Aaron only had a single thought as soon as the team was around him. Cruz had come and taken over the scene since Aaron was the one to kill Peter Lewis. He’d been silent while getting checked out by the medics. He knew he was going to be going to the hospital. To keep him for observation. Aaron was itching to call Spencer. The hallucination he’d been forced to have was prominent in his mind. Lewis had triggered a fear even he hadn’t been able to control. That was what had saved Dave and JJ’s lives. Because in his hallucination, Tara Lewis wasn’t on the team, Callahan was pregnant, and Spencer was on the team. As soon as he’d seen Spencer in his mind, he’d started to fight it and he’d won. The UnSub hadn’t been able to get away before Aaron had shot him. As soon as Lewis had gone down, Aaron had clicked his safety on, and threw his gun away, just to be safe. His phone was broken and he needed to call Spencer.
“Hotch? What’s wrong?” Callahan asked as she stepped up. Her hand reached out, but stopped when he looked around for JJ. He needed her phone. His brain was jumping, and he couldn’t settle it down. He locked eyes with JJ and held his hand out.
“Please. I need to talk. I need to know. Please?” Aaron didn’t like begging, but the hallucination had seemed so real. He hadn’t even entertained Spencer being hurt anymore. He hadn’t even had a nightmare about him dying on that day at the school.
JJ nodded and dialed a number on her phone before handing it over.
“Are you okay?” Aaron asked as soon as he heard the click that told him that Spencer had answered the phone.
“Aaron, what’s wrong? What do you mean am I okay? I’m sitting on the couch in my house with a bowl of popcorn in my lap watching TV and grading tests.” Spencer sounded perfectly fine. There was no reason for him to worry.
“I was drugged, and I hallucinated your death. You were shot in the head. It was so real. Please. I need you. I need you and Jack. Please. JJ will text you the address of the hospital I am being taken to. I just need you.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I get Jack out of bed. I’ll text the Deputy Headmaster and make sure that he knows I won’t be in tomorrow and nor will Jack. We’ll be there. Stay strong.” The line clicked off and Aaron looked at JJ a weak smile on his face.
“Agent Hotchner, we need to get going, your team can follow behind, but we need to go now,” The lead medic said.
“Okay,” Aaron laid back on the stretcher he was on and allowed himself to be strapped in. He knew that he’d be staying until his system was clear of the drugs, and probably longer to check on his mental status. His mental status would be a lot better once he had eyes on Spencer.
The ride to the hospital took no time at all. His entire brain focused on the thought that Spencer was alive and well. He wanted to touch him though. The team was kept from his room until he was settled in. He was given a private room due to what had happened with him, and told he’d be kept until morning at least. Every single time that someone passed by his room he looked up. He’d made sure his nurse knew that his partner and child were on their way. The nurse had been more than willing to keep an eye out. It wasn’t until he realized that the whole team was around him that he thought about Spencer’s reaction to them being there.
“Hotch, what’s going on?” Morgan asked.
But before Aaron could even think to respond the door was opening. Jack ran in first, right to Aaron, and Spencer was next in the door. Aaron picked up Jack as soon as the boy jumped at him. The team was silent as they watched Spencer walk across the distance between the door and his bed. JJ was at Aaron’s side, helping Jack sit down beside him as Spencer’s hand reached out when Aaron raised his. JJ stepped back a buffer between Morgan and them.
“How is he, JJ?” Spencer asked, sparing only a little glance at her before he looked back at Aaron. Aaron wanted to touch him more, but he wasn’t sure. Spencer lifted Aaron’s hand up and laid it on his cheek, smiling as he did. Aaron heard a gasp from at least one person, but didn’t care. The door opened again and Aaron looked out of habit to see Garcia.
“Hotch, you should be laying down.” Garcia started forward, but stopped when Aaron looked away from her. “Who is this?”
“Hello, Garcia,” Spencer said, but he didn’t turn around, instead he leaned in and kissed Aaron. Aaron was shocked, but he didn’t pull back. It was a simple press of lips, but he needed it. He kept Spencer right there. It was the first time that Spencer had started a kiss between them without Aaron having kissed him just before. Spencer was real, and alive, and right there with him. Aaron pulled out of the kiss, but only because he pulled the other man into a hug.
“Thank you,” Aaron whispered in his ear. He kept his eyes closed, not wanting to see shocked faces.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere else. Just relax. JJ texted me what happened. I can still see a difference in your eyes, and a slight tremor in your body.” Spencer pulled back and lifted the flap on his new bag. Jack had seen it at a store and pointed it out. Spencer had liked it, so he bought it. He handed over a pair of Aaron’s pajama pants. He remembered the go bag he had left on accident at Spencer’s. He dumped a plate of spaghetti on himself and had showered and changed. “We will leave you to get changed.”
Spencer cupped the side of his face and smiled.
“Thanks Spencer.” Aaron flicked his eyes to the team. Morgan looked pissed, but JJ and surprisingly, Callahan, were standing in front of him keeping him quiet. Dave was shocked and Garcia was dumbfounded. Lewis was looking with an interested eye, but that was it. “Don’t…” Aaron looked at Jack.
“I’m sure that JJ will take him somewhere. Don’t do anything stupid, or I will have them strap you to the bed. I’m a doctor so follow doctor’s orders, Agent Hotchner.”
“Yes, Sir Doctor Reid.” Aaron smiled brightly as Spencer smiled back at him, and Jack giggled before yawning. It was late, but Aaron knew that Spencer would have never left Jack alone in his house. Jessica was out of town. Aaron stood up, grabbing the back of his gown to keep it closed. He moved to the bathroom. When he unfolded the sleep pants, he found a pair of boxers as well. He sent a silent thank you to Spencer.
Spencer closed the door to Aaron’s room. He turned, but didn’t look at Rossi, Morgan, or Garcia. He pulled Jack to stand in front of him. The boy smiled and snuggled back.
“Agent Lewis, it’s a pleasure to meet you finally.” Spencer held out a hand and Lewis stepped up to shake it.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you as well. You are?” Lewis looked a little shocked that he knew who she was.
“Spencer Reid. Former Agent Reid.”
The look of shock on her face was marvellous.
“I’ve wanted to meet you for a while now. I’ve used a lot of the papers you’ve written when dealing with my patients.” Lewis shook his hand a little harder before stepping back.
“Aaron told me. And Agent Callahan, wonderful to see you again.”
“You too, Doctor Reid. I see that things on that front worked out well.” Callahan was smiling.
“Yes. Better than I would have thought. Agents Callahan, Lewis, JJ would you mind taking Jack to get some juice?” Spencer glanced at the two women he barely knew before looking at JJ. She looked hesitant, but at the smile from Spencer she nodded.
“Jack wants to talk about a sleepover with Henry at my house anyway. Maybe you and he can iron out the details?”
“Does this mean no more secret agent?” Jack asked, tilting his head up to look at Spencer.
“I think it does.” Spencer leaned down and kissed him on the head. “Remember, nothing will take me away from you.”
“Even Dad’s team not liking you?”
“Even that. Nothing will. It just means your dad will hangout with them less outside of work. Or you’ll hang out with me when he does.”
“Come on, Jack. Maybe we can sneak in a snack.” JJ looked at Spencer as she spoke. He nodded and she smiled.
“I can tell Kate and Tara all about the cool snake Spencer has as a class pet.”
“Yes, and how you pouted until I agreed,” Spencer called out. Jack laughed and moved into the elevator as the doors opened. Spencer didn’t turn to face the other three until the doors were shut again. “Let’s step out of the halls. I don’t want a visible scene.”
Spencer moved to a small room that held ten chairs, and a little kitchenette type area. He moved to lean against the counter. The three followed him in, and Rossi shut the door.
“What the hell, Reid?” Morgan demanded.
“You are going to have to be a bit more specific in that, Morgan. What are you questioning? Aaron and I? The kissing? That I arrived with Jack? That I know Callahan? That Aaron even knew I was in the area? That you didn’t know? Well?”
Morgan just stared. Garcia was staring at him, but Spencer looked at Rossi.
“Aaron told you he was starting something with a teacher at Jack’s school. Are you more shocked it’s a male or that it’s me?”
“You teach now?” Morgan asked before Rossi could say a word.
“I’ve been teaching for a while now. I found a nice school that I am happy at. New Haven, where Jack goes.”
“Is that why Aaron sent Jack there?” Rossi asked.
“No. He wasn’t aware that I was there. JJ was, and once she figured out that Jack was going there, she tried to warn me. But I’d already seen Jack. I am the teacher that’s been watching Jack in the early mornings.”
“So, he’s known you are in the area since September and hasn’t told us?” Garcia asked. She looked like she wanted to move forward and hug him, so Spencer set his cane down in front of himself, kind of leaning on it. He’d enjoyed learning ways to use the cane as a buffer between him and people. Aaron always ignored it though. Especially when they were out on the few dates they’d been able to squeeze in since the start of the month. Aaron was tactile in a way that shocked Spencer, but he was getting used to it.
“No since January. He knew early in January.”
“When Jack’s class was taken hostage. You had to have seen him then. When Doctor Caine shot the two hostage takers.” Rossi still looked confused.
“Shot one. Took the other out with his cane.”
“Doctor Caine has a cane?” Morgan asked.
Spencer raised his eyebrow at him. “It’s Doctor C-A-N-E. An affectionate nickname my kids have had for me since my first year. Aaron thought it was a last name as well right up until he saw me on the security camera. The school is a DOJ pet project. To keep me happy, Aaron and Callahan were asked to use Caine.”
“So when did things between you and Hotch start? Or was that instant? You always had a soft spot for him. He always could do no wrong in your eyes.”
Spencer looked at Morgan and wondered how he had missed that. He looked at Rossi and then back at Morgan. Then at Garcia and back at Morgan. Morgan had been in love with him. That explained so much. He wondered why he had never seen it before. JJ kept him updated on the team’s reactions to his name being said. Morgan was the main reason that Spencer hadn’t wanted to be around anyone. Garcia would have never been able to keep it from him, and unfortunately he’d never got too attached to Rossi to really miss him without the rest of the team attached. The person he missed the most was Prentiss, and the ache of her death still haunted him.
“Garcia has tried to track you, but you are a ghost in the system. She found a bank account and money in and out of it for Bennington. Everything else was behind a wall of code she wouldn’t touch.”
“Because of the DOJ. I was recruited by the school, but I was seduced by the DOJ. They wanted me where they could keep an eye, and use me when needed, so they promised me a lot of things to get me into New Haven, including hiding me from my former team. When the hostage situation came, there was no choice, the BAU was the best to get in there. I figured that the BAU would be the ones to come and I prepared myself. I was shocked to just see Aaron and Agent Callahan. Then the reason why the rest of you weren’t there was told to me.”
“But we…” Garcia started but when Spencer looked at her sharply, she stopped.
“I don’t want to hear the word family come out of your mouth. I understand Aaron. It took some thinking, but I do. He was relying on all of you. Who said it was a flesh wound first?” Spencer knew what their answer was going to be. He looked at Morgan and Rossi. Their faces told him. “You listened to Prentiss. Who was at the time obsessed with Aaron and his protection. Who hadn’t even seen me since before the shooting? You took her word without ever talking to me. Because why? What reason did any of you have for not even calling the hospital I was at and checking on me? Prentiss made sure that no one who contacted the hospital after she figured out that Aaron was there would ever find out any information on him without a code. I didn’t have that code. I knew he was hurt, and I knew where, but I knew nothing else. All Will knew was that he was fine. JJ tried, but she was in as much of an information blackout as I was once she started to deal with the media surrounding it all.”
Morgan looked devastated. Rossi looked upset. Garcia looked ready to cry. Spencer knew he should have felt something, he knew that, but there was nothing there. Their reasons were their own and he didn’t need them to move on. Morgan had been one of his closest friends once. But that Morgan sized hole was long closed over. Rossi had been a co-worker and a distant friend. He’d looked up to him as a profiler, but that was it. Garcia had been close, but like Rossi he hadn’t let her get too close. Prentiss had been just as close as Morgan. A sister in all but blood.
“I can’t be the bearer of your guilt. It is your own, and I can’t change it. You say I let Aaron get away with things. No, I called him out, in private. Not in front of the team and never in anger. We always talked everything out in private. Owen Savage, yes you all heard what he said on the jet. You didn’t know that he drove me home and then to the movie, as I called it. Because I didn’t want to say out loud I was going to NA meetings in the round table room, especially after you, Morgan, made a comment that you hoped I was with a woman. I never could figure out if you meant it in that you were hoping that I was out and doing something, or you would have been upset if I was with a male. You all stuck me in a Reid shaped box, and it took drastic measures to get you to change the box, but with Aaron, he never did that on the personal level. That’s why I fell in love with him years ago. It hurt, thinking that he didn’t care. I reacted in anger, but I don’t regret leaving. I don’t regret a single moment over the years since I left the team. I can’t, because if I do, I won’t be happy. Aaron and Jack make me happy. JJ, Will, and Henry make me happy. Teaching makes me feel good.”
Spencer didn’t give them a chance to respond. He straightened himself up and moved to the door, he’d said what he needed to say, and that was the end of it in his mind. JJ was there to wrap her arm around him and escort him to Aaron’s room. Lewis and Callahan were in seats on one side of the bed while Jack was sitting at Aaron’s feet. With no prompting, Aaron slid over on the bed, and Spencer climbed in after toeing off his shoes. He laid on his side, pressed against Aaron. JJ stood behind him, resting her hands on his legs.
“So how…?” Callahan stopped and then looked at Jack. “Never mind.”
“It’s a long story,” JJ started. She squeezed Spencer’s calf. “Big things happened, and Spence left the team. That’s when Alex Blake joined. Spencer is Henry’s godfather, and I kept my mouth shut about him. No one else had seen him until that day of the hostage situation.”
“I knew something big had to have happened with how they were acting,” Callahan said. She smiled at Jack who was looking at her. “But I knew that it really wasn’t the time or the place, and that if Hotch wanted to talk about it, he would after. He never did so I dropped it.”
“I would have paid to see Hotch’s face,” JJ said as she pushed at Spencer’s knees. He turned his head to look at her and frowned at her, but scooted his legs closer to Aaron’s. The older man wrapped his arm around Spencer’s back to help keep him on the bed.
“I don’t think I want to hear this.” Aaron kissed his head and looked at Jack.
“It was the most emotion I’d seen on his face before. His whole demeanor changed from outright worry to the calm I see every case. Even before I figured out who he was I knew Hotch knew him. Then I was treated to watching him act like a mother hen. It was kind of scary.” Callahan had a smile on her face.
“Aaron had told me about your little one, but I’ve not seen any pictures.”
Spencer engaged both Lewis and Callahan in discussions until Jack was asleep curled in a ball at the end of the bed. JJ had covered him up and he was using his coat as a pillow. Will appeared as the other two agents were leaving. He scooped up Jack to carry him out.
“You worry about Hotch. We’ve got Jack. Once you get him home Will can drop him off.” JJ kissed Spencer’s cheek and patted Aaron’s shoulder and then she was gone.
“How did it go?” Aaron murmured as he looked down at Spencer. He’d given him space, let him talk to the others. He could see that he was processing.
“How did I not notice that Morgan was in love with me?”
Aaron closed his eyes and sighed. He hadn’t noticed it himself until after Prentiss had died. That it was the main reason Morgan was so mad. It was morphed from being mad at Spencer to mad at himself. He’d changed his outlook of himself to adapt to being in love with a man and then that man left.
“Because you never thought of him that way. You saw him as a brother, a close friend. He’d also never even hinted that he was anything other than straight. He hid it well, but his anger lasted too long to be anything else. You didn’t do anything. You have no blame. He should of stepped up.”
“He accused me of not being able to see wrong in anything you do. I called him out telling him I did, I just did the proper thing and raked you over the coals in private. You also apologized. They never once even acted apologetic. I wouldn’t be shocked, though, if Rossi tries to soon.”
“Prentiss was attracted to me. It’s why her focus narrowed to just me. The others listened to her, assuming she was in contact with you. Once I came back and saw it, I had a talk with her. I never said a thing about you. Just that I had no feelings like that for her. I wasn’t going to lie, and tell her it was because she was my subordinate. I was still mad at you, but I wasn’t going to have it make a liar of me. Morgan though, that slapped me in the face. I knew I had feelings for you, but I wasn’t ready to call it love.” Aaron had spent a lot of time soul searching after Foyet.
“I didn’t realize it until we talked in there. I still haven’t processed it. I don’t… I don’t know what to do about it.”
Aaron rolled onto his side so he was facing Spencer. He pulled Spencer’s face in close and kissed him. Spencer’s entire body relaxed as he did.
“You don’t have to do anything. It’s his burden for his silence. All you have to do is be happy, and do whatever makes you happy. A nurse hasn’t checked on me in a while, so I expect one in soon. JJ has Jack so you can stay. I want you to stay, but only if you want to.”
“I do. You have to tell me what you saw, and you are going to do whatever the doctor tells you.”
“Which doctor? My actual doctor or Doctor Reid?”
“Both.” Spencer looked at him like he was scared. “I’m glad that it wasn’t JJ who called, or a nurse. The panic I would have felt.” Spencer burrowed close. Aaron could feel tension in his body again. Before he could ask though, Spencer was moving his lips. He could feel them brush the skin of his collar bone, but he couldn’t make out the words said.
“What?” Aaron shifted his hand to cup the back of Spencer’s head to pull him back so he could actually hear him.
“I love you. That’s all I could think about on the way here. It’s too soon and it’s too much, but I feel it and I wanted you to know.”
“I love you, too Spencer.” Instead of kissing him, Aaron wrapped his arms around him and just settled like that. Spencer was right, it was too much, and it was too soon, but he felt it as well.
The door opened and a nurse came in. She looked at them and smiled.
“I need to draw blood. But if you just hold out an arm I can do it from this side.”
“No, I can sit up for it.” Aaron unwrapped himself from Spencer, and the younger man pointed at the bathroom. The nurse handed him his cane and then he was up and gone.
“So that’s your partner? Where is your son?”
“One of my team took him back to hers. When I’m released, we’ll pick him up.”
“That’s good. I’ll make sure you two aren’t disturbed, Agent Hotchner. But you need sleep.”
“I’ll do just that as soon as Spencer gets back.”
Once Spencer was in the bed with him, he turned off the lights and they laid down to sleep. It was the first time ever he’d had someone in a hospital bed with him, but he found he liked it. He was sure he’d have a nightmare or two, and having Spencer there would help calm him. He wanted this part for the rest of his life, having someone there to help.