Characters: Hotch-centric. Morgan, Reid.
Genre: Gen, H/c.
Word Count: 2,000
Warnings: Violence and gore. Ambiguous ending.
Summary: Shots fired, officer down.
Author’s Notes: This was my Christmas present to myself. Unapologetic sadism toward fake people and Hotch-Reid Hurt/Comfort.
Being shot is more about surprise than pain, at least at first. It’s a hard, precise shove that knocks you back or sideways or down. Even if you’re in the middle of a shoot-out, dodging bullets, it’s always unexpected and shocking.
The pain always seems to hit about the same time as the realization of what the hell just happened. If you’re lucky, you can manage to stay on your feet. If you’re not, the thing that hits after the bullet, pain and realization, is the ground.
If you’re lucky, you realize they’re talking about you before you panic.
Morgan grabs him by the ankles and pulls him back. The strength of the grip and force of the yank identifies who’s doing the grab and pull, and he knows that Morgan’s doing it to get him under cover before he is shot again.
He doesn’t much care. It’s everything he can do to keep from screaming, or kicking Morgan in the face.
“Hotch!” Morgan hisses urgently, scrambling up the length of Hotch's body for his face, fingers already groping for a wrist and a pulse.
“I’m. Conscious.” The words come out through clenched teeth, and his eyes are still closed. He can still hear gunfire. The rest of the team is still out there, fighting the bad guys. It’s who they are.
“The bus is on its way. We’ll get you out of here as soon as we can. Where are you hit?”
“Finish this so the ambulance can get in,” he says, still biting off his words, fighting to get them out past his teeth and pain.
“Where did you get hit?” Morgan insists and yeah, he’s already looking for the wound, hands running over Hotch’s body.
With Hotch wearing black and a bulletproof vest, Hotch thinks, blood probably isn’t even visible. It’s there, though, and unmistakable in the cloying metallic smell of it. Morgan’s just not going to find it until he puts his hand in it. Hotch doesn’t want Morgan to put his hand in it. “Right hip.”
His words coincide with Morgan finding the hole and blood. “That’s not exactly your hip, Hotch.”
‘No shit’ is the answer he wants to give - it’s not his hip, it’s the high point of his pelvis, and the bullet is still inside him somewhere, on the other side of his body and in his guts- but can’t, because as soon as that thought’s even formed Morgan’s leaning down hard.
Broken bone shifts and pain flares to such intensity that it can’t coexist with consciousness; he passes out cold.
He comes back around to a light slap against his cheek and opens his eyes. Morgan’s right in his face, telling him to: “Come on. Wake up, Hotch. Stay with me.”
The bright pain has dulled a little, to something deeper that aches, and is throbbing in time with his heart. He notices that at about the same time as he notices the silence. There’s no gunfire.
“Rossi’s trying to negotiate with them.” There’s something in Morgan’s tone that Hotch recognizes: it’s fear. Oh, it’s tightly controlled and wrapped up in calm confidence -probably for Hotch’s benefit- but it’s there and he knows it because he’s heard it before.
Not that what Morgan said wasn’t enough to tell him that there’s a problem. “Negotiate what?”
“To get an ambulance in here. They’re threatening to blow the place if another vehicle comes up that road.”
“And I can’t move.” Be moved. Whatever. He knows where he’s hit, he knows the bullet’s still inside him, he knows moving would risk the bullet shifting, damaging his spinal cord, or making bleeding worse. He gets it, and he hates it.
“Got it in one. Rossi’s good. We’ll get you out of here; you just need to hang on until we can.”
“I’m not going anywhere. How long was I out?” He hopes he’s not going anywhere, anyway, but in reality he just doesn’t know. He knows he’s hurting, he knows he’s cold, he knows he’s light-headed. He knows he’s using that same ‘forced calm and confidence on Morgan that Morgan’s using on him. That’s all he’s got.
“I don’t know, Hotch. Ten, fifteen minutes, maybe.” Morgan sounds less certain and that’s... probably because he’s recognizing that Hotch is lying to him as much as he’s been lying to Hotch.
“How’s the bleeding?” Hotch has a reason for these questions; he’s trying to triage himself. Gather information so he can make decisions.
“Not bad. I think the bullet still being in there’s helping.”
“Or all the bleeding’s internal.” He’s basing that on nothing more than how he feels. It could just be shock.
“Or all the bleeding’s internal,” Morgan agrees.
He sounds more tired than Hotch, at least to Hotch. That has him switching gears and pulling things together, best he can. “Where’s Reid?”
“Trying to figure out a way to get you out of here. Why?” Finally, the lying is starting to go. Morgan’s talking to him, not patronizing to him. Better.
“Trade places with him. They need another gun more than another brain, and he can handle this.” Probably better than Morgan, actually, though he’d never, ever vocalize that.
Morgan’s quiet for a bit, then nods.
Reid arrives before Morgan leaves, but the switch off is fast and efficient. There’s some talking that Hotch can’t hear, both because it’s soft and because Hotch is having a hell of a time focusing on anything except the constant, gnawing pain in his pelvis and stomach.
Reid taking over applying pressure sharpens his focus again. Reid’s not pushing harder, but differently. Different is enough to shift bone, make Hotch’s vision flood red, and make him curse and flinch.
“I’ve got him. Go,” Reid tells Morgan, when Morgan hesitates.
It’s enough. Morgan heads off back into the eerie light of the emergency vehicles, his gun out and using the terrain to protect himself - just in case the unsubs aren’t too busy talking to shoot at anything that moves.
“How bad’s the pain?” Reid asks, and draws Hotch’s attention by doing so.
“Not bad now. Mostly just...” He doesn’t know what word to use to describe what he’s feeling, and trying to find that word is harder than Hotch wants it to be.
“Pressure.” Hotch can’t see Reid’s face, but he’s willing to bet that single word’s accompanied by a grimace.
Pressure is exactly what he’s feeling the most. Not that the pain’s gone, or that the pressure isn’t it’s own kind of hell. He knows, though he can’t put his finger on why, that pressure is worse than straightforward pain. “Yeah.”
“Okay,” Reid says, after a pause so short it doesn’t register as a pause to Hotch. “We’re going to do a couple of things here. I’m going to get your vest, belt and pants loosened up and then we’re going to get you onto your side so you don’t have to worry about aspirating when you throw up.”
“I’m not going to throw up.” Hotch barely has time to reply before Reid’s using his free hand to loosen up the side-straps of the vest, and then going down to his belt. The pull necessary to get the belt to release takes all Hotch’s air and with it his ability to speak.
“Yeah you are,” Reid murmurs under his breath. Then goes on in a more normal, almost professional tone. “You ready to move?”
“Let’s do it.” He lifts one hand, and Reid takes it. That grip gives him enough leverage that with Reid’s help he’s able to roll onto his uninjured side.
It still hurts like hell.
The pain and feeling of everything inside him moving makes bile rise at the back of his throat. He probably shouldn’t be proud of passing out rather than throwing up, but he is.
He’ll take his victories where he can.
The use of his first name rouses him, and somehow he doesn’t quite think that Reid jumped straight to that. Or even that it’s the first time he’s called ‘Aaron'. The pressure on his hip is gone, at least. No more grinding pain from that.
“I’m here.” Sort of. He’s groggy as hell. It’s hard to think, his tongue feels too big for his mouth, and he’s more nauseated than he’s ever been. It’s not really even nausea -nausea is just the only word he has for the feeling that something inside him that wants out. Combined with shivering that seems to have nothing to do with being cold, he’s never felt more out of control.
“If by ‘here’ you mean ‘in shock’, then I’ll agree with you. Otherwise you might be in for an argument.”
Reid is, Hotch realizes, trying to give him something to focus on and use to hold onto consciousness. Something to engage. It doesn’t quite work. He’s never wanted to be in a hospital before, but right now that’s all he wants. “What’s going on out there?”
“There’s an ambulance right behind the barricade. Rossi’s just got to get them to agree not to shoot at the EMTs.” As soon as the facts are out there, Reid’s voice softens a little - more personal, less certain. “Just a few more minutes. Then we’ll get you out of here.”
He closes his eyes against the erratic, flashing lights and focuses on just staying awake and breathing. He can feel his heartbeat getting faster and breathing gets progressively harder. There’s nothing stopping him being able to breathe, but he feels like he’s suffocating, anyway. There just isn’t enough blood in his veins to carry the oxygen his body needs.
When Reid’s hand rests low against Hotch’s stomach, Hotch groans softly. Not in pain, but at the physical focus. It makes him aware of that damned, nagging, pressure and ‘nausea’.
He coughs softly, and that cough turns into a gag. He’s able to fight it back, but just barely and fighting it back makes everything worse. Makes him shake harder, makes what little coherent thought he’s clinging to scatter, his breathing more shallow, his heartbeat faster, and his arms and legs numb out.
There’s something at his back that Hotch is only dimly realizes are Reid’s knees. Then the hand on his stomach moves back to his injured hip, and Reid’s other hand clamps across his forehead with enough strength that Hotch is (vaguely) surprised.
“If you can throw up,” Reid tells him, softly but clearly, “you should. Don’t fight it. It’ll help. I promise.”
Hotch really, really wants to tell Reid that nothing about throwing up is going to help, Reid’s doctorates aren’t in medicine, and he doesn’t want to throw up anyway.
He doesn’t have a choice. As soon as he takes another breath and opens his mouth to answer, the ‘decision’ is made for him.
It’s not really even throwing up. It’s just a violent release of blood that happens to be coming through his mouth and nose, choking him and making breathing impossible. It does get rid of some of the pressure in his abdomen, but since it completely obstructs his airway, he’s pretty sure he was right about it not being helpful.
The last thing he hears is Reid’s voice saying, “We’re out of time.”