Spencer hated not knowing and at the moment he knew nothing. He knew Hotch was in the hospital. His cell phone was beside him. Given that he was out of surgery on his leg and that there was an active case going on, he’d talked the nurses into letting him keep it. As long as he didn’t live on it. He’d texted the team when he’d got out of surgery but no one had replied to him. No one had even checked in on him. He worried about what that meant about Hotch. The nurses had given him some anti nausea medicine in his drip added to his non-narcotic pain meds. He could suffer leg pain if it meant he didn’t relapse and he wouldn’t feel that itch under his skin.
Pushing those thoughts away, Spencer grabbed the paper a nurse had brought in for him. He tried to lose himself in the words but he wasn’t able to. He read the whole thing but he wasn’t able to enjoy it at all. When his phone vibrated on the table, he almost knocked it off in his haste to get to it.
“How’s Hotch?” Spencer asked as soon as he had it up to his ear. He hadn’t even looked at the caller.
“Spencer?” Haley asked. Spencer pulled the phone back and saw that it was a Private Number. He put it back up to his ear.
“Haley?” Spencer asked back, unable to process anything else. Why was Haley calling him? Did that meant the worst? No she wasn’t crying. What the hell was happening?
“Spencer where are you? You weren’t with Aaron at the hospital like the rest of the team.”
Spencer felt the knot in his stomach working itself loose a little. If she saw him at the hospital, it meant he was alive.
“I was shot on a case earlier in the day. I got out of surgery a little bit ago for damage to my knee. How is Hotch? The team isn’t getting back to me and all I know is that there was blood in his apartment and he wasn’t there.”
Spencer listened as Haley went over all that she knew, including that she and Jack were going into Witness Protection because it was the Reaper. The Reaper had threatened them. He filed it all away.
“Why isn’t anyone on the team there with you?” Haley asked when she finished with her story.
“Hotch is important and I’m fine.”
“Spencer, you had surgery. Aaron had surgery before you. He’s been awake and talking since before you even went into surgery if my timeline is correct. I don’t like that no one has checked on you.”
“I’m fine,” Spencer lied. He knew the road he had to get back to one hundred percent.
“I may not work with you daily but I can tell when you are lying. How close were you to not being able to go into the field again?”
“Close.” Spencer didn’t even go into the fact that he’d had to have bloodwork done again. The UnSub’s blood had got on him. It was always a factor in field wounds with too many injured and not enough medics but the doctor had the other man’s blood on him when he’d touched Spencer after the medics started on the UnSub. He had another surgery planned and it would be the final decider on when he got to go home and if he could be allowed in the field again. The brace on his leg was horrid looking, from hip to ankle he had metal and under it was white bandages.
“And you are important, Spencer. You are a member of the team. Even if you and Aaron didn’t have this arrangement, he’s going to be upset the second that he finds out you are injured and alone. As well as the fact that it’s being kept from him because no matter how upset he is at being in the hospital and how much pain he is in, he would have told me. He would have told me that you were shot and he didn’t, which means that he doesn’t know.”
Spencer kept that it must have meant that Hotch hadn’t asked about him either to himself. Haley had enough to deal with and didn’t need his mood to bother her as well.
“Are you there?”
“Yes, I’m here. Just thinking about Foyet and the case and seeing how we could have prevented it.”
“There was nothing. Aaron said that you guys weren’t even aware that he was out for blood. Aaron said that the profile was too incomplete but the fact that he stayed in Boston to watch that cop should have been an indicator. Aaron more wants to know how his neighbors never reported the gunshot.”
“He was shot!? You didn’t say that!” Spencer cried out. He looked up to see a nurse coming at him. He laid back not realizing he’d been sitting up some in the bed. The nurse stopped and glared. He nodded at her, a promise to settle down. “You didn’t say he’d been shot.”
“No, the Reaper fired a shot near him but it was from a forty four and how did his neighbors not report it. He’s in a wonderful area. It’s not like shots fired are a common occurrence.”
“I don’t know. When did it happen?”
“Aaron said that the Reaper was waiting for him when he got home and that he’d gone straight from the jet to home like the rest of you were supposed to do as well.”
“I did. I collapsed on my couch. I didn’t even try and make it to bed.” Spencer figured out the time it would have taken in the traffic that was out last night. He would have made it home at around the same time that Spencer did. Everyone in his apartment complex would have been home. The shot should have at least woke them up. Spencer started to wonder why none of them at least checked on what was happening. If they had, the Reaper could have been caught before he’d been able to get Aaron out of there and possibly before he’d stabbed him.
“Look the Marshalls want me to get off the phone. I just called to ask you to please take care of him. Don’t let him do anything stupid. He listens to you. And I know that it’s going to be a long while before either of you are up to…what you do but don’t shut him out. Don’t let him shut you out.”
“I’ll try my hardest on all of those. That’s all I can do.”
“I know. Be safe Spencer and keep Aaron as safe as you can, please?”
“I will. You stay safe. Do what the Marshalls tell you. They are the best at this.”
Spencer set his phone down after making sure it was hung up. He closed his eyes and relaxed his head back on the bed. He’d been in the hospital too much lately. He rubbed his hand at the little bit of skin that was between the top of the bandage and the brace.
Haley and he had grown apart a little in the wake of the divorce but they shared one man in common and that was Hotch. She loved him even if she couldn’t stay married to him. He knew that Hotch had never wanted his job to touch his family like that. It was rare that they played a game like this with an UnSub. Their solve rate wasn’t a hundred percent but those they didn’t catch dug deeper and hid. They didn’t attack an agent and threaten his family.
George Foyet wasn’t like any killer they had ever gone after.
Spencer remembered that lunch that he had with Hotch, Haley, and Jack. Spencer hadn’t wanted to go but Hotch had talked him into it using Haley. When he’d got there though, Haley had seemed genuinely happy to see him. She’d stood up from the booth table and hugged him, kissing his cheek. Hotch had got a less enthusiastic kiss on the cheek and a very brief hug. Even Jack had wanted to hug him.
When they finally got seated, Spencer hadn’t been shocked that he’d been placed on the inside seat of the booth. Haley had already taken the side that their backs to the door. It was unfortunately a side effect of eating in diners and the like on cases. It was hard to escape the need to see the doors where people enter and exit. Nothing as bad as Gideon had been after the Bale bombing but it was there. Anyone on the team seeing the exits was good enough for them all. Hotch had settled with his hand on Spencer’s thigh and while it helped to calm him down, Spencer hadn’t exactly been sure why he had sat like that.
Jack had been a little chatter box telling Hotch all about what he had been doing in preschool. Spencer had been happy to listen to the boy. It had taken several minutes for him to realize that he was the only one listening to Jack as Hotch ordered for both Spencer and himself. He only realized it fully when a cup of coffee was set in front of him. He took a sip to find it prepared perfect for him. He looked at Hotch for a second before turning back when Jack had asked him about the dinosaur toy he had in his hand. It had taken a few starts and stops with answers to Jack’s questions but Spencer was able to talk to Jack about the dinosaurs he had brought with him. The boy understand him and was happy to learn all he could about them.
Then Jack had disappeared under the table. Spencer had looked at Hotch and then Haley in shock but Hotch only scooted away, lifting his hand from his thigh in time for a little head to poke out between them. Jack scooted himself up and into the little space made between the two men. Spencer had looked at Hotch again with what was fear on his face. Hotch had only laughed and moved to where he was turned towards his son a little more. Haley scooted over the toys and the questions had become more pressed from the little boy.
Jack had figured out that Spencer knew a lot about dinosaurs and he had spent the entire meal trying to get it all out of his head. It was then that Spencer figured out exactly how intelligent the boy was. Most of Spencer’s contact with children was during cases. Even then he knew that many of them asked the same questions over and over as they tried to save all the new information. Jack didn’t ask a lot of the same questions. Mainly his questions were about pronunciation of dinosaur names. Hotch and Haley had talked in low tones while Spencer entertained Jack even while they were eating.
When Hotch had finished eating, Spencer had nearly jumped feeling fingers brushing down his neck. He figured that would be it but then the fingers went up again. Hotch didn’t remove his hand until they had scooted out of the booth with a tired Jack nestled in Hotch’s arms. Haley had been all smiles. Dessert had arrived in the way of ice cream sundaes. Jack had got strawberry, Hotch caramel, and both Spencer and Haley got chocolate. Jack had wanted to try Spencer’s and Haley had offered her own but Jack had wanted his. Spencer, seeing that Jack was getting tired had offered a bite of his. Jack had even offered a bit of his back. By the time that the sundaes were gone, Jack had eaten more of Spencer’s ice cream than Spencer had, as well as most of his own. He didn’t think that the boy should have had that much sugar but when Jack’s eyes had started to droop, Spencer had let the thought go. Jack had been dead asleep when Hotch had placed him in his seat in his mother’s car.
The arrival of a nurse pulled Spencer out of his thoughts about his time with the Hotchner family. He was worried about Hotch. Worried about how he was going to do now that he didn’t have Jack’s visits to look forward to. Jack’s birthday was coming up and Spencer was quite sure that it was going to be a stressful time for Hotch. He’d do everything he could to help him. At least everything that Hotch would allow him to do, that is.