Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt: #1, Beginnings
Summary: Hotch was the worst fourth pirate ever, but it was totally worth it.
Author’s Notes: Standard disclaimers apply: I own nothing; suing would be pointless and cruel.
Aaron Hotchner didn’t usually make a fool out of himself. In fact, it was something he avoided with near-obsessive care. He hadn’t rushed for a fraternity because he didn’t want to go through all the hazing BS involved. He played sports, but not competitively, because he wasn’t good enough; he didn’t do things he wasn’t good at, as a general rule.
Aaron Hotchner kept his life carefully controlled. His childhood had been constant, discordant chaos, and he intended to make his adult life the exact opposite. He was going to be a lawyer; the law was orderly and elegant and as divorced from his upbringing as anything could possibly get.
Of course, Aaron Hotchner, disciple of order and control, hadn’t counted on seeing (not even meeting – seeing) Haley Brooks. One glance across a crowded classroom was all it took, and the next thing Aaron knew, he was seeking her out. Hunting her down. Stalking was too strong a word, but only just. He couldn’t get enough of her, even though she barely seemed to notice him, and he found himself, in an almost out-of-body moment, signing up to audition for Pirates of Penzance.
Aaron Hotchner knew nothing about theatre. He didn’t know Gilbert and Sullivan from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He’d gone through a standard boyhood obsession with pirates, however, so he figured it couldn’t be all bad.
He was both wrong and right.
He was terrible. The worst fourth pirate ever, in fact. As someone who made a policy of never making a fool of himself, the play and his performance in it (mostly the latter) were gross violations. Just the hat was an embarrassment, and nothing like his memories of menacing Captain Hook or hulking Blackbeard.
But Haley Brooks, with her wicked, glowing smile and her lilting, electric laugh, noticed him. She noticed him even as he looked like a total moron, and when she offered to give him acting tips, a mischievous twinkle brightening those already luminous eyes, he accepted with a wild mixture of elation and relief.
“I’m Aaron,” he told her, trying to play it cool and probably failing.
“I know,” she said, smiling with mystery, and his heart took off as though it had grown wings.
He grinned like a fool and didn’t care if he looked it.