Series: A Universe of Meetings
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season 8
Tags: Angst, Hurt/Comfort,
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Spoilers: Up through Season 8
Summary: Spencer knew it was stupid but he really wanted to get to know this Aaron that he’d met on a discussion board. He’s waited a long while and was fairly certain he wasn’t a creep.
Notes: So NCIS agents make it over into this story. If you don’t know it, just think of them OCs.
It was another day, another dollar as the saying went. Spencer sighed as he dropped his and probably half of the unit’s paperwork on Morgan’s desk. When he was done with that he waved goodbye to Rossi and left. JJ, Garcia, Blake, and Seaver had all already left for the day. Seaver’s placement in the unit had just recently happened after Prentiss had left to take a job at Interpol. Blake’s appointment to the team was only a year old, having finally been allowed back.
Sighing again as he waited for the elevator, Spencer gripped his phone tight in his hand. He just needed to escape. He’d been worried about a case popping up all day long and now that it was quitting time, he wanted nothing more than to go on his date. Months of texts back and forth after months of first private messages on a forum and then emails until Spencer trusted his new friend with his phone number.
Spencer had resisted the urge of looking up more information on Aaron Hotchner. He had wanted to see him for the first time in person. They were meeting at a coffee shop not far from Quantico. A safe haven for a first meeting as it was going to be in a place filled with Marines and Agents. He was shocked when he saw Agent Gibbs from NCIS in there. He waved. They’d crossed paths a few times. Across the table from the older agent was Tony. Gibbs motioned at him and Tony turned, smiled, and waved. Spencer looked at his watch. He was early. He moved over towards the table with the NCIS agents. There was time to chat.
“Reid,” Gibbs said as way of greeting. Tony stood up and hugged him.
“Spencer. How are you doing? Shocked to see you in here so late.”
“Shocked to see you two in here.”
“Just wrapped a case. Gibbs is treating me to coffee.” Tony’s smile was infectious and Spencer felt himself smiling back.
“I’m here to meet a friend.” Spencer looked towards the door as it opened and a man with dark hair and a nice suit entered. He scanned the room before frowning. Gibbs though surprised him by standing up and moving towards the man. The man smiled at Gibbs and held his hand out for a handshake. “Who is that?”
“I’ll be damned. I can’t remember his name. He’s a lawyer from a case just after I joined NCIS. The only lawyer that Gibbs likes.”
Spencer perked up at lawyer. Aaron was a lawyer but what were the chances that the handsome man was Aaron? Gibbs and the man moved closer to them. Tony reached out to shake the man’s hand.
“DiNozzo, still hanging with this old man?” The man asked with a smile on his face. The way the smile changed his face, Spencer could tell he rarely smiled.
“Never going to leave, Hotch.” Tony slung an arm around Spencer’s shoulder and pulled him close.
Hotch. It could only be short for Hotchner. This was the man that he was meeting. This was Aaron. He wanted to leave. He wasn’t ready for this. He hadn’t been ready to face someone who looked like him. “Aaron Hotchner, this is my friend Spencer Reid. Spencer, this is Hotch.”
Aaron turned to look at him, a smile wide on his face. He reached out to shake Spencer’s hand and Spencer had started to give his hand over when Tony took the hand, patting the back of it. Of course, Tony would remember that Spencer didn’t like to shake hands with people he didn’t know very well. Aaron frowned. His eyes hurt. Spencer pulled Tony’s hand back in and ducked out from under his arm. He took Hotch’s hand and gave it a squeeze.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you in person, Aaron.” Spencer smiled. Aaron smiled back and it sent a charge throughout the entirety of Spencer’s body.
“You too, Spencer. I’m happy to put a face with the brain I’ve got to know.”
“Got to…You said you were meeting a friend.” Tony looked at him and Spencer ducked his head. Tony laughed.
“Let’s leave Hotch and Reid to their date, DiNozzo. We’ve got cowboy steaks calling our name. Have a wonderful night fellas.” Gibbs moved towards the door with Tony following behind until Gibbs stopped and turned. He looked at Spencer. “Happy birthday, Reid.”
Spencer’s mouth dropped open. He stared at the older man as he turned and walked out.
“It’s your birthday?” Aaron asked, drawing Spencer’s gaze back to him. Spencer nodded. “I’m surprised that your team is letting you escape without a party or a dinner. Unless they…”
Spencer didn’t know what he saw but something had to show on his face or in his eyes because Aaron stopped speaking and looked so sad. Spencer turned away, ashamed that the man he’d just met had seen so much.
“What happened?” Aaron reached up to touch Spencer’s face and he couldn’t take it. Spencer looked around, there wasn’t a corner he could go to that didn’t have people in it so he moved towards the door. He sucked in a lungful of air as he breached the doorway. He didn’t go far, just to one of the tables set up for outside consumption of drinks and food in nice weather. He could hear Aaron on his heels. “Spencer?”
“Sorry. I just needed air. This is not how I wanted this to go. I’m so sorry.” Spencer sat down hard in the chair, laying his messenger bag in his lap. He stared at his hands, trying to come up with the words he needed. Aaron took his hands in his own and crouched down to look in him the face, forcing Spencer’s gaze up.
“Did they forget?” Aaron asked.
Spencer bit his lip and stared at Aaron’s face. “Yes. For the second year in a row.”
“Well then we will just have to have a wonderful night on the town. You can go into work tomorrow tired and tell them you have a marvelous time out for your birthday and watch them scramble.”
Spencer smiled even though he would never do that. It wasn’t in his nature. “We only had plans for coffee.”
“But it’s your birthday, Spencer and birthdays should be celebrated. In our lines of work, we know that better than most. So let’s go find a nice restaurant.” Aaron stood up and held his hand out and Spencer let himself be pulled to his feet. Gibbs knew him and even though the man hated lawyers he liked Aaron. It was stupid but it was something that Spencer wanted. He’d been talking to this man for months and he’d told him more than he’d ever told anyone else ever. Looking into Aaron’s eyes, Spencer agreed.
Stepping back into the bullpen, Spencer stopped when he saw the team all gathered around his desk. He’d gone to lunch with Aaron. The night before had been perfect and Aaron had been wonderful. The chaste kiss at his door when Aaron had walked him up to his apartment had been the perfect ending of the night. He’d barely been able to stop smiling when he’d gotten to work that morning. It would have been the surest way for everyone to know that something was up.
Garcia was the first to see him. She squealed and ran at him, enveloping him into a hug. “Who is she?”
“She?” Spencer asked. He frowned.
“I think she means who is she or he. Pretty Boy, who got you flowers?” Morgan asked. The group at the desk parted and there was a bouquet of calla lilies. Spencer looked at them and started smiling. He moved to his desk and touched the main section of purple lilies. The rest of the bouquet was filled with six other colors. He let his mind fill with the meaning of them all.
“What do they mean?” JJ asked.
“The purple ones mean admiration and dignity. The red ones also show admiration but with this I’m thinking that he wants to show desire and strength. The pink represent love and romance as well as youth, innocence, and joy. The lavender ones generally convey feminine beauty but I think in this case he wants to mean refinement, grace, and elegance more than feminine things. The white signify purity and innocence. Yellow mean joy. Orange is confidence and a passion for life.”
“And who is this mystery man? How many dates have you been on?” Garcia asked as leaned over to smell the flowers.
Spencer didn’t answer. Instead he grabbed the card, surprised that the team hadn’t opened it. When the card had Happy Birthday with flowers and then a short message, Spencer knew exactly what Aaron had done. He’d talked him into lunch so the flowers could be delivered and he couldn’t hide them away.
“Birthday?” Blake asked. She looked at the rest of the team. The look of horror on JJ, Morgan, and Garcia’s faces told the same story while Rossi just looked upset at himself.
“Last night was our first date. We’ve been talking for months though. He knows two of the NCIS agents that we’ve worked with in the past.” Spencer wasn’t bringing up that it had been an Internet relationship before that.
“Gibbs and DiNozzo?” Morgan asked, looking a little more upset.
“Yes.” Spencer read the note fully. He smiled at Aaron’s promises for a better birthday the next year and that he can’t stop thinking about their date the night before.
“Dinner out. On me. Case be damned,” Rossi said.
“Hear, hear,” JJ chanted and the whole team started smiling. “I’m sorry, Spence. I can’t believe that we forgot, again.”
“Again?” Ashley asked.
“We missed his last year as well and it wasn’t case related. We were at home at the time.”
“It actually ended up being my best birthday ever so it’s fine.”
“No, it’s not Boy Wonder but we are happy that you are happy. So when are we going to meet your beau?”
“Actually, Rossi and Morgan already have. He’s tried two of our local cases. Aaron Hotchner.”
“The drill sergeant lawyer who had me going through my statement for three hours? You are dating him?” Morgan asked.
Spencer shrugged and grabbed his coffee mug to fill up. He moved away from the team with a smile on his face and pulled out his cell phone to text Aaron. He thanked him for the flowers but called him sneaky and told him that the only way that they were seeing each other that night was if Aaron came out with the team because there was a dinner in the honor of his birth.
An hour later Aaron texted back telling him that he would gladly join the team out for a meal. As long as it meant that he got to spend time with Spencer. The smile from that carried Spencer throughout the rest of the day as he was ribbed, lovingly by friendly agents for the flowers. He left them on his desk when he left so that at least for a few days, he’d have a reminder of just how good his life was.