afters

Not Stephen


Based on "In Heat"


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Dave said nothing as he followed Aaron into the apartment.

He said nothing as Aaron dropped his go bag on a chair and headed for the booze cabinet. Or when he got out two glasses from the dishwasher.

It was only when Aaron poured a more than healthy dose of scotch into the first glass that he opened his mouth to comment, something along the lines of, ‘you know that won’t solve anything.’ He decided at the last minute to just shut up. Aaron’s back was ramrod straight with the kind of stiffness that said he was waiting for a comment or censure— anything Dave said at this moment would be a mistake.

He took off his jacket, feeling the rush of cool air across the back of his neck. He hunched his shoulders, then relaxed and drew a deep, grateful breath.

The Miami weather had been a shock after the relatively cool Virginia spring. Stepping out of the SUV into the wall of heat had taken his breath away. A funny thing, because when he was younger he could stand high temperatures, had even liked them—the hotter the better. But lately, he wanted to be in places where he didn’t sweat just standing still. Maybe it was that he’d gotten used to the climate in Virginia and the extreme contrast was just too much. Or maybe he’d just gotten used to something else entirely…

He frowned, not liking the direction of his thoughts even though they’d been taking that path more often than not lately. He glanced back.

Aaron was pouring the second drink now, his gestures still rigidly precise. Most people would read his mood as calm, unruffled, but Dave knew better. Anger was working its slow way through Aaron’s body. Which meant they weren’t going to bed anytime soon; which meant he might as well get comfortable.

He tossed his jacket over a dining room chair, then sat down on the sofa.

The balcony blinds were pulled back, framing the night like a stage. Aaron had turned on the kitchen light and the low contrast made it easy to see the townhouse on the next lot. Several big chestnuts separated the two properties and even though the trees were leafing out, he could make out a figure on the third floor. Moving back and forth from one end of the room to the other, mostly just a shadow through the sheer curtains.

Something about the figure’s height and gait told him it was a woman, her arms folded across her breast. He thought she was in pain or crying, and then he realized she was holding a child, cradling it close.

Maybe the kid was sick or maybe it’d had a nightmare. Whatever, the woman turned in another circle then disappeared from view.

He sighed and stretched his arms across the back of sofa, rocking his head a little to get rid of the tension in his neck. He needed a massage or a really long bath. Preferably by Aaron or with Aaron. He smiled at the image, thinking how great it would feel to have Aaron rubbing his neck with his strong hands when a glass appeared over his shoulder.

“Here,” Aaron muttered.

He took the drink with an equally soft, “Thanks.” The first sip burned, the second slid down smoothly. So damn good; he’d been wanting a drink for hours.

Aaron, though, didn’t drink. He walked to the balcony doors and stood, legs spread in a fighting stance, looking out just as Dave had.

Dave sighed again. If they were going to do this, they might as well get it over with. “So?”

Aaron didn’t move. “So, what?”

He reached over and turned on the light. “C’mon, let’s have it.”

“You’re going to have to be a little more specific, Dave. I don’t know what you want me to say.”

Said in that exacting, patrician tone that never failed to drive Dave crazy—usually in a good way. “Yes, you do. And you’ve been wanting to say it ever since we left Fitzgerald’s house. Ever since we closed the case and boarded the plane.”

At that, Aaron took a drink, a long swallow that looked like it hurt, his throat muscles sliding against each other. He began to pace. In the low light he looked different, not himself; dangerous and menacing, and something, a warmth that wasn’t due to the scotch burned in Dave’s belly. What with one thing and another it had been almost seven days since they’d had sex. Too long.

“Well?” he said when Aaron didn’t answer.

“There’s nothing to say. He’s a homophobe, and hardly the first we’ll come across. There’s nothing to say.” Aaron glanced quickly over his shoulder—he’d given himself away on the repetition and they both knew it.

Dave raised his eyebrow. “I was there, remember? Fitzgerald may not know you, but I do. And I know when you want to slug someone.”

“I would never hit an innocent citizen, Dave.”

“Yes, you would, if you had to. But that’s not what this is about. You’re angry because Fitzgerald is going to work right about now, getting ready to continue his state-sanctioned bigotry. If he has his way, he’ll convince any gay man he comes across that they’re a sinner. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll find some way to get them alone so he can try a little physical force. Like he did with his own son.” He sipped his scotch. “There’s nothing that the authorities will do about it. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Aaron had stopped pacing. He stood with his back to the room again, staring at his own pale reflection. “No.”

“Aaron?”

“Yes?”

“You don’t need me to tell you that you’re not Stephen Fitzgerald, right?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Iknow I’m not.”

“Aaron?”

“Yes?”

He patted the sofa. “Come here.”

Aaron hesitated. His muscles were still tight and Dave wondered if he’d pushed too soon. Then with a sigh that was loud and whole-hearted, Aaron turned and walked across the room, shoulders slumped as if he’d just finished a ten-mile run. He sat down, their arms touching. “That poor boy,” he murmured, mostly to his drink.

Dave nodded. Aaron was always careful to keep a handle on his emotional involvement with victims and unsubs, but unlike what a lot of the rest of the BAU thought, he wasn’t a robot—he felt things, sometimes too deeply. “I know. He’s got a long road in front of him.”

Aaron turned his head, squinting as if his eyes hurt. “Do you think he’ll make it?”

“I don’t know. He’s got a lot of self-hatred to deal with. And he’s got to come to terms with his homosexuality. Prison won’t be the best place for that.”

“No,” Aaron said morosely.

“Tell you what.” He reached for Aaron’s hand. “I’ll make a call. I’ve got a friend that could talk to him—she’s worked with prisoners before. Maybe she can help him.”

“You and your friends.” But it was said without any bitterness and Dave just smiled.

“When you get as old as me, you’ll have a lot of friends, too, Aaron.”

Aaron responded just as Dave thought he would—he snorted without humor. He always did that when Dave brought up their age difference.

And he figured that was just the start of the talk, that they had more discussing to do, but in one smooth motion, Aaron took his glass and sat them both on the carpet. And then leaned in, eyes closing, mouth already half open.

They kissed. Awkward at first because Dave had been caught by surprise, because the angle wasn’t right. And then not awkward when Aaron turned slightly, his knee hard against Dave’s.

It was an odd kiss; not exactly chaste, but somehow tentative, like when they were first learning their way around each other. He made a questioning sound deep in his throat and tilted his head, opening up to Aaron. Who deepened the kiss, then fell back, pulling Dave on top.

He went willingly, pressing Aaron to the couch, sudden lust making him shiver because Aaron was more than circumspect with touches and PDAs, and saved most of the good stuff for the bedroom. He’d always told himself to be patient, that Aaron had lost a lot in the past few months, that he was gradually regaining his footing in more ways than one, that everything else would take time.

So while the living room wasn’t Grand Central Station, neither was it completely private; if he could see the woman across the way, then she could see them.

A lightning-quick streak of heat warmed the back of his neck, his palms. He wasn’t much for exhibitionism, but the thought of making love to Aaron in front of the glass doors, in front of the world…

He moaned before he could help himself. Then did it again when Aaron responded, tightening his grip and spreading his legs, one foot on the floor, one wrapped around Dave’s thighs.

“Aaron?”

“Hmm?”

“Do you want to go to the bedroom?”

“No, here.” Aaron bit Dave’s lip, just a tug that didn’t hurt. “I want you to fuck me here.”

And if Aaron was circumspect with touch, he was more so with words. Never saying too much during sex, keeping a tight seal on his lips as if always afraid he’d say too much.

Dave moaned again, this time a sound that bled into a growl and he didn’t think it was possible to kiss enough, grasp enough, wanting Aaron so bad it actually made his chest ache.

He stopped and pushed up, on all fours above Aaron. Who was gazing up with waiting eyes.

“I’ll be right back,” he heard himself say. Anything to pull himself back from the edge, even though Aaron didn’t look as if he’d mind the fall.

He got up and strode to the bedroom, zeroing in on the second drawer of the nightstand where the lubricant lay, hidden behind a stack of magazines.

When he returned to the living room, he half expected Aaron to be sitting up, drink in hand, back to normal. But no, he was still in the same position. Only he’d taken his shoes and socks off. And his arms were spread, palms up.

Any profiler worth their salt would know what the pose signified and Dave felt his heart trip. He wanted to tell Aaron he knew why this was happening, after the case they’d just had. Knew that Aaron was saying, ‘fuck you,’ to David Fitzgerald because Stephen couldn’t.

Knew that facing one’s true self took courage, just as it took courage to say, ‘here I am’ to the entire world, even if most of the world would never know.

But, of course, he didn’t have to explain or elucidate—Aaron was always aware of his own motivations. And the fact that he was still waiting, cheeks flushed, eyes somehow hot, said even more.

So Dave just swallowed back the emotion and knelt between his legs.

They took their time. Undressing, pausing every so often to kiss, drawing it out because they could. Until they were naked, stretched out on the sofa that usually seemed large but now seemed small. He took his time there as well, telling himself to hold his horses as he got Aaron ready, slowing down when Aaron would hurry.

By lovemaking standards it wasn’t much of anything—the lubricant went to waste because Aaron wouldn’t let go, muttering, "No, now…" and it was enough, thrusting between Aaron’s thighs, dick against dick, riding a spiral of lust that wound higher and tighter.

So, nothing much until a moment, almost at the end, when heat gathered at the base of his spine, when he caught himself thinking foolishly, ‘this is for the Stephen Fitzgeralds of the world, for the David Fitzgeralds. This is for all those times you try and fail, the times you try and succeed…’ not sure if the latter was for himself or Aaron.

He must have said something aloud because Aaron stilled, then opened his eyes and whispered, “Hmm?” He rubbed his thumb over Dave’s beard tenderly. “What is it?”

He shook his head. “Nothing. It’s nothing.” And then he gathered Aaron’s thigh closer and thrust again.

•••

Neither of them moved.

If this were a normal night, Aaron would have already gone to the bathroom and gotten a washrag to clean them up. Instead, when Dave made to rise, Aaron just tightened his hold and said, “No,” then reached up and turned off the light. He began stroking Dave’s back with just his fingertips.

It was soothing, being held by Aaron, watching the night outside. The lights on the townhouse were out and he wondered if the woman was still holding the child in the dark or had managed to get it to sleep. Both thoughts made him a little sad and he rubbed his cheek against Aaron’s chest, just to make Aaron pause in his stroking and squeeze him tight.

Behind the townhouse, off to the left, a moon was ascending. It wasn’t thin enough to be graceful, not fat enough to be romantic. A waxing gibbous, if he remembered correctly. The kind of moon the Fayetteville Strangler had used as a guide—waxing meant it was time to act, waning meant it was time to rest.

He frowned, unhappy with the intrusion of the ever-present violent world he lived in.

Maybe he should give it up. He’d said it more than a few times—was he talking just to hear himself talk or was there a small part of him that wanted to be done with it all? It probably would be the wise thing to do—get out before it was too late, before his soul was all used up.

But…

Who was he kidding?

It was exciting, getting a new case. Walking into the conference room and sitting down while every part of him sharpened and jumped, like a dog on the hunt.

And then there was Aaron—working with him was one of the joys of his life and he wouldn’t change that if he could.

‘Getting the bad man.’ More words he’d said so many times they’d almost lost their meaning. Almost, but not quite—they held a core of truth, and if the team hadn’t gotten the bad man this time—the real one—they would the next.

He sighed.

Then smiled when Aaron, almost asleep, sighed back.



fin.

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Story notes:
Aaron Hotchner/Dave Rossi
Criminal Minds
2,400+ words
All characters belong to people and organizations that are not me