by Juli

October 2006

Smile by Juli Criminal Minds Hotch/Gideon PG


Jason looked up from the salad he was making to go with the dinner that was already cooking on the stove. From the expression on his lover's face, he could tell that Aaron was chewing on a thought that was troubling him. "Yes?"

"Do I really never smile?" Aaron eventually asked.

Reacting to the uncharacteristic hesitation in the younger man's voice, Jason abandoned his lettuce without a second thought. Hotch was standing at the sink, facing the window, but his eyes had a far-off look in them that meant he was thinking hard. Jason stepped over to stand by him.

"No, you smile." Gideon's own smile was sweet and lopsided. "But they're rare and that's why I cherish each one."

Aaron turned, a ghost of a smile on his lips.

"There, see what I mean?" Jason pointed out. He leaned up and kissed Aaron tenderly.

"That one was just for you," Hotch said awkwardly when their lips parted.

"I know," Jason admitted. "And that means more to me than you'll ever know."

Hotch smiled again, this time more broadly, and for the first time since Elle's betrayal, Jason saw the shadows leave his lover's eyes. He knew it would be a brief respite, but it was a beginning. Aaron Hotchner was not a man capable of ignoring a potential murder, even if it had been committed by a woman he considered a friend and colleague. Given Hotch's sense of personal loyalty, however, doubting Elle and trying to prove her crime had to be pulling him apart.

More than anyone else, Jason Gideon valued that sense of loyalty. Aaron had resolutely stood by him after his breakdown, never wavering in his faith in and support of Gideon. It was the least Jason could do to reciprocate.

Humming to himself, Jason returned his attention to dinner, but he'd be keeping a watchful eye on Aaron for the foreseeable future.

~the end~


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