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This story is No. 1 in the series "Reflections on Foyet". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: A look into Hotch's thoughts at the end of Nameless, Faceless. Dark thoughts and memories.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Criminal MindsetienneofthewestwindFR1811,7870282624 Apr 1124 Apr 11Yes
Blinked
by étienneofthewestwind


Disclaimer: If I owned CM, the Hotchners' marriage wouldn't have taken a sudden left turn to Divorceland.
Summary: A look into Hotch's thoughts at the end of Nameless, Faceless.



Blinked.

He had fucking blinked.

Aaron Hotchner stared at the ceiling of his hospital room. Fury and loathing raced through him.

For Foyet.

And himself.

He had learned early on not to cry or blink away in the face of fear or pain. It never stopped Madeline’s slaps or kicks, but it denied her the satisfaction of proving himself as useless a son as she proclaimed.

And it proved a boon for his professional life, both in the Bureau and as a prosecutor. Staring down opponents was easy when you had firsthand experience with suffering.

If he had refused to cave to his first mother, no way had he intended to hand Foyet that satisfaction. Aaron had known he would die. He had been too stunned by pain and blood loss to move, much less fight or run. But that did not mean he had to let Foyet scrape even an ounce of extra pleasure from his death…

“They will kill you,” Aaron promised as Foyet dandled the bloody knife in his face. "My team…"

Aaron had fully believed his promise. If anyone could catch Foyet and send him to death row, it was the agents Aaron commanded. But he had regretted that he would not see it. Among a hundred other things.

Including the odd desire to have taught Jack Granny Lisette’s recipe for cherry gooseberry cobbler—Jack hated cherries, and Aaron cared little for baking.

The hospital´s air conditioning kicked on. Aaron was not in the direct path of the vent, but the air´s movement throughout the room chilled his arms. Goose bumps rose, reminding him of the crawling sensation he had felt sprawled out beneath Foyet.

Aaron had thought he understood the impact of Foyet’s actions. He had studied Piquerism and dealt with trauma victims. But his sexual boundaries had always been respected. He had known that he never wanted them crossed and the effects of violation. But it was a clinical knowledge that had not quite touched the sliminess of knowing how Foyet enjoyed the assault. To feel Foyet´s increasing hardness pressed against his thigh. It had tested Aaron’s control through strains he had not known existed.

And that was before Foyet had decided to taunt him with the subject.

A shadow moved across the light in the ceiling. As Aaron looked to the door, he flashed to the movement he had glimpsed in the picture´s glass as he swallowed the damn scotch. He saw JJ walk up to talk to the team. As Aaron worried about their discussion, he forced himself to take slow breaths. The last thing he wanted was to draw the nurses´—or the team´s—attention with another panic attack.

Bad enough that Prentiss had witnessed his earlier spell.

And she seemed to doubt his assertion that he could not remember the assault. A risky lie to pull on a fellow profiler, but anything else would have lead to questions he could not bear to answer.

Even if he could not escape the truth when alone.

He had thought himself prepared for anything when Foyet pulled a folded picture from his back pocket and showed it to him. Aaron had grown cold with more than blood loss when he recognized the photo of Jack and Haley that he kept in the journal by his bed. And then Foyet´s words had hit: a name, an address, and habits that only someone who spied on Haley could know.

Aaron would stare down any threat to him; he could take it. But his family…

“Kill me and they will never stop hunting you. My team won’t allow it.”

“But if I spare you, you’ll shut it down?” Foyet caressed Aaron’s lower lip with the tip of his knife. “You don’t make deals, Agent Hotchner.”

“Maybe I was wrong.”

“And maybe I’ll need more that just your word…”


Aaron closed his eyes as Dave turned to look at his room. He knew the team would keep a close watch on him, but he wanted to be alone with his thoughts. With his misery. He appreciated their concern, but it grated when he had sold out everything they stood for.

That he believed in.

His rational mind knew that he could never have called off the manhunt for Foyet. That was not within the FBI’s purview, much less the BAU’s. And Haley would never have forgiven him if he had somehow managed to. Despite everything, she would be appalled if he allowed a serial killer to go free and kill again, even for her sake.

Especially for her sake.

Hell, he could never have lived with himself. And even if he could, when he failed to fall apart, Foyet would have eventually targeted Jack and Haley. In his deal with Shaunessey, Foyet had inadvertently discovered that he found destroying lawmen a greater drug then murder.

But Aaron had known that Foyet would kill them for spite if Aaron refused him a satisfactory death—“The Reaper” had never made an idle threat—and he could not have warned her if dead.

So Aaron had convinced himself that he could—that he would—sabotage the manhunt to better convince Foyet. And had swallowed his pride to ‘consent’ to—to ask for—the subsequent stabs. He had given Foyet everything demanded to convince the man of his sincerity.

And when Foyet was satisfied, the man had driven him to the nearest emergency room.

That had been a weird experience. Aaron had grown steadily weaker as he lost blood and at times had nearly blacked out from the pain while laying flat on his back. Walking had not been a feat he had thought possible.

If you could call it walking.

Aaron vaguely remembered stumbling about when Foyet had dragged him to his feet and walked him out to the car. He had no choice but to lean heavily on his assailant while the man half-carried him along.

An assailant who had made domestic-sounding chides about how the blood would smear everywhere if he had to drag Aaron.

Aaron had gone in and out of awareness, and barely remembered the emergency room. Just Foyet’s hand on his hip as hospital personnel had scrambled to stabilize him and an inability to answer simple questions, much less identify Foyet as his attacker—not that he had dared. He had feared Foyet would go straight to his family if he even looked like he would try.

The next thing Aaron remembered was staring up at Dave and Prentiss, groggy and disoriented. Morgan’s confused “Foyet drove you”, spurred some memory, but only when he found the picture, had Foyet’s threats came back to Aaron.

Waiting for word had been the longest, tensest minutes of Aaron’s life. Fear that it had all been a big game and Foyet had dispatched Jack and Haley before ambushing him. That he had taken his team’s presence and response as breaking the deal. That he had somehow bugged Aaron’s room and took his words that Jack and Haley needed protection as the deal-breaker from where he listened in front of their house.

Aaron had known that last thought was more than a little post-trauma paranoia, but he could not shake the feeling.

Hell, even now, he half expected Foyet to emerge from the shadows when he opened his eyes, despite the watch of his team. Not that Foyet would come after him…

“You won’t kill anyon—”

“You rejected that deal!” Foyet held the knife so close to Aaron’s right eye, he thought he would lose it. “The deal you earned is for those two only. Take it, or I’ll personally bring you their corpses before I finish you off…”


No, Aaron reflected as he opened his eyes to stare up at the ceiling again, Foyet would target Jack and Haley first. That much he was sure of.

Here, in the harsh light of hospital fluorescents, Aaron had replayed every moment of the attack while he waited for word on Jack and Haley. Things Foyet had said that Aaron had taken as taunting—that Aaron’s scars would resemble Foyet’s and in a possible in a change in Aaron’s profiling methodology—took on a different slant.

Aaron wondered if Foyet had planned this outcome all along.

Did it even matter when Jack and Haley’s lives were at stake?

Soft, familiar footfalls approached his room, and stopped as a shadow filled the doorway. Aaron attempted to wait him out, but Dave was always a stubborn SOB. Aaron reluctantly turned his gaze away from the ceiling to the man leaning against the doorframe. He listened to Dave’s summary of the case the team had faced that day—Was that how they had discovered him? A search when he did not respond to the call?—and the assurances hidden therein.

But the truth was that Foyet could keep himself off the grid indefinitely if he chose not to kill. And the man had quit killing for a decade just to watch a man fall apart.

Jack would barely remember Aaron in ten years.

“Are you okay?”

Jack, his sweet and caring son who had again proven himself too perceptive and intelligent not to have some awareness of the harsh world around him, no matter how much Aaron wished he could be cheerful and oblivious to the evils of the world. As he had sat on the edge of Aaron’s hospital bed, he looked at his father with scared and worried eyes, and Aaron had no doubt that Jack had meant emotionally okay. The boy had always read Aaron’s moods more accurately than any profiler. And Aaron had been unable to lie or explain—only assure Jack that he was proud of him.

Haley had been right. They had needed the goodbye. Jack had needed the assurance that monsters had not taken his father, and Aaron had needed the reminder that Jack still loved and needed his father, even if the man had sold himself out.

No, Aaron told himself firmly. No. You know that’s just misplaced guilt, common in trauma victims, but not the reality. You only did what you needed to keep your family alive.

How many trauma victims offer serial killers carte blanche to continue on?


“Hotch,” Dave said firmly as he stepped into the room. “Look at me. I’m telling you, we’ll get him.”

Perhaps, but the truth remained that Aaron had blinked in the face of Foyet’s threats.

And as much as he would never forgive himself for that, Aaron would blink again in a heartbeat.

Some things were more important than self.

The End

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