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Title: Fathers (2/7)
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Rating: K+
Summary: At some point, Hotch and Gideon had become the fathers of their team. And fathers were supposed to protect their children. Hotch perspective, Reidcentric
Spoilers: Everything up to 'Ashes and Dust'.
Disclaimer: I don't own Criminal Minds or any of the recognizable characters.

A/N: Another piece of my Reid FF100 Series, and the second part of my 'Reid-on-drugs' miniseries, but it is absolutely unnecessary for you to read Fall before reading this.



"It is not our flesh or blood, but the heart which makes us father and son."

-Johann Schiller


Hotch's eyes followed Jason Gideon's movement back and forth across the waiting area with little interest. He was hunched over in his chair, his hands tightly clasped in front of his face, his elbows resting on his knees. Both men were anxiously awaiting an update from the doctor on Reid's condition. It had been three hours since Morgan had found their young genius unconscious in the men's bathroom at FBI Headquarters. After determining that he had overdosed on drugs they weren't aware he'd been taking, they'd rushed him to the hospital and had been nervously waiting ever since. The ER was busy, but the lack of information was starting to eat at all of them. Morgan had given up after the first hour and a half and had gone off to call JJ and Garcia. Gideon and Hotch had been left to wait by themselves.

Aaron wondered when exactly he and Gideon had become the fathers of their little team. He knew they'd always been the leaders - it was as much Gideon's team as it was his own - but somewhere along the way they had all crossed the line between teammates and family. And he and Gideon were most definitely the fathers of their strange little crew. The image of the perfect father, split precisely down the middle.

Gideon was the doting paternal figure, always wanting what was best for his 'children' and always willing to overlook their faults in a way that Hotchner couldn't allow himself to. It was Hotch who often had to play the bad cop, the drill sergeant, and the rule enforcer - never letting himself show his affection too openly for fear of spoiling them. It was his job to make sure that they were all prepared to face the evils of the world. It was Gideon's to comfort them when that world became too much for them to bear.

In the case of Reid, he knew they had both failed miserably.

Sometimes Jason's desire for his children to be happy left him deaf to their cries for help. He had ignored Elle's problems, not wanting to shatter the perfect image that only a father can have of his daughter. And now Reid's issues, while blatantly obvious to everyone, had been overlooked in favor of the idea that the young genius could do no wrong. Reid was too special, too innocent, and they'd come too close to losing him to a madman to admit to themselves that they were still losing him. He had been slipping away more and more each day, and while none of them could ignore it, none of them could bring themselves to admit that the problem was there.

At first, Reid had been silent; no more spouting of useless facts or awkward attempts at socialization. Gideon had assured him that it was normal - the boy had been through an ordeal and he was still trying to sort it all out in that big head of his. He would talk when he was ready. Hotch hadn't been as certain, but he'd decided to let Gideon take the lead on this one - dealing with emotional problems had never been his strong point.

Unfortunately, when Reid finally decided to open his mouth, the words that came out contained nothing of the naive and kindhearted profiler they all knew. He'd lashed out at all of them, but at none more so than Prentiss. It seemed as if he couldn't quite bring himself to be consistently angry with those he'd known for so long, but the new profiler and recent addition to the team made an easy target. Hotch had known it would soon reach a level that could no longer be ignored. But Gideon insisted that Reid had a right to be angry. He'd been the victim of a horrific and random crime; he'd killed a man for the second time in two years; he probably blamed himself for the deaths of Pam and Mike Hayes. It was natural for someone to be upset after something like that, and with his mother in a sanitarium he had only the team to let it out on. In a little while, he would be back to normal.

Hotch wanted to believe him. For once, he wanted to be the father that Gideon was, unable to see anything except the smiling family portrait he'd painted of them in his mind; unable to believe that anything could possibly destroy their youngest member.

But he could only fool himself for so long; something was hurting Reid, something that hadn't died that night in Georgia. It was there in the way he sat, staring at the ground, lost in thought; in the way he twitched and fidgeted whenever he was the least bit agitated; in the way he didn't quite meet anyone's eyes when he talked to them. It was getting harder for all of them to pretend that there was nothing wrong, and at times it seemed as if Reid was trying just as hard to shove it in their faces as he was to hide it. All of the team had taken notice, and looking to Hotch and Gideon for guidance. But the two fathers had continued to stand by silently.

Eventually, the anger had stopped and they had breathed a collective sigh of relief. He was no longer jumpy and suspicious of everyone's motives, but their relief only lasted for so long. Soon they recognized his latest problem - indifference. He'd stopped paying attention in meetings, he was late to work, and he'd even gone as far as to intentionally miss a plane to Galveston. Morgan and Prentiss had both expressed some concern, no longer able to convince themselves that Reid's problems were going to blow over by themselves.

Hotch had been relieved when Gideon volunteered to speak with Reid at last. Gideon was better than him at dealing with feelings, he rationalized. But a small voice in the back of his head taunted him about being afraid of past mistakes. After all, he had cared enough to insist that Elle get a psych evaluation. He had only wanted what was best for her, knowing that she was lying to all of them and herself. But his idea of helping had resulted in her leaving them for good. He'd failed her. Some part of him wondered if that wasn't the real reason they were all ignoring Reid's problem - they were afraid that they would lose him too. If Reid left the team, whatever was hurting him would only get worse. At least here they could watch as he slowly destroyed himself. Hotch silently wondered, which was the most compassionate option: to let the young man suffer on his own or in the midst of people who cared too much to help him.

Aaron had been upset when Gideon returned to the hotel with a broken expression on his face. Jason had quickly shared the details of his conversation with Reid. He told of how Reid had admitted to missing the plane on purpose because he was 'struggling', and Gideon, in his fatherly way, had been eager to forgive and forget his actions.

"But then, it was like he closed himself off to me completely," Jason had expressed, pacing the room and gesturing with his hands. Aaron could do little but watch as the family portrait in Gideon's mind was shattered by reality. Reid had not shared his burden with his mentor. In fact, he had dodged Gideon's questions and done little more than promise to keep his problem to himself. Both men were suddenly faced with the prospect that they were past the point where they could help their youngest member.

They had resolved to confront him together after that. Perhaps as one they would have been able to reach him. But while they were still discussing the best approach, a serial arsonist had struck California, and all plans for an intervention were put on hold. In South San Francisco, Reid had been friendlier, more conversational, back to his old habit of spouting useless facts at anyone who would listen. But his comparison of the arsonist to an addict had seemed a little too fervent, a little too knowledgeable, even for Reid. On the plane ride home, Hotch and Gideon had conspired to approach Reid the following morning after a good night's rest.

Too little, too late, Hotch mused. They'd hardly been on the ground two hours when Hotch heard Morgan yelling for help from the men's bathroom.

Gideon stopped pacing and sat in the chair next to Hotch. He jumped up a second later at the sight of the approaching doctor, Hotch standing as well. Both men prepared themselves for the news.

"I'm Dr. Henderson. Are you the agents with Mr. Reid?" The older woman asked, fixing them with a carefully emotionless stare.

"Dr. Reid," Gideon corrected absentmindedly, nodding. Hotch allowed himself a grim smile - even now, Gideon was concerned about Reid's fragile ego.

"Dr. Reid," She amended, looking each of them in the eye. "He's going to be alright. It was close for a while, but there appears to be no lasting damage from the overdose."

The two profilers breathed a sigh of relief.

"Can we see him?" Gideon asked, though he looked like he was dreading the prospect of facing Reid in his condition.

Dr. Henderson shook her head.

"He's resting right now. We're going to have to keep him under observation for a while. Maybe tomorrow, if he's up to it."

"Have you identified the drug?" Hotch heard himself asking. The unmarked glass vials they'd found next to Reid's prone form had answered few questions.

"Yes. The tox screen just came back. It appears to have been dilaudid and, from the track marks, I'd say he's been using for quite some time now."

Hotch's heart sank as his mind put two and two together. Tobias Henkel had developed a serious addiction to dilaudid, but they'd found none on his body nor in the tiny cabin where he'd held Reid captive. One look at the sickened expression on Gideon's face informed him that the other man had reached the same conclusion. Dr. Henderson excused herself and left the two disheartened colleagues on their own. Slowly, they both sank into their seats, pondering the implications of her words.

Even fathers made mistakes.



Keep Smiling! ;)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 29th, 2012 01:18 pm (UTC)
A little late, but this was fantastic.
Aug. 31st, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )