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25 October 2013 @ 05:52 pm
Fic Post: And So it Seems Only in Dreams  
Title: And So it Seems Only in Dreams
Author: Montiese
Category: Drama/Post-Episode/Romance
Pairing: Hotch/Beth
Rating: TEEN
Spoiler: Route 66
Summary: He let the riptides of the past sweep him out into a vast ocean of darkness. There was only so far Beth could go, and was willing, to pull him back to safety.
Author’s Note: This is #41 in the Starting Over series. I was very disappointed with the episode and this is my response to that. I know there were a fair share of fans who weren’t, I hope they like the story anyway. The title comes from the Weezer song, Only in Dreams.


“I don’t want to dream anymore.” Hotch mumbled as his eyes opened.

The room was blurry but dimly lit. He was sure he was seeing something that wasn’t there. He reached up to rub his eyes, grimacing from the sudden movement. She was asleep in the chair.

Her chin rested in the palm of her hand and her shoulders were slumped. By her feet there was a small wheeled suitcase with a folded dress bag on top. Could this be part of a dream too? His eyes quickly scanned the room for George Foyet, stomach turning as he remembered the murderer remarking on her beauty.

“Are you really here?” he asked, not sure how else to go about figuring it out. “Beth?”

He reached his hand out, with all the tubes attached, and stroked her arm. The first time Beth didn’t react. The second time she opened her eyes.

“Hey there.” She smiled.

“Are you really here?” his voice was raspy, drowsy. Hotch couldn’t remember what they gave him to dull the pain so that he could sleep. It was only half working. At the moment he was fully aware that someone dug through his stomach with medical instruments.

“I'm here.” Beth nodded. She leaned forward in the chair and took his hand.

“How did you get here?”

“I walked.”

“I'm serious.” Hotch smiled some, sliding his fingers through hers.

The feeling, the warmth of her, relaxed him. Haley thought she was beautiful; kind and warm. All Hotch did was minimalize what she meant to him. What kind of person did that to someone they loved? Beth was there for him, there for Jack, and sometimes that was a thankless job. She loved them, even from miles away, and there was nothing conditional about it.

“Aaron, the last thing you need to be right now is serious. You should be resting. I'm just here to hold your hand.”

“How long will you stay?” he closed his eyes but kept talking.

“I’ll be here for a week. My assistant is sealing the Milan deal. I let my boss know that there was a family emergency. My fiancé was rushed to the hospital so I had to come home. Sorry to upgrade your status without letting you know.”

“I'm sure it sounded more plausible than the guy I date had internal bleeding and some weird scar tissue infection four years after his stabbing, ignored sometimes intense pains for a month, and now he's in the hospital.”

“When you put it like that,” Beth said. “My version really is better. I guess you didn’t make it to the doctor huh?”

“I'm sorry Beth.”

“Don’t apologize to me.” She shook her head. “I'm just glad that they were able to fix your issues and you're on the road to being healthy.”

“They had to open my stomach. My shirtless supermodel dreams are officially over.”

“Now that’s the real tragedy of this situation.” Beth smiled.

“I'm really glad you're here.” Hotch squeezed her hand.

“When Dave called I rushed to make arrangements. I didn’t want to be anywhere but here; I didn’t want you to be alone. And the truth is that I was scared. I needed to be here to hold your hand as much as you needed me to.”

“I don’t deserve you.” He whispered.

She heard his voice crack and Beth put her hand over his heartbeat. Aaron said that a lot. He said it so much that most times she heard it, it annoyed her. Beth kept those feelings to herself. Maybe he truly felt that after all he'd been through he didn’t deserve a second chance at a life and happiness.

She knew Aaron thought everything was his fault. He wasn’t a good enough son, husband, father, boyfriend, friend, or man. He blamed himself for the demise of his marriage. He blamed himself for George Foyet focusing on his ex-wife and son. He feared that his lacking in the father department would drive his son to eventually become one of the men he chased. He feared Beth would leave him because while he seemed changed on the outside he was still the same selfish, miserable, workaholic bastard.

He was so much like his own father that it was impossible not to hate himself, even just a little or a hell of a lot. He had every right to feel awful for the things that happened to him. That didn’t mean those nightmares had to rule his life. Good things happened as well. Hotch still needed help differentiating the two.

He needed to talk to someone; purge the blame and guilt demons while quieting some of the others that would never go away. Everyone alive had mistakes to make up for. Everyone had regrets and moments of absolute horror. Aaron Hotchner let them sink into his skin and bloodstream. He let the riptides of the past sweep him out into a vast ocean of darkness. There was only so far Beth could go, and was willing, to pull him back to safety. If he wasn’t going to swim on his own, didn’t believe that he was worth saving, how could she convince him or herself otherwise.

“You deserve me, whatever that means…and I love you. I love you imperfect and sometimes single-minded. You have a thousand facets, Aaron Hotchner, and every one of them makes you interesting. This physical setback has probably set you back in other ways as well. They need to be addressed just like the surgery was.”

“I hear you.” Hotch nodded. “I tried to call you as soon as I woke up. Penelope let me borrow her phone.”

“I spent so much time in route from Italy. Is there an adorable voicemail for me to listen to tonight?”

“There was a significant amount of a very powerful drug in my system at the time so I honestly don’t remember all I said.” When he grinned, Hotch’s dimples came out to play.

“I'm sure it’s just fine. You really should go back to sleep, and so should I. I promise that we’ll pick this up in the morning.”

“I need a hug. It’s not going to hurt me; both Penelope and Jack got a little gregarious when they did it.” He pulled their joined hands to his chest. “C'mere.”

Beth climbed onto the bed and wrapped her arms around him. He tensed at first, his body reacting to the pain, and then he held on as well.

“You're not allowed to die on me, Hotchner.” She said. The tears she’d been fighting for hours finally took over. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too. I wish I told you that more.”

“Words are just words…this is the truth.”

“We still need to talk.” Hotch said. “I had a dream and it made me think and I…”

“We will in the morning.” Beth kissed his lips. “No more stalling Aaron; you need to sleep. I’ll get the nurse in here to up the medication so you'll be comfortable. I’ll be here for a week and we’ll talk about whatever you want. I want to talk; I always want to talk to you.”

Nodding, Hotch lay back against the pillows. He closed his eyes as Beth leaned and kissed him again. Then she stroked her hand through his hair. That was something she always did when he couldn’t sleep or had nightmares. Beth did the same with Jack.

She wasn’t Haley, it was true. But she didn’t need to be. That part of Hotch’s life was over. It had been way before Foyet came back into his life. Beth was vibrant. She was witty, funny, sexy, kind, caring, and a million other adjectives wrapped up in one incredible woman.

She put up with a lot of shit concerning his job. When times got tough, she never lost her grace, humor, or strength. Her maternal side was nurturing and Jack took immediately to that. She was a giver, desired being needed by those she loved. He needed to be more of a giver.

He didn’t need to make it about repayment for being someone positive in his life for the past two years. Beth was a breath of fresh air and Hotch could breathe again. He lost his breath yesterday; it was time to start work on getting it back. There was much loss in his life but still wonderful things to live and thrive for. He had a great son who was growing so fast that it was hard for Hotch to keep up. He had this woman in her life; they loved each other and the life they were building together.

After 15 years in the BAU it was still fulfilling and his team was like family. There was a good and bad side to that. Despite all the pain there were a million reasons to go on. The best thing for Hotch to do was get up and get on with it. He’d missed so much but refused to miss anything more.

He smiled, kissing Beth’s hand before she let go to get the night nurse. He would be asleep soon and had no idea what kind of dreams he would have. He was sure that when he woke, Beth would be there. It wasn’t just about being there for the week…she would just be there. The focus needed to turn to what was to come. The past was the past and it had to stay there. If Hotch held on for too much longer it was going to take him away from all of this.

***

 
 
Where am I?: the lair
Feelings: hungryhungry
Background Noise: silence