Understanding

Title: Understanding
Series: The Alphabet Game
Fandom: Criminal Minds, NCIS, Bones, Supernatural,
Year: Season 7
Tags: Established Relationship,
Ratings: PG-13
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Erin Strauss, John, Jack Hotchner, Jack Hodgins, Sam Winchester, Abby Sciuto, Timothy McGee, Wendell Bray, Kevin Lynch,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 7
Summary: Aaron wasn’t sure what he expected from Strauss but this wasn’t it.
Words: 2,880
Notes: Spencer’s Flat
Warnings: None
Beta: rivermoon1970

Aaron finished his last file for the day that Strauss needed before he left. Spencer was working from home on a few CIA consults. The files had come by courier and Aaron had figured out that it was attached to the files that he had got a while back from the New York Field Office. Aaron had willingly given them up to Spencer as soon as the CIA had come to talk to them both. He knew that whatever it was, it was top secret, but Spencer would be safe. It was all data analysis.

A cleared throat told Aaron that he wasn’t alone. He looked up to see Strauss standing there in his doorway. She had a file in her hand and a smile on her face.

“Please come in. I’m just finishing up a few things.”

“Finish what you are doing as this conversation is going to take all of your mental faculties, I am sure.” Strauss shut the door and moved towards his desk, taking a seat and setting the file in the other chair beside her. Aaron focused his attention away from her and went over the consults that Morgan had finished that were ASAP from Baltimore. When he was done he cleared the area in front of him and looked at Strauss.

“What do you need Ma’am?”

“Your change of address came across my desk and I was a little shocked to recognize it from Doctor Reid’s personnel file. I thought I might have been confusing it with his old address in the same building but no. When I looked it was the exact same address.”

“Reid offered after the fire, and I couldn’t turn him down. I spend too much of my life in a hotel on cases and having a good bed to come home to is too tempting. Jack’s aunt, my ex-sister-in-law, lives in the building now, and it’s easier for her to watch him.” Aaron stopped talking as the smile on Strauss’s face grew.

“The three of you make a lovely little family.”

“Ma’am?” Aaron asked, a pit growing in his stomach. The smile on Strauss’s face didn’t turn hard but still Aaron was worried.

“I was at a new boutique a week back. I was inside looking around when I saw Jack walking in front of it. I was shocked that he was alone, and then recognized Doctor Reid. He was describing something to Jack and it was about a minute before you came up behind them. You settled a hand on Jack’s back, and wrapped the other around Doctor Reid’s waist. The look of love on his face when he looked at you after you said something was blinding. Only matched by the one on your face. I’ve learned what this job takes from one, and I can’t help but be happy that it’s given you something back. Just make sure that Dave takes over his evaluations and file reviews. We don’t want there to be any questioning by our superiors.”

“Dave has already taken over all of that, and might I say that I never really realized how much paperwork he generates for me. Dave spent twenty minutes bitching at me last week about it.” Aaron hoped that she couldn’t tell how freaked out he still was. His heart was racing and he wasn’t even sure if he could walk at the moment.

“He’s a boon to the FBI.”

“Is that why you aren’t…” Aaron didn’t finish the sentence. If she was turning a blind eye to the relationship only because she didn’t want to lose him, he didn’t know what he would do.

“No. It’s been pressed upon me that I don’t know as much as I think I do about how the BAU operates and what kind of pressure that the teams are under. Even Dave has pointed out how much I have been an unsupportive boss in all of this. While the age difference does give me pause, you’ve changed in the past few months. It’s good changes. You…you’ve rekindled what I remember of you before all of the bad started to turn you into Hard Ass Hotch, as the other teams call you. I will be watching close.”

“Thank you, Ma’am.” Aaron didn’t know what else to say.

“Doctor Reid is working from home today is he not?”

“He is. As soon as I get all of the day’s consults done, I plan to join him. I think that he spoke of some kind of taco bake for dinner.”

“How is Jack handling the relationship?” Strauss asked.

“He loves Spencer. After the first night that he stayed at Spencer’s, a sleepover I was not invited to might I add, Spencer rearranged the room he had for his Godson to fit Jack as well. It’s become a little boy’s veritable heaven. They get along well, and Jack’s never quite grown out of the asking question phase, and Spencer’s brain holds all the facts that he wants. He’s a good influence on him and Jack is a good one on Spencer as well.”

“I wasn’t made aware until just a few months ago how crafty Doctor Reid is. We of course did a background check on him and nothing raised a red flag. Parents separated, mother raised him. How did that boy raise himself, and take care of his mother for eight years without CPS being called?”

“He loves his mother. He would do anything for her, and the worst day of his life was when he committed her the day that he turned eighteen. That fear that he would turn out like her is there at the back of his mind, but he knows that I wouldn’t ever leave him.”

“I remember when he started I thought it odd that he wrote her nearly every single day but after finding out what was wrong with her, I understood.” Strauss stood up and picked up the file that she had before she handed it over to Aaron. She was gone from the room before Aaron could open the file. He just sat and stared at it until he heard footsteps enter his office.

“Since Reid is not here, I was told to come and figure out your mood after Strauss was here.”

“It’s…” Aaron closed the folder and handed it up to Dave as the man stepped closer to him. Dave took it and opened it up, his eyes bugging out as he read over what it was. It was a housewarming gift from Strauss. A meal at one of the fanciest restaurants in town.

“It says housewarming. It says…”

“I know what is says. She saw me and Spencer out with Jack one day. She was just making sure that I had you taking care of his reviews and everything.”

“That’s…”

“Yeah. I think that I am going to finish working and then see about going home early.”

“I think that’s a good idea.”

Aaron turned back to the files that he didn’t need to get done, but he didn’t like leaving unfinished work on his desk. It was two hours before he could even think of leaving. He made sure that the courier took the files up to Strauss and he slipped out of the office without anyone seeing him go. He wanted to talk to Spencer about what had happened with Strauss as soon as possible.

After setting his briefcase in the backseat, Aaron turned to open up the driver’s side door.

“Heading home, Hotch?” a familiar voice asked and Aaron turned to see the AD there. The man was looking at him with a slight frown on his face.

“Yes, Jack’s expecting me.”

“He’s a precious little boy.”

“Yes, Sir.” Aaron wasn’t sure why the AD was talking to him about Jack of all things.

“I was worried for a long time. Why wasn’t he interested in introducing me to his boyfriend? When I heard that he was working from home, I thought that today was a good day to find out more.”

Aaron tried to keep his face impassive. He had no clue what the man was talking about. Jack had been home from school about an hour, he hadn’t stayed home.

“As soon as Jack figured out that me being there was upsetting Spencer, he didn’t leave his side. I’m sure that if Spencer hadn’t explained, that boy would have thrown me out.”

“Sir, I don’t understand.”

“I’ve been asking Spencer for a while to meet his boyfriend, especially after the hiccups the relationship had. With his work schedule, I wanted to know that the person that was there with him, who he loved, was someone that I could trust with his sobriety.”

Sobriety. Sponsor. The AD of the FBI was Spencer’s sponsor. He remembered Spencer mentioning that his sponsor wanted to meet him, but now he understood why Spencer had been so hesitant.

“You can, Sir.” Aaron’s heart was racing. He wondered if there was a sign on his back that was asking for him to be given a heart attack that day. He really just wanted to get home to Spencer and to Jack and talk about Strauss and now the AD and just relax.

“There is no Sir here. There is just John. He told me after Texas that his boss was the one to slip him the information about Beltway. I’m glad. I’m really glad that he has you, and he has Jack. That’s the only thing about him that has ever bothered me. He doesn’t make friends easily nor let them in that close.”

“No, he doesn’t.”

“He seems to love Jack very much.” The AD smiled and nodded his head at Aaron. “I’m going to let you get home, Hotch.” The man turned and walked away and Aaron wasn’t sure what exactly had happened there. Strauss had given her approval of the relationship, and it seemed that the AD had as well. Aaron wondered if Spencer was going to come fully clean or he was going to ask Jack to keep it a secret. Normally, secrets were something that he didn’t like but given the anonymous nature of NA, he could understand having Jack lie to him. The AD had put a lot of trust in Aaron by telling him. He had his own reasons for wanting to stay hidden, and if something happened, the AD could be taken down with the knowledge that he had an addiction.

Aaron barely remembered the drive home. He grabbed his things from the car and made his way up to the flat. He heard the sound of more than one person talking as he got closer to the door. The screen door was closed and he heard laughter though it. He sighed as he remembered that it was a gaming night. He listened at the door and tried to remember the names of the players.

“Quit teaching the kid sleight of hand, Spencer,” Hodgins said.

“He has to learn sometime.” Spencer sounded amused.

“Be thankful Walmond isn’t playing tonight. He’d be cheering the boy on,” Bray said.

“Abby, what move are you making?” another voice asked that Aaron didn’t recall who the man was. It was familiar.

“I’m thinking, McGee.”

The two from NCIS were there and Aaron wasn’t looking forward to it.

“What is the cat doing?” Lynch asked. Aaron was happy that at least someone there would like him as he looked down to see Curiosity staring at him from a few feet away from the door. He did not look like a happy kitten at all. He opened up the door and stepped in. Spencer smiled at him and gave him a little wave. Jack was sitting in his lap and there was a chair that was open just in front of him with a beer sitting there. Aaron dropped his briefcase in the office and moved towards the chair.

“Is he here to take Jack home?” Abby asked.

“What do you mean take me home? I live here,” Jack said as his eyes turned towards the woman. “We all do. Dad, Spencer, me, Curiosity, and Toothless. Where would Dad be taking me?”

Abby looked at Aaron with a look of shock on her face. There was a little bit of that petulant look to her eyes and the set of her mouth, but Aaron didn’t look away from her. Finally, she looked down at her papers. The man beside her, McGee his brain supplied, mouthed an apology.

“How about we take a break and Abs can think on what move she wants to make,” Sam said as he stood up. The rest of the group followed. There was no laptop set up so that meant that the guy from Cal-Tech wasn’t playing. “Are we still doing pizza?”

“Yes,” everyone called out as they were scattering.

“Good. Jack want to help me order for you and your…dads?” Sam asked.

Aaron watched as Spencer just looked at him. There wasn’t anything on Sam’s face except happiness.

“Watch it, Sam,” Spencer said with no heat in his voice. “I know where you sleep…most of the time. I can find you though.”

Sam just laughed and picked Jack up off Spencer’s lap. The rest of the gamers scattered around the room. Spencer cracked open the beer and handed it to him.

“John texted me and said he’d talked to you. I didn’t know that he was going to stop by.”

“It’s fine and I understand why you were hesitant to introduce me. Just give me a little while to accept it, and the fact that we have Strauss’ blessing.”

“Dear God, can this day get any worse?”

“I don’t know, but the stare down that I won between Abby and myself made it worth it,” Aaron said as he turned his chair to lean closer. He caught Spencer’s chin and kissed him. Spencer didn’t even hesitate to kiss him back. “We will talk more when little ears have gone to bed and big ears have left.”

“Okay. It’s going to be an early night. Sam leaves town in a few hours. Jack, I am sure, will be worn out by then. Curiosity as well.” Spencer brushed his lips over Aaron’s cheek before he stood up out of his chair. Aaron stayed where he was, taking a long draw of his beer. He felt more than heard someone sit down beside him. A fresh beer was handed over. Hodgins was smiling at him.

“So you actually landed him?”

“I’m not a fish!” Spencer called out from what sounded like near the kitchen.

“You are too!” Sam called out. “The great white whale that no one has ever landed before.”

“I hate you all.”

Aaron choked on his beer, laughing. Hodgins helped him clear his throat by hitting his back.

“I’m serious though. I am happy for him and for you. I’d been noticing on game nights that the place had been slowly changing, but I didn’t realize that it was because someone was here more than just a few times until tonight. Then I saw the second set of everything in his bathroom. Timmy was taking too long in the guest bathroom, and I asked Spencer to use his. A bed messed up and evidence that someone else had slept in it with him last night. The door to the room that Henry uses is usually open from inside the bathroom, but today it was locked. The outer door leading into the living room was shut as well. Then Jack came out of it. Spencer offered no reason. As much as we play together, there is not a lot of his personal life that we all know. He’s good at dodging.”

“I’m shocked that the scuttle butt hasn’t made it all the way through the FBI, given that I think it’s pretty much an official secret at this point that he and I are together.”

“Look, I like Spencer. He’s a good guy. You make him happy, that’s all I care about.”

“Is that you giving me your blessing to be with him?” Aaron asked with a raised eyebrow.

“No. That’s me telling you that if you hurt him, I’ll sic Booth on you. Temperance really likes Spencer, and she doesn’t like other people messing with her friends.”

“I’ll remember that, but I think that you’ll have to get in line behind my son.” Aaron pointed over to where Jack was sitting in Spencer’s lap on the stool at the island while he and Sam discussed something. “I think that I’ll be the disowned one if I hurt him. I love him, Hodgins, and I won’t ever do anything to hurt him again. I promise.”

“Good.” Hodgins smiled at him and moved over to where Abby, McGee, and Bray were talking. Curiosity jumped into his lap and settled down, purring even before Aaron touched him to pet him. He figured that he was hiding from Abby as the kitten still hadn’t taken to her. Aaron was secretly a little happy about that. As he listened to the group talking and laughing while pizza was ordered he thought about his plans. He’d use that gift certificate from Strauss to put his plan into motion a little quicker. He just had one thing he needed to get to be able to move forward. Jack just needed a suit.
The End

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