Curiosity

Title: Curiosity
Series: The Alphabet Game
Fandom: Criminal Minds,
Year: Season 7 (2012)
Tags: Pre-Slash,
Ratings: PG-13
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Curiosity {The Cat}
Spoilers: Up Through Season 7
Summary: Aaron finds something that he thinks that Spencer is missing in his new place.
Words: 3,379
Notes: None
Warnings: None
Beta: Reidemption

Aaron had good hearing and Quantico Base was quiet for a Saturday night. So it wasn’t a shock when he heard the faint cries of what sounded like a kitten. He tried to trace the sound but it was so faint he was having trouble with the drizzle that had started hours before. Finally after ten minutes of searching, Aaron dropped to his knees and looked under his car. The kitten was sitting dead center under the car. It was just about as big as his hand and it’s fur was matted but it looked liked a longhaired white kitten.

“Come here,” Aaron said as he stretched a hand under the car. His arm stopped about a foot from kitten. Still it moved backwards away from him a few inches. He kept his hand still and waited. He was already soaked and would need to take the suit jacket off soon. It took a minute but the kitten slowly inched forward until he could pick it up. By the time he had it up to his chest, the thing was purring up a storm. Unlocking his car he slid inside with the kitten. Grabbing a towel from the backseat, he dried off the purring animal as much as he could. The towel was from Jack’s soccer gear. He slipped off his jacket and threw it in the back.

The kitten followed it into the back where Aaron turned to watch it investigate the backseat before he finally started the car. The defroster was on as he had used it earlier because of the rain and it wasn’t long before he could see enough to drive. The kitten thankfully stayed in the back seat.

Aaron drove by rote. His eyes checking on the kitten at every stop sign and red light. It settled in Jack’s booster seat, sitting like a regal creature. It wasn’t until Aaron was pulling into Spencer’s secondary spot that he realized he hadn’t been heading home. When he cut the engine, he turned to pick up the kitten before grabbing his light coat from the backseat. He wrapped up the kitten before getting out. When he entered the place he was happy to see that the elevator was working again. As the elevator started up, the kitten to began to wiggle. It didn’t stop until its head was poking out. The coat was dark so the light colored kitten stuck out.

The sound of classical music drifted from behind the door. Aaron smiled. He knocked and waited for Spencer to answer. The sound of bare feet told Aaron he was shoe and sock less. He braced himself for what he was going to see when the door was opened. Spencer was dressed in what looked like the same pair of jeans from the previous time and that was it. He had a towel in hand and his hair was a wild mess. He smelled fresh out of the shower.

“Hotch?” Spencer squinted at him and Hotch realized that he didn’t have his contacts in.

“Yes.”

“Come on in. Give me a minute to get dressed.” Spencer stepped back from the door. He used the towel to rub at his hair more. He wandered off to the largest of the three bedrooms. The other two had doors open and were filled with boxes. Half of the book shelves were full. The kitten was content in his arms so Hotch wandered around. All of the boxes were empty with the shelves all put together. The weird table had what looked like gridded maps spread out on it. Aaron wandered over to look at them. The were a few sheets of paper scattered over the maps along with weird looking dice. Switching the kitten to one hand he picked up one of the dice. The highest on it was twenty. Then he grabbed a die that had up to one hundred by tens. Then another that had up ten sides but had only up to nine with a zero.

The kitten wiggled in his arms and jumped down to take off running across the flat. Aaron turned to follow to find Spencer crouched on the floor petting the tiny animal.

“And who is this?” Spencer was smiling and he seemed relaxed. He’d put on a t-shirt that said This Is What A DM Looks Like. Aaron almost asked what the shirt meant but the kitten taking off at a run from Spencer had the younger man laughing. Aaron was distracted by the laugh and the way it made Spencer even more beautiful.

“He was under my car when I got out of my meeting. Curious thing isn’t he?”

“Is it a he?”

“Haven’t checked that. I know you said you wanted to wait but he was there. I’ll take him to the rescue shelter if you want.”

“We’ll see how the night goes. Have you eaten?”

“No. I knew the meeting was going to run late. Jessica is keeping Jack. My plan was to grab dinner on the way home.”

“I was going to order pizza.” Spencer’s eyes watched the kitten as it moved around the flat. Aaron watched him.

“Sounds good. You know what I like.” Aaron turned back to look at the D&D book shelves. The sign was gone but in its place were a lot of books. Before he could get a good look though he felt a tug on his pants. He looked down to see the kitten trying to climb them.

“Sure that you don’t want to take him home?” Spencer was laughing, his eyes locked on the kitten.

“I wouldn’t want to impose on Jessica any more than I do.”

“Has Jack asked for pet a yet?” Spencer walked over to Aaron. He leaned down and gently removed the kitten’s claws from the pants before standing up. The kitten climbed his arm and settled on his shoulder, batting at his hair.

“Other than a dragon? No.”

“Dragon huh?” Spencer turned his head to nuzzle at the side of the kitten’s face. “Dragons are cool.”

“They are. But I can’t get Jack a dragon.”

“Hmm.”

Aaron watched as Spencer wandered away with the kitten. The genius moved towards his cell phone and picked it up. He texted something to someone but Aaron didn’t ask. He set the kitten down on the counter of the island in the kitchen and it started to investigate the things sitting on there. He moved and saw that Spencer was texting someone named Gabriel.

“Gabriel does errands for money in the building. He is free and is going to get things for Curiosity.” Spencer picked up the kitten and rolled it onto its back, rubbing at the soft fur of its belly. The purr could be heard from where Aaron was. “It’s a boy.”

“Is that good?” Aaron wasn’t sure about Spencer, but he remembered from childhood that some kids wanted animals of the same sex as them and some wanted opposite.

“Doesn’t matter either way. Helps with knowing when to get him fixed.” Spencer’s face was impassive but his eyes. Aaron could see how he was by his eyes. The light danced off of them. It was rare to see him that happy.

“So, Curiosity?”

“Seemed to fit. Thank you, Hotch. I think he’s going to fit in perfectly.” Spencer set the kitten down on the floor before moving to his fridge. Aaron watched him pull out his milk jug, pop the lid, and then put it back on. He was confused until the genius dropped something on the floor. The kitten raced after it and Aaron saw a milk ring go skidding across the floor. “Cheap entertainment until he has more toys.”

Aaron smiled at him. The younger man moved to the fridge and grabbed two bottles of beer. He opened them and set one down in front of Aaron. A chime pinged on Spencer’s phone and he grabbed it. Aaron watched him text before he smiled and handed the phone over. There was a picture of a little collar and harness sitting on a matching pillow.

“Gabriel seems like a good kid.”

“He is. Sixteen and has been doing this since I first gave him a twenty to run to the store and get me milk and cereal when I sprained my ankle on the car after the Blue Ridge Strangler case, the first time. He turned it into a nice side business. The older couples have him busier than most, especially in winter. His dad and mom divorced and dad is more interested in his new family.” Spencer set his phone down on the counter and turned his full attention to Aaron.

“Juliette from HR? She’s talked about her son and she brings you cookies on your birthday.”

“She was happy I helped her get a job here. Her husband wasn’t exactly the best and her association with him was hindering her getting a Government job. I helped her get documentation that she wants nothing to do with him. She’s thankful.”

“What did her husband do?”

“Ties fringe terrorists. Before they had gotten together. When she applied the first time, it became apparent. She was shocked but one of the men was still coming around. Trying to step in for missing dad. She cut him out of her life after but still the stain stayed.”

“She stops at cookies on your birthday?” Aaron knew that Spencer liked his building mates. It was why he didn’t want to go somewhere else to live. Why he had waited for the flat to be sold. He knows about the couple who live on the floor below the flat. They’d been married for ten years and six months and decided that they couldn’t live together. So, they rented the two largest apartments in the building. Ate all their meals together, watched movies, did everything a married couple did except actually live in the same apartment. Then there was the old woman on the first floor who drilled a hole in her wall so that she could watch every single person who came in and out of the building. Thankfully she didn’t like to fiddle with cameras or Aaron was sure that everyone who came in and out would have a picture on her wall.

“No. But she does the rest here in the building and I can live with that. Gabriel has a key to my place so she just slips in and leaves things. When I got all moved in, well I found a mocha tart on my counter when we got back from Savannah.”

“And you didn’t bring in some to share?”

“No. I’m not giving up my source of sweets. Morgan would hog her and Garcia would want to do bake offs with her. I keep things secret that need to stay secret.”

The kitten running full tilt on the kitchen floor chasing the ring that he’d just batted across the floor had them stopping to watch. The ring stopped and the kitten didn’t, sliding on his side into the cabinet doors. Aaron wasn’t sure if he was allowed to laugh or not so he waited. There was no sound from Spencer. Finally, he turned to see Spencer bent over holding his sides. He was heaving like he was having trouble breathing. Aaron had never seen him laugh like that. He watched as Spencer fell to his butt on the floor, leaning against the cabinets. The kitten wandered over and rubbed at his side. Spencer picked him up with shaking hands.

“He sure doesn’t stop on a dime,” Spencer said between gasping breaths. Aaron finally let loose and laughed. He grabbed his beer and snagged Spencer’s as well and took a seat across from him on the floor. Spencer held his hand out for the beer and Aaron gave it over as the kitten settled down in his lap.

“No, he doesn’t. He’s going to enjoy having hard wood floors on the whole floor.”

“I’m getting a few rugs for in front of the couch and other places. With Henry though, not for places where food is being eaten.”

A knock on the door startled Aaron but Spencer just stood up. The door opened as Spencer got close to it and a teenage boy stepped inside. His eyes widened when he saw Aaron standing up from the kitchen floor. The teen held several bags of things in one hand and two boxes of pizza in the other. Spencer took one of the boxes of pizza and handed it back to Aaron. Then he took the bags.

“Litter and pan are in the car still. I’ll run down and grab them after I put the pizza up in my room.”

“Thanks, Gabriel. I didn’t want to leave him alone. Want to meet him?” Spencer set the bags of things down on the island counter before looking around. The kitten was at Gabriel’s feet already.

“He’s cute. So just like we talked?”

“Yes. I’ll text when we leave for a case.”

Gabriel smiled and nodded before he turned to leave.

“He going to be taking care of Curiosity?” Aaron started to help him pull things out of the bags. Kitten food, bowls, even cans of wet food were sitting in the bag he was dealing with. Spencer’s bag had toys, bath supplies, a litter scoop, and a few bags of treats. The first toy to land on the floor was what looked like a tiny wiffle ball. It bounced and the sound of a bell rang out. Curiosity’s head whipped around to look at it and then he took off towards it. He batted it around. Spencer smiled.

“Yes. He offered when he found out why I was moving and wanted to get a cat.” Curiosity wound around Spencer’s feet as he opened the box of pizza. Two plates were grabbed from the cabinets and then the genius was setting one down in front of him. Aaron grabbed two slices of his half of the pizza. Aaron’s had pepperoni, onion, and green peppers on it and Spencer had the same except pineapple as well.

Dinner was eaten quickly, only interrupted when Gabriel brought back the litter and the pan for it. Spencer ate his half of the pizza and then set up the pan in the guest bathroom. Aaron held his last piece, watching Spencer set it up and Curiosity seemed to want to play in the scoopable litter more than anything but when Spencer had the pan full the kitten started to scratch around. It felt weird to watch the kitten do his business but Aaron didn’t really feel like he needed to turn away. When he jumped from the box, Spencer praised him and fed him a treat.

“I thought that he might have been dropped off. The Marines talk that a lot of people drop kittens and puppies off near the base. He seems housebroken.” Spencer set the bag of treats on a shelf up where the kitten wouldn’t be able to jump from anything to get to them and then wandered out of the bathroom.

“He’s a cuddler all right.”

“I’ll give him a bath real quick. I can see where you wiped him off but I’m sure that he’ll feel better after a bath.”

“Good luck with that!” Aaron said, smiling. He remembered watching Sean giving a kitten that had wandered into the backyard a bath. When Spencer passed by him, heading back into the bathroom with the kitten shampoo as well as what looked like Dawn dish soap, in his hands, Aaron took his leave. There was going to be a lot of water everywhere. He didn’t want to get wet again.

Finding a book to read, Aaron set himself up on the couch. He laid down with his head on the arm and the book propped up on his chest so he could read.

The next thing he knew, Aaron was being shaken awake. He looked around to see Spencer crouched beside him. Curiosity was on his chest, curled into a ball. He was still a little damp but dead asleep.

“He escaped and I found him curled on your chest. I decided to leave him while I cleaned up. You looked so peaceful. You can crash here tonight. I have the far left guest room setup with clean sheets.”

“Are you sure?”

“It’s a guest room, Hotch. Guests sleep in it. We’ve shared bread, you can sleep safe.”

“I have a feeling that is something geeky that passed me over.”

“You are partially right. It dates back to older times and the safety of staying in strange places. It’s gained a broader knowing since Game of Thrones came out. I have the books. You can borrow them. Well the ones that are out.” Spencer moved to the book shelves closer to the kitchen. He grabbed five books that were spectacularly thick. He set them down on the coffee table and then crouched at his side again. Aaron watched as one of his hands moved to pet at Curiosity.

“How many pages?” Aaron wanted to lean up and kiss him.

“Five thousand, seven hundred and five, that’s first editions that came out. Don’t worry about returning them. It’ll be a while before the sixth book comes out. Six years between four and five and five just came out.”

“I’ll take the first and go from there.”

“If you want we can watch the show together. When Jack is not around.”

“That gruesome?”

“Yes, but also a lot of sex.”

“Are you sure about me staying the night?” Aaron wanted to get away from the subject of sex. Sex and Spencer were not two subjects he wanted to be thinking about in the same thought.

“It’s lateish and it’s stupid to drive home just to sleep. I have a perfectly good spare bed. It’s no different than when we’re on a case except for better beds.”

“Fine. Far left?” Aaron leaned up, cradling Curiosity so the shift in his little body was minimal. The kitten shifted but otherwise didn’t react at all. Spencer smiled and moved towards the largest bedroom. Which was at the other end of the wall from Aaron’s. He liked the layout. The master bedroom had a bathroom that was wholly enclosed in the room. Spencer’s walk in closet gave buffer room between the master room and the middle room. The buffer between the middle room and the far left was the second bathroom. Both bedrooms fed into the bathroom as well as there being a door from the rest of the flat. The bathroom was massive. There was a large tub as well as an enclosed stand up shower. He hadn’t seen the master bedroom much less the bath but he knew that it had a large glass enclosed shower and a claw foot tub. It was one of Spencer’s favorite things about the flat.

“Yes. I left a key on the side table by the door. I know you go running in the mornings. I already grabbed your go bag from the trunk. It’s in the room.”

“Sure of yourself aren’t you?”

“No. I just know you. Logic wins, especially when I present it. Not going home means more sleep.” Spencer was wearing the smile he wore when he knew he’d won whatever argument he was having. It was also the smile Aaron saw all the time in their debates. He just hadn’t seen it since Prentiss came back.

“Fine. You win.”

Spencer smiled and Aaron had to fight hard not to lean over and kiss him. Instead, he reached out and clasped his shoulder as he stood. Curiosity mewled pitifully at the sudden movement but he didn’t try and leave. Aaron laid him down on the pillow and he kitten just curled into a ball.

Spencer padded over to his bedroom, pulling the door shut behind him. Aaron listened but no sounds came from in the room. Aaron looked at his room. Spencer was normal. He was exactly as he had been before Dave had brought up Beth. He knew he needed to bring up that he and Beth were nothing. He just wasn’t sure how. Maybe the morning would bring an answer.
The End

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