AN: 423 words.
is blue, like noon sky and faded hems and distant shades of sea. It sits perched on Reid’s shaky hand and he says, “Have it, take it,” and nothing else. Leaving lectures for another day, he’s run and jumped with only enough breath left for that. Have it. Take it.
Hotch puts it in his top drawer, next to the empty photo frame from Haley two birthdays back. It stares, is still and waiting.
is pastel yellow, dusty smudges from desperate hands. With blunt points, and folds that never quite made it. “I know the steps,” Reid says, as if that needs explaining. “I just can’t translate them.” At a glance it’s dull, and weary; closer it’s patterned and with purpose and keeping secrets.
One wing is wonky, and it sits lopsided on Hotch’s desk.
is black and white. If Hotch were to unfold it all the broken words would piece together, into yesterday’s news. He doesn’t. He puts it in his breast pocket and says thank you for reasons he doesn’t fully understand. “To many, they stand for peace.”
Reid shrugs. “We’ll see.”
is brown, like earth and real. Reid twirls it round two fingers, long and pale and warm. Hotch’s eyes follow, caught on the turn, like a dance. They dance around each other. “Another one?”
“Yeah, I …” Reid hands it over. “I can’t seem to stop.”
Hotch doesn’t say, okay, or don’t, even if he wants to.
is black, of depth, hiding the imperfections. It’s abandoned after debriefing, sits with its tail to the board; it can’t see the lifeless faces. Gideon nods to it, just once. “It’s not mine.”
Gideon pushes it gently to Hotch as he walks by. “Let me rephrase that. I don’t want it.”
is purple, trauma from the inside and breaking out. It’s bigger than the ones before, stands tall, head up and ready. Ready for battle. Hotch says, “I was hoping we could move on from this,” in the small air between their mouths, hand around Reid’s tie.
“I don’t know any other-” Reid says, mistaking, and, “Oh,” when they kiss.
It’s imperfect, like the crane, which flutters down to meet their feet. Floating.
is red, like sunburn and the gumboots Jack will never take off for bed. Red like lust, or love, or other words that make you bleed. Reid says, “Last one,” and sits it by the bedside, rolling back to Hotch.
Last one. This, instead, consumes him.