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Hotch (Criminal Minds) SS for Moon!


Mercury

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Happy Holidays Moon! Of all your preferences I got the most excited about Criminal Minds! So I hope you get excited too :P This is part 1 of 3 just because I got sucked into Criminal Minds fanfiction while trying to refresh my memories on the voices. Anywho. Enjoy!

 

Secret Santa 1/3

It was a team tradition to do a secret santa. In the beginning, by Garcia’s insistence, they had tried it as a traditional exchange, but with a group of profilers it was never really going to work. Aaron hadn’t minded too much, it was still good camaraderie and an easy way for the team to relax and forget about any lingering after-case trauma.

 

But Prentiss had suggested they go ‘white elephant’ this year, so Aaron had spent hours in shops and online trying to find something that would be a good gift for potentially all members of the team. He didn’t think he’d succeeded, but he’d hoped he’d found something appropriate for at least the younger of them.

 

Maybe.

 

Aaron pulled out a handkerchief and pressed it to his nose. He’d been skulking in a corner while his nose dripped and the others got their second round of drinks, played pool and waited for their meals.

 

‘Hegishht!’ He sneezed into the material, heavy and congested. ‘Gushhhht!’

 

‘Gesundheit.’

 

Rossi had sidled up beside him, and raised one of the two scotches he had in hand. ‘I noticed you hadn’t had one yet, and now I know why.’

 

‘It’s barely a cold.’ he finished snuffling into the material and emerged semi-presentable to claim one of the drinks, ‘And I find it hard to believe you didn’t know before.’

 

The older man gave an unapologetic shrug. ‘Maybe I never had a chance to bring it up until now. Not without anyone else around, anyway… How are you feeling?’

 

‘I’m fine, really, David, there’s no need to worry.’ He took a sip of the rich liquid. Knowing his friend’s tastes it was undoubtedly expensive, but it burned like the cheep vodka he’d once stolen from his friend’s mom’s freezer decades ago.

 

He coughed, but then didn’t seem to be able to stop after a few so he wrapped an arm around his face and did his best to keep himself quiet. His chest convulsed and his throat grated with each burst of air, and he could feel his nose dripping from the force. A few hoarse barks escaped into his elbow and he cleared his throat to end the spasm.

 

‘Aaron...’

 

‘It’s okay,’ he croaked, ‘Just went down the wrong way.’

 

Rossi had moved closer, the second drink had made it back into the Italian’s hands, but he was hovering now, looking as if he were about to say something that he knew was completely unnecessary.

 

Aaron sniffed and rubbed a knuckle against the side of his nose. ‘I’m going to head the men’s room. I’ll join everyone in a minute.’

 

He moved away from the other man and headed for the small corridor. Garcia had booked them a semi-private room, which could be seen by the main bistro area through the bar, but both areas had access to the pool room and the same toilets.

 

The special agent made it to the bathroom without being accosted by any of his team, although he was sure he felt some of their gazes as he moved past. And when the door shut behind him, Aaron slumped against it for a moment before turning the lock.

 

The lights were harsh, and the pain behind his eyes dug deeper. Bringing his hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose, he squeezed his eyes shut until they sparked.

 

Lying to the team always felt difficult, but in this case it was especially futile. Even if no one else had noticed he wasn’t well, and he doubted that was the case, there would be no way to hide his worsening symptoms.

 

The SSA managed to pull himself across the room to the sinks. The metal bench felt cool, and Aaron fought the urge to press his face against the unsanitary surface. He settled for cupped hands full of water and palmed some onto flushed cheeks and then ran some through his hair. He felt muscled relax that he wasn’t even aware were tense.

 

‘Heh’Etchhho!’

 

He brought his hands down to chin height.

 

‘Ukitchhh! Hitchhhh!’

 

The noise reverberated around and through his already ringing ears. It took him a moment to blink his eyes open and focus down on his hands, which were covered in sickly tendrils. He pulled out some paper towels and gave a deep gurgle into the material, to save the integrity of his handkerchief for later.

 

He ran the hot water and washed his hands before running soap over the tap handles.

 

In the mirror, at least, he didn’t look nearly as tired as he felt. He wanted to go home to sleep until their next case, but the team had been talking about and looking forward to this for a while and he couldn’t leave them so early. He’d at least have to stay until the gifts were exchanged, then maybe he could slip away without it seeming too abrupt.

 

He put his hair back into place and spent a moment straightening the collar of his deep blue shirt before expecting himself properly in the mirror. The slight flush could be explained away by the warm rooms, but not the red rims around his nostrils.

 

There was no doubt that the rest of his team knew he wasn’t feeling well, and that Rossi had only been the one to approach him because of the long friendship the two had. However, if he kept his wits, then hopefully they wouldn’t be able to tell how awful he really felt.

 

The last thing he wanted was for them to be worrying about him, when they should be enjoying their hard-earned night off.

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Eeeeeeekk!! Thank you so much Mercury! :bounce:This fic was so well done oh my goodness. :wub: 
The Christmas-ness makes me really even though it's not Christmas and I love that you have them do a gift exchange, that's so sweet! And I like that you acknowledge that they're profilers so it's hard to hide things from one another. I'm curious as to what Hotch got everyone, though. His interactions with Rossi were perfect, from Rossi's concern to Hotch's reaction to the scotch, hahaha. 

14 hours ago, Mercury said:

Lying to the team always felt difficult, but in this case it was especially futile. Even if no one else had noticed he wasn’t well, and he doubted that was the case, there would be no way to hide his worsening symptoms.

I like that he's very aware that he's stuck. :twisted: 

14 hours ago, Mercury said:

He wanted to go home to sleep until their next case, but the team had been talking about and looking forward to this for a while and he couldn’t leave them so early.

Aahhhhh and if he says anything they might be disappointed but they'd make him go home and rest. 
And then he doesn't want them to worry, either! 

I'm excited to see how he interacts with the rest of the team/how they respond, and how long he lasts. Thank you for this wonderful gift! :heart:

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Keeping my fingers crossed for some JJ/Hotch! Obviously I know this is secret santa and that might not be what moon likes but I'll keep hoping :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Part 2! :)

Secret Santa 2/3

Entrees were spread out on the table for everyone to share. Aaron had been picking at the garlic bread, since he knew the health benefits of garlic and was hoping for at least a placebo effect. Everyone else had gravitated towards the table, although only Reid and JJ were seated while the others stood close to the plate of their favourite food. Rossi, it seemed, was trying his best not to hover too close to Aaron, but he could feel the Italian’s perception on him, if not his actual gaze, as he compared bruchetta experiences with Prentiss.

 

Garcia was bouncing around the table, as if she were the hostess who was responsible for keeping everyone happy and enjoying the night. She was wearing a casual long dress (‘maxi-dress’ his ex’s voice supplied), with poinsettia florals, and glittery gold and silver feathers in her hair. She looked like the mother nature of Christmas, and she was glowing with excitement.

 

They knew Garcia wasn’t an exclusive resource of the BAU, but Aaron felt she was just as much of the team as everyone else. But she didn’t get to join in on many team dinners, as they were mostly done between finishing a case and an early flight back to Virginia, and she rarely came off site with them.

 

Watching her made him feel old and tired, but he didn’t want to disappoint her by being unwell on what was clearly a special night for her.

 

He took a sip of water, the tepid liquid cooling his inflamed throat. He was sure his lips were chapped too, as breathing through his nose had now become a mocking memory, and hoped the drink would help moisten them and make their state not quite so obvious. He sniffed, but not enough air could get through to keep his nose from dripping, so he ducked his head and gave a snuffle into the handkerchief and a quick wipe.

 

There was no doubt that someone saw him, but he could play it off as a light sniffle as long as he didn’t display any of the more damning symptoms, like fatigue.

 

Hehgitchh!’ or excessive sneezing. He pinched his nose through the square of the material. ‘Hgxtt! Hcxtt! Hkttch!’ When his head bobbed back up he saw Morgan watching with his eyebrows furrowed. He’d clearly been on the way to intercept Garcia, but Aaron had distracted him.

 

If you want to head home, no one would blame you.’

 

He tucked the handkerchief away, ‘It’s just a bit of a cold, I’m fine.’

 

Aaron met Morgan’s eyes. He was still holding his shoulders tense from the last case, and Aaron had counted at least three beers that hadn’t had much of an effect on the muscles. It was clear the larger man hadn’t shaken their last case yet, although he was trying by pretending he had, and needed this night. Perhaps more than anyone.

 

I’ll go home if I start feeling any worse. I promise.’

 

Morgan frowned, but conceded. ‘Good.’

 

Dark eyes gave him one more appraising look before they drifted back over to Garcia and he hummed in thought. Aaron gave a thick sniff to try and stop anything from running down his face, then realised what he’d done. Morgan hadn’t given any indication he’d heard, but the unit chief didn’t want to risk it by sniffing again, or saying anything in case his voice was too congested.

 

I’m just going to...’ Morgan indicated the woman of his attention before he looked back, ‘Take it easy tonight, Hotch.’

 

The ex-cop drifted away towards Garcia, but gave Rossi a nod as he passed, which was returned.

 

Aaron frowned at the gesture, but had to turn away, ‘Htchhtt!’ He’d tried to pinch his nose between his thumb and forefinger. The mucus compounded in his sinuses and his head throbbed in warning, but he’d managed to contain any mess that might have happened. He gave another sniff and a cough while no one was around.

 

Ok guys,’ Garcia called, ‘While we’re waiting, how about we get this going.’

 

Ooh, can I hand out the first one.’ Prentiss smiled widely. She stood before she got an answer and went over to the equally excited Garcia.

 

Aaron felt he should complain on principle, as they’d previously agreed that he, as the head of the ‘family’, should be the one to conduct the gift exchange. But he didn’t have the energy to protest let alone host the thing, and he wasn’t sure he could manage ‘just a cold’ in front of everyone.

 

Hotch?’

 

He looked to Prentiss, sensing that she’d called his name more than once.

 

Yes, sorry?’

 

Is it alright if I...’ She gestured to to gifts.

 

Go ahead.’ Aaron jumped on the opportunity to pass responsibility without seeming unable to preform it. He turned one of the chairs around so he could sit and watch and did his best to keep his posture upright, yet looking relaxed. He could feel his shoulders wanting to cave in and his body to wilt, and now that the burden of standing had been relieved, the heaviness of his head seemed unbearable.

 

While the two were fussing over the presents, he closed his eyes. It took a dizzying moment to will himself to keep his head up and not set it down in his arms for a nap.

 

Heh’ETTCHO!’ The sneeze burst from him, spraying down on his lap and on the side of the hand he had just started to rise. Aaron felt like there was a hook in his sinuses lifting it into a hitch. ‘Hihh...’ He begged it not to as he wrapped an elbow around his face, assuming no time for a handkerchief. ‘hhhihh… Hi’Etchhht! Heh’tchhh!

 

His eyes had started watering from the force of the expulsion, and he blinked dark lashes a few times before he looked up with a wet sniff. There was a brief round of distracted blessings, although Aaron couldn’t pick who from, and no one acknowledged it further until Reid sat next to him.

 

Here,’ The doctor was holding out a small travel pack of tissues and a small bottle of hand sanitiser. He seemed hesitant, but there was a driving eagerness help. ‘Although it hasn’t been scientifically proven, tissues are much more hygienic than handkerchiefs, provided their only used once before they’re discarded.’

 

Aaron grinned at Reid’s sheepish, almost apologetic smile. The younger man boarded on germaphobic, and it spoke of how much he cared, and how worried he was, that he would come so near to his sick boss.

 

Thags, Spencer.’

 

He took the offered gifts, being careful not to touch Reid’s hand. He removed a tissue and gave his nose a gurgling blow that left his face flushed with embarrassment. The tissue was shoved into one of his pockets and he coated his hands with the pleasantly smelling gel.

 

So, umm, how do you think this is going to go?’

 

Aaron looked over to the pair of girls, who were excitedly holding the attention of the team as they explained the order of things.

 

I’ve got no idea.’

 

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I've been so busy all week I missed this gem until now :$ But wow this was an amazing update. I feel like there's a conspiracy going on behind Hotch's back and he's just stuck sitting there miserably. :lol: Everyone is beautifully in-character and subtly trying to help.

On 22/01/2018 at 9:24 PM, Mercury said:

Aaron felt like there was a hook in his sinuses lifting it into a hitch. ‘Hihh...’ He begged it not to as he wrapped an elbow around his face, assuming no time for a handkerchief.

Damn. That description, especially in comparison to those (failed) stifle attempts… :drool: 

Thank you for finishing this part for us! 

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  • 1 month later...

Ahhh, this took so long to write. Mainly because of the actual gift exchange part because I got paranoid about believably and then mapped everything out in meticulous detail then realised that it really wasn't the point of the story so then had to try and weave sneezing into it lol. Also, really didn't know how to leave it, so I hope it's serviceable.

Enjoy.

Secret Santa 3/3

The rules of a white elephant gift exchange were simple (Prentiss had shot them all an email explaining it when she’d suggested they change the game) but she stood before the team and gave them all a refresher. Aaron had his face buried in a tissue but could see though his lashes that Prentiss was bouncing with excitement as she went through something that, to Aaron, obviously didn’t need to be explained.

 

Everyone seemed to be listening intently, with small secretive smiles on their face. This was Emily’s idea and moment so no one was going to take the wind out of her sails. Aaron snuffled into the tissue, not wanting to make too much noise while everyone was pretending to be focused and were hyper aware of anything that wasn’t their team-mate’s voice.

 

‘-ere can only be three swaps in a row, then a new gift has to be picked. So I’m going first so I won’t get the option to swap.’

 

His soft palate lifted and his nostrils flared. He quickly swapped to a clean tissue, pinched his nose, pressed his tongue to the top of his mouth and hoped for the best. If he could wait until the first gift was opened he could get a few quick sneezes off while everyone was distracted and get rid of the hitching sensation.

 

‘C’mon then,’ Morgan’s voice rumbled through the pressure in Aaron’s head., ‘take your pick.’

 

Prentiss hummed for a moment as she decided. The unit chief’s eyes fluttered closed and he could feel them watering down his cheek. Someone was talking, but not at him, and then there was some rustling followed by the sound of Prentiss tearing into the box she had chosen.

 

Hitchhh! Ishhh! Et’Chhhttt!’ He forced them into sharp bursts that tumbled into each other, hoping to be over the ordeal quickly. ‘Huh’Tchhhoo! Echhoo!’

 

His head spun for a moment until a hand rested on his thigh. JJ was sitting next to him, using his leg as she leaned forwards to watch Reid open the second present of the night. Aaron must have been out of it to not realise the torch had been passed, but when no one made a move to call him on it, he gave a few hoarse barks through closed lips.

 

JJ squeezed.

 

‘Oh, I put this one in!’ Reid held the card up triumphantly. It was a New York museum pass.

 

‘Cheat!’

 

‘Pick another!’

 

‘It didn’t say that wasn’t allowed.’

 

‘I forgot how I wrapped it!’

 

Hetchhoo!’

 

‘Look, let’s just keep going.’

 

Then Reid decided Morgan was the next person to pick something, which meant that Morgan stood and plucked the pass from Reid’s hands. ‘Got my next date planned. Thanks Reid.’

 

Aaron rubbed a knuckle against his nose before shuffling another tissue out of the diminishing packet. He didn’t want to move now that it was Reid’s turn again; the team’s attention was lingering far too long on their side of the makeshift semi-circle. This was the main event of the evening, and he didn’t want to ruin the rhythm of what was going on.

 

His head was half down, but he resisted bringing another tissue to his nose as he saw Reid pick up the present he had contributed to the pile.

 

If he were being honest, he wasn’t sure what Cards Against Humanity was, but the woman at the store had been adamant that it would be a great way to pass the time on the plane when they were coming back from a case. Reid, at least, seemed intrigued by the gift and immediately broke into the plastic and started reading the rule book.

 

Aaron’s nose seemed to be simultaneously dripping down the back of his throat and on to his top lip. He gave a few week sniffs and cleared his throat a few times while JJ unwrapped some of Garcia’s homemade shower bombs and soaps decoupaged with ‘geekery’, as the analyst had once called it.

 

As soon as eyes turned to Rossi for the older man’s turn, the team leader raised the tissue and let out two heavy sneezes into them. Unfortunately he realised too late that he had been tearing the tissue up in anxious anticipation and that the thick mucus had mostly ended up on his hands.

 

A congested ‘damn’ slipped out beneath his breath, and JJ’s hand reappeared, but on his shoulder this time.

 

Are you okay?’ She spoke, matching his lowered volume.

 

I’b getti’g a little sick of that question.’ He joked, managing to lift half his mouth into a smile as he used the remnants of the travelpack to clean up his hands before using the sanitiser. She smiled back to let him know she didn’t take offence, but it was hampered by concern. ‘I’m fide.’

 

Are you sure?’

 

Aaron looked over to Rossi, who was admiring the card game, and then to Reid who clutched the newly unwrapped and excessively large travel coffee cup like his life depended on its existence.

 

The more he repeated the mantra of being ‘fine’ the more he didn’t feel it, but he nodded to JJ and tried to be reassuring as he mouthed again that he was okay. He moved his eyes away and towards the others to end the interrogation, while he tried to scratch the roof of his mouth with his tongue as the uncomfortable sensation moved back up into his sinuses and made his nose continue to twitch.

 

He closed his eyes and tried to wiggle some internal muscles while sniffling. He knew he was going to sneeze again, and soon, but he could minimise the fallout if he could control what was going on. There were two tissues left in the travel pack, something he didn’t have to see to know, and he lay them down across his palm and waited for the inhale.

 

Heh… hekgtchht!’ It wasn’t too loud or productive, but it was sharp and fast. Aaron kept the tissue hovering as the sensation hadn’t fully abated and he could feel another coming.

 

Bless you?’

 

He cracked an eye at the ring of people. It was his turn, the last one to pick, but he couldn’t speak with his breath caught between his throat and nose. ‘Hhhh...’. So much for control, he thought as he waited for something, anything, else to happen. ‘Hihh...

 

Anything!

 

Hiktchhh! Hetshoo!’

 

Salud’

 

Thags.’

 

Things were far too quiet as everyone waited, so he gave his nose a wipe and cleared his throat.

 

Sorry. It’s my turn?’

 

At the affirmative, Aaron looked around at the assortment of things everyone else had claimed. He hadn’t been paying too much attention to what everyone else had been getting, so it was probably going to take him longer to pick than the others had. There was only one wrapped present left, and he was tempted to take it just to end everything quickly, but if he went for it too quickly it might be too obvious.

 

Borgad,’ he tried not to wince at the sound of his own voice as held out a hand, not wanting to reach over and potentially touch anyone with his germs. ‘If you don’t bind.’

 

Shit,’ The larger man handed over the museum pass with a half smile, ‘there goes my date.’

 

Aaron gave another sniff and throat clear. ‘Jack thanks you.’

 

Well, Prentiss, cough it up.’

 

Damn it, Derek.’ She passed over the leather travel bag, that clearly cost more than the agreed budget. ‘And just for that..’ She rose from her chair and took the museum pass off Aaron, who had extended it when he saw the mischief in her dark eyes... ‘I’m going to have that date.’

 

What about Jack?’ Morgan protested.

 

I’ll make it up to him.’ Prentiss gave her boss a conspiratorial wink.

 

Aaron tried to push through the headache to remember something. ‘So what’s the rule? That’s been three swaps.’

 

You have to pick the one that’s left,’ JJ supplied, ‘There can’t be more than three swaps per turn.’

 

He gave another sniff. His nose seemed to be behaving now, running without sneezing, but without the battle to focus on he could feel every muscle in his body crying out for some form of reprieve. It made it all the more difficult to lift himself from the seat and claim the last box, and harder still to prevent any noises of discomfort from slipping through his lips.

 

The last present was wrapped in fluorescent green with a bright red ribbon around it. There was minimal tape, so unwrapping it was reasonably easy. As Aaron unpeeled layers, he realised that he couldn’t pick which of his team members had selected and wrapped the remaining gift. Usually it was easily done from the choice of paper, style of adornment, and taping method, but no one was springing to mind. When he came to the simple cardboard box inside he paused and tried to backtrack over the other gifts he had seen.

 

Maybe he was worse off than he thought.

 

He lay his hands on top of the box and sighed. For the sake of his pride he could only admit it once, while he had everyone’s attention. ‘After this, I’m really sorry, but I think I might call it a night...’

 

Just open the box, Aaron.’

 

Although it was said gently, the unit chief shot Rossi a look, which was received with a good-natured, but pointed, raising of the eyebrows.

 

Inside the box was an assortment of bottles and boxes: Fresh handkerchiefs, high quality and monogrammed, a box of tissues with several travel packs, Nyquil and Dayquil, cough drops, and hand sanitiser. There was also a bag of what looked like potpourri, but when Aaron brought it up for a tentative sniff, though he wasn’t expecting his swollen sinuses to get anything from it, he found the fresh smell to wash through his nose and down his throat.

 

Everyone was grinning at him.

 

Check the card.’

 

He fished the card out from its position wedged between the gifts and the side of the box. Inside was the FBI’s leave form, with all details filled out except for the ‘required days off’ and the blank space for his signature. Director Strauss’s signature was already filling it’s space.

 

Aaron looked up at his team again, feeling his throat constrict for reasons beyond his illness. He opened his mouth to say something, but knew he wouldn’t be able to express how lucky he felt nor how appreciative he felt. But he knew he didn’t need to. They knew.

 

Thank you.’

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Oh, this was lovely! 

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I'm so happy that you finished this!!!!!!!!!!! Above and beyond the requirements for a Secret Santa. And then setting it up so Hotch gets that gift… It's really clever, I love it! The details and all the thought that went into this is apparent, and Hotch's condition as the night goes on declines wonderfully. :lol: Thank you so much, Mercury :hug:

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