Based on "Pleasure is My Business"


The return flight was uneventful. The kids did the usual—reviewing the case, talking back and forth. At first they’d been quiet, subdued, but as the night drew on, their expressions relaxed and lightened. By the time the plane was over Tennessee, you’d never know they’d just spent two days frantically tracking down a confused murderer.

But that kind of disassociation was normal, Dave acknowledged as he reached for his glass and took a sip; it came with the territory. Emotional balance was key in their line of work and each of them would’ve long since handed in their resignations if they hadn’t been able to handle the stress. Either that or been so deep in therapy, they’d never recover.

He thought of Gideon and quickly pushed the memory away. He didn’t like going there, not when there wasn’t anything he could do about it.

Anyway, the kids were able to handle it, surprisingly so. But then, he’d been that young, once, and the job hadn’t ruined him. And as much as he’d once believed he was such a singular man when it came to comprehending and withstanding the horror that walked hand-in-hand with the job, he’d met his match more than a few times in the young people not five feet away.

Not that he was going to tell them that any time soon.

He breathed a soft laugh, then shook his head when Emily looked over with an enquiring tilt of her head, when they exchanged a brief smile.

He liked her. She was quick, both mentally and physically. She sometimes got too deep into a case, but that was another thing that came with the territory, and none of them were immune to that particular failing.

The thought led to its inevitable conclusion and he glanced sideways again, as he’d been doing for the last hour. His smile died.

Because instead of taking part in the conversation, Aaron was still bent over his laptop, typing steadily. And even though he was an arm’s reach away, somehow he was distanced, withdrawn. Inviolate.

Not that Dave had expected anything else. Aaron needed to come down slowly from a case, needed the anodyne of work and duty to help him bleed the job out of his system. And if he was a little more grim than usual, that meant little.

And Dave knew that he could take it. Aaron’d had a lot of shit piled on him, but he always came out of it, one way or another. It might take him a while to straighten up, to regain that stiffness he so often hid behind, but he always managed, was always there to face the next challenge. And on those times when he faltered, when the weight got too heavy, well, that was one of the reasons Dave was around.

He glanced over again, took another sip of water, then closed his eyes.




“Hey, Hotch, you feel like getting a beer?”

Aaron didn't look up from his notebook. “It’s almost nine.”

Dave leaned against the doorjamb and said to the crown of Aaron’s head, “What does that have to do with anything?”

“It’s too late for a drink. And I’m tired.”

Dave shrugged, even though Aaron didn’t see it.

But Aaron’s shoulders tightened as if he could, and he muttered, “Maybe some other night? I need to get this submitted.” He still didn’t look up.

Dave nodded, then pushed away from the door. “Sounds good,” he called out, not looking back. He didn’t care much where they did this. Here, at a bar, at Aaron’s—each necessitating a different strategy, but really, anywhere would do.




The apartment was cool, quiet, when he let himself in. He listened for a moment, hand poised on the doorknob, waiting for anything out of the ordinary, a habit so long ingrained that he almost didn’t notice it.

He cocked his head at a muffled thump, but no, that was just the refrigerator’s motor kicking in.

He pocketed the keys and re-locked the door.

The bedroom was just as dark, just as quiet. He didn’t bother with the lights; he knew his way blind by now. He sat his overnight bag in the closet for later, then stripped without hurry. He showered, just as methodically, and brushed his teeth and examined his beard, his neck. He needed to get to the barber in the next day or so, but it could wait.

His pajamas were slippery cold as he pulled them on and he remembered Aaron’s reaction the first time he’d stayed long enough to even need pajamas. It was one of his favorite memories—Aaron mouthing his body through the dark silk, down his chest to his belly.  Down, down, down…

His dick reacted predictably and he grinned, a little tiredly because now that the bed was in sight, no matter what his body was saying, his mind was murmuring, ‘sleep.’

He rearranged the pillows, then pulled back the bedspread and got in, moving to the far side because Aaron wasn’t comfortable on the right.

He settled into the pillows and thought about the magazine he’d just bought, the notes on the next book he’d meant to finish while they were in Florida, both still in the bag. He left them there. The closet was only eight feet away, but that was still too far and he smiled. It was ridiculous, being so damn lazy after he’d traveled sixteen hundred miles to catch a man who was raping and killing other men and …

…and on that thought, he let sleep take him.




He wasn’t under for long. Not even, because all it took was the soft sound of the front door closing to wake him. He lay there, on his side, and waited for Aaron to set his briefcase on the sofa, lay his keys on the side table and walk through the house, making sure everything was secure.

He felt more than heard the presence behind him—Aaron was in the doorway, and Dave pictured him—tie loose because he always did that as soon as he got through the door, a little slumped-shouldered and droopy.

Still, Dave didn’t turn.

“I guess this is some other night?”

Aaron’s voice was rough with exhaustion, but at the same time mild, pleased, and Dave smiled into the pillow. “It’s always some other night.”

“I have to get up early.”

‘Like you could scare me off that easily.’ “So do I.”

“I’m too tired for sex.”

“I’ll keep my hands to myself.”

There was a soft snort of Aaron-laugher, then the dull noise of fabric rubbing against fabric as he undressed and put his clothes away. Then, light from the bathroom, the shower curtain being pulled back, and water running.

Dave hoped Aaron wouldn’t shave. Because if he had favorite memories, he also had favorite things, and one of them, the most recent, was the pleasant/unpleasant burr of Aaron’s light beard. The sensation was still new enough to be a turn-on and he smiled again, not surprised when his whole body tightened—thighs, cock, belly, arms.

It was enjoyable, the simple, dumb, pleasure of waiting on Aaron.

Dave wasn’t much for comparing then with now, it was a trap he'd avoided all his life. But he’d wondered several times in the past months if his feelings were the rational by-product of a new relationship. Just the normal thing everyone did—comparing old lovers to new and finding the former wanting. He almost preferred the second, as selfish as it was, because…

He ran his hand restlessly over the sheet, scrubbing away the thought. He’d told himself that he’d keep it cool, that he wouldn’t ask for what Aaron couldn’t give. And it had worked.


Thankfully, the water was turned off, breaking him out of his worry—don’t go there if there’s nothing you can do about it.

Aaron came out a minute later, not staying long enough to shave, so that was good.

Dave waited for him to get out his shorts, but there was no sound of the bureau being opened, so that was even better. He was getting ready to roll to his back when the mattress jerked and shifted. There was something there, a certain heaviness and he asked over his shoulder, “You okay?”

“Yeah,” came Aaron’s voice, a little muffled.

Dave turned.

Aaron was naked and wet, rubbing his hair with the towel, but absently, as if he didn’t know he was doing it. The light from the bathroom glanced off his body, bright enough to see the sleek muscles of his back shift and slide with the slow movement of his arms, see the faint mark on his lower back that Dave thought was a burn scar, but Aaron would never say.

“You okay?” Dave repeated.

Aaron cocked his head and instead of the expected, ‘of course,’ or, ‘I already answered you,’ he asked thoughtfully, “Dave?”

His hair was sticking up, sharp points of black. Dave stayed his immediate response: to lean over and smooth them down, to keep going and not stop… “Yeah?”

“Do you ever consider the payoffs we make to do our job?”

“Of course, I do. We all make sacrifices to keep our sanity.”

“No,” Aaron twisted around. The light curved a hard plane across his cheek, his temple, and Dave wondered if this was how he’d look in his seventies and eighties—pared down as if all it would take was a strong beam of light to see past tissue, muscle, bone, all the way to the soul. “I don’t mean that. I mean…” He gestured sharply, then realized he was still holding the towel. With a small frown, he got up and went back into the bathroom to put it away.

The sight of which Dave admired, thoroughly and not professionally. His dick hardened and his pulsed jumped and he told himself to wait, wait, they weren’t there yet.

Aaron turned out the light and came back to bed, rearranging the pillows Dave had already rearranged, then slid in.

He sighed, long and deep, and turned on his side, propping his head on his hand to stare at Dave. Even in the dark, Dave knew he was squinting, trying to gauge his expression against whatever was coming.

“No, I mean,” he said, as if there’d been no interruption. “The trade-offs we have to make in order to catch a killer. What about those?”

Dave turned to his side, matching Aaron’s pose. “Is this about Foyet?” I thought we’d finished with that.”

“No, and yes,” Aaron said dryly, “we have. And you can keep your gun to yourself.” Said even more dryly as he touched Dave’s shin with his foot.

Dave touched him back, foot to ankle. “Then what’s this about? I know it’s not about Adam Jackson.”


“Then what?”

Aaron sighed again and rolled to his back. He watched the ceiling for a long moment, then muttered, “Whore,” simply, softly.

Dave frowned. Then frowned harder as he made the connection. He leaned over. Aaron’s eyes were half closed and his expression was so…Still.

“This is about the girl?” Dave had tried to get him to talk about it, after they’d gotten back from Dallas, but Aaron had shrugged it away, saying that it wasn’t a big deal, that he was fine. And Dave had forgotten all about… “About— What was her name?”

“Megan. Megan Kane.”

“This is about her?”

Aaron just shook his head, a truncated negative that meant, ‘yes.’

“So, what? You think you’re a whore for making deals to get a job done?”


“Any deals we do, we do within the system. We work within the system. You know this, Aaron.”

“Like you did with the Galen kids?”

Trust him to throw that in and Dave gestured sharply. “Don’t do that. Don’t deflect.”

Aaron shrugged again. “All right.”

Dave waited until he was able to say evenly, “You’re bothered by the word,” because it had just come to him, what this was about.

Aaron looked at him sideways.

‘Uh-huh.’ “Because you’ve never been called a whore before?”

“No. As odd as it seems, I never have.”

Dave wanted to smile at his tone, half pissy lady of the manor, half grumpy kid. “It’s just a word, Aaron. Words don’t mean anything unless you let them.”

“I know that, Dave.”

“But knowing isn’t the same as accepting, is it? Not with this.” ‘Not with you.’

Aaron didn’t move, didn’t answer, so Dave did it for him. He pushed closer until he lay half on top, leg thrown over leg, chest to chest. Making Aaron feel his weight, his presence, and he stroked the span of his shoulder, rubbing his thumb along his rough cheek. “You do know you’re not a woman, right?”

And Aaron’s expression changed, lightening to sarcasm, to humor. “Thanks. I wasn’t sure.” And then, more serious, “Not every prostitute is a woman.”

“Yeah, but it’s a gendered word, don’t you think? I mean, if we call a man a prostitute we generally use the word ‘gigolo.’ Can you honestly say you don’t think, ‘woman,’ when you hear the word ‘prostitute’?

“And now that I’m thinking about it, most of the words we have for prostitute infer the female, not the male. Interesting.” Dave propped his head on his fist and thought about it; he had a section in his new book that detailed the difference between male and female serial killers. Maybe this would be a good fact to throw in, maybe even expand it to an entire chapter.

A breath of laughter interrupted his thoughts and he looked up; Aaron’s dark mood had dissipated. In its place was a fond gleam in his eyes and a very faint smile.

Dave raised his eyebrow. “What?”

“You look like you’re getting ready for a lecture. Should I get my notebook?”

He grinned. “Only if you let teacher play with you after class.”

Aaron snorted. “That’s silly. And more than a little creepy.”

Dave’s grin broadened to a smile. Whatever millstone Aaron had come home with was gone. At least for now.

He reached for Aaron’s chin and tilted his head to the side so he could kiss and nuzzle the marked line of his jaw. Then again, using his teeth when Aaron sighed and shifted closer and pulled.

Dave went with it; sliding up and on top, matching length for length, letting his kisses become sharp, hungry.

He thought, based on their conversation, that Aaron would hold back, be satisfied with nothing more than a quick hand job, or maybe a mutual blow-job, but no—when he slid his knee between Aaron’s thighs, Aaron didn’t hesitate. He spread his legs with a strained, “Dave,” and arched up.

“I thought you were too tired?” he said into the curve of Aaron’s neck.

“I am.”

“I thought you had to get up early?”

“I will.”

“I thought—”

Aaron fisted his hair and tugged, bringing his head up. “Dave, if you want this to happen, I suggest you shut up.”

Dave laughed. Then kissed Aaron’s bicep and pulled out of his grip. He stretched a long arm for the nightstand drawer, for the condoms and the slim, used-twice but not forgotten tube. He handed the condoms to Aaron, then shrugged out of his pajamas.

His marriages and extra-curricular sexual activities hadn’t prepared him for the first time he’d fucked Aaron. Nor the time, three weeks ago now, when Aaron had fucked him, and when he opened the lubricant he used too much force, squeezing too hard. But, better safe than sorry—he didn’t want to hurt Aaron. When he used one finger, then two and three, trying not to shake as Aaron rolled the condom on, each working around the other.

Aaron didn’t smile at his tentativeness like he had the first time, and Dave wondered if that wasn’t Aaron’s turn-on, that he wasn’t practiced and smooth at this. That fucking Aaron made him nervous and scared and he wanted to get it just right—

He hitched Aaron’s thigh up and slid in, just a bit, eyes half closed as he tried to hold on, fighting the primal urge to ignore caution, to take.

Aaron stroked where he’d just tugged and said in a strained whisper, “It’s okay.”

“Yeah. Just give me a minute.”

“No, really. It’s—”

“Give me a minute, Aaron. I—”

Aaron took hold of his jaw, looked him straight in the eye and whispered, “Whore.”

Only this time he cracked a smile—his La Gioconda smile as Dave always thought it—and now the word sounded unbelievably erotic and not something expected at all. Impatient desire came rushing back, a streak of fire up his spine; he groaned in response and thrust hard enough to inch Aaron up the bed.

He gave it a moment, then thrust again, wanting to tell Aaron that he was wrong. That if coming when called defined, ‘whore,’ as Megan Kane had said, then it was Dave who was the whore. Dave, who should’ve been back on the road with his book deals and his speaking engagements and his investigations. And who should really stop using the excuse that it was only the thrill of the hunt that kept him around the BAU.

Because there was this. Not an exchange of sex for money or money for power, but this—Aaron under him, over him, eyes wide open, drinking it all in without a sound, his focus so intense it was almost painful…

He kissed Aaron too hard, probably giving away more than he should and when Aaron whispered his name again, sandpaper rough, he let go.






“Jack and Haley are coming up this weekend.”

Dave wondered if Aaron knew that he’d started to refer to them as ‘Jack and Haley,’ not ‘Haley and Jack.’ Disassociation, again. “And you want me to stay away?”

Aaron shrugged, his smooth chest rising and falling. “If you don’t mind.”

“It’s your place.”

“I know.”

“You’re not hurting my feelings.”

“I know.”

“And I know your time with Jack is valuable.”

“I know.”

It was the third, ‘I know,’ that clued Dave in and his heart thumped—it wasn’t so much the fact that Haley and Jack were visiting, as much as Aaron didn’t necessarily want him gone.

They hadn’t talked about the future, hadn’t talked about his place, if any, in Jack’s life. He wasn’t stupid. He knew Aaron cared for him, probably loved him. But there was love, and then there was love.

He stroked the side of Aaron’s hips, tenderly, happily.



“You’re too heavy.”

Said almost apologetically and Dave snorted and slid off. And then rolled free, looking down. He hated this part, hated the mess. But like the other, it was worth it. Aaron’s relaxed, pleased smile was worth it.

“Here,” Aaron said behind him and reached around and carefully rolled the condom off. “C’mon, let’s clean up.”

He got out of bed and Dave followed, around the bed and into the bathroom.

Aaron tossed the condom in the trash, then pulled the shower curtain back and leaned in to turn on the water. “Stop it,” he called out over the hiss.

Dave stroked the small of his back. “Can I help it if you've got a really good ass?”

“You don’t see me staring all the time, do you?”

Dave smiled. And got in, shivering at the heat, shivering with affection and love because, yes, he’d caught Aaron staring more than a few times.

At work, when there was nothing but reports and schedules and meetings. He’d walk by Aaron’s office and they’d exchange a brief, meaningless glance that wasn’t meaningless at all. Or when they were on a case, concentrating on one thing only, Dave would feel the weight of Aaron’s regard, knowing that it had little to do with love or desire, but a trust astonishingly deep, surprisingly wide.

“Well, do you?”

Dave just kissed his shoulder, then gently moved him out of the way and reached for the soap.




Story notes:
Aaron Hotchner/Dave Rossi
Criminal Minds
2,200+ words
All characters belong to people and organizations that are not me