After the Rain
I have a list of thing that would have been handled differently than cannon, if I owned Criminal Minds. Buffy… there are a few things I would change, but also some great stuff I would not have thought up. Therefore, I guess I only own my jumbling of the sandboxes.
The hotel lobby was all but deserted in the early morning hours. A young Brachen demon in human form manned the front desk. The currently blond demon looked ready to fall asleep with her head propped on a hand. Slumped in a chair near the hall to the elevators, Aaron Hotchner felt unsettled.
He caught sight of his reflection in the mirrored wall. His short black hair was mussed out of its usual neat style. His shirt collar had relaxed some since he had removed his tie, but it still shaded his neck from view. Not that someone seeing Aaron´s scars would be the end of the world, but he would just as soon avoid it. Gideon and Morgan could be annoyingly persistent with their nosiness.
Aaron glanced at the book in his lap, but he had all ready read a couple tales. His tastes found Arashmahaari fables best digested in small, infrequent chunks, and Aaron wondered what had possessed him to pack that tome in the first place.
Though Ballad of the Horny Gnats
did offer a surprising parallel for their vigilante—not that said vigilante would appreciate it.
Aaron´s thoughts drifted to Haley. She should be asleep by now, but they had not been able to talk during the day due to the pursuit of Marvin Doyle. And then Aaron had not wanted to risk waking Jack in the evening. They never warn you about stuff like that,
Aaron thought sourly. Normally he would just go to sleep and call her in the morning. But with nothing else to do, he pulled his phone out of his pocket clumsily spelled out "thinking of you" in a text window, and sent it to Haley´s cell. The way things are going with the Bureau, I really should get used to sending texts,
Aaron realized. He made a note get a full QWERTY keypad the next time he updated his phone. He had no sooner slipped the phone back into his pocket, when it rang.
Aaron blinked in surprise and checked the caller ID. "Haley, I didn´t wake you or Jack, did I?" he asked as he leaned back against the wall. He heard a faint wail in the background. "I´m sorry, Haley, I didn´t think the text alert would be near as loud as a call."
"He´s working a tooth," Haley replied sleepily. "We’ve been up a while." She stifled a yawn. "Is that why you don’t call as much anymore? You don’t want to wake Jack?”
“I don’t want to make things harder for you while I’m away,” Aaron answered. “But I didn’t think I was calling less.” Aaron bit his lip. He used to call whenever the case allowed and he felt the need to talk to Haley. “I have put calls off ‘til morning.” And now that he thought about it, he used to want to talk to Haley in the morning.
“It’s felt that way,” Haley said. “Though my schedule’s a bit different since Jack…” Haley sighed loudly. “We knew he would change things. Still, the text was nice.”
“Would you like me to send more?” Aaron asked.
"Right now?" A huge yawn followed Haley’s joke. "What are you doing up? You found the guy, right? The news said he´d died in a hostage situation."
"Yeah," Aaron answered. "The case is over. I just couldn´t sleep."
"Did you want me to tell you a story?" Despite the exhaustion in her voice, Haley´s tone had turned decidedly lascivious when she said "story". "Jack should wear himself out soon. I hope."
"If only I weren´t in the lobby," Aaron said.
"Lobby? Did you get locked out of your room?"
"Not as such," he said. "The walls are a little thin, and since I couldn´t sleep, I heard Reid return to his room with, um… Anya, I think."
After a moment of silence, Haley said, "Anya as in Anyanka, not our Seattle neighbor?"
"Yep, that Anya," Aaron groused.
"So you fled to the lobby?" Haley laughed.
"It´s not funny."
"Of course it is. Your grandmother took you in when you were eight. Don´t tell me you’ve never heard her have sex."
"Not with someone I´m supposed to mentor."
"Don´t think you can do it if he becomes a step—"
"Haley! I´m talking sex, not relationship." Aaron glimpsed the more-alert desk clerk looking his way. "At least, I hope so," Aaron dropped his volume as he stood and paced back and forth in front of the elevators. "And Anya always swore she´d never return to New York if she could avoid it. So if it is
"You´re worried something major´s going down? She probably just got summoned by someone," Haley said as Jack´s cries dropped off.
"And stuck around? No, it´s probably a freaky sound-alike." Or something´s up…
"Then you can go back up and sleep," Haley countered. "Or listen to me very
quietly." Through the phone, Aaron heard a door open and Haley´s quiet footsteps on the hardwood floor of the nursery.
"It´s still awkward." Aaron sighed. "It would have been nice if we could have gotten the jet here last night."
"Not going to argue that one," Haley said. "You know, if the possibility that it´s Anya bugs you that much, you can always knock on Reid´s door and ask."
never going to happen."
A soft chime sounded and the elevator on the left opened. A woman, apparently early twenties, with shoulder-length wavy blond hair stepped out with a stride as familiar as her brown eyes. “Anya,” Hotch said.
"Anya?" Haley echoed.
“Aaron!” A wide grin lit Anya´s face. “What are you doing here?” she asked as she hugged him.
"So it is her?" Haley asked. She sounded way too amused.
"Haley? Could you hang on minute?" Before she could answer, Aaron pulled the cell away from his ear and hugged Anya back, a smile on his face.
“We just wrapped up a case,” Aaron answered Anya as they pulled apart. “The team’s booked into the second floor.”
“Really?” the blonde replied brightly. “I was just up there. I had best sex I´ve gotten since Xander dumped me.”
"Good for you," Aaron replied dryly. "What are you doing here?"
"I just told y—"
"In New York, Anya. You always swore it would be a hot day in Arashmahaar before you willing returned."
"It´s not like I wanted to visit this hive of wretched memories. If D´Hoffryn hadn´t grounded my non-wish teleportation rights again, I wouldn´t be stuck here. ´Course, then I probably wouldn´t have met a certain skilled—"
"Yes, but what brought you to this city?" Aaron asked, not in the mood to hear Reid’s praises.
“Oh, tracking some rare tome that can help stop the latest group that wants to crack open the Hellmouth. It was supposed to belong to the local Gar-wawk tribe, but it seems they overused their bongs at a solstice ritual, which translates—somehow—to mandatory wild boasts in demon bars five days later." Anya shrugged at the look Aaron gave her. "They´re Gar-wawks. Anyway, a couple of them supposedly worked in some mundane used bookstore around that time and may or may not have seen the book as inspiration for their boasts. But as they couldn't remember which store, I´m stuck combing every single one in the territory on the near-impossibility the book can be found or traced. It sucks.
"So, you going to let me talk to Haley, or are you going to be a dipshit and leave her hanging?"
Aaron glanced at the screen and made sure the phone was locked out of all functions but the current call. It was not that he distrusted his demonic grandmother—well, it was; just not in a bad way—but that the Bureau trusted him not to let anyone snoop through his contacts. "How dire is the Sunnydale situation?” he asked as he handed the phone over.
"Middling. This group's not strong or well-coordinated, but an open Hellmouth's an open Hellmouth regardless of who cracked it. At least after the Warren debacle, Buffy takes all threats seriously."
Anya put the phone to her ear. "Haley…? How´s my favorite in-law doing…? Unavoidable business. Thankfully, I should wrap it up tomorrow. Aside from all the bad associations, this city´s thick with disrupted vengeance. Well, more so than the usual from a flawed justice system… Vigilante? Well, if he stirred up the populace, that would do it… Oh, when taste gets this strong, it takes a while to fade. I don´t think I´ll be able to sleep until I´m on the flight back to Sunnydale… Grounded for telling off some would-be client who wanted her husband punished for her
midlife issues. She needed the wake-up call more than anything else I could have done, but D´Hoffryn´s all about blood and guts. He may preach justice as balancing retribution with mercy, but… Exactly… Yeah, I needed to burn off some energy. Store owners don´t like jittery customers—wait, Reid?"
Anya snapped her fingers. "I knew
the name Spencer was familiar, but there are so many humans in the world… Now I wish I could have relaxed enough for the sex to be great… Oh, no complaints and it came close. Spencer knows what he´s doing and is practiced at listening to individual preferences, but vengeance currents on edge can´t be completely ignored."
Aaron rubbed his forehead. After nineteen years, he really should be used to Haley´s enthusiasm for discussing Anya´s sex life. He knew Haley was faithful and satisfied, but the thought of her hearing about different men’s prowess bothered him.
And he preferred to think anything Haley wanted to try came from her imagination—or at least from books.
Or friends that were not
"And he´s a great conversationalist,” Anya continued. “He knows the most interesting facts and trivia. Even the way he could remember what he'd read in that wretched bunny book was impressive."
Aaron looked up at that. "You talked bunnies
A scowl flashed across Anya´s face at his question. "It's not like I wanted
to discuss the bobtailed menaces! He was devouring a compendium on bunny rituals
!" Anya visibly shuddered as she spoke those last words. "I wanted to stop him before he got any further. The man reads like a Lurite demon. If it weren´t for his pleasant odor and smooth skin, I´d have suspected a glamour."
"Bunny rituals?" Aaron asked. "Was this at a bookstore?"
"Yep. At least I was able to stop him before he got to anything too creepy or esoteric. And I’ll get the book safely out of circulation. Haley, most humans aren´t as blatant in their humanity as Spencer, but that´s just him… Oh, I examined him thoroughly
. There would have been signs… Yep… No shit. So how´s Jack doing? And when are sending me more pictures? I swear he gets cuter by the day."
"Bigger too." Aaron smiled proudly.
, perhaps," Anya said into the phone. "Aaron was a butt-ugly baby. What?" Anya frowned at Aaron. "You expected me to lie for your ego?”
“Anya!” Aaron looked to the side as the stairwell door closed behind a rumpled Spencer Reid. Reid quickly raced over to them, a blue scarf in his hand. “You forgot—Hotch! What are—?”
“Thanks,” Anya said as she took the scarf. “Haley, I need to get going, but I realize it´s been too long since I´ve seen family. I´m dropping by Virginia next month. Bye."
Anya tossed his the phone and Aaron automatically caught it. "Anya, you can´t just invite yourself over whenever you feel like it. Haley has her hands full—"
"Then help her out! She really is my favorite in-law."
"I do. When I´m there." Aaron watched Reid study his reflection. The younger man appeared to check that his fly was zipped and frown at his hastily-dressed appearance. "And she´s your only in-law," Aaron added as Reid noticed his scrutiny.
"Well I like her, so don´t be stupid. It was great seeing you." Anya kissed Aaron´s cheek before she turned to Reid. "And thanks again for the nice orgasms.” Reid made an interesting squeak as his eyes widened. Anya kissed Reid on the lips. Then she turned and walked toward the hotel doors.
Reid gulped and turned toward Aaron. “Hotch! I…" Reid may have been a great conversationalist for Anya, but words had clearly failed him. Aaron stepped forward and pushed the elevator call button. "This is awkward,” Reid said.
“You get used to it,” Aaron muttered, suddenly feeling tired. Though he doubted he would get any sleep. Aaron might not have Anya´s sensitivity to vengeance, but he had enough. It was what gave him his healthy appreciation for law enforcement.
“Huh?” Reid asked. Oh yeah, real eloquence there.
“We have an early flight.” The elevator Anya had not exited opened. “I suggest you get some sleep.” Aaron stepped into the elevator and turned to face Reid who stared at him. "You getting in, or do you like the stairs?”