Pairing: Hotch/Reid (one-sided)
Disclaimer: The song "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums" is by A Perfect Circle and the characters depicted in this short work are property of CBS. I own neither the song nor the characters and this work is being written for non-profit purposes. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: Dark!Reid, graphic descriptions of gore, song!fic, insane!Reid, one sided relationship if you squint
Summary: When Aaron Hotchner opened his eyes, he prayed that the sight he saw was nothing more than a nightmare. It was the only explanation there could possibly be for why his team was in bloody pieces and the man who did it was smiling at him like he was completely at peace with the massacre of all his closest and most beloved friends.
Author's Note: This is a nightmare of Aaron's. Also this fic is unbetaed and the song for the piece can be looked up on your preferred music listening to device.
When Aaron Hotchner opened his eyes, he prayed that the sight he saw was nothing more than a nightmare. He really did. There was no other explanation for what he saw, why he, of all people, was sitting under a window in a small wooden cabin with his guns gone, his Kevlar vest missing and his clothes so splattered with blood that was not his own. He hadn’t been bound. There was nothing technically holding him there, but he was terrified of the idea of even getting up. It probably had something to do with the nightmare before him.
Scattered around the room of the cabin he was in were the bodies of the rest of his team, all mutilated, some of them beyond recognition and others in pieces. Their blood was splattered all over the walls and it stained the wooden floor a deep crimson color. Their eyes were all wide with fright and it looked as if, just from the first glance, they had been made to suffer horribly before they had been allowed to die. A sharp thunk noise made him glance to the center of the room, where there was a chopping block waiting with one of Jennifer Jareau’s severed arms resting across it. With one strong swing, a blood stained axe cleaved it at the elbow with ease, splattering more blood everywhere. Aaron felt as if he was going to be sick.
But as he tried to turn away from the sight to quell his nausea, there was the sound of the heavy axe being set aside and footsteps, lighter than he expected stepping closer. He looked up at the figure and felt a wave or horror and disbelief washing over him. This couldn’t be right. It had to be a dream. This person, this man, wouldn’t do this to them!
The familiar man smiled at his horror and disbelief, his brown eyes empty and emotionless as if his very soul had been carved out of him. It was disconcerting to see, especially with the blood that was still splattered on his face and neck. “Don’t fret, precious, I’m here,” he said, his voice simultaneously softer yet more twisted when he spoke than Aaron was used to hearing, “step away from the window.”
He was tempted to just stay were he was and stay well out of reach of his now insane teammate but his body wasn’t listening. He carefully stood, testing his legs to make sure nothing had been done to them, as he stepped closer, only to have a thin but large hand gently guide him over to the bed that had been decently hidden from the blood by sitting on the other side of the dresser. “Go back to sleep,” The killer said. As if Aaron could sleep now from what he saw.
But the man wasn’t perturbed by this. As he coaxed Hotch to take a seat on the bed he did too, this time touching the unit chief’s cheek and running his fingers through short black hair in what was meant to be a soothing gesture no doubt. “Safe from pain, and truth, and choice and other poison devils,” he continued to say, as if trying to give reasons for Aaron to sleep. All it did was make him shiver.
Daring to glance up at the bodies still strewn about the room, bodies if his closest friends and family he couldn’t hold back the inevitable question. He couldn’t bear to look the monster who did this in the eye. “Why? Why did you do this to them? These were people who loved you, cared for you. Why did you put them through this?”
The monster laughed and tightened what grip he had in Aaron’s hair to make the older man look him in the eye. “See, they don’t give a fuck about you,” he said with a hint of anger and smugness in his tone, “like I do.”
So that’s what this was about? Or was that just another layer to the problem? Hotch really couldn’t see why this would cause the man he knew to become the monster sitting next to him with such empty, cold eyes and the joyful look on his face that came from brutally murdering all the people he had once known and cared about.
But the man didn’t seem to think too much about the issue and gradually let go of his tight grip on Aaron’s hair, only to instead get off the bed and try to arrange the older man so that he was lying down. For now it seemed like it was the best idea to play along although he knew that if he closed his eyes, nothing but nightmares would come. The man seemed to know this. “Count bodies like sheep,” he suggested, “Count bodies to the rhythm of the war drums.”
With that suggestion made, he seemed satisfied enough to get up and go back to his work, throwing aside both pieces of JJ’s arm and reaching for her body to pick up a leg instead. Even though he couldn’t see it, Aaron could hear the whoosh and thunk of the heavy bladed object being swung and the inevitable squishing and cracking sounds and flesh and bone were severed then thrown aside. He wanted to get up, to attack the young man he had once known armed only with his fists, but something told him that was an unwise idea. What else did he need to know to make his attack? It had to be something…
For hours it seemed the figure worked, hacking up pieces of the bodies and once he was done with everything else, he decapitated them with what sounded like an air of finality. Every time he made a movement that wasn’t just breathing he’d hear with an air of exasperation from the other man while he’d say “Go back to sleep,” or he’d hear the suggestion of counting the bodies like sheep. The more he ended up having to repeat it, the more violent his swings seemed to become until at last he seemed to have enough. Well it was either that or the bodies he was hacking were finally all in the pieces he wanted.
This time when the axe was set aside, Aaron closed his eyes and purposely slowed his breathing, doing his best to pretend he was actually sleeping like the psychotic man wanted him to. It was difficult to maintain when he heard the other step closer, this time the sound of his footsteps muffled by the blood that was slowly starting to soak into the wood. He felt the bed dip just where the small of his back was a moment later and when a warm, wet hand rested on his shoulder, it took everything Hotch had not to shudder at the sensation, even though the cloth of his shirt.
“I’ll be the one to protect you from your enemies and all your demons,” the man was saying, his thumb rubbing what was probably supposed to be soothing circles into his arm while he leaned closer to whisper the words in his ear, “I’ll be the one to protect you from a will to survive, a voice of reason, your enemies and your choices. They’re one in the same. I must isolate you; isolate and save you from yourself.”
With that he placed a soft kiss against Aaron’s cheek and got up, no doubt to dispose of the bodies that lay scattered in pieces around his home. There was a rustle of bags and the sound of flesh smacking flesh as the pieces were dropped into different bags together. Hotchner’s stomach rebelled but he was able to keep the bile from rising too high. He waited until the man was out of the cabin before he dared try to get up and go find a restroom to throw up in. He succeeded and emptied his entire stomach what felt like several times over before his body was satisfied.
His limbs felt weak and trembled as he stood up afterward, so much so he had to lean against the sink for a few moments before he was able to rinse out his mouth and look at his gaunt face in the mirror. His stomach twisted again when it saw the blood on his sleeve and his cheek and no doubt in his hair from where the man had touched him earlier. There was just one thought in his head as he stared at himself, one thought that he just couldn’t wrap his head around even as he voiced it aloud. “Why, Spencer? Why?”