Series: The Alphabet Game
Fandom: Criminal Minds,
Year: Season 7
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Jimmy Palmer,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 7
Summary: Knowledge is power. Aaron finds that his lack of knowledge about Spencer is what truly caused the issues and he decides that he needs more power.
Spencer sat down at the table. Aaron had been stuck in a meeting that had run long and instead of losing the reservation that he had made for them, he told Spencer to go ahead and go to the restaurant. Aaron hadn’t called it a date, they were both going to be in their work clothes. Instead Aaron had called it a way to talk without doing it at either apartment, to give neither of them a home field advantage. Spencer hadn’t expected him to be invited back to Aaron’s anyway. So far Jack hadn’t been brought into any of this and given Aaron’s behavior of late, he was happy with that. He couldn’t fault Aaron a single thing he was doing to try and protect his son, as long as that was why Aaron wasn’t bringing Jack over.
Having taken a cab to the restaurant, Spencer gladly ordered a bottle of wine. It was a Friday and there were no cases brewing at the moment and he wanted to relax and indulge. He also had a feeling that a lot of things were going to be discussed and a looser tongue on his part would be a good thing. His alcohol tolerance was high. He adored wine and drank it a lot with meals at home and out. Sometimes he and Sam drank more than ate when he was in town and they went for a meal.
Halfway through his second glass, Aaron appeared, draping his suit jacket over the back of his seat. Spencer poured him a glass of wine before handing it over. The smile he got in return was radiant.
“Thank you. Strauss was very determined that she try and ruin my night.”
“So a second bottle?” Spencer asked with a smile. He was rewarded with a laugh. It wasn’t one of the ones that Aaron did around the team most of the time. It was a full laugh, his body shaking and to Spencer he was beautiful. “I love the wines here and heartily agree to drinking at least two bottles between us.”
“I didn’t take you for much of a drinker.”
“There was the issue for a while after Georgia where I was afraid that I’d trade one addiction for another but it’s just not there. I choose to not drink when out with the team on occasion but I love wine. I haven’t had the chance to stock up on it at the new flat yet.”
“I go to a winery in California to pick up what I like for home. I go and make a weekend of it and then ship home what I want.”
“You don’t talk about that kind of stuff with the team.”
“I heard you and Gideon back years ago. Talking about making me take vacations. For me taking time off is doing what I want. It’s not a go out and do things want. I want to relax and if that means going to a winery and starting the weekend reading on the patio, that’s okay with me. I hate explaining so I just don’t say a thing. New York has never held a passion for me. I’d rather go to England or even France. New York holds too many killers, same with Chicago. My brain can’t forget. I go to New York and I see all the victims. That’s not fun. If I go with someone I can be distracted. So I avoid high serial killer areas.”
“So you wouldn’t object to going with Jack and I?”
“No. Not at all. It would be fun.” Spencer’s mind started to think about where they could go. He stared at glass of wine as his fingers twirled it left and right by the stem. He didn’t realize that his mind had wandered off so far until something was set down in front of him. He looked at the food that he knew he hadn’t ordered and then looked at Aaron.
“I said your name and you didn’t respond. So I picked an appetizer I thought you would like. The waiter said it paired well with our wine.”
“Yes. Thank you. I don’t know where I went there.”
“I know your thinking face well enough.” Aaron was smiling at him and it was a fond smile. It made Spencer feel flushed. He took a sip of his wine and wondered if he should switch to water.
“It looks good.” The appetizer was a finger food so he set his glass down. “So is that what I am to expect every time you get jealous, because I have to say, I don’t think I can do it.”
“No. God, no Spencer.” Aaron reached across the table and laid his hand over Spencer’s. “That was more than just jealousy.” Aaron stood up and moved to sit at the seat right next to Spencer instead of across from him. He reached up and turned Spencer’s face to him. But he didn’t remove his hand. “I was upset thinking that I’d read too far into your friendship and how I missed it. Then I realized that I wasn’t and I thought you’d been stringing me along and instead of talking I did that horrible display of the most asshole boss ever. I was stupid.”
“So what do you do when jealous because I don’t realize that most people are flirting with me. I have gotten better but just two weeks ago on a case, Morgan pointed out that one of the reporters was flirting with me. I didn’t see it until he pointed it out and when we saw her the next day I couldn’t unsee it. I know that I am good looking. I know that people can like me, I just don’t realize that they are flirting.”
“I know. All of us know that.” Aaron looked him in the eye and Spencer knew just seconds before what he was going to do. He had time to prepare but still the press of lips on his own took his breath away. Aaron slid his hand from Spencer’s cheek to the back of his neck and he felt like melting into his chair. His skin tingled where Aaron was touching him. “I can’t say I won’t get jealous but on the job I’ll act like I always do when someone is flirting with you.”
“And how is that?”
“I usually send JJ or Morgan to save you.”
Spencer’s jaw dropped open in shock. He thought back to all the times over the years that one or both of them would come in to where he was working and engage him in conversation usually stopping someone else from talking to him. “Every time?”
“Pretty much. There had been a time or two that Dave’s had to do it.”
“I don’t know what to say to that.” Spencer couldn’t stop his mind from thinking over every single time that it had happened. “What about when not working?”
“I’ll probably kiss you. Or hold you close. Show them that you are mine.” Aaron’s hand was still on the back of his neck. It slid down his onto his shoulder then down lower. It stopped its descent on his thigh. Curling there possessively. Spencer swallowed as heat started to fill his body. “Like this. Touching you in intimate ways. Daring them to even think of touching you that way. If that’s okay with you?”
Spencer could only nod as he looked at Aaron’s face. The older man didn’t move from that spot. He pulled his appetizer to the new spot as well as his silverware and wine. The waiter didn’t even blink an eye as he topped off Spencer’s water glass. Spencer picked it up and drank a few gulps.
“What about you?” Aaron asked as he tucked into his food. Spencer thought about it as he picked up a bite of his own. He chewed while thinking.
“I honestly don’t know. The few relationships I’ve had were never challenged in that way. And I can extrapolate to the ends of the earth but I won’t know how I’ll act until it happens.”
“I could see you being all possessive but instead of being alpha male about it, you would be sly and smart. Cut them with words. Be the intelligence snob I know you could be.”
Spencer shrugged. He didn’t like being seen that way. He didn’t look at Aaron and concentrated on his food. He remembered Morgan comparing him to an UnSub once, who constantly needed to show other people he was smarter than them. He didn’t need to prove that he was smarter, he knew he was and that was enough. Still the thought that others saw him that way was upsetting to him. He worked on finishing his appetizer and drained his wine.
“You aren’t known for letting things go, why didn’t you force me to talk to you?” Aaron asked as Spencer filled his own wineglass again.
“I was uncertain about how you felt after the kiss. If you ran because you hadn’t meant to kiss me. Or if you ran because the act of kissing me disgusted you. I gave you space and then you acted like such an asshole. I figured that it had to do with Abby but I was unsure. I know what it’s like, changing one’s thoughts on one’s own sexuality. I didn’t want to force you to confront something, if you weren’t ready.”
“I knew I had an attraction to men in college. Never did anything about it until I went to Seattle. Haley wasn’t willing to move and so we broke up. I loved her and tried to date but I couldn’t. So I indulged. A fellow agent was faithful to his partner but showed me gay friendly places. I accepted it and when I moved back to DC, Haley was single and we started dating again. Got married. And the rest you know.”
“Did Rossi talk to you? Alone?”
Aaron nodded, taking a sip of wine. “He made it seem like your change in acceptance of what you identify as was easy. I don’t think it was that easy. I know your mind went to scientific once you were alone but you had to have freaked out some.”
“I kind of did but sexuality is fluid. I know that and I know that there is science and people to back it up. I wasn’t that upset for long. Accepting that I had feelings for you. That’s what was the hardest. I spent a night thinking. Analyzing and going over it all before I accepted that part.”
“That’s the part that I find most intriguing. Even when you first joined the team. You have a scientific mind and you look at things different.”
“I know that’s why you send me to the MEs offices more than anyone else. I know that I see thing different but not many people realize that.”
“I met a few academics in my time as an attorney and it wasn’t hard to fit you into the slot. Even Gideon had trouble understanding your processes. Once he got you to look outside the box, you became what he thought you could be from the moment that he met you.”
Spencer felt that blush creeping back up on his face. “I didn’t…” Spencer closed his mouth. Not sure where he wanted to go with that. Aaron’s hand moved back to his leg, closer to his knee then his groin thankfully.
“I don’t say it and I know that the team doesn’t. But we do appreciate what you bring to the team. I’ve overheard some of the LEOs and others compare you to a walking Google but you are much more than that. Garcia can Google, but you know exactly what we need. You find links that Google can’t.” Aaron leaned over and kissed his cheek before turning his head to where his lips brushed Spencer’s ear. “And you are cute when you are on a statistics spiral. Especially when you do it just to work up Morgan.”
“Aaron,” Spencer chastised as he took a sip of his water. Aaron grabbed the wine bottle and finished it off by filling up his glass. The waiter stepped up with a fresh bottle and slipped it in the ice bucket before leaving. “Is this a date?”
“If you want it to be. Otherwise, it’s just two friends having a meal.”
“Friends don’t touch and kiss like this.”
“No, they generally don’t.”
“Everyone in here thinks we are on a date.”
“It doesn’t matter what they think, Spencer. This is me and you and what we want.”
“I want it to be a date.”
“Good. That means I get to kiss you at the end of the night.”
“You’ve already kissed me,” Spencer pointed out with a small laugh. Aaron smiled at him and it took his breath away. Spencer was still as Aaron moved closer again. He wasn’t shocked when he felt lips over his own.
“And you’ve not stopped me either,” Aaron whispered when he pulled back.
“No, I haven’t.” Spencer darted forward to place a quick kiss on Aaron’s lips before he tucked back into his appetizer. He was shocked when their meals were placed in front of them. He raised an eyebrow at Aaron.
“I’ve heard you talk about that before and how you’d not found somewhere here in town that does it as good as your favorite restaurant near Cal-Tech. Dave says that this place has the best in town.”
“I was really out of it there, wasn’t I?” Spencer ducked his head a little but stopped when he felt a hand on his chin, pulling his head back up.
“You only do that kind of thing when you know where you are and that you are safe. I find it very flattering that you did it in a full restaurant with me around. Never apologize.”
“Okay.” Spencer smiled and only then did Aaron release his chin. He looked down at his dinner and smiled even brighter looking forward to trying it.
The rest of the meal passed with them talking about small things. Books, TV shows, a few movies and the like. When time came for dessert to be picked, Aaron asked to choose for him. Since Aaron already picked the rest of the meal, Spencer agreed.
“So, Abby,” Aaron said after the waiter left with their dessert and coffee order. The second bottle of wine was long gone and Spencer felt loose enough to want to talk about things, but not so much he was even tipsy really.
“Is only a good friend. She’s very tactile and it took me a while to get used to it. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the touching is more for herself than for others. She likes to cuddle when someone feels bad but mainly because it helps her feel like she’s doing something. When I’ve had a lot of people staying over we have shared a bed but she’s never tried to start anything sexual. I’m not needy or clingy enough to want that with her.”
“Sounds like she might have a few…” Aaron trailed off. He shook his head. “I can’t promise to be nice.”
“Her hurt feelings are the least of my worries. I don’t have that close of an attachment. I’d miss her friendship but she brought that down on herself. Unfortunately, she’s not going to change anytime soon. Her boss spoils her and even McGee finds her bothersome.”
“I’m right, they have slept together?”
“Yes. I don’t delve into that relationship. I think it’s best not to.” Spencer laughed at the look of confusion on Aaron’s face. He was watching the other man’s face when a weird look crossed over it. His gaze was just over Spencer’s shoulder. Spencer turned to see where he was looking and saw Jimmy Palmer and his wife Breena. “That’s Jimmy and his wife Breena.”
“Oh, he looked excited to see you and then turned to his wife and whispered in her ear.”
“I’ve not seen Jimmy since Ducky recovered from his heart attack.”
“Ducky. As in Gibbs’ Ducky?”
“Yes. Jimmy is his assistant.”
“No wonder you like him. Dead bodies and all.” Aaron teased.
Spencer didn’t dignify it with any answer other than sticking his tongue out. He waved at Jimmy who waved back. The man’s eyes went to Aaron and widened a little before he smiled and waved again. Spencer nodded his head and then Jimmy and Breena left. He’d only met the man a few times usually when he went out with McGee and Abby. He was nice and they did have fun discussing dead bodies.
“Breena works as an embalmer.”
“Match made in heaven it seems.”
Spencer turned to Aaron and slapped his hand that was back on Spencer’s knee lighty. “You are playful tonight. I like this side of you.”
“Good.” Aaron squeezed his knee. “I’ve talked to Jack a little about dating and he seemed okay with it. I was thinking and not talking about him with you wasn’t a good idea. I can see where that could lend credence to the fact that I wasn’t serious. I want to talk to him and actually talk about dating you. Generalities are fine when I am looking for a date but I don’t want him shocked when it’s you.”
“You take the time you need on that. I don’t want you to feel rushed with it. We know that he likes me as a person. It’s just adding me as a fixture to your life.”
“You know Jack likes you. Henry adores you.”
“Henry also loves my flat.”
“I think it’s the hard wood floors and that he can move just a few things and slide in his socks. Curiosity loves it. Chases him around and one time snagged his sleep pants and was dragged along for the ride.”
“Adorable.” Aaron was still leaning close so when two empty cups and a carafe of coffee was set on the table, he jumped a little. His hand never left Spencer’s knee so he used his right hand to fill both cups and then passed over Spencer’s for him to doctor. Just as both of them were taking sips of their coffee, their desserts were being set down. Spencer eyed his. It was some kind of molten cake. There was a spiral of chocolate on top and a dusting of powdered sugar. Aaron had a cheesecake with what looked like blueberry topping. Simple but he figured it was divine tasting. It was a very Aaron dessert.
“What did you order me?”
“Caramel Mocha Lava Cake.” Aaron speared the end of his cake and dipped it in just a little of the blueberry sauce before he started to lift it up. Spencer picked up his fork and was getting ready to break into his cake when he realized that Aaron’s bite wasn’t intended for himself but Spencer. He opened his mouth and the fork slid in. The texture of the cheesecake was perfect. Spencer hummed as he made sure when Aaron pulled the fork out there was nothing left on it. “Good?”
“Very much so.” Spencer broke into the side of his cake and the smell of coffee and caramel wafted up to his nose. He wanted to moan but kept the noise to himself. He lifted up a bite and help it out for Aaron. “How about mine?”
“Perfect for you. A little too coffee tasting for me.”
Spencer broke himself off a bite and agreed that it was perfect for him. He slowly finished it off, taking sips of his coffee. There was no talking between him and Aaron but it felt good. Natural. The hand stayed on his knee, sometimes the finger tips would move up and down on the inside of his knee. Like the hand wanted to remind him that it was there. Aaron had a single bite left on his plate by the time that Spencer had finished his. He looked up at him and wasn’t that shocked when it was offered to him. He shook his head but Aaron frowned and he couldn’t say no to that look so he opened his mouth. When the fork was clear of his mouth, Aaron leaned in and gave him a chaste kiss.
“You don’t have to try and make up for lost time in one night.”
“I know. It’s just the look on your face as your were eating. You really enjoyed both your cake and mine and it showed. That kiss is the least of what I want to do.”
“Oh.” Spencer held back the frown. From what he’d seen of Aaron while he was married to Haley, he knew that he was romantic. He knew the story of his failed acting career just to get to know her. But the way he was right now was more sensualist than romantic and that he needed to get used to. Touching was foreign to him. Neither of his parents were tactile. He figured that most of the team knew he was touch phobic. He allowed them to think it was because of germaphobia.
“Is this okay?” Aaron started to lift his hand but Spencer placed his over it, keeping it in place.
“It’s fine. I don’t mind it. I promise. I just…I didn’t realize when your touch stopped becoming alarming.”
“About two years ago. Around the time I started helping with your stuff on cases while you were on crutches and then the cane. JJ was the first to notice. Morgan was a little upset one time when you were talking and walking. I grabbed your arm to stop you when you almost ran into a trash can that was out of place in the bullpen. You didn’t even stop talking, just paused. I moved the can and then let you go and you started walking again. Yet when he is talking to you and touches you, you flinch. None of them seemed that shocked when I told them that I intended to start something with you.” Aaron turned to him a little more shifting his hand around a little.
“That…I don’t even remember that.”
“It was the case with the ritualistic mutilations of the lizards that were being left with the victims in Arizona.”
“That one.” Spencer thought back over the start of the case. He didn’t remember it at all. Spencer shook his head.
“I’ll take that as a good thing. I had Dave drop me off as my car is in the shop so if I want to be able to get a cab home, I need to go now.”
“My place is closer. I have two guest beds you can choose from.”
“No. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Aaron turned his head to fully face him. “Sex is something I’ll never push. We go at your pace. I don’t want to make a decision and freak you out.”
“I’ve had sex, Aaron. Even with another guy.”
“I’m not saying I thought you were a virgin. I’m saying that you thought you were asexual last time you had sex. Now you are in the spectrum but there are feelings involved now. Between us we have had two bottles and I’m muddied enough to not want to trust my judgement if you start to freak out a little bit. So until we are both sure, no sleepovers when alcohol has been involved.”
The waiter stepped up to the table and handed the receipt to Spencer to sign. His card was inside and when he opened it, it slid down to the table. Aaron looked at him in shock.
“Benefit of getting here first. He’s had my card since I ordered the wine.” Spencer signed it and added a very nice tip. He handed it over before Aaron could say a word. The waiter gave a small head nod and then left. Spencer pulled out his wallet and slipped his debit card back into it.
“Sneaky Spencer.” Aaron smiled at him like he was intrigued. It was rare to shock him in areas like that. Aaron covered for it by standing up. He moved to grab his suit jacket, draping it over his arm as he waited for Spencer. He’d left his bag at work, knowing that outside of a big emergency that he wouldn’t need it. Spencer slipped his wallet into his back pocket as he stood up. Aaron looked a little bit uncomfortable and it took Spencer a few seconds to figure out why. Spencer stepped even with him and slip his arm in between Aaron’s and his body, linking them. Aaron kissed his cheek then they started out of the restaurant. The valet for the restaurant hailed Spencer a cab.
“At least let’s share a cab.” Spencer tried to reason.
“You are adorable when you pout. Just get in Spencer.” Aaron’s tone of voice was getting close to Hotch’s so Spencer nodded. Aaron opened the cab door for him and when Spencer was level with him with the door between them, he turned. Reaching up, Spencer cupped the side of Aaron’s face and drew him into a kiss. In the relative emptiness of the street, he felt safe deepening the kiss farther than they had gone before. He licked along Aaron’s lips and he wasn’t sure if it was shock that had him opening his mouth or not but he did. Spencer angled his head a little more and his tongue dove into the hot mouth. He could taste the black coffee Aaron had been drinking along with hints of the cheesecake and blueberries. The older man was only idle for a few seconds before he tangled his tongue with Spencer’s. It was awkward with the cab door in between them but Spencer didn’t care. He kept their lips pressed together until he needed to breathe. When he finally pulled back and opened his eyes, he looked into Aaron’s to see arousal. He leaned in for a quick kiss on his cheek. He didn’t say a thing as he folded himself into the cab. Aaron smiled at him as he shut the door and then the cab was driving away. He gave the driver his address and forced himself not to turn to look at Aaron as his figure got smaller the farther away he was taken from him.