Author’s Note: This takes place after the season 2 episode “Revelations”. Pairing: Aaron Hotchner/Jennifer Jareau.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters and I’m not making any money from this story.
Warning: Non-con disciplinary spanking.
She had never seen Hotch so angry.
Oh, she had seen him angry plenty of times. Jaw clenched, fists clenched, probably everything else clenched as well. Cold anger, righteous anger. Controlled anger. Not like this.
“Agent Jareau, did you THINK??? Did you even take one minute to consider that it might not be the best idea in the world to separate, when you were TOLD to stay together?”
She tried to defend herself. “Of course I did! It wasn’t my idea, Spence just….” She stopped abruptly, looked away, tried to dissemble. “Of course I thought. It just…happened. That’s all, it just happened!”
Hotch wasn’t buying it. “I know exactly what Dr. Reid did. And I will be discussing it with him later, so there’s no need to try to protect him now. This is about you, and the decision you made, and what it cost…what it cost everyone.” His voice actually shook.
His voice softened. “JJ, when you and Reid split up, it put you both in danger. He nearly lost his life because of it, and you…”
She interrupted him. “Don’t you think I know that!” She almost screamed at him, her fists clenched and her whole body going rigid. “Don’t you think I know that’s what got him so badly hurt, so damaged, almost KILLED? I know that, Hotch, I KNOW! And if I could change it, if there was any way I could go back and do it over I would. I WOULD! But I can’t, and Spence is paying for it…paying for MY decision. Don’t you think I KNOW that???” She bit back the tears, but one still escaped and ran down her cheek unheeded. Abruptly she turned away.
Aaron crossed the room to her side in two quick strides, put his hands on her shoulders and turned her to face him. When she refused to look up, he put one hand under her chin and firmly raised her head so she was forced to look at him.
“JJ, you made a mistake.” His voice was still stern, but surprisingly understanding as well. “You’re right; it happens. People make mistakes. You recognize it, pay for it, and move on.”
“Move on? Move ON! How the Hell do I move on from knowing that I almost got Spence killed? That he is where he is because of me? That…”
Hotch stopped her with a slight shake. “You move on because he needs you to move on. He needs you to be there for him…not feeling guilty and incompetent, but there to help him when he needs help. You don’t need to add to HIS guilt by being guilty yourself.”
She shuddered, looked at the floor, and drew a deep breath. “How do I stop the guilt?” She whispered.
The change from angry Hotch to calm Hotch had totally unnerved her. And it had surprised him too, to realize that he could go from cold anger to warm sympathy so quickly. But even in that transition, he realized that more was required of him, and Aaron Hotchner had never been one to shirk his duty. He did, as always, what had to be done.
“Like this.” In an instant he had hooked one foot around a desk chair and pulled it forward, dropped into it, and hauled JJ with him to land face down over his lap.
“Hotch!” She cried out in surprise and shock. “What the Hell….”
She was cut off by the sharp clap of a very hard hand landing full force on the seat of her jeans.
“Hotch! You can’t…” SMACK! SMACK!
“Actually, I can.” Hotch continued. “You failed to follow orders. You separated from a teammate in dangerous circumstances. You endangered yourself and your partner. And I intend to see that it doesn’t happen again!” He punctuated each statement with two or three more stinging whacks.
It didn’t take much. She was feeling so much guilt and sorrow already, only a few sharp swats, only a little of the stern, disciplinary tone was enough to send her into paroxisms of tears and stammered regrets.
“I’m sorry, sorry, sorry….didn’t want Spence to get hurt, didn’t mean that to happen, didn’t, didn’t, didn’t….” She choked on the tears, and Hotch stopped spanking for a minute to let her catch her breath.
“JJ, you know better than this. I understand that a lot of the fault was Spencer’s, but you need to be firm, you need to be the one calling the shots. You need to do what you KNOW is right; not cave in to his recklessness.” He started spanking again, measured steady spanks, and she collapsed over his lap, all the tension leaving her body as she simply sobbed helplessly. He continued for a short time, then gently turned her upright and held her on his lap. She buried her face in his shoulder, and he held her tightly until she stopped shaking.
When she finally pushed away, shaking her long blonde hair out of her face to look up at him with tear-streaked cheeks and reddened eyes, he almost smiled.
“So, did that help the guilt?” He asked quietly.
She didn’t reply. There was no need; her relief showed on her face.. Wiping her eyes with both hands, sniffling a bit, and trying to avoid looking at him, she rose from his lap.
“I’m gonna go see how Spence is doing.” Her voice was quiet; calm now.
He nodded. “Good idea. Tell him I’ll be along to see him in a bit.” She nodded and started to walk away.
She stopped, but didn’t look back.
“You’re a good agent. One of the best. You’re a good person. Those two things are not always…compatible. Reid got hurt…because of you. But Reid is alive…because of you. Sometimes…sometimes that’s enough.”
JJ closed her eyes briefly, nodded slightly, and walked out the door. Enough. Sometimes you have to settle for enough.