Spencer looked up at JJ as she sat down on the edge of his desk. She was smiling at him so he turned to fully face her.
“Want me to watch Henry?” Spencer asked. He’d overheard JJ talking to Garcia about it. Garcia had looked like she wanted to offer, but she hadn’t before JJ had left the little kitchenette area.
“Do you mind?” JJ asked with the smile on her face getting a little brighter.
“I don’t mind at all. I’d love a weekend with my Godson.”
“Are you really going to leave Henry with Reid all weekend? You aren’t going to have someone else take him Saturday?” Garcia asked as she stopped at Spencer’s desk.
Spencer was glad that no one was really looking at him at the moment. JJ was looking at Garcia and vice versa. Spencer wanted to blow up, but this wasn’t the place for it. He wondered exactly how the other Spencer took this kind of doubt of him on a personal level. The team didn’t doubt him when it came to work, as long as it wasn’t something physical, but this…deep disrespect of him on a personal level had to hurt him. If it wasn’t for what he had been able to gleen from some of the personal things that he had found, he would have thought that the other Spencer didn’t have a spine at all. He didn’t know why he didn’t stand up for himself around the team, but he wasn’t going to do that. He couldn’t. His Aaron hadn’t made him that way and there was no way that the other Spencer was going to come back from his time with his Aaron and not be changed.
“Am I not allowed to have Henry for a whole weekend?” Spencer asked Garcia. She looked at him a little shocked and her eyes went to above Spencer’s shoulder. He wondered who had entered the bullpen then.
“I was going to leave Henry with Spence for the entire weekend yes,” JJ said and she looked at Garcia like she was a little shocked.
“But he’s…Reid. You didn’t want to leave him with Henry when we had girl’s night.”
“The Belvedere thing was a joke,” Spencer said. Aaron had talked to him about that and the whole thing with watching Henry. “Will picked him up from my place just before I went to watch Hotch do the triathlon. We had a fun night together.”
“Yeah, but he was sleeping most of the time.” Garcia seemed to laugh off anything that Spencer would say back. “That’s not really caring for him. You are going to have to help him dress and feed him.”
“I know what caring for a child entails, Garcia.” Spencer really wanted to be anywhere but where he was. Back home with her in his room was the best option. He’d probably gag her because even the thought of her voice was giving him a headache.
“I just wanted to make sure that you knew.”
“Because what? How has your life been any different than mine? You don’t have kids. You don’t have a sibling with children that you are around on a daily basis. Jack and Henry are the only kids that any of this teams has, and Jack’s contact with any of us has never been on a babysitting basis. You were in foster care, yes but you’ve stated you never had to care for younger kids. How is forcing a toddler to get dressed worse than forcing my mother? I at least have some form of training on caring for another human being. Did you forget that my father left when I was ten and I was the sole caregiver for a paranoid schizophrenic mother for eight years?” Spencer stared at Garcia, watching as her face kind of blanked on him. He just stared at her and smiled as she turned and left without a single word.
JJ kissed Spencer’s cheek, rubbing at what he assumed was lipstick. He’d had to get used to that because it wasn’t something that his JJ would ever even think of doing. He wasn’t sure if he liked it or not.
“I’m glad that you are finally standing up to her more.”
“It’s not worth it anymore,” Spencer said. He was a little shocked that JJ had been talking to him about being more himself around Garcia.
“Good. Now do you want to stop by on your way home and pick him up, or do you want to have me and Will drop him off?”
“I have some things I need to move around to get out of little hands’ way, so I would prefer if you drop him off, but if it’s too much trouble, I can just pick him up and pin him in the kitchen while I clean up some things in the living room.”
“No, we can drop him off. That’s no problem. We will have plenty of time as I packed last night and put up all the stuff I needed to get ready for work today back in my suitcase when I was done.”
“And a list of shows that he likes to watch?” Spencer asked. His Jack’s taste in shows changed nearly every single six months when he was that age and he’d looked at one for kid’s show that matched Henry’s age.
“Sure. I’ll write that down. Thank you so much, Spencer.” JJ moved back towards her desk and she started to work on a file. Spencer turned back to his, figuring that he needed to clear his desk so that he wouldn’t be tempted to take them with him. He wanted the weekend to get to know Henry. He’d been exposed to him in social settings, but that was it. He was more than willing to admit to himself that he was getting baby fever as it was called. Being around a younger Jack and even younger Henry made him miss the younger days of his Jack’s life. Aaron didn’t deny him anything, and if he wanted another kid, he knew that Aaron would give it to him. There was the social benefit of it as well. They’d be hits with everyone for taking in a kid from foster care. If their fairytale romance could get bigger with the news that would be it at least until they finally gave into societal pressure and got married.
“Pretty Boy!” Morgan said when there was just twenty minutes left in the work day. Spencer had already finished his files and had taken a few from JJ. He looked up at the dark skinned man as he got close. He was a little worried that Garcia had run to him and cried in his lap and Morgan was there to ‘straighten’ him out. “Anderson said that you are voluntarily watching a toddler this weekend?”
Spencer turned to look at the man in question, who ducked his head and buried himself in paperwork. Spencer kept his laugh to himself that man hadn’t changed no matter what. He was good at his job, but his mouth would ruin him.
“I am watching Henry for Jayje this weekend. What about it?”
“Don’t forget that Hotch is the one to call when you get stuck.” Morgan’s smile was huge on his face and he was laughing at his own joke way too much. “He’s the actual parent on the team.”
“I have more than enough knowledge and experience caring for a toddler Morgan. More than you.” Spencer closed the file in front of him and slid it into his outbox. It was the last one. He grabbed his messenger bag and stood. He affixed his gun back to his belt where he’d taken it off and slipped it in a drawer after lunch. He strode up to Aaron’s office and didn’t even wait for him to acknowledge him, he knocked and entered the room. “I’m going home early, Hotch. I’ll see you Monday morning. I’m watching Henry this weekend, so I might be in a little late on Monday.”
Spencer pulled the door shut a little harder than he meant to. He was most of the way to the elevator when he heard Aaron’s office door open.
“Reid!” Aaron said his tone would have been enough for the other Spencer to stop, but for him it was ingrained in him to obey. He stopped and turned around to look at Aaron. He wasn’t upset, he just looked worried. “Let’s talk in my office.”
Spencer realized that everyone, Anderson included, was gone. It was only the team minus Garcia. Rossi had even come out of his office, leaning against the rail.
“No, I think I want to do this here. Is the Reid Effect that much of a joke that everyone started to fucking believe it? I don’t hate children. I’ve never had that much exposure, but on the last seven cases that have had kids, who is the one who goes to them? Who talks to them? Does magic tricks to get them to open up? Me. It’s fucking me. You, Hotch I can understand. I mean you almost lost Jack, being hesitant is understandable. But everyone else is acting like I have never watched my Godson before. That I am going to harm Henry. So tell me, what the hell do you all think about me really? If you all think so little of me, I’m not sure this team is where I need to be.”
“Reid,” Prentiss started but Aaron silenced her with a wave of his hand.
“What was said?”
“It started with Garcia and her questioning me leaving Henry with Spencer, and making sure that Saturday and Sunday he was staying with someone else. Now Morgan is telling him to call you when he messes up since you are the actual parent in the group.” JJ didn’t look that happy about that remark at all.
“I think they are deaf, dumb, and blind,” Spencer said just loud enough for them all to hear. He was done. He just really was. He had been all for maintaining, as best he could, the relationships that Spencer had but this was the limit. This really was the limit and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.
“I see. Well…I can’t do much about that except send them for sensitivity training. Morgan, you and I are going to finish the discussion we were having in the wake of the prank you pulled and gave out Reid’s number to reporters. JJ, go ahead home and enjoy your weekend. Reid, go home. Jack wanted to hang out this weekend, but if you are taking care of Henry, I’ll tell him you are busy. Maybe next weekend.”
“We can have a sleepover Saturday night. I’m sure Henry would love someone to play with. We can talk more, but Jack’s a lovely little boy and I don’t mind watching him as well.” Spencer started towards the elevator again. He turned back as the doors were shutting and saw Morgan going up towards Aaron’s office. He had wanted to hear the answer to his question, but it seemed that there were a lot of issues that he wasn’t aware of. Maybe before Henry got there he needed to read some of the letters that Diana had wrote back to Spencer to try and get an understanding of what was going on.
After getting home, it wasn’t long before he had everything that was anything important put away. He made sure the various bits of technology were put in the bedroom. He also made a list of things to have delivered from the store. It was a place he was coming to like more and more as the young man who delivered the groceries was a nice and intelligent young man who took night classes. Spencer had been making sure that he got a good tip from him.
As he cleaned up the breakfast plate and cup from that morning, Spencer thought about what he wanted to do with Henry. His head was full of what he used to do with his Jack. He’d start with some of the more sedate things and move on to either slower or faster things. There was little more for him to do so he went back to the bedroom and grabbed the tablet. He settled in on the couch and tried to find out anything he could about JJ’s posting to the State Department. There was little with her name attached for the year she worked there. That was strange. She was a media liaison. If she was working within the states, there would be a trail. So he researched what was going on in the world at the time. The biggest things were happening in Afghanistan. He checked over every single bit of media coming from there, but still no Jennifer Jareau.
Spencer went to the less legal means of getting information. He found no information on her over the first half an hour of looking, but then he found a picture. He was shocked to see Mateo Cruz in it. That started a separate search for him on the Internet as well as a deeper look into why Mateo and JJ were in Afghanistan along with a slew of other people. He recognized Michael Hastings from the trial that he and Tivon Askari had been part of. He started to search for more information on the both of them. Hastings was dead, killed around the same time that JJ came back to the team. Another picture showed JJ and Strauss along with Hastings. Spencer started a deeper research into Hastings on the dark net and found a whole slew of bad things that he was into. And not all of them stopped when he died. Then there was a small, cleverly hidden area that he hacked into that showed him alive after his supposed death. And one of the pictures of him was in front of a restaurant that Spencer knew well from New York. He started to compile it all and stripped every bit of tracking information from it and then emailed it to the CIA.
One of the last pictures that he found was JJ laying on her bed in the tent where she had been taken after the attack that had supposedly killed Hastings. He settled in and did a little more research. The amount of information that was floating around the the dark net about those operations was massive. One just had to know how to find it all, and that was where the American Government and her agencies had the issue. The casualty report for that attack didn’t give any name for each injury, but given that there was only a single woman in the attack, and a miscarriage was listed, Spencer knew that JJ had been pregnant.
There was a knock on the door to his apartment, so Spencer logged out of the darknet and closed it all down, wiping every single trace with a single set of codes. He slipped the tablet onto the table and moved to the door. He looked out the peephole to see that it was JJ.
“Jayje,” Spencer said as he opened the door. Henry was on the ground and he smiled up at Spencer’s voice. He took a few quick steps towards Spencer and held out his hands. Spencer scooped him up and hugged him. Henry’s arms went around Spencer’s neck and held on.
“Someone is very happy to be spending the weekend with Uncle Spencer. After I got home, that was all I heard. That he was going to Uncle Spencer’s.” JJ stepped inside the apartment with a smile on her face. She had two bags slung over her shoulders.
“That’s good. I’m looking forward to it as well. Henry, do you want to go look at my office?” Spencer asked. He let the boy down and as soon as his feet hit the floor, he was off towards the back of the apartment.
“What did you do?”
“I bought a loveseat for my office. It pulls out into a half bed, perfect for little boys who don’t need to sleep on the floor anymore on a pile of blankets.”
JJ leaned in and kissed his cheek. Her thumb rubbed at the lipstick left behind. “Don’t let Morgan and Garcia get to you. You are a perfect caregiver for kids. I shudder to think about what Morgan would do if watching Henry all weekend long.”
“I just…” JJ looked unsure as she kind of looked around the apartment. “I know that you had been spending some time outside of work with Hotch, but I hadn’t realized that it was enough that he’d leave Jack with you. Rossi was a little worried about that after you left. That none of us knew.”
“Hotch and I are private. You know that.” Spencer looked at her and something must have crossed his face that had her smiling.
“I know exactly how private you are, and I know that Rossi trying to get Hotch to call back and invite that runner out on a date fizzled. Does that have anything to do with a certain genius who one morning had a love bite right where his tie usually sat, and I watched you fiddle with it several times over the course of the day?”
“And if I plead the fifth?” Spencer wasn’t worried about her knowing. He actually figured the other Spencer would have told her before now. He just needed to keep it all underwraps. The more that knew, the more chances of him doing something wrong.
“You don’t ever do that. Also, Hotch left his tie clip here.” JJ pointed at the book shelf by the door. Spencer looked at the item he remembered setting there to help remind him to take to Aaron the next time he went over there. “He never takes clips off, even during caes, unless he takes his tie off. So for him to take his tie off here means that he was probably settling in. So how long on this?”
“We danced around it for a while. But our first date was supposed to be the night of the lab explosion. We postponed it to the next night. I’ve enjoyed not having others in the relationship. Eyes watching.”
“I know that well. I kept Will a secret for a year. You’ve been happier, more settled since then.” JJ smiled at him as Henry came running in clutching a stuffed Vulpix.
“Mine, Uncle Pence?” Henry asked.
“Yes, Hen. Yours.”
Henry motioned to be picked up and Spencer did. He easily settled the boy in at his hip, holding him like he used to do Jack. JJ leaned in and kissed his cheek.
“Be good for Spencer, Henry.”
“I will, Mama.” Henry laid his head on Spencer’s shoulder and waved goodbye. “Go!”
JJ laughed and dropped the two bags down onto the floor just inside the door. She kissed Spencer’s cheek then left. Spencer shut the door, turning his face towards Henry.
“What do you want for dinner?”
“Chicken nuggets?” Henry asked.
“Sure.” Spencer moved and grabbed the list he had made. They would just run to the store. “Do you want to bring Vulpix with you to the store?”
Spencer moved to the door grabbing his wallet and keys as he passed. He slipped both into his pocket after locking the door. Henry was content in his arms, but once they got to the store, he’d shift him to his shoulders.
“Walking?” Henry asked once they turned around a corner towards the street the store was on.
“Yep. It’s a nice day out. We can walk and get enough food for tonight and breakfast, and then tomorrow morning we can pick what we want to eat for lunch and dinner, and walk and get food again. Maybe go to the park before?” The memories were strong of his Jack being that age. How adorable he had been and how happy and carefree. When they had discussed in vitro or possibly adopting, both him and Aaron had agreed that no matter what came, Jack’s childhood was going to be nothing like either one of them had. Jack had grown up certain that his fathers loved him. He’d known that doing something wrong would get him in trouble, but he never feared punishment. Jack had learned that doing something bad wasn’t worth the feeling that both of his father’s were upset with him. Much like Spencer, Jack disliked knowing that Aaron was upset with him.
“Yes, please. Pancakes?”
“Sure. Chocolate chip or blueberry?”
“Buberry,” Henry said after thirty three seconds of thinking.
“Blue-berry,” Spencer said slowly and putting a harder enunciation on the word blue.
“Blueberry,” Henry repeated.
“Yeah, buddy. Blueberry.”
Henry cheered and raised his hands up in celebration. Spencer was ready and waiting for the high five that he was sure was going to come and when the little palm was held up, Spencer smashed their hands together. An older man held the door to the store open as Spencer approached. He tipped his head in thanks and smiled at him. The man tipped his hat back at him.
“Do you want to ride in a cart or on my shoulders?” Spencer asked as he looked at the carts that were there. He could tell they were old and beaten but well maintained. He selected one. Henry was still there tucked into his side. He looked at the cart and then up at Spencer’s face.
“Can I change my mind?”
“Okay.” Spencer grabbed an antibacterial wipe and cleaned the area of the cart that Henry would be touching before also wiping at the palms of his own hands. He tossed the wipe in the trash can by where he got the wipe and turned back to Henry. Spencer started towards the produce. He found a few pints of blueberries that he liked. He slipped those into the cart. “Do you like green beans?”
“Yum!” Henry said as he rubbed at his belly.
Spencer laughed and picked through the fresh green beans. He’d seen a steamer in the cabinets and it looked to have been used a good bit.
“Squash? Zucchini?” Spencer held them up and Henry kind of looked at them with his head cocked to the side. The boy shrugged. “Will you try them?”
“Okay. Corn?” Spencer knew that he could throw that into the microwave quickly if Henry didn’t like the squash or the zucchini.
“Yes, please.” Henry was eyeing the ears of corn so Spencer grabbed several and slipped them into a bag after checking to see if the ears were good. He’d shuck them at the house when he cooked them.
“I need to get a few other things and then we’ll go and pick out some chicken nuggets. How does that sound?”
“Uh huh.” Henry bobbed his head up and down. Spencer grabbed a few peaches and then went to the cereal aisle finding a few things that he liked that the kids would eat as well. He stopped by dairy and grabbed a selection of block cheese as well as a gallon of milk. He’d found the powdered milk in the cabinet, and he knew why Spencer had bought it. It made sense from a standpoint of getting in so late at night, and crashing, and then getting up and wanting cereal. It was probably a leftover from his college days. Spencer had used the small packets a few times to make himself just enough if he ran out midweek, and he was sure a case was coming up.
A few more things scattered around the store and then they were in the frozen section. He found the section with the potatoes first and grabbed a bag of crinkle cut fries as well as sweet potato fries for himself before moving down to the chicken.
“Dinos, please Uncle Spencer.” Henry was pointing at a bag that did have a few dinosaurs scattered on it. He picked up the bag and saw that nuggets were in generic dinosaur shapes. It would do them that night and possibly for Sunday lunch as well so he put it in the cart. He found a bag of chicken tenders for himself that were slightly spicy.
The next aisle over was the ice cream aisle and Spencer let Henry pick a single little pint of ice cream for himself while Spencer picked one for Jack. After those he grabbed fruit bars for little treats for them all.
“Yeah, buddy, home now. Then I’ll start your dinos and my tenders and we can try and find something to watch.”
“Dinos!” Henry said just a touch louder than normal. The entire section of dinosaur movies and documentaries made a lot of sense then. It actually made a lot of sense for the underwater documentaries as well. Turn on the TV, mute it, and out like a light for a kid. Spencer had done something like it for colicky Jack. Only his was animals.
“Of course. Must have the dinosaurs.”
Henry giggled but stopped suddenly, ducking his head down. Spencer looked behind him and saw a lady was wiggling her fingers at him.
“I’m sorry but your son is just too cute,” the lady said when she saw Spencer looking at her.
“He’s my Godson but thank you.” Spencer turned back to Henry who was looking up at him. “Ready to check out?”
“Can I get that?” Henry asked pointing at a dinosaur coloring book.
“Sure. Let’s go get some crayons before we leave a well.”
Spencer looked up at the signs for each aisle and found the one that had toys written on it. He turned the cart that way after snagging the coloring book. He found a box of assorted colored large crayons and small ones, grabbing one of each. He knew that Jack liked Pokémon and superheroes so he hoped to find one of either one for him. He had to sort through the small section of coloring books before he found one of superheroes. On the shelf above was an even smaller selection of what looked like adult coloring books. Spencer saw one of mandalas and grabbed it as well as the large pack of colored pencils beside it. He’d enjoy coloring with the kids.
Checking out took little time at all, and Spencer loaded most of the groceries into one of the reusable bags that he bought. He had bought a second smaller one that with a few lighter items in it was perfect for Henry to carry. Henry wanted to walk so Spencer had him hold onto his pants pocket as they walked. On the walk back there were more people about, so Spencer kept Henry between him and the buildings.
Spencer heard his phone go off. It was a text from Aaron. He ignored it for the moment. It could wait until he got the groceries put up. Henry ran ahead a few steps to hold open the door for him. Spencer smiled at the toddler. He was adorable. To the stairs he went, but waited to start up the next landing until Spencer could see him. Spencer wasn’t shocked at the lessons the boy seemed to have had. Henry didn’t even get off the top step until Spencer was right there behind him. As soon as Spencer had the door open, Henry was inside and moving towards the kitchen. He pulled out a chair and set his bag on it, diving inside for the fruit and setting it on top of the table.
“Where go bag?” Henry asked when he was done. Spencer smiled at him and opened up the drawer he had seen a few other reusable bags in. Henry slipped his in there while Spencer put up the frozen food that they weren’t going to use. Henry helped pull out the cold stuff from Spencer’s bag and set them beside the fruit he’d pulled from his own. Spencer started to put those away next. The boxed food was last.
Spencer turned on the oven while he looked at Henry to try and figure out exactly how much he would eat. The portions of fries and chicken were laid on the cookie sheet that he lined with foil, while Henry flipped through the channels on the TV. It was a smart TV that had programmable profiles and Spencer had been shocked that when he went into it, there was one for Jack already set up. He was glad he’d forced Aaron to confront why he was keeping Jack from the other Spencer because coming back to this world and finding himself cut off from a boy that the other Spencer was coming to love would have sent him into a spiral.
When the food was in the oven, Spencer settled in at the couch. Henry was watching the TV enraptured by a documentary on tornados. There was no way he was understanding most of the words but the destruction on the TV was awe worthy. Spencer just watched the boy more than he paid attention to his tablet where he was trying to do some work on Spencer’s schoolwork. He was looking forward to the next day with Henry.
Henry was happily coloring in his book while Spencer fixed the macaroni and cheese that they were going to eat for dinner. Aaron and Jack were going to be there in the next ten minutes. Spencer wasn’t sure if Aaron would be upset about telling JJ, but he didn’t really care. Aaron had Jessica, Spencer had JJ. Still the anger at not being asked could have him taking Jack home.
Spencer shoved the casserole dish inside the oven and stepped back. He leaned into the counter and surveyed the apartment. The other Spencer was just settled there. He wasn’t exactly happy. There were no pictures outside of the small office. There was nothing of permanence here. In the office was the file with all of the leases. One had not been signed for when he was out in just two months yet all of the other leases were signed months before the lease was up. Spencer hadn’t planned to stay in the apartment. Yet there was no evidence anywhere that he was looking for one. No searches, no listings, no realtor helping him. A quick check with listings had the apartment having been listed as available in a little over two months for several months.
There was no way to change that and there was sure as hell no way that Spencer was going to be able to figure out what exactly the other Spencer’s plan was. He had to make a choice that he hoped the other Spencer could live with. But, all of that was to come later. For the moment, Spencer had already found a nice storage facility that the books would do well in and he’d start to move things into it the following weekend.
The knock on the front door shocked Spencer, he looked at the clock on the wall and saw that it was time for Aaron and Jack to arrive. He moved to the door and opened it. Jack was standing in front of his father with a giant smile on his face. On his back was a backpack. Spencer stepped back to allow them into the apartment. Aaron though did not step all the way in. Spencer cocked an eyebrow at him.
Aaron though didn’t see it. Instead, his eyes were on Jack. “Be good, Jack.”
“I will, Dad.” Jack slipped off his backpack and laid it against the back of the couch before he came back and hugged at his father’s knees for a few seconds before the older man started to crouch to give him a proper hug. Aaron was going to leave. Spencer frowned. He’d been looking forward to a sleepover as well. It had been all week, and he hadn’t got a chance to sleep in the same bed as his lover. He was missing touch. He was missing being held. Jack turned away from his father. “Hi, Henry.”
The two boys started to talk about the dinosaur on the page that Henry was coloring, Jack knowing more about dinosaurs than Henry started to talk about where it lived and other things.
“He’s been looking forward to this since I told him yesterday. That’s all I heard all day long. How long until he gets to go to Spencer’s.” Aaron’s eyes tracked to the kids and then back to Spencer quickly. He pulled Spencer into the hallway to kiss him. Spencer moaned into the kiss, snaking his tongue out to lick at Aaron’s lips before pushing in-between them. Aaron cupped his face, turning it to the side so he could deepen the kiss even more.
“Uncle Spencer?” Henry asked.
Aaron pulled back and looked down to see Henry standing there in the doorway with the door open but he wasn’t out in the hall.
“Yes, Hen?” Spencer asked.
“Your glass of water is still on the chair in the kitchen,” Spencer replied. Henry smiled up at him before he was gone from sight.
“He’s going to tell JJ. Dammit.” Aaron looked upset.
“Actually, JJ knows.”
“What?” Aaron looked at him. There wasn’t anger there, but there was something. An unreadable emotion. Spencer catalogued what it would look like on someone else’s face and figured out it was fear.
“She saw your tie pin where I had laid it to take to your place the next time I went over. It wasn’t hard for her to figure out that it meant that you were here for long enough to want to take off your suit as well being comfortable enough for it. Coupled with that bruise you sucked into where I wear my tie…She’s worked with profilers for long enough to pick up on it all. I wasn’t going to lie to her.”
“And I don’t expect you to. I just…I’m a little shocked. We’d always discussed who would figure it out first. I didn’t think that it would be JJ.”
“Why? She’s close to me. Anything out of the ordinary would be noticeable. Like not getting my Godson for day trips and things…” Spencer trailed off and Aaron nodded.
“I know. I know I just…Is it wrong that I wanted to keep it secret longer so that I didn’t have to share you. With the knowledge that we are dating out in the team, we would be expected to go to things more, together and while I don’t mind a dinner, I don’t want to share my time with you.”
Spencer leaned in and kissed him. Aaron kissed him back gently, nothing like what they had been doing just minutes before.
“Maybe this weekend is a good thing. You get a little more bonding time with Jack without me around and Jack’s talked about wanting to see Henry for a while now just with cases, we’ve not done anything with JJ and Will in a while. Maybe we can do a meal or something at their house, as a couple.”
Spencer knew that he shouldn’t have been shocked at the turn around from not wanting to share to basically doing a double date. “You aren’t going to stay tonight are you?”
“No. You need this.”
“But I miss being in bed with you. I miss it so much.” Spencer walked his fingers down Aaron’s chest. He’d never had to talk Aaron into anything, sexual or intimate. It was a new experience. It was also going to work in his favor to help with Aaron’s love. The man was perfect for his machinations. Spencer splayed his hand on Aaron’s stomach right above his belt, curling his fingers just enough for the other man to feel it. The sharp intake of breath was totally worth it.
“How about Sunday? I can stay here or we can go home to mine.”
Spencer’s lips curled a little at Aaron calling his apartment home. His plans were going good. “That will work. We can pack up and have a sleepover at yours.”
“You’d tempt a saint, Spencer Reid. Let me say goodbye to Jack and then I’ll be out of your hair.” Aaron bussed a kiss across his forehead as he moved into the apartment. Spencer listened to Aaron say his goodbyes to his son and even Henry before stepping towards the door of the apartment. Spencer leaned his back into the doorjamb. Aaron would have to turn to the side to get out the door without bumping him. Aaron eyed him as he got close. The older man turned to the side and grabbed Spencer’s hands as he raised them up. “Ah, ah, ah.”
Aaron kissed him hard on the lips, keeping a hold of his hands and keeping them away from his body. Spencer was pressed back, hard, into the doorjamb and by the time that Aaron pulled back from him, he felt owned.
“We can pick this up tomorrow. I expect that you’ll remember where we left off?”
“Yes,” Spencer said breathlessly. Aaron though just stepped away from him and started down the stairs that would take him out. After the dark haired man was gone from sight, Spencer turned to go inside. Jack had found his coloring book and his crayons and was coloring. “How does my baked macaroni and cheese sound for dinner Jack?”
The evening was tranquil. The three of them ate dinner and watched a new dinosaur documentary. The boys were hyper though so Spencer talked them into playing a game of hide and seek. He stayed on the couch while they took turns finding each other. The only room that was off limits was the same one that always was, the office. Given that Henry had not gone in there except when Spencer told him he was allowed, he figured that it was always off limits. The chatter of the boys and the squeals when they found each other was hilarious. Spencer watched them when they were in the living room, but would work on school work when they weren’t. It was nearing the time for them to settle down so they could actually sleep.
“Spencer?” Henry asked as he stepped up to him.
“Yes?” Spencer set down his tablet. Henry looked really unsure of himself.
“You can’t find him?”
“Hmm.” Spencer stood up and looked around the kitchen. Jack hadn’t hid in the living room for that round, and it wasn’t hard to figure out he wasn’t in the kitchen. Spencer checked the closets in the hall as well as his bedroom and bathroom before he even thought about the office. Spencer opened the door and Henry stayed back out of the room. It didn’t take long for Spencer to hear Jack’s subtle breathing.
“Jack Tyler Hotchner, come out this instant.” Spencer used his hard voice, but he made sure to have no anger in it at all. Aaron and he had never used anger with their Jack and he wasn’t going to start with this one. The only time that Jack had ever heard anger in their voices was when they were mad at someone else generally someone who tried to hurt Spencer or Jack.
“Yes, Spencer.” Jack stood up from behind the arm of the couch and looked at Spencer.
“Living room now. Sit in one of the chairs.”
“Yes, Spencer.” Jack moved out of the room at a pace that was meant to not make him mad by running too fast nor mad for moving too slow. When Jack was out of the room, Spencer followed, picking up Henry in his arms as he did. He set Henry down in the kitchen and gave him one of the fruit bars. They had been a treat after finishing lunch and he was going to give them each one to eat while they settled down but now Jack wasn’t going to get one.
After he was sure that Henry was settled down, Spencer moved to the living room. He stopped as he took in the sight of Jack in the chair. This boy was far from his son. He could read the lines of fear in the way he was sitting and trying to make himself as small in the chair. His eyes were downcast. That was interesting in not a good way. Spencer sat down in the chair across from Jack.
“You knew not to go in there unless it’s bedtime, Jack. Why did you go in there?”
“I’m sorry. I know that I shouldn’t have done it. I am so sorry Spencer. I got bored with hiding in the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. I opened the door and still went in even though I knew that I shouldn’t have.” Jack didn’t look up at him at all.
“Come here, Jack.” Spencer kept his hands in his lap as the boy scooted out of his chair and walked towards Spencer like he was afraid of getting hit. Jack stopped in front of him and stood there, slightly shivering. “You knew what you did was wrong and you did it anyway. That means you take what punishment I give you.”
“Look up at me Jack.” Spencer waited for the boy to raise his head and look at him before he continued. “You are going to sit in this chair right here for fifteen minutes. I want your knees tucked up against your chest and your arms wrapped around them. Don’t get off the chair at all.”
Spencer stood up from the chair and Jack scrambled into it. As Spencer moved away Jack’s eyes followed him, almost looking shocked that it was it. He knew that Aaron didn’t raise his hand to Jack, not in that way. He seriously doubted that the two Aaron’s were that different. So where was the fear coming from? Jack’s eyes never left him as he moved around the room. Henry stayed in the kitchen eating his fruit bar before he moved into the living room. Spencer took a seat on the couch with a wipe to take care of his sticky face and hands.
“You didn’t get too messy at all. Do you want to go and take a bath now or when Jack is done with timeout?”
Henry looked at Jack and then back at Spencer. “With Jack.”
“Then you can color until he’s done.”
“Okay, Spencer.” Henry settled in at the coffee table and started to color. Spencer though watched Jack who as soon Spencer looked at him, he looked away. After a few minutes of it, Spencer went back to his school work and kept his eye on the time. At fifteen minutes, he set aside the tablet and caught Jack’s eye.
“Come here, Jack.” Spencer watched as Jack uncurled himself and moved over to Spencer. Jack crawled up onto the couch and to Spencer’s surprise into his lap. Spencer wrapped his arms around him and held him close. “Why were you so scared?”
“I’ve never seen you mad and a few of the parents at school get really scary and I didn’t know what to expect. I got scared.”
“I’d never hurt you. I won’t raise my voice unless you scare me. I can’t promise that if you are doing something dangerous I can’t say that I wouldn’t grab you to stop you from doing it.”
“Like the time I jumped up onto a wall and walked on it and Dad pulled me off. He kind of hurt my arm.”
“Like that, yes.”
“Dad was so upset, but it didn’t even bruise and I think he was more scared than me.” Jack snuggled down into Spencer’s arms.
“Why don’t we go and get you two clean then we can watch some TV?”
“Yeah,” Jack said.
When JJ came to pick up Jack, Henry and Jack were both taking a nap.
“Did he do okay?”
“Henry was a breeze. Jack and I had a hiccup, but I think it worked out for the best. Jack took a nap with Henry because he was tired. I think that Jack knew that if he didn’t, Henry wasn’t going to and well…Jack’s a good boy and he wants to be helpful. He was out like a light.”
“How long have they been down?”
“Just half an hour. Do you want me to go get Henry?”
“No. I wanted to talk you about Hotch.”
“Jayje,” Spencer said making himself blush. He turned away a little and ducked his head.
“You made me think that you were still upset about Emily’s faked death, but instead you were out there wooing a Hotch.”
“I got over it JJ. I got over Emily but you…there is something different about you.” Spencer waited to see what she would do. She looked at him and sighed.
Spencer listened for two hours as JJ told her entire story, telling him that if he ever told anyone what she told him that they could both go to jail. He listened to the entire story and none of it made any sense. Why would the DOJ want her there?
Even hours later, after Aaron and he had showered and were laying down in bed, it was the one single thought that stopped him from sleeping. The only thing that allowed him to actually sleep was the fact that the shadows in JJ’s eyes were less when she had left with Henry in tow.
“What’s wrong?” Aaron asked as he pulled Spencer even closer to his chest.
“Having trouble shutting my brain off.”
“I think I have something that can shut your brain off.”
Spencer expected Aaron to try something sexual but instead he wrapped his arm around Spencer’s chest tightly and started to speak softly in his ear. Poetry was Spencer’s weakness. He closed his eyes and made his brain focus on Aaron’s words. Slowly, Spencer drifted off
Sitting at his desk Spencer was working on updating his and Aaron’s calendars. He noticed that there were a few papers to be presented coming up, as well as finals for the Anthropology classes Spencer had been taking. It was lucky that it was one of his minors, and he already had a good background in the subject, which easily let him keep up with the class. There were several papers due he had to request a deferment for because he wasn’t up on the research. He wanted to find his counterparts research materials to try to figure out where he was on them before he even attempted to finish them off.
A couple of new cases had come across Aaron’s desk, one in which they were defending fiercely, and the other, Aaron appeared to be a little lax on. He input the dates for the depositions and follow-up interviews for both cases, and knew a woman was coming in later that day to talk about her custody case. They were just as busy as ever, but there was something bothering Spencer about the dates, something important he knew he should remember, but it just wasn’t coming. Sighing, he shook his head and went back to work, knowing that eventually he would remember what it was.
“Spencer, pencil in a dinner with a Kate Callahan. She wants to meet with us, has some information that she thinks we would be interested in hearing.”
Spencer had a vague recollection of a Kate Callahan that worked in the FBI. They had consulted with her department on a child exploitation ring, but it was a couple of years prior, and Spencer hadn’t gotten to know her very well. He only knew her through name and reputation.
“Okay, Do you know what she wants?”
“Something to do with someone close to me. I have my suspicions, but I’ll wait till we meet. Tonight for 8:30 at Le Pece Mortel.”
Spencer was no longer surprised at the places Aaron could get into at a moment’s notice. One phone call, a dropped name, and it was all Spencer could do to keep anyone from bending backwards to accommodate Aaron. It was a world he was still navigating, but had to admit, if only to himself, he was fascinated by.
After he was done he copied the calendar to his and Aaron’s phones, then shut it down and got back to work on other things. He actually found the work intriguing. He rarely got to see this side of things after a case was finished. While it was part of the job that they often had to testify, he never really got this in-depth of a look before, and it gave him a little perspective. He knew that his Aaron knew this side of their cases, having been a prosecutor. Sometimes they talked about it during lunches or team dinners, but it made Spencer realize why Aaron was such a stickler for making sure the chain of evidence was pure and their profiles were spot on. Why he’d get upset at Gideon for sometimes breaking some of the rules. If the evidence was compromised, suspects would go free to kill again.
Thinking about Gideon had Spencer’s thoughts going to the man that was a prisoner in Aaron’s house. He knew he should feel guilty for being complicit in Gideon’s illegal imprisonment. There was that part of him, though, that was still so very angry at his mentor for how he had just disappeared, for not helping him, for backing away when Spencer needed him the most. Sitting back he scrubbed his face and tried to put thoughts of Gideon out of his mind. Though, deep down, he knew he’d be back down there, sitting in front of that glass prison, watching the man, trying to build up the courage to tell him what he really thought of him.
He again tried to push those thoughts out of his mind as he went back to work. When six o’clock rolled around, he and Aaron left the office so they could get ready for their meet with Callahan. Spencer was curious, he wasn’t sure what the woman wanted, or what her connection to them was. He dressed in what Aaron picked for him, then spent a few minutes with Jack reading together before they had to leave.
It didn’t take long to get to the restaurant and were led to a private room. A bottle of wine and appetizers were already there waiting for them.
“Do you know anything about this woman Aaron?” Spencer asked as he slid into his seat and was handed a glass of the wine Aaron poured for them.
“She’s FBI. Special Investigations. I’m very curious to know what she has to say. I know her sister was killed in the 9/11 attacks and she adopted her sister’s child. Her husband was killed the same day when the third plane had decimated the Pentagon. He was working as an analyst for the NSA at the time. They had not been married very long when he was killed.
“She has an impressive clear rate, is intelligent, has money that she’s invested well from her husband’s insurance as well as her sister’s. She’s risen fairly quickly to Supervisory Special Agent, and is considered for next in-line if her Unit Chief were to take early retirement. If she plays her cards right, she could have her own Unit inside of a year.”
“You seem to know all about me Mr. Hotchner.” The woman smiled as she was shown into the room by the Maitre ‘D. “And, from what I could dig up I probably know as much about you. An IQ vastly above what is reported, you like to keep it on the down low because you like to flaunt your partner’s 187 IQ. Head of your law firm, you have your hands in several different pies. Most notably Grimes Tech. where you have almost a controlling interest. You and Dr. Reid here aren’t shy about your relationship, even going so far as to flaunt your BDSM lifestyle.
“You’ve become the darlings of not only DC society, but have turned the heads of many foreign dignitaries. You garner much praise wherever you go. Give vast amounts of money to several charities, and you and Mr. Grimes sponsor several scholarships that cater mostly to the sciences. Seen as the most influential savior of the US after the 9/11 attacks. You even went so far as to host several fundraisers at your own mansion to help fund the rebuilding of the White House and the Pentagon. You swooped in pretty quickly to help our government get back on it’s feet, but have never taken a seat yourself. You have a son you adore and more money than God. And I know that George Foyet has an obsession with you and what he believes to be your illegal activities.
“Now, it would have technically come under my department, not the BAU’s. So, I’m here to trade information.”
Aaron watched the woman with cold, calculating eyes and Spencer couldn’t help but be a little impressed with her.
“And just what kind of information are you looking for Agent Callahan?” Aaron narrowed his eyes as she sat and poured herself a glass of wine, took a sip and smiled at him.
“What it is you’re really doing up there in our Capital? I’m not stupid Mr. Hotchner. I know some of our newer laws didn’t get passed without a few bribes and palms being greased. I know that you are a highly functioning psychopath. Though you do love your partner, maybe even an obsessional love, but it’s there. If you had never latched onto him it wouldn’t matter, you’d probably be exactly the same. See, I’ve been watching you for a long time. I can’t prove anything, but I know you and your partner have killed. And I’m sure if I were to dig as deep as I could, I wouldn’t find one single scrap of evidence. So, let’s cut the crap right away, shall we?’
Aaron threw back his head and laughed a genuine full body laugh. Spencer just shook his head. He knew why his Aaron had admired Kate so well in his world. She was far from stupid.
“You are a refreshing surprise Agent. And you are right, you won’t find any evidence, and even if people talk, which who doesn’t on the Capital, I can easily deny anything and I would be believed. So, what do you really want to know?” Aaron grinned dangerously, but Kate didn’t seemed moved at all.
“Look, I can’t say that I agree with your methods, and if you were working against the greater good of this country, I’d be all up in your business. But, after the attacks, and no one was doing anything constructive, because they had no clue where to start, you helped rally us. You kept us from sinking into a war that would have wrecked this country financially and emotionally. I’m not saying things are perfect, but you got people to listen. I don’t give a rat’s ass if it’s lined your own pockets, and that’s all you care about, the fact is you cared just enough to keep us going. To put the right people in the right places.
“What I want to know is if it was you that was responsible for the deaths of Foyet’s first team, and for the recent disappearance of Agent Michaels.”
Aaron looked at her long and hard before he asked his next question.
“How do I know I can trust you?”
“You have a mole in your house Mr. Hotchner, and I know who it is. I give it to you freely. I also know who keeps stalling the 83241-B initiative. For the record, I want to see it passed.” Pain flitted over Kate’s face and Spencer watched as Aaron’s eye narrowed. He moved forward as he watched her. Spencer just raised a brow and thought yet again how good this Aaron was at reading people.
“Something happened to you, didn’t it?”
Kate put down her wineglass and looked down at her plate before letting out the breath she was holding.
“My best friend. When we were kids I knew something was off, but didn’t really understand it. Tiffany was a sweet girl. Then, she started to retreat further and further inside herself. I tried to get her to tell me what was going on, but she would just cry. She ended up killing herself and left me a letter. He father was sexually abusing her, and I stood by and did nothing.”
“You were a kid yourself Kate. What could you have done?” Spencer asked her as he lifted his wine to take a sip.
“Get her to talk, to open up to me. I don’t know, something. I want to see your initiative go through. I want to see these people punished harshly for what they do. And, I want to see mother’s that turn a blind eye punished as well. Tiffany’s mother admitted she knew what was going on, she knew and she did nothing. She even blamed her own daughter for her husband not wanting to be with her anymore. I was sickened, it took me a long time to put myself back together after her death. I know you have your own reasons for the initiative, you don’t do anything unless it somehow directly affects you. I honestly, don’t care why you created it. You get results and I want to help.”
Aaron regarded her for a moment as he filed all this information away to check on at a later date.
“Stand-up and take off your jacket and shirt, empty your pockets, and your purse. If you have a wire or recording device, this dinner if over. I want to trust you, want to trust what you’re saying, but you have to understand why I don’t.”
Kate smiled as she stood-up and emptied her purse, then handed it over to Aaron to check for himself. She dug into her pockets, and even pulled them out to show that there was nothing there. She stripped off her jacket and shirt and Aaron checked both, he even checked her bra. She smirked as he unceremoniously checked the underwire. The purse was also thoroughly checked, though it was now ruined, but Spencer knew he wasn’t taking any chances.
Aaron sat back down and tapped his fingers on the table.
“Alright, but if I find you’ve lied to me in anyway, I can ruin you. You must understand that right off the bat. I don’t trust those I work with easily.”
“Oh I know. But, I want this initiative to pass. I want to see anyone who covers-up abuse like this, no matter who they are, to get punished. Teachers, cops, doctors, priests, even lawyers who cover it up. I want to make it so that it is so difficult for them to hide. I want to make it not worth anyone’s while to keep covering this up. Someone should have stood up for my friend, and no one did, and she killed herself. She was only thirteen years old.”
Aaron took his time in answering her. His gut instinct was to believe her, trust her, but he also knew ways to shut her up if she betrayed him in any way, and he knew that she knew it. He picked up his wine and took a long sip, then carefully set it down.
“Yes. I had Foyet’s team killed. They were interfering too much, that’s all you’re getting for now.”
“Good. Agent Bowers was the cop that Tiffany had gone to for help. When he told her she was a lying little whore, that no one would believe her, that’s when she took her life. Because if a cop didn’t believe her, who would?”
Aaron just chuckled and shook his head.
“You’re ruthless. This just may work to both of our advantages. What is it you ultimately want Agent Callahan?”
“Please, if we are going to work together, call me Kate. And what I want? I want the BAU. I want what it was supposed to be. I want to go back to what Gideon and Rossi started, not this shell that they both left in the hands of a corrupt agent. But, I can’t do that with Foyet in my way.”
“Then we have a common enemy.”
“As to your mole, it’s Emily Prentiss. She’s on orders from her mother. Senator Prentiss is part of the block to your initiative. As well as Senator’s Ryan, Wellington, and Grieves. You get to them, your initiative will go through.”
“And how do you know all of this information Kate?”
The woman smirked as she leaned forward on the table, “I have my sources Mr. Hotchner, as you have yours.”
Aaron picked-up his wine glass and grinned. Spencer filed away all the information thrown around knowing Aaron was going to want him to delve deep into Kate Callahan’s life, especially everything he could find out about her friend. He was quiet through the dinner, his mind processing, but from her body language and steady eye contact he determined that she was genuine. She didn’t blink, or fidget. She looked Aaron straight on and didn’t lower her eyes once. Her pulse stayed even, Spencer was cautiously convinced that she could be trusted.
The meal ended and a tentative alliance was made. As they were driving back home Aaron turned to him.
“What did you think?”
“I think she can be trusted. She was genuine, she wasn’t lying, or if she was she had a better poker face than I do.”
“I agree. I will still proceed with caution. Even if she somehow had a recording device, it would be easy for Garcia to dig into and find. I’m going to bring her into the mansion. We have a lot of work we need to do. How are the experiments coming along? You haven’t talked about your side project lately.”
Spencer closed his eyes and laid his head back against the car seat trying not to show his frustration.
“Not well. We aren’t even close and I don’t know why. It’s been weeks and nothing is working. Every time, obviously, it’s a failure. I know there is a key piece to the whole puzzle I’m missing, but I just don’t know what it is.”
Aaron was silent as he gripped the steering wheel. He heard near defeat in Spencer’s voice and it was tearing him apart. He was going to lose one of them, he knew it, down to his very core he knew it, he just didn’t know which one. The one who was his perfect mate, or the one that was still a canvas, still learning and becoming more. It was going to hurt and hurt like hell, but he could only have one. He had to keep Spencer going, keep him trying no matter how long it took.
Aaron was in his office at home doing some work before he spent time with Spencer and Jack. They had movies and popcorn on the agenda. The knock he had been expecting came right on time. He set his work aside and moved to open the door letting Emily in. He shut the door behind her, smiling at her nervousness.
He had Kate’s report on Foyet trying to manufacture evidence against him in regards to a Judge that had been killed. The Judge had been in his pocket, but he had no reason to kill him. Fortunately, Aaron had nothing to do with it. The Judge was killed by a distraught father whose son had been a victim of a serial killer. The Judge gave an unusually light sentence to the killer, citing they only had evidence, and the killer’s confession for two of the crimes. Though, Aaron knew for a fact there was more. Spencer had looked into the case and even sent in a consult to the FBI. He had been ignored, and the evidence for the other crimes became compromised.
Judge Evans gave the man only twenty-five years, when he should have gotten life. Aaron felt no remorse for the man, in fact he figured that someone paid him off for the lighter sentence. He had Derek and Garcia digging and when he found out who it was, they would be dealt with. All of this was going through his mind as he sat there looking over the reports, making Emily wait.
“You’re a spy. In fact, you’ve been spying since the moment you entered my home. I’m not stupid Emily and whatever your mother is up to, it stops now.” Aaron set the files aside and glared at the woman across from him.
Emily sat with her hands in her lap and chuckled.
“I told my mother that it wouldn’t fool you. So, you’ve known since the beginning. You’ve let me in, let me train Jack, help with some of your…activities. Why did you trust me?”
“Because you care for Jack. Something changed. You became less committed to actually finding any dirt on me, which you wouldn’t have. You’re smart enough to know what I’m about, but you haven’t made a move.”
“It’s true. When I first came here it was to dig up something on you. Everything about you was just too good to be true. You don’t hide from those most loyal to you, they know what you’re about. I can’t say what you do is right, but the truth is the outcomes are what is right. We’ve come farther in the last ten years as a country than we have ever had. I may not like your methods but the results help everyone.”
“It’s not all altruistic.”
“Oh, you’re an unashamed psychopath. I get that, but I won’t be a part of stopping you. Not when what you do makes a strange kind of sense. And to be honest, I hate politics. I’ve seen what it does to good people. How it corrupts. its funny, you’re as manipulative as they come, but you’re honest in your corruption. You play up the media and you and Reid are everyone’s darlings. Even if it all came out tomorrow, people would still love you and eat right out of your hands. You’re careful, though. It’s what’s saved you. ”
Aaron narrowed his eyes at Emily, trying to find the lie but just like with Kate, his instincts were telling him to trust her.
“Your mother needs to stop blocking my initiative on child molesters and abusers. Get me a meeting with her, and I’ll see whether or not I keep you on my staff.”
“Done. I’ll arrange it right away. And, I would never do anything to hurt Jack. Outing you and Reid? That would hurt your son. I did that once, separated father and son, and though what I did was the right thing, it didn’t feel like the right thing. I pick and choose my battles Hotch. Unless you truly do something that I feel goes too far, I’m not going to say a thing.”
“Okay. I have a movie date with my son and Spencer. We’ll talk more after I speak with your mother.” Aaron went back to his reports effectively dismissing Emily. When she was gone, he made plans in his head, then did some research on Senator Prentiss. He wanted to know everything. He knew he’d have her eating out of his hands before the end of their meeting, especially if her daughter threw in her support of him. He wasn’t worried as he made his plans. Smiling to himself he left his office and joined Spencer and Jack in the viewing room, ironically Spencer wanted to watch The Manchurian Candidate, Aaron couldn’t help finding the humor in that as he sat down and wrapped an arm around his lover and held him close.
“Doctor Reid,” Spencer said as he answered his desk phone. He didn’t even look at the number that was displayed on the caller ID. He was working on a consult for the CIA on a threat they were tracking overseas and wanted a way of predicting his behaviour to hopefully catch the threat sooner.
“It’s Doctor Norman, Doctor Reid.”
“Yes, what can I do for you?” Spencer stopped typing on the keyboard and tried to remember the name but it wasn’t there. Then he looked at the caller ID. Las Vegas area code. He typed in the phone number into a search browser and it brought up the page for Bennington. Spencer almost dropped the phone. “I’m sorry Doctor Norman I was working on a consult. How is mom doing?”
“Well, Spencer, she’s not doing good at the moment. She’s asking for you and is just having a bad few weeks. I think that she’d do better with a visit from you. Her new medication is working well, but I think that she’s depressed. I can’t get her to open up but she talks about missing you and wanting to find you.”
“I’ll see what I can do, Doctor Norman. We are pretty busy with cases at the moment and I have a backlog of paperwork that will take me days to get through.”
“I understand, Spencer. Just try please.”
“Of course.” Spencer said his goodbyes and then hung up the phone, not even letting it cross his mind that he’d be going to Las Vegas to comfort the woman who had birthed the other Spencer. He buried himself into work and tuned out the whole of the bullpen. He still hadn’t mastered working in such a busy environment. He was used to Aaron’s office that was kept quiet, except for the sounds of music on occasion. When it was nearing the end of the work day, Spencer made himself get up and get a cup of coffee. When he sat back down, he drank half of the cup before he worked on the final files on his desk.
“Reid, do you have a moment?” Aaron called out from his office door. Spencer closed the file and grabbed his coffee cup before heading up to his office. Aaron’s desk was mostly empty, even with the backlog that had built up when they had been in Atlantic City. Aaron had joked that he’d never get caught up but he had, with Spencer’s help.
“What do you need, Hotch?” Spencer asked. The door had been left open and Spencer didn’t want anyone to hear him call him Aaron. Just in case someone was walking past his office.
“I was at Prentiss’ desk when the call from Doctor Norman came through. You can take a few days to go out and see her. If we need your help, we can always call you. Garcia would be able to forward all relevant information to you via your tablet or laptop, whichever you took with you.”
“After Atlantic City, I don’t have much leave left and I don’t want to just get out there and have to turn around.” Spencer knew that there wasn’t much leave left for him.
“Well, that’s where Dave and I come in. That vacation with you was the first time I have used leave in a while. We both have more than enough to give you four days each. So please, Spencer. You need to go and see her. Doctor Norman doesn’t call unless you really need to see her. It’s been awhile since you have seen her.”
Spencer kept it to himself that he hadn’t wrote in the months since he’d been there. Of course, that wasn’t something that he could share with anyone much less the man across from him.
“I have your plane booked and I saw you with a new go bag this morning. We will have just enough time to get you there. I have the case your gun needs to go into, just in case we have a case come up that we need you on.”
“All of your downtime is spent with Jack and me and I know that you have to miss seeing your mother.”
Spencer kept the snort to himself. He didn’t miss seeing his mother. He never had missed seeing his mother. He’d go to Vegas and just do whatever he wanted. If he didn’t go, it would look weird. And he didn’t put it past Garcia to track him. She was entirely too nosy for her own good and it wasn’t making Spencer like her more at all.
“You didn’t have to be so underhanded,” Spencer said with a frown. Aaron stood up from his chair and came around the desk to kneel in front of him. His hands clasped Spencer’s before he kissed the knuckles on both of his hands.
“I just…I wanted to take care of you. I didn’t mean for it to be underhanded. I know that your mom not doing well has to be stressing you out so I figured that if I took care of all of the details, you’d feel better.”
“Oh.” Spencer was a little shocked at how he had reacted. He doubted everyone around him and it was coming off on him doubting Aaron as well. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to be.” Aaron smiled at him. “Please, let me drive you to the airport.”
“Yes.” Spencer nodded and let hesitance show. “I can call you right? Whenever I need to?”
“Yes. No matter the time here. I want to kiss you. I want to hold you in my arms until you settle down. But I can’t right now. If we leave now we will have a little bit of time before you have to go through security.”
“Okay. I’ll get my go bag.” Spencer stood up and moved to his desk. He cleaned it up and made sure that his files would be there for him when he got back. A minute tremor started in his left hand but he stared at it until it stopped. He had to make it onto the plane before he started to freak out. He couldn’t let Aaron see that because his Spencer would never be worried about seeing his mother. About being in the same place as her.
Spencer kept it together through the drive to Dulles. He kept it together through Aaron kissing him goodbye and hugging him tight, telling him to call him as soon as he landed. He kept it together through the security check where he allowed his gun to be inspected and locked away safely. He kept it together though take off and the time spent up to that point. It was after they were allowed to move around in first class that Spencer needed time to himself. He had no seat partners thankfully and went to the restroom, locking the door tight and tried not to hyperventilate. Just being back in Vegas without Aaron, with his Aaron was going to be too much. He tried to take his mind off by putting on the cuffs. He’d got a slightly raised eyebrow when his carry on bag had been scanned but no one had said a thing. His hands shook as he wrapped the collar around his neck. He buttoned the shirt up enough to where no one would see it, but the cuffs would be harder to hide. It helped to settle him, but he knew that he needed more so he moved back to his seat and pulled out his MP3 player. He turned it on and set the background music playlist on it. Then he pulled up a memory of Aaron reading to him when he was younger. When the lifestyle that they now lived wasn’t enough to shake the nightmares so Aaron would stay up all night long reading to him so that he never thought that he’d gone back to her. That he was safe. The rest of the trip to Vegas was quick.
Finding Bennington wasn’t hard. Spencer sat down in the car that had been waiting for him when he’d got off the plane. Aaron had rented him a car. Spencer parked in the visitor’s parking lot with a view of the front doors. The place looked nice. Spencer had chosen well for his mother. If it had been him, Spencer would have dropped her in one of those places that were audited for inhumane experiments.
Hand on the door handle, Spencer hesitated. He looked down at his hand that was shaking even as it gripped the handle. The fear was there, just as big has it had been over two decades ago.
He couldn’t do it.
Spencer pulled the keys from the ignition and forced himself out of car, his bag slung over his shoulder. He dropped the keys inside and slammed the door shut pretty hard. An orderly who was helping an older lady to her car looked up at him. Spencer just looked away, back to the doors of the institution. He took a very shaky step and waited to feel the overwhelming fear that had taken him the day before.
Every single step had it getting bigger and bigger inside of him. He made it halfway through the lot before he felt the first urge to turn back. He fought it though, and made himself keep going.
When he touched the doorknob though, Spencer felt sick to his stomach. His skin was crawling. He turned and fled. He didn’t have to do this. He was fine without.
He didn’t stop shaking until he got back to his hotel and was in the bathroom, naked with warm water flowing over him as he sat on his knees trying to think of anything else.
The doors were right there in front of him. It was just a few steps and he’d be able to go inside and once he was inside he’d be fine. Once he was inside he’d be perfectly fine. It would be fine. Spencer stopped at the doors and when he was ready, he jerked them open. He stepped inside and slid to the side. He wanted to be out of the way while he breathed in deep.
In and out. In and out. He was safe. No one there was going to hurt him and no one was going to let Diana Reid hurt him. The atrium of Bennington was empty. No patients, no visitors, and even no workers. He could see the registration desk there at the side and hear voices.
Spencer was out the door before he even realized what he did. He got into the car and sat there. He breathed in deep and laid his hand on his thigh, right on the meat of it and squeezed. He didn’t dig his his nails in, but just put pressure, making a dull pain. He hadn’t had to do it in years, but it had worked when he got upset while taking classes. He hadn’t always been able to get to Aaron to settle himself.
There was little to distract himself with when he finally got inside the main part of Bennington. There were patients in the periphery areas but no one looked at him. No one stopped to look at him at all.
“Oh, Doctor Reid, Diana is the main hall today,” a nurse said as she passed by him. Spencer looked at her and smiled as he moved kind of in the direction he figured out was the way to the main hall. Just as he entered, he recognized the outline of her body. She was hunched over a book, writing in it. He stared at her for several long minutes. It had taken him four days to even get far enough to where he could see her and his heart was racing.
He’d never felt like this before. He needed to get away. He needed to get away and never come back. This wasn’t his mother and he had no reason to be doing what he was doing.
When Spencer figured out where Diana was, he seriously debated running right then but he didn’t. He made it even farther this visit than he had any of the others. He watched the woman as she sat and stared out the window.
That dug up memories of him sitting at her knees when they were at the park as she read to him when he was much younger. The only good memories he had of her, but he’d buried them so deep because even though they were good, the good lead to the bad. Three steps inside he stopped. She was moving. She was moving in the chair and then all Spencer could see was a flash of knife.
Spencer was inside of the car before he breathed again. He looked at himself in the mirror and cursed what he looked like. He knew that he needed to take care of himself better, but the fear was there, with no way to get rid of it. He’d tried that day to not go to Bennington but the urge had been too strong.
When he got back to the hotel, Spencer turned on his tablet. He’d been talking to Jack over it every night, but still he hadn’t used it besides that. He found a listing of all of the clubs in Vegas and started to peruse them. He’d find what he was looking for.
The lights were dim inside the club. It had taken him some fast talking to get inside of the place, and he wasn’t all that sure that security still wasn’t going to find him and throw him out. Instead of the fast and hard beats, the club was playing slow and sultry music at the moment. He was dressed to impress and so many of the unattached Doms in the club had looked at him. Quite a few of the attached Doms had as well, but he was giving off a very big “Don’t Touch Me” vibe.
The bar wasn’t that packed as many of the Subs were out on the floor, attracting all of the Doms out there as well. Spencer found himself a seat at the bar where no one would be able to come up behind him and he could see nearly the entire place. This place was one of the finer establishments, but it wasn’t Aaron’s club.
Spencer had a stare down with a Dom on the other side of the bar. The man’s attention hadn’t been as unnoticed as he thought he was being. He wasn’t sure of the dynamics of the place, but he figured that enough of a ruckus and even a Dom would be thrown out.
“What exactly are you looking for?” a lithe woman asked as she took the seat on the stool next to him. Spencer looked her up and down and his eyes stayed on her collar for several seconds. It had an actual lock on it, but the lock looked to be made of tungsten. Hard to cut off. The collar itself was platinum.
“My Dom is not here at the moment, circumstances beyond either of our control, and I need to get out of my head a little. I was looking for a lovely couple that would let me watch.”
“I see.” She leaned in close. “That’s what I told my Dom, and he thought that I was reaching so he made me come over here and shame myself by asking, and finding out that I was wrong. Am I allowed to touch?”
“No, but that is a personal preference more than a rule from my Dom.”
“We have a room two floors up, want to join us?”
“Lead the way, lovely.” Spencer picked up his drink. It was just ginger ale, but he wanted something to have in his hands.
The room that the Sub and her Dom lead him to was nice, more like a suite than a room. It meant that they played there often. There was a bathroom off to the left and a bedroom to the right. Instead of a couch in the middle of the room there was a Saint Andrew’s Cross.
“My name is Sabian and my Sub here is Emmaline. We are happy to have you join us. Emmie tells me that you don’t want to be touched at all?”
“Anything else? Anything you don’t want to see?”
“I’m sure that you don’t play as hard as my Dom and I so no. Play like I am not even here.” Spencer found a chair that gave him the view that he wanted, more of Sabian than Emmaline. There was nothing of Aaron in Sabian, but he hoped that if he wished enough, he could trick his mind.
The Dom and Sub played hard and Spencer could tell that this was a treat, having someone watch. Emmaline was worked up from the second that she was strapped to the cross. Even with him in the room she was stripped naked so when her arousal was so great that she came when she locked eyes with Spencer, he could smell it. Sabian was still in his jeans but his arousal was evident.
For the second half, Spencer had his eyes closed. The sound of the flogger crashing into skin followed by the whack of a paddle had Spencer slowly settling. He knew the moment that Emmaline was released from her bonds as the sounds died away. Spencer kept his eyes closed. He blocked out all sound until he felt his chair being jostled. Spencer opened his eyes to see Sabian there.
“You can use the bathroom to clean up.” The man’s eyes were on his obviously not hard cock.
“I don’t get hard unless Sir tells me I can. Cleaning up is not an issue. Thank you, it was beautiful. There is obviously love there.”
“I…” Sabian looked very shocked as Spencer made his way out of the room. Even just that little bit of listening to someone else play had centered him enough. He knew what he had to do.
Bennington was quiet for it being early in the morning. Spencer opened the doors to the building and moved inside. He had called already and knew that she was enjoying the morning sun in her rooms.
“Mom?” Spencer asked as he entered the room. The urge to flee started as soon as she turned to look at him, but it stopped the second that he saw no anger there.
“Shut the door Spencer and come here.”
Diana patted her knee and Spencer knew what she wanted but he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t kneel to her. Even if he wasn’t giving her submission. Spencer grabbed the folding chair from where it was leaned against the wall outside her room and shut the door as he entered. He opened the chair and sat in front of her, just outside of her reach. The pain in her eyes was outstanding.
“I knew from the moment that I saw a news broadcast for California three months ago that you were not my Spencer. Is he safe where he is?”
“Safer than I am. My…” Spencer stopped.
“Your Dominant? I saw the collar yesterday.”
“He would never hurt Spencer.” Spencer left off the unless he wanted it. “He would do anything to protect what is his and no Spencer could ever say no to him.”
“She hurt you didn’t she? Your mother. I see the fear in your eyes. You are just out of my reach and you look ready to bolt.”
“Yes she did. My A-” Spencer cut himself off. He didn’t know if Diana knew about what Spencer had been building to with Aaron.
“Your Aaron did what?” Diana asked with a small smile. Spencer could see that while she was gripped with her disease, it hadn’t shattered that brilliant mind of hers.
“He saved me from her. He killed her to protect me.” Spencer knew that if he had been anyone else he would be fidgeting, but he was in control of his body.
“I’m glad that he did. I’m glad that you have him, even if he is lost to you right now. Thank him for me. I know that I am not your mother, but the worst thing that I could think of is waking up from a delusion and realizing that I had killed Spencer. How do you plan on getting home?”
“I have to hope that your Spencer can recreate it on my side because I have to play a very…delicate game. If someone wrong knows that I am not this world’s Spencer it would go very badly. I’m trying to keep a low profile.” Spencer was sure that even if Diana told anyone about this, it would be enough that she was a paranoid schizophrenic that no one would look at him.
“And Aaron Hotchner doesn’t suspect?” Diana looked like she was a little shocked at that.
“He’s…Spencer and him hadn’t done a single thing besides casually date. I don’t know that they were ever intimate enough verbally for him to really realize a difference and me. Aaron taught me well how to be a chameleon. I just use a little different skills than your Spencer does.” Spencer relaxed in his chair, leaning back and crossing his legs.
“Do you love your Aaron?”
“Yet there is something there…You love him but it’s…” Diana was very smart. Spencer never remembered his mother being this smart. That intelligence and her gripping tight of it might have been what saved her from the fate that Spencer’s mother had.
“Aaron has never had me talk to a shrink. I’d talk circles around them and end up just pissing them off. I self diagnosed as a sociopath a long time ago. It’s a selfish love. Like a child who would rather break their toy than see someone else play with it.” And Spencer was sure that it was something that he would do. He never saw himself as wanting to leave Aaron, willingly, and he knew that no one would be able to make him leave Aaron but the late nights, sometimes when he couldn’t sleep, he thought about what he would do. If that time came where he and Aaron weren’t good together anymore. He would rather see Aaron dead than with someone else.
“He’s going to come back different isn’t he?” Diana asked.
“Aaron is a hard man and he has Dominant needs that he won’t have filled elsewhere. It all depends on what your Spencer wants. Aaron would never force him to do a thing.”
“My Spencer is going to come back changed. I know he is. I met Spencer’s team the first time when he had been on the team about two years. He was changed then. The longer he has been around Aaron Hotchner the more he has changed. Good changes I think. Changes he wouldn’t have had to make if his father had stuck around. If I had been healthy.”
“I don’t see her in you at all. I don’t. I don’t see a single bit of that madness that was in her eyes.”
“The longer you sit here, the more I see that shadow leaving your eyes. Closure, yes? What you never got because your Aaron killed her before you could reconcile the woman who attacked you and your mother?”
“Yes. Even the thought of you just months ago sent me into a panic attack. I came here and I was shocked at how different it all was and then your name was dropped and I freaked out.” Spencer reached out his hand and Diana clasped it within her own.
“I read to some of the residents here after they finish breakfast. Do you want to join me?”
Spencer smiled and stood up, offering his arm to her like a proper gentleman.
There was little to do for the rest of his what ended up being two weeks in Las Vegas. He’d spent quite a bit of time with Diana and even on one occasion took her out for a meal. He’d not had a nightmare since he’d talked to her. He was excited to be going home, his real home with his Aaron and his Jack. He talked to this world’s Aaron and Jack every single night.
It was his final night, his flight was at seven thirty the next morning and he’d be flying straight onto Quantico base. Rossi had snagged him a military ride home. A man weaving through a crowd at a bar caught his eye. He followed behind him. When the man sat down with a small crowd of what looked like businessmen, Spencer knew him.
Spencer took a seat to watch the man as he drank with his co-workers. The man looked happy. Way too happy for a man who never saw his son and basically lived in the same city as his wife and never made sure that she was fine.
The man wasn’t even paying attention as Spencer followed behind him the entire walk to his home. He was asleep by the time that Spencer let himself into his house. There was no security outside of an alarm that he disengaged on the first try with the date that William had started at the law firm he worked at. Soft gloves from his pocket were slipped onto his hands before he started looking around.
Spencer took his time looking around the house and even paid attention to William’s cat. In the kitchen, he found empty syringes. Slipping one into his pocket he moved up the stairs into the master bedroom. Nowhere in the house was the fact that he had a son or even a wife. There were no pictures, not even baby pictures. He wanted to know how his co-workers allowed themselves to work with someone like him.
It was easy to track the state of sleep that the man was in. He waited until he was in the deepest part of sleep before he worked the bed clothes up to where he could get to the left foot. Gently, he worked the toes apart and drew air into the syringe with his other hand. Sliding the needle in, he found the vein he wanted. He blessed his memory and his extensive knowledge of the human body. He injected the air into William’s vein.
Spencer had no want of seeing William Reid die a second time. He petted the cat again as he left, watching it jump onto it’s master’s bed before he left. He reset the alarm and made sure the door was locked. It was so late that there wasn’t a single light on anywhere on the street. The area had to be full of workers who worked nine to five jobs.
By the time that WIlliam Reid was found, he’d be long dead and Spencer would be flying back to DC. The syringe was dropped into an alleyway where others were, where junkies hung out. The gloves were left at the airport along with the wrapper from his breakfast sandwich.
The flight was filled with other men and women catching a ride to DC. All of them were armed forces across various branches. He stayed to himself at the back of the cargo jet. Thankfully, no one bothered him.
Aaron was waiting for him at the landing strip when he walked down the ramp. In his hand was an envelope. Spencer cocked an eyebrow as he stepped up to him.
“This was waiting for you on your desk yesterday morning. I didn’t pay any attention to it until this morning when I saw the logo for my apartment building.” Aaron handed it over and Spencer looked and saw that it was indeed from the building manager at the other apartment.
Spencer opened the seal carefully and found inside the note of when he could start to move in as well as the first set of keys to his new apartment. He looked at the number and found that it was the one right next to Aaron’s. Spencer tried to even think if he had seen anything about that in anything inside of Spencer’s apartment. So he went back to the paperwork and found that the lease agreement had been signed the day that they had swapped.
“What did you forget?”
“I realized this past weekend that I needed to a find a new place. I forgot that I had signed these.”
“How did you forget?”
“It was the day of the explosion. You know my memories of the hours leading up to it are fuzzy. I…” Spencer showed him the paperwork and let him read it over. The move in date was that weekend. Plenty of time to get his things out of the old apartment. He was sure that Morgan would help him, as well as Prentiss, JJ, and Will. He’d already packed up the things that he didn’t really need to use. Meaning a lot of the things in the apartment were in boxes. With working as much as he did, leisure reading was small so he was able to find it easier to just pick a book from the box of unread ones than to do anything else.
“That’s the apartment next to mine. Did you…”
“I meant to discuss it with you, but with everything and the explosion.” Spencer worked himself up. He breathed in deep to take a few shorter, but deeper breaths as well. Like he was getting ready to hyperventilate. “I gave over the check already but I’m sure that if-”
Aaron stopped him with a hand over his mouth. “Breathe.”
Spencer slowly settled his breathing, making a show of it.
“Get inside the car and we will talk.” Aaron pointed to the passenger side as he took the go bag from Spencer’s hand. Spencer moved around the car and settled into the passenger seat. He buckled in and wasn’t shocked when Aaron took off driving away from the airfield. They had to work so they couldn’t just slip away but still Aaron did park in the garage before he turned to Spencer.
“I mean it Aaron. I’ll break the lease.”
“You don’t need to. I like the thought of you living next door. You having an elevator instead of just the walk up. I’m sure that Jack would love it. So you are moving next door this weekend.” The tone brokered no questions. Spencer was moving in it seemed whether he liked it or not. And he liked it a lot.
Spencer smiled at him. He wanted to kiss the man, but knew that he couldn’t. Not there. Not where someone could see them or even a camera could catch them. Maybe at lunch he could slip into Aaron’s office for a quick make out session.
The experiments were going nowhere. He and Charlie tried to adjust for everything they could think of. Spencer was at loss and didn’t know what to do. He didn’t even know how to explain what was going on in his head to Aaron. At this point he started to believe that he was never getting back, never going home to his Aaron. Of course, he wasn’t even sure if his Aaron would even want him anymore.
Spencer slid down the wall across from Gideon’s cell, and tears fell as he let himself fall into a momentary despair. He’d tried to hold on so hard, but every failure to replicate the accident was one more painful reminder of what he was losing. He closed his eyes a moment and thought back to just a few days before. He had remembered that all important date. It was the day he was going to move into the apartment next to his Aaron. He had forgotten all about it, and he couldn’t help wondering if his counterpart made the move or not. He also couldn’t let go of the knowledge that Aaron was probably fucking the other Spencer, and for some reason the pain of that churned in his gut.
As he sat there staring at Gideon, like he had almost everyday since finding out that Aaron had him, Spencer knew he had no right to be angry at his Aaron. Wasn’t he doing the same? Having a relationship just because it was an Aaron. He thought of the finished tattoo on his back and wondered what the other man would think of it if he ever did get back. Would he hate him for giving in? For loving another Aaron, for letting his submissive side loose? Would his Aaron see him any different? Would he see hate and derision in his eyes? He didn’t think he would be able to take it if his Aaron didn’t want him, didn’t want to love him. It would break him and he knew it. If he got back and Aaron rejected him, it would tear him apart losing them both.
So, he sat there on the floor as depression started to swamp him, and looking at his old mentor, in that moment he hated him. He didn’t know why he tortured himself this way. Coming down here every day, staring at the man and hating him for what he did, not only to him, but to Aaron too. He knew, even if his Aaron wouldn’t admit it, that there had been a deep friendship there. His Aaron had loved Gideon in his own way, but he buried it, like he buried everything else. He knew this wasn’t his Gideon, but something in him just couldn’t stop.
As much as he came down, Rossi did as well. He would just look at Spencer with a sad expression, punch in the code and go into Gideon’s room. The first few times Spencer opted not to listen when Rossi asked if he wanted to hear what they talked about, but then his curiosity took over. He could just make out the chess board as Rossi set it up and sat next to Jason.
Spencer learned a lot about Gideon, about this world’s Rossi and even Foyet. Spencer learned that Rossi had lost it in the field. He shot an UnSub point blank, and it was the last straw for the Bureau and his increasingly odd behaviour. They put up, for a while, his seductions of other FBI agents, and boy did Spencer get an earful. Not just women, but he took a few men to bed as well. He knew his Rossi wouldn’t think about that. He was all about women.
The most egregious crime was when he started to seduce witnesses, and a couple of times even victims family members. Spencer finally knew what is was that made his skin crawl, Rossi always looked at those around him like he wanted to bed them. All except Aaron who was like a son to him. There were other issues as well, and everything had just built up till it was too much and he was given the choice of leaving, or the Bureau would outright fire him. He chose to leave.
Spencer understood the man a little more, it didn’t mean that he liked him. But, he had good connections, deep connections that he had fostered during his time at the FBI. Those connections helped Aaron more than once, and Spencer knew that Rossi was a tool to Aaron. Oh, he felt loyalty and some affection, but it wasn’t exactly a father-son feeling on Aaron’s part. He only had room in his heart for two people, himself and Jack.
Spencer shook himself out of the memories of those overheard conversations, and closed his eyes a moment, and smiled slightly at the memories of the previous evening. Aaron had used him well. That little voice that had always guided him, was screaming at him that he was changing too much, but he had no desire to stop, to give up what he was becoming. He found a kind of strength he never realized was inside him. He knew he had fallen hard and it excited him at the same time that it scared him. He was letting himself be marked, in more ways than one, and god help him he liked the feeling of being owned, being possessed by another person. If he decided to give up on the the experiments, to stay, he knew what would happen. He would give himself even more, let his submission be complete and he’d agree to the prince albert Aaron wanted him to get. It would be his final surrender, and he knew after that, there would be no going back for him.
He opened his eyes and cocked his head as he looked at Jason Gideon, once great profiler, now just existing on feeding tubes, mind and body broken. He was horrified, but a tiny bit vindicated as well. He openly stared letting his anger and hate come through, it was almost visceral as he stared at the man. He had never let himself feel these feelings, had held onto an image of Gideon, that just wasn’t real. Here and now, his eyes were opened and he understood so many things about the man. Today was the day, today he was going to tell Jason just what he thought of him. He stood and stalked to the glass door, input the code that Aaron had given to him, and entered the room. Putting his hands on the footboard he leaned forward and glared.
“I’m sure by now you have figured out that I’m not this world’s Spencer Reid. You’re too smart not to have. I’m also sure you’ve been wondering why I’ve been coming to see you everyday. And why I haven’t talked to you, not once. Today, though, I knew I needed to make my peace.
“I don’t fear you Jason, if that is what you’re thinking. I’ve been formulating in my mind what it is I’ve been wanting to tell you.” Spencer moved around the bed and leaned down close to Jason’s face. “I know you. I’ve been studying you. Everything Aaron had ever gathered about you, and everything Spencer ever wrote down in his personal files about you. And I laughed. I laughed because while most everyone around here is vastly different than my world, you, Supervisory Special Agent Jason Gideon, are. Exactly. The. Same.”
Spencer cocked his head again, took a deep breath and stood-up. He moved again, but this time he straddled Gideon’s waist and leaned back down.
“I figured you out, you know. After I got clean, after you left me with only a letter, which my father did, but you didn’t know that. I kept some things to myself because you didn’t need any more ways to hurt me. But, Jason, I figured you out.” Spencer leaned all the way till his mouth was against Jason’s ear, “You wanted to fuck me. You wanted me for yourself, but were too chicken shit to do anything about it.” When he sat back up he saw Jason’s eyes widen.
“What? You can’t speak? The tubes aren’t in your mouth. Or, are you afraid that you feel the same for this world’s Spencer?” Spencer pressed his lips together in a hard line.
“Spencer, what, what happened to you?” Spencer noticed that Gideon wanted to touch him, but he just grabbed the older man’s hands and held them down on the bed.
“That is a long conversation. But I’ll give you the short version. I was kidnapped by an Unsub, he forced a drug on me, I got addicted. When I didn’t fall at your feet begging for help you left me to deal with it on my own. The only person on the team, the family that we supposedly built that helped me was Aaron.
“You got jealous, then you got stupid. You should have seen Breitkopf coming a mile away, yet you chose to ignore the possibility. You were too far gone by then. Anger, self-doubt, depression. I wasn’t stupid, I saw it.” Spencer leaned forward again and laid his forehead against Jason’s, “You wallowed in your self-pity and enjoyed it. Then you just disappeared.”
“Spencer, listen to me, you need to get away. You’re right, I did figure you out, it’s too late for me…” Spencer released one of Gideon’s hands and just laid a finger on Jason’s mouth to shut him up.
Swallowing he removed his shirt and turned around. He heard the quiet sob from Gideon, and felt the fingers tracing what he could reach. Spencer allowed it, for the moment. He knew every quote on his back by heart, and they all had to do with being owned, submitting, and giving into desire. Turning back he looked at Jason, the gold rings shining brightly against his dusky nipples
“I think I’ve passed the point of no return. I know I’ve changed. I’ve let it happen. Probably could have fought harder, longer, but what was the point? He’s Aaron. I think if I travelled through a thousand realities, I’d always find him and I’d always want him, no matter who or what he was. I think I’d always become what he needs, and I’d always become what I needed for him. You know I’m mostly a man of science, but when it come to Aaron, I think, I think I believe in fate.”
“He’s already corrupted you, turned you. Spencer it’s never too late. George, he can help, find George he’ll protect you…” Spencer wrapped a hand around his throat and squeezed.
“George Foyet will never get his hands on Aaron, do you understand? He did in my world, he hurt and stalked Aaron. Played mind games, then killed his wife and almost killed his son. Now, while this world is different, there are many similar traits. Your George is stalking Aaron, trying to hurt him and I won’t let it happen again. Understand?” Spencer surprised even himself with his tone of voice. It was hard as he poured out all that he was feeling towards Gideon.
Gideon was shaking and Spencer just lifted a brow. He had no emotions left when it came to Jason Gideon. He let go of his throat and closed his eyes a moment. He finally, after almost four years of pain and anger over Jason, Spencer felt at peace. When he opened his eyes back-up he had a clarity of the man that he had never had before.
“I was only ever a tool to you. My intelligence, my trust, and yes Jason, even a part of my heart, you used them, for your own selfish purposes. I loved you, not the way you wanted, but as mentor and friend, and you used me. Oh, I think a part of you loved me, as long as I was the whipped puppy that followed at your heels. But, under Aaron’s caring and guiding, this puppy grew-up and you didn’t like that. I feel sorry for you.”
Spencer bent down and brushed his lips against Gideon’s.“I think, there was a short-time, that I might have let you have me. I was so enamored of you, so infatuated that I might have fallen into your bed, thankfully I came to my senses. I am going to give you a kiss, just one, so you can always remember what you lost.” Spencer closed his eyes and pressed his lips against Gideon’s. He thought of his mentor, the man he had once loved and poured all of that into it. When he broke away, he saw a tear running down Jason’s cheek. He didn’t even wipe away the tears, and knew as he sat there looking down at Jason that the man was hard, even now, even when he shouldn’t be. Spencer just raised a brow and felt absolutely nothing.
Spencer stood, grabbed his shirt, and left the room to go in search of Aaron. He needed him, he needed what it was they did in the playroom, he needed the pain and the release. And he knew Aaron would give it to him. He needed something to remind him to go on and at this moment that was the only place that could bring him strength, and maybe even hope.