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Since the cold weather started to close in, well too cold to camp anyway, Hotch had been spending the mass wad he usually didn't at all fucking spend on....this room. Was it stupid that he rented the room that they had first spent in together for the rest of the month to start, just to be sure Cole would be warm. He didn't like it. Staying in one place for a fucking month but....the tavern owner had assured him when she saw how he itched that no one would find him here. She apparently took neutrality and her customer's privacy rather seriously to which Hotch had been....sort of suspicious of but grateful in the end. So maybe it wouldn't be so bad. I mean the woman had her fucking rooms warded up the Gods damn ying yang with those special keys to each room and such like.
So it was safe, or so he kept trying to cram into his head. Paranoia on high. Cole's presents helped. His cheer for the season....had been met with eye rolls and gruff comments but for the most part, Hotch went along with it because he liked seeing Cole happy, and so soon the eye rolls and comments stopped simply because of how much Cole seemed to smile, especially after they had gotten their tree a few weeks back. A little late in the game really and all the big ones had been taken up but he doubted they had needed a large one anyway and the tavern keeper had given them a slight look when Hotch tried to smuggle it in. A look that disappeared when he gave her a few more extra on their tab should she allow the tree.
Then after the tree it was going to a store for decorations. Hotch....had been a bit overwhelmed to say the least. He hadn't done these things in so long and it made him feel just a but...uncomfortable. Made him feel a little upset seeing as the last time he had done these things it was with his parents, his village, his pack. But he was good at keeping it off his stony face. Ever good at keeping anything off his face but this time it was more for Cole's sake. He just liked seeing him happy. He was trying his fucking hardest to make the man happy for as long as he was here. The last time Cole had cried about it...he just....he was trying not to inspire that again. At least not too often. He was trying to cherish what they had for as long as they had it...and for the most part Cole seemed to be as well. Another reason he indulged the younger man in his Christmas spirit.
And then it came to....what the fuck did he get for him even? He hated himself for not knowing but he wasn't good at any of this shit and again had not had to buy anything for a soul in years. Finally he had spied a Barns and Noble book store and...yes. He had found himself wandering in and there was just.....so many books. So many to choose from and he was sure Cole would have loved anything but....where would he keep them all? So then finally he had gravitated toward the tablets. Where as such a thing was the devil to Hotch but to Cole? And after a bit of chatter--well the sales man was chatter at him not the other way around--Hotch finally settled with it. The man left the store with a Samsung Tab E Nook tablet with a screen protector, a black case with a little frowny face that said "Don't touch my Tab" and two hundred dollar gift certificates for Cole to buy whatever his little heart desired in books.
Then it came to wrapping paper. He had to do it all while Cole had been at work, wrapping up everything to an annoying pristine fashion--he had gone through a bit of paper trying to make it all look perfect--and once it was all boxed and wrapped he placed it under their stupid little tree and then....stared at it while he waited for Cole to get off. He had seemed so happy, when he saw the few things under it, so much so that it got Hotch--amazingly!!--excited for the damn day to give it to him. Which came agonizingly slow. So much so that he wanted to pester to do it Christmas even but.....Cole insisted for the morning because you know Santa gave all the presents to the good boys and girls at night for them to open in the morning to which Hotch had given him a dead pan look and asked if he looked like an old man with a fat belly saying ho ho-fucking-ho? Either way he couldn't sleep at all....which didn't help at all to help move the continuously agonizingly slow hands of the clock.
Staying in the tavern for a few days at a time wasn’t all that strange to Cole. When the nights got too cold Hotch would bring him here rather than the campsite after work, but when those days had started to stretch into weeks Cole had felt...strange. He’d felt a bit guilty that they stayed so long, knowing all too well that Hotch was probably opting for the warmth that came with being indoors for his sake, that he was choosing the hotel rather than the tent to make sure Cole was comfortable. Cole felt bad for that, knowing that Hotch was changing up the way he lived his life for him but at the same time...this meant he was warm too. It meant that Hotch had an actual bed to sleep on for awhile, that he wouldn’t have to be out in his tent in the cold, and so Cole was happy that they were here.
Since they were indoors though...Cole wanted to decorate. Why wouldn’t he? It’d been...it’d been years since he’d been able to have a real Christmas and even then...the holidays he had spent back home and been tense sort of things. They’d been so tense, one word away from the tree set up in the living room from being toppled to the floor, one word away from the few gifts -- if there were any that year -- to be destroyed in a fit. Decorations shattered, christmas lights torn down because who the fuck put these up? Our electric bill is going to go up! But that wasn’t what Christmas was for. It wasn’t about...that, pettiness, coldness. Cole was certain that it wasn’t. He had passed through cities during his time on the streets and people had always been more...giving during the holidays, quicker to take pity on him and wish him a happy holiday season.
That was what he liked about it, that was what he wanted. He wanted this to be a good Christmas and he got to spend it with Hotch so...he was happy, he was happy even if there were no gifts to be given. Though, Cole insisted on a tree. It was a tiny sort of thing, but still a tree and he had also been so eager to purchase decorations for it. He didn’t know the last time Hotch had had a real Christmas, but Cole was determined to make it good for him, determined to make it worthwhile because...trust Cole knew the shopping and the running around had worn heavily on the other man. It would be worth it though, Cole was certain.
Cole knew he didn’t need to get Hotch any sort of gift. In fact, he was certain Hotch wouldn’t really want one but...he needed to. He wanted to. He wanted to give something to Hotch that was special, but just what that would be he didn’t really know, and he spent a few of his days off wandering around downtown and Keystone, keeping his eyes out for anything interesting. Admittedly, there were so many things he wanted to get for Hotch, but he knew his gift needed to be something useful. It needed to be something useful to Hotch and so Cole had spent a few extra days watching Hotch to see what kinds of things he used, what kinds of things he would need, and then it clicked after he had complained about loose threads on his coat only for Hotch to cut them without so much as a word with the knife he kept on him. A knife! But...but Cole didn’t really know where to get one of those. He didn’t know where to get one, but his heart was set on it and so he spent another few days lurking around shops, keeping his eyes out for something that he felt would suit the other man.
Admittedly, what he settled on was perhaps not so much in Hotch’s “style” but Cole found the knife to be pretty. There were designs on the blade, but not too much. It wasn’t a garrish sort of thing, and more importantly, it was useful. He had wanted to give it to Hotch that day, but no no no Christmas! It was for Christmas! So, Cole had found a nice little box for it, and taken it to work with him in his backpack so tha the could wrap it up. He felt a little bad honestly, when he saw the presents under their little tree for him, wrapped so nicely. Cole had...he had tried okay? He had done his best but wrapping gifts wasn’t something he spent much time on, so...so he had given it a good effort, though he had kept Hotch’s present tucked firmly away in his bag until Christmas Eve. It was silly, but he waited until Hotch was asleep -- or at least...looked like it -- before slipping out of bed to rifle through his backpack, setting his gift out under the tree before crawling back into bed with Hotch. He hadn’t slept much that night, and one would think that he would have been reluctant to get out of bed, but the moment it was acceptable for him be awake, Cole was up, bright eyed and bushy tailed.
It was Christmas! Cole had eyed the presents under their tree more than once, he wanted to know what Hotch had gotten him but he refrained from asking to open them. He was certain that if he pushed hard enough Hotch would let him open them, so he kept his curiosity at bay and simply looked at them, trying to gauge just what was inside those boxes. Clothes? That was really all he could think. Maybe books? He liked to read, so maybe Hotch had gotten him books, he wasn’t sure and not knowing was killing him, but he didn’t ask to open them. No no, Cole had waited and he had tried to sleep, even though he wasn’t very successful. Of course when morning came Cole was giving Hotch a few gentle shakes to stir him up. ”Merry Christmas!” He chirped all too eagerly. It was...perhaps too early for him to be so awake and cheerful, but he couldn’t help it. ”Santa brought you a gift~” Not that Cole really believed in such things anymore, but hey, if werewolves and angels were real who was he to say there wasn’t some fat guy leaving presents for kids? ”Though...he should probably fire the elf who wrapped it.” Cole’s wrapping job was...abysmal but he had tried, he really had, and he wasted so much wrapping paper trying to get it right but eventually he had just gotten frustrated and decided that the thought was what counted.
He bounced out of bed like a pinball, snatching up one of the smaller blankets he often brought with him to the hotel, before practically skipping over to their rinky-dinky little tree. ”You gotta open it~” He curled his blanket around his shoulders as he plopped down onto the floor, crossing his legs as he reached out to pick up Hotch’s present, twisting it around in his hands as he waited, practically bursting at the seams with excitement, for Hotch to sit with him on the floor.
Even if it made him a bit paranoid it was nice....at least to sleep in a bed yes and it was warm. He made due in this tent during the winter with blankets that were thermal to sleep in but it was always so cold once outside his tent. It was nice to wake up and not have to keep buried under a blanket for warmth. He could walk about as he pleased and not itch to shiver...and it was nice still waking beside Cole, seeing him absolutely rested. He liked that. He liked nice things for Cole in general. He only hoped he would have enough soon to get himself his first place so that....he didn't have to sleep in the tent with him for too much longer or stay in a hotel with him for too much longer. Not that Hotch liked the idea of sleeping separately from Cole but, as said, he liked nice things for Cole. His own apartment would be a nice thing. A very nice thing. Something he deserved.
Either way it was nice even if it made him itch a bit with that ever friendly paranoia in the back of his brain. Worth it with Cole so happy to decorate too. He almost felt bad for not being one for pictures....because it would have been nice to have a picture of Cole smiling around their small little decorated Christmas tree. But he feared having anything on him that might draw someone to Cole should...they find it or should they find him and decide to fuck with Cole to fuck with him and just....the idea of a photo was mourned but quickly discarded for the smaller wolf's safety. The memories would be just as sweet, he was sure. It was already sweet living in the present of it.
Despite not being able to sleep that night. Well he managed....but it felt like the moment he finally was able to sleep was the very same moment Cole was waking him up. They both seemed to have trouble sleeping because there had been many times during the night where Hotch had noticed Cole's breathing wasn't of the usual rems of sleep. He had tried nuzzling at him, playing with his hair the times he had noticed to try and lull him back. The moment Cole started rocking at him he groaned so slightly, his tired mind having momentarily forgotten as to why he hadn't been able to sleep because it wanted to sleep so fuck you no no he didn't want to wake u---Merry Christmas!! the words rang out true and cheerful which snapped him from his sleep stupor.
He pushed up on his forearms, blinking slowly while Cole was already bounding out of bed and toward the tree, saying something about Santa and he rolled his eyes slightly despite being charmed with how cheerful Cole was, how happy. So after a moment he rubbed at his eyes before he rolled on out of bed to wander over to Cole and seat himself beside him cross legged. After taking his present from Cole he wondered if he should insist Cole open his first, but then he was rather curious seeing as he hadn't even put it under the tree this whole time like Hotch had. He leaned in before opening though, nose nuzzling into the top of Cole's head as he breathed him in a moment before he straightened and started into the wrapping paper.
It didn't even matter to him that Cole's seemed less than perfect, the paper that was because once he got the package and the case opened all he could do was stare. Figured Cole would pick something fancy looking but, it was nice work and after a moment he placed it down to lift the knife into his hand. A nice feel to it too, in his hand, well made and he raised his other to press lightly against the blade, not enough to cut, but enough to see just how sharp it might be and once he was done inspecting it well you could say perhaps the first smile appeared on Hotch's face. Small it was, but it was a smile of all things in a world filled with stern looks, frowns, and less that nice looking smirks.
This was Cole’s first real Christmas away from home, one where he had a place to celebrate that wasn’t...lonely. Envious he always was to see families walking along the streets hand in hand, bags of presents hanging from their arms. Envious he always was when he saw someone painstakingly trying to pick out a gift, but...he was happy for those people. Cole was happy that they had people to celebrate with, he was happy that they had people who loved them during the holidays. Cole couldn’t really remember a time where the holiday season hadn’t left him feeling as though he were walking on a minefield, desperately trying to calculate each of his steps. This year was different though, this year he was with Hotch and...he wanted to make it something special, something they would both remember because Hotch would have to leave soon enough and while that thought pained him...all he could do was try to cherish all the moments they had together until then, right?
He almost felt a little bad for waking Hotch up so abruptly, but he figured if the other man wanted to take a nap after gifts were exchanged he could. It couldn’t hurt. Hotch never really seemed to sleep right though, more than once Cole had accidently woken him up during his shifting around during the nights they spent together. At first he had felt guilty over such things but Hotch didn’t complain about it, didn’t gripe about it, so Cole could only think that maybe it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Either way, he pushed his guilt away once Hotch started to sit up, looking around the room with bleary eyes. Cole was practically bouncing as he waited for Hotch to come sit beside him, or across from him, or wherever he wanted. He didn’t care where Hotch sat, so long as he was sitting with him to open their presents.
Truthfully he had been tempted to grab one of the presents Hotch had put under the tree for him, but he was more excited for Hotch to open his gift. Cole had spent a good amount of time trying to find the perfect one, trying to find something that was practical but still sharp enough that he could use. Admittedly he didn’t much like the idea of Hotch skinning rabbits with such a pretty knife, but who was he to tell Hotch how to use his gift? And besides, he had gotten it so it could be used. He gotten something that was both pretty and practical, and as Hotch sat himself down beside him Cole beamed, shuffling just a little closer once the wrapped box was taken from his hand. He could have kissed Hotch the moment he felt his nose burrowing into his hair, but he kept himself still, too eager to see him open his gift to distract them with such things.
He kept his eye trained on Hotch’s face as he started to peel the wrapping paper away from the box, trying to gauge his reaction though...that too was always a risky sort of thing. Sometimes Hotch made angry faces even when he was happy, so Cole wasn’t sure if such things were reliable. ”Sorry the wrapping paper is like...terrible. I tried.” There had been exposed parts that he had just...taped more paper over, but it didn’t seem that Hotch cared that his handiwork was less than pretty. Cole was...perhaps a bit nervous as to what Hotch would say as he took the blade into his hand, looking over it so thoughtfully. Did he like it? Surely he didn’t hate it. Cole couldn’t tell, he couldn’t tell until he saw the slow and near miniscule curl of Hotch’s lips. Cole could have kissed him for that small and fleeting smile, but instead he chose to try and burn it into his memory because...gods he couldn’t remember the last time he had seen Hotch smile. Ever? Had he ever really smiled in his presence? Cole didn’t know, and at the moment he didn’t care, and he smiled wide enough for the both of them. ”It’s pretty right?” He liked the pattern on the blade the most, liked that it wasn’t just...plain and boring. ”But you can also use it to do stuff~” There wasn’t any silver in the blade though, which he was certain Hotch had discovered upon pressing his finger against it.
Hotch could only imagine what past holidays could have been like for Cole....with those scars of his. The ones made from abuse and cigarettes. He hated that he had to endure that. But he was sure even if he wasn't here Cole would always have a nice Christmas. He had his friends. There wasn't just him. He had his friends that he knew cared very much for him and already he heard the buzz of Cole's cell phone, no doubt his friend was sending him one of those stupid text messages already to tell him "Merry Christmas" with those stupid....what were they? Emofie? Emosie? Emoji? Whatever the fuck they were. Those. Sending those too. He was sure that very friend would want to see Cole at some point to celebrate as well. It was good. It made Hotch...feel a little better--or so he tried to tell himself--that when he had to leave Cole had people who loved him here to care for him. But he didn't want to think of leaving right now. Today was definitely supposed to be a good day, you know?
That said he was sure he was succeeding in making it a good day with just how Cole seemed to bounce with excitment beside him while he did something at simple as unwrap the gift and the entire time he had inspected the finely made blade he felt Cole's gaze on him. Sure Hotch was, that Cole was inspecting him just as he had been inspecting the blade to make sure he liked it. And he did. He liked it very much and it was a thoughtful gift. A useful gift. The sort of gift that if Hotch had to have one, it was perfect sort to give. So he never minded the comment of wrapping paper, having been far too invested in looking the lovely knife over and once he had finished his inspection he turned his gaze toward Cole. That smile was full on and he enjoyed that, he enjoyed that very much and he only nodded as he asked if it was pretty, nodded and leaned in while Cole pointed out that it was useful and while he leaned in he placed the knife carefully back in the box just as his lips met Cole's.
He kissed him softly, and once his hands were free he raised them to cup Cole's face as he placed a few more, let that be the answer in just how much he liked Cole's well thought out gift and he was tempted to pull Cole into his lap but decided against it. He wanted him close, he wanted to keep kissing him but in his lap it would lead to distraction and if not utter distraction it would mean that he wouldn't get to see Cole's face when he gave him his gift to him. He wanted to be able to see just as Cole had been able to see if Hotch liked Cole's gift to him. So after a moment of a few more stolen kisses he peppered his lips....fuck it along his jaw, then a few to his neck before he nuzzled there, breathing him in. "Thank you." He murmured a bit gruffly of course, against the soft column of Cole's throat before he pulled away...paused...stole another kiss before he made himself pull away entirely.
"I needed a knew knife to whittle with." Because he didn't want to bloody it. Something Cole gave him, it felt wrong to bloody being that you know. Cole wasn't much one for violence even if it was for purpose and hunting he honestly didn't call violence it was mere survival but still. He was sure Cole would like it better if he used it for something other than skinning and hunting. So whittling it was. Something beautiful to make....well he didn't know if the things he made were really beautiful per say but something beautiful to create seemed better use of Cole's lovely gift that something bloody. "You're turn. And fuck Santa. I put that shit under the tree."
The day had only just begun and Cole was certain it was going to be a good one, it was already shaping up to be as much. He had woken up to more than one text message from Lonny, and trust that he had shot a few back before waking Hotch up. He would need to make time to go see the other man, considering he had gotten Lonny a gift as well, thought...after the debacle of trying to wrap Hotch’s he had settled for a gift bag, and much like Hotch’s gift had, it sat in his backpack just waiting to be delivered to its recipient. That was something for later though, right now he was focused on Hotch and his gift. Funny how for the moment, in this little hotel room, Cole felt as though they were the only two people in the world. He just wanted Hotch to have a good Christmas, and he felt as though he was succeeding in his goal. Cole wasn’t sure how long Hotch had been on his own, but he was certain it had been long enough for him to miss a few Christmases, so it...it seemed fitting that they could share this.
He hummed oh so softly as Hotch’s lips met his own, and without even thinking Cole lifted his hands to place them over Hotch’s, forcing himself to tame the smile on his lips so he could actually return those softly pressed kisses. Suppose that meant Hotch liked his gift, and Cole let his eye drift shut as Hotch’s lips broke away from his to pepper along his jaw, down along the column of his throat. ”You’re welcome~” His words a stark contrast to the gruffly spoken ones against his neck, cheerful, bright like the sun, but Cole hardly cared that Hotch’s words were rough. The smaller man met each of those stolen kisses eagerly, hardly stolen they were considering he gave them so eagerly, and briefly he thought to move closer, but his thoughts on the matter echoed Hotch’s. Cole wanted to open his gifts, and while he could wait he was...so very excited to see just what Hotch had gotten him, so he let Hotch pull away from him, his own hands coming to rest in his lap.
It pleased him that Hotch intended to use his gift for...creating things rather than hurting things. Yes Cole understood that Hotch didn’t hunt for fun, that he did it to survive, but it still...it was still sad. Cole could never do it, even if he knew that Hotch didn’t take the lives of the creatures he caught for granted, that he understood they were...sacred in their own way. It still hurt Cole’s heart to think about...hurting things, taking a life, even if it was just a rabbit that was very quickly put out of its misery. He was glad to hear that Hotch was going to use his gift to make things, even though Cole wouldn’t have voiced a complaint with whatever he chose to do with it. It was his, after all, and he could use it as he see fit. He tutted so softly at Hotch’s next words. ”Swearing on Christmas is bad luck,” though his words were nothing more than light hearted teasing. He also had no idea if such claims were true, but...it seemed fitting. Wasn’t cursing a...sin or something? DIdn’t God not like it? Heck if Cole knew.
He didn’t give himself much time to ponder over it, instead he turned his attention to the remainder of the gifts. There was four, albeit two of them were rather small, gift cards maybe? To what, Cole didn’t know, but he was going to find out, and he reached out to grab the two larger boxes. He wasn’t sure which one to open first, and opted for the heavier one. It was...much nicer wrapped than his had been, and briefly he turned his gaze to Hotch. ”Yours is so much prettier than mine,” he pouted, though once again his words were light as a feather, and he bumped his shoulder against Hotch’s before his smile broke through again as he returned his attention to the box in his hand, slowly starting to pull the wrapping paper back. He wasn’t sure what he expected to find beneath the wrapping paper, but once he had it all off and was holding the box for a tablet in his hands...he stared at it for a moment, wondering so briefly if maybe the box had been found and repurposed, but when he ran his fingers along the edges he still felt the thin plastic covering of a new box. It was...it was new, it was a tablet, it was for him and his disbelief and joy mingled along his features. His gaze moved from the tablet to Hotch, then to the remaining items he had yet to open. There was more?
Just the tablet would have been more than enough. Cole would have been happy with a scarf, with...he would have been happy with nothing honestly, as long as he got to spend today with Hotch, but he was absolutely elated and such joy danced across his face as he practically bounced as he picked up the other gifts to unwrap. When he opened the case, seeing the frowny face first, he laughed. The idea of Hotch buying something so silly had him in a brief fit of joyous giggles, but once he opened the gift cards he paused, once again...absolutely stunned because it...it was sweet but it was so much. This was so much money. Cole knew tablets weren’t cheap, and then there was the giftcards and he had...he had only gotten Hotch one thing! Not that his gift had been particularly cheap but...no that wasn’t what mattered. The money wasn’t what mattered, though he felt a little guilty that Hotch had spent so much on him.
Even with that brief flicker of guilt Cole was still absolutely beaming, as he simply took a moment to look at his assortment of gifts. He could...he could get so many books! Or at least a few, a good amount. It’d been a very long time since Cole had received such a gift, something so thoughtful and sweet. ”Thank you,” he breathed the words out, still...unbelieving that these gifts were for him, but of course they were because Hotch was sweet, he was thoughtful and of course he would get him something like this, and with that thought Cole turned to actually face Hotch, shuffling just a bit closer to curl his arms over his shoulders so that he could lean in to pepper kisses against his lips and cheek. ”Thank you. I love it. I love all of it thank you.” And he was so happy he could have cried but thank the gods he opted instead to just kiss and kiss and kiss because he was so happy, so absolutely elated and so grateful.
Hotch only snorted as Cole chose to chastise him for swearing, teasing as it might be. He was sure he'd have Cole swearing at some point....but not at presents. But at some point. Maybe. He didn't know. He was still not....used to thinking about those things but they happened with Cole around. Cole was ever the key to unlocking a great many fucking things Hotch never thought he would do or think about doing. Either way he shrugged as Cole pouted over how he had wrapped his presents. It didn't honestly matter if Cole's wasn't as nicely wrapped as his own. It didn't mean Cole hadn't cared, but Hotch had just been fucking determined okay?
He waited though, anxious for Cole to open his gift and he was sure Cole would like it but there was always that "What if" when it came to presents. At least....well maybe not for everyone but it was certainly there for Hotch and he hoped he had thought right and....once it was opened? He was sure he thought right because there was a look of joy filling Cole's expression. Joy and disbelief it looked like but still Hotch felt as thought his breath were being held to hear the verbal verdict, if there would be one anyway. It seemed he would have to wait because once Cole was finished looking with that wide smile at him and then the pack, at him and then back again he was reaching for the rest of it.
Suppose it was as good as a response if any. Fuck he was taking this as a win and it pleased him as Cole seemed to be so fucking happy and jazzed about it, pleased him to hear Cole laugh as he opened the case to see just what sort he had selected for him. He didn't know why. It had just...seemed fitting. Like something he would say if he were ever insane enough to get himself a tablet, and so....he had thought that when they parted it would be a nice way for Cole to have something of him. Was that stupid? He didn't know. He didn't know if it were stupid or cruel but....so long as Cole seemed to like it.
When he finally finished Hotch found himself smiling so slightly again, and it remained a little while longer as warmth flooded through at hearing that first "thank you" come from Cole. The smile disappearing if only to catch Cole's lips when ever they landed on his own in their peppering about his face. "Good." He mumbled while Cole expressed that he loved it, and again he felt so pleased and...happy that Cole liked his gifts, that they were good enough. He was sure he'd be downloading books later and babbling on about something new he had read about and the older wolf looked very much forward to it. "Now you can read whenever....get whatever you want. Don't have to have a fuck ton of boxes of books to move around." He continued between which ever kisses landed on his lips before he decided fuck it and cupped Cole's chin to keep those lips placated on his own.
Cole wasn’t used to being given such...such lovely things. He felt bad when people gave him nice things, but today wasn’t a day for such feelings. Today was a day to give, and he had done just that and while he hadn’t expected the lovely gifts that Hotch had given him he was so happy to have them. He was absolutely elated because trust that there were so many books that Cole saw on the shelves that he wanted, but couldn’t justify having. Renting books from work was easier because they would be taking up space for very long, but never could her really...justify buying books. They would take up space in his bag, and make it harder for him to put necessities inside of it. Sometimes he found himself hanging around bookstores a bit too long, reading over the first few chapters of a book before setting it back down because he didn’t want to be...he didn’t want to be weird. He didn’t have to worry about that now though! He could have so many books without worrying about them taking up too much space, and he was absolutely elated.
It was sweet that Hotch had put so much thought into his gift, and admittedly -- aside from the tablet -- the case was probably his favorite part about it. It was...it was silly, even if it wasn’t meant to be. It brought a smile to his face, and suppose Hotch got his wish in hoping that it would remind the younger wolf of him. It was hard not to be reminded of Hotch when the case was just as frowny and blunt as he was, even if it was...perhaps a bit satirical? Cole wasn’t sure if it was, but it still amused him. Point being, he was absolutely thrilled with his gifts and the only way he could think to express that gratitude was to pepper Hotch with kisses. He had to try so very hard to keep his smiles in check so that he could properly kiss him.
It was amusing that Hotch’s line of thinking in purchasing the tablet mirrored his own to some extent. It meant there wouldn’t be any books that Cole needed to lug around, and while he very much enjoyed the feeling of turning paper pages he knew that it wasn’t practical with the current life he lived. He moved around too much to carry a bag full of books. ”So it’s practical?” He lulled oh so softly mere seconds before Hotch’s hand moved to his chin, cupped it to keep him in place. Again his eye drifted shut, a pleased little hum escaping him as he shifted closer, trying so very hard to keep their lips together as he shifted himself to sit in Hotch’s lap, legs curling loosely around him, hands moving to card his fingers through the other man’s hair.
Early morning presents, early morning romp meant one nice nap into the later morning hours. By the time Hotch heard the alarm he set go off his face was buried into the hair at the back of Cole's head. The smaller wolf's body spooned against the front of his own and for a moment all Hotch wanted to do was close his eyes and hold him more tightly. Just for a moment. Just a moment longer. Finally though he made himself loosen his hold, made himself let the small wolf go though not before he took in one more long inhale of the scent he needed so much. Funny really, how one could come to need something as simple as one's scent. Cole's was special and soothing. Cole's settled his nerves and made him feel fiercely warm, made his chest tighten.
While Cole slept a little longer Hotch took to cleaning up a little before he dressed himself warm for the weather....then looked at Cole's sleeping form and frowned. To trust him to dress warm himself or pick something out? He opted to picking something out. Something warm just the same as himself and laid the smaller man's clothes out at the bottom of the bed so he could easily see it was for him once he woke him. Something he didn't do for another ten minutes or so while he brushed his teeth and ran his hands through his hair....though he never seemed much use of it and he was going to wear a hat so...after frowning at his reflection a moment he muttered. "Fuck it." and gave up on the more unruly locks of hair.
So then that just left the shakes. Carefully he reached into the high up area of the closet to the room and plucked down the plain boxes he had put them in, then just as carefully set the new skates into his backpack after taking some items out to make room. With that done finally finally he was ready to wake the other man. He did so by seating himself at the edge of the bed, one hand raising from his lap to reach, caress his knuckles lightly over Cole's cheek, tucked his hair behind his ear then....then he unromatically reached to pinch the man's nose.
If left undisturbed, Cole definitely would have been able to sleep the day away even if that wasn’t his original plan. Before falling asleep he had unboxed his tablet and case, tinkered around with it, though it hadn’t taken long for him to realize he was really too tired for trying to find books to read, so he had set the tablet down on the nightstand before curling up against Hotch and it seemed that he was asleep before his eye had even closed. He was warm and cozy, more than happy to catch up on the sleep that he had missed last night due to his overexcitement. He only stirred when he heard Hotch’s alarm, but it was hard to really pull himself from sleep with Hotch’s face still buried in his hair, with the larger man still practically cocooning him, and so even before Hotch had finally willed himself to get up Cole was back to sleep.
Mostly at least, he could hear Hotch shuffling around in his half-awake state, but couldn’t be bothered to actually open his eye to figure out what he was doing. The sudden lack of warmth in the bed was what kept him from falling back into deeper sleep, and wake enough he was to think of forming a complaint about, but all he really managed in his drowsiness was a few soft grumbles before he slipped back into silence, curling in just a little tighter on himself as if that alone would be a good enough substitute for Hotch pressed against him. It didn’t take him much longer to actually start to drift off to sleep again, and he didn’t even feel the bed shift as Hotch sat down beside him. He hummed so lightly as Hotch’s knuckled moved against his cheek, more of an...automatic relaxed response than one he did on purpose, though the pinch to his nose -- more so the lack of air that came with it -- was enough to wake him.
He snorted, still half asleep as he lifted his hand to swat Hotch’s away, grumbling blearily as he rolled onto his other side. It was too late to fall back asleep now though, he was already awake, and so Cole shifted to peak over his shoulder at Hotch to pout at him. ”So meeaaan,” he whined, but was already in the process of sitting up so if...Hotch’s intent was to wake him, suppose he had succeeded. Once sitting up Cole reached up to try and rub the sleep from his eye, slipping his fingers beneath the bandage on his right eye to massage at the scar there while he rubbed at his good eye with his other hand. Once finished, he edged himself closer to Hotch, resting his head against the other man’s shoulder for a moment before tilting his head up to press a kiss against his lips, pulling away just as he lifted a hand, but instead of running his fingers through Hotch’s hair as he so often enjoyed doing, Cole gave his nose a soft pinch, giggling softly to himself before his attention fell to the clothes at the foot of the bed.
Cole didn’t really remember making plans to go out today, but Hotch was already dressed, and the thought had the younger wolf’s brows pinching together. Hopefully Hotch hadn’t just been...waiting around forever for him to wake up, if he’d known they had stuff to do he would have set an alarm. ”Where are we going?” He asked through a yawn, lifting his hands to card his fingers through his hair, grimacing whenever he caught a knot between them. Using his fingers wouldn’t really get him anywhere, but Cole was really just trying to tame the mess that his hair certainly was, even if all he was really doing at the moment was making it kind of...frizzy.
It had greatly pleased Hotch to have lain in bed and watched Cole happily tinker with his tablet before they both settled to sleep. Making Cole happy, pleasing him, Hotch didn't have the right words really--didn't know if there would ever be the right words--for how satisfying that was. How happy it made him in return to do something good for Cole. He hardly felt slighted when Cole had decided to put it down to sleep. They were both tired from their inability to sleep due to their excitement to present each other with their gifts.
It pleased him as well, with how sweetly the man hummed to his touch, even caught between sleep and waking, he liked that Cole reacted to him. He liked that he reacted positively. He liked that he didn't fear him with his gentle touches, liked that Cole seemed so safe feeling with him that he didn't think to jump at any touch he gave him while he slept or a touch to wake him. It made his stomach twist knowing he wouldn't be able to keep it all up very much longer and so he pushed it right back on down. With such thoughts of turmoil brewing and trying to be suppressed he allowed himself to cling to the amusing things of the current moment to help bottle it back up.
Cole snorting, surely, was an amusing thing, snorting to his slight nose pinch that is. Hotch couldn't help but smirk some and lifted his hand from Cole's delicate nose as he was swat at. Dark hues usually so cold watched as the little wolf rolled over, wondering for a very brief moment if he was going to have to be more firm with his waking but not long after Cole rolled was his head turning to look over his shoulder. "I never claimed to be kind." Was all he said to Cole's pout and whine, still smirking some all the while. He remained as he was while Cole sat up, his dark hues dropping as the blanket began to shift and pool around his waist. Bare flesh exposed. He had insisted they sleep naked...well gently asked if they could. He'd never make Cole do something if he didn't want, but with the sure warmth of a room of their own? He liked sleeping with his flesh pressed to Cole's equally warm skin.
It made him tempted, terribly tempted to press him back down against the bed. Press him down and loom over him, touch him and kiss him and make his breath hitch in the ways he had earlier in the morning. So very tempting but he forced those desires right on down as well. It still felt....uneasy at times with such thoughts, needs, and wants forming in mind, making him burn, making antsy for flesh to flesh contact when before it had never filtered in mind. Not like this. Not in a way in which he wanted. Sometimes his wolf's libido had made him...antsy but he had always felt far too disgusted with people and then himself to ever act, to ever truly want something. Cole he wanted, always wanted, always wanted to be close to when he could be.
He stole his last looks in the moments of Cole rubbing at his face, snapped himself out of his admiring trance when Cole shifted forward, his sweet head coming to rest at his shoulder and Hotch automatically turned his own to skim his nose against Cole's hair. Eyes closing briefly while he breathed him in, too small pleasures in his scent and the soft tickle of his hair against his nose. He didn't even bother to open his eyes when he felt Cole's head raise, felt him shift a little more upward. He knew what was coming and he welcomed it as he returned the soft and brief kiss....though scowled some a moment later as Cole pinched his nose. Devil. But it was amusing really. Cole delighted him, made him feel light where as anyone else he'd deck them in the fucking face for ever daring to be so casual with him.
The older man watched while the other carded his fingers through his hair and before he could get jealous of it he rose from his seated position and started for the door. "Out. Get ready. I'll get something to eat." He answered, daring to glance back at Cole a moment and sighed softly. Later. He told himself. He could have him again later if Cole so desired. But this afternoon? He had something....fun to do with him. Something of an outing and Cole seemed to like outings and Hotch wanted very much, to keep making Cole happy.
Cole hadn’t thought Hotch had other plans for the day, so to see him dressed with clothes laid out at the end of the bed for himself was a surprise, but not an unwelcome one. Not in the least. The younger wolf was well aware that Hotch wasn’t much a fan of...doing things, and while someone else might have pressed for more details as to just where it was they would be going or what they’d be doing Cole was more excited for the surprise, even if it was nothing more than a walk. Easy to please -- perhaps too easy to please -- Cole certainly was, and while Hotch had never claimed to be kind he certainly was. Kind and sweet, even though he was certain the other man had no idea -- or wanted to deny -- that he was those things. He could have kissed him longer, peppered Hotch’s jaw with his lips until the other man sank back down into the bed with him but...later. There was later, and there would...almost certainly be a later. So long as Hotch was willing Cole found it too easy to get wrapped up in the other wolf, lost in a way that didn’t feel terrifying but pleasant and warm.
Later. He had to remind himself of that as he turned his gaze from the clothes at the foot of the bed back towards Hotch, fighting the desire to pull him closer for just a few more minutes. Luckily Hotch was on his feet before Cole could give into that temptation, how someone could be tempting by doing nothing more than just sitting on a bed was lost on Cole, but there Hotch was being absolutely enticing by doing nothing more than looking at him. “Out” was the darker haired man’s only response to his question, but Cole didn’t think to press more. A surprise would be fun, and so he simply beamed up at Hotch as he headed towards the door. ”Okydoky~” He chirped, his previous sleepiness long forgotten. The promise of food definitely outweighed his desire to sleep as well, though it didn’t make the idea of pulling the covers off of himself anymore enticing.
A few brief moments of cold would be worth it, he supposed, and after a few moments of quietly building up the willpower to pull the blankets away from himself he did just that, frowning some as he slipped out from underneath the covers to crawl towards the foot of the bed to see the assortment of clothes Hotch had laid out for him. Warm. They would be warm, so he figured they were going outside and truthfully he didn’t really think much about it. He just wanted to be dressed. Naked was still not a thing Cole felt truly comfortable in. Not like Hotch at least, and without the fire of intimacy it still felt alien and strange to him to be bare for longer than necessary. Normally he preferred to at least put some amount of clothing back on even after said intimacy, even if it was just a shirt. Sometimes it didn’t happen, sometimes he was too tired, but today Hotch had asked to sleep bare and...How could Cole say no? He couldn’t, and it had been so very easy to drift off to sleep with Hotch’s skin touching his own. It was getting easier and less...frightening to be naked around Hotch, but for whatever reason being naked and alone was still hard, and so Cole was quick to dress himself in the clothes the other man had picked out for him.
It was kind of amusing to think that Hotch, perhaps, thought he would underdress for their activity, but maybe it was part of the surprise. Admittedly if Hotch had simply told them they were going “out” Cole certainly wouldn’t have thought to wear any heavier sort of clothes, so it was probably good he had picked out the warmer sweater and pants. He neglected to put his hat on, already feeling warm, before plopping himself down onto the foot of the bed until he heard the door opening once again, and it was then that he perked up again, the smell of food already making his mouth water.
The sweetness of Cole's voice was a thing that affected the man, made him ache in certain ways that had him raising a hand to rub at the back of his neck. Made him remember the words Cole had told him not to long ago all over again. And all over again he pushed it aside because he just....couldn't deal with it. He couldn't. Thinking about it too much just made him want to throw himself into a giant human sized fucking blender because it just hurt too much knowing....what he'd have to be giving up. But it was for Cole's safety. Everything he did now was for Cole's safety. Ultimately anyway. He tried. He tried very hard among the other many things he tried so hard over when it came to Cole.
Outside the room though he slipped his hand into his pocket, touched the smooth enchanted metal of the key to their room, and then started on off toward the down stairs area. A traditional morning buffet they did not have at this place and so when he seated himself at the bar he waited for one of the staff to come over so he could place an order. Thankfully though, there was magic to this place, the staff gifted with it as well which made multi-tasking all the easier and it didn't take far too long for their food to be ready. They had even offered to bring it up...but Hotch had chosen to wait. Sometimes being in a room with just Cole, especially with how he was feeling could be...distracting. So he had waited.
Once their meal was ready he took the offered tray after paying and made his way back up to their room, by the time he balanced the tray in the palm of one hand his stomach was growling while he fished the key from his pocket and unlocked the door, watched the wards flicker in power before he opened the door, stepped on inside, and locked the door all over while repocketing the key. It pleased him to see Cole dressed in what he had laid out for him, pleased to see him so happy too and wordlessly he set the tray down. Eggs, fruit, waffles, some bacon and sausage he had gotten a bit of it all, unsure of what Cole would want exactly. He suppose he should have asked. Either way he took a plate for himself and seated himself down on the bed. "I hope this is good enough."
Now that he ate at semi-regular intervals, hunger wasn’t something Cole so easily ignored anymore. Sometimes he forgot to eat while he was at work, but whenever he was with Hotch or there was food in front of him, Cole was always happy to eat. It didn’t really matter what it was either, even with all the choices afforded to him now he wasn’t picky. Having lived on food literally found in dumpsters, Cole was absolutely thrilled to have anything that wasn’t secondhand to eat. As usual he hadn’t noticed how hungry he was until he could smell the food, and he was practically bouncing as Hotch sat the tray down on the bed, and he stilled himself to keep from knocking anything down, eagerly taking a plate for himself as Hotch seated himself.
He grinned at the man’s words, already shoving a forkful of fruit into his mouth. ”I think you overestimate how picky I am,” he said lightly. It was sweet that Hotch cared though, that he worried that he wouldn’t like the food given to him, but Cole wasn’t one for wasting things, and even if he hadn’t liked what Hotch had brought he would have eaten it anyway. Food was food as far as Cole was concerned. It was sweet though, and once he had swallowed his mouthful of fruit he leaned press a quick kiss to Hotch’s cheek before returning to his food. ”I eat so much now though, I’m gonna be mad at you if I get fat.” Gods Cole hoped he didn’t get fat. He had put on weight in the recent months, but he figured it was the healthy kind and not the…”stop eating so much you pig” kind. Either way, he tried not to think about it and his words were little more than light teasing.
Despite food being fairly regular now, Cole still had to fight the urge to simply inhale all his meals, and he was taking deliberate pauses as he ate, forced himself to chew more rather than just swallow mouthfuls at a time. Old habits break hard, but he was trying to not be gross while he ate. It was during one of those little deliberate pauses that he tilted his head to look over at Hotch, ”So, where are we going?” Not that he actually wanted an answer, he wanted it to be a surprise but it was something he could ask to avoid overeating.
He hardly looked fat. If anything he looked more healthy, which pleased Hotch. He had looked...thinner well you know. The first time he had ever seen Cole undressed. Not that he had found him unattractive, but it just....made him happier seeing Cole healthier. Looking healthier, and with their training it wasn't as if he was simply eating and not burning anything at all. Running around as a wolf took up a lot all on it's own even if it was just once a fucking month. Wolves tended to have high metabolisms as well. Not saying it was perfect for everyone, but generally it took...well in Hotch's opinion you had to be one sad mother fucker of a wolf if you let yourself go because that meant you were literally doing nothing but lifting your fucking thumb to change the channel on the TV via remote.
Either way, it did in fact show that it meant he cared. Anyone else he would have told them to get their own fuckin food if they wanted to be picky...fuck they would be so lucky--no. Let's just cut to the chase. If it were anyone but Cole they would have had to fend for their fucking selves in getting themselves breakfast. But it was in fact Cole and there for, even knowing Cole never complained about a meal, he still tried to pick things he had noticed the other man to enjoy perhaps a little more than others. It wasn't exactly Hotch's ideal breakfast, but whatever. He could live with waffles and fruit. He'd just have to make sure he got them something better for dinner at the very least. "You're not going to get fat." He muttered after swallowing a bite of waffle, tongue peeking to lick at his lips while Cole leaned forward to press a quick kiss to the stubble already forming at his face. "You stay active, your metabolism is also high."
As for the rest of Cole's eating habits, oh yes, he had noticed at first how quick Cole had been to scarf down a meal. It had at first, annoyed the fuck out of him honestly and there had been plenty of times he had probably snapped "it's already dead, it isn't going anywhere, chew and fucking swallow," at him before you know. He mellowed, or mellowed as much as Hotch could possible mellow with that eternal flame of frustration and anger of his. He started to feel bad about it seeing as you know, he had become rather aware why Cole probably ate as he had, and now a days if he caught him eating too fast he tried not to be so...crude about it, and rather just keep it short at reminding him it just wasn't going anywhere if only because he didn't want Cole to get sick from eating too fast.
"Out." He repeated, finishing off his fruit and instantly regretted not saving more to mix with his waffles, or to eat at the end of his meal. Ah well. He finished the rest of it soon enough and rose from the bed to set his plate on a desk in the room for the service staff to collect while they were gone. Really didn't even like that fact and he almost opted to have them not come at all due to that ever present paranoia of his, but the owner had pounded it in his head as much as she could that her people checked out and no one would fuck with their shit and with the amount of fucking well...sexual stains they had found in their room during their last stay wouldn't it be nice to have clean sheets ever day? He nearly decked her honestly. Nearly.
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