Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season 10 (2014)
Category: First Time, Canon Character Death,
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid, First Time,
Spoilers: Up through Season 10
Summary: It was now five years later and Jack was pretty sure that the two smartest men he knew were also the dumbest.
Jack Hotchner knew he was intelligent. His mother hadn’t been stupid and his father was the second smartest man he knew. The smartest was Spencer. The first real memory Jack had of Spencer was in the days following the death of his mom. Aunt Jess had let the young man into the apartment and Jack had been shocked when she’d given him a hug. He also remembered the look on his dad’s face when he’d come out of the back to see him. It had been almost Jack’s bedtime so Jack had been tired.
“Reid, what are you doing here?” His dad had asked as soon as he’d seen him. The relief on his dad’s face when Spencer had held up a book had been one of the strongest memories he had of that time period. Jack had known that the team had gone on a case because they’d left the funeral early. His dad’s soft, relief filled “Thank you” had told Jack that Spencer was there to make things better.
In the months that followed, Spencer had become a staple at the Hotchner household. Aunt Jess had explained that Spencer had gone through something horrible a few years before and dad and mom had let him stay with them when he needed to. He’d also found out that both of his parents had taken turns reading to Spencer when he’d have trouble sleeping. Which was exactly what Spencer did for several months to his dad on bad nights. Jack joined them sometimes, cuddled into his dad’s side.
It was now five years later and Jack was pretty sure that the two smartest men he knew were also the dumbest.
When Beth had entered Jack and his dad’s life three years before, Jack had been happy at first but as Beth came around more, Spencer came less. Then not long after the trip to New York, Jack had overheard a conversation late one night between his dad and a visiting Beth. He’d known he shouldn’t have listened in but he had. He listened as Beth told his dad that she was uncomfortable with how much time he spent with Doctor Reid. It had taken Jack a second to link Doctor Reid and Spencer in his mind.
His dad hadn’t understood but he’d done what she had asked. His time with Jack though hadn’t been shortened by much. So far over the past year and a half, Spencer would pick Jack up for the normal things they’d done but his dad didn’t join them.
The distance between his dad and Beth grew and then she’d been offered a job in Hong Kong. Jack had been kind of happy, that meant more Spencer. It also meant that his dad would be happy again. He wondered if his dad would figure out what Jack, and even to a degree Beth, had.
The first case-free weekend, Spencer had shown up to take Jack to the zoo like his dad and he had planned. A new attraction had opened and Jack had been waiting to see it with Spencer. When his dad had opened the door and invited Spencer in, he’d been shocked. The young man had been even more shocked when his dad had come back out of the bedroom a few minutes later dressed in jeans and a polo, slipping his phone, keys, and wallet into pockets.
“Hotch, are you going with us?” Spencer asked, his face showed his complete shock.
His dad flashed one of his rare, big smiles and nodded. “Of course.”
“Oh.” Spencer’s face changed and Jack didn’t know what it meant. But his heart fell at that single word. Spencer didn’t want his dad to go. He watched as the smile on his dad’s face gave way to laughter. He was shocked. Why would his dad be laughing?
“Need a few to rework the daily plans?”
The shy smile that appeared on Spencer’s face was one that Jack had only seen when he was talking to his dad. The genius nodded and then it sunk in. Spencer didn’t want his dad not to go, he’s just had the day planned for two, not three. Neither Hotchner male spoke while Spencer thought about the change in plans.
His dad though moved around the house getting ready to leave for the day. Jack just watched Spencer think. He jumped slightly when his dad reappeared and handed Spencer a travel mug of coffee. The other man took it and drank without really looking.
“That used to worry us,” his dad said and Jack finally looked away from Spencer to look at him.
“Drinking things he’s handed when thinking. Drove Morgan nuts for his first two years on the team. Then on a case in Arizona a female cop who had a crush on him gave him a mug of coffee. Reid thanked her and she smiled and left. I was shocked when before any of us could even start towards him, he moved to the kitchen and dumped the contents and cleaned it out, then refilled it. Half an hour later, JJ came in and handed him a new cup. His eyes never left the board but he drank what she gave him, no words. The female cop came back a while later and swapped the cups again. He didn’t touch it until after JJ had cleaned it out. I watched this all unfold and just laughed.”
“I am aware enough not to drink strange things,” Spencer said with a pout on his face. Jack and his dad started laughing and Spencer stuck his tongue out at Jack. “Usually I can tell JJ and others apart by perfume. It’s easy.”
“I lost that bet.”
“Bet?” Spencer’s eyebrows tried to crawl up into his hairline.
“Dave had his money on perfume. I had it on some secret signal like the way she walked or something.”
“I’ll buy your breakfast to say sorry for losing the bet for you.” Spencer smiled and took another sip of the coffee, closing his eyes briefly before opening them again. “How does IHop sound?”
Over the course of the day together, Jack watched the two adults as much as he did the animals. By the time that they’d made it through about half of the zoo, it was like the year and a half had never happened. Spencer once again stood close to his dad and his dad would reach out and touch Spencer when he thought that no one was looking.
Now all Jack had to do was get the two idiots to see what was in front of them.
Jack wasn’t sure what had happened but something had. His dad hadn’t brought up Spencer coming over for a visit or a museum trip in a while. Not since the case that had called him from home late in the night and then his dad had come back from it sadder than Jack had seen him in a long time. All Jack knew was that someone named Gideon had been killed.
Hearing his dad on the phone after Jack’s bedtime intrigued the boy. He snuck from his room down the hall to stand just outside his dad’s office.
“I know you don’t want to go home, Reid but you can’t stay at the office all night again.” There was a pause. “Yes, I called security and if you aren’t packed up and on your way out in ten minutes, they will escort you out.” Another pause and his dad sighed. “Then come here. Jack’s in bed. We can talk or not. Whatever you want.” Another sigh, this one sounded like his dad was trying to hold back tears. “Then being here will help you, just like last time. Jack’s here. You said last time you would never with Jack in the house. I trust you, Reid.” There was silence for nearly a minute before his dad spoke again. “Okay. See you soon.”
The click of the phone being set down in it’s cradle a little harder than normal told Jack that his dad was upset. He took that as his cue to leave. He barely made it under the covers when he heard his door open. He tried to breathe normally and was rewarded with the soft click of his door closing.
Jack rolled over and there was his dad, standing a few feet from the bed. Jack sat up, giving up the pretense of sleeping. He rubbed at his eyes when his dad turned on the overhead light. His dad didn’t look upset. Not at him. Upset in general yes.
“Thought I heard the sound of feet in the hall. Spencer is on his way.”
“I know. Dad what happened? He’s not been over much since…” Jack didn’t want to say the name.
“Gideon. His name was Jason Gideon and he used to work with Spencer and I. He left not long after you were born and it was really hard on Spencer. Someone who he tried to catch years before found him and killed him. We got him but it’s been hard on Spencer.” His dad sat down beside him on the bed. “He’s having trouble sleeping.”
“Then why haven’t we gone to read to him?” Jack asked.
“He helped you with mom dying by reading to you. Aunt Jess told me that you and mom did it for him when I was a baby. He did it for you five years ago. Why aren’t you doing it for him now?”
Jack watched as his dad just stared at him. Several minutes later, his dad shifted his eyes away and he smiled.
“How about we get set up with hot chocolate in the living room. We can throw down blankets and pillows and sort of camp out in there. How does that sound?” His dad’s smile got even brighter then. “And I can read to him and you.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“Good. Go get the bedding from the hall closet and all the pillows from all three bedrooms. I think we can be all set up by the time that Spencer gets here.”
Jack nodded and moved off the bed to run to the hall closet to get the blankets. It took three trips to get all that he thought that they needed. The pillows took four trips. He heard his dad in the kitchen working while he worked on getting the living room just right. The knock on the door surprised Jack. He looked at the clock on the wall. Spencer had gotten there pretty quickly. He moved to the door and looked out the glass on the side to see Spencer standing there.
“Dad, it’s Spencer!”
“Go ahead and open the door buddy!” His dad called back from the kitchen. Jack unlocked the deadbolt and then the main lock before opening the door.
“Jack, shouldn’t you be in bed?” Spencer looked shocked to see him awake.
“We are going to have a sleepover in the living room!” Jack grabbed Spencer’s hand and pulled him into the house before shutting and locking the door. He showed Spencer how he had shoved everything around in the living room. “Dad’s going to read to us.”
“Yep. We are going to camp in the living room and relax. I just bought a copy of The Once and Future King for Jack. I thought that maybe we could all settle down with our hot chocolate and I’d read.”
Jack dictated where Spencer laid down on the bedding. He made sure that he was between him and his dad. Spencer had been anxious for the first chapter of the story but when Jack finished his hot chocolate and settled in with his head on the young man’s shoulder, Spencer relaxed and his breathing evened out. Only then did Jack allow himself to go to sleep.
When Jack woke up the next morning, he realized he was the first awake. He was curled into Spencer’s back who had turned in the night and was now sleeping on his side, facing his dad. Jack pushed up to a sitting position and gasped when he saw that Spencer was wrapped around his dad’s side. One of his dad’s arms was wrapped around Spencer’s upper back and held him close. Spencer’s leg was thrown across both of his dad’s. The arm that the young man wasn’t laying on was on his dad’s chest over his heart.
Jack smiled down at them and saw that his dad’s eyes were open and looking at him. His dad placed a finger at his mouth, asking him to be quiet. Spencer shifted slightly while sleeping and rubbed his face on his dad’s shirt covered shoulder. His hair fell over his face and Jack reached out to tuck it behind his ear.
“Can we keep him forever, Dad?” Jack asked, his voice super low. He hoped he didn’t wake Spencer up.
“Jack?” His dad asked, a frown on his face.
“He’s happier when he’s here with us. You are happier when he’s here. Beth was jealous even though you were in a relationship with her and not him. I want you happy, Dad. Spencer makes you happy and you make Spencer happy.”
“Beth was jealous? Of Spencer?” The look of confusion on his dad’s face almost made him laugh. He might have been one of the best profilers in the world but he couldn’t see what was in front of him.
“Why do you think she asked you to not have Spencer come over as much anymore?”
“She thought that Spencer being around so much was stopping you from getting to know and like her.”
“Is that what she said?” Jack asked. It was a good lie.
“Then she lied because she was jealous. She always got the same look on her face when Spencer was brought up and it was the same look that Mrs. Jenkins down the road gets when she sees her husband flirt with the mail lady.”
The shocked looked was back on his dad’s face and both of them jumped when a new voice joined the conversation.
“I will promise to stay forever if you two would just be quiet or you promise I will have coffee soon.” Spencer didn’t move but Jack could see his eyes were open. Jack watched in wonder as his dad leaned down and kissed Spencer’s forehead.
“How about we go out to eat? IHop sounds good to me.”
“As long as there is coffee, I don’t care.” Spencer finally started to move, sitting up and stretching his back out. As he shifted to his knees to get up he kissed Jack’s dad and Jack tried not to scream in happiness. Jack kept his mouth shut as Spencer left the room, grabbing a bag from behind the couch that he hadn’t brought in with him the night before.
“He woke up in the middle of the night and went out to grab his go bag. He woke me up resetting the alarm. He settled back down in between us and we talked.”
Jack could see the blush creeping up on his dad’s face. It was rare. He jumped over and hugged his dad. He was happy when the hug was returned full force.
“Thank you, Jack. If you hadn’t suggested reading to him, I don’t think I would be here.”
“I knew that you and Spencer would see it.”
When they left the house half an hour later Jack was overjoyed when he watched as his dad and Spencer held hands the entire way to the restaurant. His dad was going to be happy now and so was Spencer. Jack didn’t let anything ruin his mood the rest of the day.