Fandom: Criminal Minds
Year: Season 10 (2015)
Tags: Angst, Hurt/Comfort,
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid, Past Spencer Reid/Emily Prentiss,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 10
Summary: Family was a word that Aaron used for him and Spencer and Jack, just never to Spencer’s face and the one time that he had to prove it, he messed up.
It wasn’t like his apartment was a monument to the secret that he was keeping in his life. There was no evidence of his lover anywhere in the apartment except for the master bedroom and bathroom. The contact case that was in the top drawer. The hairbrush and the few styling products that lived in the corner of the counter. The second rag in the shower and the second set of bath products. Any profiler could look at the bathroom and see that a second person lived there. In the bedroom it was the closet with a second style of clothes as well as a whole side of the dresser with socks that he’d never wear and a drawer with boxer briefs.
At least before that night all of those things had been in his bedroom and bathroom.
Aaron stared at the bedroom in utter shock. The closet door was open and he knew that he and Spencer always kept it closed. The drawers that had held Spencer’s things were open and empty. He hadn’t been in the bathroom but he figured it would look the same. The only evidence that Spencer had been in the room was the book on his side of the bed. It was on the nightstand where the genius had set it down when he’d carried from the living room. It was one of Aaron’s law texts.
There was a single sheet of paper on Aaron’s pillow.
I thought that this relationship was something different than it was and the blame for that falls totally on my feet. I just cannot be in the type of relationship that you so obviously want. I am going to be using up two weeks of my stored up leave. It has already been cleared. I told Cruz that you were at a family party and I was unwilling to bother you. I told him that I had some family issues that popped up. I hope that by the time I get back we can go back to what we were. Coworkers. I will not be asking for a transfer from the unit so if you cannot accept that, I am sorry but you will have to transfer me. You will have to explain what happened to the team.
I would prefer it if you allowed Garcia to call me about case work from now on. I will not be answering phone calls from you unless I am working.
I will abide by whatever decision you make about Jack but know that I will always be there for him. I will be in his life as much as he wants but again, if you decide that I am to not be part of his life, you have to tell him that as I will always tell him the truth.
Doctor S. Reid
Aaron sat down on the bed and stared at the letter. He knew he’d have an upset Spencer when he got home, if Spencer had even stayed. He knew there would be a fallout but he hadn’t expected this.
“Dad, where’s Spencer?” Jack asked as he entered the room. It was summer so his bedtime was later than normal. Aaron didn’t know what to say. He moved to the drawers and shut them, hoping Jack didn’t seem them empty.
“He stayed at his apartment tonight, Jack.”
“Oh.” Jack frowned. “We were going to play Minecraft.”
“I’m sorry, buddy. Hey, maybe he’s online.” Aaron hoped he was. For Jack’s sake. Jack smiled and took off towards the living room. The sounds of the XBox starting up sounded through the apartment. Aaron sighed and moved towards the couch. Jack had his headphones on and a controller in his hand. The smile on his face when the screen loaded up told Aaron that yes Spencer was online.
“Spencer, where are you?”
“I’m getting ready to head to visit family, Jack. I’ve had some family issues that popped up. I have to leave in an hour to catch my flight. We can play for a little while.” Jack hadn’t turned the volume of the TV off yet. Spencer’s voice sounded normal.
“Family issues? But why didn’t Dad know about it?” Jack looked at Aaron with a look of shock on his face.
“You’ll have to discuss that with your father.” Spencer still sounded normal, at least to what Jack would be able to pick up.
“You always say that when you don’t know what to say and you are making sure you don’t say the wrong thing. Spencer, what’s wrong? Why didn’t you go with us tonight?”
Aaron cursed his son in his mind. Over XBox Live was not the way that this was supposed to go. There was a pause. Just long enough for Aaron to know that Spencer weighing the answers.
“Ask your father.”
Jack stared at Aaron and then he ripped the headphones off his head and ran off. Aaron followed. Unsure of what his son was doing. He expected to find him in his bedroom but instead he was in the master bedroom. He had the drawers that had been Spencer’s open. The drawers were just as empty as they had been when Aaron had found them. He wanted to hate Spencer. The man cared so much for Jack that he was willing to go with whatever lie Aaron wanted to concoct to make Spencer the bad guy, just to have him not hate his surviving parent. Jack moved away from the dresser and grabbed the cordless phone sitting on it’s cradle on Aaron’s bedside and started to dial. He looked at Aaron as he walked past him and into his own bedroom, slamming the door shut. Next he heard the closet door shut.
All he could do was wait. He had no clue what Spencer was telling him. He wanted to know but he wouldn’t betray Jack’s privacy. Aaron dropped to his ass just outside his son’s bedroom door and waited. He listened for any noise. Any little thing that would tell him what was going on.
Ten minutes went by and nothing.
Twenty and he thought he heard the sound of the closet door opening.
Thirty minutes and he heard a door open but it wasn’t the one in front of him. It was his front door. He heard the door shut and heeled feet striding down the hall. He looked up to see Jessica standing there. The look on her face reminded Aaron so much of Haley that it was stepping back into the past. She didn’t saw a word just knocked on the door and then it opened. Jack was standing there with Aaron’s old go bag in his hand and his backpack over his shoulder. He hugged him quickly and then was moving away. He didn’t understand.
“I’m going to spend the next few days with Aunt Jessica.”
“I’m sorry, Aaron,” Jessica said as she followed Jack. Jack was upset and Aaron could understand that. If Aaron had somewhere else to go he would. He didn’t understand what had caused this. He needed to do that.
Aaron thought back over the day. The morning had been perfect. Spencer had stayed the night and Aaron had woke up wrapped around him. It was a late morning. Cruz had told them all to wander in whenever they wanted before noon given their caseloads lately. Aaron had heard Jack in the living room watching TV so he knew that he’d be occupied at least for a little while longer.
It hadn’t taken long to wake up Spencer and have a hushed, slow round of morning sex. Showers and then a late breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast with juice for the three of them. Spencer had moved to the living room to settle in with a case file from the C.A.R.D. team on an active case they were working and wanted his help with. Aaron had ushered Jack through getting ready to drop him off at a friends for the day. Many of the stay at home mom’s of Jack’s friends were more than willing to watch him throughout the day while he was at work during the summer months so that Jessica could have some days to herself and not have to work and watch him. Jack had been so happy when he’d worked it out.
Work at the office was fine, up until Aaron had got ready to leave early for the birthday party for a set of twins by one of Haley’s cousins. The twins were just a year older than Jack and were his closest friends in the family. There had been a smaller birthday party for the extended family over the weekend but that night had been for the kids. An evening at a paintball/laser tag range. Jack had been so excited to go. There were going to be plenty of adults there and it was a chance for them to catch up. Aaron hadn’t even thought about going until Jessica had pointed out it was the part of the family that didn’t blame him for Haley’s death, who knew that he’d done everything he could have done. The invitation had even named Spencer. Aaron had just thought they were being nice. There was no hating him for Haley’s death and bringing his younger than him male lover to a birthday party with his dead ex-wife’s family.
When Jack and he had shown up, no one said a thing. There had been a few looks but then Aaron was in his work suit, not having enough time to change out of it. It was rare that he wore suits to family things. The twins had been in the middle of a laser tag match but as soon as they had seen Jack, they were across the room, pulling him away. Samuel had asked where Spencer was and Aaron had answered that he hadn’t been able to get out of work. Jessica had asked where he really was and Aaron had answered the same thing again. He’d already had the discussion with Spencer that it wasn’t right to display him in front of the family. That the twins only wanted him there and it would make things awkward. He’d wondered then why Jessica had brought it up. Surely she understood.
Aaron sighed and leaned his head back against the wall just as his phone went off. He jerked it out of his pocket a lot harder than he would have. He hoped it was Spencer. When he saw who was calling, he sighed again but answered it.
“Aaron, I was hoping that Spencer was around.” Valerie was the twins mother and Haley’s cousin. “Samuel and Tina want to thank him for their gift.”
“Gift?” Aaron questioned. Aaron and Jack had taken their gift to the party. He hadn’t taken a gift from Spencer.
“The sweet man had it messengered over. It arrived at the same time that we arrived home from the party. It was a shame that he wasn’t able to make it. One would think that since you are his boss that he would be able to get the night off but I understand that he was probably very busy.” The tone that Valerie used told him that the twins were right there and that she didn’t believe a word that she was saying. It was then that Aaron figured it out. It had been a family outing that Spencer had been invited to. A family outing that Aaron denied him the right to go to. Family. I thought that this relationship was something different than it was and the blame for that falls totally on my feet. I just cannot be in the type of relationship that you so obviously want.
“I’ll give you Spencer’s cellphone number. I’d texted him first though. He tends to not answer numbers he doesn’t recognize.” Aaron didn’t want to be on the phone any longer. He didn’t want to be there.
“That sounds like you aren’t going to be seeing him for a while. Aaron?”
“His cell phone number is the best way to reach him.” Aaron rattled off the numbers and then hung up. He jumped to his feet and grabbed his keys, leaving the apartment. He got into his car and drove to Reagan. He found that the flight to Vegas was leaving in the hour. He had enough time to catch Spencer. The plane was just starting to board but there was no Spencer. He’d bought a quick ticket to Vegas. The money didn’t matter to him. He took a seat and waited but twenty minutes before the gates were going to close, Aaron knew he wasn’t coming. The only family that Spencer cared about was in Vegas. Where else could he be going? He looked at the doors and made the decision that he was going.
A quick call to Cruz had him off for at least the next day. Thankfully the man could tell that something was wrong and gave him the day willingly with more if needed. Aaron was the last to board the plane. He took his seat and waited. He was thankful that no one was seated in the seats beside him because his leg bounced the entire way too Vegas. His thoughts were on getting Spencer and making sure that he never left again.
The night’s problems were wholly at his feet. He’d known going in that Spencer was all in. He knew that the younger man craved family and Aaron had brought him and made him part of the family but their little family of three was the end of that scope. He could see where Spencer felt that he was a dirty little secret. Those words hadn’t been used in the letter but the tone was more than enough. He’d screwed up so much.
Aaron cleared the airport, waiting for a taxi to take him to Bennington before he tried to call Dave. It was the middle of the night and the man didn’t answer. That didn’t shock him. He left a message stating that he wouldn’t be in the office that day. Changing his mind halfway there, Aaron had himself dropped off at a car rental place. He didn’t want to rely on taxi’s to get around. He was just about to pay when his cell phone started ringing. He looked at the caller ID. It was Garcia.
“Hotchner,” Aaron said as he answered it.
“Sir, why was Reid’s passport pinged? I didn’t even know he had a passport.” Garcia sounded alert more alert than she should be.
“I have things that tell me when weird things happen. Obviously Morgan going to Cuba or other places like that don’t ping but Boy Wonder’s passport for Germany would be worthy of a ping. He flew out five hours ago. Sir, what’s going on?”
“I know that he asked Cruz for two weeks leave.” Aaron waved at the person to stop. He covered the phone. “I guess I won’t need the car. I’m sorry for wasting your time.” Aaron uncovered the phone and stepped outside the car rental place. Family was in Vegas. So who was in Germany? “He told Cruz it was a family thing.”
“Hold on.” The clacking of keys told Aaron that she was at work. She’d probably got the ping and went in to see if it was worth calling in the rest of the team. “I don’t ping anyone that Reid is related to in Germany or the surrounding area. I do have…an email from…Prentiss that states she’s in Germany. It even has her address. Why is Reid going to see Prentiss?”
“I don’t know.” Aaron waved down a taxi, naming the airport he wanted. The driver grunted and then they were off. Why was Spencer going to Germany? Why was he going to see Prentiss?
“Why are you in Las Vegas, Sir?” Garcia asked.
“I…I did a stupid thing and I was trying to correct it.” Aaron wasn’t even shocked that she knew where he was.
“What did you do to Spencer, Sir?” Garcia’s voice hardened as she spoke. Their relationship was still where neither of them wanted to share with the team. Dave knew. He was their watcher. Making sure they didn’t do stupid things and when they did, he called them on it. It hadn’t happened yet.
“I made a mistake.”
“And he’s going to Germany to get away from you? Not home to his mother? Not here to any of the team but all the way to Germany? What kind of lover’s spat did you have that sent him all the way to Germany?”
Aaron wasn’t shocked that she knew. He wasn’t really if everyone on the team knew but never mentioned it because they wanted their privacy. “I basically told him, and I didn’t know it at the time, that I don’t consider him part of my family.” Aaron waited. He expected a blow up. He expected the stuttering gasps that told him that Garcia was pissed. He never expected her to hang up on him.
Arriving back at his apartment six hours later, Aaron exited his car. He was shocked to see Roy standing there at the elevator. He looked and didn’t see Jessica.
“I had her drop me off an hour ago. Some woman named Penelope called and told her that you were catching a flight back from Vegas and that your boyfriend was on his way to Germany. Jack was a little upset but when Jessica explained he was going to see Aunt Emily, he settled down. You and I need to have a talk.”
Aaron waved for Roy to walk in front of him towards the elevator that would take them to the ground floor. The older man was silent up until they entered the apartment.
“I was never happy when Jessica said that you had moved on. Told me you were dating again. I can’t stand the thought of you happy with Haley dead. She never would tell me who you were dating so I talked to Jack a lot. Never asking outright. It took six months for me to figure out that this Doctor Reid, Spencer, was the boyfriend. I was shocked. I was angry. Pissed. I was half tempted to call your boss and tell them that you were sleeping with a subordinate. Then Jack was talking one night about something that he and Spencer did and that’s when I saw it. Jack loved him. You are always respectful, never inviting him over to things that the family is going to be at. Making sure he isn’t around when I am visiting Jack. I may be losing my mind but I’m not an idiot not yet. I can tell that you love Haley still. The divorce was never because of a lack of love. This Spencer understands you in a way that no one else has ever been able to, except for Jack. Spencer has been the best thing in Jack’s life since Haley died. There was a reason that the selection of those invited to the birthday part was so small. It was all the family that you and him could be yourself around. He was invited and you told him no. That wasn’t your right.”
“I know, Roy.” Aaron started but one look from Roy had him shutting up.
“No. I’m talking right now. You fucked this up royally. Valerie called Jessica and now at the apartment is Valerie and her husband, Samuel and Tina, Jessica and Jack. I’m sure that by the time they are done, Spencer will be more welcome at family gatherings than you. Jack’s already made the decision that he’s not coming home until Spencer comes home and if he never does, he never is as well. When he figured out why Spencer didn’t come to the party, he broke down.”
Aaron was shocked at that. Spencer hadn’t told him?
“That’s right. Jack spent that time on the phone and told Jack that he would always love him but that sometimes relationships didn’t work out and that no blame was going to be laid at his feet. It was him and it was you that messed it up but that the both of you loved him. I listened as Jack told every single bit of this to Jessica. Jack put it together when the twins told him that Spencer had messengered over the present. You have a lot of things of what you want out of life, Aaron. You had the white picket fence and it wasn’t enough. You had a man that loved you more than life itself and loved your son so much that he’d rather that son be upset with him over something that wasn’t his fault than have him upset with you. No one in this family will stop Jack from seeing Spencer. At the moment the women are treating this like a divorce. The holidays at which Spencer is going to be invited with Jack and you invited with Jack are being doled out. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the time I get back there is a whole conclave of Brooks women and some men weighing in.”
“What do you expect me to do? Spencer ran to Germany.”
“Yes. That’s something else that I know that you don’t. I know why he ran to Germany. I know who Aunt Emily is. Aaron, when someone says they should probably tell you who their past lovers have been, you really should listen. Especially when that last lover’s name is Emily Prentiss.”
Aaron stopped breathing, stopped moving, stopped everything but thinking. Spencer had tried hard for two weeks to talk to him about his past lovers. In the end, the genius had dropped it rather than fight. Aaron could understand now why his lover had been so into telling him.
“I think that it’s time I take my leave. Jack or Jessica will call when he’s ready to come home.” Roy was silent as he lumbered out of the apartment. Aaron dropped onto his couch and just sat there. He didn’t know what to do to fix this. He could hop on a plane and got to Germany, get on his knees and beg. Makes promises that he had every single intention of keeping. He was trying to flesh out his plans when a knock came at the door. He ignored it.
“Hotch, I will break this door down!” Morgan yelled.
Signing, Aaron moved and threw open the door. Morgan, Dave, and JJ were there. He took in the stormy looks on their faces and knew that this wasn’t going to be pleasant. JJ entered first. She looked fit to be tied and Aaron wasn’t sure that he was going to survive this. Entering her second trimester had made her a mama bear of epic proportions and since she couldn’t mother Henry while at work, the team was the fall guys. With Spencer getting the most of it.
“Spencer has landed in Germany and Emily has him. I wanted to come alone but Morgan wanted a piece of you and Rossi is here to make sure that if we kill you, there won’t be a trace back to us,” JJ said as she sat down on the couch that Aaron had been sitting on. She looked like she belonged there. Morgan took a chair while Dave stayed in a neutral position.