Title: Leaving Home, Finding Home
Series: Secret Agent Genius
Fandom: Criminal Minds, James Bond (Craig Films)
Year: Season 8 of CM, Post Skyfall
Pairings: past Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid, Pre James Bond/Q/Spencer Reid, Aaron Hotchner/Beth Clemmons,
Characters: Spencer Reid, Aaron Hotchner, JJ Jareau, Emily Prentiss, David Rossi, Derek Morgan, Penelope Garcia, Alex Blake, Beth Clemmons, Jack Hotchner, James Bond, Q,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 9 of CM and Post Skyfall but Pre Spectre James Bond
Summary: Spencer had enough with the team. He knew that he needed a break and Emily wanting to go to Interpol was the perfect opportunity. While Aaron has to deal with the fallout of him being the cause of Spencer leaving.
Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence, Sanctioned Kills,
Spencer tried it for a year. He really had. He tried to be what Aaron needed but in the end, he couldn’t be that. He couldn’t be the secret from the team, from Jack. He looked at the happy couple as they danced. He couldn’t fault Aaron for finding what he wanted. He just hoped that Hotch allowed him to have happiness as well.
Pulling Emily into his arms Spencer laid his cheek against hers. “So have room for a genius on your Interpol team?”
“What?” Emily pulled back and looked at him. He didn’t think that he’d ever seen that much shock on her face.
“I know you, Emily and I think it’s time I spread my wings a little.” Spencer tried to keep his face neutral.
“But this team is your family.” Emily’s eyes were raking over his face. She was trying to find exactly what was wrong.
Spencer looked at Aaron. It had been his family. He needed space. “I think it’s time I left the nest.” He was sure that his face was full of emotions. With her he could let them With her he could always let his guard down.
“Oh, Spencer. What’s wrong? I’ve never seen you looking so sad. Is it space you need, away from someone?” Emily pulled him back in and they were cheek to cheek. Spencer closed his eyes and sighed, letting out all the frustration.
“I had a lover, Emily.”
“Spencer…Why didn’t you…”
“He wanted to keep it a secret. I understood but after a while…” Spencer trailed off as JJ stepped up to take the place of Emily. “We’ll talk later. Me and you and wine?”
Spencer danced through the night with anyone who wanted to dance. Even Morgan at one point. That had got everyone laughing. Aaron stayed far away from him and he kept the distance his former lover seemed to want. When JJ moved over to dance with Aaron, Spencer started off the dance floor until Beth touched his arm and offered. He danced with her, never meeting Aaron’s eyes but also never really saying anything to Beth other than her asking about him. He answered and it was the third question that Spencer finally settled and enjoyed the dance with her.
When the night ended, he went home with Emily. The talking didn’t start until halfway through the first bottle of wine.
“So you had a lover? Not a boyfriend or a partner but a lover?” Emily would of course narrow in on the word he used. She knew better than most how economical he could be with his words.
“Friends with benefits just seems so juvenile and well fuck buddies is so coarse. I wasn’t allowed to talk to you guys about it. He wanted to keep it a secret even from his child, Emily. At first I could understand it but at the sixth month mark I started to get antsy and then on our one year anniversary I tried to talk to him and he said no to me meeting his child. I told him that was his choice and mine was to get out of the relationship. It’s why I took the sabbatical well that and your death. I just couldn’t handle it all. It’s been a year and I can’t handle it anymore.”
Emily pulled him into a hug and he went willingly. He’d cried himself to sleep more than once over the loss of Aaron. Even before they’d officially broken up. Aaron had taught him what love really was. He’d given himself heart, body, and soul to the man and that man had destroyed it all.
“I bought Dilaudid but I never took it. I brought it home and I sat it on my kitchen table and I just stared at it. I had the needle ready to draw in the drug but I couldn’t let him take my job away from me too. I couldn’t let him take my sobriety away.”
“But why leave the team, Spencer? Why the country?” Emily looked at him so confused.
“Do you know what it’s like to go to functions with the love of your life. A man you love almost more than your own life and not be able to be his partner? To go to a cookout and be around your lover’s son as a really great uncle and know that it’s a part of your lover’s life you are denied access to?” Spencer drained his glass of wine and turned to look at her fully. “I do and it fucking sucks. Slipping in after bedtime and keeping quiet and then slipping out again just after sex or the next morning at an ungodly hour. I know that I agreed to it and it was my fault for thinking that I could change it. But Emily I just couldn’t take it anymore when we were woken up with his son having a nightmare and I had to hide in the closet, then dress quickly and rush out while he was in the other room consoling him.”
“I thought Jack wasn’t having nightmares anymore,” Emily said and Spencer just laughed. Emily wasn’t an idiot and he wasn’t going to treat her like it.
“I guess that night Jack saw something on the news that reminded him of that day at the house. I don’t know as Hotch wouldn’t talk to me about it and I couldn’t take it. I ended it that next day. I told him I wasn’t going to be his dirty little secret anymore.”
“I’ll talk with Clyde in the morning. I am sure we can find a place for you. I told Hotch I’d go in and talk with him in the morning. Given what’s going on. Maybe you should as well.”
“I already sent in my resignation to Strauss. I’m going to go to the office and clean out my stuff in a few hours long before anyone even steps foot inside. I need to get away because if not, I’m going to destroy myself and Aaron just isn’t worth that.”
“You know, Erin joked once to me that it was going to be the five of you until the end of time. Morgan, Garcia, JJ, Reid, and you. I guess we figured out what it takes to roust the good Doctor Spencer Reid out of the BAU.”
Aaron looked up at Dave, confusion on his face. He really didn’t understand exactly what he was talking about.
“Erin’s upset at losing a star like Reid. I guess she liked attaching such a smart man to the unit. She tried to bribe him to stay but he said that he needed this. She said that he needed space from everything to get a grip on his life again.”
“What are you talking about?” Aaron was seriously confused. Spencer was still there. He hadn’t left. Dave looked at him in utter shock.
“Aaron, Reid resigned from the BAU and the FBI. He’s going with Prentiss to Interpol. Paperwork has been filed. He’s no longer employed by the Bureau.”
“What?” Aaron yelled as he stood up. That drew the attention of Garcia, JJ, and Morgan. The three started to move up to them. He heard Dave telling the team what Strauss had told him but all he could hear was the blood in his ears. He knew this was because of him. He started to looking through the files on his desk. He found the file from Strauss. The papers had been sent in before the wedding. While they had all been working on getting JJ and Will’s wedding planned, Spencer had been running from them.
Aaron listened as Morgan and Garcia regaled Dave and JJ about their visit to Prentiss and Spencer in England. The two agents had been gone from the team for two months. He let the words about Prentiss’s nice flat wash over him. He was waiting for word about Spencer. The team had all piled in the round table room to talk about their missing teammates. Blake and Callahan were still out at their desks, working on paper work. There was still twenty minutes before the actual briefing started.
“And where is Spence living?” JJ asked.
“Don’t know. We met up with him at cafés and the like,” Garcia answered.
“He didn’t take you back to his at all? What about his job? His last letter to Henry said that he’d finally got settled in.” JJ looked confused.
“Don’t know. I know that he uses his profiling skills. And whatever he is doing, he’s a field agent.”
“What?” Garcia asked, looking at Morgan in shock.
That told Aaron that whatever it was, Spencer hadn’t told them. It was something that Morgan had seen but chose to not bring up.
“No matter where we went, he had a backup piece on his ankle. It was a Walther PPK, I got a glimpse of it once. From what I know it’s a pretty popular piece for all of law enforcement in Britain. The one thing that shocked me the most was the day that we called to meet him for lunch.” Morgan spared a glance at Garcia who just looked like he’d burst her bubble. He reached out and rubbed the back of her hand. “Shoulder holster with his revolver in it.”
“So agent of some kind,” Dave said with a glance out of the corner of his eye. “That’s not shocking.”
“No. He just didn’t bring it up and whenever asked a direct question, he lied to my face,” Morgan said. He had a sour look on his face. “And he knew that I knew he was lying but knew I wouldn’t draw attention to it.”
“Probably why he met you in public. Reid knows us all well and knew that if he was alone, we’d interrogate him. Blake and Callahan are on their way up.” Aaron turned from friend to boss in seconds. He didn’t like that it seemed that Spencer had gotten himself into a job that was a little more dangerous than the one he’d been in here. There had never been a thought of Spencer wearing a backup when he worked in the BAU.
When the briefing was done and everyone scrambled to get their things together, Aaron was shocked to see Beth standing outside his office with Anderson beside her. When he stepped out of the room, Anderson smiled at him and started moving away.
As Aaron got closer, he saw that she was upset about something. She was supposed to have gone out to breakfast with Jessica and Jack.
“It looks like you have a case but I wanted to talk about something that Jack brought up at breakfast.”
Waving a hand, Aaron motioned for her to enter his office. He moved to the couch to sit and was shocked when she shut the door.
“What’s wrong with Jack?”
“He’s confused about something and wanted mine and Jessica’s opinion on it. He said he’d been worrying about it for several months. Since JJ and Will’s wedding.”
“Okay.” Aaron tried to think over the past two months, to see if he could find something that showed him that his son was upset about something.
“Jack wanted to know why you took me out on dates and brought me to the wedding. I was shocked. I didn’t understand what he wanted to know. I answered that we were dating and that’s what people who were dating did. That just seemed to confuse him more. His next question shocked the hell out of Jessica more than it did me. He wanted to know what it meant when his dad brought home someone after he’d gone to sleep and the person was always gone the next morning before he woke up.” Beth’s eyes were on him and he knew that she was waiting for a reaction.
Aaron leaned back on the couch. He hadn’t thought that Jack had ever seen Spencer. He’d been so careful. He tried to think and he couldn’t figure out a time where Jack would have seen him outside that last night and Aaron had thrown the covers over him before Jack had made it inside the door.
Beth took his silence as permission to go on. “He said that the person stopped coming around just before you went overseas. Jessica was rather shocked and she just stared. Jack asked why I was allowed to go out and be with him when the other guy wasn’t. I was rather shocked when Jack said guy but Jessica. Her reaction wasn’t that big of shock. I think she knew who it was then but Jack just tucked his legs up and laid his head on them. He said, ‘I tried a few times to wait up but those nights he never came or I fell asleep before he got there. Then one night I had a nightmare. I’d watched something I shouldn’t have and Dad threw the covers over him before I got fully in the room. Dad took me back to bed and I heard him move down the hallway and slip out the door. But I’d seen his bag before Dad carried me out of the room.’ Jessica asked what bag. Do you know the answer he gave, Aaron?”
There was no use in lying. “Uncle Spencer’s bag.”
“Yes. He went on to tell Jessica and I that he wasn’t sure why Spencer didn’t want to play with him at home considering that he played with both him and Henry when the team got together for things. We had no answer for him. Do you have an answer for him?”
Aaron shook his head. He wanted to stay silent. If he opened his mouth, it was going to make it a lot worse. He didn’t have an answer for her.
“I thought not. You are not the man that I thought you were. I don’t care that you were sleeping with a subordinate. Jessica told me that you’d always been close to him and that she wasn’t shocked that you’d started something with the young man. But I’m thoroughly disgusted that you hid him from Jack and Jessica. Mid-life crisis? Dirty secret? I’m glad he got himself away from the situation. You are not the man that I thought you were. You need to figure out what you want out of your life before you try and pull someone else into it.” Beth stood up from the chair she’d taken and then she was gone. Aaron was pretty sure that she was gone forever.
Aaron spent every day for over a year trying not to think about Spencer. Beth was gone, never returning his calls. He’d talked to Jack telling him that he’d made a big mistake. Explaining his irrational fears of why he kept Spencer a secret. Jack had taken a while to get over it and he missed Beth but the woman visited from New York and talked to Jack often. At Jessica’s. If Jack wanted to continue to meet with her and be friendly, Aaron wasn’t going to stop it. She would be a good role model for him.
The jet was silent as the team all thought about the place they were heading to and not the case that should be at the forefront of their minds. Las Vegas, Nevada. Hometown of Doctor Spencer Reid. All of them were missing the man who was no longer there. Blake was downtrodden as well. Aaron had only found out after she’d been on the team a few months that Spencer used to guest lecture in her class.
The shifting of a body was the only indication that someone was moving around. Aaron watched as Callahan moved from the front to the back, taking a seat across from Dave.
“Everyone is acting weird.”
Dave laughed. “The man you replaced on the team. Doctor Reid is from Las Vegas. Born and raised. It’s making us a little maudlin is all. Normally by this point in the flight we would be regaled with stories of gambling or weird little facts that only Reid knew.”
“I remember him from a joint case once.”
“We’ll be fine by the time we land, I hope.”
“Usually rumors are abound about why an agent leaves the team, especially the BAU. I’ve never heard a thing about Doctor Reid.”
“We don’t know why. Oh, we have our theories. If he’d have gone home, it wouldn’t be hard to figure it was to be close to his mom again but he went to London. Morgan, JJ, and Garcia think that he followed Prentiss because he was in love with her.”
Dave laughed. It wasn’t a nice laugh. It spoke of pain. Aaron swallowed hard. “I think that he wanted to escape something that would have broken him and following Prentiss to have something familiar was the lesser of two evils.”
“He sends gifts and letters so he can’t be mad at you guys.”
“I know. The kid kept his private life just that. Private.”
Aaron turned his head to look out the window and blocked out the sound of talking. He couldn’t be certain but he thought that Dave knew. He looked up and saw that Blake was staring at him. He met her gaze and waited. Outside of Jack he hadn’t had a staring contest that didn’t involve an UnSub in years. The woman’s gaze didn’t waver. The contest only ended when the captain announced for them to fasten seatbelts. It was ingrained in him to do it and he ended up looking away first. When he looked back up at Blake, she was looking at her book again with her belt fastened. He felt like he’d lost something a lot more important than a staring contest.
The case progressed as normal and in the end, Rossi had tried to talk down the UnSub but it had ended horribly. Aaron was packing up when his phone started to ring. He looked at the ID it was Cruz.
“Aaron. I got your preliminary report. Look, it’s been a few rough ones after the other. Why don’t you and the team take a few days down in Vegas? Let the lights and action distract you all. Take in a show. Lose some money. Clear heads.”
“Mateo, I can’t just drop everything. Jessica is wonderful…”
“And I’ve already talked to her between her and Garcia, Jack will be covered. Your team needs a break and a little bit of bonding. Garcia waved off coming out wanting some down time here instead.”
That was how the team found themselves wandering around Vegas at two in the morning all of them with a little bit of alcohol in their system. Enough to loosen them up but not enough to compromise their judgement. Morgan was talking about how he’d already pulled out all the money he was going to spend on gambling and wasn’t going to take anymore out. The darkness seemed to breed people hiding so Aaron had stopped paying attention to the couples who hid in the darkness. Privacy was lacking and if they wanted the risk of doing things outdoors, what was he to say anything.
“That was a very interesting game. Remind me when we get back home to warn the others to never play poker with you for more than pocket change,” a male voice said from behind them. The accent was British. The man laughed and Aaron could hear another man laughing as well. There was something familiar about it but there was something that was strange as well. It had to have been the last couple they passed.
“Now that’s a voice I wouldn’t mind waking up to,” Callahan said with a giggle. The other women laughed and agreed. Aaron just smiled. The woman looked at JJ. “Of course, your Will has a wonderful accent.”
“It’s not my fault you all think that I can’t play poker. I was born and raised here, Robert. And what you call pocket change and I what I call it are two very different things.” That was a voice that Aaron had thought he’d never hear again. He turned around to see two men huddled against the side of a building, Aaron had seen them when walking past but hadn’t paid them any mind. The rest of the team had stopped as well. All were turning to look at the men. He could see Spencer laughing so hard and he was leaning on this Robert.
“Now, Spencer, I thought you didn’t like stereotypes.” Robert leaned in and Aaron got to watch as the two shared a kiss that spoke of old intimacy more than a new thing. It was like a knife to the heart to see him seemingly happy with someone else.
“Reid?” Morgan called out just loud enough for the couple to hear him. Spencer turned and while his eyes widened in shock, the other man Robert’s did not. Aaron could tell that the man wasn’t startled easy. There was something very deadly about this man.
“Morgan. Guys. Hi.” Spencer’s eyes moved across the team. He wasn’t shocked to see Blake there and his eyes just glanced over Callahan. Robert pulled back enough to where Spencer slipped from between him and the building and stayed right at the genius’s back as the couple walked towards them. There was no other word for them except couple. It made Aaron’s stomach clench. “Robert Harrison, this is my former team at the BAU. Agents Aaron Hotchner, David Rossi, JJ Jareau, and Derek Morgan. Kate Callahan is the lovely lady who replaced me and Alex Blake is the wonder who replaced Emily.”
“Lovely to meet you all.” Robert extended a hand and shook with each male member of the team and kissed the back of the hands of the women. He kept a hold of JJ’s hand though after kissing it. He clasped his other hand around it and smiled. “You are the mother of Spencer’s Henry. Spencer has shown me many a picture of his Godson.”
As soon as Robert let go of her hand, JJ went right for Spencer and pulled him into a hug. That broke the ice and Morgan and Blake were right there on her heels for their own greeting. Callahan hung back with Aaron and Dave only stepped up when JJ finally pulled back. Spencer though didn’t let her go far. Morgan was pulled into a hug that for Spencer was a little out of place. The hug with Blake was what he would have expected from Spencer with Morgan. Dave shook his hand.
“Why didn’t you tell us you were coming home for a visit?” JJ asked.
“Because Robert and I are here on vacation. A few days home to show him where I grew up and to introduce him to mom.” Spencer still had an arm around JJ but Robert had an arm around him as well. Aaron looked up and saw that Robert might have been smiling but his ice blue eyes were zeroed in on Aaron. Aaron stared back, profiling as he did. It wasn’t until several minutes into the stare that he realized that Robert only showed what he wanted someone to see. He was an agent of some kind. The shoulder holsters worn by both Spencer and Robert told him that whatever they were doing in Vegas, it wasn’t strictly a full holiday. Spencer was wearing an ankle holster but Aaron couldn’t detect another weapon on Robert. He hadn’t worked enough with British intelligence agents to know exactly what branch the both of them worked for.
“You weren’t even going to stop by to say hello to Henry?” JJ looked really upset about that.
“Not this visit. This one was kind of impromptu. We found ourselves with a few days off together and decided now was a perfect time to introduce Robert to mom.”
Aaron tried to find the lie to that statement but he couldn’t. He knew that there was one though. Spencer was fully managing what he was putting out to the team. Robert though was openly profiling the team.
“I’m a little shocked, Pretty Boy. I kind of figured that you followed Prentiss to Interpol because you were in love with her.”
“With Emily? No. Really good friend yes but I would never have sex with her. I left the FBI for other reasons.” Spencer’s gaze barely flicked to Aaron but Aaron noticed it.
“Personal reasons,” Robert muttered, his gaze still wholly on Aaron. When Aaron shifted his gaze to the team, he saw that Blake and Callahan were looking at Aaron while Morgan was looking at Robert. Dave was looking at Spencer. The look though that Spencer gave Robert told Aaron everything that he needed to know. Robert knew the truth of why Spencer had left the FBI and America. Knew that it was Aaron.
“Garcia tried to convince me once that you were pansexual. I didn’t believe her,” Morgan said with a smile on his face. “It wasn’t that I…I kind of figured you to be on the Asexual scale somewhere.”
“Pansexual is a good term for what I am.” Spencer’s eyes darted over to a sign on the Strip. Robert’s eyes moved over as well. It was an ad for some kind of tea. Aaron wondered why they both looked a little worried at it.
“We must be going,” Robert said. He pulled Spencer in close and whispered in his ear. The genius laughed and slapped at Robert’s chest. “Early morning meeting with Professor Reid.”
Then Spencer and Robert were turning away. The team was in shock. Aaron watched as Robert pulled Spencer close and then they were off. There was no light slipping between where their bodies were touching. Aaron bade his goodnights to the others and moved towards the hotel they were staying in. It wasn’t until he slid his card in the reader that he realized that Dave had followed him.
“Hurts doesn’t it?”
“To see him happy? Without you?”
“Say what you mean, Dave.” Aaron entered his hotel room. Dave right behind him.
“You and I both know the reason he left the team. He went with Prentiss to have something of his life left. Obviously he got a better job offer. Found someone better.”
“You have all the answers.”
“No. I just know you. I’d keep the wounded puppy look off your face if you don’t want the team to know.” The threat was there. The team would not take well to finding out exactly who was the reason for Spencer leaving. Aaron didn’t dignify that with a comment and within a few minutes, Dave was gone.
The team didn’t see Spencer again until their last day in Vegas. JJ and Morgan had tried to call him only to find that his cell phone number was disconnected. Garcia couldn’t find a hotel room under the name of Spencer Reid or Robert Harrison. Then again, their own hotel rooms were not under their names either. There were too many hotels to try and track which one the couple was staying in and footage watching was Spencer’s forte.
Morgan pointed out Spencer in the lobby of the Bellagio where they were planning on gambling the last bit of their money before the jet left in six hours. Robert had his hand on Spencer’s lower back, each man a tumbler of some liquid in their hands. The team headed towards him but stopped when the couple was ushered into a private poker room.
“That has a three million dollar buy in,” Dave said with a little bit of awe in his voice.
“Three million?” Morgan questioned. The team just stared at where he’d gone. After a few minutes, they all scattered away and Aaron made his way to the bar.
An hour later, Robert exited the room with a nod to the security guard at the door and made his way over to the bar where Aaron was. The look on his face told Aaron that the Brit had expected him to be there.
“Agent Hotchner!” Robert’s smile was bright and sunny but Aaron could detect malice underneath it.
The smile that the name got from him was predatory. “What brings you to the Bellagio?”
“The team wanted to gamble away the last few hours before our jet left and they chose this place. You?”
“It’s where Spencer and I are staying and Spencer got invited to a game this afternoon.” The bartender handed over a martini glass and Robert settled in beside Aaron at the bar.
“Robert!” Morgan called out and Aaron felt the other agent settle at his back. “How are you doing?”
“I’m fine, Agent Morgan. Your boss said that guys are leaving in a few hours. Spencer’s preoccupied with a game. I’ll make sure that he comes out on the break and says his goodbyes if you guys are still here.” Robert turned to take a drink of his martini and that was when Aaron saw the wireless earwig. It was barely visible but it was there. That was interesting.
“So how did you and Reid meet?” Morgan asked.
“Through work. Different departments but we crossed paths enough that I was intrigued by him.”
“How…I knew Reid for eight years, he never went on a date with anyone. I’m just shocked to see him with someone.” Morgan’s voice was full of shock.
“There are twelve in my department including me. All of us took a shot at asking him on a date within the first month after he started working there. He agreed to three. Stella was wonderful but they had very little in common. Alec was just not a right fit.”
“And you obviously did well.”
“Actually, he turned me down. Third was Greg. Greg showed us all exactly what Spencer doesn’t like. The black eye he came home with had Spencer’s department very angry at us for a whole month. I spent that first month and the month that followed just talking to him. Bringing him little things that I learned he liked through conversation and his failed dates with the others.”
Aaron drained the last of his drink and waved for another from the bartender.
“Look, man. Reid won’t talk about what happened that drove him away. Do you know?”
“I know every intimate detail and I’ll tell your whole team if you wish. How about lunch? I’ll go see if they have room for us?” Robert drained his martini and then wandered off. Morgan moved to round up the team. Aaron didn’t like it but if he begged off, it would send up a flare to the team and would show Robert that he was scared of him. He wasn’t going to show weakness.
Half an hour later had the team with Robert sitting at a table off to the side.
“Lunch is on me. I’m very excited to get to talk with Spencer’s former team.” Robert ordered caviar and champagne for the table as an appetizer. Before it arrived, Aaron had decided that he really did hate the man. JJ and Morgan were on either side of the Brit and the man was showing them pictures on his phone of Spencer in the office. Including the birthday party that was thrown for him just two days after he’d started working there. There was also a picture that was passed around of him asleep on a couch in an office. While the leg of the man he was lying on was only a little visible, it was the way that Spencer’s was buried into pants and the curl of hand over thigh told Aaron that it was Robert. The position was innocent and intimate at the same time. It was a way that he and Spencer had never adopted before. The only non-sexual intimacy between them happened cuddled in bed. The stubble on Spencer’s face told Aaron that he hadn’t shaved for a few days.
“A project ended up taking a great deal longer than anticipated and it was working on a deadline. None of the boffins got much sleep.”
“Boffin?” JJ asked, looking at Robert as she handed the phone back. She looked over at Blake.
“It’s a word of British slang that is used to describe a scientist, engineer, or other person who works in or is interested in technical or scientific work. It was used in World War II and lends to the concept of war-winning researchers so many who are used to the term of egghead, nerd, or geek tend to look on it more favorable because the word itself has a more positive connotation.”
“Ever the Linguist, Doctor Blake.” Robert had a smile on his face and raised his glass of water up in a toast of sorts to Blake. The woman smiled and nodded at him.
“And what exactly do you do where you work?” Morgan’s voice was tinged with something and Aaron could tell it was a mix between anger and inquisitiveness. He’d caught on that Robert was dodging questions as well.
“Upper management that does not directly oversee the department that Spencer works in. It’s all rather boring but someone has to count the pennies and keep people in line.”
More questions about exactly what Robert and Spencer did were cut off when the food arrived and it was silent for a few minutes as the team settled in to eat.
“So…” Morgan started and Robert flashed a smile.
“Spencer’s reason for leaving the team and the Bureau.” Robert set his fork down and settled back in his chair, like he’d been waiting for it. He’d only ordered water for himself after the champagne was gone. “He told me that he’d been in a relationship for a year and while I know who this man was, I will not give his name over. He made his choice and Spencer made his. The choice that Spencer made was to leave a relationship that was harming.”
“Harming?” Aaron asked. He’d never applied what he and Spencer had been to each other as a harm to him.
“This man put hands on him?” Morgan asked.
“Not that way. Spencer loved him with his whole heart. I can still see the breaks that are slow to mend. It took six months of showing my interest for Spencer to even agree to go on a serious date with me. We’d been on little ones. Coffee shop visits, book stores. Skittish was a good term for him. But that love was far from whole when he finally decided to leave the relationship.”
“What was so bad about the relationship?” Dave asked.
“When Spencer and he first started to see each other in a more than work capacity, the other man wanted secrecy. He agreed. It was smart. He didn’t realize that it would be secret from everyone, forever. Six months in and he started to feel upset. I gathered that there was a work function and something happened at it. He never told me what. That night when he snuck into his lover’s apartment he asked him and was told no.”
“Why would he need to sneak in?” Callahan asked. She looked shocked. “Was he married?”
“No. He had a young child.”
“So, you said you weren’t going to name names but you’ve put in that the person works or did work for the FBI,” Dave said.
“Yes. Spencer thought that after six months it was time to be introduced to the child of his lover as a more than friend and he was turned down. He gave it another six and then one night the child had a nightmare and he was relegated to slipping into his clothes while the father comforted the child in their bedroom and then sneaking out. He ended it there. It was just after that he took the sabbatical.”
“That’s…I couldn’t see dating someone and not wanting to introduce them to Henry if Will and I ever split. I just…Spencer must have felt horrible.”
“You made it sound like he had contact with the kid, outside of the relationship though,” Blake mused.
“Yes. I surmised that the work function had the child at it and he was allowed to interact with said child then.”
“That’s just deplorable,” Callahan said.
“Yes,” Robert said an odd note in his voice. Aaron looked up at him; the other man was staring at him. Morgan was looking at him and then over at Aaron and back again. He knew the man’s game now. He wasn’t going to name Aaron outright but he was going to give the team enough for them to figure it out. “I do hope the child never finds out. It’s one thing to go on a date or two before introducing said child to someone new but to have a yearlong relationship that lives only in the dark and never leaves a bedroom. Spencer has never used the terms but he felt horrible about himself after it. That he’d stayed so long.”
The chime of a text had Robert raising his phone up. The smile on his face told Aaron exactly who the text had come from.
“Excuse me. Spencer needs me. Please stay and finish. I’ve already given the waitress my card to pay. Have dessert. There should be a break in about a half an hour. I’ll send Spencer out.” Robert stood up and left, buttoning his suit jacket back up.
Aaron sat in silence finishing eating while the team talked a little bit about Spencer. Dave was engrossed in his phone. Half an hour came and went and no sign of Spencer. In fact, they waited an hour, getting dessert and just relaxing. When they finally left, Dave noticed that there were a lot of cops in the area. And the room where Spencer had been playing poker was sealed off with police tape.
Hours later, on the jet, Dave sat down beside Aaron as the pilot told them it was okay to move around.
“Been in contact with a few friends in the CIA and the NSA. Reid’s passport was used to gain entry into the US a few days ago. Robert Harrison’s as well. It seems that Reid is now holding dual citizenship for both England and the US.”
“Is there a point to this?”
“Yes. CIA chatter is that seven MI6 agents including a Double O came to Vegas for a mission. Data retrieval.”
“Are you trying to say that Reid is working for MI6?” Aaron asked.
“No. I thought that Robert was familiar. He’s the Double O but I don’t know his real name. I don’t have the number but I’ve crossed paths with him in my time overseas at embassies. Reid is MI6. Don’t know what section but just thought I’d let you know.” Dave stood up and left Aaron alone to his thoughts. Did that mean that it was all a cover? That Reid hadn’t moved on? He thought about how territorial Robert had been, how easy Spencer had allowed his touches. And the pictures.
Aaron knew he’d messed things up with Spencer. He’d let his own securities harm himself, Spencer, and Jack in it all. There was no way to fix it though. Not with an ocean between them.
Spencer let the idle chatter between Q on the computer screen and Bond in the seat across the jet lull him into a state of near sleep. It hadn’t taken him long after starting in Q Branch to figure out that something was going on between Q and Bond. He’d never got actual visual proof of anything and their words were always so careful when other people were around. The horrible thing was that none of MI6 had been able to figure out if the two of them were a couple, fuck buddies, or both just oblivious to what the other wanted, which was each other.
When the mission had come up to go to Vegas and he’d found out that he’d been tapped as part of Q Branch to go, he’d been excited. He hadn’t had a chance to go and see his mom since he’d moved to London.
That the BAU team was there in Vegas had been a shock. While his and Bond’s cover had been that of lovers, up until that night when Bond had shoved him into the wall, they hadn’t acted the part that much. Still he’d been prepared for it. He hadn’t been prepared for Morgan’s voice to call out to him. The lies had spilled from his mouth easier than he thought that they would have. He’d looked at his team and had seen the family they used to be but had stopped being in the aftermath of Prentiss’s miraculous resurrection.
Everyone was different after Prentiss’s faked death and it stayed through finding out she was alive again. JJ had come back from her time at the state department jaded in a way that told Spencer that horrible things happened but she couldn’t talk about them or didn’t want to talk about them. Morgan was angry at everyone. Prentiss tried too hard. Hotch was distant in a way that spoke that he felt bad about lying but wasn’t trying to fix anything. Garcia started to cling too tight to everyone, worrying too much about them. And Rossi was the same as always.
The only regret that he had with leaving and going to London had been leaving Henry and his mom behind. He wrote letters to his Godson nearly every single day and to his mom every day.
“Mission thinking?” Bond asked as he settled in the seat across from him. The rest of the agents that had flown over with them had stayed behind while he and Bond got to go home on a private jet. Bond was needed for another mission and it was still undecided if Spencer would be going with him.
“No. Just thinking on the past.” Spencer tipped his head to look at Bond. The ice blue eyes raked up and down his form, profiling him. He was used to it. From the moment he’d joined MI6, Bond had kept an eye on him. He’d figured it was to do with how he came to join up. He’d been in the needed training courses for Interpol when he’d corrected a bit of a hacker program written on a board in a classroom. The door had been open and no one had been in there but the math needed correcting. He’d just placed down the marker when he heard footsteps. A man about his age had come in and just stared.
Two days later he’d been basically headhunted by British SIS. He’d shown up for weapons training and had found the same man there from the classroom. He hadn’t paid attention to the man but instead had put in his time at the gun range, using each type of gun laid out. When he was done, the man had stepped up with a revolver. Spencer had smiled and fired at the new target that had been set up. Better marks on it than the other. Then the man had reloaded the gun and aimed it at Spencer. A click had been the only sound when the trigger was pulled. The man showed no emotion at the lack of response to the threat.
“You can call me Q, Doctor Reid. That is now your personal gun on record for Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In two hours, an agent is going to show up for you here. Try not to kill him, no matter how much he may try and make you bloody cross. We have a proposal for you.”
“And am I allowed to decline the proposal?” Spencer had asked. Q had only smiled at him and left. Spencer had gone about his day and hadn’t been shocked that when leaving the range he’d been given a proper holster for his revolver. He’d slipped into the bathroom to put it on under his jacket. No one stopped him.
Two hours later, on the dot at that, a man had stepped up to him. He’d taken in the ice blue eyes before anything else. It hadn’t taken but a two second look to tell Spencer that the man was more dangerous than any UnSub he’d ever come across. Seven hours later, he’d left Vauxhall Cross with a lot to think of. The man Mallory who had been in the meeting with Q and the still, then, unnamed agent had kept things from him but it wasn’t hard to figure out that whatever they wanted of him was going to be deep undercover. His actual boss was Q. He was a field agent that Q sent out when he needed someone more than a field agent and little less than a Double O. Q had likened him to a laser in surgery rather than a scalpel.
“Spencer,” Bond called out.
Pulling back from the memories, Spencer looked at the agent with a smile on his face.
“Q is diverting the jet. We are headed straight for France. I guess we need a few hours to get things ready. Thankfully Jean likes me.”
Spencer cocked an eyebrow and just looked at Bond. “And who is Jean?”
“My favorite tailor in France. You may have packed well enough for a vacation in Vegas; you are not dressed for a party in France. There is a party we need to be at. I need your eyes and your mind.”
“But the sale of the weapons wasn’t supposed to happen for another two weeks.” Spencer remembered the brief. Q had been happy that he’d have enough time to outfit a full kit for Bond and whatever field agent went with him as his plus one.
“Q got word that the time table moved up. Something to do with MI6’s eyes being in Vegas. Word traveled fast that a Double O was there. Q’s having the kits sent to France and will be waiting at our hotel.”
“I thought that Perkins was tapped to go with you? Couldn’t she meet you?” It wasn’t that Spencer didn’t want to do the mission. But the both of them would be under much more scrutiny in France. Adjoining rooms in Vegas with the rest of the agents had meant that the single king bed registered to the group saw Spencer and Bond retiring there every night but Spencer slipped into the room next door which had two queens and only one agent staying inside. There would be no such luck in France. It was just the two of them with only over the comm support.
“Well it seems that things got really interesting. Q has a list of attendees and for once I’m going to play the twank.”
Spencer sat back in his seat quickly. He looked at Bond and just started to laugh. Bond smiled back at him.
“Q’s minions had a very close reaction when he told me who had shown up for Martinez to hand off the weapons. He wouldn’t take a second look at you as my play thing but me as yours? Sale is taking place in three days. If I can charm him before then good. If not we will just outright follow and steal.”
It wasn’t hard to follow Bond’s lead. But seeing Bond play someone’s submissive and at his beck and call was a sight to behold. Q was in their ear for the entire mission, relaying whatever was needed. While there were other handlers, Q always oversaw Spencer’s missions. He figured that was why Bond had offered to be the Double O sent with Spencer to Vegas. He was guaranteed Q’s undivided attention. The verbal flirting and snark between the two had only increased as Spencer had worked with them. The flirting was also turned onto Spencer more and more but he’d ignored it because there was no way he was coming in between those two.
Spencer had never thought that he’d have a thing for dangerous men but Bond attracted him in so many ways. There was a fair bit of intelligence that he liked to keep hidden behind the rakish smile and quips. Q was just dangerous enough to be truly terrifying. He was the epitome though of what Spencer was attracted to. There was of course the issue of he’d made a promise to himself to never get involved with anyone that he worked with again. So he listened to them flirt and just imagined the two of them in bed together.
The second day of the mission saw Spencer too tired from the party the night before to even want to do a bit of sightseeing. Instead he was lying in bed in the suite, a book laid out in front of him on the bed. Bond was doing stretching before setting out to go on a run. Spencer had ran on the exercise equipment in the hotel. He wasn’t for running in strange places.
“That’s not your normal speed,” Bond commented as he watched Spencer from the floor. He’d known that the older man had been watching him. He always knew.
“And what is my normal speed?” Spencer asked as he finally looked up after finishing reading the page he was on.
“Too damned fast. Q won’t tell me the actual speed. Nor your actual IQ. In fact, Q’s rather tight lipped about everything when it comes to you.”
“And the hack into my file didn’t tell you?” He was well aware of the lengths Bond would go to get information. It hadn’t taken him long to realize that Bond hated not knowing things. He hadn’t come home to find Bond going through his place yet or just waiting for him as he’d heard Q say that the man had done with him and that he used to with the previous M. He had a security system that Q used himself so it was Bond proof.
“Q has chosen to take things like your IQ and reading speed and list them under Bond doesn’t need to know in your file. Which means it’s only in his head. Infuriating boffin. So I’m stuck trying to find out like a normal person. I have to ask.”
Spencer couldn’t hold back the laugh at the look on Bond’s face. He looked so much like a child who was told that he couldn’t go to the fair across the road from his house. Spencer closed his book and sat up on the bed. He hadn’t changed out of his t-shirt and pants. Bond was dressed simply in boxers. “I read at a much slower pace when I am reading for pleasure. I savor each word and let it caress my mind before I store it away. You can ask one question. I will choose whether or not I answer it or another question.”
Bond smirked at him. “Why did the FBI want you?”
Spencer let his mouth relax a little in shock. He hadn’t expected that question and he wasn’t above showing Bond his surprise.
“For the exact same reason that Q wanted me. My brain. The only difference is that here I am treated better.”
“What do you mean?”
“Q-branch is a haven for me. In the FBI I was recruited for my IQ, reading speed, and my memory. I was used as a tool and while my old team was easy going about it, I never once got to forget that while I was part of the team, I was off to the side. They wanted fact after fact out of me but yet would in the same sentence mock me for having that knowledge. Q is much more willing to flaunt his intellect than me. I had a coworker ask another one if he’d ever been around someone who every day showed that he was smarter than him. That coworker pointed at me. If I was there for my knowledge and using my knowledge solved cases, then how was that showing that I was smarter? How was I supposed to act when I was there for my knowledge? Those outside my team hated me. I was given a spot on my team that usually takes at least five years in the bureau to get into. The average is eight. No one in MI6 makes a comment when Q out hacks other hackers or does magic with the computers because that is what he is there for.”
“No wonder you jumped ship and followed that woman to Interpol. Throw in Agent Hotchner and that’s a mess.”
“I was happy there. Brushed things off, didn’t let them get to me. It was while I was there at JJ’s wedding that I realized exactly how much of myself I was giving up to be happy in that situation. I was having debilitating headaches. Which are a sign of schizophrenia. I told Emily about them and then when I told Morgan he was nice about it but there was no offer of help more than him saying he’d watch out for signs. I switched to tea and it helped but it was all stress. I wasn’t aware of how much stress until it was gone. Haven’t had a one since I left the BAU.”
A knock at the door forestalled anymore discussion. Bond jumped up and shucked his boxers, slipping into the bed under the covers. No food had been ordered yet so it wasn’t room service. Spencer slid the book off the bed on his side and stood up, removing his shirt. He walked to the door and opened it, a look of unhappiness on his face. Standing there was young woman in a skirt. She didn’t look happy to be there.
“Can I help you? I was a little busy.” Spencer leaned to the side to block her view when she tried to look around him.
“Mr. Vargas would like to extend a lunch invitation to you, Mr. Morris and your companion.”
“Oh. I see. When?”
“Whatever time works for you.”
“The on location restaurant is fine with him if it’s fine for you.”
“One o’clock is fine with me.” Spencer stepped back and shut the door. The woman’s eyes were locked on Bond and Spencer wondered exactly what the older man was doing. He turned to find that the man had pulled most of the covers off himself and only had a small corner of the sheet draped over his crotch. The woman was going to go back to Vargas and tell him that she’d interrupted them in the middle of sex, which was good for their cover but horrible on Spencer’s own mind.
“That means that we need to pick up the rest of your suits from Jean,” Bond said as he slid out of bed. Nudity was something that Spencer had gotten used to since joining MI6. Most field agents and especially the Double Os didn’t care who saw them naked, given that most had been seen naked on camera during various missions. Bond was the worst at it though.
Lunch proved to be boring for Spencer. While they discussed the weapons for sale and the current estimated bidding price, Vargas paid little attention to him. He realized though the second that Vargas made a move on Bond. Bond’s eyes sought him out with wide confusion and Spencer just waved a hand. Telling his companion that he didn’t care what the man was doing. The profile that they had on Vargas was that he liked to fuck the men of other men, use them and send them home when he’d got what he wanted. Vargas was not much older than Bond and was the closest Double O that they had that fit what Vargas liked in a bed partner. Spencer’s cover as David Morris was that of a bored millionaire who bought and sold high value weapons. He moved from man to man and even woman to woman as easily as some bought and sold stock. Bond’s cover was Samuel Peck a man who was a step away from an escort. He bounced from male lover to male lover when he got bored. Their covers were a match made in heaven.
“And what are your afternoon plans?” Vargas asked, his hand hadn’t appeared above the table in the past twenty minutes.
“I have a little bit of work I have to do in the room. Samuel is going to spend the afternoon outside of the hotel, where I won’t be distracted.”
Bond’s shoulders fell in the perfect mockery of crestfallen and Vargas’s eyes lit up like a beacon.
“I would be more than happy to show Sam around the town. Maybe he can find a nice present for you.”
“If he wishes.” Spencer pulled out his phone as it buzzed and looked at it. It was from Q telling him that Vargas’s men were doing an online search for David and Samuel. With a disinterested air, Spencer locked his phone and sighed. “I’m sorry. I need to take my leave now.”
As Spencer passed Bond, he leaned over and gave him an absent minded kiss on the shoulder as he passed. It was their code for be wary. Q kept Bond’s comm open and linked to Spencer’s so he heard every whispered seduction that Vargas tried on Bond. He allowed himself to laugh openly at the words that were so close to what Bond used on marks were used on him. The only time the comms muted at all was during the sex. Muted but not off. A particularly loud yelp had Spencer turning his eyes away from his computer, where he was working, and he listened. The moan that followed told him that Bond was fine.
“Q?” Spencer asked when the sound on the other end of the comm quieted.
“Yes, Doctor Reid?” Q queried back. The use of his title told him that he was in the main section of Q-branch and not in his office.
“What room are they in?”
“Three Thirty seven. So just down the hall really.”
“If Bond’s not able to extract himself in a timely manner, I’ll throw a hissy. Sound good?”
“Sounds wonderful.” Q’s voice was soft and full of mirth. The sounds of an active workplace disappeared and Spencer wondered what Q was doing. “Tell me about the newest adventures of Henry, Spencer.”
“Well last Halloween Henry overheard his mom and dad talking about real life monsters, the ones I used to hunt so he decided that he wasn’t going to go trick or treating. Thankfully, his mom was able to talk him into going out just so he could try and profile who the real monsters were and who was fake.”
“Sounds adorable. So he went as an FBI agent?”
“Yes. Was even wearing a badge that proclaimed him the profiler he’d dressed up as. His favorite profiler.”
“So his mother.”
“No. Me. Little messenger bag and everything. I guess JJ had kept my badge after it was deactivated. I wasn’t aware of that until she sent me the picture. I wonder how much that it…hurt the team seeing him dressed as me.”
“I don’t know. Who is he going as this year?”
A weird sound floated down the comms and Spencer sat up straighter on his bed and listened harder. The sound from Bond’s comm got louder and then there were voices. None of them Bond. Spanish floated down the comm and Spencer closed his laptop and started to pack up everything. There were mission essentials that had to go with them and all fit inside the backpack that Bond had in his suitcase. Tech that couldn’t fall into the wrong hands. The two laptops were slotted into their padded and bullet resistant pockets. Kit cases were tucked into theirs. Spencer stripped out of his suit jacket and pulled his holster from his own suitcase. His revolver was slipped into one side whilst Bond’s Walther went on the other. Ankle holster was slipped on as well, with his own Walther fitting snug inside. A few smaller pieces of tech were tucked in the bag and then Spencer pulled out his tablet. Q already had the hotel security feed loaded and the hallway outside their room was empty. Slipping his jacket back on, Spencer left the room. He kept an eye out for anyone suspicious and waited. The backpack was heavy in his hand but not from weight.
Vegas had gone belly up but it hadn’t been hard for Spencer to gas the men in the room, take what he wanted and leave. Q-branch had developed a knockout gas that a salve on the inner nose would cancel. Spencer had used the salve and made sure to breathe in only through his nose. He’d faked passing out and then when everyone else was out, he struck. No dead and no clue when they woke and the data was gone. This was going to be different.
“I can’t raise him on the comms, Reid. I have no visual in the room.”
“Is his comm still functioning?”
“Yes. I get a pingback.”
“Bloody hell!” Bond yelled over the comm. Spencer braced and waited. “I agreed to you, Mr. Vargas not your three friends. Nor did I agree to be tied up. What did you dose me with?”
Spencer’s blood ran cold. He pulled his Walther from his ankle and checked it over and made sure the safety was off and a bullet in the chamber before he started down the hall. He slipped the gun back into the holster, swapping his for Bond’s in the shoulder holster. There was no guard outside the room that meant the three in the room were most likely guards.
“Just something so that I could have a chat. Now, Samuel, what is your lover planning? Tell me and I won’t have to harm you.”
“I don’t have any clue what he has planned. David tells me nothing of his business outside of when to sit and look pretty and when to keep my mouth shut.” Bond sounded terrified but Spencer knew it was an act. He’d read the report that Bond had given about Le Chiffre. He knew what had been done to him. Samuel Peck though was weak and pretty much a pretty face. A scream sounded over the comms but Spencer waited. He hadn’t been given the cue to go.
“Bond, where are the guards?” Q asked.
“You cut me! You cut my stomach! I hope you know that I’ll be getting plastic surgery out of this and making you pay for it.” Bond’s scars that been covered by fake skin since the start of the mission. He looked flawless. Another scream. “And you three there hiding by the door, you are just going to let him do this to me?”
“Reid, get ready for infiltration,” Q warned.
Spencer crouched at the door and pulled the slim lock pick set from his backpack. He pried the box off the card readers and clipped a bit of plastic free from the wire before clipping a small alligator clip over the exposed wires. Next he slid a blank card into the lock. The program silenced the beep that would sound and when the light turned green, he pulled down on the handle.
“Now, Bond.” Q’s voice was calm and steady and it helped to keep Spencer calm as well.
Bond screamed again to be let go. It covered the sound of the door opening and then Spencer slipped a foot forward to keep the door from shutting and freeing up his hand. He rested said hand on the gun inside his jacket.
“I know that your lover is here to steal my weapons. What did he think that letting me have you would distract me enough to let him rob me blind?”
“I don’t know anything! Please, he just pays me!”
That was the code. Spencer stood up and slipping into the room. The three guards were standing just in front of him. There was no way to kill all three of them with the gun without risking getting killed himself or Bond killed. He relaxed his hand on his gun and reached back for the thin not quite metal knife that was hidden in the backpack.
One of the guards was thankfully a few steps back from the other two. Spencer slipped the backpack off for freedom of movement and then quickly stepped up, covered the man’s mouth and drew the blade across his throat in the same movement. There was no sound as the man died at Spencer’s hands. He easily laid the man down and stepped to the man to the left just as he started to move forward. Stepping back, Spencer went after the man on the right. He repeated the movement. The third guard had stepped up and handed over a strip of cloth before stepping back into Spencer’s waiting arms. The third man was dispatched as easily as the first two. He waited though. Vargas was wholly interested in Bond. The man hadn’t noticed a thing.
Bond’s gaze flicked back and forth between Spencer and Vargas. Spencer let the blade rest in his hand and drew the revolver with his free hand, raising it and then bringing it down onto Vargas’s head. The man crumpled with a satisfied thump off the side of the bed. Bond twisted his hands and the rope binding him to the bed slid off. Spencer grabbed the cloth and tossed it at the older man, letting him use it to try and staunch the flow of blood from the cuts on his stomach.
“Get him tied up while I dress,” Bond said as he slipped from the bed.
It didn’t take long to tie Vargas onto the bedpost. Once Bond was dressed he found a small bottle of lube and tossed it to Spencer.
“It was the only substance he used on me. I didn’t think anything of him using gloves to prep me because other marks have demanded I use gloves when I prep them. I really didn’t think a thing of it.”
Spencer slipped the lube into backpack as he handed over Bond’s gun to him. Bond crouched and found his holster in the backpack. The man slipped it on before holstering the gun and putting his jacket back on.
“Go get ours things. We’ll get what we need and leave. Hopefully no more guards come in that time. Leave the pack.”
Spencer nodded and slipped out. Thankfully he’d not got blood on his clothes. His hands had been easy to wipe down with the bedclothes in the room.
“I have no eyes on more guards making their way to you, Reid. But please be quick. Bond is pissed and he’ll more than likely kill Vargas and try and find the data we need than to wait for the man to break.”
“Right.” Spencer quickly packed up everything. Making sure to put Bond’s shaving kit back exactly as he’d seen the man unpack it the first night.
“Now, Vargas, why don’t you tell me what I want to know?” Bond asked over the comms. Spencer cursed and started to pack up even quicker. He had his suitcase packed and Bond’s and was slipping their bespoke suits into the garment bag when he heard the first telltale sign of a punch landing.
By the time that Spencer reentered the room, Vargas was spilling all the secrets. Q recorded every utterance and then when he was done, Bond put a bullet in his brain.
When they were flying home to London, Spencer thought about how much he’d changed. If he’d have been asked to join an agency like MI6 before him and Aaron, he would have balked. Introspection into his life on the team had hardened him in ways that his team wouldn’t have liked. He was happy where he was and very happy that there was a great deal of distance between them.
“So, Morgan’s on a warpath,” Dave said as he stepped into Aaron’s office and pulled the door shut. The lock clicked and that brought Aaron’s full attention onto the older man. “Jessica stopped by with Jack. I know that we were able to get Morgan to look elsewhere for Reid’s reason for leaving but…Jack let something slip today it seems.”
“What did he say?”
“That he missed Uncle Spencer. That he wished that he hadn’t had to leave but he understood. It was just a throwaway comment but Morgan latched onto it. Jack then said that he even missed Beth but he understood that as well. Morgan went to Garcia and I don’t even want to know what he found.”
There was a knock at the door and Aaron stood up to open it. The entire team was standing there, Garcia included, with laptop. She looked stricken. It had been a little over a month since Vegas. He wasn’t shocked that it hadn’t taken long at all for Morgan to figure it out.
“Sir, I…I’m on my personal laptop but I’ve been hacked.” Garcia turned the laptop around and Aaron was looking at a young man with mussed up hair and a pair of glasses. All that could be seen of his clothes was a cardigan and a tie. He did not look happy at all.
“Don’t worry; I won’t be hacking into the FBI. I’ve been warned that it’s not nice when it’s not for an op. So, why don’t we have this conversation where everyone can see me?” The British accent threw Aaron a little. Who would want to hack Garcia’s personal computer but not the FBI? Garcia moved forward and placed the laptop on Aaron’s desk and the team stood around in a semi-circle. “That’s better.”
“Who are you?”
“My name is unimportant. Miss Garcia, never try again to hack into Doctor Reid’s financials and other things, please. While the world may remember The Black Queen in fondness, many in our circles would not like to know that she now works for the FBI. I am assuming that someone on the team finally put together Robert’s words and have traced Doctor Reid’s previous lover.”
“Who are you?” Aaron looked at Garcia and she shook her head. She had no clue.
“My real name is unimportant. Miss Garcia would know me only as Q.” The gasp that brought from the tech told Aaron that she did know who he was.
“You disappeared a few years ago for a while and then came back. You’ve always been selective in the targets you cripple.”
“Cripple?” Dave asked.
“Oh. Yes. I can do a lot of damage to anything that I want while still in bed. I was serious, Garcia. You don’t touch Doctor Reid’s anything online. I have many things set up that will protect him and I don’t think that you want my counter measures to cripple the FBI. This includes Professor Reid.”
“Wouldn’t this have more weight with Reid’s guard dog at your back?” Aaron asked. Q only smiled a deadly smile and turned to look at him.
“Oh Robert is with Spencer now. And Agent Hotchner, I would have thought by now that you’d be more scared of those who choose to do their attacking with their minds. Robert is a wonderful guard dog as you call him but me? I’m the poison that you don’t know you are taking in disguised as something you love. I’m aware that you may have a good idea of exactly what Robert’s job is with David Rossi’s contacts so remember this, there are eleven others and they, they love me and will do anything I want. Agents Morgan, Jareau. Spencer chose to leave to make himself happy. As much as he detests what happened, he doesn’t want retribution whether it’s done by him or in his name. You figure out how to live with what you know. He is a grown adult.”
“Then why are you fighting this battle for him?” Morgan demanded.
“Because he’s away on a mission right now and it’s not the time for personal things to bother it. Robert needed support in the field and I sent Spencer to him. Good day.” The screen blinked and the computer shut down.
“I…I think,” Dave started only to stop and sigh. “I think we all just met the infamous Quartermaster of MI6.” Dave looked shell shocked.
“Let them in young do they?” Morgan asked.
“Q has been an online presence for nearly twenty five years. I… he had to have been under ten before he started hacking.”
“So Spencer level genius in tech where he was written word?” JJ asked.
“What exactly did you do?” Blake asked.
“I was looking at online transactions. Looking for anything that could prove what Morgan thought was wrong. He’s wrong isn’t he?” Garcia asked, turning to look at Aaron.
“No.” Aaron wasn’t going to lie. He’d told himself that when the team wanted to know he would tell them.
“What the fuck, Hotch?” Morgan demanded to know. A chime on the phone in the agent’s pocket distracted him for only a few seconds before he looked back at Aaron. “You…you seriously kept him a fucking secret from Jack?”
“Yes. I’ve discussed with Jack and while he’s not exactly the happiest, I made him understand that it wasn’t him and it wasn’t Spencer. It was always me and my insecurities. I feel horrible for what I did, I just couldn’t accept what I wanted and it ruined me. Beth found out. Jack knew long before. He’d try and wait up to see Spencer but he always fell asleep or Spencer wouldn’t come over those nights. He wanted to know why I was taking Beth places and never did Spencer. He asked this of Jessica and Beth, wanting to understand.” Aaron sighed and sat down. “My reasonings are my own and they hold no bearing on the team. If Spencer ever decides to talk to me again, I’ll explain them to him and no one else.”
Morgan’s phone chimed again and then started to chime even more. It sounded like near a hundred messages came in. He finally pulled his phone out. His eyes widened and then he frowned.
“It’s from that weird fellow. Telling me not to touch Hotch. When I didn’t reply he spammed my phone with shit.” Morgan moved to slip his phone back down in his pocket but before he could it started to ring with an incoming call. “Blocked number. Derek Mo…” Eyes wide, Morgan listened to whoever was on the other end. He pulled it away and Aaron heard what he swore was the sound of a sniper rifle firing. Morgan clicked over to speaker phone. A second shot went off. “Reid?”
“Still here, Morgan. Q told me he just talked to you all.”
“Where exactly are you?” Morgan asked.
“Ass end of none of your business,” Robert called from the background.
“Hush.” There was a sound of fondness in Spencer’s voice as he said the word. “I’ll be in the States in two weeks. One week in Vegas getting some legal things done for mom and the second is a vacation in DC, closing up some final things and having the rest of my stuff…” A pause and another shot went off. “sent over to my flat. We can meet and talk.”
“Will Robert be with you?”
“Not unless he needs to be.” Another shot went off and then the sounds of a rifle being taken apart sounded over the phone. “Five for five. Not bad. Anyway, when I get home I’ll text you my new phone number. It’s always going to show up as blocked when I call though. JJ, I’ll let you have the exact days when I have them narrowed down. I’d like to see Henry.” There was sounds of a running and the phone cut out for a few seconds and then the sound of hand gun fire. “Extraction is late. I’ve got to go.”
Morgan just stared at his phone while the rest of the team just stared. While it was obvious that Robert had been the one firing the gun, Spencer had been there. Five shots. Five dead people. Aaron wondered if he’d turned him that hard.
“MI6? I…that wasn’t on my radar. Five maybe,” Morgan said. He pocketed his phone and turned to look at the team. “We will discuss this. Later. Not here.”
“Of course.” Aaron knew that the team would want to air grievances. While Q had said that Robert and those like him adored Q, there was the unspoken bit that Spencer was Robert’s and the Double Os seemed like a bunch that would protect family.
The team left the office and Aaron took the rest of the day off. He was sitting down at a park when he got a text. Blocked number.
Does Jack like Harry Potter? It had to be Spencer.
Yes. We haven’t started the books yet but he likes the movies.
I’ll get another set for Jack then. Any other books you would like me to bring to him?
Aaron leaned over and let his head rest on his hands as they cupped his phone. Spencer had always bought books for Jack. Ever since he was a baby. Since he’d left the team no books had come. If this was the only contact that Spencer wanted. He’d live with it. He wondered though why Spencer hadn’t texted Morgan and said that he’d wait until he got home to do it.
He was talking the other day about a book series called the Seventh Tower and Keys to the Kingdom. I haven’t had the chance to see if they are something for a kid to read.
Spencer always read the books before he gave them over once Jack had started to read chapter books. Aaron trusted his word that if he sent the books, Jack could read them.
Once I get back to London I’ll have the day off. I’ll see what I can find at the store. Are signed copies of the Harry Potter books okay?
Of course. I think he’ll like that. Do you want to give them to him in person?
I’ll text you the day I can meet up with him and Jessica.
He knows about the relationship. He’ll want to talk to you about it. Aaron wasn’t going to let Jack blindside Spencer.
Aaron didn’t know what to answer to that. He expected Spencer to want to know what he had told him. He didn’t realize how much he’d miss just talking to the younger man. About even just job related things.
How is your mom doing with you in London?
It took a while to adjust. Doctor Norman thinks that he might have her ready to start using email to write me. I can’t send letters when I am out on missions so I have to save them up and send at once and she gets worried. I can do short emails through Q to mom when in the field. I’ll miss handwriting but maybe that it something I can pick up with Henry. A few seconds later another message came through. Or Jack.
Jack would love to get a letter from you even if it’s just one every few months.
Maybe we can talk books. Then I could write him more.
Aaron wondered what exactly extraction meant. He wondered if he was in a car, train, plane, or helicopter. He’d never imagined Spencer in a higher risk job. His scores at the academy had been miserable but he’d been young and unused to anything physical. He’d often wondered how the genius had done in gym class in high school. Being six years younger than the other kids and then in college it wasn’t required so it was no wonder that he’d been horrible at it.
Whatever you want, Spencer. Aaron sighed and closed his eyes. He looked at the on screen keyboard and sighed again. I am truly sorry about how things ended with us. It wasn’t what I wanted to happen. I don’t know exactly what I wanted to happen but that was not it. I’m sorry I made you feel like less than what you are. I’m sorry that it drove you from DC and the Bureau. I am sorry that I ever made you feel like a dirty secret.
You were not the whole of the reason for me leaving. I loved my job and I probably would have stayed, despite you. It was a little bit of everything. Like did you know that while I am not as good as Garcia but I do know my way around a computer? Many who have known me for years take me not wanting to use a computer to read as meaning that I don’t like computers. I can read at a fast enough rate that most e-readers and tablets can’t keep up. Why limit myself to be fashionable? I didn’t have people in my personal life that I needed to email outside of the team so why have a personal email? Robert set me up with one two months after I started here.
I didn’t know that the team thought that. You have a degree in engineering. Chemistry. Mathematics. All of those would have something to do with a computer at some point in your education. Your continued journal submissions and proof work would need it as well.
And I don’t know if you knew but the night before your marathon, JJ, Garcia, and Prentiss went out. She got a neighbor to watch Henry. She told me that she didn’t want me to give up my plans, even though I told her that I had none.
It was just words on the screen but he could feel the hurt in them. He hadn’t realized that JJ hadn’t let Spencer watch him.
I know that it’s not my fault but I am sorry about that.
If things had been different between us, if we’d not been lovers, would you have trusted me with Jack?
If we were in town and Jessica couldn’t watch him, yes. That was never in question. And to Aaron it wasn’t. He trusted Spencer with Jack. Spencer would never hurt Jack or allow him to get hurt. He’d seen the child care and delivery books that the younger man had read before and after work while JJ had been pregnant.
Imagine I’m glass. A few things before you put small, almost too small to see cracks in me. Being with you fixed a few but you…you shattered me. Made all of them worse. I was still there. The cracks hadn’t reached the edge. Things kept piling on and then at the wedding I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was leave the BAU or start taking dilaudid again.
Aaron stopped at those words. he thought back over the year between their end and when Spencer left. The whole of the team had been focused on the return of JJ and Prentiss. Spencer had drifted farther and farther to the edges and no one had noticed it. Aaron had made it a plan to never notice anything to do with him. He’d made his choice and while it hurt, Aaron could never be what Spencer wanted him to be.
I’m glad you didn’t. I don’t think that I could have lived with that knowledge. That I’d pushed you that far.
I’m not ready to have the talk that we need to. I want to have that one face to face but I’m glad that you and Jack talked. I have a little more time before I have to shut off my phone. I’m sure that Rossi has figured out who Q is. He has entirely too many friends from his years in the business.
Called him MI6’s Quartermaster.
And Robert is not my boyfriend. That was just mission but he’s very overprotective. Think of him like a very overprotective brother.
And that is none of my business anymore. He certainly played smug well.
Smug is his way of life. He’s interested in someone else and is very much a philanderer when it comes to relationships that are not job related.
Aaron smiled. That was a word that Spencer would use to describe someone. He was typing out his response when his phone buzzed again.
Extraction is here. firstname.lastname@example.org is my email. I’m sure that you can set Jack up with a Gmail or Hotmail account or something. Bye.
Be safe. Text when you get home please.
Aaron waited five minutes but nothing came back. He locked his phone and slid it in his pocket. There was no way to get back to where they had been but he hoped that one day he and Spencer could consider themselves friends. He really hoped so. He knew he’d messed up. He hadn’t been thinking and had for once in his life hadn’t followed his actions to the conclusion.
The sun was setting when Aaron got home. Jessica was sitting on the couch with Jack, watching a movie.
“Hey, buddy. Do you want to set up an email account?”
“Why?” Jack asked
“Well, Uncle Spencer gave me an email address for him so that you and he could email back and forth to talk about books. He’s also going to look into the books you asked me about and maybe get them for you.”
“Can we do it now?” Jack jumped up off the couch and ran towards Aaron’s office. By the time he and Jessica got in there, Jack had the computer started up and set to his profile.
“No matter whatever else you are, Aaron. You are a wonderful father. Just remember that.” Jessica kissed his cheek and bade her goodbyes to Jack. Aaron settled down in the second chair behind Jack. Aaron agreed with her. He might have been a bad husband and an asshole for what he had done to Spencer but he loved his son and he’d make sure to be the best father he could be.