Characters: Hotch, Prentiss
Word Count: 600ish
So give me reason
To prove me wrong
To wash this memory clean
Let the floods cross
The distance in your eyes
Just looking at Hotch in the days after Haley's death hurts. It isn’t that Hotch is falling apart at the seams, crying into his beer, or any other such nonsense. There’s something about his eyes.... It’s like Hotch has been drained of everything. Emotion, initiative, will to live- there’s nothing there and it scares the hell out of Prentiss.
The memory of finding an empty apartment with Hotch’s blood coagulating in the carpet gets her out from behind her desk. A quick word to let Garcia know where she’s going and she’s out of there. Then, quick as traffic will allow, knocking at the door.
“I don’t think you should be alone right now.” It’s all she says when the door opens, before she’s even registered that Hotch is standing there in jeans and a T-shirt, or that Jack’s sleeping on the couch behind him.
For a second she thinks Hotch is going to argue and even that would be enough of a sign of life to be a relief, but he doesn’t. He just steps silently back to let her in, and closes the door behind her. He doesn’t set the alarm and she realizes why after turning to look at the door: why would he? Foyet’s dead.
By the time she realizes what she’s going to say, the words are already out of her mouth. It’s too late to take them back. “Did killing him help?” she asks.
Something - God only knows what, and maybe God cares but she doesn’t, as long as it’s not more nothing - flares to life in Hotch’s eyes. “Jack’s alive. He is safe, because Foyet is dead.”
The presence of any kind of emotion at all is enough to make her pursue it, latch on and follow it. “I know that. I just want to know if it helped you. “
Hotch shakes his head, stays silent for a moment. Whatever emotion the original question stirred fades into something that’s... more wounded than angry, but it’s still better than emptiness. “I don’t know,” he finally admits. “Maybe. Probably not.”
“Did it hurt you?” she asks, and god she hates this but she’s scared to death for him. Feels like trying to get him to react is the only thing she can do to save his...maybe not his life, but at least his sanity.
Hotch snorts, softly. “No.”
“Did you enjoy it?” She isn’t even entirely clear why she’s pursing this line of discussion. There has to be something else - except Haley is something else and that’s hitting way below the belt.
“Do you want a cup of coffee?” Hotch asks, voice soft but listless and if it’s avoidance Prentiss will do cartwheels.
“I kind of wanted an answer,” she admits. “But I’ll take a cup of coffee while you tell me. Did you enjoy it?”
“I don’t know. Probably.” He walks into the alcove that serves as a kitchen and pours coffee straight from the pot into two mismatched mugs.
“Really?” she asks, eyebrows going up.
“I don’t.” His voice is getting more clipped, more angry. When he comes back with the coffee he all but shoves it at her. “I don’t know. What are you trying to accomplish, with this?”
“I don’t know,” she admits, trying to take the cup and not spill the coffee or burn either one of them. “I just... need to know you’re still in there.”
Hotch watches her while she blows across the surface of the coffee, trying to cool it down. “And the best thing you could come up with was pissing me off?”
“I stick to what works. If you’re mad, you’re fighting. If you're fighting, you're living."