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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Fic: Marksman

Title: Marksman**
Author: bear (matociquala)
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Rating: FRM
Warning: Character death, among other things
Genre: Gen
Pairing: No.
Spoilers: And anti-spoilers! through 2x15
Disclaimer: *boilerplate denial of ownership here*
Acks: thanks to cpolk and truepenny for prereading
Summary: Five things that never happened to Aaron Hotchner.

(four linked drabbles, and a triple-drabble at the end.)



Hotch knows it's not the end of the world.

It's not even the end of Gideon's career. He can teach; he will teach. He did last time, after medical leave.

Gideon's not far from mandatory retirement. Fifty-seven. Although the Director could push it back to sixty. New rules since 9/11, too: even after that, he could stay on as a consultant. Keep his pension.

Gideon still wouldn’t be allowed a gun.*

This is the second time Gideon's decisions have resulted in the death of an agent.

Hotch signs and dates. He does his job.

He does what he has to do.

*Exceptions to the mandatory retirement age will only be granted in special cases where the continuation of the employee's services promote the needs of the component in fulfilling its mission, and retention of the employee clearly serves the public interest. -- DOJ 1200.1


Elle Greenaway is something else again: beautiful, tough, and--Reid aside, because you can't count Reid--the smartest agent Hotch has ever worked with. And he failed her.

No amount of scrubbing walls can make that go away.

Which is why he breaks the news. "Elle, I'm pulling you. We're sending J.J. in." In a dark wig, a bulky sweater.

Her hand shakes, pressed against her centipede scar. Her voice doesn't shake at all. "I can do my job. J.J. isn’t ready--"

"Stay angry," he interrupts. "There will be a thousand cases. This is not the end of the world."



Morgan says call her.


Morgan is giving him relationship advice.

There's Hotch's thumb on the speed dial, Honey, I can’t say why, but today I need you to stay home.

She wouldn’t be Haley, whom he loves, if she would just leave it. She won't ask. She'd never put him in that spot. But she'd call a friend....

Staring at the phone won't dial it.

He flips it shut.

Someday, he knows, he's coming home to an empty house and a process server.

He does his job. He doesn't blame her.

But it feels like the end of the world.



His failures brought them here, to this graveside in the sunlight. His mistakes. He should tell Gideon, that Gideon was just doing his job. That it wasn't his fault.

It wasn't even really Elle's. His mistakes left her vulnerable. Hotch should have predicted the response, how she could crack. "You have to come with me."

She tilts her head. His heart breaks. This is the end of her life.

And this is Hotch's fault, and so it's Hotch's job. He meets her eye as he holds out the cuffs.

"Elle, we have a witness. A neighbor saw you plant that gun."



Hotch would never ask anyone else to do something he couldn't, so this has to be his job.

It must be now. Before the funeral. The funeral he also can't avoid, even though he'll taste vomit at the sound of Taps.

There's just him, and the janitor waxing. Even Gideon's gone.

He descends the stairs with a metal waste bin, and begins. Just cleaning out a desk. No big deal.

The surface is easy. Nothing personal except doodled-on Post-it notes, though those are bad enough. Anybody else would have phone numbers, honeydew lists. But Reid used to write things down, then throw the paper away, seeing it in print enough to ensure he'd remember.

Reid used to.

Hotch is going to have to get used to those words.

The drawers are bad. A stack of gossip magazines, puzzling until he sees who's on them. A wristwatch with a broken strap. A burned candle. The stub of a football ticket.

Hotch throws it all away.

He doesn’t lose it until he picks the last lock and finds Reid's stash. Jelly Bellies, caramels, chocolate covered espresso beans. Rice Krispie Treats in blue foil.

Hotch read the autopsy report. The human details are worst, and most important, too.

Like the stomach contents: puffed rice, sugar, corn syrup, marshmallow fluff. A Rice Krispie treat. Probably the same one Reid had been shoving into his mouth when Hotch sent him to his death.

His last meal.

During extreme stress, the digestive tract shuts down.

Hotch knows all sorts of things. Like the odds against successful CPR. Things he'll need to remember for himself now.

He jerks the drawer off its tracks and upends it over the trash can. A vicious shake to be certain.

Just because it feels like it, doesn't mean it's the end of the world.

**"Marksman" = in poker, a full house, three twos and two aces. "Three ducks, and two bullets."

(yes, I finished a draft of my column first. sheesh. what do you take me for?)


That is the entire fic! It has a beginning, a middle, and an end!

And it's three times as long as the others, because it would not compact into 101 words.

(Thank you. ;-) )
Hee. I was teasing. I'm sorry.

I don't know where else you could go with it. Well, okay, pages of Hotch!Angst.


I would need a plot to write more.
Thank you! I was a little nervous about it, because it's *so* dark.
Oh god. This was completely awesome, it was... Oh, it was just perfect. Such a beautiful character study.

Sub-conscious message: Write more, write more, write more
Hee. Actually, I have the first and last lines of the JJ one. I might even write it today, since i have to go back to work at the end of the week. (And I hear a rumor that cpolk might be working on the Emily one.

Fun with characters studies!
These are all great--you've captured Hotch really well. I think the best one is the last one...heartbreaking. And it is exactly what Hotch would do.

You really need to write more Hotch fic. Really. *G* We can never have too much Hotch.
Mom always gets the shitty jobs.

(The last one is the one that came to me first--the line, in fact, about not losing it until he finds the drawer full of junk food. Because I could *see* it. And then I structured the rest of it around that.)

And thank you!

*g* I'll see if any plotbunnies bite, anyway. JJ is bugging me for hers....
Yep, Mommy always clears up after everybody else and puts the house right. Mommy does get the crap jobs - but she does them so nobody else has to.

Love this. Wonderful Hotch angst and the last section was just heartbreakingly gorgeous.

He does what he has to do - and Hotch always, always puts himself last. But he does it so that nobody else realises or notices particularly. And that is why I love him.

"Sundays, too, my father got up early." Do you know that poem?
Very good, lots of angst which I like. :)
The last one, I wonder if it's based on an actual episode event like the others? I haven't seen all eps so I wasn't sure...
Yes, the last one is based on an episode event. They're in chronological order, all second season, if that helps.
OK, so the Reid one, is it about Tobias? I have to watch it again cause I don't remember the details...
I was just curious, because the last one esp. was very good but it made me wonder when Reid had been close to dying...but I don't want to get spoiled. ;)

Hang on, you wrote spoilers for 2.15 which means I have seen all the eps.
So, nevermind. ;)

But I still have to see the ep again to see where he was close to dying. Did he get CPR or something?
That would be the one with Tobias, yes.

He suffered a seizure, and from what they show, it looks like he nearly choked to death from a blocked airway.
Thank you.

It's nice to noodle around for fun, you know that?
It's nice to noodle around for fun, you know that?

Yeah. I can see you're having lots of fun with CM. :)
This was excellent! I love these "5 things that never happened/happened to" fics. I hope you write more, like from other characters' POV's too. This is great :)
I might! It all depends what lands...
It was sad but that was also really fantastic. Nice work!
Thank you!

Hotch gets ALL the crappy jobs.
And people wonder why Hotch is the mom of the team? *Points at the fact that he gets to do all of the really thankless jobs*

Poor Hotch! That last one - that detail about "Taps" - is just heartbreakingly on target. The team really would fall apart without Hotch to hold them together, wouldn't it?
Thank you!

Yes. It's like the old joke: "You've got me. Who's hot YOU?"

Gideon's got Hotch, and Hotch has *everybody.*
Very true. The team's lucky to have Hotch. I hate to say it, but given how badly things went for Gideon's previous team, I think it's safe to say they didn't have Hotch or someone like him to act as a balancing force to Gideon. I have a very bad feeling that the team would suffer a great deal if anything were to happen to Hotch that would affect his ability to do the job.
oh man. I usually avoid anything with the warning 'Death of character' but like I mentioned before--your fic has sucked me in. This was a terrific view of Hotch without going over the top with the angst. It was a perfect balance of realism...in my opinion of course;)
It was a very nearly almost canon death...

Well, both of them were.

Although I admit to cheating and putting Elle's death at the top so that the last one would be unexpected.

I really, really like Hotch.

...Of course, I say that about all the characters on this show. :-P
That was heartbreaking.

Thank you?