The Lawyer and the Inventor

Title: The Lawyer and the Inventor
Series: A Universe of Meetings
Fandom: Criminal Minds,
Year: 2015
Tags: Alternate Universe, First Time,
Ratings: Explicit
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Henry LaMontagne, Jack Hotchner,
Spoilers: Up Through Season 10,
Summary: When Spencer Reid moved next door to Aaron and Jack Hotchner, Aaron never thought the shy man would be his future.
Words: 19,519
Notes: None
Warnings: Major Character Death,
Beta: rivermoon1970

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Aaron Hotchner had been living in his current house since he had moved out of the apartment that he had moved into after his wife had left him. That was seven years ago. When his ex-wife died in a car crash just two years later, he had been ever thankful for the house. For the entirety of the seven years that Aaron had lived on the block no one had bought the house next door. Whoever owned it cared for it but didn’t live in it. The grass was cut weekly, the plants and trees maintained, but a ‘For Sale’ sign was a permanent fixture in the front yard. He never figured out why. It was a huge house, the largest on the block. It would be perfect for a family with several children but there were never open houses, and no one was ever brought by for a tour.

So one day when Aaron came home from his Saturday shopping and found a moving van in the driveway and the ‘For Sale’ sign gone, Aaron was surprised. He tried to watch as furniture was moved in to see what kind of person or family was moving in. That told him nothing though. He watched as box after box was moved in and then after that was a little bit of furniture. There was even a little bit of art. Nothing though that told him a single thing of who this person or family was that was moving in.

Aaron watched on and off the rest of the day, though as the movers did more than just move the stuff in. They actually set up the entire house. His son Jack was able to be a little more on the nose about watching, he actually set up in the tree in the backyard with binoculars and spied the entire day. Aaron knew that he should have stopped him but someone moving into the house was going to be the talk of the neighborhood. It would make Jack happy to have the information the gossipy neighbors wanted.

Night fell, and no one entered the house after the movers left. Jack went to bed disappointed. He really wanted to see who was moving in because he wanted new friends to play with. Aaron had explained that they didn’t know if there were kids and Jack had refuted that toys had been moved in. Aaron hadn’t seen it, but Jack had the bird’s eye view and could see what was taken out of the boxes.

By the time that Aaron woke up on Sunday morning, he was just as excited to meet the family that moved in next door. He had breakfast for Jack and himself started when he looked up and saw a man in the kitchen of the house. The man was leaning against the counter that was under the window that faced Aaron’s house. He could only see a profile of the man, who Aaron wasn’t oblivious to the stranger’s looks. He was thin, but Aaron couldn’t tell if that was because he was just a skinny person or he was someone who tried to be thin. The man was waiting for something, given the tapping on the counter his fingers were doing. Aaron watched as the man kept looking at something and then finally after two more minutes moved out of the way of the window.

When the man reappeared a minute later, he was carrying a coffee cup and a bowl of sugar. Aaron watched as the man spooned a massive amount of sugar into his coffee and took a sip. When the man smiled, Aaron felt his heart flutter. It had been a long time since Aaron had found a man that interested him, long before Aaron had married Haley. That the neighbor he was spying on was the one to trip his interest again had Aaron feeling a little shameful.

Then a woman stepped up and kissed the man on the cheek, and Aaron’s heart plummeted. Jack had been right it was a family. A kid came running into the kitchen, and the man picked him up, after setting down his coffee cup. The kid was speaking to the man, and the man was nodding back. Aaron decided that he needed to step away from the window. He moved to the front door to pick up the paper and decided to just take in the morning air for a few minutes.

“Thanks so much, Spence. Henry has been looking forward to a month with you but having to move up the honeymoon and the wedding, we were afraid you wouldn’t be moved-in in time. He moped for days.”

Aaron turned to see the man and the woman on the front porch of the other house. The kid was nowhere to be seen. They weren’t a couple. The kid wasn’t even his.

“Anything for my Godson, JJ. Now you go and have fun on your honeymoon. Tell Will I said hi and thank him again for the name of the company who got me unpacked,” Spence said as he leaned over and kissed her cheek, all but shoving her off the porch. She laughed and looked around, seeing Aaron on his front porch, staring.

“I’ll let him know. By the way, I think that your neighbor is awake.” JJ pointed, and Spence turned to look. Aaron couldn’t read the look on his face. At this point, there was no way to make it look like he wasn’t staring, so he moved towards them.

“Hi!” Aaron said as he waved. When he got close enough, he held out his hand, but Spence never offered to take it.

“Sorry. I don’t shake hands. Spencer Reid.” Spencer waved back at him, but JJ reached out her hand. The handshake was firm, and it shocked Aaron a little.

“JJ Jareau. You are?” JJ looked at him like she could see what his thoughts were.

“Aaron Hotchner.”

“Uncle Pence!” a kid yelled as he ran into the back of Spencer’s legs. “Uncle Pence!”

“Yes, Henry?” Spencer looked down at him with a smile on his face.

“There is a boy across the fence who wants to come over and play. Can we go to my room and play?”

“Boy?” Spencer asked as he moved around the side of the house to look at the fence in question.

“That would be my son, Jack.”

Aaron followed Spencer, JJ, and Henry as they moved to the fence. Jack ran up to meet them, opening the gate and then closing it. He stuck out his hand, and JJ shook it, but Spencer just waved.

“Hi, I’m Jack.”

“Hi, Jack. My name is Spencer, and this is Henry and his mother, JJ. So how old are you?” Spencer was looking at him like they were having the most interesting conversation. Aaron was a little shocked. Having a Godson and having a kid were two different things. Aaron’s ex-sister-in-law had a rough time getting used to watching Jack on a near daily basis when he had been younger after Haley died.

“I’m nine. How old are you Henry?” Jack looked at Spencer when he answered the younger man’s question but looked at Henry when he asked him his question.

“Six.” Henry seemed proud of his age, much like Jack always was. Aaron grinned at the boy.

“Dad, can I go play with Henry in his room?” Jack finally turned to look at his dad.

“You’ve not eaten breakfast yet.” Aaron didn’t like him not eating breakfast; it was one of the few meals during the week that they got to eat together.

“Neither have we. I was just getting ready to start up some pancakes for Henry; I don’t mind making more for Jack or you as well.” Spencer smiled at Aaron as he said the words and Aaron’s heart fluttered a little. Aaron was too old in life to start to act like a teenager again. The last time he had followed his heart like this, he had married Haley and other than Jack it had only given him heartache.

“You just moved in. You don’t need to worry about feeding my son. I’ll send him over once he’s eaten breakfast.” Aaron knew that moving sucked, even if one didn’t have to do the actual moving on their own. He didn’t want to add to the burden.

“Okay,” Spencer said. He looked a little disappointed at that, but he wrapped an arm around Henry’s shoulder and tugged him toward their house. JJ ruffled her son’s hair before she looked up at Spencer.

“I’ll call when we land.” JJ kissed Spencer on the cheek before turning away.

“Bye, Mommy!” Henry called out. JJ took off at a near run to the car.

Aaron watched Spencer take Henry inside, taking him into the kitchen and sitting him down. His movements seemed lethargic but not like he was tired but like he was upset. Aaron looked down at Jack who was looking at the backyards. He made a decision then and there.

“Come on, buddy,” Aaron said, and he tugged Jack after him. Jack looked at him weird when they crossed the yards and into Spencer’s to get to the front door. Aaron knocked and waited. It took a little over a minute before the door opened and Spencer opened his mouth to say something and snapped it shut. He looked shocked to see them there. “Jack and I are hoping that your invitation for pancakes is still open.”

“Yes. Yes. Please come in,” Spencer said, and the smile on the younger man’s face looked like it was going to make his face crack it was so big. Spencer escorted them to the kitchen where Henry was sitting at the table and coloring in a book. Henry looked up, and he jumped up from his seat and ran to Aaron, hugging him around the waist.

“Thank you, Mr. Aaron, for letting Jack come to breakfast. I’ll share my coloring books.” Henry pulled Jack with him toward the table. Henry slipped into his chair again; it had a custom-made booster seat in it that was attached to the chair with latches. Henry grabbed a small stack of books from a little stand that was between him and where Jack took a seat. “You can color in whichever one you want. Except for Doctor Who. That’s Uncle Pence’s for when he colors with me.”


Aaron looked at the books and saw that Jack chose the superheroes one. Spencer walked to the counter where he had ingredients laid out. He was doing pancakes from scratch and wasn’t using a single measuring cup. Aaron watched him as he added the flour and other base ingredients that were dry, including what looked like spices. He stopped after adding a third dark-colored spice and turned to look at Aaron.

“Any allergies?” Spencer asked.

“No. Jack and I have no allergies, well at least none that we have found. His mother was allergic to cinnamon as a child but we tested him on that early, and we found that he wasn’t.”

“That’s good. Cinnamon is a weird one. I’m sure there were others that she was allergic to, but no one tried them on her. Do you guys mind nuts in your pancakes?”

“I’ve never had nuts in pancakes before. We are usually are the pour the mix from the box and add water type of guys.”

“Oh, well…do you want to try nuts in your pancakes?” Spencer asked.

“Uncle Pence’s Spicy Nut Pancakes are awesome,” Henry declared.

Aaron laughed to himself as the boy didn’t even look up from his coloring book as he spoke.

“I’ll try them,” Jack said actually looking up.

“Sure,” Aaron said on the heels of his son’s words.

The smile that Spencer gave him before he turned back to the pancake batter was blinding. Aaron walked up to him and leaned against the counter, well out of Spencer’s way but close enough that they could talk. Jack and Henry were well entertained in their coloring and Aaron wanted to know more of the man he was falling in love with. Aaron knew that it was insane, but it was like Haley. He saw her, and he wanted her, and his heart fell instantly. He was older now, but his heart was no less stupid.

“So what all are you putting in there?” Aaron asked.

“A little of this and a little of that. You’ll have to wait to try it before you know what’s in it.” Spencer said with a coy little smile on his face. He was mixing in the spices to the rest of the dry ingredients before he set the whisk down on the counter and reached over for the eggs that were set out on a rag. Aaron scooted a little bit closer, watching as Spencer looked at him for a second before putting his attention back on the eggs.

Aaron had never seen anyone crack an egg so precisely. Both eggs landed in the center of the little well that Spencer had made in the flour mixture. Next Spencer poured in milk without using a measuring cup and then picked up the whisk again. It was interesting watching Spencer blend the ingredients together. A bubble though came to the surface as Spencer was mixing and a drop of batter landed on the back of his hand. Spencer stopped whisking and used his free hand to scoop up that drop. Aaron realized that he was lifting it to his mouth to try and he darted his hand out to snag it. Spencer froze but didn’t jerk his hand away, even though Aaron could tell that he wanted to. The finger was still out, and Aaron drew it up to lick the batter off of it. Aaron watched as Spencer’s eyes darted down to his finger and up to Aaron’s eyes before he started to blush. Aaron let go of his hand; his intentions made very clear.

“It tastes good.”

“I’m glad you like it.” Spencer’s blush deepened.

Aaron took another step closer to the younger man, and the man did nothing. Aaron scooted closer again, and the only thing that Spencer did was shift the whisk to his other hand, giving Aaron even more room to get closer.

“So what do you do?” Spencer asked.

“I’m a lawyer.”

“My father is a lawyer. You don’t know him. I grew up in Las Vegas. What firm do you work for?”

“I was with the prosecutor’s office for a long time, but when my ex-wife died, and I had to take care of Jack, I moved to a firm to have set hours. I do mostly family court and divorce.”

“My father is a criminal lawyer. Or he was the last time I heard.”

“When was that?” Aaron asked he knew that there was something about it all that Spencer didn’t want to talk about but he hadn’t said no yet.

“Twenty four years ago.” The tone was a little harder, and Aaron backed away.

“And what do you do?” Aaron asked, switching to hopefully a better topic.

“Uncle Pence is an inventor!” Henry called out from the table. Aaron turned around to look at him and saw that he was pointing down at his booster seat. “He made this for mommy and then sold the…Pence?”

“Patent. I sold the patent to a company specializing in child care products. I got a good bit of money from it. It’s what bought this house when I wanted out of an apartment and out of the busy center of DC.”

“Uncle Pence does a lot of tinkering.”

“Like MacGyver?” Aaron asked.

“Not quite that out there. I do well enough to support myself and give myself plenty of fun and money to spoil Henry with.”

“That’s good.”

Spencer hummed in agreement, and he reached for a bottle that Aaron hadn’t seen before. It was right at his elbow but hadn’t noticed it at all. Spencer twisted the cap off of the bottle and lifted the bowl to start to pour the batter into it. The spout on the bowl was perfect, and it was a neat and clean pour, right up until Spencer tilted the bowl up with the bottle mostly full. There was a drop of batter that fell off before Spencer could catch it. Aaron swiped it up with his finger and held it out to Spencer’s lips. Spencer’s eyes darted to Aaron’s before he looked down again. Spencer parted his lips, and his tongue darted out to clean off the tip of Aaron’s finger.

Aaron grinned at Spencer, happy that the younger man was at least willing to do a little flirting with him.

“So how long have you lived in DC?” Aaron asked.

“Since I was twenty-three. Moved here then, next door to JJ. Then we went to Mardi Gras once about two years later. JJ’s idea not mine. I went to look around the French Quarter and to just learn the history of the area. That’s where she met her now-husband Will. William LaMontagne Jr. They dated long distance for about a year, and then he moved up here. He’s been gone on JJ since they met. He pined something fierce and that’s why he moved up here. So I let him move in with me so that he didn’t have to be too far from her. Then JJ got pregnant, and they moved into a larger apartment a few blocks over. Then I moved in here.”

“And the rest is history,” Henry chimed in.

Spencer turned to look at his Godson with a grin on his face, and he shook his head as he laughed.

“What about you?” Spencer asked.

“What about me what?” Aaron asked.

Spencer shooed Aaron away from him, and Aaron backed up as Spencer kept on waving his hand until Spencer could get to the stove. Aaron saw that a large griddle was spread over two burners and the oven was on warm. Spencer upended the bottle with the squeeze cap on and started to draw perfect circles with it in the batter. There was a bowl of nuts in the middle of the burners. Aaron reached over and grabbed it cradling it close before he snagged one and tossed it into his mouth. There were spices on the nuts as well with a little sugar then Aaron felt a tingle of hot spice on his tongue.

“If you are going to hog the nuts, you get to put eight on each pancake,” Spencer said with a look at Aaron before he looked back at what he was drawing.

“Sure.” Aaron started to drop the nuts onto each pancake as Spencer was finishing drawing each one. When all of the pancakes had nuts on them, Spencer used the bottle to cover the pancakes with another layer of batter. There were six pancakes in two perfect rows. “You do this a lot don’t you?”

“Pancakes? Yes. It’s my favorite food. I eat them every morning. I have eighty three different recipes that I do of them from sweet to savory and everything in between.”


“We did taco pancakes once,” Henry said.

“Taco pancakes?”

“Just don’t add anything sweet to the batter and add cheese and meat instead. We put lettuce and tomatoes and salsa plus more cheese on top of each and then folded them into U shapes like a taco. It was pretty good.”

“I don’t know about that,” Aaron said with a frown on his face. Taco pancakes were the weirdest thing ever.

“JJ craved pancakes with Henry. I was called at two am for these pancakes too many times. For a week straight after she was finished with her first trimester, she ate pancakes, hence why I have eighty-three varieties.”

“Do you have Mac and Cheese pancakes?” Jack asked, talking for the first time even though Aaron knew that he was listening.

“No, I don’t. I’ll have to see about rectifying that. Hmm…” Spencer trailed off, and his eyes got a faraway look.

Aaron was about to say something about a minute later when Spencer pulled himself out of his thoughts and turned each of the pancakes. The color of the pancakes was perfect. Spencer didn’t look like he was counting but he had to be in his head to get them just right. Aaron watched him flip them one more time before putting them on a plate he pulled from the oven. Another six went onto the griddle and Aaron did his job of putting the nuts on them.

Spencer looked up at Aaron several times like he didn’t believe that the man was still there. Aaron wondered at that. What had happened to the genius to make him so unsure of someone who was flirting with him.

Aaron listened to Jack and Henry talking about superheroes and movies that they liked. They also plotted the entire day of what they wanted to do. It was Sunday, and that meant a lot of the kids in the neighborhood were in church or getting ready for church. Aaron wasn’t going to bring religion into the conversation, but Aaron was very lapsed in his beliefs. It was hard to do what he did and believe in a God that would allow the atrocities that Aaron saw happen to children.

Spencer flipped the second set of pancakes and poured the rest of the batter on top. There were only the dregs left in the bottle, and he tossed it toward the sink. As if on a cue that Aaron didn’t see, Henry started to pack up the crayons on the table and told Jack it was time to clean up. Henry got out of his chair and pulled open a drawer on the bottom of a cabinet. Aaron was shocked that it was a fake drawer. He pulled out the next and the next until he had a set of stairs.

“Help me, Jack?” Henry called out. Jack jumped up from the table and came over. Henry handed down a plate at a time to Jack giving Jack time to set each one at a spot on the table before he pulled down the next. Henry carefully climbed down. He pushed in all of the drawers except for the top, that one he pulled out more and lifted the lid on it. Inside was napkins. He grabbed a small stack of them. Next Henry walked next to the sink and pulled out forks and knives for all of them.

“Henry’s job is to set the table. Even at his house. I built the drawers custom so that he could climb up. They hold things like napkins or things that aren’t used often in the lower drawers. There is a set like it at his house as well.”

“How long ago did you buy this house?”

“Three months. I came throughout the day and did work on it. Installed the cabinets and worked in my tinkering room as Henry called it. I have more I want to do, but my apartment is not livable for Henry, so I upped my move-in date.”

Spencer turned off the oven and pulled out the plate of pancakes, adding the new ones to the top. He turned and set down the plate in the middle of the table before walking to the fridge.

“I have milk, orange juice, grape juice, and lemon-lime water. Jack, Aaron, what do you want?”

“What color of grape juice?” Jack asked.


“Grape juice please.”

“Aaron, would you mind? The cups are in the cabinet on the right-hand side of the sink. Four please.”

Aaron opened the cabinet and four plastic tumblers inside. There were three shades of purple.

“Henry and I would like the dark purple please.” Spencer had the bottle of juice in his hand and set it down at Aaron’s left side. The jug of milk was next. When Aaron set down two dark purple glasses, Spencer filled them with milk before setting those two on the table. “Orange juice for you?”

“How did you guess?”

“I saw you looking at it before I asked you for the cups. I’ll let you fill up Jack’s and your own.” Spencer touched the side of Aaron’s arm as he reached around to grab another coffee cup. “Coffee too?”


“Black or do you add things?”

“Depends on how the coffee is,” Jack answered.

“Then I’ll set out the cream and the sugar, and you can decide.”

Spencer went back to the fridge and pulled out a tub of something as well as a little jug of creamer. He set them both down before taking the mug and finding his to fill up. Jack was eyeing the pancakes something fierce. Aaron had to admit that they smelled wonderful and looked even better. Aaron filled up Jack’s glass with juice and his as well.

“Syrup?” Jack asked looking at the table.

“Why don’t you try a bite with the honey butter I make? See if you need the syrup then?” Spencer asked as he pulled the lid off of the butter. Aaron took it first, spreading some on the first pancake that he grabbed. He handed it off to Jack before taking the second one and stacking on top of the first. Aaron knew that he would probably eat a third, but he was going to wait to see.

The first bite that Aaron took almost made him moan. The honey butter was better than syrup on the slightly sweet and spiced pancakes. “You aren’t going to need syrup.”

Jack looked at his dad skeptical, but he took a bite of his buttered pancake. Aaron tried not to laugh at the way his eyes bugged out. Spencer was grinning as he tucked into his pancakes. Henry had nothing on his. Aaron realized that Spencer had cut up Henry’s and he hadn’t seen it because Henry’s knife was clean.

“These are really good. I can see why JJ craved them.”

Spencer blushed under the praise.

Breakfast was spent telling Spencer and Henry about the fun things that were close to the block for them. Aaron could tell by the look on Spencer’s face that he knew all of it but was indulging them. Jack and Henry both ate two pancakes each while Aaron ate four and Spencer three. The last one was cut in half, and the boys gladly ate half each with no butter on it.

“Let me at least do dishes.”

“No need. I have a dishwasher and will do a load tonight. I will let you wash them off and load them,” Spencer said.

“Okay.” Aaron knew that he would have to take a run later to run off his food indulgence.

“I have work I have to do, Henry, so you and Jack will have to stay inside until I can go out to monitor you,” Spencer said as Jack and Henry took off up the steps to the back of the house. “They will be fine. I have a small camera that watches the hallway. I’ll see them leave from my workshop.”

“Are you sure?” Aaron asked. He wondered about the camera, but then if Spencer was an inventor, he could see extra security measures.

“They will be fine. I can’t see you having a hellion and not warning me, so I figure that Jack’s a good kid. Henry’s good too and he’s been a little worried about having no one to play with over the next month. Having a built-in friend next door is good.”

Aaron pulled out his wallet and found his card inside. He looked around and saw a pen with a magnet on it attached to the fridge. He grabbed it to write down his cell phone and house phone on the back.

“Here’s our numbers.”

“Perfect. My house phone isn’t up yet; they are supposed to come tomorrow to do cable, phone, and Internet.” Spencer opened a drawer that had a pile of cards in it. Aaron saw that it was all business cards. He grabbed one and handed it over. “That’s my cell. The house will be locked so call before coming over. I was going to do soup and grilled cheese for lunch. You are welcome to join us or enjoy a kid-free day.”

“I think that I’ll pass. I have some running that I wouldn’t mind getting done with no Jack. He likes helping, but sometimes it’s nice to just run in and out.”

“I wouldn’t know about that. Have a good day, Aaron.” Spencer walked Aaron to the door, and Aaron turned as he stepped out, Spencer started to shut the door but realized that Aaron hadn’t started to actually leave yet.

“What were your plans for dinner?”

“Henry and I haven’t decided yet.”

“Good. Any allergies?”

“No.” Spencer shook his head a little confused.

“I’ll call but you two come over to ours? I’ll have it ready, and then the boys can say goodnight after.”

“Okay, but if this it’s a tit for tat thing you don’t have to feed us.”

“No, but I want to, that’s enough of a reason right?”

Spencer nodded. When he did a piece of his hair came loose, so Aaron reached up to tuck it back. Aaron gave Spencer a grin before he turned to head back to his house. Aaron was looking forward to spending more time with Spencer and learning about him.

Aaron came home from work, confused to see Spencer sitting on Aaron’s front porch steps, which was odd because Spencer was never still, not really. Aaron had only known him a week but even when sitting his hands were moving. There was also the fact that Spencer was on Aaron’s porch and not his own. Aaron never parked in the garage unless it was winter as Jack usually had the garage full of summer toys that spent winter in the rafters. Aaron hadn’t got to spend as much time with the younger man as he wanted over the week but Spencer seeking him out was a little strange. Spencer was a very strong individual, and Aaron was pretty sure that he needed no one, but here he was seeking out Aaron for something. Well, seeking wasn’t the right word, making sure that Aaron couldn’t miss him was more correct.

It was Friday, but the kids in the area were out of school for the day, so Henry had stayed the night at a friend’s for a sleepover/birthday party extravaganza as Henry put it. Spencer had been looking forward to it because he wasn’t used to having the boy there all of the time and was adjusting a little slowly to it.

Aaron shut his car door, and the younger man didn’t react at all. His head was bowed, and he looked like a perfect picture of sorrow. Aaron was almost afraid to go over there. He couldn’t just leave the young man alone though.

Aaron setting down his briefcase on the top step, right beside Spencer didn’t pull the genius out of his thoughts.

“Spencer?” Aaron asked. When the younger man finally looked up, Aaron dropped to his knees in front of him. He wanted to touch, but he was afraid. Spencer hadn’t minded the touches last weekend, but it had been a week since they had done much more than converse when dropping off whichever kid needed to be dropped off. “What happened?”

“Penelope called. They were driving, and a semi-truck driver crashed into them. He was drunk. They were DOA when the cops arrived.” Spencer sounded almost like a robot, like his mind couldn’t decide what emotion it wanted, so it went for none. Aaron had heard the tone a lot in his prosecutor days.

“Who?” Aaron asked, but he had a feeling he knew who it was. The name Penelope was new, but JJ and Will were the only people that Spencer talked about. For this kind of reaction, it had to be them.

“How do I tell him that his parents are dead? How do I ruin his perfect world?” There were no tears on his face, but Aaron could tell he had been crying. Spencer had probably run out of tears. Aaron knew that feeling well being too tired to cry or feeling like your body was out of the water to cry with. Or just being too emotional to cry.

“Oh, Spencer.” Aaron pulled the younger man into his arms and just held him. It was awkward, but Aaron didn’t want to let him go. “Let’s go inside.”

The neighborhood was mostly empty at that time of day, but there was a few stay at home moms in the area, and Aaron didn’t want to draw their eyes to them. Spencer didn’t really help a lot as they stood up. Aaron hadn’t thought that Spencer had much to himself, but there had to be muscles under his clothes because he weighed too much to be a string bean.

Aaron juggled them both in after unlocking the door, and Spencer all but gave out right inside the door. Aaron controlled their descent and let Spencer cry on him there just inside the door. Aaron looked up at the clock on the wall. It was still a while before Jessica was dropping off Jack. Jessica had taken Jack for the morning so that Aaron didn’t have to worry about him being home alone. An hour or two after school was one thing, all morning was another. Spencer wouldn’t have to go and get Henry from the sleepover for a little while. There was nowhere for them to be but right there with each other.

Spencer cried and cried, long past the point that Aaron thought he would have cried himself to sleep. Aaron knew that JJ and Spencer were close, but it seemed like she was closer than Aaron thought. Aaron wondered if they were closer to brother and sister than just friends would be.

Aaron felt the shaking in Spencer’s body lessening, he couldn’t help placing a kiss in Spencer’s hair.

“Let’s go upstairs. You can clean up a little in my bathroom.”

Spencer nodded, his face covered in snot and tears. Aaron didn’t say anything, but he did look at his suit jacket. It would have been taken to the cleaners. Aaron looked at Spencer as they passed through the living room. Even mired in grief, Spencer was beautiful. Aaron had never allowed himself to show emotion like that, outside of Jack. He wasn’t an emotional man, Aaron’s father had beat that out of him before he hit puberty. Haley had shown him that some emotions were okay to show but hadn’t been the best at letting him purge his bad feelings in a good way. She didn’t want to hear about his job and what he did daily, the horrors that he saw. Jack though wanted to hear everything. He wanted to hear whether it was good or bad. Even Spencer when Aaron had picked up Jack from his house on Wednesday let Aaron purge some of his daily minutia from his brain by talking for a few minutes about the case he was being a Guardian Ad Litem for. The boy had no one but Aaron on his side. Aaron’s firm was trying to find someone willing to take the boy in because the father and the mother were not fit to take him in, but both were fighting for custody.

Aaron showed Spencer to the bedroom and then into the bathroom. Aaron knew that the only thing that he could do was be there for him. Aaron wondered if this was the first person that Spencer had ever lost. Aaron had lost his father, his mother, his ex-wife, and while Sean was alive, his little brother was lost to him in a way.

Listening to Spencer wash up a little, Aaron took off his suit jacket and laid it in the pile he had to go to the dry cleaners. The water was still running in the bathroom, so Aaron took off his loafers and his socks. He unbuttoned his cuffs and put up the cufflinks from the shirt in the little box that Jack had bought him the year before for Christmas, just for his cufflinks. Next, Aaron rolled up his sleeves to almost his elbows. He didn’t want to change out of his suit all the way yet, but without the jacket, he would feel more comfortable.

The water shut off, so Aaron made his way from the walk-in closet to the bathroom. Spencer was leaning over the sink, and Aaron wasn’t sure if his eyes were open or not. Spencer looked so vulnerable that Aaron couldn’t take it. He stepped up and turned Spencer, forcing the younger man into his arms.

“I’m not going to say that its okay because it’s not. It’s not going to be okay for a while, but I’m here, Spencer. I’m here for you, and I’m here for Henry. Whatever you need, whatever you want.”

Spencer tentatively wrapped his arms around Aaron’s back as he turned his head to bury it in Aaron’s neck. They were the same height, so it wasn’t weird.

It was too late to do anything about it by the time that Aaron realized he was hard, his cock was pressed into Spencer’s hip. Aaron wanted to blame it on the fact that other than Jack, and occasionally Jessica he wasn’t touched a lot but he couldn’t. Despite the situation, his body was reacting to what he had wanted all week, which was to kiss Spencer.

Spencer tilted his head up with a gasp and looked Aaron in the face. The flirting had not stopped all week, and Aaron had made sure that Spencer knew that he was serious with it. Every interaction with the man told Aaron that he was someone that was stable. Oh, Spencer had the quirks of an inventor, but his head wasn’t in the clouds like a lot of them.

Aaron tilted his head to the side and leaned down just enough to cover Spencer’s mouth with his. Aaron expected to be pushed back, to have Spencer do something, even slap him. Instead, Spencer moaned into the kiss. Aaron pushed Spencer back into the counter behind him, wanting to feel their bodies pressed together. It had been too long since Aaron had even wanted to kiss anyone much less do anything else.

Spencer wiggled in Aaron’s arms and for a second Aaron thought that he wanted to move away from him. Instead, the angle of the kiss changed as Spencer sat on the counter. Aaron took advantage of that and grabbed Spencer’s hips. Spencer spread his legs even more so that Aaron could get as close as humanly possible to him. Aaron felt Spencer’s erection press into him.

A brief thought passed through Aaron’s head that they should stop. He should stop, but at the moment this was the only comfort that he could even think of giving Spencer. Aaron trailed his hands down Spencer’s thighs before slipping them to the underside and pulling up. Spencer got the idea, and he unwound his arms from Aaron’s back and looped them around his neck before he wrapped his legs around Aaron’s waist. Aaron lifted Spencer with only slight difficulty. There was that deceptive weight again. Aaron knew the path from the bathroom to bed from straight memory. He had done it enough in the dark.

Aaron waited until his knees brushed the bed before he started to lean over. Spencer’s arms tightened like he was afraid of being dropped but he didn’t freak out. Aaron laid Spencer down, going down with him so that they didn’t have to break the kiss at all. Spencer made a needy little moan when Aaron’s groin settled down onto his body all of the way. Aaron braced himself on a single arm and touched with the other. Spencer didn’t want to let go of Aaron’s neck, and Aaron was fine with that, it didn’t mean that he wasn’t going to touch. Aaron gripped the end of Spencer’s dress shirt that he was wearing and pulled it from his pants. When Aaron encountered another shirt under that, he groaned and pulled on it as well.

“Vegas,” Spencer panted as he jerked his lips away from Aaron’s. “Get too cold all the time.”

“Cold right now?” Aaron asked. His fingers skirted over the flesh just above Spencer’s pants. Spencer sucked in a breath, pulling his skin from Aaron.

“No,” Spencer near groaned out. He tipped his head down to look where Aaron was touching. “No.”

“Good.” Aaron looked down at his hand as well. He scratched just a little at the skin just around Spencer’s navel before trailing his hand up the front of Spencer’s shirt. Aaron grabbed the top button and worked it loose from its hole. Spencer watched Aaron’s fingers as they popped open each button. When his hand ran out of buttons, Aaron used it to push up Spencer’s undershirt a little, and he leaned down. Spencer inhaled before Aaron even did a single thing, so Aaron just exhaled over his skin. He watched as goosebumps cascaded over the younger man’s skin. Aaron pushed himself up a little to where he could settle lower on Spencer’s body. Aaron gripped the undershirt and rolled it up enough to where he could get to Spencer’s stomach. He kissed just below Spencer’s navel and waited to hear what Spencer did. He wanted to look up but was afraid to. The breathy little moan that Spencer let out bashed all of Aaron’s fears.

Spencer’s hands tried to get Aaron to come back up to kiss him, but Aaron fought it. Spencer let one of his hands fall away and down onto the bed while the other stayed on Aaron’s head, tugging every few seconds as Aaron dropped kisses all around Spencer’ navel. Aaron rolled up the shirt a little more and kissed the new skin. Aaron even nipped once which caused Spencer to arch his back up. Aaron pushed the undershirt up a little more on the bottom so that he wouldn’t have to hold it as much the farther he went up. Aaron listened with both ears for the little words that Spencer was saying under his breath, Aaron’s name was said more often while please and don’t stop fell from his lips as well.

Aaron got Spencer’s shirt all the way up to where he could focus on nipples and the moan that Spencer let out when Aaron licked the first one told Aaron that he was going to enjoy everything that they did together. Spencer’s hand in his hair scratched a little as he jerked when Aaron ran his thumb over his opposite nipple. Spencer was thoroughly distracted, so Aaron started to work his own shirt open. It didn’t take long, and in fact, he was done with it before he was done playing with Spencer’s nipples.

Spencer’s face was flush when Aaron finally raised his head up to look down at Spencer.

“Naked,” Spencer said as he started to wiggle off his dress shirt. Aaron sat back as he pulled Spencer up with him. Spencer went willingly, and as soon as he was all the way up, he was getting naked. Aaron watched him until he started to pull off his overshirt before he started to remove his dress shirt as well. Aaron dropped his hands as he tossed the shirt to where he could start to undo his belt and then pants. Spencer sat back as soon as his upper half was naked and started to work on his pants, he was not wearing a belt, so it was easier for him.

Aaron pushed his pants down to his knees before raising up the first to get it off his knees before doing the seconds. He swept his underwear down with them, and after a minute of juggling, while trying not to fall, Aaron was naked and looked at Spencer, who was staring at Aarons’ hip. Aaron looked down to see what he was staring at when Aaron remembered the tattoo had he had got after he had gotten to the good side of his divorce. Spencer was the first lover that he had taken since he had got the tattoo.

“Beautiful,” Spencer whispered as he reached out and touched. Aaron shivered as the younger man’s fingers traced over the wings of the Phoenix. It was small, barely the size of Aaron’s hand when curled into a fist but the detail was perfect. Aaron wanted to turn the attention back from his tattoo, and to Spencer again, he grabbed the top of Spencer’s pants and started to gently tug them down. Spencer leaned back on the bed and raised his hips up. Aaron got the pants down to between his legs before he used his own feet to push them off the rest of the way.

As soon as Spencer was naked, Aaron was on top of him again. Aaron wanted that mouth again, and he took it. Spencer didn’t fight him at all. It was perfect, their bodies pressed together and the feeling of need that pulsed between them. It was one perfect moment after another that Aaron didn’t want to stop.

Spencer forced the issue when he jerked his mouth away.

“Lube? Condoms?” Spencer questioned. Aaron thrust his hips down into Spencer’s in retaliation. Spencer grabbed Aaron’s shoulders and forced their eyes to lock. “If you want in me, you have minutes before this is going to make me come.”

“Fuck,” Aaron said, but he leaned up to get into the bedside drawer. He pulled it open and grabbed the box of condoms first, he tossed those down and grabbed the bottle of lube. Aaron groaned as he realized that he hadn’t taken the plastic wrap off of the lube. Aaron tried to open it but his nails were short, and he couldn’t get the plastic to rip at the perforation. Spencer was focused on popping open the box and getting a condom ripped off the strip. Aaron pressed down hard on the lid, trying to dig his tiny nail under but all he did was lose his grip, and the lube dropped onto Spencer’s belly.

Spencer startled, not expecting it but he settled quickly and looked down at his belly where the lube bottle was barely stopped from sliding off of. Spencer handed Aaron a condom before he set the box on the stand and picked up the lube. Aaron watched him pick at the plastic and get it started before he handed it back to Aaron.

“I figured that I’d let you finish that,” Spencer said with a small smirk on his face. Aaron gave him a small glare and ripped the plastic off before taking the rest off as well. Aaron tossed those bits into the small trash can under the stand and opened the lube. He squirted out some and reached down between Spencer’s spread legs. Aaron chased the cool lube up his crack in retaliation for the snark he had given Aaron a moment before.

Spencer rocked back, away from the sensation of cool lube on his heated skin. Aaron used his hand with the lube and condom to hold Spencer down, fingers spread over his belly, pressing the bottle into Spencer a little. Aaron slid the finger back down, pressing it into Spencer’s body. Aaron’s knowledge of what to do only came from looking it up online. He had experimented in college during one of his breaks from Haley, but he had never gone farther than handjobs and blowjobs. This had seemed too intimate, too personal to do with a frat buddy in a room where no one could hear.

“Aaron,” Spencer whispered as Aaron pressed back inside with more lube spread over his finger. He used Spencer’s slicked crack to coat his finger. Aaron dropped the condom as he picked up the bottle again and uncapped it to spread more lube on not just that finger but another as well. Three fingers were going to be tight, but Aaron wanted to try and at least get three a little bit inside of Spencer. Aaron was a little afraid of letting Spencer do this to him. He knew that men liked it, but he just couldn’t let go enough, he hoped that seeing Spencer, knowing that it wasn’t something that could be faked, would help him settle down. He wanted this to last, this relationship that they were building. He didn’t want it to be one-sided, but the type of person that Spencer was Aaron could see him being happy with never topping as he heard it being called. Not if Aaron was scared.

Aaron pushed in again with two, he had no clue if Spencer had done this before and he didn’t want to hurt him. Spencer was already in enough pain, Aaron didn’t want to add to it.

“I’m good,” Spencer said, he sounded like he was barely holding onto himself. Like he might shatter.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. Just use a lot of lube on your cock.”

Aaron nodded and reached over the bed to grab Spencer’s undershirt to wipe his hand on. The bottle had defeated him enough, he didn’t need Spencer to have to open the condom as well. Aaron ripped open the wrapper and kept down the exclamation of excitement he wanted to make. He didn’t want to seem like a fumbling boy on his first time, even if technically it was.

Spencer’s eyes watched Aaron as he slipped on the condom. Those eyes made Aaron feel like he was being graded for some reason. It was weird adding lube to a condom, but he understood what it was used for and why.

“Ready?” Aaron asked as he looked down at his cock to spread the lube he just poured into his hand all over. Aaron glanced up to see Spencer nodding. He was biting his lip but not in anticipation of pain but more like an anticipation of pleasure. Aaron pressed the tip of his cock into Spencer’s hole, but the younger man turned and twisted away from him. Aaron watched as he grabbed a pillow before he laid back down on the bed and raised up to slip it under his hips. Aaron scooted forward again, the angle was different, but Aaron liked it. He felt like he was going to hurt him less.

Aaron pressed the tip of his cock into Spencer’s hole again and pushed. Spencer’s body opened up steadily to him, and there was nearly no resistance once he got the head in. Spencer wrapped his legs around Aaron’s waist and pulled him that last few inches deeper. Spencer’s eyes closed and he let out a moan that Aaron thought should be illegal and if his cock wasn’t buried inside of him that moan would have caused it to twitch.

Spencer opened his eyes and looked up at Aaron, his eyes dark with arousal. He reached up and pulled at Aaron until he was draped over Spencer the way that the younger man wanted.

“You can move whenever you feel like it,” Spencer said before he leaned up just enough to take Aaron’s mouth in a kiss. Aaron leaned down, pressing Spencer back down onto the bed. He got himself settled on one arm while the other grabbed Spencer’s hip and he held Spencer in place a little as he rocked back. Aaron groaned into the kiss as he pushed back inside of Spencer. Aaron hadn’t ever felt anything like it. Spencer was tighter than Haley had ever been, he knew it was the ring of muscle around Spencer’s hole, but he didn’t care. He was glad that his mouth was otherwise occupied because he would have made an idiot of himself otherwise.

They broke apart to take in full breaths before kissing again, but no words were said. Aaron kept the thrusts full but not hurried. When Spencer shifted a little, and it caused Aaron to lose balance, and his cheek brushed against something wet on Spencer’s chest, Aaron pulled out of the kiss. Grief and arousal warred on Spencer’s face, but he didn’t look to be in pain.

Aaron brushed at the underside of one of Spencer’s eyes before he leaned down to kiss there. Aaron shifted balance to his other arm and repeated the movement. Aaron was too focused on Spencer and not enough on their bodies that when Spencer’s eyes slammed shut, and his entire body went taut, Aaron was afraid that he had hurt him. Then the tightening of Spencer’s ass and the wet that seeped between them reminded Aaron that they were having sex and that was what Spencer looked like in the throes of orgasm. Aaron leaned down when Spencer relaxed and kissed him again.

Spencer’s kisses were lazy then, a want of a connection instead of trying to excite and get them off. Aaron lost count of how many thrusts he gave after that before he spilled into the condom, dropping his head down onto Spencer’s shoulder as he rode out one of the best orgasm’s he had ever had.

Aaron raised his head and kissed Spencer’s cheek before kissing his lips again. Spencer gripped the sides of Aaron’s face and kept him close. Lazy kisses were traded until Aaron reared up to clean them up a little. He used Spencer’s undershirt to clean up Spencer’s belly and his own before gripping the base of the condom before he pulled out.

“DAD?” Jack called out.

Aaron looked at the bedside clock and saw that it was indeed time for Jack to get there and that he was about fifteen minutes late. Aaron glanced at Spencer and saw that he was looking with wide eyes at the door. Aaron sat back and opened his mouth to talk, but Spencer shot up in the bed and nearly fell off he was so driven to get his clothes. Aaron still had the undershirt in hand as he watched Spencer wiggled into his underwear and pants, buttoning them as he walked to the bedroom door. He slipped on his shirt and buttoned it before he grabbed his socks and shoes, fleeing. Aaron wanted to run after him, but Spencer left the door open, and Jack was in the house.

Grabbing his underwear, Aaron dashed to the bathroom. He had the condom in hand still along with the shirt. Aaron tossed the condom into the trash and the shirt in the hamper. He would wash it and return it to Spencer.

“Dad?” Jack called out his voice close like he was in Aaron’s room. Jack knew not to come too far into the room if Aaron wasn’t on the bed.

“In the bathroom, Jack.”

“Why was Spencer running around without his shoes and socks on? And his shirt unbuttoned?” Jack’s voice sounded the same like was staying right at the bedroom door.

Aaron looked at himself in the mirror, expecting some big change for finally doing what he had wanted for years, to act on an attraction to another male. Instead, he looked the same. Aaron had no clue what to tell Jack. He had promised to himself to never to lie to Jack, but this was something that Aaron couldn’t just blurt out to his nine-year-old son. Aaron stayed silent as he dressed in his boxers and found a pair of jeans sitting on the counter. He couldn’t remember why they were there, but he was happy that they were.

“Did you and Spencer have sex?”

Aaron walked quickly to the bathroom door and looked at his son standing in the bedroom door. Jack’s eyes were on the very messed up bed, and there was no denying Aaron’s clothes scattered around. Jack had been too young when he and Haley divorced to remember a time when the room looked like this. Aaron kept his room neat and orderly. His clothes were never out of place, his bed never unmade.


“Is he going to get Henry? Is that why he ran out without saying anything to me? Was he late because you two had sex?” Jack stayed at the door, but Aaron knew that he wanted to come in. Aaron would have to make the bed later. Aaron moved to his closet to grab a henley to put on. He pushed up the sleeves and hoped that he didn’t smell too much like sex. He really wanted to shower but knew that Jack wouldn’t be put off by it. Instead, he would be answering questions while showering.

“Why don’t we go to the kitchen?” Aaron laid his hand on Jack’s shoulder to lead him away.

“You always want to talk in the kitchen when it’s serious,” Jack protested.

“Well, that may be, but I’m hungry.”

“Oh.” Jack was silent the rest of the way to the kitchen.

Aaron spent the time he was making a sandwich thinking about what he wanted to say. Aaron had raised Jack to be kind to others and to never use them. The first time that Jack had picked on a girl, Aaron had taught him that it wasn’t nice to do that, even if he did like her. The problem was that other parents found it cute and blamed it on boys being boys. Aaron hated that term, and he had vowed to never let his son be that way.

When Aaron was done with the sandwich, he couldn’t delay any longer Jack was being good, sitting and watching him. Aaron hadn’t dated since he and Haley had divorced and Aaron knew it was why Jack was excited like he was. Aaron hadn’t thought himself lonely until Spencer came into their lives.

“Sometimes, Jack, when adults are really upset they do things they normally wouldn’t do. They get comfort in ways that aren’t normal to who they are. Spencer was really sad, and we both let things go further than we normally would let them. Yes, we had sex, but it doesn’t mean that anything more is going to happen. I don’t want you to get upset if things are weird between us for a little while.”

“Why is Spencer sad?” Jack asked.

“You remember why Henry is staying with Spencer right?”

“His mom and dad are on their honeymoon for a whole month. Henry says he’s starting to miss them even though he talks to them every night. I don’t think I could be away from you for a whole month, even if we talked several times a day.”

“I don’t think I could either, buddy.” Aaron took a bite of his sandwich, delaying what he knew he needed to do. Jack jumped up and got two cans of pop out of the fridge. He set one down in front of Aaron and set the other in front of himself. “You know if you drink that now you won’t get one with dinner.”

“Really?” Jack got back up and put the pop can up and grabbed a bottle of water instead. Aaron wasn’t going to drink one with dinner either. He limited Jack’s consumption of pop, and so he only felt it was right to limit himself as well to set a good example. Drinking less pop meant that he was able to not have to exercise as much. Jack sat back down at the table. “So why is Spencer sad?”

Aaron finished chewing his bite before he set down the sandwich. He opened the pop and took a drink to wash out his mouth. “Henry’s parents were in a car accident. They died.”

“Poor Henry, poor Spencer. I’m glad you comforted him. I need to go watch for them to come back.” Jack took off toward the living room but stopped at the doorway and came back to give Aaron a hug. Aaron knew that Jack would be a good companion for Henry, while Jack still had him, he had lost his mother in a car accident as well.

Aaron forced himself to eat and not think about Spencer and why he ran like he did. Aaron couldn’t read Spencer’s mind. He had no clue why the younger man had run like he had. It could have all been because of realizing that he was going to be late to pick up Henry. Aaron really hoped it wasn’t because had never had sex with a man before or even thought he was bi or gay. Two of them in a minor freak out about having male on male sex for the first time wasn’t going to be good.

After he cleaned up the table, Aaron walked to the living room. Jack was on the couch, leaning into the back to look out and watch for Henry. Aaron didn’t want to tell Jack that it could be a while. He had no clue if Spencer was going to come straight home or when Spencer was going to tell Henry. There was no perfect time or place to do it. Sitting in a car was just as good as sitting in a house.

“They’re home!” Jack screamed.

Aaron looked at the window to see that they were indeed there. Jack beat Aaron to the door. Just as Jack was opening it, there was Henry, nearly crashing into him. Henry was sobbing, and Aaron tried to get to him, but Jack tugged him into the living room before Aaron could get to them. The two were gone out the back door leaving Aaron to just look at them. Spencer had told him before they left the house Henry had been at. Or he had told him on the drive home. Aaron didn’t know what to do. Whether to go to Spencer or to go into the backyard and try and comfort the poor boy.

Jack helped Henry up and into the tree before he climbed up as well. Aaron kind of hated that tree. Jack had spent a lot of time in it when he was upset with a decision that Aaron had made and as Jack got older that happened more and more.

Aaron watched as Henry all but collapsed into Jack. Jack’s mouth was moving, but from the distance he was at, Aaron couldn’t hear him. Aaron wasn’t sure he wanted to. Someone had to be strong.

“I’m sorry for freaking out and running,” Spencer said from behind Aaron. Aaron spun around to see Spencer leaning against the doorway between living room and kitchen. He looked a little more put together. His shoes were on, and Aaron could see a sock peeking out from under his pant leg. His shirt was buttoned and tucked into his pants. The hair was a lot messed up, but it didn’t necessarily look like sex hair. Spencer’s eyes were rimmed in red, but that was a given with everything. Aaron wasn’t sure if his touch would be allowed, but still, he walked up to Spencer.

Spencer looked up at Aaron with such worry in his eyes that Aaron couldn’t help leaning in and kissing him. Spencer whined a little and tried to plaster them together.

“You are allowed to freak out and run, as long as you come back. I’ve wanted to kiss you all week, ever since pancakes on Sunday. If Jack and Henry weren’t around, I would probably have done it. Every time one of the kids was around. I did not want an audience for our first kiss.”

“I didn’t mean to run like I did. I just started to think that Henry was going to think I forgot him and then having to tell him. Where are they?”

“In Jack’s tree. Don’t worry, Jack’s got an arm around him, and isn’t it a right of passage to fall out of a tree?”

“I never fell out of a tree.”

“I did. A lot. Don’t worry they are safe. How did he take it?”

“We stopped around the block. I didn’t want to be driving and tell him, and I didn’t want to tell him parked where the neighbors would watch. I know the one kind of between us and across the street stares a lot. I also didn’t want the people I picked Henry up from watching us, and the mom did. She stood on the porch and watched as we got into the car. He took it just as any six-year-old who just lost both of their parents in one fell swoop would, with a lot of tears. He’s probably going to sleep in my bed for a while. It’s a good thing I don’t kick.”

“Jack slept with me a lot after Haley’s death. He was in a toddler bed at that point, but still, he was there every night for the first month maybe even two. Whatever happens between us, I’m here for you Spencer. I know that we rushed the sexual side of things, but I want a relationship. With you. I want this between us. We can go as slow as you want.”

“You made your intentions plain over the weekend. I just don’t want to take time from Henry right now. He’s going to need me.”

“And I wouldn’t expect you too, but those two are going to be joined at the hip. Jack was too young to have close friends when his mother died. Friends help better than parents sometimes. I know this from my job. Kids tell each other things they would never tell an adult and Jack knows when to keep a secret for a friend and when it’s best to tell an adult. he won’t let Henry get hurt.”

“Good. I’m already worn out, and it’s not even five. I’ve already called everyone that I need to as far as my jobs go and got an extension on things.”

“What about the funeral and things?”

“Penelope is handling all of that. I’m the executor of their wills which is not going to be fun. I just moved here, and I don’t know if I want to move in JJ and Will’s house or stay here. If I stay here, Henry will have to move schools, and he won’t know anyone.”

“He will know Jack, and Jack knows a lot of the kids, he’ll make sure that he has friends. Is JJ and WIll’s house big enough for your workshop?”


“Henry will do fine in this school district. He’s young he will make friends, and he’ll have you. You can’t split your time between living at one house and work at another.”

“I have to go away sometimes for a day or two at a time. I don’t have a sitter.”

“You have Jack and me. And my sister in law might watch him for a day or two if it’s not too often.”

“Usually only when a product is being unveiled. I try and do it on weekends just because otherwise it cuts into my work time. Even if I do take him with me, I can’t leave him in a strange city alone in a hotel.”

“Jack and I could go. We don’t get to travel much. You could get a room with two queen beds, and you and Henry take one and Jack and me the other. Until we become a little more intimate and can share.” Aaron knew that no matter what Spencer was saying, he was thinking the same things. He was too meticulous to not have been thinking about it from the moment he had been told. He just needed another adult telling him that he could do it and that there were options.

“You make it sound so reasonable. That a bachelor can take on a kid with the job that I have.”

“You love him too much to do anything else.”

The sound of a knock on Aaron’s front door startled both of them. Aaron cupped the side of Spencer’s face and pulled him in closer for a second to press a kiss on his forehead to help calm Spencer down. “Stay.”

Spencer nodded and turned to look outside at the two boys. Aaron knew that he would stay where he could look at Henry. He turned as the knock sounded on the door again. It took only a handful of steps for him to make it to the door. He looked through the peephole to see that it was a red-haired woman. Aaron frowned, but he opened the door.

“Oh, hello. Do you know where your young neighbor is?” the woman asked. Aaron opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off. “I can see his car but the door is locked, and he’s not answering the doorbell or my knocking. There is also no sound coming from his house, and usually, there is.”

For a few seconds, Aaron was worried that Spencer had a girlfriend and hadn’t told him. He knew though that Spencer wasn’t like that.

“My name is Penelope, by the way, what’s yours, handsome?”

Aaron was too shocked by her very blatant hitting on him for him to realize what her name was. He turned to call out to Spencer, but he was there walking toward them. Spencer had a grim smile on his face.

“I’m here, Penelope,” Spencer called out as he stepped up to Aaron’s shoulder.

“Don’t scare me like that,” Penelope said as she barged in the door and grabbed Spencer up in a hug. Spencer looked lost and looked at Aaron for help, but she was his friend. Aaron shook his head. He knew not to part a woman from comforting someone, even if they didn’t need it.

“Penelope, this is Aaron Hotchner, my neighbor. Aaron this is Penelope Garcia. Henry’s Godmother,” Spencer said as he patted Penelope on the back very awkwardly. Aaron could see that Spencer wasn’t doing well with the hug.

“Penelope, it’s nice to meet you,” Aaron said hoping it would pull her away from Spencer. It thankfully did. She turned around and used a napkin to wipe at her slightly running mascara before she held out her hand for Aaron to shake.

“Nice to meet you. Thank you for taking care of Spencer.” Penelope gasped and spun to look at Spencer. “Where’s Henry? Where’s our little Sproglet?”

Aaron didn’t even want to know where the name came from. However, he laid a hand on her back and directed her toward the kitchen. She looked around like she was looking for him and even looked back at Aaron with a confused look on her face. Aaron pointed out to the tree.

“Oh, is that Jack?” Penelope asked.

“Yes, that’s my son Jack.”

“JJ was talking about him. How Henry doesn’t stop talking about him or his dad.

“Aaron?” a voice called out, and Aaron groaned because he did not need Dave there right then. He really didn’t. However, there would be no getting rid of him without talking to him. Aaron realized that the reason Dave had called out was the door was left wide open. That was twice, first when Jack opened it, and Henry burst in and Aaron too worried about them taking off to shut it, and Spencer entered, and now this.

“Hotch?” a second voice called out seconds later. Morgan. Aaron groaned because that meant that they weren’t leaving for a while. Dave saw it as his duty to get Aaron a companion to make him less lonely. Now was not the time to have Dave bring that up or to tell Dave that he had started something with Spencer. Henry should be the focus of everything and not Aaron.

“Kitchen,” Aaron called out as he disengaged from Penelope to meet the two FBI agents in the living room.

“You had me worried, man. You never leave your door open,” Morgan said as he met Aaron just a few steps into the living room. Dave was right behind him, he was looking out the window toward Spencer’s house.

“So that house finally sold?” Dave asked.


Dave nodded and finally realized that there were more people in the room than should be. He looked at Penelope and smiled at her, but his jaw dropped a little when he looked at Spencer.

“Spencer Reid,” Dave said and held out his hand. Spencer only waved at him. “Oh, yeah I remember that quirk. You don’t shake hands with people.”

“No, I don’t.”

“How do you know him?” Aaron asked.

“Do you remember that article I was talking about a few weeks ago about the young man who invented the fireproof material that doesn’t weigh a lot with Grimes Tech? Mainly created to keep hard drives from burning when a computer catches fire from overclocking the parts? This is that young man. There was a full spread on him. I didn’t realize that you lived in the area. It talked of you living in Las Vegas as a child and Pasadena after.”

“I’ve lived here in DC since I left college. I don’t tell in interviews where I live.”

“Where’s Jack?” Morgan asked, and the look on his face said that it was the reason why they were there. Aaron narrowed his eyes at his friend.

“My name is Penelope Garcia,” Penelope said sticking her hand out for Morgan to shake. Morgan turned like he finally realized that she was there.

“Hello, there,” Morgan said with a smile.

“Jack’s in the backyard but don’t expect him to be too happy about anything. He’s out there with a friend of his.”

“Friend?” Dave asked. Morgan and Dave walked into the kitchen to see Jack and Henry in the tree. “Who is that?”

“Henry, Spencer’s Godson,” Aaron said.

“Henry looks like he’s crying,” Morgan said.

“So does Jack.”

Aaron heard the small sob from Spencer and turned to take him into his arms, but Penelope was reaching out to him. Spencer ducked away from her arms. Aaron tried to direct Spencer to him, but Spencer near ran out of the room and up the steps. Aaron heard his bedroom door shut.

“That’s interesting,” Dave said with a look at Aaron.

Penelope looked like she was about to cry.

“Henry’s parents got married and were on their honeymoon. Spencer has had Henry for a week, and there were three weeks left on the honeymoon. Sometime in the night, they were killed in a traffic accident. Henry was just told. JJ and Will were Spencer’s best friends. He’s not taking it well. Jack took Henry into the tree, and they have not left it yet. I think that Jack’s going to keep Henry out there as long as he can. It’s where he spent a lot of time after we moved in here after Haley’s death, just you know at the base of the tree.”

Aaron heard a little sniffle and then he was being wrapped in the arms of Penelope. While he hadn’t seen her coming up to him the perfume she wore marked her as female and since she was the only female in the room. Aaron endured the hug with a look at Dave and Morgan. Morgan took pity on him and touched Penelope on the shoulder to pull her away.

“AUNT PENNY!” Henry screamed and ran into Penelope’s legs, wrapping his arms around her. Penelope picked up Henry and hugged him tightly. His tears started up fresh and after a few minutes he all but passed out. Aaron waved her in toward the living room and helped her down into a chair. Aaron looked around for Jack and saw that he hadn’t come in with Henry. Aaron stepped back into the kitchen, listening to Morgan, Dave, and Penelope talking low. Jack wasn’t in the backyard either. Aaron listened, but he heard nothing.

Taking a chance, Aaron stepped up the back set of stairs from the kitchen and went up to his bedroom. The bedroom door was almost closed, but there was a sliver of room visible. Spencer had shut it, so that meant that Jack was in there. Aaron smiled as he opened the door enough to see inside. Spencer was on the floor in the corner, and Jack was cuddled up into his side.

“It sucks for Henry,” Jack said.

“Yes, it does. We will help him through it though.”

“Are you parents alive?” Jack asked.

Aaron didn’t want to stop the conversation between them or have it change because he was added in so he stayed right in the invisible area behind the door.

“My dad is. I’ve not seen him since I was ten though.”


“Not all dads are like your’s Jack. There are some that are bad and some that are mean. My dad was just apathetic about having a wife with an illness and a child like me. He left mom and me when I was twelve.”

“What about your mom?”

“Her illness took her from me when I was seventeen.”

“Who looked after you until you turned eighteen?”

“No one. I was already in college, and so they allowed me to take care of myself for the eight months it took for me to turn eighteen. I had a lady at the college that made sure that I took care of myself but I had been since I had gone to college at CalTech, so no one was worried.”

Aaron wasn’t that shocked that Spencer had started college a year early. He really wasn’t shocked at all. Spencer was brilliant, Aaron had known that since meeting him.

“Your dad didn’t come back to take care of you? That sucks.”

“Yeah, it did. I think I did okay in life though. I’m happy, and I’m healthy.”

“I lost my mom too. When I was four. I’m glad I didn’t lose Dad too. It’s worse, isn’t it? Knowing that your dad is out there but doesn’t want you?”

“I don’t know. I have forgotten what missing him feels like.” Spencer sounded honest.

“Dad lost his dad when he was sixteen. Dad has never talked about him much so I don’t think he was a good dad. Dad never talks about him. I don’t ask either. His mom was okay, I think. She died when he was in law school? My grandpa Roy is the only grandparent I have. Grandma died not long after mom. Dad said it was a broken heart. Roy doesn’t want much to do with me because I told him that I didn’t like him talking bad about my dad. He’s not contacted dad to see me in a year.”

“That’s horrible.”

“I have Aunt Jess, and that’s enough.”

“That’s good.”

“I don’t remember Grandpa Roy well enough from before Mom died. He changed after that and I didn’t like him that much. He blames dad for mom’s death even though he had nothing to do with it. She was on her way back from getting her hair done, and a drunk driver killed her. He still blames Dad.”

“Sometimes people have to have someone to blame.” Spencer looked up and his eyes locked with Aaron’s through the small sliver of the door. He had to have moved or something because Jack looked up too.

“Dad, you come comfort Spencer. Henry needs me.” Jack stood up and waited to walk from Spencer’s side until Aaron was right there.

“Yes, Sir,” Aaron said. He slid down the well and tucked Spencer into his side. Spencer laid his head down on Aaron’s shoulder, closing his eyes.

Aaron kept his mouth quiet as Jack shut the door. He didn’t want Spencer to know how long he had listened in. Spencer hadn’t told Aaron any of that stuff, and he knew that at some point it would come out, but Spencer was very private.

Spencer sighed and turned to where he was kind of wrapped around Aaron.

A little while later, Aaron heard his bedroom door open. Dave was the one to peek inside before he opened the door more. Morgan and Penelope were right there looking at the two of them. Aaron glared until Dave pulled the door shut without a word.

Aaron could hear the vestiges of what was happening in the lower half of the house. He heard the doorbell ring at one point but knew that if Dave needed him, Dave would come and get him.

“How do you know Dave and Derek?”

“I’ve known Dave since his first tenure in the FBI. I worked a few of their local cases as a prosecutor. When he joined again a few years ago, he forced me to interact with his team. Morgan and Prentiss are the two that I actually really like. The rest of the team are not as social with me. I think they hate lawyers.”

“Lawyers aren’t too bad.” Spencer leaned up and looked at Aaron. “Can I kiss you?”

“Of course,” Aaron said she leaned in to kiss Spencer first. Aaron cupped the sides of Spencer’s face his thumbs rubbing across Spencer’s high cheekbones. The kiss stayed chaste, but Aaron knew that it was helping to settle Spencer’s mind. They might have been silent for the rough hour that Aaron and Spencer had cuddled in the bedroom but Aaron knew that Spencer hadn’t been asleep.

Spencer pulled back when his stomach growled.

“I haven’t eaten since breakfast,” Spencer said with a blush creeping up his cheeks.

“Well, I have sandwich stuff. I’ll make you a sandwich to tide you over until supper.”

“I can just go home and grab something.”

“No. You don’t need to be alone, and you aren’t going to get Jack and Henry apart for a while. Stay,” Aaron pleaded.

“Okay,” Spencer said.

Aaron ducked down for another kiss before he started to stand, taking Spencer with him.

“Dave and Morgan have been here the whole time, so I have no clue what we are going to go down to. They also saw us curled around each other so be prepared for a lot of questions from Dave. He has wanted me to get with someone for a while. ”

“Okay,” Spencer sounded a little more hesitant about that. Aaron wrapped his arm around Spencer’s shoulders and pulled him close.

“You don’t have to go down. I can bring you a sandwich up.”

“No. I just…Nobody I have dated has ever made it past a few dates, and so I’ve never introduced them to JJ or Penelope. I’ve never…what are we?”

“Technically lovers but I don’t think you want to use that. Boyfriend is a little juvenile, but I’m okay with using that.”

“Boyfriends?” Spencer questioned like he was trying the word out on his tongue. “I think I can say that.”

“Good.” Aaron smiled and pressed a kissed to Spencer’s hair n the side of his head. Aaron didn’t let Spencer pull away from him or slow down much once they hit the steps. There was no one in the living room, so Aaron walked toward the kitchen. Everyone was gathered around the table in the dining room area. There were platters spread on the island. There was one of fruit, one of veggies, and a cold cut/cheese tray. There were buns in bags and two huge bags of chips opened. Everyone had bottles of water. Jack and Henry were seated in Aaron’s spot at the table, both of them sharing a chair. There was an empty chair beside where Henry was and a glass of tea sitting there. Aaron knew that he didn’t have tea before.

“Dad, Uncle Dave bought food for us!” Jack called out. Henry looked up, and his eyes started to get a little watery while he was looking at Spencer. Aaron nudged Spencer forward. Spencer walked around the table and picked Henry up before sitting down in the chair that had been empty.

“Uncle Dave even had Uncle Derek go to that restaurant you liked and got their spiced unsweet tea for you, Uncle Pence,” Henry said.

“Thank you, Mr. Rossi, Mr. Morgan.”

“Just Morgan is fine, Spencer,” Morgan said. He grabbed his bottle of water and took a drink. “I was already out picking up a few little things anyway.”

“LIttle,” a voice said from behind. Aaron turned to see Prentiss there.

“Hey, now Mama, don’t be telling on me.”

“Telling on you?” Aaron asked.

“Uncle Dave bought me that bunk bed I’ve wanted that you said you might get me for Christmas.”

Aaron looked at Dave because Dave knew that Aaron was going to get it for him.

“Except this one has a little desk area built into the underside. Uncle Derek measured, and I’ve just got enough room after taking out my bed and moving my one bookshelf around. He can move it to where I can set stuff on top for when I am on the top bunk. It’s going to be awesome because that means Henry can stay here tonight.”

“As soon as I got your okay, I was going to put it together,” Morgan said.

“You can,” Aaron said because he knew why Dave had sent Morgan after it. Jack’s bed was too small for him and Henry to sleep in and so wasn’t Henry’s bed at Spencer’s. Aaron figured it wasn’t going to be long before a second one was bought for Henry.

“Uncle Dave bought me one as well, Uncle Pence,” Henry said like he was afraid that it was going to get taken away.

“Really?” Spencer asked and looked up at Dave. Aaron reached over and picked up Jack to sit down with his son in his lap. Spencer looked at Aaron and the look on his face that he didn’t want to refuse it but he didn’t want to accept it either.

“It’s better to give in and say thank you. He’ll make you keep it either way, and he knows the trick of telling the kid first way too well.”

“Parents have a hard time saying no with a kid staring at them. The boys need bunk beds.”

“Emily and I are going to go to JJ’s and get Henry’s small things to bring back here,” Penelope said.

“Here? Why?” Spencer asked.

“Because Henry wants to live with you. I’m the fun aunt. I do well at short visits and overnight stays, but I am no mom material. You are totally Dad material, and JJ knew it. She made me promise to never take Henry away from you, even though I never would have. My new Chocolate God is going to meet us after he gets done putting up the one bed to get some of the furniture that he wants. You hadn’t had a chance to get much beyond a bed and a bookshelf, so Henry told us what he wanted. We can work on the rest later.”

“Tomorrow I’m going to come over and put up Henry’s bed,” Morgan said.

“You don’t have to,” Spencer said, and Aaron could tell that he was on the verge of tears again. Spencer wrapped his arms around Henry tight for a minute before he looked at Morgan. Henry grabbed the glass of tea and held it up for Spencer to take a drink.

“I want to. It won’t take long, and Prentiss is going to help you. You just worry about that boy there, and we will take care of everything else.”

“Thank you.”

“You are welcome,” Dave and Morgan said at the same time. Dave was smirking, and Aaron glared at him.

“I’ll make you a sandwich, Daddy. You too, Spencer.”

“I’ll help make Uncle Pence’s. I know what he likes.”

Aaron looked at Morgan who nodded and stood up. He chatted with Jack and Henry as they walked to the island. Jack could reach well enough to get Aaron’s but Henry couldn’t so Morgan helped him make Spencer a sandwich. The plate was loaded with some fruit and a few bits of veggies while Aaron’s had more veggies and less fruit. Some chips were piled on top of each sandwich.

“I figure that the leftovers will hold for the weekend and help with no having to worry about cooking. Henry assured me that the gallon of tea that was bought would at least last you the night.” Dave looked proud that he could help in any way that he could. The man had helped a lot when Haley died, making sure that Aaron only had Jack to focus on and not have to worry about anything else. Dave had helped a lot with the funeral and making sure that Jessica had what she needed to take care of it and do it how she wanted.

“Probably longer,” Spencer said with a smile. “I adore that tea, and they won’t give me the recipe. However, they don’t charge an arm and a leg for a gallon so I indulge when I can.”

Penelope laughed at the statement, and the glare that Spencer gave her told Aaron that she knew something that Spencer didn’t want her revealing. Aaron wondered about that because Spencer seemed to be rather free with inconsequential information.

“What are you going to do about Will and JJ’s house?” Penelope asked.

“I’m going to close it up and have a company come in and clean it and do repairs as needed until Henry gets a little bit older. Maybe I’ll let it get rented out through a service or sell it if Henry doesn’t want it. Their will’s state that it was to be sold to help pay for college for Henry, but that was because it was before last fall and they never changed it. JJ said that she trusted that I would do what was best for Henry.”

“Why doesn’t Henry have to worry about college?” Morgan asked, and he looked a little shocked. He looked at Henry like he was trying to figure out if Henry had decided at six that he wasn’t going to college. Aaron looked at Spencer and saw that he was glaring at Penelope.

“You are the one that brought it up, not me. You stuck your own damned foot in your mouth.”

“Aunt Penny!”

“I’ll put a five in the swear jar,” Penelope said. Henry nodded at her and glared a little.

“So…why?” Dave asked, but the look on his face said that he knew why. Spencer turned to glare at the man for not letting it drop. Spencer looked about as deadly as a kitten with that glare, and it made Dave laugh.

Spencer’s cheeks were getting red, and Aaron wondered what was so embarrassing about whatever he was going to tell.

“Do any of you follow poker?” Spencer asked.

“Like the big tournaments that are on TV? I do a little. It’s sometimes fun to watch,” Prentiss said.

“Have you heard about the big tournament that is help on CalTech’s campus yearly?”

“That’s where the very flush geniuses put up a buy-in between one million and five, and it’s a winner take all night? I heard a little about it. The results are never published.”

“Yes, that.” Spencer reached out and grabbed his glass to take a drink before he looked at Aaron. The look on his face said that he was worried. “The latest had a buy-in of a million, and there were fifty playing. Winner takes all and winner walked out with fifty million.”

“And?” Morgan asked.

“I hadn’t played for a few years, and one of my classmates from CalTech bet me a half a million dollars that I wouldn’t win. He wasn’t playing that round because he had won the year before. There is a three-year cool off, and I had hit the end of my three years cool of last year.”

“So you lost?” Dave asked.

“No. I won fifty million dollars that night plus my friend’s half a million. After paying the government their part for winning so much, I donated just over eighty percent to various research companies that look into various illnesses that I support. Cancer, Sciphenraia, and others. I put a million into a trust for Henry that will cover his living expenses and education for whatever he wants.”

“What did you do with the rest?”

“It’s in my various accounts to make sure that I am well taken care of for the rest of my life.”

“And you are worried about tea costing an arm and a leg?” Morgan asked.

“I’ve had money since I told my first patent at age thirteen. I have had a financial advisor since then as well. I don’t live in a mansion, and I don’t always make things that make a lot of money. Some patents that I sell only make me the initial money for selling it. Other’s make me a lot of money. Money is fluid, and something could happen that would make it so that I couldn’t be what I am anymore and I want to make sure that I am taken care of for the rest of my life, especially with Henry. I don’t live that frugally, I like my nice things but being stupid with money is how millionaire’s go from having more money than God to flipping burgers.”

“So that tournament is for geniuses. What level of genius can get in?” Dave asked.

Aaron looked at his friend and tried to get him to keep his mouth shut, but Dave just grinned at him. Aaron picked up his bottle of water to take a drink. He was mostly listening and taking it all in. They had only known each other week and Aaron usually like to know more about someone before sleeping with them, but nothing about the relationship with Spencer it seemed was going to like normal.

“I have no clue what the threshold is, but I have an-” Spencer stopped when Henry started to speak.

“IQ of one hundred and eighty-seven, can read twenty thousand words per minute, and have an eidetic memory,” Henry finished with a proud look on his face.

Aaron choked on the water when he tried to inhale to speak with water still in his mouth. Aaron looked at Spencer with a shocked look on his face. Spencer’s eyes darted to Aaron for a second before he turned his whole face to look at him.

“Should I have told you that before now?” Spencer asked.

“And that’s my socially awkward genius,” Penelope said with a fond look on her face. She looked around at the table and stopped on someone. Aaron followed her gaze and looked at Dave himself. Dave was smirking, and it didn’t take long for Morgan and Prentiss to look at him in confusion as well. Dave settled his gaze on Aaron, and after a few seconds, the others were looking at Aaron as well. Penelope gasped. Aaron watched her as she turned to Spencer before laying a hand on his arm.

“You didn’t!” Penelope said.

“They did,” Dave said.

Aaron glanced at Morgan and Prentiss and saw that they looked even more confused. Aaron turned to glare at Dave even harder.

“You’ve only known each other a week!” Penelope near screeched, but she looked happy. Spencer’s blush on his face turned a very dark shade of red, and he ducked his head down to rest it on Henry’s head and wasn’t looking at anyone.

“Henry, let’s go eat in the backyard.” Jack picked up his plate and Henry’s as he slid out of Aaron’s lap. Henry grabbed their water bottles when Aaron set them on the edge of the table. Thankfully nothing was said as the boys went into the backyard and the door was shut.

“What are you going to tell Jack?” Morgan asked.

“Jack knows,” Aaron said. That had Spencer jerking his head up to look at Aaron. Aaron nodded.

“Did he figure out when he saw me running to get Henry?”


“Oh,” Spencer said.


“I think the term is…” Spencer stopped, and it seemed like he was thinking. Aaron figured probably going through his memory. “Walk of shame?”

Morgan and Prentiss snorted. Penelope looked like she wanted to hug Spencer gain but instead, Spencer reached under the table and laid his hand on Aaron’s thigh with a question on his face asking if it was all right.”

“It’s okay, Henry had already been talking to me about helping get the two of them together. Jack and he have been planning since the day Hotch and Spencer met.” Penelope looked very smug. The kids were gone from the room, and Aaron was kind of thankful of that. “There was a discussion on a closet in Spencer’s house that the door on the inside is broke and once inside, one couldn’t get out.”

“Really?” Aaron asked.

“Yes.” Penelope grinned at both Aaron and Spencer.

“Guess they didn’t understand the heavy flirting that Aaron was doing with me,” Spencer said. He was still blushing, and it made Aaron want to lean over and kiss him, but he didn’t want to do that as they had not discussed public displays of affection or really the relationship at all.

“Really? Hotch flirting?” Prentiss asked. She took a sip of her water. “I think I would pay to see that. I’ve never seen him remotely interested in anyone since Rossi introduced us.”

“And you never will,” Aaron said.

“Aaron’s very old-fashioned,” Dave started, and he laughed for a few seconds. “He thinks that all matters of romance are better not in public. I’m shocked actually that he flirted with his son around, truth be told.”

“They were coloring, and it doesn’t seem like they paid that close of attention as they would have known that I was very interested in Spencer and I had been since the moment I saw him through the windows of the houses.”

“Really?” Spencer asked he looked at Aaron like he was just seeing him for the first time.

“However seeing your affection for who I thought was your son just made me really interested. I was a little heartbroken when I saw JJ. I think that I almost crowed when I realized that while she was married, it was not to you.”

Dave laughed as Spencer just stared at Aaron, dumbfounded.

“Mr. Rossi, how did you know that they had done the deed?” Penelope asked.

Aaron closed his eyes and mouthed I’m Sorry at Spencer when he opened them again. Spencer shrugged his shoulders.

“I’ve known Aaron for a while, and even when I was helping him get Jack settled fully in this house, his bedroom never looked like that. He once said the only time the bed was messed up during the day was when he was sick or he had sex. He was drunk at the time, so I am sure that he doesn’t remember that. THere was also the matter of his clothes being scattered like he had stripped in a hurry and didn’t care where his clothes landed. Which is also something that he doesn’t do.”

“The fact that you know that about him is fascinating,” Penelope said.

“Is it okay to come in again? We want more food!” Jack yelled from the back door.

“Yes,” Spencer yelled before Aaron could. The younger man glared at everyone for a few seconds each, telling them nonverbally that sex talk was tabled.

Henry came running in and crawled into Spencer’s lap while Jack grabbed a plate of fruit from the tray. It was set down between the two of them, and Henry’s hand shot out and grabbed a piece of pineapple and started to take small bites of it.

“Can I stay with Henry the rest of the day?” Jack asked.

“Of course,” Spencer answered. Spencer looked at Dave and got a wicked look in his eyes. Aaron wasn’t sure that he liked that. “So Dave, do you mind coming over to my house for a few minutes and sign your books?”

Dave looked flabbergasted, and Aaron was as well. Aaron had only ever talked about his friend Dave before, and while today he had been introduced as Dave Rossi, Aaron had not mentioned him writing books at all.

“See, you aren’t the only one that can shock someone. I attended a lecture given by Jason Gideon years ago. He tried to recruit me to join the Academy but I was too interested in my degrees, and I didn’t want to leave Academia. I was sorely tempted though. I’ve known who you were since you walked in the door but I wasn’t going to say a single thing about it because I usually try and be nice. Since you’ve tried to keep my cheeks red, I figured that it was time to return the favor.”

Dave started to laugh, and Aaron saw that Morgan looked at Spencer with a lot of appreciation in his eyes. Catching Dave off guard like that was rare.

“I still didn’t know what I wanted to go with my life. I was still getting my last three degrees at the time, but after my mother’s death I knew that being an agent wasn’t something that I wanted.”

“Aaron almost quit being a lawyer to join the Agency as well.”

“Really?” Spencer asked.

“Haley put her foot down at the time and said that she would leave me if I stopped being a lawyer. I didn’t find out until much later that she had visions of me going into politics. I am not cut out for politics at all. I don’t think I could do the two facedness of it all.”

“Well I’m glad that you didn’t as well, you wouldn’t have been living here if you did.” Spencer gave Aaron a smile that Aaron was begging to really love. The smile lit up Spencer’s face and made him look beautiful to Aaron.

“It would have been interesting though if both of you had joined the FBI,” Morgan said.

“Meh,” Spencer shrugged and looked down at Henry. He picked up a piece of honeydew and started to raise it to his mouth. Henry shoved his pineapple in his mouth and grabbed the honeydew from Spencer’s fingers. Aaron almost told him that it wasn’t nice but the grin on Spencer’s face and the way that he ruffled Henry’s hair before grabbing a piece of pineapple and successfully eating it told Aaron that maybe it was something they did. Henry reached for a piece of fruit. Next, it was a grape, and when it was halfway to his mouth, Spencer stole it. Henry laughed, his whole body shaking with the laughing. That was what Spencer was aiming for.

“To get this bunkbed up I’m going to need to able bodies strapping young men to help me. Hotch do you know of two men like that?” Morgan asked with a wink.

Before Aaron could open his mouth, Jack was lurching off of his lap.

“Me and Henry, Uncle Derek.”

“Uh, yeah,” Henry said, turning away from Spencer to look at Morgan. His eyes were still haunted with the death of his parents, but he did seem like it was going to take him over. Aaron knew that Spencer wouldn’t let it, but it was hard to deal with death, especially it being the first. Aaron assumed it was the first death in Henry’s young life.

“I don’t know. Do you know the difference between a Phillips head and a flat head?”

“A Phillips has two points on the head of the screwdriver that intersect perpendicular to each other while the flat head is just that a horizontal line,” Henry said.

Morgan’s mouth fell open, and Penelope started to giggle a little.

“Godson of a genius,” Spencer said with a very proud look on his face.

“Well it seems like you have one strapping young man to help you,” Dave said with a smile on his face. Aaron covered his mouth and laughed because Jack was looking at Henry like Henry had grown a second head.

Morgan corralled the boys into going upstairs and starting to clean off the bookshelf that had to be moved while he and Prentiss went to get the bunk bed box from the back of the truck. Aaron pulled Spencer up with him to watch the two of them get it out of there. Aaron saw that there were mattresses for all four beds and knew that Dave had honestly just done it to make Jack happy and Henry as well. With Dave working the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, he saw a lot of sadness, and he liked to make kids smile when he could and knew that it wouldn’t bite him in the ass. A lot of his donations were made anonymously.

“So should I have told you about the IQ and stuff before?” Spencer asked.

“No. It’s fine. I knew that you had to be smart to be an inventor, they aren’t exactly stupid you know, especially one that can survive on just patents and such. It was a little shock, but it fits you.” Aaron wrapped his arms around Spencer’s shoulders and pulled Spencer back into his body. “I like you for you, and that includes everything that I know and everything that I don’t know yet. We can have fun learning all of the small things about each other.”

“My IQ is a small thing?” Spencer asked with what sounded like laughter in his voice.

“Well the points aren’t but the fact that you have a high one is.” Aaron pressed a kiss to Spencer’s cheek. “I should go and help them at least get the mattress and box springs in. Then we can work on getting the other one into your house so that it’s not in the back of the truck all night.”

“Okay,” Spencer agreed and waited for Aaron to let go of him before turning around to give Aaron a kiss. “Is that okay?”

“Oh, yeah.”

Aaron pulled into the driveway and saw that Spencer was home. Aaron had been gone part of the morning meeting with a new client who worked a lot and didn’t have a lot of free time, so when Jessica had offered to take Jack and Henry to the zoo, Aaron had called the client to meet with him at a coffee shop in town. Aaron had a large cup of a mocha latte that Spencer loved. Aaron had a cup of tea after drinking several cups of coffee with the client. It had been a productive morning, and Aaron was riding a natural high of a job well done. Spencer had flown to California for a meeting with a team on Wednesday and had said that he wouldn’t be back until Sunday. Either things had gone really good or really bad. Aaron hoped good because he didn’t want to deal with an upset Spencer that afternoon. Aaron left the coffee and tea on the banister of his porch before unlocking the door and setting his briefcase inside.

Locking up again, Aaron grabbed the drinks before starting across to Spencer’s house. Aaron stopped when he saw that Spencer wasn’t inside the house but was standing in Aaron’s yard staring at the tree that was Jack and Henry’s favorite place to hang out at night. Aaron knew that Spencer worried about the boys but Jack was careful and there were wooden steps that were nailed to the tree. Aaron had put those in when Jack had started to want to climb the tree. It had been two weeks since Henry’s parents had been killed and Henry was still bouncing back and forth in emotions which meant that Spencer was as well and Aaron hated to see them both upset.

Aaron set the cups down on the back porch table before slipping up behind his lover and wrapping his arms around him.

“You are lucky I know the sound of your car or I might have hit you,” Spencer said, a smile evident in his tone.

“I think I could take you,” Aaron said before he kissed the back of Spencer’s neck. “So what are you thinking about so hard?”

“I’m trying to visualize a treehouse in your tree and one in the tree in my yard.”

“What do you mean?” Aaron had not been expecting that. He figured that Spencer was trying to figure out a way to talk Aaron into taking down the tree.

“I’m nervous about the boys in the tree. They are not going to get smaller as they get older and the branches aren’t that wide nor are they going to get much wider. I understand why they like the tree, but I’m just worried.”

“So what do you have an engineering degree?” Aaron asked. He meant it as a joke, but the way that Spencer stiffened in his arms had Aaron thinking back to two weeks before. Spencer had said that he was working on degrees when Gideon had tried to get him into the FBI.

“I have a doctorate in mechanical engineering as well as structural. And in chemistry, mathematics, and English. I also hold bachelors in psychology, sociology, and philosophy. I got the doctorate in English after mom died.”

Aaron was shocked silent. Spencer was emphasizing the degree being got after his mom died meant that he got some before she died as well. Spencer didn’t go to college when he was seventeen; he had gone long before that. Aaron closed his eyes and let his head drop onto Spencer’s shoulder. He tightened his arms around his lover’s body.

Spencer wiggled, and Aaron let go of him. Aaron watched as Spencer turned where he was but didn’t back up or distance himself in any way from Aaron. That meant that Spencer wasn’t upset because he always distanced himself from Aaron when he was upset.

“That’s something else I should have brought up before now, right?”

“No. No. I should have asked. I heard you talking to Jack that day, and I knew that you were in college at seventeen and it just never sunk in that with your IQ and reading speed that it meant you went to college before seventeen. I knew from the discussion about the BAU that you had more than one degree, but I was assuming it was a single Ph.D and a couple BAs or BSs but not multiple of all of them.” Aaron laughed and rested his hands on Spencer’s neck rubbing his thumbs on Spencer’s jaw. “I’ve just never been around someone like you, and I find that I am taking too much for granted that you had a normal childhood like me.”

“You aren’t exactly normal. You might have started college early, but you tested out of a lot of things and finished your main degree and a Ph.D in law before most sit their bar exam, Aaron Hotchner.”

“You looked me up!” Aaron said, and he let his hands drop down to tickle at Spencer’s sides. Spencer wigged out of his hold and looked like he was going to take off running.

“I wanted to know exactly who I had slept with so while I was waiting for Henry to come out, I did a little looking on my phone. I just looked at you professionally and not personally. Your website for your firm is very detailed in everything that you did in college, Mr. Frat Boy.”

Aaron laughed and reached out to pull Spencer back to him. Aaron kissed him on the lips. Aaron kept his eyes open, watching Spencer close his and near sink into the kiss with everything that he had. Spencer was a wonderful man, and Aaron knew that he had fallen in love with him in just the three weeks that they had known each other. It wasn’t normal, and it wasn’t something that Aaron would have believed if it was anyone else but it felt so damned right.

“I love you,” Aaron whispered when pulled out of the kiss. He watched as Spencer’s eyes shot open. Aaron half expected there to be fear in his eyes, but there wasn’t. It looked more like relief.

“Oh!” Spencer said, and he ducked in for another kiss. Aaron had to push him away because he wanted Spencer to know that he didn’t have to reciprocate, not so early. “I love you, too!”

Aaron was shocked and let Spencer slip through his fingers to wrap his arms around Aaron’s neck and lean in for another kiss. Aaron allowed it until he had his own emotions under control and he cupped the sides of Spencer’s face to pull him out of the kiss once again.

“You know that this is insane, right? We’ve only known each other three weeks.”

“Yes, and we are adults and know that connections happen in the weirdest moments. You’ve seen me at my worst already. You’ve seen me in the midst of working so hard that I’ve forgotten to eat and you have to pull me away, JJ said that anyone who could love me after dealing with me while I worked I needed to hold onto and never let go. I can’t break the promise that I made her. Yes, it’s insane, but we both feel it. We aren’t deluded children who look at romance and the be all to end all. I have a degree in psychology, would you like me to sputter psychobabble at you?” Spencer asked with a smirk.

Aaron grinned back at him, glad that he didn’t have to explain why he knew he was in love with Spencer. Instead, Aaron leaned in to kiss him again, trailing his hands down Spencer’s body like he was going to pull him in tight and rock their bodies together. He chose to tickle instead.

Spencer near screamed, and he took off at a run away from Aaron. Aaron grinned and gave chase. Spencer knew the layout of the yard well enough to duck Aaron’s hands for a few minutes, but Spencer obviously hadn’t paid too close of attention to the area behind the tree. There was a root that stuck up and tripped Jack a lot. Spencer fell victim to it as well. Spencer was trying to get his balance back after having his tip of his shoe get caught in it.

Aaron wrapped his arms around Spencer’s waist and tucked him close before he took them both down, rolling them as soon as they hit the ground to where Spencer was underneath him. Aaron braced his body on an arm so that he could look down at Spencer.

“I win,” Aaron said breathlessly from running after Spencer. His lover was a quick little shit when he wanted to be.

“And what do you claim as your prize?” Spencer asked, his breathing still off from running as well.

“The right to have your body in a carnal way tonight after the boys are asleep,” Aaron said before he ducked down to kiss Spencer. Spencer wrapped his arms around Aaron’s neck and held him in place for several minutes of kissing.

“I guess that I will cave to your wish for that.” Spencer’s gaze drifted from Aaron’s face to the tree above Aaron. Aaron could tell the second he lost Spencer to thoughts of the treehouse again.

“So tell me about this tree house.”

“Treehouses. I think one in each tree. I can fit a three-roomed one in my tree and a two-roomed in yours. There will be enough room for a room in each to be able to hold us as well. That’s without taking out any branches of the tree. Trapdoor for entry on each house and then a doorway that connects the rope and plank bridge to each tree. Supports right at the fence for the bridge of course. Some very nice polymers will work for windows so that we don’t have to worry about them getting rained on. I talked to Morgan about getting his help with the manual labor and both he and Prentiss offered. She says that she is wicked with a circular saw. I think that I could have them done in about three weeks, case depending that is once I get the plans drawn up.” Spencer’s eyes darted to Aaron’s face for a second before going back to the tree.

“Whatever you want, Dear,” Aaron said, and he braced for the slap that came to his upper arm. Spencer’s gaze was focused solely on him though, and it was what Aaron wanted.

Aaron ducked down and kissed his lover, happy, truly happy for the first time in a very long time.

“Is now the time to tell you that I help design games for fun for the gaming division of Grimes Tech?” Spencer asked, and it made Aaron laugh.

Yeah, Spencer was going to keep him happy for a long, long time.

The End

One thought on “The Lawyer and the Inventor

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