says, “I sat in my car outside your house for four nights this week.”

“I know,” says Hotch, and Spencer thinks that maybe he is going to die of shame. Hotch’s mouth turns up a little bit. “You’ve got a really distinctive car, Reid – do you think I’d let someone sit in a car under my window for four nights in a row without wondering who it was?”

Spencer realizes what he means and feels sick. “I didn’t mean to scare you,” he says.

“You didn’t,” says Hotch. “You’re just lucky I knew it was you, or I would’ve come down there and stuck a gun in the window to say hi.” Spencer is mortified. “Regardless,” Hotch continues, “I’ve been sitting on your doorstep for forty-five minutes in the rain, so I don’t really have the moral high ground. Can the milk wait? Do you mind if I come in?”

“Um, sure,” says Spencer, and then he worries that sounds too non-committal, so he adds, “Definitely,” and then gathers his crutches and climbs the stairs back to his apartment trying to think of things that are romantic and clever, and wondering whether he should just beat himself to death with his own crutches and call it a mercy killing.

Inside, Hotch seems to falter, and says, when Spencer goes to turn on the light, “Please… don’t.”

“You can sit down,” says Spencer, but Hotch shakes his head and stands in the middle of Spencer’s living room in the dark, dripping gently on the carpet, and Spencer knows he should go and get a towel, but he doesn’t want to leave the room – doesn’t want to move – because he doesn’t know what this is all about. Whatever it is, he’s scared of spoiling it.

“I sort of had a speech prepared before I came here and now I can’t remember any of it,” says Hotch, ruefully. “I know the feeling,” says Spencer, trying not to sound too hopeful. “Just… take your time.”

There is a moment, during which Spencer sits down on the couch because his knee hurts and Hotch clenches and unclenches his hands and more water runs off his clothes and onto the floor. His voice, when it comes, is hoarse; his words falling out of the darkness like ghosts. “I knew what Elle was going to do,” he says. “I knew she was going to shoot William Lee.”

Something grips Spencer’s chest, and he whispers the shameful thing he promised himself he’d never say aloud: “So did I.” He looks up and Hotch shakes his head. “It wasn’t your responsibility,” Hotch says. “It was mine, and I knew what she was going to do and I let her walk out of that police station and I let her turn in her badge thinking it was all her fault, but it wasn’t; it was mine.”

Spencer tries to understand. “Is that what you came here to tell me?” he asks.

“It’s just…” Hotch’s face twists, like something is hurting him. “It’s just that I needed you to know that however I feel about you I – I’m not… I’m not a good example, and I’m not even a good person and sometimes when I’m sitting in my office, I’m thinking about Foyet and all the ways I would hurt him if I could, to make up for the ways that he hurt me.” His voice cracks, and there is still water running down his face and Spencer does not know whether it is from the rain or not.

“And sometimes I wonder,” says Hotch, “sometimes I wonder, what the hell’s the difference between those people and me? I let Elle shoot William Lee,” he says, “I let her do it, and I’d do the same thing to George Foyet, and I wouldn’t even feel sorry, and then I think, God, what does that make me?”

The older man looks tired and worn out, and Spencer struggles across the room to comfort him without thinking, without agenda. He puts his hands on each side of Hotch’s face, which is cold as marble and wet. “It makes you a person,” whispers Spencer. “You can’t punish yourself for having human emotions and grief and for making mistakes, and sometimes I think about the things that I’ve done and I can hardly breathe, but I can’t let that –“

He feels Hotch’s face tighten in astonishment under his hands. “You haven’t done anything,” says the other man. “You’re the best person I know.”

Spencer laughs, even though his chest hurts, and shifts his hands to Hotch’s shoulders, holding on tightly because he left his crutches by the couch and because he feels his stomach turning to liquid and either way he might fall over. “I shot Tobias Hankel,” he says, and the words feel like he is carving them into stone and he will never be able to take them back. He doesn’t know whether he wants to. “I shot Tobias Hankel.”

“But your life was in danger,” says Hotch, and Spencer shakes his head vehemently, wanting to make the other man see that there is no difference between the two of them; none at all. “I could hear you all coming,” he says, trying to open his throat for more air and finding none. “I could see your torches through the trees, and I could have held him off for another couple of seconds, and I could have shot to wound, but I shot him and killed him because I wanted to.” Spencer feels himself trembling, or perhaps it is Hotch; he can’t tell. “I just wanted to set him free from his demons, but we’ve had unsubs who have killed with purer motives than that. And what does that make me? ” He wobbles violently on his good leg.

“Spencer,” says Hotch, grabbing him by the shoulders to steady him, and then the older man’s arms are folded around him and Spencer clutches him back; two grown men clinging to each other, unsteady and unsure, in the middle of the living room. To Spencer, it feels like forgiveness.

“I knew you’d understand,” he whispers and feels Hotch exhale, hot and heavy, against the side of his throat. The museum lights go on across the street, making the room suddenly come into view around them, and Spencer looks up and sees Hotch’s face; there is pain there but there are other things too, and it is all outlined in the white of the floodlights and the sound of the rain.

Spencer reaches a hand up and runs his fingers through Hotch’s hair, and Hotch shuts his eyes and doesn’t move and barely breathes, and Spencer is scared all of a sudden that the other man is a ghost after all. So just to make sure, just to check, he leans down and puts his mouth to Hotch’s and breathes against it, and Hotch’s lips open, soft and wanting, under his. There is a second – a second balanced, when the world seems to stop and all Spencer can see and hear and taste and feel is mouth and skin and hands in hair – and then the two of them are grabbing at each other, as though they are drowning men; grabbing each other as though they are flying. And Spencer pulls Hotch hard against his chest and he thinks this, and then he thinks, yes.

“Hotch,” he says, “Hotch,” and Hotch, in a voice like wind stirring leaves, says, “Aaron,” and Spencer moans into the other man’s hair. Then he takes Aaron’s hand – their palms trapping secrets between them, again – and leads him to the bedroom, which is a kind of stumbling dance because Spencer doesn’t want to go back for his crutches and Hotch is holding him steady. When they get there, Spencer takes a deep breath, reaches behind him and turns on the light. Aaron startles, but Spencer says, “I want to see you.”

“I want to see you too,” murmurs Aaron, “but I’m afraid of having the lights on; I know he’s out there somewhere and I don’t want him to see…”

Spencer clasps his hands round the back of Aaron’s neck and kisses him, fiercely, as though perhaps he can draw the fear out of the other man if only he means it enough, but Aaron pulls away and says, “Foyet’s going after the things that I –“ his voice catches, “the things that are mine, and he’s already got enough of mine, and I don’t want him to have…” His voice trembles, “I don’t want him to have any more.”

Spencer says, with more confidence than he feels, “Then don’t let him.” And suddenly Aaron’s face is alive and angry and beautiful, and then they are kissing again – but rougher and harder – and Spencer feel’s Aaron’s teeth against his.

He reaches down, without thinking, to start unbuttoning Aaron’s shirt, and the other man goes completely rigid under his touch. Spencer lets his hands fall. “I’m sorry,” he whispers, thinking of Aaron’s throat, of the scar, of the way he must feel about it. “I didn’t think.

Aaron drops his head. “I think it would be better if you turned the lights off,” he mutters, and Spencer feels anger, fury, that Aaron Hotchner – brave, good, Aaron Hotchner – could feel so ashamed of himself, ever. He thinks for a moment and then, instead of switching off the light, he pulls his own sweater and t-shirt off over his head in one movement. He lets the clothes fall to the ground and tilts his chin up defiantly and does not move. He feels Aaron’s eyes run over him and his appendix scar and the way his scoliosis makes his ribs jut out more on one side than they do on the other.

Then Spencer turns his palms up, so that Aaron can see the insides of his elbows and the scars of old track marks; nagging, pink reminders. He looks Aaron in the eye. “I’m not ashamed,” he says, forcing his voice firm. “I’m not ashamed of any of it.” It’s not quite true, but Spencer suddenly thinks perhaps, if he starts saying it a bit more often, that one day it will be. Aaron smiles at him, almost a proper smile. “Of course you’re not,” he says, “you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.” And he takes one of Spencer’s wrists between his hands and kisses the inside of it, and kisses all the way up Spencer’s arm until he gets to the scars, and then his lips linger there too. No one has ever touched the insides of Spencer’s elbows before, and he thinks he might cry. Instead, he starts forward and works again at Aaron’s top button, his eyes never leaving the other man’s, and Aaron lets him, his hands trembling like bird’s wings against Spencer’s arms.

Only when Spencer has the whole soaking wet shirt unbuttoned and he is sliding it off Aaron’s shoulders does he allow himself to look down and when he does, the scars are both much worse then he expected and somehow not. Spencer thinks that’s because they’re not at all important. “You’re so beautiful,” he breathes, and Aaron’s lips go tight at that, and he ducks his head, so Spencer raises the older man’s chin with his hand and kisses him on the mouth and says it again, and again, and again, until neither of them are wearing any clothes, and they have fallen onto Spencer’s bed. The lights are still on and the curtains are open, and Spencer recklessly hopes people see; he hopes Foyet knows.

Aaron’s hands are at once passionate and tentative, and when they reach Spencer’s cock, he asks, “Have you done this before?” and Spencer thinks about lying, but he’s not that clever, so he smiles and says, “No; I’m all yours,” and Aaron lets out a little moan at that. Spencer goes back to kissing Aaron’s beautiful, uneven chest, letting his hands trail over skin and scars, enjoying the way Aaron breathes at his touches.

Spencer knows it doesn’t make sense, but he can’t help wanting somehow to leave something behind that fixes what Foyet left; not a tangible thing, but a soft yellow glow everywhere his lips have ever touched, so that Aaron will remember Spencer always and know. Then Aaron’s hand curls around his cock and Spencer gasps and suddenly there is no doubt about the permanence of memory. Spencer thinks he will never forget the feeling of Aaron sliding inside him and the two of them moving together, damp hands clinging and backs arched; the pain in Spencer’s knee white hot and wiping him clean. They make love under bright lights, on top of the covers, with Spencer thinking: I choose Aaron Hotchner; I choose Aaron Hotchner; I choose Aaron Hotchner; but for once, it is a love song rather than a death knell, and Aaron’s scars are pressed against him and Spencer’s face is wet. He doesn’t know whether they are his tears or Aaron’s, but he knows that either way, they’re of release, of relief.

A long time afterwards, they are still holding on to each other when Aaron brushes Spencer’s hair away from his eyes, and smiles down at him, and Spencer thinks that his heart might explode. Aaron says, “We can’t ignore the risk of what we’re doing,” and Spencer – cautious, careful Spencer Reid, who thinks David Rossi might have been a terrible influence on him after all – says, “We’ll deal with it if it happens,” and Aaron pulls Spencer closer to him and says, “OK,” like it’s a promise.

Later, Aaron seems to have fallen asleep and Spencer drinks him in; the dark lashes on his cheeks; the tired, beautiful face; the body that has Aaron’s bravery written all over it in raised white lines. He thinks about sending Dave a text message, and then he decides, grinning, that David Rossi can bloody well wait for once; it will do him good. He gently disentangles himself from Aaron and gets up to turn off the lights.

As he rises, Aaron’s fingers lightly catch the inside of his wrist.

“You’re not going anywhere,” he says, voice full of sleep and, Spencer thinks, something else, something other.

“Oh,” says Spencer. “I was just going to switch the lights off so you’ll sleep better, but –”

“No, I didn’t mean like that…” Aaron tilts his head for a moment and then lifts his eyes to Spencer’s, determined. “I meant… I meant you’re not going anywhere.” This time he says it a little bit like a question, his voice curling up at the end as though he is unsure whether he dares even to ask it.

Spencer smiles slowly, enjoying the moment of a reassurance given, an answer shared; a door gently opened.

“No,” he says, as firmly as he can, “I’m definitely not going anywhere.”

Neither are you, he thinks, I won’t let you; but he does not say it aloud, because it is Aaron’s thing to say, whenever he is sure that he wants to say it.

Spencer has been dreaming lately, often, of kneeling in a familiar, empty shack with an iron cage around his chest. And suddenly, the cage bursts open and dozens of tiny, singing birds fly out. It is all he can do to stagger to his feet and wonder at how beautiful they are.

He hadn’t been able to work out what the dream meant, but now – all at once – he thinks perhaps he knows.

Aaron does not speak, but he does look at Spencer – with his eyes less empty and his face full of light – and Spencer is sure, he is certain, that this is, at least, a beginning.


So may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten
Sons are like birds, flying upward over the mountain.

(Iron and Wine)

  • Yea! This was really sweet. Rossi made me giggle a few times.
  • This fic was such a great mix of humor, romance, and drama- I really, really loved it. Rossi was especially hilarious, and was my favorite part of the fic. :)
  • Awww, I can just picture the outraged faces of the team when they learn Hotch and Reid got together and Reid didn't send a mass text immediately afterwards to let them know all their hard plotting paid off.

    I really enjoyed this one :D
  • Sweet Jesus, this was glorious. My eyes are glistening and my chest is tight because I was right there. Right with them in their fear and loneliness and longing. Dave was fabulous, every word he said I heard in his voice, saw his face as he spoke. You see Spencer as I do. With such nuance, clarity and compassion. You break my heart with Hotch, and when they finally come together, it healed something in me that needed healing. I know. I shouldn't feel this deeply about fictional characters, but fuck it, I do.

    I want to go back and quote lines that I adore, but that would be all the lines, because oh, shit, I love your writing. You have a GIFT. I can't emphasize this enough. You make me want to be a better writer. thank you. This is another fic I shall turn to when my spirits are down, or when I need inspiration, or when I just want so badly to believe that love is real and that it can all be bigger than life, and make miracles.

    And yeah, I don't know how the game is played, but I'm pretty sure I know who you are. :)
  • Oh, so sweet. Love the boys and now have a slight crush on your version of Rossi. He's so patient and selfless. *blink blink... sporfle!*
    Completely digging the healing love & obvious stalking. Plus, hearts and flowers for your use of inept BAU attempts to set them up.

    "Tastes like wine" is my favourite line. Rational but odd, he's our boy.
  • This was absolutely fabulous and that is the biggest understatement ever. If I tried to just pinpoint my favorite parts, I would just be copy and pasting the entire fic. And the best part of all.....IT WAS WRITTEN FOR ME!!! I totally am undeserving of this masterpiece, but I will take it and cherish it forever. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    • (Anonymous)
      Thank you so much for your kind words - I'm just really thrilled that you enjoyed it :-) And thanks for the great prompts too!
  • Wow!

    This was, by far, one of the best fics I've ever read. There were several paragraphs where I scrolled back up to read them again, and many times I laughed hard enough to disturb my sleeping cats. This was just a wonderful, wonderful story, and I'm bookmarking it to read again and again.
  • That was amazing. Your characterizations were all spot on. I loved all of the tiny nuances and little neuroses that were a part of the characters; they helped flesh them so well, so vividly, that I could see everything going on like a movie in HD! The ending was magnificent. I felt as though I was freed along with them. My heart ached for Hotch so badly, as badly as Rossi's did, as much as Reid's had. You really did a great job. It was perfectly paced and perfectly written.
  • Awwwwwwwwwwwww....

    Great handle on Rossi.
  • Absolutely Wonderful, loved it :D
  • I cannot even begin to count the ways I adore this. Your Rossi's voice is spot-on (perfect mix of his odd charm and his superiority complex; Prentiss should totally take him up on that Danish), your Reid is vulnerable without being helpless, and ohholycrapHotch.

    ...and I don't even like Rossi fic most of the time. Well done, srsly.
  • That was awesome. Sweet and funny and so sad and so perfectly in character for all of them. There were some killer lines in there and your Rossi was fantastic. Brilliant.
  • my brain kinda exploded in a good way :)!
  • Absolutely amazing! I love all the Hotch/Reid moments and their relationship slow development, but Rossi is just perfect in this fic. I've laughed a lot reading his parts^^
  • “I know,” says Hotch. “I was going to ring the bell, but I was just taking a moment to organize my thoughts first.”

    “You’re soaked.”

    “Well, the moment so far had lasted for forty-five minutes,” says Hotch, dryly.

    omfg squee and giggles <3
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