Xylology

Title: Xylology
Series: The Alphabet Game
Fandom: Criminal Minds,
Year: Season 7
Tags: Established Relationship,
Ratings: PG-13
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Jack Hotchner,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 7
Summary: There was always the chance that he’d walk in on science. He just didn’t expect science to come in the form of wood, everywhere.
Words: 2,549
Notes: Spencer’s Flat
Warnings: None
Beta: rivermoon1970

Aaron never knew what to expect when he came home anymore. Jack was near done with school and with it came projects due, and furious studying. It was usually either utter silence as Jack studied in their office, or noisy activity as Spencer helped Jack understand something that he couldn’t.

Silence and no one home was a new one though. Aaron looked at the utter mess that was the living room area of the flat, and took in the new and very interesting smell that the place had taken on. Aaron pulled out his phone and double checked his messages. There were no missed texts that told him where they were. He opened his voicemail and found the same thing. Shutting the door behind him, Aaron fully entered the living space. He looked at where there was wood pieces coating the entire living room. In the space that wasn’t taken up by wood there was paper scattered everywhere and there at the center of it all was Spencer’s laptop. A recent purchase that once Garcia had seen, she’d crowed about pulling him kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Aaron had laughed as Spencer’s only answer had been to pick up his paper case file and start to flip through it.

Aaron knew that his husband was far from the technophobe that Garcia seemed to think that he was. Aaron understood his reasons for not using the tablet at work, but he would use Aaron’s to look at new information while on the jet. Moving into the living room, Aaron found that there was a screen full of information of what looked like density, and something about floating of the pieces of wood. The papers were all handwritten by Jack. He wasn’t sure if it was a school project for science class, or something his husband and son were doing for fun.

Husband.

That still stopped Aaron in his place as it usually did when he thought about it. They were just two weeks away from leaving for their two week honeymoon. Aaron was still a little hesitant about being away from Jack for so long, but as soon as Spencer had brought up what they were going to do for it, Aaron had known what he wanted to do. Spencer still had no clue as he’d told Aaron to handle it.

Looking around the flat, Aaron tried to figure out where the note was left to tell him where his family was. He found it finally on the fridge. It was in Jack’s neat but young handwriting.

Dad,

Papa and I went to the park to get some more samples of wood for the science project that I am working on. If you want to join us Papa says that we could be there for up to two hours. We will be starting at the north west area of the park and making our way to the southeast in an orderly fashion. Please join us.

Love,
Jack

Aaron laughed at the note and snapped a picture of it before he took it down and folded it up to stick in his wallet. He had a note from Spencer in there as well. From their very short pre-honeymoon in Cape Cod with Jack in tow. The team had paid for it so that they could at least have a weekend before the reality of life set back in. Jack had woken up early after crashing on the private jet ride to their destination, so Spencer had taken him down to the beach. Aaron had woken up to a note on Spencer’s pillow instead of his husband in bed with him. It hadn’t been how he wanted his first night of sleeping in bed with his husband to go. They’d got in a round of sex before collapsing in bed but still a lazy wake up with his husband shouldn’t have been too much to ask for.

Married life had been good so far. Of course, it wasn’t much different than life before they had been married, except that small public displays of affection at work were tolerated by Spencer. Aaron made his decision to join his husband and son at the park. He changed out of the suit that he had put on for the meeting that he’d had to attend at the office. It had been put off four times due to case work and the other Unit Chiefs of the BAU had decided to do it this morning because they were all in town after two teams had got back late in the night. So those chiefs had crashed at the office and were woken with a warm meal and even hotter coffee by the others.

Twenty minutes later, Aaron was walking out the door with Curiosity and Toothless with him. Given that Spencer’s car, and the bikes were still there, they were at the park closest to them, and so a family outing was just what the day called for.

Toothless was cradled in his left arm and Curiosity walked unless they were crossing a street, which had Aaron picking him up with his free arm. It was always a spectacle when they took Curiosity on walks. but having the lizard with him as well meant that everyone was looking at them. Jack was good at ignoring people looking at them in a way that only a kid could do.

The park wasn’t as packed as Aaron would have thought that it would be for it being a late Saturday morning. Aaron oriented himself to figure out their starting point and then trying to calculate how fast they would be going through the park, and he was almost done when the shriek of Jack’s laughter just on the other side of a copse of trees told him exactly where they were.

When he rounded the trees, he was not expecting to see his son on his back on the grass with a puppy sitting on his chest and licking his face. There was a lady who had a second puppy, and what looked like the mother standing beside Spencer. There was a frayed leash hanging from the lady’s hand.

“DAD! It’s a puppy!” Jack called out when he spotted his father. Jack jumped up, picking the puppy up as he did and started towards him. “He’s a Bolognese.”

Aaron picked up Curiosity and that had Jack stopping, like he was just noticing the cat and the lizard. The puppy was squirming in Jack’s hands.

“You brought Toothless and Curiosity.” Jack was eager to let the puppy down but Aaron was a little worried about the cat.

“He’s grown up around cats,” the lady offered, so Aaron crouched down and waved for Jack to let go of the puppy once Aaron had Toothless on his shoulder, his leash draped down his back. The puppy, once released, made right for Aaron, jumping up to try and get his face which was much higher than what he could jump. Aaron set Curiosity down at his side, leash wrapped around his fist tight. The puppy was engaged in him and wasn’t even noticing the cat that was coming over to sniff him. The look that the cat gave him was one that he swore that Spencer gave him all the time and it was the “are you kidding me” face.

“His name is Sir Wiggles and Papa was about to call you and see if you minded him coming home with us because he bonded to me right off the bat and the nice lady said that he’d not liked anyone. Three different people have come over to pick out puppies and he never goes to them. And there is just him left. His sister is already sold but the owners won’t be back from vacation until the weekend. Please, Dad, can we have him?”

Sir Wiggles sat down on the grass and looked up at him, his begging face was a match for Jack’s. Aaron looked up at Spencer whose face was a stone, but his eyes. His eyes said that he didn’t want to say no to Jack. The puppy almost sensing that he was going to be going home with them, ran back to Jack, jumping knees and barking.

“What is one more fluffy, white thing in the flat?” Aaron said.

“YAY!” Jack picked up Sir Wiggles and cradled him close. Aaron stood up and made sure that Toothless was secure and walked over towards his husband. Curiosity followed behind.

“How much is he?”

“Oh, we only charge for the females that are going to be used for breeding. And this guy…no one wants him. The fact that he got so attached to your son meant that I was going to give him away no matter what, unless of course you and your husband said no. I have his papers back at my house a few blocks over.”

“It looks like he chewed through his leash.”

“That was…” Spencer laughed and shook his head as if to clear it. “We met Sir Wiggles on the other side of the park while we were looking for a few branches under the very large white oak over there. Then we went on our way and she on hers. I guess that Sir Wiggles didn’t like that and chewed through his leash to come and find his new owner. I think that he knew I was a sucker from the moment he saw me.”

“No, you just like to make Jack happy. And while he loves Curiosity and Toothless, a dog is different.” Aaron wrapped his arm around Spencer, laughing when Toothless decided that it was time to move to his other owner. The lizard slowly crawled across Aaron’s shoulder onto Spencer. “We have room for him and while he’s a puppy, you’ve trained Curiosity for many things I never thought a cat would do, so I think that Sir Wiggles will be fine.”

“I have his paperwork. If you all are going to be here a while I will return my dogs home and bring the paperwork back.”

“We will be here at least another hour. We will wait until you come back.” Spencer smiled at her and Aaron nodded. There was a blanket spread out on the ground and Aaron could tell that it was theirs from Spencer’s bag sitting on it, as well as the basket that he could see was full of wood pieces. There was a notebook on the blanket. The lady walked away and Jack kept a hold of Sir Wiggles.

“Spence, do you still have the spare leash for Curiosity in your bag?”

“I do.” Spencer leaned down to grab the bag as soon as he got to the blanket. He pulled out the leash and Jack bounced over and took it, replacing the broken one with it.

“Papa, can I take Sir Wiggles with me while I find more branches from trees?”

“Of course, just like Curiosity, keep a tight hold on his leash.”

“Yes, Papa.” Jack moved towards the copse of trees smiling as Sir Wiggles followed him.

“You have to tell me who named him?” Aaron asked as he settled down on the blanket. The look on Spencer’s face told Aaron exactly who named him. “How did that come about?”

“I’ve been retelling the King Arthur story that he fell asleep during the night of the storm. We were discussing Sir Lancelot when we met Lucinda and the not yet named Sir Wiggles. As soon as the dog saw Jack and Jack asked to pet him, Sir Wiggles’ butt started to wiggle and it didn’t stop the entire time that we were there and Jack was petting him. Jack made the comment that he wiggles a lot and then it went to Sir Wiggles A Lot to just Sir Wiggles. So I am sure that when introducing him to the team, he will be called his full name which is Sir Wiggles A Lot Hotchner-Reid.”

“You have to be the one to tell Morgan. I can’t be a part of that story at all.”

“Your man card, as Morgan calls it, went away the moment that our son talked you into painting Curiosity’s nails.” Spencer picked up the notebook and looked it over before setting it down. Aaron was keeping an eye on Jack while Spencer was just looking around them.

Ten minutes went by of them taking turns keeping an eye on Jack and just watching life around them. Jack came back with an armful of branches that had fallen. He laid them down and started to write on them with a marker before making a notation in his notebook. Aaron stretched his legs out infront of him and then Spencer laid down with his head in Aaron’s lap.

“Comfortable?”

“Decidedly so, Mr. Hotchner-Reid.”

Aaron just smiled at the contented look that came over Spencer’s face as Aaron started to play with his hair. He leaned down and kissed his husband.

“That’s Agent Hotchner-Reid to you, Doctor Hotchner-Reid.” Aaron gripped Spencer’s hair to hold him still for a deeper kiss. When he pulled back, Spencer was blushing. Public displays of affection were still something that the younger man was getting used to. He brushed a thumb across Spencer’s kiss swollen lips. “So why does our place look like a Tree God moved in?”

“Jack has to do an end of year project in a field of study and he chose xylology.” Spencer paused long enough for Aaron to raise his eyebrow. “The minute and gross study of the structure of wood.”

“Sounds…interesting.”

“He told me that Jimmy is doing his on the study of the drying times of types of bread. Jack thinks that he has the coolest project in the class.”

“Depends on who you are asking. I’m sure that Jimmy thinks that his is cool.”

“Jimmy just wants to get a good grade. He hates science and it’s one of the least invasive projects that he could think of.”

“And Jack is doing one of the most invasive isn’t he?”

“You didn’t go into the bathroom did you?”

“No?” Aaron looked up at his son.

“There is more wood in the bathtub in our bathroom. Floating density and what not.”

“What not?”

“I could go into a long and drawn out explanation about the-” Spencer stopped as Aaron kissed him. Jack giggled from beside them and Aaron pulled back with a smile on his face. “You can keep shutting me up forever like that.”

“I plan on it.” Aaron leaned back down but was stopped when Sir Wiggles started to lick at the side of Spencer’s face. “Or I can have Sir Wiggles help me.”

Spencer started to laugh and tried to dodge away from the tongue. Curiosity jumped up onto the side of Aaron’s lap that Spencer wasn’t taking up. Toothless was stretched out in the patch of sunlight that was warming up the area they were in. After a few more seconds of Spencer dodging puppy tongue, the puppy decided to go back to his new little master and cuddled down into Jack’s lap. It was a nice day out, and Aaron couldn’t ask for a better way to spend it.
The End

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