Aaron heard the knock on his door and frowned. It was way too late at night for it to be anything good. Aaron knew that if the person really wanted to wait for him, they would while he went to his safe and got his gun out. Aaron took the safety off of his gun, and he looked out the peephole. Aaron could see a bent head and a mop of near wild brown hair. Aaron put his gun hand behind his back and threw the deadbolt and turned off his alarm before he unlocked the regular lock.
Nearly dropping his gun, Aaron took in the sight of Spencer Reid on the other side of his door. Aaron hadn’t seen him in years. Five years since Aaron had looked at Reid’s. He had heard Reid’s voice a lot more in the past six months, the emails and texts had been substantial over the five years, and Aaron knew that they were dancing around something that neither of them wanted to admit. Over the past six months though, Reid had been calling Aaron at least twice a week just to talk over everything. However, in the recent two weeks, Reid had been radio silent except for a single text that said that he was dealing with some things and not to be worried.
Aaron had let that pass for a week. Then he had called Reid’s office and got a new person who was more than willing to tell Unit Chief Hotchner that Doctor Reid was in Las Vegas visiting his mother. If the consult could wait, Doctor Reid would be more than willing to look at the case. Aaron had rung off saying that he would call back when Doctor Reid was back to work.
“Reid?” Aaron asked as he tried to figure out and today was the day that Reid was supposed to be back from Vegas and the next his first day back at work in New York. Yet here he was in DC, outside of Aaron’s house. Aaron set the gun down on the stand just inside the door.
Reid looked up at him, and Aaron gasped at the pure sadness in his eyes. He wasn’t expecting that. Aaron reached out and cupped the side of Reid’s face before drawing him into his arms. Aaron stood there with Reid in his arms, and it hurt. It hurt so much because as much as Aaron knew that he and Reid were not cut out to be in a relationship after everything that happened, his heart refused to fall out of love with the young genius. Aaron had been living with the love for six years, and it had no hope of dying. Feeling Reid in his arms again made his heart sing out in happiness despite what was apparently wrong with the younger man.
Aaron took a few steps back, pulling the younger man with him before he shut the door. Aaron set the alarm with a few button presses and threw both the lock and the deadbolt. Aaron glanced at the gun and decided to leave it. It wasn’t like Reid couldn’t have got into the safe, it was Reid’s birthday after all, and while it might throw him for a little while, Reid would get it at some point.
Reid started to shudder in Aaron’s arms, and it wasn’t until Aaron heard the sob that he realized that Reid was crying.
“I’ve got you,” Aaron whispered into Reid’s hair. Reid all but sagged in Aaron’s arms and Aaron knew that he needed to get them to the couch because he wasn’t going to be able to hold Reid for long. Reid didn’t fight him, not when Aaron started to move and not when Aaron pulled him down with him when they sat down on the couch. There was no graceful way of sitting down when a grown man was clinging to you so Aaron just let himself drop and Reid dropped with him. Aaron wrapped his arms around Reid even tighter as the younger man settled onto him, straddling his legs and his arms around Aaron’s neck.
Aaron wondered what had made Reid seek him out. He didn’t know why the younger man would do that. They had made a promise that they didn’t need to be in the same room ever again, but it seemed that whatever happened negated that. Aaron sought out his phone on the stand beside the couch and typed out a text to Dave to tell him that when the time was right, he would explain what was going on, but he might be late for work or not even been in the next day.
Dave’s reply was quick and while Aaron could tell that Dave wanted to ask, he didn’t. Dave could be a regular, not nosy person on occasion. Aaron started to rub his hand up and down Reid’s back, trying to settle the sobbing man down but it was as if it did the opposite, Reid started to sob even harder.
“You are safe, Reid.” Aaron used the tone that he used with children on cases, but he was sure that Reid was sobbing too hard to really tell that.
Aaron lost track of time as Reid gave into whatever purge his body needed. Both of their shirts were wet from tears, and Aaron knew that there was snot on there as well, but he didn’t care. That was what drycleaning was for. Reid took a deep breath at one point, and his body shuddered before he sat up and looked at Aaron. That overwhelming sadness was gone from Reid’s eyes, and Aaron opened his mouth to ask what was going on when Reid ducked forward and kissed him.
The taste of tears was what made Aaron push the younger man back. Aaron knew that while his body and his heart would love to console Reid with his cock, Aaron’s brain said that Reid was too compromised to make a decision about it all.
“Reid,” Aaron coaxed as he held Reid’s face away from his own. He pressed a kiss to Reid’s forehead though to show that he wasn’t upset. “Tell me what happened in Vegas.”
Reid snorted before he opened his eyes and looked at Aaron again. “I should have known that you would figure out where I was.”
“You have a new member on your team, and he was more than willing to tell Unit Chief Hotchner that you were in Vegas and that the consult I wanted help on was going to have to wait. He at least made sure that I was who I said I was before telling me.”
“I made my team promise to never bring you up as my ex. Slowly as people have changed in the office, few know. Carmen is still there, and I am sure that she ripped Josh a new one for telling, but she’ll keep it a secret. I hated that everyone tiptoed after your brother punched me. Carmen is the only know that knows the whole truth.”
“Seems like you and she are close, why aren’t you with her?” Aaron wanted to know, but he didn’t as well. He hoped that it was because Aaron was the only person that he wanted to go to but he was afraid that it was because Aaron already knew every aspect of Reid’s past when it came to his mother. Going home to Vegas meant that it had to do with his mother, he didn’t see Reid going home to do anything to do with his father.
“I don’t know.” Reid glanced away from Aaron’s face for a few seconds before he looked back. Aaron wasn’t sure what was in his eyes when he looked back, but Reid was trying to hide. He knew why he was there, but he didn’t want to admit it. Aaron reached up and cupped the sides of his face again, forcing Reid to keep looking at him. “Don’t.”
“You came here, and you know why. If you want to leave right now, I’ll let you. I’ll put you in a cab, and I’ll wait for you to text me or call me or even email me. If you stay, there is no hiding.”
Reid let out a little whine, and his eyes darted away from Aaron’s face, but they came back just as quick. The next whine was louder, and Aaron almost relented. He was glad he didn’t though when Spencer sagged a little in his arms.
“Why couldn’t you just let me fuck my emotions out?”
“Why didn’t you go and find a nameless, faceless stranger out there to fuck your emotions out?” Aaron asked. Reid bit his lip instead of answering. “If you had truly wanted to fuck to get the emotions out, you never would have shown up here. You might think that you want to fuck to get it all out, but you don’t really. Now tell me, what happened in Vegas?”
“Mom’s been out of sorts for a little while. She’s all of a sudden having severe mood swings which is not a side effect of the pill cocktail that she is on. Doctor Norman wanted me to come out and see if I could help him figure out what is going on with her. It took seconds because when I entered her room, she didn’t know me.”
“You’ve said before that she’s mistaken you for a student.”
“Yes, but she’s never asked me who I am. Part of her has always been able to connect me with someone that she knows and can trust. This time there was nothing. She didn’t know me at all.” Spencer’s eyes started to leak tears again, and Aaron brushed at them with his thumbs, and it made Reid shut his eyes in something like pleasure. He pressed down into Aaron’s hands, taking what little pleasure he could from it.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“Early-onset Alzheimer’s. It was hard to figure out a range of medication that she could take without it bothering her schizophrenia. It’s also made it necessary for her to be moved into a wing that doesn’t allow it’s residents out. She will have just as much freedom of moving around Bennington but she won’t be able to go out on her own anymore. She’s very upset with me. She doesn’t understand why she was moved from the place that she had been in for over a decade and she won’t accept that she had Alzheimer’s.”
“I know that you passed the age for turning schizophrenic but can you be tested for Alzheimer’s?” Aaron asked.
“Once again, I’m too young. It won’t be something that can be done until I’m in my forties. Even then it’ll be when I start to develop symptoms.”
“What do you need?”
“I don’t know. I got a hold of my section chief and told him that I needed time and told him what was wrong. He was more than willing to give me what I needed. Given that I’ve only taken about a week of leave a year in the five years I’ve been there, he’s letting me take as much time I need. My second is good, and between him and Carmen, they will run the team well in my absence. I need sleep I know that. I’ve not slept a lot in the past two weeks.”
“Then why don’t I get the guest room cleaned up and you can crash there?”
“Okay.” Reid pushed at Aaron’s hands until he took them away from Reid’s face and Reid laid his head on Aaron’ shoulder, just hunched there until Aaron wrapped his arms around him. Aaron’s heart ached for Reid. He had no clue what he could do to help the younger man. He had no clue if there was anything that could be done to help him.
A long time later, Reid finally got up off of Aaron’s lap and waited for Aaron to guide him up to the guest room.
“Where are your things?” Aaron didn’t even realize that until then Reid hadn’t been holding anything. There was no messenger bag, no suitcase.
“My messenger bag is outside, and I have go-bag with clothes in it in long-term storage at the airport closest to Bennington. I buy soap and stuff when I get there. SO I have nothing here.”
“You’ll fit into pants to sleep in for tonight. Tomorrow we can go out and get some new clothes for you. I’ll throw these in the wash tonight.”
“Okay,” Reid said, and he sounded so tired that Aaron was sure that he would be out as soon as he was in bed. Aaron found a pair of sleep pants that were a little tight around his waist but had a tie so that they wouldn’t fall off of Reid. He directed Reid into his bathroom in the master bedroom before going to the guest room to get it turned down.
Aaron heard the shuffling footsteps that signaled Reid’s arrival into the bedroom. Aaron turned to see him leaning in the doorway with a soft smile on his face.
“TARDIS sleep pants?”
“I saw them in the store and thought they looked soft and I remembered you talking about Doctor Who. I’ve caught a few episodes here and there. They shrunk a little more in the wash than expected, so I don’t wear them often.”
Reid shuffled forward, and Aaron held up the blanket. Reid didn’t even pause before he slipped into the bed and pulled the sheets up to his head. Aaron sat down on the edge of the bed.
“I’ll go outside and get your bag and set it in here. Are your clothes in the bathroom?”
Aaron brushed at the hair on Reid’s forehead and started to stand up. Reid’s hand shot out and grabbed Aaron’s.
“Thank you,” Reid said.
“You are welcome. Get some sleep.”
Aaron turned out the light as he left the room. He started a load of Reid’s clothes before he went to hunt down his bag. Aaron knew that Reid was asleep when he heard the soft snores from where Reid had been crying earlier. Aaron leaned in and watched Reid sleep for a few minutes before he turned to go to bed himself.
Spencer swallowed as he rode the elevator up to the sixth floor of the Academy building where the BAU was located. He hadn’t been inside of the building in six years, and he was feeling like he was stepping into the lion’s den. Hotch had been very friendly and had allowed him to stay for a week since he had found himself outside of Hotch’s door instead of his own apartment in New York.
That week had been good. Hotch didn’t push, and he didn’t make Spencer talk at all. Instead, it had just been a blanket freedom to do as Spencer wished. Hotch’s home office was Spencer’s while he tried to figure out what he wanted to do and when Spencer had talked to Hotch about it Hotch talked him out of pulling his mom from the only place she knew.
Spencer had gone out the day before using the car that Hotch had left for him to use and got a new suit. He was dressed in that now. JJ had picked Hotch up from the house and Hotch had never told Spencer what he had told JJ. There was no one in the bullpen that Spencer knew. He knew that JJ should be in the bullpen as her desk was there since she was a full profiler now. Morgan was probably in his office as was Garcia. Rossi was in his office; Spencer could see the top of his head. A woman was standing in the middle of the bullpen looking at a folder.
As Spencer approached her, she looked up at him.
“Hello, can I help you?” the woman asked. She held out her hand for a shake. Spencer used the two cups of coffee in his hands as a reason not to. Spencer wondered if this was Tara Lewis.
“I’m here-” Spencer stopped when he heard a gasp.
“Reid?” Morgan questioned.
Spencer turned around to see Morgan, JJ, and Garcia standing there at the exit of the hallway from Morgan’s office.
“Hi,” Spencer said, and his voice cracked over that word. Spencer had heard nothing from them after he had emailed each of them with a cease and desist from making Hotch out to be the bad guy in what happened. Spencer wasn’t sure what kind of reception he was going to get.
“You are looking good,” Morgan said with a smile as he started toward Spencer. JJ and Garcia followed.
“Thanks, you do too,” Spencer said, and he smiled at Morgan. JJ did look happy to see him, and Garcia just looked shocked.
“What are you doing here?” JJ asked. Her eyes were darting to the coffee cups in his hands. Spencer took a drink of one and realized at the last second it was the wrong one. He grimaced and shuddered before taking a sip of the other cup.
“I came to talk to Hotch. Is he in his office?”
“No. He’s in a meeting with Cruz. Our newest member quit a little over a week ago, and they are discussing who to replace him with.”
“Reid?” Hotch questioned from behind Spencer. Spencer turned and took a few steps toward him, offering the cup of coffee that he had got for his ex.
“I got you a cup of coffee. Do you have a few minutes to talk?”
“Who is this?” A voice asked from behind Hotch. Spencer looked at him and recognized him from his picture. Mateo Cruz. Spencer handed over the cup of coffee and rubbed his slightly sweaty hand on his pants before offering it to Cruz. Hotch hissed in shock a little.
“Mateo, this is Doctor Spencer Reid, Reid this is Mateo Cruz our Section Chief.”
“You are the Unit Chief for New York’s BAU right?” Cruz asked.
“Umm…Not as of seven this morning. I turned in my resignation for that office.”
“Really?” Hotch and Morgan asked at the same time.
“Yes. I have a few things in my personal life that make it hard for me to lead a team and focus on what I need to focus on. I have a solid secondary that I trust to take over and my analyst Carmen will make sure that the team stays shipshape.”
“So why are you here?” Morgan asked.
“I hear you are down a team member…” Spencer trailed off. Hotch’s eyes widened in shock. “If the team all agrees.”
“Why would we need to agree?” Tara asked.
“Doctor Reid was on the team about six years before,” Cruz stated. He looked at Spencer with a little glare. “The reasons behind him leaving are not stated in his personnel file just that he was approved to start up a BAU unit in New York.”
“I agree,” Garcia said. JJ and Morgan looked at Hotch, and when Hotch nodded, they nodded as well. Spencer knew that they would have to disclose it all to Cruz and to Tara.
“Can we take this someplace a little more private?” Spencer asked.
The group made their way up to the round table room, grabbing Rossi as they moved. Rossi looked very shocked to see him. Spencer was shocked that Hotch hadn’t told him at all about Spencer being in town and staying in Hotch’s guest room.
Hotch was the one to take charge and lay it all out, the good and the bad of their past together. Cruz looked very skeptical about it all.
“I arrived in DC almost a week ago. The night that you guys took down the rest of the people that were after Garcia. I’ve been staying with Hotch since then while I figured out what to do with Mom. Who has Alzheimer’s on top of her schizophrenia. We haven’t killed each other yet.”
“It’s up to you, Aaron,” Cruz said. Cruz stood up and walked to the door. “He would be a good asset to the team, just like he was the last time. I don’t want to push him on your though if you don’t want him. There is a lot of history, and I can’t block him on the basis that you and he have a history. Soulmates can’t be blocked from jobs no matter their status with their mate.”
“Why don’t we try a six-month trial?” Spencer offered.
“I agree,” Hotch said, and he looked at Spencer with as oft look on his face. Spencer smiled at him and hoped that he didn’t regret this. There was so much that could go wrong with this but more that could go well. The rest of the team wandered out, leaving Spencer and Hotch alone.
“Gideon came to Cal-Tech before I had known who my mate was going to be,” Spencer said. He had never told his ex about any of it before. One of the two last secrets that he held close to himself. The last secret was going to stay a secret forever, he didn’t want to hurt his ex anymore than he already had.
“How old were you?”
“Just turned seventeen. I guess he had remembered me from a lecture he had given the year before and had been watching me. He talked me into applying to the Academy when I turned old enough, and he promised that he would put me on his team as soon as I graduated. If the Government had kept out of it, we would have met about four years later than we did and would have grown into the love that we had instead of what they did. You would have had a few years to get over Haley, and we would have met with a blank slate.”
“You never…Why haven’t you told me this before?”
“It took me a long time to get over the anger, Hotch. I don’t even know when I actually did let go of it. I just realized that I could think of you and not get angry. I want this to be our clean slate. We can try and learn to really be friends and coworkers.”
“Okay,” Hotch said with a smile on his face. He set down his cup of coffee and walked over to Spencer. “Hello, my name is Aaron Hotchner.”
Spencer stood up and took the hand and shook it with a smile on his face. “Spencer Reid, it’s nice to meet you, Aaron.”
“It’s nice to meet you as well, Spencer.”
“I signed the lease on an apartment today, and I need a few days to get my things in New York packed up and sent down.”
“Savannah is out of town for a medical conference. Why don’t you see if organ will help you? He’s good at that kind of thing. Maybe you could rent a truck, and you two drive them back down?”
“I’ll ask. I am really excited to be on this team.”
“I’m excited to have you on the team.”