The message was waiting on his answering machine when he got home. Spencer saw the one flashing over and over again. He set down his bag and pressed the play button.
“Spencer, it’s Haley. I was wondering if you wanted to meet up sometime and talk. Please call me back.”
Spencer smiled as he thought about it. He liked the last time that he and Haley had talked, even if she had pushed his boundaries a little on dealing with Jack. He’d never been comfortable around children. This last case had been hard on Hotch but not in a way that the older man needed him. No, he needed a nice quiet time at home with his wife and son. Picking up his house phone, he called Hotch’s house. He knew that Hotch wasn’t going to be there. He was visiting Abby’s son.
“Hotchner Residence,” Haley answered.
“Haley, it’s Spencer.”
“Oh! Spencer. How are you?”
“Tired but okay. A good night’s sleep will set me to rights. When did you want to meet up?”
“Tonight works for me. I’ll bring dinner with me. I’ll set up a basket with picnic foods. Anything in particular that you don’t like?”
“You don’t have to do that. I can grab something on the way to meet you.”
“It’s no trouble. I was going to take Jack to the park and have a picnic with him anyway. Packing up enough for you is no big issue. There is a park two blocks from the house.”
“I know of it.” Spencer brought up the mental map of the area around Hotch’s house. He debated taking the subway but he was in the mood to drive his car. “I can be there in a half an hour.”
“That sounds good. We’ll be by the swings. Jack likes to watch the kids swing.”
“Half an hour.” Spencer hung up his phone and looked around his apartment. He smiled as he took in the neatness of it. He’d been keeping it cleaner since coming off the Dilaudid. Not that it hadn’t been clean before but while he’d been on Dilaudid he’d let the place go to shit. Or at least his version of shit. He was happy with his apartment. He knew what the rest of the team said about him. He’d proved to Hotch that he wasn’t a germaphobe. He’d heard Morgan mention that once but it was that he didn’t like strange people touching him.
Growing up, Spencer had really only been around his parents and other adults who didn’t touch him. Other kids didn’t like him so the touches that most children were used to didn’t happen. It was why he didn’t like to shake hands but he would if someone extended theirs first. He knew the social customs. He just usually didn’t care for them.
Grabbing his messenger bag from where he’d set it down as he’d entered, he grabbed his car keys from the bag as he shut and locked his door. The drive was quick and easy. He parked at the closest spot to the swings that he could find and just watched.
Haley was sitting on a blanket with Jack in her arms. Spencer watched her. He knew that she and Hotch were having problems at home but he felt that maybe he could help with that. Hotch was so in love with Haley. Spencer had seen it the first time he’d met her. The look of utter love on his face.
Leaving his bag in the car, Spencer stepped out. He had grabbed his sunglasses from the visor so that he wasn’t blinded. He had been thankful he hadn’t taken out his contacts. He knew the second that Haley saw him. She smiled at him and waved. She looked so happy to see him. That still bothered him.
“Spencer, I forgot to ask. Is lemonade okay?” Haley motioned at her glass of the drink and then at the pitcher she had in the middle of the blanket. Spencer nodded. Was he supposed to sit across from her? or beside her? There was room enough for him in either spot. Thankfully, she patted the spot beside her and Spencer sat down. It put him in line of sight of the swings as well as the road that led into that area of the park. Was that something that Hotch did? Needed to see entrances and exits?
“Lemonade is fine. I drink pretty much anything.”
“Not just coffee?” Haley teased and Spencer smiled ducking his head.
“No. I do drink a lot of coffee. More than the average person does in a day. My mom says that’s why I am so skinny.”
“How are you doing?” Haley handed over Jack with barely a glance at him. Spencer took a hold of the the baby more for fear of her dropping him than anything else. Jack cooed at him as he settled the boy just like his mother had been holding him. Jack clapped his hands together and giggled.
“Hotch said he told you that I was having trouble. What did he tell you?” Spencer kept his focus on Jack. That was better. Easier.
“That you were going through a hard time after that case in Georgia. I didn’t ask too much as I could see that asking about it upset Aaron. What happened?”
“I was taken, held, and beaten by an UnSub. The UnSub recorded and streamed the video to the team who had to watch. I was able to give enough clues to the team for them to find me. The UnSub made me pick someone to die. I did and it saved someone else. After that he made me pick someone on the team to die. I had to give a reason why I chose them and I chose Hotch. I gave a false reason but it’s what led them to where I was. When Hotch and the team found me the UnSub had me digging my own grave. I ended up killing him to save myself.”
“Oh. That. I’m sorry.” Haley frowned at him but it was a sad frown. “He didn’t go into a lot of detail. He said he wouldn’t betray your trust like that so thank you for telling me.”
Silence filled the air as Spencer didn’t know what to say. He turned Jack around to face him and smiled at the little boy. With a hand on his back, Spencer held his own hand out in front of Jack as the little boy grabbed at his fingers.
“He’s probably getting hungry. I’ve prepared a bottle. Did you want to feed him?” Haley asked. She held out the bottle and Spencer took it. He was nervous, just like the first time but he understood what she was doing. She felt sorry for him and wanted him used to children. He didn’t understand why she cared so much. He didn’t plan to have children. Of course, he knew that could change if he found a woman that he loved.
Still he settled Jack the way that Haley had settled him before and started to feed him. He knew that Jack’s face would settle more as he grew up but it was easy to tell that Jack was Hotch’s son.
“The UnSub suffered from DID. Dissociative Identity Disorder. There was Tobias and his father Charles and the Archangel Raphael. Tobias escaped mentally from his father when he was younger by doing drugs. He injected me with Dilaudid to help me.” Spencer stopped there. He wasn’t going to say a thing about Hotch helping him. “It made me hallucinate the day my father left and some bits after. That’s what I’ve been having trouble dealing with. Hotch helped a lot.”
“Spencer, I am going to ask a question and I am only going to do it once. I only ask because I am worried about you. Aaron tells me little but I can read between the lines. I can see that you are doing better. Do you want to stop what you and Aaron are doing? Was it making it worse? Is it making it worse?”
“No. It’s not making it worse. I don’t know if it’s helping but it’s not making it worse. Hotch hasn’t…not since Georgia.”
Haley smiled at him. “Aaron tells me every time.”
Spencer wondered exactly what Hotch told her. The bag that he still hadn’t looked through was in his closet. Did she know what was in there? Did Hotch just say he’d fucked him? Spencer wanted to ask but he wouldn’t. Maybe the next time Hotch came over, if he came over again, he’d ask him.
Jack greedily sucked his bottle and Haley smiled down at him, brushing her finger down his cheek. Spencer kept his gaze on the boy in his arms. He was afraid that if he looked away something would happen to him. The ringing of a phone drew Spencer’s gaze drifted to Haley for a few seconds. Her face lit up and she looked so happy. It had to be Hotch.
“Excuse me,” Haley said as she stood up and moved a slight distance away. Spencer turned his gaze back to Jack. She greeted the person on the other end of the phone with the name Honey. But the next words out of her mouth shocked Spencer. “No, he’s still out of town. Case related but not a case. He’s supposed to be home in the afternoon tomorrow.”
Spencer turned away from her more and tried to act like he couldn’t hear her. He didn’t want her to think that he was listening in even if he was.
“No. Tonight will be fine. Jessica will take Jack.” A pause and then Haley laughed. The tone of the laugh was something Spencer had only ever heard from Hotch, when they were in foreplay. “I can’t wait. Sounds like a lot of fun. All night? Sure.”
Spencer wanted to believe that the call was nothing more than a friend hanging out with a friend but he knew it wasn’t. Jack was kicking; it drew his attention from her to him and that’s when he noticed the bottle was empty.
Haley dropped back beside him with cell phone in hand. Spencer didn’t know what to say so he said nothing. She started setting out the food and filled a plate with a sandwich and chips. Spencer started to eat the chips.
“Have you talked to your mom lately?” Haley shifted so that the sun wasn’t in her eyes and she faced him more.
“Yes. Last week. She called me while we were on a case but it was lunch time so Hotch let me take the call.”
“They know?” Haley asked. Spencer nodded. “How?”
“Do you remember the case where the courier brought a file to your house?”
“Yes.” Haley sounded a little frightened.
Spencer looked back at Jack. “The UnSub had been in Bennington with my mom. During the case it became apparent that mom could be in danger. I had her brought here. I needed to talk to her and I was scared that the UnSub was going to come for her.”
“What did the team say when they found out?”
“Nothing really. Hotch asks how she’s going from time to time but no one else asks a thing.”
“Are they afraid it’ll upset you?”
Spence shrugged. “Or they might just be afraid. I don’t want to make them uncomfortable.”
“Even Gideon doesn’t ask about her? Nothing? Not even while you two are playing chess?”
“No. I kind of like it but it seems to be an elephant in the room whenever schizophrenia is brought up on a case.”
Spencer hadn’t realized he’d eaten all of his food as he and Haley had been talking. Jack started to fuss and Spencer tried to calm him down but the little guy was having none of it. Haley held out her hands so Spencer gladly gave over the now crying boy.
“He’s tired. We probably better head home. Jessica, my sister, is coming over. Thank you Spencer for meeting me. I know it’s been awhile. I meant to call you before now but…”
“If I’m home, Hotch is home and you want to spend time with him. I understand. You don’t have to apologize.” Spencer didn’t know why she was so concerned with talking with him. Maybe it was something that she and Jake had done.
“But I know that our arrangements give you pause and meeting with me calms you down. I’ll try and at least call you on occasion.”
“Okay.” Spencer helped her pack up the rest of the food and then escorted her to her car. Haley kissed his cheek, making him blush.
“I see what Aaron sees in you. You are very sweet and one day you are going to make a great guy or gal very happy.”
Spencer felt his cheeks heating up and he looked away. Haley laughed, patting his very hot cheek before dropping into the driver’s seat of the car. He shut the car door and watched her drive away. He needed to think and he did that best over chess but he wasn’t going to go to Gideon. Looking around, Spencer found what he was looking for: the chess area. There were a few people playing. A young Asian boy was playing against himself. Spencer watched him. It took ten minutes for the game to end.
“Want an opponent?” Spencer asked as he stepped up to the board. The kid looked up at him and smiled.
Spencer lost himself in playing while his mind thought about his conundrum. It wasn’t until it got dark out that he noticed the passage of time. The kid said his goodbyes and Spencer told him he’d stop by from time to time to play.
By the time Spencer got home his decision was made. He didn’t know if Hotch knew Haley had a lover but unless Hotch said something to him, he’d keep quiet. It was better for himself in the long run.