Don’t Talk of Stars Burning Above Arc 3

Chapter 15-March 2010

Aaron heard the snap of the picture from his camera, and it took a few seconds for Aaron to realize what Spencer was doing. Aaron smiled to himself.

“Spencer? Are you taking pictures of us naked?” Aaron asked. He kind of hoped that Spencer was because it would be something that would shock him. A kink that would be a lot of fun. Aaron rolled onto his side as Spencer slid off of him and handed over the camera. Aaron looked at Spencer’s face and saw that he was upset. Aaron looked down at the camera and saw that Spencer had taken a picture of Aaron’s upper back. Just above his shoulder blades. Aaron knew which spot that was. That was where his father had taken the blade to him. Aaron didn’t understand why Spencer would want him to look at the spot. Aaron was just about to ask when something more caught his eye. He looked and saw that the scar was covering up words.

The scar didn’t make the mark illegible. Aaron read the words. Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise. The words were not familiar. Aaron tried to rack his brain to figure out if he had ever heard them before, but he didn’t know them. Aaron finally looked up at Spencer and saw that Spencer was worried. Spencer was afraid of Aaron leaving him.

“Spencer, this doesn’t matter. I love you, and I don’t care about a mark that I never knew that I had.” Aaron pushed the thoughts of why he didn’t know and everything about his father away from him. He needed to focus on Spencer. Aaron couldn’t lose him. Aaron hadn’t realized how much he really had wrapped himself around the younger man until he thought that Spencer would leave because Aaron did have a soulmark became a possibility.

Spencer looked up at Aaron with shock on his face. Aaron still couldn’t read his face as well as he should have been able to. Spencer was hiding from him, and Aaron didn’t like it. Aaron grabbed the sheet and covered himself up as he sat where he was facing Spencer. Aaron reached out and grabbed Spencer’s hand to pull him close but Spencer wasn’t actively fighting him, he was just stuck stone still.

“I remember that night. Father was beating me for something that I did that impinged on the Hotchner honor. He hadn’t made me take my shirt off at first until the shreds of it were getting in his way. I didn’t realize he had switched to a knife until the cut was being made. I screamed, and it actually drew Sean to the room. Father trying to console him was what allowed me to escape to the bathroom. I locked the door and didn’t come out until after he had gone to work. I was late for school, but Mother drove me. The nurse tried to get me to allow her to look at my back but all I could think about was the fact that if I did that, I would be allowing the Hotchner name to be stained. It didn’t matter that it would be my Father’s stain but it would happen anyway, and it would be my fault. It must have come about then.”

“What day?” Spencer asked. His fingers were shaking.

“It was early in October.” Aaron tilted his head to the side to look at Spencer, seeing his hands start to shake. Aaron set the camera aside and pulled on Spencer again. Spencer came a little closer. Aaron smiled at him. “I never understood why father changed to a blade, but now I understand. He saw the mark when he cut my shirt off of me. That meant that my mate was so much younger than me.”

“I don’t care about the mark on your back. You said you loved me. When did you fall in love with me?”

Aaron couldn’t believe that Spencer was trying to push the mark off. It was important. It was important in that to Aaron he didn’t care if his soulmate walked in the door at that moment and was the man or woman of his childhood dreams. Spencer was so much more than anyone else could ever be. Aaron let go of Spencer’s arms and scooted away from the younger man. Spencer frowned, but Aaron didn’t care.

“What does it matter when I knew that I loved you. Spencer I am trying to get you to understand that I don’t care about a mark on my skin. Just like I don’t care about this mark.” Aaron reached out and grabbed Spencer’s arm. He wasn’t gentle as he turned it to show Spencer his own mark. Spencer didn’t fight him, he just stared at Aaron’s face with that same damned look. “Why is it so damned important to you about when I fell in love with you, shouldn’t it just be enough that I love you? I didn’t want to tell you until later. It’s too soon.”

“Just answer the damned question, Aaron,” Spencer pleaded. His eyes were softening, and Aaron could tell that he was clutching to that fact that Aaron loved him. It was the one thing that he could claim, and the mark had to be scaring him. Aaron knew that people left Spencer, it all started with his father, and his mother’s own illness took her from him even though it seems that she fought tooth and nail to stay there for her son.

“Last month, that night that I showed you all of my scars and you were kissing them,” Aaron admitted. He watched as happiness blossomed all over Spencer’s face and the younger man lunged forward, straddling Aaron’s lap and kissing him. Spencer touched Aaron’s face, softly and Aaron didn’t understand until he realized that Spencer was shaking. Aaron reached up and pressed Spencer’s hands into his face harder. Aaron felt a drop of warm wet hit his face and he pulled out of the kiss to see that Spencer was crying. Aaron reached up to thumb away the tears. “Don’t cry.”

Spencer smiled again and shook his face before he settled back and was reaching for his phone. Aaron stopped him with a hand over the phone.

“Don’t. I want to see your words. Tell me what is going on, Spencer. What is going on in that big brain of yours.”

“I wasn’t just kissing your scars that night, Aaron. I was mouthing words, and I mouthed a line from Les Mis on your skin when I got to the worst scar. Just like you were holding my arm, right over my soulmark that night at the play. You uttered those words so soft into my ear, and you were holding me so tight like you didn’t want to let me go. I fell in love with you that night when you said the words on my arm like it was the most natural thing in the world to hold me like that. Just like it seems you fell in love with me that night as I mouthed those words into your skin to try and take away some of the pain.”

Aaron looked at Spencer, seeing the utter truth of his words. However, he had talked about falling in love, but Spencer hadn’t said the words.

“Say it again,” Aaron demanded softly.

Spencer looked puzzled for a few seconds before he smiled and leaned close. He framed Aaron’s face with his and mouthed three simple little words. I love you.

“I love you, too,” Aaron said before he leaned in and kissed Spencer. It was a soft press of lips, a show of his emotions, soft and loving. After several minutes, Aaron pulled away before lifting up Spencer’s arm and looking at the soulmark. There was the outline of silver around the words that proved that they were mates. There was no feeling of jealousy as Aaron thought about the words. He had been before. Jealous that someone else had a claim on Spencer and could take the younger man away from Aaron. There wasn’t a single person that going to be able to take Spencer away from him now.

It was late, but Aaron wasn’t tired, and he could tell that Spencer wasn’t either. Aaron’s mind was spinning with things that he needed to do now. They needed to see a soulmate specialist and get documentation. They had two months to report the finding of their mates to the FBI. Even if someone there turned them in for a relationship, as long as the could prove they were mates, nothing could be done to them. Spencer couldn’t even be taken from the unit. Someone else on the team, Aaron’s only want was Dave, would have to take over being Spencer’s direct supervisor. Aaron was sure that Dave would be Spencer’s choice as well. Spencer knew Dave better than anyone else on the team other than Aaron of course.

Aaron’s brain started to think about everything that they needed to do. Everything that they had to face and it took Aaron right to what had been done to him by his father.

“I want to stay right here Spencer, but I need to think about some things. I need to process this, not us but the fact that I have a mark that my Father knew and hadn’t told me but instead tried to destroy it.”

Spencer nodded, leaning in to press a gentle kiss to the side of Aaron’s face before he signed. “Take your time.”

Aaron gave Spencer a weak smile before he moved over to find some sleep clothes. It was still downright cold outside, so Aaron grabbed a pair of thick socks for his feet and slipped them on before finding his heavy flannel sleep pants and a heavy long-sleeved shirt. He had a pair of house shoes that had rubber soles that he could wear to not get his feet wet in the dewy grass of the backyard.

“Thank you,” Aaron said as he left the room. He was afraid that if he turned around and looked at Spencer sitting on the bed, Aaron would give in and go back to him. Aaron needed to process because his whole life was changed in a single instance and it had to do more with what his father did to him than the fact that he had a soulmate.

Aaron stopped at Jack’s room and checked on him. He laid the back of his hand on Jack’s forehead and felt for a fever. Jack felt normal to Aaron’s touch, so that was a good thing.

“I would never even think about doing anything like that to you, Jack. I can’t ever think of harming you in any way. It’s so sickening what my father did to me, but I can’t regret a single thing that I have done because of it. Because it gave me you and it set me on the path to find Spencer. I just wish I never would have known the pain that Father inflicted on me.” Aaron brushed at the hair on the nape of Jack’s neck. Jack had nearly thrown a fit when Aaron and took him to get his haircut the last time. Jack hadn’t wanted to go, and it had never happened before, and Jack had got his hair cut twice since Haley had died and never had an issue. It had taken nearly half an hour for Aaron to get the reason from the boy. Jack wanted longer hair like Spencer, but he hadn’t wanted to tell his father that because he was afraid that Aaron would think that he liked Spencer more. Aaron had made sure to calm the boy down and get him to understand that changing his hair wasn’t going to make Aaron mad and neither was cutting it short again if he didn’t like it long going to upset Spencer. Aaron hadn’t told Spencer about that, but Aaron knew that Spencer was questioning the length that Aaron was letting Jack’s hair get to. Aaron and Jack had compromised and went with the stylist getting the dead ends off and leaving the rest of it long.

Aaron leaned over and kissed Jack’s forehead before he stood up to leave the room. He stopped at the fridge in the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge before he turned off the alarm and unlocked the door. The crispness of the air took Aaron’s breath from his lungs after the warmth of the house, but Aaron didn’t care. He moved over to where the table was in the middle of the yard. He sat on the top of the table and looked at his house. He had made the house a home with Haley, and for a while, it had been a place he resented before the divorce, but it was home again. He had made it home again with Jack and with Jessica, and now he was adding Spencer to it. He had been adding Spencer to it for a long time, but it was only then that it was a shock at how much he hated it when Spencer wasn’t there.

The house that Aaron had grown up in hadn’t crossed his mind in years. He found reasons to not go to that area, even one time going a substantial distance out of his way to interview a witness on a case in the area so that he wouldn’t have to see the house at all. It was irrational, but so many fears were. Aaron would rather see the house burn down than to ever set foot inside of it again. Aaron knew that he had a lot of residual issues from his childhood, and those issues reared their ugly heads at the wrong time, but Spencer had issues from his childhood and was going to be less likely to have an issue with Aaron’s issues. Haley hadn’t been that way. She had taken each issue of Aaron’s and had a personal affront to it. It got to where Aaron stopped bringing up anything that he had an issue with just to stop a fight from happening.

Aaron’s father was a big issue, and Aaron didn’t wonder if Haley hated Aaron bringing up his father because in Haley’s eyes her father was perfect but Aaron talking about the things that his did was making her face that her father wasn’t perfect either. Instead of helping Aaron, she pushed until he would stop talking about it. Aaron’s past was bad but so was Spencer’s. There was too much horrid in both. Nothing would erase either of their pains, but together they could each heal the other up some. It wasn’t going to be easy, any of it but it would be better with both of them working on it. Even before Spencer and Aaron had figured out that they were soulmates, it was going to be hard. Aaron didn’t care what his family said, he hadn’t since the day that he had left home at the end of High School and he hadn’t looked back. Even Sean didn’t matter.

Too many years, Aaron had kept up the stories that Mother had told Sean about their Father. The happy stories of the perfect family that they were. Sean had eaten them up, and Aaron loved his brother, so he kept up the stories. Of course, he really hadn’t seen Sean in years, but Aaron knew that if he poked a little at Sean’s modified memories of childhood, the truth would will out, but he would lose his brother.

The light in the kitchen turned on, and Aaron looked up at Spencer. He could see him moving around the kitchen from the angle that he was at. He watched his lover move to the sink and fill up a cup before going to the water filter pitcher and pouring some of it into the water kettle. Aaron watched him as he set out two cups before going to the cabinet that Aaron had his tea in. Aaron had three shelves of tea the top shelf was the black teas, the second was the green and white, and the final was the herbal teas. Spencer chose one of the herbal teas, Aaron couldn’t tell which kind.

It wasn’t until Spencer crossed the back door that Aaron saw that he was wearing one of Aaron’s T-shirts. Aaron’s chest tightened at seeing Spencer feeling comfortable enough to wear one of Aaron’s shirt without asking. Spencer moved about the room, and Aaron realized that he was cleaning up some of the dishes that Aaron had done. He also checked on his phone a lot and given the time of night that it was, that was the most telling. Spencer was talking to someone. Aaron wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Spencer telling someone without asking him.

Aaron kept watching Spencer as he moved into the living room and came back out with a notebook. Spencer sat at the table and worked at the notebook for a few minutes before he got up and went back to where the tea mugs were. Spencer worked there for a few minutes before he came back over with a mug in his hand. Spencer tapped at his phone for a moment or two before he went back to the notebook.

There was something so right about seeing Spencer there, but Aaron knew that it wasn’t really time to ask Spencer to move in with him. There was a lot to do before then but soon. Aaron wanted them all to be under the same roof.

Jack would enjoy it, having a pet. Curiosity and Jack already loved each other. Spencer pouted because when either Jack or Aaron was around his cat forgot about him. Aaron was pretty sure that it would calm down when Curiosity got used to living with them. Aaron was already thinking about how he could move things around in his office and make the space so that Spencer would feel fine working in there either while he was in there or on his own. It was changes that Aaron could make before Spencer moved in.

Aaron was startled when he realized that Spencer never once looked at him. Spencer had to know that he was out there but he wasn’t curious at all which was different than what he was like usually. Aaron had to admit that the cat was a perfect companion for Spencer. Aaron was not looking forward to the day that Curiosity died of old age because Spencer was going to be heartbroken.

Shivering, Aaron looked away from Spencer and up into the clear night sky. It was the perfect temperature for keeping the atmosphere clear of clouds. The stars were beautiful. When the cold got to be too much, Aaron slipped down from the table top onto his feet and looked into the kitchen. Spencer wasn’t at the table, he was at the water kettle again.

Aaron opened the kitchen door, but Spencer didn’t react. Aaron walked to behind him and wrapped his arms around Spencer’s stomach. Spencer shivered and gasped.


Spencer nodded, but he didn’t try and get away from Aaron. He set about making himself a second cup of tea and even filled up the second cup so that Aaron could have some. The kitchen smelled floral, and Aaron could make out at least chamomile and lavender. It was a relaxing blend. They both did need that.

“Thank you for the tea. What are you working on?”

Spencer turned around after he set his tea down. “A lesson plan for the next lecture I am doing with Alex.”

Aaron smiled because that meant that he hadn’t been texting but instead had been accessing information on his phone. Aaron leaned in again to kiss Spencer. Aaron trapped Spencer against the counter as Spencer wrapped his hands around Aaron’s waist to pull him in. This was helping to calm Aaron. Spencer had never pressured him, and Aaron figured that he never will.

Spencer waited to see what kind of kiss Aaron wanted this to turn into. Even with the tea in him, Spencer was pretty weird and wouldn’t say no to trying to wear each other out before getting some sleep. Aaron was the one with the big emotional weight sitting on him.

It was horrible, what Aaron’s father had done to him, to his soulmark to try and get rid of it. Aaron had gone so long without even the hope of finding someone that would be perfect for him. Spencer parted his lips when he felt Aaron’s tongue brush them and was rewarded with Aaron’s body pressing closer. Aaron grabbed Spencer’s hips and lifted him up onto the counter. Spencer gasped as he felt the mugs slide back away from him and then one tipped over.

Spencer tried to push Aaron away, but the man just held onto Spencer’s hips and stayed right there. The wetness seeped into Spencer’s sleep pants, but it thankfully wasn’t hot enough to burn, just really warm. Aaron’s kiss turned deeper, and Spencer just held on for the ride, wrapping his arms around Aaron’s neck.

Aaron pulled back, and it took a minute for Spencer to realize that the man was staring at him. Spencer opened his eyes to see that Aaron really was just staring at him. Spencer unwound his hands from Aaron’s neck, but when he raised them up to start talking, Aaron just grabbed them and held them. Spencer wasn’t sure what Aaron wanted by sitting without the ability to talk was making Spencer upset.

Spencer opened his mouth to start to just mouth a word at Aaron, but Aaron spread Spencer’s hands out to his sides and leaned in for a chaste kiss.

“Tell me again,” Aaron said.

Spencer crinkled his nose in confusion and tugged on his hands. He had no clue what Aaron wanted from him. Aaron didn’t let go of Spencer’s hands. Spencer felt his breathing deepen and knew that he was close to freaking out. He had never freaked out when it came to Aaron and how Aaron treated him. Spencer tugged on his hands harder, but Aaron didn’t let go.

Please, Spencer mouthed at Aaron. Aaron let go of Spencer’s hands, but he stepped up so that Spencer could not sign at him.

“Say it again,” Aaron said as he reached up and traced his thumb over Spencer’s bottom lip. Spencer swallowed as he realized what Aaron wanted and why Aaron had been holding his hands. Spencer calmed down some, but his heart was still racing.

I love you, Aaron Hotchner, Spencer mouthed.

I love you, Spencer Reid, Aaron mouthed back at him. Aaron smiled at Spencer, and he could see that Aaron was calmer than he had been, giving him the time alone had been the best option, and Spencer had known that. However, Seeing how calm Aaron was relaxed Spencer in a way that he hadn’t realized he was tense. “I’m sorry I scared you. It wasn’t until I felt you start to shake that I realized that I was scaring you with not letting go of your hands. I won’t ever harm you that way, Spencer.”

Aaron wrapped a hand around Spencer’s elbow and lifted up his arm until Spencer’s hand was in front of his face. Aaron trailed his fingers up Spencer’s arm until he wrapped his hand around the back of Spencer’s hand. Aaron held it up to his face and kissed the pad of each finger just under the finger. Next, he kissed the tips of each finger before placing a final kiss on Spencer’s palm. Aaron repeated it with Spencer’s other hand. Spencer felt tears trailing down his cheeks, and when Aaron looked up at Spencer’s face, his eyes widened. Aaron cupped Spencer’s cheeks and thumbed away the tears only to laugh as more came down. Aaron kissed away the next set of tears and Spencer couldn’t help but laugh. It only made more tears come down.

No one had ever paid attention like that to Spencer’s hands. No one had ever really understood Spencer’s aversion to things that could hurt his hands.

“Let’s go upstairs and get you changed out of your wet pants, and we can try and get some sleep,” Aaron whispered as he pulled back, the tears making Aaron’s lips look shiny.

“Oh,” Jessica said as she crested the steps. She blushed and looked away from them.

“Jessica, you can look we are both dressed and decent. Spencer?” Aaron asked.

Spencer looked at Aaron, a questioning look on his face. Aaron wrapped a hand around Spencer’s arm, around his mark and Spencer understood. Spencer nodded.

“Jessie, why don’t you and I go and talk in the living room while Spencer changes. We spilled tea on the counter, and he’s kind of sitting in it.”

“I came up to get something to snack on so I’m going to do that while Spencer changes and then we can all talk.”

As soon as Aaron stepped back to allow Spencer to slide off the counter, he did and escaped to the living room and up the stairs. Aaron didn’t follow. Spencer had only brought over a single pair of pants to wear to sleep so he raided where Aaron kept his sleep pants and found a pair that he wouldn’t mind wearing. Spencer’s hips were a lot slimmer, so Spencer unknotted the tie and retired it a lot tighter. When Spencer turned around to head back out, he found Aaron right there.

“If you don’t want to tell her we don’t have to, Spencer. We don’t have to tell anyone until we are ready.”

“I want to tell her. She’s your family, and it will be better to tell and to tell Jack now.”

“Okay then. She’s making us some fresh tea as well. Both cups were spilled. I was going to clean it up, but she chased me out of there, that she couldn’t think with my hovering. There is no pressure in this Spencer. We are both very independent, and I’m not going to change anything with your life. I love you, and I will take what you can give me.”

Spencer nodded. He didn’t know anything to say to that. Spencer had never had a relationship that lasted long, and while he had longer than the time that he and Aaron had been together, the word Love had never been dropped, and this was something so different. Spencer knew that the relationship was going to be work that being soulmates wasn’t going to just make everything go smooth. There was also the fact that this also meant that Spencer was going to become a parental figure for Jack. That was even scarier than anything else.

Except the team. Spencer was so new to the team, and while everyone like him, he didn’t know the stress this would put on them. Spencer didn’t want to leave the team, and really no one could make him, not given the laws that were current in the USA. Aaron wasn’t going to leave he, team, either, Spencer knew that. Spencer would never want him to. There was too much to think about. Too much to do and there was nothing that could be done because it was the middle of the night.

“Hey, where’d you go?” Aaron asked.

“Just thinking deep thoughts,” Spencer said.

“It’s too late for deep thoughts.”

Spencer smiled before he leaned in for a kiss. Aaron gave it over willingly.

Jessica was waiting for them in the living room. She was seated in the chair with her feet tucked up and a plate of cheese resting on the arm. There were two fresh mugs of the same tea that Spencer had made for him and Aaron. Spencer was sure that it wasn’t going to help him sleep as he could be thinking of too many things.

“So what have you two up at this time of night and it not be contained in the bedroom?”

Spencer looked at Aaron, seeing the man staring at the wall.

“What did Haley tell you about my soulmate?”

“That you didn’t have one. Near the end of the marriage, she commented that the reason the universe didn’t give you a soulmate was the FBI and more importantly the BAU was your soulmate.”

“Well other than the BAU being my soulmate, Haley was correct. I did not think that I Had a soulmate. When I was twelve, I stopped looking for the mark on my body, and it never came up in conversation.”

“Haley also told me that you never ever let her see your back and I realized not long after moving in that you never went shirtless outside of your room. Even that one time that Jack was having a nightmare, you ran out of your room pulling on a shirt. I never asked because she said that she never did. I assumed that it had to do with your father.”

“You assume correctly. My father was a bastard because I didn’t have a soulmark. Just before my sixteenth birthday, it appeared, and I didn’t know.”

“How could you not know?”

“It’s on my back just above my shoulder blades. I had done something to upset Father, and he was taking the belt to my back. I assume that he saw the mark and knew that it meant that my soulmate was just about sixteen years younger than me, so he tried to destroy it.”

“Haley never talked about Jack’s other grandparents. I asked her once, and she said it was best to never bring it up. I did a search for your parents, and even to my eyes, I knew that it was too perfect. For you to never mention them, there had to be a lot going on.”

“Well, that’s for a night when I’m too drunk to keep my mouth shut.”

“Sixteen years, that’s a pretty big gap. How does one go about finding their soulmate who is sixteen years younger?” Jessica grabbed a bit of cheese and popped it into her mouth.

“I guess one has to have a son who is a traumatic Mute and be glad that the first person said son attaches himself to that is not family is said soulmate.”

Spencer watched Jessica’s face as she processed what Aaron said. She nearly choked on the cheese she was chewing.

“You are serious?” Jessica looked at Aaron and Spencer several times. “Completely serious?”

“Yes,” Aaron said. He sat down on the couch and pulled Spencer down to sit beside him. Spencer nodded his head as he sat down. Jessica jumped up off the couch and ran over to hug Spencer first and then Aaron. She stood up and looked at the both of them for a few seconds before she wrapped her arms around Spencer again in a stronger hug.

“Jack saw Spencer’s soulmark. That got him asking about his own and what they meant. I told him because you said that if he ever asked about them, I should answer. He was worried that Spencer was going to leave the two of you. I told him that it didn’t work that way. Spencer might never find his soulmate.”

“Jack has a mark?” Spencer asked.

“Yes, it appeared about a year ago. Haley was unsure of the actual appearance. I didn’t notice it because for a little while due to work, I didn’t have him overnight but just for nightly visits and he always went home to her.”

“A year? Isn’t that when Henry was born?”

Aaron looked at Spencer like he was speaking another language. He cocked his head to the side and was reaching for his phone.

“Aaron, it’s the middle of the night. You are not calling, JJ.” Jessica acted like she was going to slap the phone from Aaron’s hands.

“Henry has a mark. It’s on his inner arm like mine, and it says: Henry LaMontagne, you are the prettiest boy I have ever seen, other than Papa.” Spencer remembered when JJ had seen his mark and commented on it.

“Jack’s says: I don’t ever want to upset you, Jack. It’s stretched across his ribs on his left side, just under his heart.”

“Jack likes to rub his fingers over it. He says that he can’t wait to meet him.”

“Him?” Spencer asked.

“Jack is sure that it’s a boy,” Aaron murmured.

“He told Haley this just before going into WitSec. Little Henry does like to play with Jack. What are the odds?” Jessica asked as she turned her head from Aaron to Spencer.

“Many soulmates are best friends growing up. The actual data for male-male soulmate relationships is small because not many do any of the scientific surveys and the only thing that doctors are allowed to report is what the rest of soulmates are to the national registry. There are still taboos. Especially from religious sects that uphold that their God created the marks and that same-sex or polyamorous couples are perverting them for their own gain.”

“Same-sex or what couples?” Jessica asked.

“Threesomes or more. There are five documented threesomes on record. A has the words B said to make A fall in love. B has the words C said to make B fall in love. And C has the words A said to make them fall in love. Spencer actually showed me the research on it. One of the polys is documenting everything.”

Spencer yawned before he settled himself down onto the couch more. Aaron still smelled a little bit like sex, and it and the warmth of Aaron’s arm around him had Spencer closing his eyes. A wave of lethargy came over him and yawned again before trying to focus on Arno’s words, but they were muffled and far away. Spencer inhaled deeply and went to sleep.

Spencer woke up, and for a few seconds, he wasn’t sure where he was. He remembered falling asleep on Aaron on the couch, and he didn’t remember going up to the bedroom, but that was where he was. Spencer looked around and realized that he had been asleep on his back.

Movement alerted him that he wasn’t alone in bed and Spencer looked down to see Jack cuddle into his side with his head pillowed on Spencer’s arm. Aaron was not in bed. Spencer frowned because he didn’t like waking up without Aaron in bed. That thought stopped him because it wasn’t like they had shared a lot of beds recently, or at all really.

Spencer heard the creak of the top step and hoped that it was Aaron coming back to bed. The bedroom door slowly opened, and Spencer was greeted with the sight of Aaron carrying a tray of food. The smell of bacon and coffee wafted in front of Aaron and Spencer smiled at him.

“I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. We were both so dead asleep we didn’t wake up when Jack crawled into bed. So I decided that food was in order. I made bacon, oatmeal, and coffee. Orange juice as well but you don’t have to drink it. Jack likes it with his oatmeal.”

Spencer wormed his arm out from under Jack and slid up to an upright position. Jack wrapped his arm around Spencer’s leg and fought waking up. Aaron laid the tray of food along Spencer’s other side before he crawled into bed as well. Spencer reached out and snagged two pieces of bacon. There were two cups of coffee on the tray and two glasses of orange juice. Spencer frowned and wondered if Aaron was going to go without.

“There wasn’t enough room on the tray for another glass so I thought that if you wanted some, you could drink out of mine. I don’t want to drink after Jack, just in case but after last night if I have it, you are going to get it.” Aaron leaned over and pressed a chaste kiss to Spencer’s lips as he was chewing. Spencer ducked his head away and covered his mouth. He could feel his cheeks starting to heat up. He reached out with his hand that still held a half a piece of bacon and pushed Aaron back. Aaron didn’t go though. He pressed in farther and kissed the back of Spencer’s hand.

Spencer reached out for his phone and typed out what he wanted to say. “Stop.

“You don’t want to be kissed?” Aaron asked with a smile on his face.

Not while I have food in my mouth.

“I wasn’t trying to French kiss you but if you keep blushing like that I will.”

Did you know that the French kiss started being called that when British and American soldiers returned home after World War I. It was also called the Florentine kiss. Soldiers came home and greeted their wives in the sexually adventurous way that the French did.” Spencer finished chewing the bacon in his mouth while he typed out what he was saying.

“Are you trying to distract me, Spencer?” Aaron asked.

Spencer shook his head no.

“I’ve learned that you go into a ramble when you are trying to distract Morgan from whatever he has asked you. You’re blushing harder. So Spencer are you trying to distract me?” Aaron leaned in more, pressing his lips to Spencer’s before he could answer. Spencer opened his mouth and pushed back at Aaron some, but the man darted his tongue out and dragged the tip across the top of Spencer’s mouth. Spencer tried to pull out of the weird kiss, but Aaron’s hands on his face stopped him. Aaron turned it into a proper French kiss.

Spencer tried to ignore Jack who was still clinging to his leg, but when Jack started to really rub his face on Spencer’s leg, Spencer began to actually push at Aaron and mean it. The older man got it because he pulled back and looked down at Jack.

“Good morning, buddy.”

Jack just smiled at Aaron before he slipped down under the covers and pressed his face into the side of Spencer’s leg.

“Let him be. He’ll wake up when he wants, and he can eat them.”

Spencer nodded his head and reached for the bowl of oatmeal. There was a little brown sugar that had melted on top as well as what looked like melted butter. Spencer kept his face impassive, but he had never eaten oatmeal with butter in it. He hoped he would be able to stomach it. Breakfast in bed was something very sweet and very romantic, and Spencer didn’t want to upset Aaron with not liking what he made. Spencer mixed it all up until he really couldn’t tell there was butter in it and scooped up a spoonful. Spencer didn’t realize until he had put the spoon in his mouth that Aaron was looking at him.

The blush started up again, and Spencer ducked his head down. He knew that he needed to get used to Aaron staring at him, the man was doing it enough that Spencer was sure that it was going to be a habit. Spencer pulled the spoon free and swallowed the oatmeal without even really tasting it.

“I didn’t realize until just now that you might not like butter in your oatmeal. It’s the way that mom made it when I was young, and it wasn’t until Haley that I realized that not everyone ate it that way. Jack’s never known different, but I can go make more for you if you don’t like it.”

Spencer looked at his phone for a few seconds before he set down his spoon. “I didn’t hate it, but I kind of swallowed that first bite without tasting it. I can eat it, and you don’t need to make more.”

“But I want you to enjoy breakfast.”

“The only way I won’t enjoy it is if you are downstairs cooking while your food is getting cold. Now eat, Aaron.”

Aaron leaned into kiss Spencer’s cheek. “Okay.”

Chapter 16-April 2010

Aaron heard the knock on the front door, but he didn’t get to answer it. He waited to listen for Jack’s steps, but the young boy didn’t get up. Jack was on the floor playing with the car set that Spencer had bought him the weekend before, Spencer hadn’t got to do more than set it up for Jack before the call had come in about the case. Aaron had found a place for it in the living room so that the play city could stay up. Aaron liked having things of Jack’s scattered around, as long as the items weren’t underfoot. Aaron had his bookshelf in the living room, and at some point, something would be added that was Spencer’s. Jessica had a monstrosity of a chair that Spencer used more than her. It was large and fluffy, and Aaron admitted that it was comfortable to sit in.

The knock sounded again, a little louder but Aaron didn’t move other than to look down at his book again. Jack looked up at Aaron before looking back down at his cars. Spencer would give up and come inside. Aaron had given him a key to the house and the codes to the alarm and the gun safes in both the living room and the bedroom. There was silence for just over three minutes before Aaron heard the key in the lock and the creak of the door opening.

Spencer peeked around the corner and smiled at Aaron before waving. He looked around for Jack and waved at him when the boy waved at him. Aaron stood up as Spencer turned to head into the kitchen. Aaron wondered what Spencer was doing as he set down a box on the table. Spencer reached into the box and pulled out the basin of a crock pot and moved to the counter.

Aaron leaned into the door jamb and watched as Spencer swapped his basin for the one that was already in Aaron’s crock pot. Spencer pulled out a thermometer from the drawer by the stove and stuck it into the pot. Spencer was either oblivious to Aaron watching him, or he knew and didn’t care. Aaron smiled at Spencer feeling at home at least in Aaron’s kitchen. He knew that Spencer would chastise Aaron for not letting him into the house, but Aaron wanted him to feel comfortable just coming and going as he wanted, if he hadn’t he would have never given a set of keys and the alarm code. Spencer hadn’t shared the key to his place, but Aaron wasn’t worried. Aaron had lived with Haley long before he had married her, it might have been a scandal to Aaron’s mother, but Aaron hadn’t cared.

Spencer went back to the box, never looking up at Aaron, his focus solely centered on whatever food he had started to cook at his place that smelled so wonderful. Spencer had a handful of various bottles and canisters of liquid and powdered spices in his hand. He set them all out on the counter and started to pour and shake some into the basin.

Aaron was intrigued and stepped into the kitchen. He looked down into the box and saw that there was a lot of kitchen things in there, all things that Aaron didn’t have as far as spices went. Aaron picked up each and read the names. He could tell that most were Pacific in origin, but it was things that Aaron had heard of. He set them back down and moved over to wrap his arms around Spencer. Spencer didn’t jump at the shock of someone touching him. Just like that night when Aaron had found out that Spencer was his soulmate, Spencer had known where Aaron was and chose not to look up at him to check on him.

“This smells awesome. What kind of soup is it?”

“It’s a secret until you and Jack try it,” Spencer signed after setting down a bottle of what looked like really hot sauce. Aaron reached out and picked up the bottle, Spencer hadn’t put the lid on it yet, so Aaron let a drop fall on his finger. Spencer turned his head as Aaron lifted that finger up to his mouth. Aaron felt the burn of the spices on his tongue but it wasn’t the hottest thing that he had ever stuck in his mouth, it was pretty close.

“I hope you didn’t put a lot of that in there.” Aaron was worried about Jack.

Spencer turned around and crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Aaron. Aaron ducked his head a little bit and smiled.

“Okay, that was unfair. I’m sorry. I forget that you don’t like spicy things either. I am assuming that you put a little bit in for the spices inside of it?”

Spencer nodded and turned back around. Aaron pulled him close again and hooked his head over Spencer’s shoulder to look at the spices that were already out. The ones that he had out were very mild but also with a very Hispanic lean. Aaron tried to figure out the soup but he couldn’t.

“How long until it’s ready?”

“An hour. We have time to start the movie and can watch it while we eat if you don’t want to eat at the table.”

“Where do you want to eat?” Aaron knew that Spencer preferred to eat at the table but would sit in the living room if Aaron and Jack really wanted it. Aaron wondered if it was because it was something that Spencer liked or it was something that his mother instilled in him. It was an odd trait for a man who spent the majority of his life without a partner, lover, or significant other of any kind.

Spencer looked away from Aaron before he turned back to the soup to give it a good stir before he put the lid on it. Aaron boxed him in. Spencer would slip away from a problem and wait for Aaron to make the decision if Aaron let him and right now, Aaron wanted Spencer’s thoughts on what he wanted, not what he thought Aaron wanted.

Aaron could feel Spencer shaking a little, but he didn’t back up. Instead, Aaron wrapped an arm around Spencer’s waist. When Spencer settled down some, Aaron wrapped his other arm around him. Spencer reached up and grabbed hold of Aaron’s arms, pushing them up to where they were wrapped around Spencer’s upper chest.

“How about this? We can do breakfast at the table in the kitchen, it’s a little small for four on the mornings that Jessica eats with us, but we can do it. Lunch we can eat in the living room on plates and things unless it’s something messy. Dinner, we can eat dinner in the dining room like you like. Does that sound like a fair trade-off?”

Spencer nodded.

“Changes will have to be made as we go along. Adding you to the family was going to change us no matter what. If it’s something that you want, Spencer, you have to tell me. I want to make this work, not just because we are mates but because I love you. We can’t make this work if you don’t speak up. We are building a family, and we have been for a long time.”

Spencer turned around in Aaron’s arms, wrapping his arms around Aaron’s neck. Spencer pulled his face down a little before he leaned up and kissed him. Aaron wanted to talk, so he started to push Spencer away until he realized what this was. Spencer had no words for what he was feeling, but he could tell Aaron about his feelings and emotions with his mouth in a different way. Aaron unwrapped his arms from around Spencer and slipped them up to cup Spencer’s cheeks. Aaron crushed their mouths together even harder. Spencer didn’t pull out of the kiss at all, he took everything that Aaron gave him.

Aaron only stopped when he felt himself start to harden, he did not need Jack coming into them making out like this. Aaron hated pulling out of the kiss though. He did it though. He pulled back and waited for Spencer to open his eyes. Those eyes were so happy. Spencer looked so happy, happier than he had looked in a long time, even the night that they said they loved each other. Aaron was sure that he looked happier too. They were going to get happier as the days went by. There would be rough patches, Aaron knew that but nothing that couldn’t be handled if they talked.

Dinner passed in a whirlwind for Aaron. The chicken tortilla soup that Spencer made was wonderful, and it was one of the first things that Jack had ever asked for more of when it came to the soup. After dinner was finishing the movie that the three of them had started before dinner was ready. Jack fell asleep in Spencer’s lap in the fluffy chair, so Aaron carried him up and into his bedroom.

The nightly routine was much changed with Aaron not sitting on Jack’s bed to read to him anymore, no that spot was Spencer’s. Aaron now sat in a chair that was a permanent part of the bedroom now since Aaron needed somewhere to sit. Spencer and Jack cuddled on the bed while Aaron read. The sight of the two cuddled like that still took Aaron’s breath away.

Spencer stayed in Jack’s room, turning on the overhead fan to circulate the air in the room and shutting the door most of the way. Aaron took advantage and made his way down to the living room quickly. Aaron turned the TV and DVD player off before lowering the lights down to where it was basically mood lighting. Aaron sat down in the fluffy chair and waited for Spencer to come down the stairs. Jessica was staying over at a friend’s for a night of chick flicks and wine. Aaron hadn’t asked about it past that and that she was going to have fun.

The sound of footsteps on the last few stairs told Aaron that Spencer was finally done with making sure that Jack was okay in his bedroom. Spencer’s footsteps slowed, and Aaron could only make out the shape of him as he moved slowly over to where Aaron was. It was just dark enough to where Aaron couldn’t see Spencer’s hands reliably enough to be able to read them, so Aaron wasn’t shocked, or upset when he heard the haptic feedback from Spencer’s phone.

What’s this?” Spencer asked.

“I don’t feel like watching anything, and I figured if we are going to do silence, let’s at least do something a little more active than read.”

So what are we going to do in the dark?” Spencer started to move, sway more like, but Aaron laughed as he reached over the pulled Spencer into his lap. “Not dance?”

“No, not dance.” Aaron plucked the phone from Spencer’s hand and set it down on the stand beside the chair. Spencer didn’t fight him, and instead, when he turned to looked Spencer, Spencer was right there taking Aaron’s lips in a kiss. Aaron knew that he wanted to do this for hours until their lips were chapped and the thought of kiss was the opposite of arousing. He wanted to touch and to taste Spencer’s mouth until he could dream about that taste in his sleep.

After several minutes, Spencer pulled out of the kiss but not to stop it, just to change position to where he was straddling Aaron’s lap. Aaron’s hands weren’t idle, he worked Spencer’s shirt from his pants as he leaned in to kiss Spencer’s neck. The first time that Aaron suckled a little on the skin, Spencer shivered, and all movement stopped. Aaron smiled into the skin before doing it again. Aaron had found out the extent of the erogenous zone on Spencer weeks before.

Aaron kept it up, moving just enough so that no spot would start to hurt nor would he leave a mark. Spencer’s hands weren’t idle, pulling at Aaron’s shirt until Aaron leaned back so that Spencer could remove it from him. While Spencer was wearing a button up, Aaron was in a T-Shirt.

Taking pity on Spencer, Aaron grabbed his hips and pulled Spencer down, taking his mouth in a kiss again. He kept a hold of the genius’s hips though, stopping the younger man from rocking into him. Aaron had a plan, and it didn’t involve Spencer rubbing them to completion. Spencer’s hands wandered all over Aaron, touching everything but always straying to Aaron’s mark. Aaron couldn’t take it and after a few more minutes of hold Spencer still, Aaron let go of one hip and grabbed hold of Spencer by his arm, his own hand covering the mark.

Spencer jerked away from Aaron’s face, gulping in a breath as he stared at Aaron. Aaron let go of Spencer’s other hip and trailed his fingers up his chest, nails scraping just so and making Spencer shiver even more. Spencer’s mouth might not make as many noises as other people, but his body spoke for him. Up and around to grab the back of Spencer’s head Aaron’s hand went. Spencer gasped as Aaron held his head still.

“I want you to come from this and this alone, don’t touch your cock, Spencer.”

Aaron waited for an answer. Spencer just stared for several seconds before he swallowed and opened his mouth to pant. There was a slight pull on Aaron’s hand, a nod. Aaron ducked his head to lick from the base of Spencer’s throat up to his chin before he sucked at Spencer’s pulse point. Spencer moved back on Aaron’s lap just a little, enough to where he could undulate and not press his cock into Aaron. Spencer’s hands left Aaron’s body, and Aaron felt the cushion of the chair move. Aaron could just see him grabbing the cushions and making his knuckles white from the want to thrust into Aaron.

In no time at all, Spencer’s body near convulsed, his head pressed back into Aaron’s hand and his hips sought out Aaron’s. Aaron heard that sound that he wanted, that little moan like the sound that Aaron was addicted to.

“Fuck, that was hot. I hoped I could get you off like that.” Aaron trailed kisses up Spencer’s neck, soft just barely there touches of lips on skin. Spencer tilted his head so that they could kiss. “I want to do everything with you, Spencer. For the rest of our lives.”

I love you, Spencer mouthed and Aaron took it for a yes, that Spencer wanted that as well.

“With my job, our jobs,” Aaron started. He inhaled deeply and waited for Spencer’s eyes to settle on his face. Spencer reached out and traced Aaron’s lips with his thumb. Aaron nipped at the tip of the thumb before he exhaled. “With our jobs, we see the worst when it comes to human sexuality and brutality. It puts a damper on trying new things. I asked Haley once to do something, and she freaked out. Called me a pervert.”

There was just enough light that Aaron could see Spencer’s fingers as they said his name. Aaron smiled up at him before Aaron cupped Spencer’s cheeks to pull him into a kiss. Spencer allowed it for a moment before he pulled out of the kiss and mimed talking with his hand.

“You know well that I fall asleep after orgasm. With Haley, it was going to be a little harder but with you…I think that it wouldn’t be as bad.”

It took a few seconds for Aaron’s not really telling it for Spencer to understand what he wanted. Aaron watched Spencer think about it. Spencer though made a motion for Aaron to continue. Spencer was going to make him say it.

“I want you to have sex with me while I am asleep,” Aaron said it, and he couldn’t take it back. It had been at the back of his mind since the last time they had sex because Aaron had almost passed out before Spencer had got off inside of him. Aaron had buried that part deep inside that had wanted it after Haley’s rejection. Spencer shifted and reached for his phone.

What do you mean by sex? Do you want me to do intercrural, anal, or something else? I won’t do oral. Just explain it out. I won’t get upset, I won’t make fun of you.

“Anal. I want you to suck me off before you finger me while I fall asleep and then have sex with me until you get off.”

Spencer leaned back and stared at Aaron. Aaron wasn’t sure what the stare was about, but instead of feeling disgusted or ashamed, Aaron just felt open to Spencer. He felt like Spencer was trying to understand him in a way that he never had before. Aaron knew that he was asking a lot. It was a kink that wasn’t exactly normal, even in the realm of kinky sex.

If you freak out afterward, I am never, ever doing this again,” Spencer’s phone said. Spencer set the phone down, but it started to speak again. “No matter how much you beg.

Aaron swallowed before he nodded his agreement with that. Aaron hoped that he didn’t, he didn’t want Spencer to feel like he had done something to Aaron that Aaron didn’t want. He did not think that he would, but Aaron could make sure that Spencer never knew how Aaron felt if it was something that he didn’t like.

“I don’t want to have you on your knees in here, just in case. Jack at least knocks on the bedroom door.” Aaron leaned in to kiss Spencer, and he laughed at a little at the eyebrow that told Aaron that Spencer wasn’t ever going to get on his knees in the living room at the moment at least.

Spencer slipped back off of Aaron’s lap, and the look on his face said that he didn’t like the feel of his release in his pants. Spencer held out his hand, and Aaron took it and allowed Spencer to almost pull him up. Aaron out his own legs behind it. The walk to the bedroom was silent, Aaron lost in his own thoughts. He debated stopping it, but he did want to know.

Spencer only let go of Aaron’s hand once they were in the bedroom. Spencer stepped toward the hamper and started to strip, he wanted out of his clothes as soon as possible. The sticky feeling of his underwear was a relief to get off. Aaron was standing still in the bedroom so when Spencer was naked, he turned to look at his lover. Aaron was just watching him strip naked. Spencer grinned at Aaron and stalked toward him. He worked on Aaron’s pants first, finding that Aaron had gone commando in his jeans.

Aaron’s cock was hard and leaking, so Spencer reached out and rubbed his thumb over the slit, collections the fluid there. Spencer raised his thumb and licked at the drop, watching Aaron’s eyes the entire time. As the slightly bitter taste washed over his tongue, Spencer closed his eyes. He wanted to hum, to make that sound like Aaron would make while pressed against Spencer’s body. Spencer settled for that moan that Aaron liked a lot. Spencer licked his hand to get it a little wet before he wrapped it around Aaron’s cock. He could see that even though Aaron wanted sex, he was unsure of his own reaction.

Spencer slowly lowered himself down to his knees as he jacked Aaron’s cock. Aaron reached down grabbed the hem of his shirt and ripped it up and over his head. Aaron watched Spencer as he leaned in, their eyes locked. Spencer licked the head of Aaron’s cock before he took it all the way in. Aaron’s hips jerked, and Spencer followed the movement so that Aaron wouldn’t gag him.

“Sorry. Fuck, so sorry,” Aaron muttered as he closed his eyes and tipped his head back in pleasure. Spencer didn’t need to worry about using his hand to help him stimulate all of Aaron’s cock. Spencer’s mouth was big enough to take all of the cock. Spencer kept up a steady rhythm of up and down on the cock only slowing when he felt Aaron starting to tremble a little bit. Aaron’s hands were flexing, just at the edge of Spencer’ sight, so Spencer grabbed them and laid them on his head. Aaron’s fingers slipped into his hair and moved with Spencer as his rhythm faltered at the feel of the fingers in his hair.

Spencer worked Aaron’s pants down his legs to pool at his feet as he worked Aaron’s cock. Spencer knew that he was going to have to do this more, and it wasn’t because like this Aaron didn’t expect words but because Spencer wanted Aaron’s cock in his mouth more.

“Spencer, I need…fuck. Spencer, please.” Aaron couldn’t talk, couldn’t think it seemed, so Spencer pulled off of his cock and looked up at Aaron. Aaron tilted his head back down to where he could look at Spencer. “I need to sit down.”

Aaron stepped backward, stepping out of his pants and kicking them out of the way. Spencer watched him walk almost like a newborn foal. Aaron fell on the bed more than sat on it and Spencer gave him a wicked grin.

“What are you-” Aaron cut himself off as Spencer leaned over and stalked toward Aaron on hands and knees. Spencer ducked his head down and bit at Aaron’s calf. Aaron’s legs dropped open, and Spencer nosed up against the inside of Aaron’s thigh before he purposely skirted his hard cock. Over to the other thigh, Spencer went, and he bit a little harder there. Aaron dropped a hand onto Spencer’s head and tried to direct him back to Aaron’s cock, but Spencer fought it. Licking back to Aaron’s hip, Spencer went up, dipping his tongue into Aaron’s navel before allowing his body to brush Aaron’s cock.

Aaron didn’t let Spencer fight out of the persistent pressure on Spencer’s head, but he wasn’t directing Spencer down. He was directing Spencer up to kiss him. Spencer allowed Aaron a few seconds of dominance before he took over the kiss. Aaron moaned, long and hard, into Spencer’s mouth.

“Spencer, please.”

Spencer pushed Aaron until he was laying back on the bed. Spencer kissed down Aaron’s chest, what he could reach of it before he finally took pity on Aaron and took the head of his cock back into his mouth. Spencer bathed the entire head with his tongue. Spencer glanced up at Aaron, seeing him gripping the bed sheets hard. Spencer grabbed Aaron’s thighs and pulled him down on the bed.

Aaron’s entire body shuddered as Spencer wet his thumb and pressed it over Aaron’s hole.

“Again,” Aaron demanded, his voice ragged.

Spencer complied, switching fingers so that the finger with the shorter nail was pressing just slightly inside of Aaron as Spencer pulled back to suck on the head of Aaron’s cock.

“Spence,” Aaron said before Spencer felt the swelling of Aaron’s cock. Spencer went down farther on Aaron’s cock and allowed the first spurt to hit the back of his throat before he started to swallow. Spencer looked up at Aaron again as the older man came in his mouth. Spencer kept softly suckling until Aaron’s hand flopped down and pulled at Spencer’s hair to get him to come up. Spencer let go of Aaron’s cock, letting it fall down, soft against his hip before he pressed a kiss to the base of it.

That was the first time that Aaron had ever called Spencer that. Some of the girls in high school had done it, Spencer had never figured out if it was mocking or not but with Aaron he knew that it wasn’t. It was a name that was Aaron’s. Spencer kissed up Aaron’s chest as the man pulled on his hair. Spencer finally straddled Aaron’s waist and leaned down to kiss him. Aaron was already having trouble keeping his eyes open. Spencer had learned over time that the stronger the orgasm, the quicker Aaron went to sleep.

“I love you so much,” Aaron said.

“Shush,” Spencer said as he reached over for the lube in the drawer. He found it and coated three of his fingers. He planned to play. “How do you want to do this?”

“Front?” Aaron asked and then tried to roll over. Spencer lifted himself up, and Aaron was able to fully roll onto his front. The amount of trust that took, for Aaron to want to be that vulnerable while asleep almost made Spencer want to cry. Spencer leaned up and pressed a kiss to the back of Aaron’s neck.

“So sexy like this.” Spencer settled in at Aaron’s side, scooted down enough to where he could access his lover’s ass. Aaron hummed at Spencer a delayed reaction to his words. Spencer bent his finger to where he could rub a knuckle up and down Aaron’s crack, not wanting to startle the man. Aaron shifted a little, slipping his arms under the pillow in the middle of the bed and laid his head down on top of it. Spencer watched his face as he uncurled his finger and slipped the first finger inside of him. Aaron’s face didn’t change at all.

Aaron was responsive, his muscles clenching and releasing as Spencer played with Aaron’s hole. Spencer wanted Aaron to be as loose as possible.

Spencer didn’t know if Aaron was hard or not, he wasn’t sure of a lot of things as he slid inside of Aaron after pulling his three fingers free. Aaron moaned a little as Spencer fully seated himself inside of his lover. He wiggled his ass a little bit when Spencer pulled out and pushed back in. Aaron was sated and relaxed though as Spencer pumped in and out of him. Aaron wanted this, and it was the only reason that Spencer was doing it. He knew the psychological understand of somnophilia and how it made certain people excited, but for Spencer, there was no added pleasure gained from the fact that Aaron was asleep.

The orgasm that Spencer had in the living room was the only thing that made Spencer last as long as he did. Aaron was tight, more from the position they were having sex in than anything else. Spencer braced his arms on the bed just on either side of Aaron’s shoulders and slowed his thrusts inside of Aaron. He didn’t stop going as deep as he could, but he wanted to enjoy this. Aaron’s reactions were subtle. Spencer had to watch carefully for every reaction.

Spencer knew that Aaron watched Spencer like a hawk during sex, every single facial expression, every single little gasp. Spencer could understand how many didn’t like having to do that during sex, he had understood that before this. Aaron had called them lazy and selfish lovers. Even before they had turned lovers, Spencer knew that Aaron would never be that way with him.

Soulmates were perfect for each other and Spencer had never doubted that but seeing it and feeling it, Spencer wondered how perfect they could have been if Jack had never lost his speech.

Spencer bowed his head again and buried it in Aaron’s shoulders, gasping his orgasm into Aaron’s skin. Spencer’s arms shook, and he all but collapsed into Aaron’s side after he gently pulled out of Aaron. Spencer would have to get up at some point and clean them both up. He didn’t want Aaron waking up coated in the release, but for right now, he stayed there, cuddle into Aaron’s side, breathing to match Aaron.

Aaron felt more relaxed than he had been in a long time as he shifted on the bed and woke up. He couldn’t figure out what woke him up until he felt Spencer’s body scooting closer. Aaron opened his eyes to see that he was on his side with his arm thrown over Spencer’ back. Spencer was still asleep but trying to get as close to Aaron as he could get. It had been over a month since Spencer had found Aaron’s soulmark and a soulmate in one fell swoop. Aaron leaned his head in so that he could place a kiss on the skin of Spencer’s upper arm, the only skin that he could reach without possibly waking Spencer up. Aaron pulled his arm back so he could brace it on the bed between them and he could stay like that, just inhaling the scent of Spencer. The case had been horrible and over a week of hunting before they found the UnSub, still not in enough time to save any of his victims but at least he couldn’t go out and find more.

The night before flooded over Aaron’s mind and he closed his eyes because he barely remembered waking up when Spencer had been cleaning him up afterward. There was no freak out from him on what had happened. Instead of feeling violated while he had been asleep, Aaron felt like he was on top of the world. He could feel the minor ache from sex, but there was no shame. Spencer would want to talk it to death, Aaron was sure, but he was okay with that. Aaron felt loved and cared for, even if he didn’t remember the sex. He almost felt whole in a way that he hadn’t before, and he knew it was because Spencer hadn’t reacted like Haley had. Aaron knew that Spencer was perfect for him, but that didn’t mean that everything that Aaron wanted would be accepted by Spencer.

Spencer mumbled in his sleep and rubbed the side of his face into the bed. Aaron realized that Spencer had slipped down and wasn’t even using the pillow at all, a quirk that Aaron saw more and more, the more they shared a bed at Aaron’s. Spencer stopped and would spend a few hours with Curiosity on the weekends, but during the week, Spencer didn’t come over to Aaron’s except to eat dinner. Aaron wasn’t pushing for more time. Spencer was adapting well to go from a bachelor to a man with a partner and a son. Spencer was doing well with Jack, there wasn’t a lot of difference in how Spencer treated Jack or how Jack treated Spencer. There was just more to it all.

Aaron smiled into Spencer’s skin and laid his arm back over Spencer’s back as he thought about dinner the night before. Spencer had cooked an excellent meal for them, and after dinner, it had been perfect, a night to remember and one to strive for more and more. It wasn’t going to be long before Jack would want Spencer there more, and Aaron was content to let the two of them fight over that and sit back and enjoy having them both in his life.

Jessica was the kink in the plan. Aaron was more than content to have her stay in the basement if that was what she wanted, but he had heard her talking about finding a place to live. Aaron had not asked Spencer his opinion on it, but he wasn’t that worried. Spencer got along well with Jessica, and the basement was sort of like an apartment. Aaron knew though that Jessica would do as she wanted and if that meant moving out, that meant moving out.

Aaron was wondering about how to get Jessica to allow him to buy her a house. Aaron had bought the house he was living in back when he had still been in law school. He had bought it with him and Haley and children in mind. Aaron didn’t want to pull Jack away from that. It was the right size for all four of them but the house next door was a good bit smaller. It had only two bedrooms on the second floor, a smaller kitchen, and a living/dining room combination. The family who was trying to sell it had stuck a large dining room table into the room so that it was insane. However, with a smaller table in there, half of the dining room area could be turned into an office of sorts. It would be perfect for Jessica.

Haley’s life insurance had been put into Jack’s trust but mainly because Aaron hadn’t needed it. He and Jack were set for life, even if Aaron were to quit his job. His money was managed well, and he kept an eye on it. Aaron could sacrifice the asking price of the house and tell Jessica that he was using Haley’s life insurance to buy it. Haley would want her sister taken care of, and if something were to happen to Aaron and Spencer, Jessica wouldn’t have a large house to take care of. Jessica could even sell the bigger house and make some money. At the moment, Aaron’s Will stated that all of his money was to be absorbed into Jack’s trust to take care of him should he fall in the line of duty. There were more than generous allowances to be taken out for room and board, and if Jessica were the one to get Jack, she had a lot of leeway when it came to what she could pull out. The restrictions for a non-family member were tighter.

Aaron didn’t like to think that Jack would be raised without him and without Jessica, but anything could happen. There was nothing that would give Spencer custody at the moment. That thought sent a shiver down Aaron’s spine. He needed to make sure that no one would take Jack away from Spencer. He also needed to ask Spencer if he would even want custody of Jack. He didn’t figure that the younger man would balk at it and Dave would fight to make sure that Jack went with the team instead of Roy. Dave would do anything that he could to make sure that Aaron’s wishes were followed, even if the Will did not state that. It just made Aaron want to tell Dave earlier than he had planned.

Right now with just the four of them knowing, everything was easy. It wasn’t going to be hard to prove that they were soulmates. Their marks had settled, and the silver rings around their marks were a perfect match in color. The colors of the rings were never replicated on pairs. Some might look close, but no two had been found to be a match. Aaron had read up on the studies of soulmates over the years to keep up to date for the BAU and to see if there was a reason why some families that had every single member of the family with a mark sometimes had ones that did not. Aaron looked down at Spencer’s mark. He had never asked him if either of his parents had a mark.

Spencer started to rub his face into the bedding under him, meaning that he was starting to wake up. Aaron watched him as he fought waking up. Aaron knew that time was short with them, but he wanted every moment with Spencer that he could have. The house was already good enough for Curiosity, but Aaron wondered what he could do to set up an area for Curiosity in the backyard. He could set up a little fenced in area that had a top so that Curiosity couldn’t jump out. Something that was easy to break down for when he needed to mow. If Jessica got the house next door, the fence could be torn down between the houses and set up from house to house taking in the whole of the joined backyards.

Aaron heard a noise and looked down, seeing Spencer looking at him. Aaron smiled back and leaned down to place a kiss on Spencer’s cheek. Aaron almost blurted out the question on his mind. He wanted to ask, but he didn’t want to either. He didn’t know what he would do if Spencer said no. Aaron coaxed Spencer onto his back and kissed him. If he distracted Spencer, he wouldn’t blurt the question out.

Spencer could feel Aaron’s eyes on him, but it wasn’t intrusive. More like Aaron was looking at him and thinking. He opened his eyes to look and saw that Aaron didn’t realize that Spencer was awake. No words were said as Aaron coaxed Spencer onto his back and started to kiss him. Spencer could feel so many emotions in the kiss. Spencer raised a hand up and carded it through Aaron’s hair.

Aaron didn’t move to deepen the kiss at all. It just stayed a press and moving of lips over lips. It didn’t take long for Spencer to realize that it was a distraction. Aaron was trying to distract Spencer from something, but Spencer couldn’t figure out what about. Spencer forced himself not to focus on it.

After a few more minutes, Aaron pulled back and stared at Spencer for a few seconds before he opened his mouth. “It’s almost been a month. We have a little over a month before we have to report that we are soulmates to the FBI and not lose our jobs.”

Spencer nodded at Aaron. He wiggled his hands up between their bodies and Aaron sat back so that he could see his hands.

“I want to tell the team before we go to Applehorn. I know that Dave will be fine with everything. Everyone else will be happy to have me happy. Morgan will be the oddball. He might be upset that we didn’t tell him right off, but Garcia will put him in his place. Might be a few days of ruffled feathers but I think that we will be fine.”

“I agree that everyone will be happy that you are happy. You didn’t start to date me and then bring me onto the team. I’m stable, and my worth on the team is well established. Also, the team finding out that you have a soulmate after everything that has happened will make them happy. In the reports that I read about the Foyet event, it was one of the things that many said, that they wished you had a soulmate to at least look forward to or to come home to. We are already close. No one has ever questioned that you and Rossi are too close.”

“No, but there is a difference between Dave and I’s friendship and you and me and this.” Aaron’s hands enveloped them both, still naked in bed together.

“However, I am unsure if they are going to be happy about me being the one. They might want me off the team. I’ve worked so hard, Aaron and I don’t want to lose the BAU. There is no other team in the unit that would take me, I think. You know sign language and the others would just see me as a burden.”

“They can’t separate us.”

“Unless me being there is detrimental to the team.”

“We can hypothesize all we want. I know that I have to get your work taken over by Dave. He’ll bitch and moan about the extra paperwork, but he’ll do it. Applehorn will probably do it if Dave pitches too much of a fit.” Aaron smiled at Spencer before brushing a kiss on his forehead.

“I’ve been thinking.”

“I would be shocked if you were thinking about something every second of every day,” Aaron said with a grin spreading over his face. Spencer slapped Aaron’s chest. Aaron pulled him close and wrapped his arms around Spencer and rolled them to where Spencer was on top. Spencer leaned in and kissed him before he sat up on Aaron’s stomach so he could talk.

“You’ve ruined me to sleeping in my bed alone. I don’t like it. My landlord stopped me when I was on my way over here yesterday. The apartment is rent controlled because it’s changed ownership. I’m one of the last there at such a low rate, and he wants me gone. He’s noticed I am not home a lot overnight and stop by throughout the day, so he knows I am staying elsewhere. I have four months left on my lease, and he’s offering to let me out of it anytime I want without charging me for breaking it and will give me back this last month if I am out in two weeks. I think that someone has their eye on my apartment, which is a beautiful apartment and is willing to pay a handsome fee to move in quickly”. Spencer cocked his head to the side and watched the emotions on Aaron’s face. For a few seconds, he was really hard to read. Aaron was hiding behind the Hotch face. But as the words sunk in, his lips started to stretch out, and he grabbed Spencer’s waist. Spencer gasped as Aaron tipped him onto his back and settled over him.

“You are not joking?”

Spencer gave Aaron a look that told the older man what he thought of Aaron thinking it was a joke. Aaron laughed and leaned in to kiss him. Spencer pushed the man back. “I don’t make jokes about important things. I meant it, you spoiled me for sleeping in bed alone.”

“Are you sure that you want this? It’s sudden. And I want to make sure that you want to move in here. My ex’s touch is everywhere.”

“As it should be for Jack. I’m sure that changes will be made to the house. I want this Aaron. I want you, Aaron and I want Jack. I love him. I really like this house, and I love your backyard. The only thing that would make it better would be a pool, but I know that there isn’t enough room.”

“See, this is where I have an idea.” Aaron tipped Spencer onto his side, and he slipped close, his mouth at Spencer’s ear and he laid out his plan. Spencer smiled as he listened to Aaron talking about trying to make himself and everyone else happy. This just might be the best move that Spencer had ever made.

Chapter 17-May 2010

Aaron closed the folder on the last file that he was going to work on for the rest of the day. He looked at the phone and saw that Dave had finally hung up on the three-hour phone call. Aaron almost didn’t want to know what he had talked to someone about for three hours. Aaron hated being on the phone more than half an hour. Aaron picked up his phone and pressed the button for Dave’s office.

“Were you waiting for me to get off the phone?”

“Yes. I need to talk to you. My office shut the door behind you.”

“Oh, intrigue. You never do closed door meetings with me anymore. Only a certain young mute gets those.”

“Dave,” Aaron warned.

“I’ll be there in a moment.”

Aaron hung up the phone and glared at it, instead of the man who was making him glare. Jack had settled down a lot after Spencer and Curiosity had moved in. In fact, Aaron wasn’t sure who had was more happy to see, Spencer or Curiosity. The cat had spent a few days of being upset at his change in home, living under the bed in the main bedroom. He came out only after everyone had left for the day, or at least that was what Spencer said who was keeping a very close eye on Curiosity’s food and water.

A morning routine that not only added Spencer into the mix but Curiosity had Aaron having a few rough mornings. Especially after Curiosity making his duty to watch Aaron in the bathroom of a morning. The first time that Aaron had turned around in the shower to find Curiosity sitting on the side farthest away from the spray, Aaron had screamed. Spencer had come running, but Curiosity had never moved.

He did that with me for a while after I got him,” Spencer had said when he had entered the bathroom to see Aaron trying to shoo Curiosity out of there. Aaron had lived with it, but it had now morphed into a whole routine. As soon as Aaron got up, Curiosity jumped from where he was sleeping with Spencer and followed Aaron into the bathroom. Curiosity watched as Aaron shaved, took care of his hair, and did everything else that he needed to do. If Aaron shut the door to the bathroom, Curiosity sat outside of it and caterwauled until he was let in. Aaron called him a baby, but Spencer loved that cat, so Aaron lived with it.

Curiosity loved Aaron and Jack. Once he got used to living in his new house and the new people’s, Curiosity ruled over the house with a furry paw. With the weather being good outside, Curiosity wanted to spend as much time as he could outside. Usually, it was during dinner as it was the only time that someone was home for an extended period but on the weekends, it was several hours at a time. Aaron kind of wished that he had never set up the outside pen for the cat.

Jack was over the moon to have a pet. Spencer was glad to relinquish many of the daily tasks to Jack. Spencer checked to make sure that it was all taken care of, but Jack was doing good.

“Aaron,” Dave said as he entered the office and shut the door. Aaron looked out into the bullpen to see JJ moving around the room handing out stacks of paperwork. Aaron realized that Spencer wasn’t in the room.

“Where’s Reid?”

“At the range. He was called back to redo his last set of testing. Seems that one of the flunkies who kept the test guns cleaned and ready was not doing his job.”

“He passed and why do you know this and not me?”

“I took a few minute break to get some coffee during my telephone marathon and heard him telling Morgan. Reid was not happy that he had to test again, but Morgan went with him.”

“I’m glad that Reid is settling into the unit well.”

“A few of the other teams are really starting to get used to him as well. Anderson really likes him and has sought him out for lunch a few times.”

Aaron nodded.

“So I’ve noticed over the last while that you’ve sort of been talking less about our Reid and even less about what you do at home. Almost like you are keeping secrets. Is that what you want to talk to be about?” Dave sat down in the chair in the chair beside the couch that was on the opposite side of the room. He leaned back and got comfortable as Aaron made his way across the room. Aaron sat down in the middle of the couch.

“For four months Spencer and I have been in a relationship.”

“Four months? Damn. I lost that bet.”

“Bet?” Aaron wasn’t exactly shocked that there had been bets, Dave had brought that back to the unit when he came back. Usually, it was small stuff, sporting events and sometimes a few personal things that got around the office but this was the first betting pool that Aaron had been involved in, at least for a long time.

“That Friday when we all went out to eat for lunch, and you stayed to work on that file and Reid had lunch with…Martin was it from his old unit? The discussion was all about you two. I think that it took us a little longer to figure it out because you and Reid already spent so much time together because of Jack. Dammit though because I now have to give Anderson two hundred dollars. He had Valentine’s weekend.”

Aaron looked down at his fingers and rubbed his thumb over his the joints of his other fingers. It was a small tell that he had fought years to cover up, but sometimes it slipped through. Dave knew what it meant.

“Dammit on Anderson.” Dave pulled his wallet from his pocket and laid down two hundred dollars as well as another five from a different pocket. “That’s the pool that Anderson won for guessing the time right. Everyone else had days to a week before the day we made the bet.”

“How did Anderson did better than you all?”

“I don’t know, but that kid is going to be hard to live with. So why are you telling me about you and Reid and not everyone else?”

“The rest of the team will come later.” Aaron was looking forward to telling the team, and it seemed like they all knew about them already but betting on something and actually living with it. Aaron knew that Spencer was worried about it and had spent the weekend planning the food for the cookout. From what Aaron was making to what Spencer was making and when. Aaron had never seen a timeline on food making before.

“And we are back to why you are telling me first and here.”

“Because I can’t be his boss on paper anymore.”

“Moving him will just the FBI that something is up and then you two will be in more trouble.”

“As soon as Spencer and I tell the team this weekend, we will be telling the FBI.” Aaron leaned back on the couch and crossed his legs.

“Aaron, it’s been four months. I would suggest waiting until you know more and are thinking about taking it farther than just a relationship. I know how these things can go.” Dave leaned forward, and Aaron didn’t move. He didn’t say a single thing but just watched Dave as Dave got more worked up about this than Aaron was. “I don’t want this to damage either one of your jobs if it goes south.”

“Dave, Spencer has moved in with Jack and me.”

“After four months?”

“And a lot of time spent together. There is a deadline though for telling the FBI.”

“There is no deadline for a relationship between a boss and subordinate, they are not supposed to happen. The only relationships that have a deadline are when two soulmates-” Dave stopped and stared at Aaron like he was trying to solve the riddle without Aaron actually saying it. “I read your file when you came into the FBI. There was no soulmark on your body, according to your own words.”

“Do you remember that case about two months after I joined the unit? UnSub threw a molotov cocktail on me and the victim I was pulling out? I stripped out of my clothes before he could set fire to me. You made a comment about the scars on my back, especially the one at the top?”

“Yes, you told me to leave it alone, and I did. I knew when something was too personal to be shared. I do know when I should not go farther. I usually don’t listen to it unless it’s bad. I had been a profiler long enough at that point to recognize the scars left by belt hits. The one though was from a knife.”

“Yes. It happened just before I turned sixteen. I had been staying away from my father well enough while I was home on the few weekends that I was. However, that Sunday, the 11th, I mouthed off to him. He beat me until I was bloody with a belt before he had me strip off my shirt because it was getting in the way. I was on my knees facing his desk when I felt the blade dig into my skin. I never could understand why father did what he did until about a month ago.”

“How did you find out after so long?”

“Because Spencer saw my soulmark even through the scar.”

“But if he’s mute and you had never had a soulmark before, how is he your soulmate? It’s kind of hard for him to have said anything that would make you fall in love with him.”

“He says things with his phone, and he mouths words. I don’t see where that would be any different. I will not tell you what he said or what my mark or his mark say as both of personal.”

“How did he find your scars? You admitted to me when we went to drink at a bar in Tucson a long time ago that you never let Haley see your back.”

“I never did no.”

“But you did Reid?”

“I didn’t feel the need to hide with him. Spencer did not see the mark the first time that I allowed him to see all of my scars.”

“That should have been your first clue.”

“The first clue should have been the fact that I let him be around Jack when I should have let no one around. That first cookout that I had for the team after it all, I was worried about everyone being around Jack. I wanted Spencer there because at least it would help to have someone that could understand Jack no matter what. I was Jack’s rock after he came home, but Spencer was the lighthouse on that rock, and he kept more than just Jack safe. It took a long while for me to admit that I wanted him and even after I admitted it, it was a shock that he wanted me back.”

“So how did that happen? I, at least, want to win one bet.”

“There are more bets on us?”

“How it came about. Prentiss and Morgan figure that Reid just gave up trying to get you to act and laid one on you. JJ and I think that you made the first move and Garcia figures that it was Jack or Jessica.”

“I kissed him. We were on the couch, and I leaned over him to set something down, and I kissed him. Jack had a nightmare and interrupted us. We ended up sleeping on the couch, all three of us. That was Valentine’s weekend. It was always so easy with us. Even with Haley and I, I second guessed a lot of things. I did love her when we were younger, and I would never want to change a thing in our younger days.”

“Reid is just under sixteen years younger than you. That weekend that your father gave you that scar…” Dave trailed off.

“Yes. Father saw the mark and knew that it hadn’t been there just weeks before. So my soulmate had been born over those weeks meaning that he or she was much younger than me and that would not be something that my father would want for the image that he was trying to maintain for the family. It wasn’t much later that my father died of a heart attack and I stopped caring about the family image and just tried to make a life for myself.”

“Applehorn is probably going to blow a gasket that you waited until the end of limit to tell the FBI about you guys.”

“He can’t do anything about it. Soulmates are given the two months for a reason. I already have all the medical documentation for both of us. The only thing that still needs to be taken care of is you to take over being his boss on paper and in the field when I cannot make decisions and to tell the team and get them behind us.”

“That’s going to be a lot easier than you think. The team would agree to anything to make you happy.”

“I know that, and you know that, but Spencer is still too unsure of his place on the team and how much everyone likes him. He’s worried about how the team is going to take everything. He’s wanted this job for years. He’s afraid that to get something he never saw for himself but he wants more than anything anymore, he’s going to have to give up his dream. While legally, the FBI can do nothing to us for the relationship and cannot pull us apart, if it means the team splitting up, with our case rate, Spencer will be pressured to leave the team if not the unit.”

“That would never happen. They like him too much.”

“Yes, well, Spencer knows that the team likes him as Spencer Reid, BAU Team Member. They like him as Spencer Reid, Mute. They even like him as Doctor Spencer Reid, knower of all things. However, he’s afraid of what the team will think of Spencer Reid, Aaron Hotchner’s soulmate.”

“So a team meal this weekend at your house? You haven’t moved houses have you?”

“No, Spencer likes my house, and he loves the backyard and the neighborhood. I think that if I really wanted to move, he would be upset.”

“And I know that Jack likes Spencer but how is he taking all of this? How is Jessica taking it?”

“Considering that Jack wanted Spencer to move in and live with us like Jessica does before Spencer, and I kissed the first time, he’s over the moon. For Jack, it’s the best thing ever, and it got better when he found out that Spencer and I were together. Jack has his own mark, and Haley always had a romantic view on them, even though her own had died when she was young. Jack’s excited that I have a mate and that it’s Spencer. It’s the best thing in the world because that means that Spencer is never leaving and that Spencer moving in brought Curiosity.”

“Yes, I remember that cat. I’m shocked that he likes either one of you. I never got that cat to even look at me.”

“Dave, be thankful, the cat has made himself a part of my morning routine and watches me shower.”

Aaron knew that look on Dave’s face. Dave was trying to hold back a severe case of the laughs. Aaron picked up a napkin and balled it up before tossing it at the man.

“So dinner at your love nest.”

“Dave,” Aaron warned.

“As well as I am assuming all of the things you normally make at cookouts. I think that it’s shaping up to be a wonderful weekend. I’ll keep a hold of Anderson’s winnings on the timeline and JJ, and I will split up the money in the little side bet. Just let me know, if you need anything, Aaron, now or in the future. At least with this relationship, you won’t have to worry about him getting upset at the job.”

“No, that’s a given, and my sister-in-law adores him, sometimes I think more than she likes me.”

“So dinner tonight, are you free or do you and Spencer have plans?”

“Spencer and I do not. Jessica, Jack, and Spencer are going to Chuck E Cheese. Spencer has never been, and Jessica promised to get pictures. I was going to see about dinner with you.”

Dave smiled, and Aaron knew that he would have his support in everything.

Spencer settled the fern down onto the stand in front of the window before looking out the window. He saw Morgan’s truck pull up as well as JJ’s car. Rossi had got there an hour before and other than the raised eyebrows at Spencer being in one of Aaron’s shirts. Spencer had taken off for the bedroom to change. Rossi had got there too early, and Spencer had not been ready. Spencer looked at his tablet that was on the charger and his cell phone beside it. He didn’t know which one he was going to being out with him. Aaron had set up the chairs like he had done for that first cookout that Spencer had gone to. Spencer had all but taken over that chair as his own. It held his tablet correctly for using to type out his words whenever he was outside with Aaron and Jack.

Aaron never cared what device Spencer was using to talk when he wanted to speak out loud. Phone, tablet, laptop, or even desktop when they were in the little office that Aaron had inside of the house. Others sometimes did, and Spencer knew that Prentiss and JJ both gave him funny looks when he pulled out his tablet instead of using his phone if they were in a more personal setting. But when outside the tablet had a better range of loudness than his phone. Spencer checked the battery level on the tablet and found it at full, so he grabbed it up and the phone and put on a brave face.

The ring of the doorbell sounded all through the house. Spencer stopped as he heard Jack’s feet run across the living room. Aaron had been in the kitchen when Spencer had come upstairs near an hour before, but Spencer did not know where he was at the moment. Spencer watched as Morgan and Garcia got out of Morgan’s truck. JJ, Will, Henry, and Prentiss got out of the other car. Which was a little odd. He could see Prentiss getting out of Morgan’s truck but not the sedan that was JJ’s car.

“Welcome, welcome,” Aaron’s voice called out, and Spencer stopped moving. There was no chance to go back.

“I texted Reid to see if he needed a ride but I see that his car is already here,” Morgan said. The sound of the door shutting told Spencer that everyone was inside. “And he made it before Rossi which is odd because Rossi is usually either first or late. Did you leave him out with the grill?”

“No, Spencer is upstairs.”

“What’s he doing upstairs?” Prentiss questioned.

“Why don’t you guys head out into the backyard and I’ll join you in a few.”

“Bossman, you are acting weird,” Garcia said.

“No, I’m not acting weird, I’m acting like myself when I am at home. So please, go into the backyard, and I’ll bring Spencer outside with me.”

“Is his stomach bothering him?” JJ asked. She sounded worried. “He’s been having tummy issues all week.”

“I think it’s stress and no he’s not having problems with it today. Just go.” Aaron’s voice was louder, and a few seconds later, Aaron was staring at Spencer with an indulgent smile on his face.

“Don’t be worried. Everything is fine. Everything will be fine.” Aaron held his hand out, and Spencer tucked his hand with the phone and tablet into his chest. Spencer reached out and held onto Aaron’s hand as the older man pulled him after him. Spencer was truly happy for the first time in his life instead of just going along to be content. This meeting would be the deciding factor if he got to keep that happiness.

Spencer had gone to lunch with Martin on Thursday to get a foot back in the door on maybe joining that unit again if he couldn’t stay on Aaron’s team. He did not want to be in the BAU on a different team. He would rather be somewhere else. Martin though had a different idea for him if the BAU went belly up for him. The current Section Chief for the White Collar Crime Unit was interested in Spencer. The interest had come down after Spencer had put in his bid for the BAU. Martin had kept it quiet so that Spencer wouldn’t feel like he had to tell the Section Chief thanks but no thanks.

Aaron stopped at the bottom of the steps but Spencer wasn’t expecting it, so he ran into him. Aaron turned and took the tablet and phone from his hands and set them down on the post at the bottom of the rail before pulling Spencer close. Spencer started to blush as Aaron stared at him. Aaron let go of Spencer’s hand to pull him into a soft kiss.

“I love you, Spencer and that’s all that matters. Whatever happens, just remember that. I love you, and you love me, and we are all that we need.” Aaron didn’t let Spencer pull back. He leaned their foreheads together and just stood there. Spencer knew that Aaron was worried about him. Spencer had been acting weird all week, but he was scared. Spencer hated feeling scared about things that he couldn’t change. There was nothing that could be done except for telling the team and wait for the fallout. Applehorn was going to be told first thing Monday morning, and that was Spencer was more prepared for, or at least as much as he could be until they talked to the team.

“I love you,” Spencer said when he was allowed to pull away enough so that he could sign. “More than I ever thought possible.”

“And we face this together.”

Spencer nodded. He inhaled and exhaled before smiling at Aaron. Jack came running in and jumped up onto the step that Spencer was on and raised his hands up. Spencer obliged in picking him up. Jack wrapped his arms around Spencer’s neck as Spencer settled him onto his side. Aaron grabbed the tablet and cellphone before heading toward the backyard. Spencer followed behind with Jack in his arms. Henry was playing by himself with a pile of toys near where Will was sitting just behind JJ in a chair.

Everyone was seated around the grill except for downwind. Morgan and Prentiss had moved their seats as it looked like the wind had shifted. There was a chair between Spencer’s and Aaron’s for Jack, but Jack didn’t wiggle in Spencer’s hands as he got close. Spencer sat down in the chair, and Jack shifted to sit in his lap. Aaron sat the tablet down, opened up and tucked the phone beside it before he moved to the grill to check on the chicken. Spencer watched as Aaron basted the chicken before turning it.

“So, Hotch, we don’t normally do these things at your house unless something is going on. So what’s going on?” Morgan asked.

“The chicken has about another half an hour to go until it’s ready and everything else is staying warm in the kitchen. I see you all got drinks which is good.” Aaron turned around where he was, and it took about two seconds for Spencer to realize what the man was going to do and he shifted his legs to where Aaron wasn’t going to sit on them. “I found out that part of what I thought about myself was false.”

“What?” JJ asked. She was thoroughly confused, but then Aaron’s words were confusing.

“I thought that I had no soulmark on my body. But then when the mark is across the shoulder blades on your back, it’s easy to understand why I never noticed it after it had formed.”

“My mom checked me obsessively until I hit the age where it was uncool to let your mom look you over for marks. Which was about thirteen for me,” Morgan said.

“I stopped letting my mother look at me for them when I was seven. I hated seeing the look on her face. The Hotchner family has a long history of every blood member having a mark. My father had one even though the person he was mated with died. My father had my DNA checked to make sure that Mother didn’t cheat on him, more than once. I was the black sheep because I didn’t have the mark. I’ve found out the exact date of course that I got my mark.”

“Exact date, that means that you have found your soulmate?” Garcia looked really excited about that. In fact, she started to bounce up and down in her seat. “That’s so exciting.”

“Yes. October ninth nineteen eight one was the date that my mark appeared. I know that I have never talked about my childhood directly. I’ve hinted at it, and I am not going to confirm anything. I have scars from childhood that stopped me from wanting anyone to see my back. That is how I never knew. I didn’t even want to see my back. When I was in bed with my soulmate, he saw my mark. He realized that he had said the words not too long before.”

“That’s adorable.” Garcia looked like she was going to combust.

“So is this a meeting to meet him?” Prentiss said. She looked at Spencer with a weird look on her face. Her eyes darted to Jack who was leaning against Spencer while playing on Spencer’s phone. Spencer had installed a paint application on the phone, and Jack loved to draw on it. Spencer wrapped his arm around Jack’s waist and tugged him close. Prentiss’s eyes got rather large before he looked at Aaron and then back at Spencer and cocked an eyebrow. Spencer nodded. Prentiss gave Spencer two thumbs up. Spencer ducked his head and smiled, he could feel the blush starting.

“Yes,” Aaron said.

“So where is he?”

“There is a small catch,” Aaron said.

“Catch?” Garcia asked.

“What kind of catch can there be in finding out your soulmate?”

“Easy, I will throw you out if you piss me off.”

“So where is he? Did Reid put him into a coma talking to him when he was upstairs?” Morgan asked. He was smiling when he looked at Spencer. Spencer was looking at him through the fringe of his hair. It took less time for Morgan to put it together than it took Prentiss.

“That’s Reid’s birthday,” Garcia said. She turned to look at Spencer before looking at Aaron. “That day that you said you got the mark is Reid’s birthday, Bossman.”

“Yes, Garcia I am well aware of that.”

Spencer grabbed the tablet and started to type, setting it up on a delay to where it would not start to speak until he hit enter. Everyone was silent as Spencer typed it all out. He looked at what he was going to say and when he was sure that it was how he wanted it, Spencer set it down and hit enter before eh wrapped both arms around Jack. Jack realizing that something was up, set down the phone and cuddled into Spencer’s arms.

I know that the FBI can’t split him and I up since we did not know that we were mates before I joined the team but there are ways of doing it to so that we can’t fight it. Especially if you guys are upset about it being me. I never wanted this. I didn’t mean for it to happen and the last thing that I want is to upset the team. If you guys can’t stand me being on the team, I’ll transfer out. I don’t want to push Aaron out of the team. I don’t want to upset the team.

Spencer didn’t look up at anyone as his tablet talked for him. He felt Aaron’s gaze on him, but he didn’t look up at him either. He had not told Aaron about his plans for if the team was upset. Spencer felt like puking. He was half tempted to hand Jack off to his father and run inside before anyone could catch him. Spencer’s eyes darted to the door, and he tried to figure out the time it would take for someone to come after him. If he walked at first, he could get some lead time before someone was to come after him.

A tap on Spencer’s knee had him looking up at Aaron for just a second, but he caught the look on his face.

“I’m not sure what to say to that,” Rossi said. The man said nothing else and neither did anyone else which made Spencer actually look up at Rossi. “You just got onto the team, and already you want to leave.”

I don’t want to leave but I will if you guys don’t want me on the team anymore because Aaron and I are soulmates.” Spencer used the phone on his lap to type that out. Jack didn’t move at all.

“Self-sacrificing your own happiness to keep Aaron happy. Pretty big for getting your dream job and given the look that Aaron gave you, he didn’t know about the sacrifice you are willing to make.”

“No, and it doesn’t matter because I am going to tell every single one of you the same thing that I am going to tell Applehorn tomorrow. He stays, or we leave.”

Spencer looked up at Aaron in shock. Aaron wasn’t looking at Spencer though, he was looking at Morgan. Spencer grabbed Aaron’s arm and forced him to look at Spencer. Aaron did after a few more seconds of a staredown with Morgan.

“You can’t just leave, not because of me.” Spencer’s movements of his hands were jerky, showing how upset he was with Aaron making that decision without talking to him. He knew that for him while the BAU was his dream job he had been content without out, he would not be content without Aaron. Not anymore. Spencer did not want Aaron to ever resent him for making him leave the job. Resentment had no place in a healthy relationship. The job didn’t matter to Spencer, not more than Aaron or Jack.

“I won’t have you give up what you want for me any more than you want to see me giving up my job for you. However, I don’t want to do this job without out you, Spencer. So it’s all or nothing.”

Spencer just stared at Aaron for several minutes, not paying attention to the voices talking around them. Spencer had no clue what Jack understood of the conversation between Spencer and his father, but Jack slid off of Spencer’s lap moved over to play with Henry.

“I can’t have you start to resent me, Aaron. I could live with not working on this team or in the BAU if it meant that you never started to resent me. I can’t be in the BAU and not be on your team. The thought of you ever resenting me for you not doing what you love has me sick to my stomach. I can’t be responsible for that.”

“And you wouldn’t ever resent me for not leaving with you, for not fighting for you?”

“Why would I? You are this job.”

“Shouldn’t you get what you want as well?” Aaron asked, his voice near breaking.

“I have you and Jack.”

“Jack and I are not consolation prizes for giving up what you want!” Aaron near screamed and jumped up from where he was sitting with Spencer. Spencer looked to the side and saw that the team had wandered over to where Aaron had been working on revamping a section of the garden with new flowers.

“I could never give up you two, and I can give up the job. If a sacrifice had to be made, I would rather it be me giving up than you.”

“Why?” Aaron demanded.

Spencer looked away from Aaron. He felt Aaron sit down again and resisted the hand that tried to get him to look at Aaron but only for a few seconds.

“Why do you have to give up what you want while I get everything that I want?”

“Someone has to make the sacrifice.”

Aaron frowned at Spencer, but he reached out with his other hand and forced Spencer closer to him. “You are stronger than me but Spencer, I don’t want this job without you.”

“I heard the others talk about how you didn’t even leave it to make Haley happy.”

“Haley was never happy. When I was a prosecutor, all she talked about was how long I had to be that before I could become a Judge, then a Senator. She wanted me in politics. She saw a life that she wanted and wanted to use my career to get her there. When I left to join the FBI, she changed the tune on how I was to get into politics, but when I went into the BAU and didn’t show signs of leaving, then she started to demand that I leave. That is why I didn’t leave for her. It would have never ended. Until I bowed to her wishes.”

Spencer didn’t know what to say to that.

“We are responsible to each other Spencer. I don’t want to be where you are not. Do you want to be where I am not?”

Spencer shook his head.

“Then we stay as one or leave as one.”

Spencer nodded. Aaron reached up and rubbed a tear from his eye that he hadn’t even realized that he had shed.

“I don’t want to interrupt,” Rossi started.

“Yet, you are.” Aaron turned in the seat to look at him and the rest of the team. “It’s fine. Our little spat is over.”

“Yes, I thought it might be. While you two were discussing your differences, the team came to a decision. Especially once they found out how long the two of you have actually been together and well, Reid, you can stay. They don’t want to see the team broke up and as long as I stay in charge of Reid they are fine with keeping the team as it is.”

Spencer looked behind Rossi and saw that the team was nodding. Spencer waved them over. JJ was the first to brave the distance, and she hugged Aaron and then Spencer before grinning at the both and darting back to Will. Spencer knew it was a single obstacle, and work remained, but he felt lighter for it.


Chapter 18-June 2010

Aaron rolled over in bed and found that Spencer was asleep on his stomach again. Aaron draped himself over Spencer’s back and settled down there. Spencer felt really warm, and Aaron knew that he would pull away soon. Aaron was glad that the team had taken it well that they were soulmates. The FBI had been a little reluctant to allow Spencer and Aaron to be on the same team but they could not pull them apart.

It was why Aaron wanted to wait the longest time that they could before telling Applehorn. Applehorn had been told first, and that meeting had gone well. Applehorn had not been shocked at all about it but was glad that they were soulmates because he had already noticed that the two of them were closer than normal.

Aaron’s lawyer was taking care of all of the legal things of joining their lives. Registering the bond between mates was just as much of a hassle legally as getting married, just thankfully there was no actual ceremony. Aaron was sure that someday he would want to put a ring on Spencer’s finger and call him husband as well as soulmate, but that was a long way away.

Legally, Spencer was recognized as Jack’s father, and Aaron had already had the adoption papers filled out. Aaron had rushed those before anything else. He didn’t want anything to happen that would cause Jack to be separated from Spencer. Wills were going to be filled out after all of the new paperwork was done. The adoption papers were sitting on Aaron’s nightstand just waiting for Spencer to look at them and sign them.

Spencer huffed out a breath and Aaron watched his hand reach out and snag his phone. Aaron watched it disappear under Spencer before the pillow was pulled over his head.

It’s too early for that much hard thinking, Aaron. If you were thinking about fucking me, it would be different, but you are not. So either talk about what you have on your mind or fuck me.” Spencer’s head did not appear above the pillow, so Aaron laughed and instead of pulling it off, Aaron pulled Spencer over to him, so they were in the center of the bed. Aaron grabbed Spencer’s arms and pulled them out from under the pillow and pressed them down into the bed. He nuzzled at the hair on the back of Spencer’s neck.

“Is that what you want?”

Spencer nodded his head, so Aaron lowered down to nip at the back of Spencer’s neck.

“I’ll talk to you after I give you what you want.” Aaron grabbed the lube from Spencer’s bedside stand. Aaron kissed down Spencer’s back a little before going back up to lube two of his fingers. Spencer spread his legs as Aaron slipped down a little more to get the angle that he wanted. Aaron’s two fingers slipped inside of Spencer easily. The honeymoon phase of the relationship had not stopped yet, and Aaron kind of hoped that it never did. While they had not had anal sex the night before, Aaron had played with Spencer’s hole and prostate while he had been sucking him off. Aaron hadn’t even lasted for Spencer to return the favor.

Spencer’s hands grabbed the sheet on the bed, and he pushed himself up to his knees, displaying himself for Aaron. Aaron bent down and bit at Spencer’s cheek before he curled his fingers to brush over Spencer’s prostate. Aaron had never enjoyed sex with anyone as much as he did Spencer. There was no pressure like there had been with Haley. Aaron had to focus and never be too aggressive, never be too needy. As long as Spencer got off and enjoyed it, he didn’t care what happened. As long as it ended in orgasm really, Spencer really didn’t care what happened. Aaron found himself becoming a better lover for it. Spencer’s silence made Aaron focus on the younger man and his slight reactions to everything. There was no moan of pleasure to let him know he was doing anything right and there was no hiss of pain when something was wrong. Instead, there were just those little breathy moans that if Aaron was too worked up, or he was making too much noise, he’d miss those sounds that he loved.

Aaron pulled his fingers free before he grabbed the lube to dribble some on his cock, he pressed into Spencer after a quick hand spread the lube around. Spencer shuddered as Aaron bottomed out. Reaching around with the lubed hand, Aaron found Spencer’s cock, and it was already leaking so much.

“Were you dreaming of this?” Aaron asked, and he watched Spencer nod his head under the pillow. Aaron stayed pressed into him and pulled the pillow off of Spencer’s head. Spencer was smiling, Aaron could see the tips of the grin on his cheeks.

“This exactly or something else?” Aaron asked. Spencer’s hand lifted up long enough for him to a make a so-so movement, so Aaron pulled out of him, and as soon as he did, Spencer rolled onto his back. Aaron grabbed Spencer’s thighs and pushed them up, his hands sliding up until he had a hold of the underside of Spencer’s knees. Spencer grabbed ahold of Aaron’s shoulders and pulled him close to kiss him.

Aaron had thought that Spencer liked to kiss during sex because it helped to settle Aaron on the noises that Spencer couldn’t make but given how much Spencer liked to kiss him in general, Aaron knew now that it was just an extension of that. Aaron balanced himself onto the forearm of his right arm and pulled out of the kiss to stare down at Spencer. Spencer wiggled his legs out from between them to wrap them around Aaron’s lower back, getting them that much closer. Spencer’s arms wrapped around Aaron’s neck, tugging him down that little bit to kiss him again.

Spencer called it fucking, but it wasn’t it was lovemaking. Both of their orgasms rolled over them gently, gasping out in each other’s mouths. Aaron could barely hold himself up, but he was saved as Spencer rolled him over to rest on his chest. Spencer’s head laid over Aaron’s heart and just listened to it beat.

“So did it live up to your dream?” Aaron asked as he trailed his fingertips up and down Spencer’s back, barely brushing on the sweaty skin. It was summer, so Aaron didn’t go to work as early as he did during the school year. He had started it last year in the wake of what happened, and so he had started it up again for him and for Spencer for the summer. The work days were shorter and intense when they were home, but it was worth it.

Spencer crinkled his nose, and Aaron recognized the look as his thinking look. Aaron laughed and tickled down Spencer’s sides. Spencer wiggled, trying to escape. Aaron let him, but Spencer didn’t go far. Instead, he just pushed himself up and sat on Aaron’s waist.

“Dreams never live up to reality. Reality is so much better than my dreams.” Spencer smiled down at Aaron before he reached up to ruffle Aaron’s hair. “Join me in a shower?”

The shower was not quick at all. There was a lot of time spent just touching and kissing under the spray until all of the hot water was gone in the tank. Jack had taken a long bath the night before so thankfully he didn’t need to take a bath that morning before being dropped off at a neighbor’s house. A new family had moved into the area just a few weeks before, the husband transferred to DC from Texas for a desk job at the Pentagon. The wife, Elena was a wonderful woman who had been a caregiver for base children from the moment she had married her husband. It had not taken long for her to collect children to watch over the summer from the area. She didn’t know sign language, but she was fantastic at listening to Jack when he mimed what he wanted or didn’t want. So far Jack loved her.

There wasn’t a lot of time for spending together between too long in the shower and Jack sleeping in, but there was a rushed breakfast which Spencer cooked while Aaron got Jack up and ready. The routine had been easy to fall into after getting used to Jack not having to rush to school.

“One more day until I get to spend all day with Spencer at the park,” Jack signed as the car was pausing to let Jack out. Aaron watched his fingers in the rearview mirror. Jack was very excited about going to the park. Spencer was going to play a little chess in the afternoon with a teenager that he liked to play with. But before that, it was going to be a few hours of Jack playing before he started to learn chess. If Jack liked it and wanted to keep learning it, it was going to become a weekend thing for the two of them to do when soccer wasn’t in season.

“I know you are looking forward to it, Jack.” Aaron watched as Jack climbed out of the car. Spencer opened his door, and Jack climbed in to give Spencer a hug and a kiss and lean over to give Aaron a kiss. Aaron was enjoying these times because he knew that the time was fast approaching where jack would not want public affection from him.

The door to the house opened, and Elena stood there waving at the three of them before Jack took off.

Aaron switched the car out of park and drove toward the highway that would take then to Quantico. Just before he got there though, Aaron pulled off the road.

“Aaron?” Spencer asked as Aaron shut off the car.

“I’ve had these papers for two weeks now, and I keep putting off asking you to think about them.”

“Think about them?” Spencer asked.

Aaron reached into the back seat and grabbed the packet from his briefcase and handed it over to Spencer. Spencer looked at the logo in the corner and Aaron’s name hand printed in the middle. His nose crinkled in the same way that it had earlier that morning. Aaron gripped the steering wheel, and Spencer’s eyes went to the creaking leather.

Spencer opened the manila envelope like it might hold a bomb and Aaron knew that mentally he thought that it could be. Spencer laid the stapled papers in his lap and flipped through the pages. Aaron knew Spencer’s work reading speed and his pleasure reading speed pretty well, this was a pace between the two. Spencer looked in the rearview mirror for a moment after he got to the last page.

“You know that my father left me when I was young.”

“Yes, Spencer. You’ve talked about it some. I’m not afraid of you doing that, even without those papers signed. I’m fairly certain that before I even kissed you if something happened for us to not be friends anymore, you would continue to see Jack through Jessica. I know that you love Jack more than you ever thought that you could and that this paper isn’t going to change that. This paper is more about me and my need to make sure with this job that everything is taken care of. This legal document isn’t going to make you love Jack more or less. The only reason that I have hesitated to give it to you is that I know of your feelings on fathers and I didn’t want you to freak out in thinking of Jack as yours, even though he already is.”

“He already is my son, no matter what this paper says. I don’t want anything to change as far as that goes. I don’t want Jack to call me anything but Spencer until he wants to. He’s already feeling stressed on how everything has settled, but he’s still not speaking.”

“I’ve seen you discussing a few things when Jack thinks that I am busy.”

“I’ve told him that he can’t rush it and that his voice will come back when it wants.” Spencer glanced at Aaron for a few quick second before going back to looking out the window again. I feel bad.

“Why?” Aaron cursed himself for starting this in the car. It wasn’t the best place because he couldn’t really force Spencer to look at him or hold him.

“I hate the day that he gets his voice back because then he’s more like you than me and that makes me feel selfish.”

“Not selfish just human. You’ve had this part of Jack that no one else has been able to claim. I can understand. Jack’s not going to stop talking to you with his hands though, Spencer. Nor am I. It’s not like we both won’t need to stay learning sign language as new words come up. You cannot talk, and that’s never going to change. I like talking to you with my hands sometimes. I like the silence of it and just think that there are times that silence is nice when not waking up Jack. There are times thinking back to Jack’s infant months that having the ability to talk to Haley with sign language would have been wonderful. Much less chance of waking Jack up.”

Spencer shrugged at Aaron’s words and didn’t look at him. Aaron sighed and unbuckled his seat, he watched Spencer watch him as he got out of the car and moved around to open Spencer’s door. Spencer looked away from him and out into the lot that they were parked in.

“He’s not going to not love you anymore if you don’t share that trait. He loves you because you are you. Whether you sign those papers today or a year from now it doesn’t matter.” Aaron forced Spencer’s face toward his own. Spencer had tears on his face. Aaron brushed at them with his thumbs. “You don’t think that Jack doesn’t love you do you?”

Spencer shook his head. He tried to raise up his hands, but Aaron just leaned in and kissed his forehead.

“Jack has loved you for longer than I have and it’s not just a childish love. He loves you like he loves me.”

Spencer pushed Aaron back a little so that he could sign. “I will sign the papers as soon as we get into the office. I do want to, Aaron. I love him so much, and I know that the paper doesn’t prove it. I just hate feeling like I am taking a small part of him from you.”

“And that’s part of why I love you. From day one you have hated to take my time with Jack away from me. So thank you for signing the papers without getting upset at me.”

Spencer leaned in and kissed Aaron, trying to convey with his mouth what he couldn’t speak. Aaron allowed him to kiss him as long as he liked. It was nice being the boss and having years of being the first in. He expected a text from Dave asking him if he was okay but other than that no one would blink an eye at him being about half an hour later than normal.

Aaron watched Spencer was he penned his newest letter to his mother. Aaron liked watching him as he wrote for many reasons but the top two was that his face was so serene while he was doing it. He enjoyed writing to her and liked his alone time doing it. Aaron had set up a small area in the office that had a lap desk leaning beside the chair and a stack of the paper that Spencer wrote to her on a stand there with the pens that he liked. If Spencer was in that chair, everyone left him alone. It did not mean that Aaron didn’t stare though.

Spencer ignored Aaron’s staring after he finally got used to it. Aaron didn’t watch him much, but there were a few things that Aaron wanted to talk to Spencer about. While all of their things were combined, they still have most of the financial things separate, and Aaron hadn’t even thought about asking Spencer’s opinion before he had done something slightly stupid.

I can hear you waiting from over here. I’m done writing the letter so you can tell me whatever it is.” Spencer was sealing up the envelope for the letter, and Aaron knew that he would drop it in the post box down the road on the way to the park in a little bit. Jack was just finishing up some of the summer work that Spencer had him do daily so that he wouldn’t lose anything from the school year before. New Haven sent home packets like it for all students, but Spencer had added to Jack’s.

“I know that we had talked a little about the house for Jessica and we had talked to her and she was kind of on the fence about everything.”

Aaron you didn’t put a bid in on that house next door did you?

“We agreed never to lie to each other, Spencer so how exactly do you want me to answer that?”

She’s going to slap you on the back of the head, and you won’t be able to say a thing about it.

“I know that, but I have plans for that backyard. Jack wants a pool, and our yard is too small. I want to tear down the fence around the yards and build one that doesn’t separate the houses but keeps everyone else out.”

Grand plans but what happens if she says no?

“I don’t know.” Aaron really didn’t. He hoped that she didn’t say no. She had done, did, and would continue to do so much for her that money that was sitting in an account that he didn’t need would go better to buying her a house.

I understand the gesture, Aaron but just remember that if she gets upset, she isn’t ungrateful but just surprised by the grand nature of the gift.

“I know. When she was in college, her car broke down. Haley wanted a new car, and I bought it for her, and when Haley gave Jessica her old one, it brought a few small issues. I’ll be nice, and I’ll be gentle, and I’ll make her understand why I want to do it. It’s not that I think she can’t take care of herself, it’s that I want to show her how much what she has done for me means to me and giving her some safety and a place to call her own will show that, more than just letting her live in my basement.”

It is a nice basement. I’d love to turn part of it into a library/office for me.

“You don’t like sharing an office with me?” Aaron pouted a little bit until Spencer threw his pen at him. “I know having to share the space when you are trying to spread out and work on classwork sucks. So today while you two are at the park, I’m going to talk to Jessica. So if you get a big S.O.S., she didn’t take it well at all.”

Spencer nodded and looked at the envelope on the lap desk before he set it aside and stacked the letter on top of the extra paper.

I liked my childhood. I knew that I should have told people what was wrong with mom and that I needed help but taking me away from her wasn’t going to help her, and it wasn’t going to help me. Genius intelligence like mine coupled with my muteness was a recipe for abuse of all kinds in foster care or a group home. I made things work. I want us to go to Vegas and see mom soon. We can get a few days off and go before Jack goes back to school for the year. Just one day can be seeing mom and you meeting her. I do want you to meet her, Aaron. I want you to meet the woman who made me who I am.

“I never thought that you didn’t, Spencer. I know that with her sickness and the distance and your job given her delusions, it can’t be easy to tell her that you’ve found your soulmate in a man who is the consummate, G-Man as it were. We can’t just do a surprise visit. I don’t have parents, and with everything that has happened with Roy, Jack needs Grandparents, and even if it’s just occasional letters from her, Jack would love whatever she does.”

I’ve written her about us and everything but when she does write back she doesn’t mention it, and I don’t know what to think about that. I can call her, and I use my tablet to speak to her, but sometimes the mechanical sounding voice freaks her out. It’s better to see her in person.

“Why don’t you go and see her a few weeks before? You take the weekend and kind of do a test run. Jack and I will miss you, but you need to make sure that she’s okay with us just popping in.”

I might do that, everything depends on cases.” Spencer’s eyes tracked around the room and landed on the clock. His eyes widened, and he looked at his phone to double check the time. Aaron looked at the clock on the computer. He hadn’t realized that it had got so late.

“You guys need to head out.”

Spencer watched Jack closely as he played. The boy didn’t move far from the swing and slide set. Even though Jack wasn’t yelling and screaming like the other kids, he was easy to spot. It was also easy to notice that many of the women were staring at him with stares that were getting less and less obvious. Spencer had never taken Jack to this park, it was one of two closest to Aaron’s house, and it was the one that had a chess area. If Spencer liked it, it would become his primary park to play chess in. Spencer was particular about who he played with but his friend, Jimmy, would go anywhere in the city to play with Spencer.

The parks in the DC and suburb area had a strong police presence, so Spencer wasn’t shocked to see a patrol car make its way around the outer edge of the park. He wasn’t shocked to see two cops on foot walking through the park. What he was shocked about was that the two of them were eying him. Spencer had his bag beside him with only his phone out. His wallet with driver’s license and his FBI credentials were inside of the bag as well. Spencer felt his phone start to vibrate before the ring started to blast from the speakers. It was Aaron. If he was calling, he just wanted to relay information and not have a conversation.

Spencer reached out to pick up the phone, and the two cops started toward him. Spencer hesitated as the two cops stopped just about two feet from him.

“Sir, put down the phone.”

Spencer complied and set down the phone. He placed his hands just a few inches above his lap and signed that he was mute. He knew that it was unlikely that the cops would know sign language but he hoped that they could recognize it for what it is. When the one cop looked at him like he was an idiot, he knew that it wasn’t the case.

“Sir, please put your hands down and stop making threatening gestures.”

Spencer knew then that this was not going to go well at all. Spencer’s eyes darted to where Jack was playing. Jack had not noticed what was going on yet. The mother’s had though. All of them were staring at him, and a few looked very proud, like little peacocks. Spencer knew that they had called the cops on him, he just wasn’t sure why. Spencer looked back at the pair of cops and saw that the youngest had his hand on his gun. They thought him a threat. Spencer wasn’t going to do anything to make them take fire or even draw their guns. He laid his hands in his lap, palms down and fingers spread.

“What are you doing here?” The older officer asked. They were standing just right to where Spencer couldn’t see their names due to the sun.

I can’t talk, Spencer mouthed.

“I repeat what are you doing here in the park with no children.” The officer’s tone was getting harder, and he was reaching for his gun now. Spencer thought about the card that some of his verbally or auditory challenged friends carried, but it wouldn’t help him at that moment because if he reached for it, he would get shot.

I can’t talk, Spencer mouthed again, but still, there was nothing on the officer’s faces that said they understood him, or they didn’t want to understand him.

“You have to speak louder,” the younger officer said, but Spencer was halted from glaring as Jack ran up to them. He sidestepped the cops and started toward Spencer.

Spencer watched as the older cop grabbed Jack and pulled him back as Jack’s hands were making the sign for Spencer’s name. Spencer mouthed the word stay at him, and Jack didn’t try and fight out of the cop’s hold. This was turning out to be a horrible day.

“Officers, excuse me.” The woman who spoke was wearing an outfit that wasn’t made for a day at the park. She was flaunting her money to everyone around her. The child that he had seen with her was dressed just as well and was only watching most of the kids and playing only on things that would not get her dirty.

“Ma’am, please step back.”

“I know the boy. He’s damaged mentally, and his father is not here. His father is Aaron Hotchner. I think that this man kidnapped him.”

Spencer wanted to ask the woman if she was damaged mentally.

“Is that so?” The older officer asked, and he looked at Spencer with a glint in his eyes.

“Yes. Normally Aaron or Aaron’s sister Jessica brings Jack here to play, but today they didn’t come with him. Jack keeps looking at this man and then looking away like he’s trying to figure out a way to run away.”

“Are you the one that called 911?” The younger officer asked.

“Yes. It just didn’t seem right.”

Spencer realized then that this woman was letting her perception of Spencer color everything, as well as her perceived notion that Jack was severely damaged in a way that made him unable to let it known if he was with someone that he shouldn’t be. Spencer resigned himself that he was going to get taken into the local station and processed as a child kidnapper and probably at least booked before someone would get a hold of Aaron and Aaron would straighten it out. The officers would probably not go through Spencer’s bag. They would not find the credentials that marked him an FBI agent or the tag on said credentials that marked him as mute. These two wanted the glory of doing something other than catch pickpockets and purse snatchers. Spencer had met many of them over the years.

“Jack, where is your father?” The younger officer asked, crouching in front of Jack while the older starred Spencer down.

Jack answered with sign language. The woman snorted as if making a point that Jack was damaged. Jack looked at Spencer and then down at his hands. The officers were distracted, so Spencer signed at him to calm down and that everything would be all right. Jack nodded.

“Your father will fix this and save us,” Spencer signed quickly. Spencer knew that today was not going to help the hero complex that Jack had for his father but at the moment, Spencer didn’t care. He just wanted to be out of this situation.

“Radio ahead that we are bringing in a kidnapped child who is severely mentally challenged and his kidnapper who is refusing to speak,” the older officer said as he drew out his cuffs. “Up and turn around, hands behind your back.”

Spencer did as the man asked and watched as the younger officer picked up Spencer’s bag and then Jack. Jack struggled until he caught Spencer’s eye and Spencer shook his head no. Jack slumped down like he had been defeated and pouted. Spencer listened with only a little bit of his mind as he was read his rights, but the only thing that he could do was nod when the officer asked if he understood his rights. The man frowned like Spencer was scum, and then he was shoved into the back of the police car. Spencer listened as the older officer added to the report that not only was the child mentally damaged but he was so traumatized that he was unable to speak and that they needed a child psychologist to meet them at the station to figure out what had happened to the boy.

A second cop car pulled up, and Spencer watched as Jack was put into the back of it where the female officer was sitting. The younger officer of the pair that had cuffed Spencer was talking to the male officer in the front seat of the other car. Spencer just stared at the officers, uncaring of what they thought of him.

The drive to the station that the cops were working out of was short, and Spencer was resigned to being treated like an UnSub, and he wasn’t looking around when he was pulled from the car but a voice that he knew wafted over the air to him. Spencer looked until he found the person the voice belonged to. It was Will’s partner. He was standing and talking to another detective. Spencer saw a rock on the ground, and he stepped on it as he was pulled along, rolling his ankle and falling. He felt the asphalt rip at his face and a trickle of blood start up but it when he looked up it was all worth it as the other Detective looked at Spencer and recognition flashed over his face. He started toward them as the second car with Jack pulled up.

“Excuse me, what is this man being brought in for?” Detective Wilson asked.

“He’s going in for kidnapping and harming a child. The child with him is so traumatized that he can’t speak and this man is refusing to speak.

“Rodgers, he’s a mute. His name is Spencer Reid, and he literally can’t speak with his voice, he can only sign. Detective LaMontagne knows him. I’ve met him once before. Will can probably translate for us, I’ll call him.”

“He’s in possession of a child that is not his. Doesn’t matter if he is friends with Detective LaMontagne, he’s being booked for kidnapping.”

“Doctor Reid, is that Jack?” Wilson asked.

Spencer nodded, feeling a drop of blood trickle further down his face. The cut had to be bad for it to bleed that much. Spencer looked at Jack who was fighting the lady cop who had him. Spencer made a distressed sounding gasp and Wilson looked over to where Jack was fighting the woman. Wilson stepped past Spencer and the cop who had him and crouched in front of Jack. Jack stopped immediately and looked at him. Wilson handed over his badge and said something to Jack who slumped down and nodded. Wilson stood up before picked up Jack who had the badge clutched in his hands. Spencer sighed in relief because at least Jack knew that someone was on their side.

The cop who was directing Spencer to a chair was none to gentle about it. He was shoved down into the chair so hard that it scooted across the ground. Spencer watched Wilson take Jack to a different room and set him down into it. It looked like a children’s interview room and knew that at least Jack wasn’t going to see this get ugly.

“Look, that kid was so scared he wouldn’t talk,” the older officer said. He was sitting at the desk beside where Spencer was and was filling out a form. “The woman that told us that his name was Jack and who his father was told us that he was mentally damaged. The kid will probably never be able to tell us what this man did to him.”

“Jack is not mentally damaged, not in the way that you are thinking. He was diagnosed with traumatic loss of voice and is still recovering from it. That’s how he knows Doctor Reid because Agent Hotchner met him to help with Jack since Doctor Reid is mute and has been since birth.”

“Agent Hotchner?” The younger officer said.

“Yes, just like-” Wilson stopped speaking to look around he found Spencer’s bag on the younger officer’s shoulder and tore it away from him.

“Hey, that is evidence!” The younger officer tried to grab it, but Wilson won and started to dig around. A few seconds later he came up with Spencer’s credentials.

“Just like Doctor Reid here is an FBI Agent as well. Good luck gentlemen you just put cuffs on an FBI agent and a legal guardian of the child that you think he kidnapped and molested!”

The sound in the station bullpen stopped at those words and two seconds later the door of the station opened, and Spencer saw Will. Will looked around, and when he saw Spencer, his eyes turned murderous.


“Kid room.” Wilson pointed and Will damn near stalked over and opened the door gently. As soon as Jack saw Will, he escaped from the lady cop who was in there and ran to Will. Will picked him up. Will turned around and moved over towards where Spencer was.

“Wonderful job officers, wonderful job. You just collared a mute FBI agent taking his mute kid to the park. By the way, Agent Hotchner is on his way here right now and wants to know why his soulmate was just collared for child kidnapping and molestation charges. Also, Doctor Reid here is on the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. Don’t think that this is going to go away. You are supposed to find ID before you take someone in, and he has both his Driver’s license and his FBI credentials on him and guess what, his FBI credentials state that he is mute and that he can use his phone to communicate if needed when someone can’t understand sign language.”

Will’s tirade into the officers who had taken Spencer into custody was stopped when the Chief came out of his officer. Spencer looked at the man and could tell that he was a no-nonsense man.

“Detective LaMontagne, what is going on?”

“Sir, Officers Lombardy and Still handcuffed and brought in a mute FBI agent who was taking his kid to the park.”

“I heard about the kidnapper and child molester that they caught.”

“Yes, well Sir. If they had actually ID’d the man before they left the park, they would have found his credentials.” Will held his free hand out, and Wilson set the credentials in it. The Chief came over and looked at them. He looked at Spencer and then the bag. “Where is the phone that this badge is talking about?”

Wilson dug around in Spencer’s bag but came up empty.

“He was getting a call on it when we arrived. He set it down, and I put it in an evidence bag,” the younger agent said and handed it over to the Chief.

Spencer watched the man open the evidence bag and look at the phone.

“Code?” The Chief asked. Spencer just raised an eyebrow at the man and jerked his head toward Jack. The Chief handed the phone to Jack who unlocked it with a glare and handed it back. “There are seven missed called from someone named Hotch. And a text. The text says that he and Jessica are on their way and that the family lawyer is on his way as well and that you, Spencer are to keep your fingers still. Detective Wilson, will you please uncuff Doctor Reid and see about a medical kit for his injury. How did Doctor Reid come by the injury?”

Officer Still swallowed and handed over the keys to the cuffs to Wilson. “He stumbled getting out of the car.”

Wilson stepped over to Spencer and was gentle as he unlocked the cuffs. Spencer rubbed at his wrists for a few seconds before holding his hand out for his phone. The Chief handed it over.

I stumbled to get the attention of Detective Wilson who I had met before. The officers did not ruff me up.

“I thought Hotch told you to be quiet,” Will said with a smile before he handed Jack over to Spencer. Jack’s arms wrapped around Spencer’s neck and his body started to shudder. Will stepped back, taking the others with him. “Jack lost his voice after his mother died while they were in Witness Protection. Agent Hotchner, when he gets here is not going to be nice.”

“Any relation to the Hotchner that was a prosecutor years ago? I heard he left law practice.”

“For the FBI, it’s the same man,” Will said.

“I remember how no-nonsense he was back then. I was the arresting officer in a case that he did. I doubt that he’s changed that much. Doctor Reid, if you would like to follow me to my office.”

The doors to the station opened, and Spencer couldn’t help but look over. Aaron had changed before coming into the station because he wasn’t in the jeans with the holes starting in the knees that he had been when Spencer had left. He was in one of his court suits, tie impeccable. Behind him was Jessica who looked like she wanted to spit fire.

Spencer stood up and nudged Jack’s head on his shoulder. Jack looked up and when Spencer nodded towards Aaron Jack looked. Spencer barely had time to set Jack down before he was running toward his father. Jack didn’t jump into his father’s arms though. Instead, his fingers and hands moved almost too fast for even Spencer to understand. Jack’s hands didn’t stop, and no one interrupted him.

“Jack, thank you,” Aaron said as he crouched down to be level with his son. Aaron looked at Jessica and smiled at her before looking back at Jack. “Buddy, I know you want to be with Spencer and me right now, but Spencer and I need to talk to the Police Chief and the officers who arrested Spencer. We are going to probably use words that I don’t want you to hear, so Jessica is going to take you to get a snack down the road with Detective Wilson, just so that no one accuses her of child abduction and molestation as well.”

Spencer could almost feel the emotions in the room at that moment. It was like the emotions were taking on a life of their own.

“I’d love to take Miss Jessica and young Jack to get a snack,” Wilson said with a smile on his face. He held out his arm, and Jessica picked up Jack and settled him on a hip before she looped her free arm through Wilson’s. Spencer widened his eyes at the blush that was creeping up Jessica’s face and neck. Spencer looked at Aaron. Aaron was looking at Wilson like he now didn’t want Wilson to be the one to take Jessica out. If Wilson passed Jessica’s muster and the man did go on a date with her, Spencer did not envy Wilson at all.

“Agent Hotchner, Doctor Reid, please come with me to my office. Lombardy, Still, Detective LaMontagne, please come as well.” The Chief looked like he would instead be doing anything but going into the office to speak with them, but he was going to do it. FBI agents were not trained in Sign Language but the motions for I Can’t Speak, Hear, and Talk were all taught to agents. Spencer wondered about how much training or even understanding most regular cops had on dealing with the non-verbal and non-hearing communities.

Spencer walked to the office right behind the Chief and sat down in the chair that the man offered. Aaron was offered the seat beside him, but Aaron chose to stand behind Spencer. The two officers walked to the far side of the room, and Will took the position that had been offered Aaron when Aaron nodded toward it, smiling at Will.

“Agent Hotchner,” the Chief started.

“Actually, I’d rather like to hear from the Officers what happened, first. Then we can get into the politics of this.”

“We got a call about a man acting suspicious in the park,” the older cop, Lombardy started. “When we arrived, we looked around, and this man was looking at all of the kids for long periods of time. We watched him for a few minutes before approaching him. We started to try and talk to him, and he made gestures that I took as threatening and we told him to lower his hands. He did as we asked. We were approached by a mother who said that she knew the child in question and that he was damaged mentally and that this man was not his father. The kid came running and to stop a riot from happening, we arrested the man on the spot to get him into a car and away from the park. We did not need a whole bunch of parents freaking out because there was a pedophile there.”

The Chief looked like he was chewing nails.

“Spencer, did they attempt to communicate with you?”

Spencer looked down at the phone and then at Aaron. Aaron quirked an eyebrow at him, so Spencer lifted up his phone and turned it on its side so that he could type on it. However, before Spencer could, Aaron lifted the phone away and set down his tablet. Spencer tapped away at it until the speech was already loaded up and ready to go.

The officers did not try and offer another way to speak. I was told to talk louder when I tried to mouth words at them and told to lower my phone when Aaron called me. They did not ask if I was unable to speak but instead just held the belief that I was refusing to talk. I know the statistics about resisting even to get the cops to understand something. I knew that in the end, Aaron would be here and we would all be in this position. Because I have not done anything wrong. I have never harmed a child. I would never harm, Jack. The officers responded to a call and let the words of the caller prejudice them against the situation. They walked in with the eyes of men who wanted to get the glory of catching a pedophile and then a kidnapper when they found out that I was not the boy’s father. I was not the only person there that had taken a child that was not biologically theirs, but none of the nannies or babysitters were questioned about their watching the children.

“He was watching the kids way too close.”

“I know that the last time that Spencer and I took Jack to the park for him to play, I watched the kids play more than he did because most parents don’t pay that close of attention. My Unit is the unit that is called when kids go missing. I’m the one that has to tell parents that it wasn’t their fault when just watching the kids play or watching who was moving around them could have stopped their kids from being taken. I watch because I know what happens to kids who aren’t watched and I have already had a serial killer target my son and my ex-wife. I won’t lose him to a person who wants to hurt him when I can stop it.”

“Was Doctor Reid read his rights?”

“Yes. He nodded that he understood.”

The Chief sighed. “When a person is read their rights, the agreeance has to be verbalized, and if they cannot, a card has to be signed. Did he sign the card?”


“What were you going to do if Detective Wilson had not seen him?”

“Print him and see if he had any priors.”

“Without getting a name?”

“I’m sure that I probably would have gone through his bag for ID.”

“And when you found the credentials?”

“I don’t know.”

“You mean that you were not going to look for ID and just print him and arrest him.” The Chief sat down in his chair hard and looked at the two officers before he looked at Aaron and Spencer. “Doctor Reid, Agent Hotchner, there is nothing that can be done to take away the memory of your son watching Doctor Reid being arrested. I will make sure that my department is taught what to do in a situation like this.”

“You are right,” Aaron said almost interrupting the Chief. “However, that does not change what happened. My supervisor will hear about this, and from there the FBI will be making a choice whether to seek charges on this.”

“They have no recourse,” Lombardy near screamed.

“Actually, yes they do,” Will said. He straightened the sleeve of his dress shirt before looking at the two cops. “The BAU is an on-call unit. Even leave is not always guaranteed. If a case had come up and the team was delayed due to him being in the custody of the MPD, bad things could have happened. As it stands, even though papers were not filed, the officers did arrest Doctor Reid.”

“I plan to talk to my attorney and see if he thinks we have a chance of winning a case.”

“And then no law agency would ever work with Doctor Reid.” Lombardy looked pissed but not a what he had done, no he looked pissed about the fact that he was caught red-handed.

This isn’t going to be because I am an FBI agent, Officer Lombardy but because I am mute. If I had been able to speak and tell you who I am and that I was there with my soulmate’s child and able to prove that, we would not be here. The only reason that we are here is that I was unable to defend myself verbally. And don’t worry Aaron and I will deal with the woman who called the cops. I have a certainty of who it was, and she will find the knowledge that Aaron has a male soulmate a horrid thing. She hates same-sex couples at least after this, she won’t be trying to get into Aaron’s pants anymore. Chief, if that is all, I would like to go home and relax. I did not get my chess game in, and my son was looking forward to that. We will have to reschedule it, and Jack will be upset. In this whole thing that is what upsets me the most, that Jack saw me get arrested. I couldn’t care less about what happens to me. If this incident disappears, I’ll be upset. I want to see the fallout of what happens here.”

“Please,” the Chief said.

“The time for talking is over. The FBI will be in contact as well as my lawyer and probably at least a few special interest groups.”

Spencer stood up and waited for the Chief to wave them out. Will followed behind Spencer and Aaron.

“Wilson sent me a text where he and Jessica are. Once we get there, I’ll talk to Wilson, and he and I will go and finish our shift out. I am sorry that this happened, but I am glad that Wilson was here.” Will handed over the medical kit from where it had been left behind on the desk that Spencer had been sitting beside.

“I would rather do this at home but Jessica is expecting us to come and get her and there is too much blood,” Aaron murmured as he pushed Spencer toward the chair and forced him down into it. Aaron dropped to a crouch, tilting Spencer’s head down to where he could clean the wound. Spencer closed his eyes as Aaron’s fingers touched around the wound. He didn’t want to see the blood. The sting of the alcohol wipe had Spencer flinching. Aaron kissed the side of his face to calm him down, away from where the scrape was. “You did this really good. I know that head wounds bleed a lot, but this is something else. I think that tonight we will have Jack in our bed at some point.”

Spencer nodded his agreement, but he didn’t care. Spencer had never been handcuffed like outside of the Academy in a controlled scenario.

“JJ texted me and wanted me to tell you that Applehorn has been briefed and is irate. Expect a call from him, Aaron. JJ only had a few details, but it seems that Applehorn has a brother-in-law that works here and as soon as he realized that you were BAU, Spencer he called Applehorn. It seems that some of the discussion in the bullpen was on speakerphone with him listening in. Applehorn is less than pleased and has already started an investigation into this. While they will not sue, there is I think going to be training for all of MPD on how to deal with various disabled communities. I don’t think that I want to be this station when the time comes. I’m just glad that I don’t work out of here. Wilson and I were coming here today to talk with a few officers who caught a case that is close to one that we have.”

“Spencer and I will discuss whether we want to sue, personally. I have kept up my status to practice law, but I have not cared to actually do it for anything. With Roy, I was too emotional, and there is the saying that a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client. I knew that working as my own lawyer would not do well at all, especially since I come off as a bully a lot and bullying an old man on the stand would not be looked on well at all.”

There was a chime, and Spencer opened his eyes to look at Will. The man was reading his phone, and then he frowned before grinning.

“The media has already caught wind that a mute man and his son were taken into custody. It seems that one of the women at the park was crowing about getting a child molester and kidnapper caught only for it to backfire on her, and the media is running a story about a mute man unable to talk being taken into custody. I say that if you want to escape this without press, I would leave now.”

Aaron looked down at where the blood had dripped off of Spencer’s face and onto his clothes. He shrugged out of his suit jacket and draped it over Spencer’ body to at least hide the blood for when they went to wherever Wilson and Jessica had gone with Jack.

“Jack is going to be clingy today, Spencer. He was awful after he got out of WitSec. I just want you to be prepared. I don’t know if he is going to latch onto me or you or both of us so just be prepared for a leech.”

Spencer nodded. He still had the tablet in his hands and started to turn it around to type on it but stopped when a man stepped up behind Aaron. Spencer looked up at him, getting Aaron’s attention. Aaron stood up and glared at the man.

“If you would like to leave out the side, the press is already outside, Agent Hotchner. Detective LaMontagne can go and get your car.”

“No, thank you. I don’t mind the press catching us.” Aaron looked at Spencer, and Spencer nodded his agreeance. There was a difference between special favors because one was an FBI agent and prejudice when an arrest happened.

“Well then Jack sends his regards and that however you want to handle this, the FBI will be backing you. He does ask that you wait until…” The officer looked at his phone. “Miss Jareau arrives to help you handle the press.”

Aaron nodded. Will stepped up to Spencer with his messenger bag and Spencer slipped his tablet into it. He was going to talk with his hands to the press. Aaron would translate. A check of his phone as Aaron handed it over told Spencer that Jimmy had seen him get arrested and was worried about him. Spencer messaged him back to check the news that night. Spencer shored himself up for what was to come. It was one thing to face the press on a case. Given his lack of verbal speech, he was never expected to talk to the press, especially since he didn’t go out to the crime scenes until after they had been cleared, just to be safe.

“Hotch,” JJ said as she swept into the police station. In her hand was a go-bag that Spencer has left at the office. It had a really nice outfit in it. Aaron pulled his jacket off of Spencer’s shoulders as JJ stepped close. “Will said that Spencer’s clothes were bloody. If you don’t want to change so that the effect is more dramatic, I can understand, but just in case I had Morgan run and grab this. Morgan is outside and is going to go with Will to get Jack and Jessica to take them home. I did not think that you would want him in the press circus.”

“As always you are perfect, JJ,” Aaron said with an amused smile on his face. It didn’t reach his eyes though. Spencer looked at his clothes and decided that he wanted to be in better clothes if his face was going to be spread all over the news. He reached out his hand, and JJ handed over the bag. The officer who was Applehorn’s brother-in-law was directing him toward a bathroom. This was not anywhere near where he had wanted this day to go, but he would meet it and hope that it helped someone.

Chapter 19- July 2010

Aaron felt warm and content as he laid in bed. He could smell Spencer still laying next to him, but there was something that was nagging at his brain. Aaron forced himself to fuller wakefulness and heard it again.


The laughter wasn’t coming from where Spencer was laying beside Aaron though, no it was coming from near the foot of the bed. Aaron tried to listen harder, but there was nothing.

Then the laughter sounded again.

Aaron pressed his eyes closed even tighter because it had been too long since he had heard that sound. Over fourteen months but it was a sound that Aaron would never forget.

It was Jack’s laughter.

Aaron shifted on the bed some to where he was closer to Spencer, making the movement slow like he was still asleep. Jack didn’t stop laughing, and from Aaron’s new angle he could see Jack sitting between Spencer and Aaron’s legs with a pile of cars. Jack used to do this with Aaron on lazy weekend mornings. He would bring in toys and play on his father’s bed until Aaron woke up. Usually, it started a weekend of lazing around and staying in bed until tummies were growling.

Closing his eyes, Aaron listened as Jack laughed to himself. He soaked in the sound of the first noise that Jack had made in months and months. He would never take for granted the sounds that Jack made for the rest of his life.

Afraid of spooking the boy and making him shut up, Aaron didn’t move again but he did open his eyes to look at Spencer. Spencer was asleep on his stomach again, his face turned away from Aaron with his hands pooled under his head. The pillow was shoved out from under Spencer’s head, and instead, he was using his forearms. He slept like that and Aaron loved it because it was a newer thing. The few nights that Aaron had slept in Spencer’s bed at his now gone apartment, he had slept like that. It meant that Spencer was finally settling again.

After the arrest, Spencer had been hesitant in everything that he did, and Aaron hadn’t liked it. The scandal of the arrest had been spread loud and far, and it was calling for a massive overhaul of the entire MPD, not just the station house that the two worked in. Once it was made aware that not only was the FBI going to be helping with the overhaul but that several special interest groups were watching with close eyes, Spencer had stepped back from it all, not wanting the publicity. There had been a good bit of extra publicity over the past few cases with the team being in the spotlight, but it had faded a lot on the last case.

Nightmares were something that Aaron wasn’t used to from Spencer, and it had taken Aaron a few nights to realize that Spencer not being in bed when they woke up was not because Spencer was just waking up early, but nightmares were waking him up. Spencer would seek shelter inside of a book or work on something on his laptop that whenever Aaron entered the room, he would stop.

After that whenever Spencer moved in bed, Aaron woke up and he found out what Spencer felt like and did when he had a nightmare because he couldn’t scream. His body would make the motions, but no noise except gasps was made. That first night that Aaron had grabbed Spencer and pulled him close, Spencer had fought him. Spencer was out of the nightmare, so Aaron wasn’t worried about being hurt, but he was worried that Spencer didn’t want Aaron to comfort him after a nightmare.

Then, as Garcia would say, the clue bus hit. Spencer had never had anyone comfort him after a nightmare. Spencer knew how to handle himself and how to self-comfort, but he had never had someone to hold him close after a nightmare and make the darkness go away. Aaron didn’t force him that night. He left Spencer go away, and he touched him more throughout the day at work. That night, Aaron fell asleep wrapped around Spencer.

When the nightmare started, Aaron was awake instantly, and he started to talk. Aaron didn’t try and tell him that he was safe, Spencer knew that he was. No, Aaron talked about their plans for the next weekend off with no case. He talked about anything and everything, and when finally, Spencer was fully awake and running from the bed, he did so only after he had been in Aaron’s arms for a little longer than he had the night before.

Days were more coffee than usual to get through and extra little things to remind Spencer that Aaron was there.

The next night, Spencer only sat up gasping and allowed Aaron to rub his back and talk nonsense to him. Spencer was covered in sweat, so Aaron coaxed out of his clothes and talked into a cold shower where Aaron didn’t stop touching him and wrapped him in a warm towel before they went back to bed. Spencer fell asleep with his head on Aaron’s chest to where he could hear his heartbeat. The nightmares lessened over the two weeks after that and Spencer only nestled further into Aaron’s arms unless he was sweaty.

Aaron’s nightmares never affected him that much anymore. The dreams of Foyet were long gone, and it was only on horrible cases that Aaron was waking in the night with them. He would typically roll over and pull Spencer close, letting the scent of his soulmate wash over him.

Jack’s nightmares were few and far between, even after seeing Spencer arrested. Aaron had called the school and made sure that they were aware of what happened and his school therapist made house visits to see him twice a week that first week, just to make sure that he wasn’t going to get worse. Jack bounced back like most children, knowing that no one was going to take Spencer away from him or Aaron.

Aaron looked down at Jack again. Jack wasn’t paying attention to him. Jack was playing with his cars all over Spencer’s legs. Spencer was covered in cars. There was even a roadblock on Spencer’s ass. Aaron closed his eyes and listened to Jack laughing to himself. Life didn’t get better than this. Aaron knew that Jack would get bored with playing with the cars by himself and wake up one of them soon but until then, Aaron was just going to listen.

The bed shifted, and Aaron opened his eyes just enough to see Spencer moving on the bed, his legs were moving and the cars were falling off.

“Earthquake!” Jack mock whispered.

Aaron felt his heart constrict at the word and tears started to form in his eyes. He blinked to clear his eyes as he watched Spencer settle down. As soon as Spencer stopped moving, Jack started to clean up. Jack put the cars back up but cleared the traffic jam, starting to get those cars back down Spencer’s other leg. Aaron tracked his eyes up Spencer’s body to see misty eyes looking at him under the fringe of Spencer’s hair.

The bed shook, and Aaron tried not to react, his body twitched though.

“Oh, no. Beast!” Jack let loose a long giggle and then there was a chirping meow from Curiosity. Aaron braved a look down to see that Jack had pulled Curiosity into his lap. “I love you, Curiosity.”

Aaron was on the verge of tears.

Before Aaron could even do anything, Spencer was moving. He twisted on the bed and sat up, reaching for Jack. Jack squealed and let go of Curiosity. The cat took off without a single sound.

“PAPA!” Jack screamed as Spencer grabbed him. Spencer laid back with him on his side with Jack tucked between them. His fingers moved up and down on Jack’s sides making him scream in laughter. Aaron was stuck still with the word that came out of Jack’s mouth. “Daddy, save me!”

Aaron rolled onto his side to grab Jack, but instead of helping, Aaron went for Jack’s knees. Jack wiggled until he escaped from Spencer’s hold and scooted down the bed to look at the two adults.

“Not fair,” Jack said with a smiling pout. He tucked his legs to his chest and wrapped his arms around them, protecting himself. “Two on one is not fair.”

“No, it’s not,” Spencer signed before he gave a wicked look. Aaron looked at him and Jack and realized that he missed something until Spencer leaned closer and kissed Aaron’s lips.

“Ewww, no kissing in bed,” Jack complained.

Aaron laughed, he’d kiss Spencer all day long to hear Jack’s complaints as long as he was able to hear them.

“No kissing in bed,” Jack said stronger this time, and he came up and pushed Aaron away from Spencer. He slipped himself between their bodies, and before Aaron could react, again, Spencer’s arms were holding him, and Jack was tickling him. Aaron didn’t fight out of Spencer’s hold even though he could have as Jack’s fingers went right for Aaron’s weak spots. The laughs spilled from his lips as Jack grinned at him before Aaron rolled out of Spencer’s hold and carried Jack with him to hold the boy above his body to where he couldn’t reach Aaron’s body at all. “Airplane.”

“Yeah, buddy. Airplane.” Aaron let his arms go slack, and Jack fell down to land on Aaron’s chest, screeching as he did. When Aaron looked at Spencer, he saw that he was slipping out of bed. Aaron was about to call out to him, but Spencer shook his head. Aaron frowned internally but didn’t show it to Jack. Aaron wrapped his arms around Jack’s body, holding his son close. “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Daddy. Where did Papa go?”

“I don’t know. He’ll be back.”

Aaron knew not to make a show about Jack talking. Spencer had talked to him about it and that any stress could cause him to go back to being silent. Aaron enjoyed just laying there with Jack, happy that Jack was talking again. Aaron felt himself start to drift off as he heard soft footsteps in the hall. He looked to see Spencer and Jessica there. Spencer was dressed in Aaron’s robe which had been left in the kitchen after he had taken it off after his shower the night before.

“So buddy, what do you want to do today?”

“Can we stay home? Except for breakfast. I want to go to that place that has chocolate chip pancakes as big as Papa’s head. They have that tea that Papa likes as well and that meal with the bacon that you always get. Can we spend the afternoon in the backyard?”

“Sure,” Aaron said. He looked out of the side of his eye at Spencer and Jessica in the doorway. Jessica smiled and kissed the side of Spencer’s face before she turned away.

“She’ll be back for dinner tonight. I just wanted her to hear Jack talk. She’s got plans for breakfast with a few friends and then a lunch date with Wilson.”

Aaron nodded as Spencer stepped toward them with a broad smile on his face. He sat down on the edge of the bed, and Jack looked at him.

“Breakfast out sounds terrific, Jack. You gotta get dressed though.”

“Okay,” Jack signed as he slipped off of his father and ran out of the room. A minute later he came back with the basket for his cars and cleaned them up off the bed before running out of the place again. Aaron pulled Spencer to straddle his waist. Aaron linked his hands with Spencer before kissing the back of each one.

“I was not expecting that when I woke up today but God, it was wonderful to hear.”

Spencer nodded his head as Aaron wasn’t letting go of Spencer’s hands.

“And see, he still talks with his hands to you.” Aaron leaned up, sitting all the way up and crossing his legs. Spencer wrapped his arms around Aaron’s neck after Aaron let go of his hands. “He loves you.”

I know, Spencer mouthed at Aaron. He leaned in for a kiss. Aaron allowed the kiss for a few seconds before he slipped his hands under the robe. Spencer’s body was warm from the robe and Aaron could feel himself start to harden. The bedroom door was open, but Jack couldn’t see anything. Aaron tightened his arms around Spencer’s body, pulling him close. He could feel his filling erection press into Spencer’s groin. Spencer gasped and pulled out of the kiss and stared at Aaron.

“Jack’s going to take his time getting dressed, Spencer. So if you want to do this, go lock the door. We have time. I’m not starving yet.” Aaron started press kisses down Spencer’s neck. Spencer pushed out of Aaron’s hold and stumbled to the door, he peeked into the hallway before he shut the door and locked it. Jack knew that it meant that Aaron and Spencer wanted alone time or wanted to get dressed.

Spencer fingered the robe as he stepped toward the bed. Aaron shook his head. Spencer straddled Aaron’s lap again, his hard cock very evident in his sleep pants. Aaron pushed up at his hips, and he leaned up to where Aaron could pull his pants down.

“Up further,” Aaron whispered. Spencer did as he asked and Aaron got his pants down to his knees. Spencer braced his arms on Aaron’s shoulders and pushed up to his tiptoes on the bed. Aaron pushed the pants all the way down to Spencer’s feet. Spencer settled himself onto Aaron’s lap before he pulled the pants off the rest of the way. Aaron nestled his cock underneath of Spencer’s ass and groaned at the pressure.

“What do you want?” Spencer silently asked.

“Shhh,” Aaron said, leaning up just enough to take Spencer’s mouth in a kiss. He fumbled his hand out to grab the lube in the nightstand drawer to coat his hand. He took Spencer’s cock in hand. “I’ve seen your cock jump sometimes, when I say dirty things to you, Spencer.”

Spencer made that little sound that Aaron loved, and he felt his soulmate’s cock jerk in his hand. Spencer leaned back and closed his eyes. Aaron didn’t remove his hand from Spencer’s cock, but he did wrap the other arm entirely around Spencer to grip him whole body close, and he shifted to his knees. Spencer on instinct wrapped his legs around Aaron’s waist, and his arms tightened on Aaron’s shoulders. Aaron turned them around to where he was facing the headboard. He let go of Spencer as he settled down again and Spencer’s eyes didn’t open. Spencer did relax more though as Aaron pushed him back toward the headboard.

“Unwrap your legs, Love.” Aaron helped Spencer settle on his lap with his legs straddling Aaron’s body, his cock on display between them. Aaron set up a steady and tight rhythm on Spencer’s cock, Spencer’s body rubbing on his own very nicely. “If we had more time I’d have you ride me like this. Watching your cock bob up and down as you thrust yourself on my cock. Do you want to try that sometime, Spencer?”

Spencer nodded his head. He let go of Aaron’s shoulders and grabbed the headboard above his head. Aaron felt himself getting close already.

“I want to make you lose control, Spencer. To where I can’t even get you to make a single sign with your hands. To where you can’t even gasp. Do you want that Spencer?” Aaron didn’t even give Spencer a chance to think, to react. “Or do you want to do that to me?”

Spencer thrust down into Aaron’s body harder than he had before. Aaron had found a scenario that Spencer liked.

“Do you want to take my speech, Spencer? Gag me and take me apart to where I can’t do anything but take the pleasure that you give?”

Spencer came hard, his release nearly splashing on Aaron’s face. As Aaron kept stroking his cock through the whole of the orgasm, he bucked on Aaron’s lap, making him come as well. Aaron wrapped his clean hand around the back of Spencer’s neck and pulled him up to kiss him as they both settled down from their mutual orgasms.

“Spencer, Love, open your eyes and look at me.” Aaron pressed kisses to his cheeks as Spencer’s eyes fluttered open. Aaron smiled at him. “Let’s go take a quick shower and then we can go out to breakfast. I think that I like Jack’s idea of spending the afternoon here and in the backyard. If Jessica wants to join us between her breakfast and her lunch date she can. I’ll text her.”

Spencer kissed Aaron as his answer and Aaron could feel his happiness in the kiss. Spencer was damned good at that. Spencer was expressive in many ways and not just his hands. Aaron didn’t know if it was something that was only brought out because they were soulmates or Aaron was just that perceptive. However, Aaron was looking forward to finding out every single little look and kiss that Spencer had to give to him.

There was something about laying in the sun in the middle of the backyard that Spencer really loved. He hadn’t had a backyard for too long, and he spent as much time in Aaron’s backyard as he could. The older man didn’t mind, most of the time he was doing yard work. Spencer might be a genius, but he had a black thumb when it came to plants. He kept a small pot of hens and chickens that the little old lady on the first floor of his old apartment had given him. It had come with him and was in a window in the bedroom at the moment.

The sun was shining, and Jack was playing soccer on the other side of the yard. The fence between houses had been pulled down, and so Jack had a lot of room to play. At the current, the boy was playing with an imaginary friend that it seemed he had made while mute. Her name was Abigail, and she was older than him. Spencer had listened to Jack chatter about her while they had been eating lunch. Abigail was new to Aaron. Spencer was pretty sure that it was Jack talking to Abigail that had made the boy actual feel safe in verbalizing to the adults in his life. Spencer was just grateful that he was speaking.

Aaron surmised that it was the aftermath of Spencer almost being thrown in jail that caused it. Jack realized that nothing was going to take Aaron, Jessica, or Spencer away from him. It was kind of good that it happened during the summer months, Jack had time to verbally catch up with his age group so that he would not be shamed for words said wrong. In fact, Jack was doing good on everything. Aaron related that Jack had always been a little ahead of his peers.

Spencer felt something at his feet and looked down to see Curiosity. His white fur was covered in dirt and twigs. In fact, he looked like someone had dumped dirt on him.

“Oh, my poor baby. Who covered you in the dirt?” Spencer asked with his hands. Curiosity couldn’t answer, but he had learned that it was Spencer talking, so he always responded. Curiosity chirped at him before jumping up onto his chest to rub his face all over Spencer’s chin. Spencer pet at him, clearing as much as he could from Curiosity, however not all of it was going away. Some of it was wet and leaving stains in Curiosity’s fur. Spencer turned his head to look and saw Aaron looking at him with a frown on his face.

“Your cat is a tattletale,” Aaron said loud enough to where Spencer could hear him. Spencer laughed.

Spencer raised his hands and signed at Aaron. And you are being mean to my baby. Spencer turned and focused on Curiosity trying to figure out what Aaron had done to him. He heard Aaron walking toward them. He didn’t pay attention until he saw filthy hands on him.

“Keep on, and I’ll do to you what I did to him. He was crying for attention, and I gave it to him.” Aaron reached out for Spencer’s face, and Spencer wrapped his arms around Curiosity, standing up to get away from Aaron and his filthy hands. He looked over where Aaron had been cleaning out some nasty roots by the look of things. A few steps later, Spencer tossed Curiosity into a pile of weeds that Aaron was going to stick in the back of the property and took off as he realized that Aaron had taken Spencer running from him as a reason to play chase.

Spencer wasn’t dressed in anything good, he was laying out in the sun and had worn what Aaron called his work clothes even though the only thing that Spencer did in them was now. Spencer tried to dodge Aaron when he saw his shadow catching up to him, but Aaron predicted it and his hands wrapped around Spencer’s middle, pulling him into Aaron’s body. Aaron was laughing as they both crashed to the ground. Aaron rolled them, trying to get on top but Spencer kept moving, and Aaron ended up on the bottom. However, the damage had been done already. Spencer was covered in dirt.

Pouting down at Aaron, Spencer tried to push himself up to where he was sitting on Aaron, but instead of that, Aaron grabbed his face and pulled him in for a kiss. Spencer tried to fight out of the hold, feeling Aaron’s dirty hands on his face but he really wasn’t trying that hard. Aaron was laughing as he pressed their lips together. Spencer wiggled, and as he did, Aaron surprised him by rolling over again, landing Spencer below him. Aaron propped himself on his elbows just above Spencer’s face, grinning down at him.

“Now you look like a wild child,” Aaron said, ducking down for a quick kiss. Spencer pressed up into it with a smile stretching across his lips. Aaron leaned to one side, and with his thumb, he traced under Spencer’s eye. “You look cute.”

Spencer crinkled his nose in disgust, but all that made Aaron do was laugh more. Spencer reached up and tugged at Aaron’s hair to pull him down again. If Aaron was going to make light of him covered in dirt, Spencer was going to get something out of it.

“Eww,” Jack said with a giggle.

Aaron took his him pulling up and out of the kiss before looking at Jack. Jack was standing with his soccer ball in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. He took a drink of the water before offering it to Spencer.

“Daddy, you made Papa dirty.”

“I know.”

“You should apologize.” Jack thrust the bottle at Spencer again, and Aaron sat up enough to where Spencer could sit up as well. Spencer took the water as he did sit up.

“What do you think I was doing?” Aaron said with a grin on his face.

“Kissing is not apologizing.”

“Sometimes it is. Just like when I kiss your boo-boos better. I’m telling him I am sorry.”

“You should clean him up.” Jack pulled a towel out from behind his back somewhere.

Aaron took the towel from Jack, and when his eyebrows went up, Spencer looked harder at the towel. It looked wet. Aaron reached out with the towel, and Spencer tried to take it from him. He wasn’t a child, he didn’t need to be cleaned up.

“No, Papa. Daddy’s got to clean it up. He made the mess.” Jack watched with a keen eye as Aaron cleared all of the dirt off of Spencer’s face. Spencer felt the blush creeping up his face as Jack turned away from them and went back to playing soccer. Aaron flipped the towel to a dry spot and dried off Spencer’s skin. Spencer reached up to take it to finish it, but Aaron wouldn’t let go.

“I am not a child.”

“No, you are the love of my life, and I like taking care of you when I can. You take care of Jack and me and have for a long time. I know you are adjusting rather quickly to living with someone who has a kid but this stuff you kind of gotta get used to. Jack used to do things like it with me. He makes funny faces and says eww but he likes seeing affection between us. He’s probably still watching us.”

Spencer looked over Aaron’s shoulder and confirmed that yes Jack was watching them as he kicked the ball around. There was happiness on Jack’s face as Aaron carefully finished drying Spencer’s face. Spencer glanced at Aaron as he set down the towel, seeing a slightly wicked look on his face. Spencer watched as Aaron leaned in and pressed dry kisses to Spencer’s face where he had coated it in dirt and mud. Spencer shoved him back when it was too much. When the affection was becoming too much.

Aaron reached up a wiped a tear from Spencer’s eye. Spencer didn’t even realize that he was crying.

“There will be a day that when I show you I care for you, it won’t overwhelm you. That’s when I know you’ve forgotten was life was like before. When you can’t imagine anything but me in your life. Slowly I’ll break you down and make you see that you deserve this. Having someone else kiss and make it better. Being able to rely on me to lean on when things go wrong.”

Spencer reached up and covered Aaron’s mouth with his hand. If Aaron kept on, he was going to lose it and start bawling, and they didn’t need that. Aaron pressed a kiss to Spencer’s hand. His eyes were dancing with happiness. Aaron wrapped his arms around Spencer’s back and pulled him into his lap. Spencer wrapped his legs around Aaron and raised up his hands to trace Aaron’s face.

Aaron closed his eyes as Spencer’s fingers brushed his hairline. Spencer had only done this when Aaron was asleep. Spencer knew braille, and his fingertips were very sensitive because of it. He wasn’t sure if he had ever told Aaron that he knew braille. There really was a lot that Spencer knew that Aaron didn’t know that he knew, not because Spencer was trying to keep it a secret but because there was just so much in Spencer’s head.

Spencer traced every single pore of Aaron’s forehead before dropping down to his cheeks. Aaron’s smile became slack with pleasure at the simple touches. From cheeks, Spencer went to the neck. Aaron was swallowing a little more than normal, probably in an effort not to speak. After neck Spencer went to ears. Aaron startled a little at that, but his eyes didn’t open. Spencer leaned in and kissed Aaron, wetting his lips just before. Aaron reacted to the kiss but didn’t try and control it, but his lips turned into a pout when Spencer pulled back. Spencer brushed his fingertips over Aaron’s eyebrows before tracing around the edge of the eye and down under. Aaron’s eyes were still closed, so he traced the eyelids lightly. Aaron moaned, but it wasn’t in arousal but just in bone-deep pleasure. Spencer’s fingers met at the top of his nose and traced down the sides of it and back up, not letting a single centimeter to go untouched. Spencer swept his thumbs up the underside of Aaron’s nose right around the nostrils, and he felt Aaron trying to pull, but Spencer stopped him by grabbing the sides of his head to hold him.

Aaron’s eyes fluttered open for a second, but when he saw Spencer near glaring at him, he relented and settled, closing his eyes again. Spencer traced around the philtrum before sliding down to trace around the rest of Aaron’s lips. Chin was next, and Spencer could tell that Aaron wanted Spencer to touch his lips. Spencer traced up Aaron’s jaw as he leaned in. Spencer knew that Aaron could feel every single exhalation of Spencer’s and he wondered how long it would take for the man to take what he wanted.

It was several minutes of them sharing breathe before Aaron moved, but he didn’t push his lips into Aaron’s. Instead, Aaron grabbed Spencer’s hands and pulled back to where he could touch Spencer’s fingertips to his mouth. Please, Aaron mouthed at Spencer. Spencer finished his exploitation of Aaron’s face,

Aaron licked his lips then he took the kiss that Spencer had been offering. Spencer wrapped his arms around Aaron’s neck, not letting the man pull back until he wanted to.

An insistent bumping into Spencer’s side told him that Curiosity was jealous and wanted attention. Aaron laughed as he pulled back because Curiosity was growling at them. Spencer gently slid backward on Aaron’s lap until he landed on the ground and Curiosity jumped up into Spencer’s lap.

“I’ll bring you that book you were reading earlier if you want to stay here. I need to get back to weeding. Do you want tea first?”

“Please,” Spencer signed.

Aaron grinned at Spencer before standing up and trotting off.

Two minutes later, Aaron was coming back with a glass of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Aaron handed them both over, ruffling at Spencer’s hair as he did. Spencer glared at Aaron but softened it when Aaron stuck his tongue out.

Spencer rolled onto his stomach and set the book down to where he could read. Curiosity jumped onto his back to give himself a bath.

Time lost meaning as Spencer lost himself in another world. Aaron was working on the far side of the yard, and Jack was in Jessica’s yard still kicking his ball around. As the sun moved across the horizon, Spencer finished off his book. He looked around for his lover and saw that Aaron wasn’t in sight, so he was either inside the house for a few minutes or around the front. Spencer felt that CUriosity was gone from his back. He stretched out his muscles and relaxed down to where his head was propped on his hands as he looked at Jack, who was sitting on Jessica’s back porch.

The sound of something rustling in the bushes has Spencer turning to look. Curiosity didn’t like to go into the bushes as it got nature all over him and with Aaron already making him dirty, Spencer was shocked that he was in the bushes. Spencer pushed himself up to where he could get his legs under himself but wasn’t able to get up all the way before whatever was in the bushes started toward him. Spencer wrapped his hand around the bush to use it if it wasn’t Curiosity. Spencer really hoped it was his cat. If it was a hurt wild animal that came under the fence or something, Spencer wouldn’t be able to scream for help, and his phone was on the back porch. Something dark pushed out of the bush and Spencer started to raise up until pure white came behind.

It took a few seconds for Spencer to realize that Curiosity was carrying something that wasn’t all that small out of the bushes. The thing in his mouth was fluffy, just like Curiosity and pure black but covered in mud, leaves, and what looked like burrs. Curiosity gingerly stepped toward Spencer and waited for Spencer sit with his legs crossed before he dropped the thing in Spencer’s lap. It wasn’t until it started to move that Spencer realized that it was still alive. It did a meow like chirp that Curiosity did, and Spencer realized it was a kitten.

Spencer reached out and picked up the towel that Aaron had used on him and grabbed the bottle of water that either Aaron or Jack had dropped off while Spencer had been lost in the book. He dumped some of the water out and started to clean the poor kitten’s face. It kept on meowing as Spencer cleaned it up. Spencer tried to be gentle as he started to work on the burrs in the kitten’s fur but there was only so gentle one could be when the burrs were matted in.

The kitten got more and more vocal as Spencer worked on his fur and cleaning it out, so Spencer wasn’t shocked when Jack came over.

“Papa, is that a kitten?” Jack asked as he crouched down. He didn’t reach out to touch, but he got as close as he felt safe to. He stared at the kitten for a few seconds before looking at Curiosity. “Did you rescue him?”

Curiosity meowed before he started to lick his paws.

Spencer wasn’t sure if it was a boy, but he understood Jack not wanting to call the kitten an it. Spencer ran his fingers over the kitten’s fur to make sure that he got all of the burrs and found one just under his chin that he been missed. It was a different burr and was sharp, and it looked to be embedded into the kitten’s skin. Spencer knew that he would probably get scratched for what he was going to do, but he did it anyway. As he gently jerked the burr-free, the kitten hissed at Spencer and got him with all four sets of claws. Spencer gently pulled his hand away, gasping at the blood that was starting to spill out of his skin. Jack jumped up and took off running, he stopped when he didn’t see his father.

“DADDY!” Jack yelled. He looked around frantically. “DADDY HELP!”

Spencer closed his eyes because now Aaron was going to come running and he was going to think the worst. Spencer looked back down at the kitten and forced the little thing to tilt its head up to where he could see how bad it was bleeding under his chin. The kitten gripped onto Spencer’s hands with all of his claws as he tried to fight but Spencer was gentle and insistent, and the kitten relented. There was just a drop of blood forming, but it was almost dried so Spencer wasn’t worried about the kitten bleeding more than it should be.

Aaron’s stomping feet as he ran sounded and Spencer looked up to see him looking around the backyard, he wasn’t sure what Aaron was expecting.

“Daddy! Papa found a kitten, and it’s hurt.” Jack seemed half in tears, and Spencer wondered what Jack thought was wrong with the kitten.

Aaron walked toward them slowly like he was scared of upsetting the kitten. He crouched down before sitting on his shins in front of Spencer. The kitten saw him and freaked out, finally sinking his teeth into Spencer’s hand as well. Aaron reached out like he was going to grab the kitten, but Spencer held out his hand to stop him. Aaron stopped, but he looked upset at it. The movement freaked the kitten out more, and it bit and clenched with his claws harder. Spencer kept Aaron back with his hand before he started to pet the kitten’s head. It made the poor thing start to clench harder, but after he realized that no pain was coming, he relaxed. Spencer still didn’t move his hand until the kitten started to lick at the spots where it had drawn blood.

“Did I scare him?” Jack asked, his voice a whisper.

“It’s okay, Jack. You were trying to help. He’s just so small that he’s scared because we are so big. Why don’t you come and help me get things to clean him up.”

Spencer nodded his agreement and laid his hand back down so the kitten could keep on soothing his wounds. It didn’t really help, it actually hurt, but the kitten was calm while he was doing it. And after moving the kitten around a little, he could tell that it was a male. Curiosity stayed right there, a silent sentry. A few minutes of licking Spencer’s hand and the kitten was done. He wanted to move around and explore. Spencer let him. Curiosity would nudge him back toward Spencer if he wandered too far, but the kitten didn’t like to get too far away from Spencer.

Ten minutes later the two Hotchner men finally came back out of the house with each of them holding a bowl and towels over their arms. As they got closer, Spencer realized that it wasn’t towels on Jack’s arms but rags. Two different ones.

“I thought that we could give him a bath out here right now to get the majority things off of him and not traumatize him by bathing him like you do Curiosity. That can come later.” Aaron sat down and took Jack’s bowl from him so that he could sit down as well, without wearing the water. The kitten came over to investigate the two newcomers. Aaron held out his hand, and the kitten sniffed at it before Spencer picked him up. Jack dunked a rag in the water in front of him before ringing it out a little and handed it over. Spencer used the sightly sopping rag to wet the kitten down and start to scrub on him. The kitten kept trying to run, so Spencer let him escape and assert his freedom before grabbing him again.

It was fifteen minutes of scrubbing with the rag before Spencer grabbed the bottle of Dawn that Aaron had grabbed. There were a few fleas on the poor kitten so the Dawn would help with that as well as the dirt left on him.

“I would say that this guy has been outside for a few days given how matted his fur is. We can take him to Curiosity’s new vet. If he was lost from home, someone will go there and tell because I don’t see him getting that far away.”

“Do we have to give him up?” Jack asked.

“Only if someone claims him. If no one does, we will keep him. He could have gotten out of an opened window or clawed through a screen. If some kid lost his kitten, we wouldn’t want to keep them apart.”

“No. I’ll go and get the carrier from the hallway.” Jack jumped up and took off the kitten tried to run after him, but Aaron grabbed him.

“He’s an active little guy.” Aaron helped keep him close while Spencer used the water in the bowl to rinse him off. “You know that if someone does claim him, Jack’s going to be upset and we are going to have to get him a kitten.”

“Given the ear tufts and how big his paws are, I would say that the kitten is a Maine Coon just like Curiosity. Given how big he is, I would say that he’s barely old enough to be away from his mother.”

“He’s so big. But when I looked up the Maine Coon breed, I did see how big they are even from kittens.” Aaron grabbed the kitten up when Spencer had all of the soap out of the kitten’s fur. He settled the squirming thing into the towel and started to dry him off. As soon as the kitten realized what Aaron was doing, Spencer could hear him start to purr. Spencer reached out and brushed the fur on the kitten’s free head.

“We can’t call him kitten, so until we have to give him up, we are going to call him Midnight,” Jack said as he set the carrier down next Aaron.

“Midnight, huh?”

“He’s all black, and even his eyes are dark. He’s like a ninja, but I know you won’t let me call him ninja so Midnight will have to do.”

Spencer kept his laughter to himself, but he saw that Aaron was trying not to laugh as well.

“Are we going to get Midnight checked out?” Jack asked as he plucked the kitten from the towel where he was dried off. Jack laughed as Midnight rub his face all over the boy’s. It was charming, and Spencer knew that Aaron was right, if this kitten was claimed, they would have to go and find a new one for Jack.

Hours later, after the visit to the vet and Jack was settled in bed for the night, Spencer and Aaron were sharing a shower. Spencer was pressed chest first into the wall with Aaron’s cock rubbing up and down his cleft and his cock in Aaron’s hand. Aaron was panting in his ear when they both hear a meow.

Aaron groaned, but he didn’t pull away. “Go away, Curiosity.” Aaron moved, and Spencer heard the curtain on the tub move. However, another meow sounded. Aaron pulled back, and both him and Spencer turned and looked. Curiosity was sitting on the edge of the tub with Midnight beside him.

“Are you kidding me?” Aaron asked before he buried his face in Spencer’s neck. “I can’t do this with them watching.”

Spencer started to laugh. He couldn’t barely breathe as he felt Aaron’s cock deflating. He felt bad he did but of all of the bad traits for Curiosity to teach the kitten, it had to be watching Aaron in the shower, while they were having sex. They would have to start making sure that the cats were not in the master bedroom at all. If Curiosity wasn’t in the master bedroom, he didn’t cry to join Aaron so if they wanted shower sex, they would have to keep the two cats out of the bathroom.

Chapter 20-August 2010

Aaron was drying his hair and looking at himself in the mirror. There was no gauntness in his eyes anymore. He looked truly happy, and it was kind of startling. A meow from his left drew his eyes down to Midnight. The kitten hadn’t been claimed, and in fact, after taking her to the vet, they found out that the mother and other two kittens of the litter had been found dead in a yard after the mother had been hit with a baseball bat, as well as the other two kittens. The kids who had done it had been lectured thoroughly, and they admitted that they had only been able to catch two of the kittens. The third had run, and it seemed that it had been on its own for two days. The vet was happy that it was found and she did a full check up on the poor thing. And so a new file was created at the vet’s office for Midnight Reid-Hotchner, Jack’s influence and Curiosity got a brother.

Curiosity was doing well with the kitten, thankfully Curiosity wasn’t fully grown yet and still liked to play. The cat was also teaching all of his bads habits to Midnight. Midnight though had taken it a step further and whenever Aaron was in the bathroom, even just to pee, Midnight had to be there.

Midnight was currently curled up in Aaron’s clean underwear that he had set out to change into before leaving the bathroom. The rest of his clothes were in the bedroom, to save them from getting black hair all over them. His underwear was easy to shake out. Midnight had claimed Aaron as his favorite human. While he would cuddle with Jack if no one else were around, he claimed Aaron when Aaron was home. Spencer found it really funny as the kitten wanted little to do with him unless it was feeding time.

“You are a menace,” Aaron said as he reached over to pet the purring kitten. Aaron wasn’t sure he thought that Midnight was going to be bigger than Curiosity, his paws were huge already, and while Aaron had not meet Curiosity when he was this age, he already seemed to be growing a lot after a good few weeks of good food. A costly food at that. Spencer bought food that was designed with Maine Coon cats in mind with the problems they could have later in life, and the food had the vitamins and minerals that were close to what the cats ate in their natural habitat. Aaron had nearly choked the first time that Aaron had seen how much the kitten version of the food was. There were even treats that there was a strict amount of how many they could eat in a day. Aaron loved to tease Spencer about it all because he would usually blush and duck his head which to Aaron was adorable. Curiosity was Spencer’s baby, and Aaron wasn’t going to deny him anything he wanted for him. MIdnight was fast becoming Aaron’s baby as well. The kitten always seemed to know when Aaron was home and would greet him before demanding to be picked up. Spencer said that Midnight remembered that Spencer had been the one to clean him up and it had hurt when he had removed the burrs, so that was why Spencer wasn’t his favorite human. Jack didn’t care because when Aaron and Spencer weren’t home, Midnight like Jack and that was all that mattered.

Aaron remembered the night before when he had been the one on kitchen duty after dinner. Spencer and Jack had cooked, so that meant that Aaron cleaned up. Aaron had washed dishes while listening to Spencer and Jack dancing in their socks in the living room. Aaron had figured out Spencer’s reason for that. As school got closer, Jack was becoming less and less interested in pick up soccer games, so he needed exercise and Jack didn’t realize that dancing was exercise, yet. Aaron usually slung a tea towel over his shoulder to have it right where it could be grabbed while he was washing dishes and he always put it over his left shoulder but Midnight had claimed that shoulder. He had demanded to be picked up and walked from Aaron’s right side to the left to flop over Aaron’s shoulder to watch him do dishes. Aaron had grabbed the cat twice thinking he was the towel. The unfortunate thing had been near soaked when Aaron was done with dishes and Aaron had to get a new tea towel to dry him off, which just made his very fluffy fur stick up in weird spots. Midnight had slunk off after Aaron had put him down and when he had been spotted again, Curiosity was cleaning him and making the hair look even worse.

A letter stretched out on the counter caught Aaron’s attention. It was odd to see a handwritten letter. Aaron picked it up, curious about it until he saw the first name. It was for Spencer. Aaron dragged his eyes down the page, and it was only signed with Mom. Spencer never took his mom’s letter out of the office. When the mail came, if there was a letter from Diana Reid, it went up into the office with the bills. Aaron couldn’t understand why Spencer would have one in the bathroom of all places. Aaron quickly dressed in his underwear, picking up Midnight and cradling him in his arm as he picked up the letter. He had planned on just taking it to the office when he spotted a few teardrops on the letter. Aaron remembered the night before when while Aaron and Jack had started to watch a movie to begin winding down for the night, Spencer had gone upstairs and hadn’t come back down for a while. Aaron had assumed he had got a little lost reading a new book, but now with the letter in the bathroom and the tear stains on it, Aaron knew what had happened. Spencer’s last letter from his mother had come just before a case, and Aaron remembered Spencer opening it and his eyes scanning it quickly before he folded it back up and slipped it back into the envelope. Aaron had offered to drive them in so that he could write her back. Spencer had just waved him off.

Aaron hadn’t thought about it, and he usually wouldn’t violate Spencer’s privacy, but he wanted to know what had caused Spencer to cry while reading the letter. He moved into the bedroom with the letter in hand and sat down on the bed. Spencer was outside with Jack doing something science related that couldn’t be done inside, and really if Spencer thought that it shouldn’t be done inside, Aaron really didn’t want it done inside. He didn’t expect to see them for an hour, it was why Aaron had chosen to take his shower then. Midnight slinked up Aaron’s arm and moved to lay down over Aaron’s shoulder. The letter wasn’t all that long, but from the first sentence, Aaron felt a pit forming in his stomach. By the time that he got to the end, he knew what had made Spencer cry. Diana was refusing to see them when they went to Vegas that next week. Spencer had the whole tripped planned out from the days in Vegas to the days in LA. Jack wanted to see the places that Spencer had gone to when he was growing up. Aaron was intrigued to see them as well.

The whole of the trip was for Aaron and Jack to meet Diana though, and it seemed that Diana refused to meet the agent that Spencer had chained himself to, her words in the letter. There was some rambling about how the agent had tricked Spencer into believing that they were mates and it was all to get to her. Aaron knew that her delusions were strong, but he hadn’t thought that they were this strong. Spencer hadn’t brought up the letter at all and Aaron wasn’t sure that he wanted to. Spencer wasn’t secretive with his mother as he talked about her a lot but this was something that Spencer was keeping to himself. Aaron knew that he had violated Spencer’s privacy by reading the letter, but he was happy that he had. If Spencer was just going to go on like normal and they were going to go to Vegas, Aaron wanted to be ready for when Jack could no longer be denied on why they weren’t going to see Spencer’s mom.

Jack had never known Aaron’s parents. That was a good thing, and he missed Haley’s parents, but even with the few supervised visits that Child Services had covered with Jessica refusing to see her father and mother, those had not gone well, and Jack had asked the lady to take him away. Diana was the only sort of grandparent that Jack had, and Aaron wasn’t sure that the boy would ever get to meet her. He hoped that Spencer wouldn’t force their visit on her, but he could see why his lover might. He knew her better than anyone in the world, but Aaron didn’t want Jack to be scarred by a visit with her.

There was nothing to do but wait and see what was going to happen when they went to Vegas the next week.

“I think that he’s going to need me more now than ever,” Aaron said to Midnight as he pulled the kitten off of his shoulder as he started to get dressed. Aaron set the letter back in the bathroom and didn’t even try and put it back where he had got it. He spun it a little like Midnight had rubbed against it or something. Given the rest of the damage that had been done to the room, it was totally understandable that Midnight would have knocked the letter around.

Aaron plastered a smile on his face as he left the room with Midnight back over his shoulder and found his lover and his son in the backyard both of them smiling and their shoulders shaking with laughter.

Aaron remembered as the plane touched down why he hated commercial flights. He hated not knowing the pilots as well as he did the BAU pilots and he hated that he wasn’t able to move around like he wanted and cuddle with Spencer on the couch. Jack had been seated between the two of them for the whole flight, so the only touching that they got to do was when Spencer laid his hand on Aaron’s lap after Jack had fallen asleep. It was an afternoon flight, but the forced sitting had made the boy go to sleep through sheer boredom about an hour into the flight. Aaron knew that it would mean they landed, they would have a wired Jack on their hands. The good thing was that Spencer was taking them to his favorite place to eat dinner and then to a park that he had spent a lot of time at as a kid. It would give Jack a chance to wake up all the way and then run off all of his energy. With Vegas being behind them in time, it was going to mess with Jack’s clock worse than anyone else’s. Aaron and Spencer were used to the back and forth across the country and the three hour time difference and working around it.

The rush through baggage claim and to find the car that Spencer had rented for them was easy. It was actually just about as painless when they flew for work. However, there was no SUV waiting for them. Spencer had instead rented a Jeep for them, a hard top one that the doors and roof were removed as soon as they started to throw their things into it. Aaron looked at the driver’s seat and wondered what Spencer would do if he wanted to drive. Jack was strapped into a booster seat in the back, even though he was a little big for it, it gave him the height needed to see around everything.

“I learned to drive a Jeep on the Cal-Tech campus as part of one of my classes. As I was too small to do some of the more sensitive things in the engine and didn’t have enough strength yet to work on them, I was taught to drive them. Don’t worry, Aaron. I won’t take us out in the desert in it. Not today.” Spencer smiled as he talked with his hands, Aaron shook his head at him. He had not seen this side of his soulmate before.

“Papa told me about how he used to on occasion go mudding with friends from the FBI, the few that he made at the Academy, but many of them left the area, so he hasn’t been in years. That’s why he rented the jeep. And so I could feel the wind in my hair,” Jack offered as he climbed into the Jeep. Spencer shrugged when Aaron looked at him. Aaron knew that Spencer loved the car that he had drove from Vegas to DC but wondered if he would want a Jeep instead. Aaron had seen an add for the Rubicon and how it could be modded and that there was even a shade of purple of it. Aaron thought about how feasible that would be for a first Christmas gift and if Spencer would nearly kill him for such an extravagant gift. The Avalon was a good car, but it needed to be in the hands of someone like Dave who restored cars and had the time for it.

“That sounds like it would be fun.”

“Papa even said that tomorrow afternoon we are going to get in a dune buggy and go for a ride in the desert.”

“I think that maybe I should have been more involved in the plans for this trip,” Aaron said with a smile. Spencer ducked his head and blushed as he pulled himself up and into the Jeep, strapping himself down. Aaron walked around the Jeep and pulled himself up into it. Aaron had never ridden in a Jeep before. Not one that the doors came off of. Aaron wasn’t worried about Spencer driving. The man would never let Jack in the Jeep if he had any worries about his own driving of it.

Spencer pulled his phone from the bag he had slipped behind Aaron’s seat and pulled out his phone. He started to tap into it, and when he laid it in the cup holder, it started to speak.

“Wouldn’t have made a difference. I was getting a Jeep no matter what, and we are in the desert, dune buggies are a must. Jack wanted to see what I did. I didn’t do dune buggies as much here, but when I was home on the weekends to visit mom, I would do it.”

“You didn’t have a license, Spencer. How did you do that?” Aaron asked.

“When you can fix pretty much whatever goes wrong in a dune buggies and all you ask to have some driving one? Not a lot of adults turn that down, and I never wrecked or damaged the units. I was never caught.”

“Makes me wonder what else you did that was illegal all because you were too young to legally do it.” Aaron knew that Spencer had a new feature on his phone to delay messages by even upwards of two or three minutes, but his ability to do it with a conversation with Aaron was shocking. He had known exactly what Aaron was going to ask. “But dune buggies do sound fun. I’ve never done it or mudding.”

Spencer smiled at Aaron as he pulled out onto the street from the airport. Aaron looked out opened air of the car to look all around at the area of the Vegas surrounds they were in. Aaron had been to Vegas for several cases, some that went really bad and some that went as good as a case could go. He’d never been there for pleasure. He had never got to play around in the casinos, which wasn’t going to possible this time either as they had no one to watch Jack, but he would at least get to enjoy himself.

“Papa, where are we going again?”

“Binion’s,” Aaron answered. Spencer was concentrating on driving. Aaron had heard nothing except Spencer wanting Chicken Fried Lobster for dinner for days. Aaron knew that it was a meal that Spencer usually ate with his mother, taking her out of Bennington for a meal at their favorite place. Aaron wasn’t sure if Spencer was taking them there alone because it’s what he wanted or because of his mother’s staunch refusal to meet Aaron and Jack. Aaron had not brought that up yet. He wanted to wait and see what happened. He didn’t want to upset Spencer if Diana changed her mind.

Dinner was a simple affair with Spencer keeping Jack entertained over the whole of the meal. The next two days were the same way. There was so much that Spencer wanted to show Jack that the thought of seeing Diana didn’t pop up into Aaron’s head until the morning of their last day in Vegas.

Aaron looked out the window of the hotel room to see that it was still dark. He looked around the room but Spencer wasn’t in the room, and the bathroom connected to their room was dark. Spencer had got them a suite so that Jack had his own room and bathroom while Spencer and Aaron had their own. Aaron grabbed his shorts from the floor beside the bed. After a late night at a show with Jack, Aaron hadn’t even dressed after a shower. He’d just grabbed a pair of shorts and dropped them off the side of the bed so he could grab them if Aaron needed to put them on.

Spencer wasn’t in the bathroom, and Aaron did check. Then the sound of Spencer’s tablet voice came from the main area of the room. Aaron slipped out into the room, in a corner that was dark. Spencer didn’t have a light on at all. Instead, he was sitting in a chair at the desk in the corner. His tablet was propped up, and he was typing one handed on it with the phone pressed to his ear. He was curled into the chair, as small as he could get.

Mom, they are not coming in to interrogate you. It’s my soulmate and his son. He just wants to meet you. Jack’s excited to meet his new grandma.

Aaron inhaled and exhaled slowly because he didn’t want to miss anything that Spencer said after his mother said whatever she said. Even though there was no change in tone of the voice from the tablet, Aaron could tell that Spencer was desperate.

Then what about Jack and I come? Just the two of us. I can have Aaron go to the casino and gamble away some money.” Spencer was upright for a few seconds before he slumped down more. Spencer’s hand left the tablet, and it reached up and wiped at his face for a second before his other hand slumped down, and he pressed the call end button. Aaron slipped back into the bedroom and got into bed. He rolled onto his side facing the side that Spencer had been sleeping on and waited. He hoped that Spencer got back into bed and allowed Aaron to comfort him. Aaron felt tears prick at his eyes. If he had known that this was going to be the way that things went, he never would have agreed to come to Vegas. Spencer was heartbroken, and there is nothing that Aaron could do to make him feel better.

Spencer entered the room and shut the bedroom door, but he didn’t come toward the bed. Aaron listened as the bathroom door opened and shut. The water in the shower kicked on, and Aaron pushed the blankets off of the bed. Spencer was hiding from Aaron, not knowing that Aaron was awake. Aaron knew that if he stayed out of the bathroom, Spencer would come out with a smile on his face and the story that his mother was having a bad day and she didn’t feel well so they could spend the day doing some light shopping around. Aaron just wasn’t sure if it was his right to push himself into something that Spencer was acting like he wanted to have nothing of Aaron in.

But there was no way that Aaron was going to let Spencer hurt without at least trying to make him hurt less. Spencer could kick him out of the shower and shove him, probably even hit him and Aaron would still try and hold him close to make him feel better. Aaron would take whatever Spencer did to him just to make Spencer feel better.

Aaron knew that he needed to be in there with him, so he pushed himself out of bed and hoped that Spencer had not locked the door. Aaron dropped his shorts off so that he wouldn’t have to do anything once he got into the bathroom. He put his hand on the knob and sent a prayer up to a God that he no longer believed in and turned the knob. The soft click of the latch bolt turning sounded, and Aaron slipped into the room. The lights were off except for the nightlight that Spencer had installed just in case Jack came into their room. It lit up the room enough for Aaron to realize that Spencer wasn’t in the shower. The glass was opaque from about lower chest on Spencer and Aaron and down but above it was clear and there was no Spencer. Aaron looked around the room and realized that there were no clothes on the floor. There was a window that had some kind of opaque design on it just above the toilet in the corner and Aaron hoped that Spencer had slipped out there. The window was shut. It wasn’t a big bathroom, with little places to hide. Aaron stepped over to see if Spencer had tucked himself into a corner when he saw that Spencer was slumped on the floor of the shower with his face buried in his knees. His whole body was shaking.

Opening the door to the shower, Aaron hoped that Spencer could hear him. He didn’t want to surprise him. He also didn’t want to disturb the silence of the room. Aaron felt the water on his skin and realized that Spencer hadn’t turned the hot water on enough. Aaron turned the hot knob more wondering if the shaking from Spencer was from cold or tears. It didn’t matter because soon the water would warm up. Aaron pulled the door shut with a louder thud and waited. Spencer didn’t move. Aaron had never felt so unsure of himself before now. The water started to warm up, but Aaron turned the knob a little more before he sat down beside Spencer and wrapped him in his arms. Spencer was so cold, and the T-shirt that he was worn to bed was soaking wet.

Spencer didn’t look up or do anything really. Aaron sighed and reached around to start to work Spencer’s shirt up his body. After a minute, Spencer uncurled enough to allow the sodden shirt to be removed from his body. When Aaron shifted to kneel in front of Spencer to work his pants off it was easier as Spencer lifted himself up to where Aaron could get the pants down the swell of Spencer’s butt. It was easy from there because Spencer didn’t get leaned in enough to his knees to stop Aaron. Aaron tossed the pants into the corner before grabbing the shirt and doing the same thing. When they were done, he would hang them up to dry off.

“Look at me, Spencer.”

Spencer shook his head no and his arms around his legs tightened. Aaron settled in at Spencer’s side again and wrapped both arms around his soulmate. As the water falling on them warmed up, even more, some of the tremors in Spencer’s body stopped but not all of them. Aaron was pretty sure that Spencer was sobbing now.

“We’ll make plans for a weekend later. Jack’s seen everything that we wanted to see, and today we can go shopping. We can ship everything back home, so we don’t have extra luggage.”

Spencer didn’t even raise his head up but his hand unwrapped from around his legs, and he made two signs at Aaron.

“No, I will not go away. For you to make me go away, you are going to have to hurt me to do it by telling me that you don’t want Jack and me anymore. Can you lie like that Spencer? Can you tell me, while looking me in the eye, and tell me that you don’t love me anymore? I get that your relationship with your mom is private, but this trip was meant to introduce me and her and Jack. If she’s refusing to meet us, that is fine. I don’t care because we are having fun. We can tell Jack that she’s not feeling well. He’ll understand. You did well at giving him as much information as he needed and could understand her illness, Spencer. He’ll be sad for a moment but then shopping will be on his mind he’ll be fine. Kids are resilient, and Jack wants to be happy. He’s not going to focus on things that upset him.” Aaron looked down at Spencer’s hands, but there were wrapped around his legs again. At least he wasn’t telling Aaron to go away again.

Aaron wasn’t prepared for Spencer to turn around and near launch himself at Aaron. Aaron had barely a few seconds to breathe before he had Spencer in his lap and wrapped around him.

“I want to protect you from everything that can hurt you, Spencer but I know that I can’t, but I can be there and help you feel better. I can make you smile and kiss your boo-boos away. I can shelter you from people who upset you and make them go away, but I can’t make your mom accept us, no matter what she does love you, Spencer. Remember that. She just needs time to accept me. We can sit here for however long you want to, and then we can go and find a place that will have some ridiculous coffee that makes you smile and will feed the bottomless pit that Jack has become while we are here.”

Aaron stopped to take a breath, but he decided to just hold Spencer and let the hot water cascade over them. This he could do, until Spencer let him know what exactly what he needed.

Spencer smiled as he watched Jack in the park after lunch. It was nice to see Jack engaging with kids that were not his group back home. Jack was slow to add kids to the category of friends in the wake of getting his voice back, even if the boy was a little more silent than he had been before. Aaron wasn’t too worried, just happy that Jack was back to normal, or whatever passed for a new normal in the wake of losing his mother. Jack’s easy acceptance of Spencer in their life, even if he didn’t like Spencer made think about what he had done to make his father not want him.

Aaron was keeping a close eye on Jack as he played off the energy from eating lunch. That allowed Spencer to introspect. He really had thought that his mother would change her mind once they got to Vegas. Or at least see him and Jack. Diana Reid had wanted grandchildren since Spencer had turned twenty-five and her now refusal to see the only grandchild she was ever going to get was shocking to Spencer.

“Hey, why don’t you lay down?” Aaron asked, touching Spencer’s shoulder. Spencer turned to look at him and saw that he was smiling. Aaron had been smiling all day, despite what he had come into the bathroom to. Or in spite of it, Spencer wasn’t sure. Spencer had not wanted Aaron to ever see him like that. Spencer had been strong through everything, he didn’t like being seen as weak and crying over his mother’s refusal to accept his family was weak. Aaron hadn’t made him feel weak though. Aaron had made him feel loved, holding him and caring for him. Making him get out of his soaked sleep clothes and then after when Spencer couldn’t cry anymore, Aaron washed him. Even though Aaron used a rag to wash him, he let his hands touch as much as they could. Spencer tried to return the favor when he was clean, but Aaron just pushed him away, citing the shower the night before. Spencer was treated to the same care when he had been dried off by Aaron and when he couldn’t take it anymore, and Spencer wrapped himself around Aaron, Spencer had begged him silently never to leave him.

Aaron scooted down the bench a little more, placing himself right against the armrest and patted his thigh. Spencer laid on his side before rolling to his back and staring up at Aaron. Aaron’s fingers went right for Spencer’s face, tracing the laugh lines at the edge of Spencer’s eyes and mouth. Spencer had noticed them more now than he ever had before. Spencer liked them, it showed him that his life was better for Aaron and Jack being in it.

Spencer closed his eyes as Aaron’s fingers traced over the planes of his face and dipped up into his hair to play with it. He knew what this was. At lunch, they had to tell Jack that Diana wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to have visitors. Jack understood, and he had spent the rest of the meal eating slowly but also drawing on the back of his paper placemat. It wasn’t until they left and Jack wanted to take the placemat with him that Spencer realized he had been drawing a Get Well Soon card for his Grandma D. Spencer had nearly lost it there again.

There was nothing in this world short of leaving Jack to save Jack’s life that would make Spencer ever want to leave him. There was nothing that Jack could do that would make Spencer leave either. Spencer had tried as a child, so hard, to fit into what his father wanted. His father wanted him to play sports, he tried out for T-Ball. Spencer had stayed on the team the entire season and had even got a little bit good at for his age. Once he had got used to it and got the science behind it down, it had been easy. Spencer never would have been the best player, and with his muteness, Spencer had never got too close to the other members of the team, but he had tried. When the next summer season rolled around, William had denied Spencer the chance to even try out.

Track had been next, the disastrous summer that William had finally left. Spencer had found solace in running, and the cross country coach had tried to get him to switch from track to it, but when William had left, Spencer had stopped trying. It had not been hard to push away the few friends that had tagged along after T-Ball. Spencer was in high school so there was little crossover and it was easy to ignore them. Spencer stopped riding the bus and started to walk to and from school because at least then he wasn’t forced to attempt to be friendly to the other kids.

Spencer would never know if his father would have left if he had been a regular child, a child who could talk with more than just his hands. Spencer didn’t know if William would have taken him with him when he left if Spencer could have spoken. There were too many unknowns and given that William Reid had never given a reason beyond Diana’s refusal to accept reality, Spencer would never know.

“So you were talking about a shop earlier that you want to go to? Do we have time before we leave for LA?” Aaron asked, his voice soft like he was afraid of waking up Spencer. Spencer opened his eyes up and looked up at his soulmate. Aaron’s eyes were on Spencer, but after a few seconds those eyes darted up to where he could see Jack and then they were back down.

Spencer tucked his legs up to where he could pull his tablet from his bag and type on it, leaning the tablet onto his legs. Aaron handed over the tablet. Spencer hadn’t even realized that Aaron had grabbed it. It was a new tablet for work as well as pleasure, with a speaker on the front as well as the back. Raven had talked a friend she had made in the industry to make one.

It’s in Summerlin which is just a few miles down the road.

“A few?” Aaron asked, and even though Spencer was looking at his tablet, he could hear the smile in Aaron’s tone. Spencer stuck his tongue at his lover.

Under fifteen. There is a street of shops that Mom loved to take me too, I want to see if they are there. I always said that if I had a kid, I was going to take him or her there.

“Sounds good. We can head there after packing up the hotel room the rest of the way and then go straight to dinner before heading to the airport.”

Spencer nodded. “Sounds good to me. We should get going then. I want to be able to take our time.

“Sure. I’ll get Jack if you want to head to the Jeep and get it started. I know you are going to miss driving it.”

No, I’m not. I told you I was borrowing a vehicle from a friend in the LA area for our trip since he’s not at home right now. It’s parked at the airport and ready to go. It’s a Jeep as well. Who do you think turned me onto them?” Spencer looked up at Aaron with a wicked smile on his face.

Aaron laughed and ruffled Spencer’s hair. Spencer leaned up so that Aaron could slip out from under his head before heading over to pull Jack from the monkey bars he was playing on. Spencer packed up his tablet and checked to make sure that he had the camera on him. They had taken a lot of pictures on the camera that Spencer had bought for Aaron as a present before the trip. Aaron’s old camera was getting to where it was barely working, but the man had been loathed to replace it. It had been one of the few gifts that Haley had bought Aaron that he loved. So it was on the nightstand for use around the house, and the new one was for soccer and trips outs and about so that the old one didn’t get broke. It was nice to be able to get Aaron something that he needed but wouldn’t buy for himself, for one reason or another.

Spencer watched as Aaron moved to the edge of the jungle gym that Jack was playing on before crouching down with his back to it. Jack ran at his father and jumped onto his back, his arms around Aaron’s neck, and Aaron grabbed his legs to wrap them around him his waist as much as possible. The easy affection between the two often broke Spencer’s heart. Aaron had the makings of being the worst father in the world, hell the worst human. He could have easily become one of the men that the BAU chased with little provocation. It wasn’t hard to see that Aaron fought what his father tried to turn him into. That Aaron even wanted a child at, all showed how much he had fought his father’s influence. Spencer wondered if Aaron wanted more children. With their combined money, they could afford a surrogate or adoption if Aaron didn’t want to use his own genes. Spencer was on the fence about his own. The issue that caused him to have damaged vocal cords was not genetic, so the only thing that he had to worry about was Schizophrenia.

Another child would be good, at least Spencer thought so. Jack loved to play with Henry and Spencer was sure that it was just a matter of time before Jack asked for a little sibling. Spencer would wait until then to bring up his possible want of a child. Jessica would have to be talked to of course because it would impact her life just as much as Aaron’s and Spencer’s. It was a good thought though, holding a baby, caring for a baby. It actually made Spencer’s heartache a little. Maybe he would bring it up before Jack did. To gauge Aaron’s response to it.

“Ready, Papa?” Jack asked as he and Aaron got even with Spencer who was still sitting on the bench. Spencer nodded and stood up. He saw that Aaron was looking at him with a quizzical look, but Spencer’s brightened smile waylaid any concern.

The short drive to Summerlin passed with little fanfare. Spencer remembered the drive to the street that he wanted with ease even though he hadn’t been down it in nearly a decade. It hurt too much before and even now there was an ache because his mom wasn’t with him. It was easy to push that aside though. Jack was a ball of energy still in the back seat, but he had been that way every place that they went that was part of Spencer’s past.

Jack’s happiness at just hearing about things that Spencer did with his mom carried them through the afternoon. A stop at a coffee shop got them a snack and Spencer some much-needed coffee after not getting enough sleep the night before. Jack and Aaron got tea.

They went to Spencer’s favorite shop last, and he was upset to see that the lady who had owned it then had retired and her children had taken over. The kids did not remember him at all. Still, Spencer bought a few things there, and Jack found a few wooden toys that he couldn’t be parted with.

“Are you hungry?” Aaron asked as he opened the door to let Spencer and jack go out first.

“Yes, Sir, Daddy!” Jack said as he jumped over the metal strip across the doorway.

Spencer nodded. Spencer pressed a kiss to Aaron’s cheek as he passed him. Aaron gave him an air kiss back. Being free with affection in public was easier and easier. Aaron wasn’t ashamed of any of it and even when they got weird looks, Aaron never even paid attention to them.

As they turned a corner to head back to the Jeep, Spencer stopped. He saw a man, woman, and child heading toward them. The kid looked happy and as soon as he saw Jack his eyes lit up. The two kids ran toward each other. Both of them were wearing matching shirts. Spencer’s eyes were on the mother who tried to pull her son back, but when the father stepped up to shake Aaron’s hand, Spencer gasped.

William Reid.

Spencer didn’t know what to say. If he pulled Jack back, a scene would be made. Spencer looked at Aaron and saw that he was offering his hand to William.

“William Reid, my girlfriend Clarice and our son William Jr,” William said as he shook Aaron’s hand. He offered his hand to Spencer, but Spencer didn’t offer his back. William frowned at him, but there was more than just the insult of not shaking hands. Spencer was sure that William recognized him.

“Reid, Papa that’s your name.” Jack turned his head up and looked at Spencer with a smile on his face. Spence wrapped his arms around himself, and he knew when he looked up at William, William knew that it was him.

“Spencer?” Aaron asked.

“It’s a fairly common name for the area,” Spencer said.

“Oh, William’s first child was mute. Are you deaf or mute?”

Spencer crinkled his face at the question. He tried to cover his anger but he couldn’t. Aaron’s arm came up around Spencer, and his soulmate pulled him close.

“I did not mean to offend you with the question. I’ve never met a deaf person before, and I wanted to make sure that if I needed to keep my face turned toward you so that you could understand me.”

“Papa is just mute, he can hear just fine,” Jack said as he took a step away from the silent boy that had been so excited about before.

“You never did introduce yourself,” William said, looking at Aaron.

“Aaron Hotchner and our son, Jack.” Aaron did not introduce Spencer either because he knew that William knew or he was trying to protect Spencer if he didn’t know that it was his son. “We must be going.”

“It was lovely to meet you,” Clarice said.

Spencer wrapped both of his hand around Jack’s shoulders and started off. When he realized after he had got about five feet away from the Reid family that Aaron wasn’t following him, Spencer turned. Aaron was standing right even with William.

“I would not seek us out, Mister Reid. Your son wants nothing to do with you, and I don’t want you around our son or me either.”

“William who was that?” Clarica asked, her voice not soft enough for Spencer’s ears to not pick up. “Was that your son?”

“It was.” William sounded like he was chewing nails as he admitted to it.

“And you acted like that. No wonder he wants nothing to do with you. You said that you hadn’t spoken to him in years. You looked shocked to see him at all.”

“I’ve not thought about him much, except when you bring him up. I left for a reason.” The tone was meant to sound like he was done talking about it but the woman’s tone told Spencer that she wasn’t going to let it go. For the sake of the child, Spencer hoped that she didn’t.

Spencer shook his head and looked at Aaron. He could tell that Aaron knew that he had heard what William had said.

“So, you were talking about the places that you wanted to eat,” Aaron said his voice just loud enough to carry. “I think I want a Porterhouse. Why don’t we hit that one hotel?”

Spencer blushed a little as he nodded. He looked at his watch and knew that the place would be open. They had time, and it would be better to clear out of the hotel before they went to eat, just to be safe as the hotel was close to the airport.

“Dad, was that Papa’s dad?” Jack asked.

“Yes, son.”

“I don’t like him.”

“Neither do I, buddy. Neither do I.”

As their steps took them away from the shop and toward where they had parked the Jeep, Spencer pushed William Reid out of his head. Los Angeles was going to make up for the trip that Vegas had been, which was pretty bad but since he was with Aaron and jack, it was worth it. Spencer wondered though if Summerlin was where his father had moved after leaving him and his mom. If he was that close, all the time. It was weird that he was so close all of that time. Spencer could have ridden his bike to his house.

Aaron grabbed Spencer around the waist as he stopped to open the Jeep door. Spencer let himself relax into Aaron’s arms, taking the emotional support for what it was. Aaron’s arms were like bands of strength around him. Helping to hold Spencer up.

“I love you for the man you turned out to be, despite what your father did. Just like you love me despite my father. We both became good men when we could have become the worst. We have a beautiful son who loves us. Our lives are the best, not to spite them but to show them that they didn’t really matter.”

Spencer turned around in Aaron’s arms and buried his face in his neck. He wasn’t going to cry, but he needed a few more seconds of this. To remember that Aaron supported him and he supported Aaron because they were better together and not apart.

“I’m hungry,” Jack said with a giggle. He laid his head on Spencer’s hip and looked up at both of his parents. “I want steak, too. And cheese fries with bacon and I guess I’ll eat broccoli.”

Spencer laughed at Jack, his body shaking in near tears from Jak’s words. Spencer reached down and picked Jack up as Aaron stepped back. Spencer hugged him and pressed a kiss to his forehead.

“Never change, Jack. Never change,” Aaron said before opening Spencer’s door to allow Jack to climb into the back. Spencer looked up at Aaron as the older man crossed to get into the front passenger seat. Spencer wouldn’t change this life for anything else.

Chapter 21-September 2010

Aaron looked around the dark and silent house. There had been a lot of changes over the near year and a half since Foyet had attacked him in his apartment. Sweeping changes had been made all around, no aspect of Aaron’s or even Jack’s life had not been touched by what happened. None of the changes could have been stopped, a fallout of the attack and what happened after. It was all so surreal to Aaron that his life had changed so much and all of it was for the better. Aaron had learned a long time ago that nothing good came to him.

Walking up the steps to the second floor, Aaron smiled to himself as he pictured what he knew Spencer was going to look like. Once fully asleep, Spencer rarely moved unless Aaron moved away from him. He would seek out warmth, snuggling into the spot that Aaron left. Stepping around the doorway, Aaron saw that Spencer was exactly like he thought he would be. Spencer was half on his side on the bed, one arm under Aaron’s pillow where he had tried to move back to find his lover in the bed and the warmth.

Covered up to his chin, Spencer was a picture of innocence, but Aaron knew under the blanket he was naked. Aaron knew because he had been naked before he had put on his running clothes to get a pre-dawn run in. Sleep had long eluded Aaron, and so he had decided to get the day going. Aaron had worn himself and Spencer out the night before, a shower had been the only concession that Aaron had given after Spencer had taken what he wanted from Aaron’s body.

It had taken a long while, but Spencer had got used to giving affection when Jack was around and taking it without a blush. Aaron liked to tease him though, and sometimes he would make Spencer blush. Spencer was flourishing in work and in his private life with Aaron there to back him up, to make him know that he wanted. Consults came in from many locations that were just for Spencer to look at. Weird crimes or non-patterned crimes that just needed a fresh eye. Dave hated it because even though it was a simple consult, he had to look them over to make sure that Bureau politics were covered. JJ fielded them all, and it was making Aaron wonder if it was time to add an in-office member to the team. Someone who stayed and took care of the paperwork that always piled up while they were gone. An assistant of sorts that everyone on the team used. It would be a good position for cadets that were right out of the Academy or even someone who was recovering from an injury. Aaron’s thoughts turned to agents that were like Spencer, who had never been considered for active teams before because of a disability. There could be someone out there like Spencer who would love for an in within the BAU.

Dave had not been silent that it had been him that had brought Spencer into the fold and therefore caused Aaron and Spencer to meet. Once things had settled down on the team after the revelation about Aaron and Spencer being soulmates, Dave had come into Aaron’s office and with a glass of scotch in hand had told Aaron that he expected a bottle of good spirits every Christmas for bringing them together. Aaron had already placed an order for a case of cigars for him for Christmas. Aaron was going to ask him at whatever party Garcia pushed on the team if he wanted spirits or smokes. Aaron knew that he would pick the cigars over anything else.

Aaron knew that he needed to get going on his run if he wanted to be back before Spencer woke up. The genius had been waking up at a pretty set time for the past two weeks, and Aaron wasn’t sure if he was worried about not getting up in time to get everything ready to take Jack to school or that he was just getting into a routine within the house finally. Aaron stepped up to the bed and tucked the blanket up around Spencer’s chin a little more. He leaned over and kissed Spencer’s forehead, listening intently. Spencer made a sound that Aaron had heard him making for the first time just weeks before, right after they got back from Vegas. It was a little gasp with a twist that Aaron took as a pleased hum. Aaron wanted to know all the sounds that Spencer made and be able to interpret all of them on every single occasion.

Times like this, Aaron knew that he had felt a slight bit of hatred for the people who had come into Spencer’s love life before him. Aaron knew that Spencer had not been celibate by any stretch of the imagination and all of them led Spencer to Aaron but healing the wounds left by them was a task on its own.

Spencer’s want of making sure that Aaron was satisfied before he even thought about doing it to himself was the hardest to break, but Aaron was up to the task. It wasn’t hard to break in the moment, but Spencer always reverted back to it, worried that Aaron would find something lacking if Spencer came first.

The air outside had a tinge of crispness to it, and Aaron knew that it was supposed to rain, as he locked the door behind him before slipping his key into the little pouch that was around his ankle. The neighborhood was growing again, getting new families into it. Aaron had seen the cycle once before and had enjoyed coming home to hear children running and screaming around, just playing.

Jack had made a few friends on the block. There was a family of five that had moved in on the other side of the street. There were two boys and a girl, triplets. The father worked for Georgetown as a Physics professor while the mother never really said what she did. Aaron was sure that she worked for another agency in the DC area, but he didn’t push because she was entitled to her secrets.

The whole block usually slept until after the sun had risen, there were few early risers, and none ever got up at the hours that Aaron did. He liked running through the neighborhood in the early hours. It was quiet, and it gave him time to decompress. If a run couldn’t be had in the mornings, Spencer would sometimes run with him before dinner. The last time, it had led to a makeout session hidden in a small grove of trees a block over. It had been illicit, and the blush that Spencer had worn the rest of the way home with his erection barely hidden had been worth it. Aaron even liked to run behind Spencer so he could watch Spencer’s ass as it moved in his running pants. Spencer wore skin-tight pants that showed off his ass well. Aaron loved that ass, and he loved to watch it move.

“Good morning, Hotch,” a voice called out, and Aaron stopped running to look around. He saw Old Man Rivers sitting on his front porch, a glowing bright orange light of his ever-present cigarette and a cup of coffee in his other hand. The man had lived in the neighborhood since before Aaron and Haley had moved into it.

“Good morning.”

“I saw your young man running the other day. I didn’t realize that he was a non-talker. I think I embarrassed him a little bit. Tell him I am sorry.”

“I’m sure that he’s fine, but I’ll tell him.” Aaron watched as Rivers stood up from his chair. The man was a World War II vet and had lived in the same house since he had got back from the war if the rumors were correct. He had never married and never seemed to care about having anyone take care of him.

“I couldn’t understand a word he was trying to tell me, and his phone was acting up, and I couldn’t hear it. He was trying to help me with that TV of mine that I watch the games on. I think he knew how to fix it. Tell him if he comes over again, I’d gladly pay him in food if he can fix it. I can’t get the picture in well enough on the TV to know who is doing what.”

“I’ll send him over with Jack so that all else fails Jack can talk between the two of you.”

“Mildred two blocks over is scandalized about you shacking up with a man, especially since your little doctor is what about two decades younger than you?”

“About fifteen years. Mildred can go back to watching her soaps and not worry about things that don’t bother her.”

“That’s what I told her.” Rivers stopped at the edge of his gate, and Aaron stepped up closer to him. The man had never been cruel to any of the kids in the neighborhood. He ignored them if he didn’t want to be bothered but would play with the kids if he was so inclined. “She and Rosemary need gossip to live. I think that if they moved into one of those places for old folks they get about a decade younger.”

Aaron laughed and nodded his head. The two old ladies ran the gossip in the neighborhood. Aaron had been the one to let it slip what happened to Haley so that no one would ask him. It was easier that way because the older ladies in the area couldn’t keep anything to themselves even if it saved their lives.

“I heard that Jack wasn’t going to the local school.”

“No, he goes to New Haven. It’s closer to the Academy, and with the troubles after the death of his mother, it was a better fit than public school.”

“Glad that you were able to find a good place for him. I’ll let you get back to your run.”

Aaron nodded and took off again. There wasn’t a lot of time left for him to make it home before Spencer woke up but Aaron was okay with getting in a little late. Spencer would be loathed to get out of bed no matter what. Breakfast was a casserole that Aaron needed to throw into the oven when he got home, Spencer had made it the night before. It basically needed to be reheated. There was no rush to get to work for either of them, no Spencer had taken the day off for Jack’s first day of school and Aaron knew that Spencer never would have said a thing if Aaron hadn’t as well, but Aaron felt that he should be there as well.

Jack was going to be going back to New Haven after nearly a year of muteness to now being able to talk. Aaron understood that Jack could be a little pressured and having Spencer and Aaron there would help. Spencer had been to the school several times in Aaron’s stead. Aaron liked having a hand in Jack’s schooling, and Aaron did keep track of where Jack was but Spencer breathed teaching Jack things, and so when it was time for Jack to do his new assessments for his speech, it had seemed like the natural thing to let Spencer take him. It also told the school exactly how much Aaron trusted him with his son. None of the teachers seemed to have an issue with Spencer at all, even when Aaron had gone to get Spencer added to all of the paperwork as another adult in the life of Jack. Jessica had even gone with Spencer to the school to pick up Jack’s updated list of things that he needed.

Every day that Jack went to New Haven, Aaron was thankful for finding the school, thankful for Spencer telling him about the school. It was a perfect fit for all of them.

Aaron slipped into the basement to shower when he was done with his run, neither Midnight nor Curiosity would come down to watch him shower down there. He had towels down there. He really didn’t want to wake up Spencer if the younger man was still asleep. Spencer had the entire house spotless. Aaron was half worried about even dropping a chip on the floor. He even got Jack into cleaning his room. Spencer said that it was a habit of his mother’s to clean up the house really good before school started so that in the first few weeks, while everyone was adjusting to school again they didn’t have to do a lot of cleaning. Aaron kind of liked it as other than Jessica taking care of Haley’s things in the house after her death, the house hadn’t been really cleaned out.

Spencer had let Aaron and Jack make decisions on where things went as new things were added. Pictures of Haley were still around, but now there were a few pictures of Spencer growing up thrown into the mix. Aaron loved the picture on the mantle of Diana Reid holding a baby Spencer. Aaron could see the love in her eyes as she held her son. Beside it was the first picture of Haley holding Jack.

The house finally entirely looked like Spencer lived there. From the few geek decorations that were on the bookshelves to a few science posters on hallway walls. Spencer older books right beside some of Aaron’s law texts and the melding of their fiction reading habits as well. Aaron was happy to have the house feel different now. It had felt half done after moving all of Haley’s things out and then Jessica’s when she moved next door. Some of SPencer’s extra furniture from his apartment went to Jessica’s including a large chair that had been in Spencer’s bedroom that when Jack stayed the night, he and Jessica cuddled in it to read.

Aaron sighed as he wrapped the towel around his waist after he was done drying off. Going up to the kitchen, Aaron held the towel around his waist one-handed and turned on the oven. Aaron grabbed the casserole from the fridge and slipped it into the oven before making a mad but quiet dash up the stairs to make it into the bedroom. Spencer was not on his side anymore but flat on his back. It was an odd position for Aaron’s soulmate to be in, but Aaron still smiled. He shut the bedroom door and dropped the towel to the floor before he crawled up the bed and straddled Spencer’s body.

Spencer was half awake when Aaron settled on his hands and knees above him. Aaron pressed his hands in a little closer to Spencer’s body, trapping him with the blanket. Spencer’s eyes opened up, and he smiled up at Aaron.

Hi, Spencer mouthed up at him.

“Hi,” Aaron said back to him before he leaned down to brush a kiss over Spencer’s lips. Spencer tried to sit up. He frowned when he realized that Aaron had him trapped. “Casserole is in the oven heating up. Jack’s still asleep. I wanna make out in bed for a while.”

The quirked eyebrow that Spencer had on his face told Aaron that he wasn’t going to say no to it. Aaron dropped down to his elbows, giving Spencer room to wiggle his arms up and wrap them around Aaron’s shoulders. Aaron smirked at Spencer but didn’t drop to where Spencer could kiss him. Spencer laughed, his body shaking the bed a little before he tangled his fingers into Aaron’s hair and pulled him down.

Aaron grunted a little as their mouths crashed together. After a few seconds, the kiss turned gentle, and Aaron settled in for the long haul of an extended make-out session. Aaron’s plan was strategic because he knew that Spencer’s cleaning drive wasn’t just to clean but to also help him calm down.

Spencer was worried about how everything was going to go. Spencer was coming in as a stranger. The other parents were going to look at him weird, for his sex, his age, and his muteness. The other kids would probably take well to him because Jack liked him, but Spencer was showing to be a little off around children and dogs. The first day of school was a simple day. The kids got to wander around and see each of the classes and spend the morning with their parents before sitting down for some simple beginning of term things after lunch. The school year would start in earnest the next day.

All morning though, Spencer was going to have to talk to other parents, and he was worried. Aaron wanted to start the day well and morning make out before Spencer’s brain entirely kicked on would set the tone. Aaron didn’t want Spencer nervous. Aaron felt the bed shift a little and groaned when he felt Spencer’s legs shift to try and rub on Aaron’s. Aaron lowered himself down, to where he was stretched all along Spencer’s body. Spencer thrust up into him a little.

Pain flared on Aaron’s ass, making him jerk out of Spencer’s hold. Spencer’s hand was still tangled in his hair and that hurt as Aaron shot up in bed. He felt Midnight’s claws dig into his ass more. Aaron reached behind and grabbed the kitten by the scruff of his neck. Aaron looked down at Spencer as he pulled Midnight into view. Spencer looked worried until he saw Midnight. Spencer reached up and took hold of the kitten and cuddled him down into his chest. Midnight yowled but didn’t try and move away.

“He went after my ass, Spencer. He doesn’t need to be cuddled.”

“He’s a baby. He went after your butt when you wiggled it.” Spencer frowned at Aaron and nuzzled in at Midnight’s face. The kitten soaked up the attention.

“He’s just upset that I took a shower without him.” Aaron frowned but leaned down and picked up the kitten. Midnight started to purr as soon as Aaron’s fingers touched his fur. Spencer wiggled up on the bed and slipped from under Aaron. He pressed a kiss to Aaron’s cheek as he slid off the bed to start to get ready for the day.

Spencer stared at himself in the closet mirror. He had heard nothing from Aaron since the man had left him to choose his outfit for the day. Spencer had chosen a pair of fitted black trousers that were newer and therefore looked the best. His dress shirt was a lilac color that he was finding Aaron loved to see him in, and his vest was a dark purple. The only decision left was his tie. Spencer had three hanging from the mirror, trying to decide.

Aaron’s reasons for wanting an early morning makeout session had been transparent to Spencer as soon as his brain was woken up enough to start to think. A few things worried Spencer but how the other parents were going to take to him was one of them. If Jack continued to like the school and wanted to go there until he graduated, there would be no escaping the parents of the kids that Jack went to school with. They were going to be there at every single parent meeting, at the plays and other things that the schools put on.

Deciding on the white tie that was Aaron’s Spencer liked to wear. It was soft silk and no matter how many times it was dry cleaned it had the spice of Aaron’s cologne on it. Spencer hung up the other two ties back where they belonged and stared at himself as he flipped up the collar of his shirt to drape the tie around his neck. Spencer’s head was full of different ways to tie a tie, but he wasn’t sure which way he wanted. Aaron had been sporting a Cape Knot in his, it was Jack’s favorite knot and one that Spencer knew well, tying and untying it.

Spencer emptied his mind of worries and just started to move. He didn’t watch himself in the mirror but just went on muscle memory. When he was done, a perfect Trinity Knot was staring at him. He hadn’t worn it in years. It looked beautiful with the rest of his outfit.

“Ready?” Aaron called out from the bedroom door. When Spencer made no noise, Aaron wandered in the walk-in closet, looking at Spencer in the mirror. “I’ve got your coffee in a mug and ready to go as well as a cup for you to drink real quick. I did bring some of those tea bags you liked and stored your tea travel mug in the car so that you don’t have to drink tea out of your coffee mug. Jack’s in the backseat of the car bouncing up and down.”

“I don’t want to go.”

Aaron sighed and stepped up to Spencer, carefully wrapping his arms around Spencer’s waist and holding him tight. Aaron laid his head on Spencer’s shoulder, tipping their faces together.

“You don’t mean that. Nothing is going to happen. I’m not going to let anyone put you down. Jack isn’t going to either. While I don’t want to put people off, if they insult you, I will be a hardass to them for the rest of Jack’s school career. We don’t owe them niceness if they aren’t nice back. You are an FBI agent, a multiple PhD earner and a good father and a wonderful lover. Don’t worry I’ll keep that last part to myself. You are the glue that kept me together in the aftermath of what happened with Haley and Foyet. I am not going to let you slide yourself to the back. I want you beside me as a partner and not in the back as a dirty little secret. So please, Spencer, don’t hide.”

Spencer nodded. He knew that Aaron would talk him out of not going. He had counted on it. The team accepting them and the rest of the FBI had been pretty easy. There were not a lot of agents who didn’t worship the ground that their soulmates walked on. Especially those that lived and breathed the agency. It was why soulmates were so protected in the FBI charter. The BAU especially was protective of soulmates, they went after the worst of the worst and finding someone who was their mate in every way was a nice bonus. If Spencer hadn’t already been on the BAU, he would have been allowed to be trained to join the BAU or even just trained to join the FBI, no matter his status.

“Now, let’s go and eat horrid pastries and talk to parents that we would rather gag.”

“I’ve never been to something like this, Aaron. I don’t want to make you look bad.”

“Nothing you can do would ever make me look bad in my eyes. Well maybe strip naked and run around but I don’t think you ever would. So push away your fears and let’s go, before Jack comes back inside.”

“Do you want me to take my phone or my tablet as my method of speech?”

“If you want your tablet, take it. I know you like to use it more. Jack talked you into that case with all those weird symbols on it. Show everyone how much of a nerd you are.”

Aaron turned Spencer around in his arms and cupped the sides of his face. Aaron was smiling, and he looked so happy. Spencer leaned in to brush their noses together. Spencer could do this, for Aaron.

The laughter of kids surrounded Spencer. He was squirreled away in the science lab with about half of the kids in Jack’s grade. It was just about lunchtime, and the rest of the parents were gossiping in the lunchroom. Spencer and Jack had snuck off because Jack wanted to show Spencer his locker and the cool things inside of it. Spencer had left Aaron in the hands of a politician and hadn’t even felt sorry for it.

Aaron appeared in the doorway just as the seventeen rockets shot off, the popping filling the room and the kids all started to giggle.

“Spencer, we have a few parents who are wondering where their children are.” Aaron was looking around before he stepped fully inside. Behind him were several parents, Spencer recognized them as the ones that he actually liked. There were several kids in Jack’s grade that were there at New Haven for the prestige that it gave the kids and nothing to do with it actually helping the kids in any way. A few of those kids were in the room with Spencer. Spencer was making it his goal to get those kids engaged in learning because what their parents were doing was not doing it.

“Oh, this looks fun and a little messy,” a woman said that Spencer didn’t know.

“Mommy!” a young girl said as she jumped up and ran to her mother. “We made rockets!”

“That’s really cool. Who is your new friend?” the woman said, and Spencer saw that she spoke very well, her lip movements and enunciation were spot on, a rarity in the modern world.

“This is Jack’s Papa.”

“And who is Jack?”

“Me!” Jack jumped up from where he had been ducked under a table picking up the film canisters. Jack ran to Spencer and kind of collapsed into Spencer’s lap. “And that’s my Dad.”

The woman looked at where Jack was pointing at Aaron.

“Hello, my name is Daphne Holmes.”

“Aaron Hotchner,” Aaron said. He extended his hand and Daphne shook it with a smile on her face.

“My wife and I just moved to the area two months ago. I was delighted to find this school.”

Spencer saw another lady enter the room after the rest of the parents ushered their kids out to eat. Spencer watched as she made a subtle gesture with her hand. He knew that gesture well. The little girl wiggled out of her mother’s arms and ran for the new lady.

“This is my wife, Jill.”

Spencer thought about that name, Jill Holmes. He knew it. He had seen it.

“The new head C.A.R.D,” Spencer signed. Aaron’s eyes had been on him, but Jill turned to him as he signed.

“Yes, I am the new head of the C.A.R.D. team for the area. And I know you, Doctor Reid, Agent Hotchner. Daph, these are the two that I was telling you about. The gossip of the agency.” Jill stepped forward and offered her hand to Aaron but not to Spencer. “I won’t offer you my hand as I’ve already been told by two other members of the agency that you don’t shake hands. Of course, they made it seem like it was the height of rudeness. I, on the other hand, know why. Alice, did you introduce yourself to Jack’s fathers?”

“We’ve been a little busy with playing with magic. Science magic as Jack calls it. I actually know none of the names of the kids that were in the room. I would adore meeting your daughter though.”

Alice came forward and introduced herself with her hands to both Spencer and Aaron.

“She was born with only half hearing in each ear, and it goes down a few percentage points each year. So we’ve been teaching her sign language and lip reading. She’s good at both. We heard the New Haven was the best in the area for that kind of thing.”

“Papa is mute, and Dad and I both talk to him with our hands a lot. I see them doing it when they don’t want me to ‘hear’ things, but I still do,” Jack said. He slipped out of Spencer’s lap and went to Aaron to be picked up. “I’m hungry.”

“Let’s go eat. Ladies Holmes, would you like to join us at our table?” Aaron asked with a smile on his face.

“We would be delighted.”

Spencer stayed where he was as Aaron came over to him. Aaron held out his hand and waited for Spencer to take it before he pulled Spencer up. Spencer tucked himself into Aaron’s side as Jack wiggled out of his arms and took off to where Alice was. Spencer watched as the two of them started to sign back and forth. He saw a lot of play dates between the two of them in the future.

The lunchroom was packed with parents and kids. The teenagers at the school were mostly sitting in one of the corners with their parents sitting at the other. Spencer shook his head because he could tell that many of the teens just wanted to be with their friends. There were a few teens that were sitting with parents, and there were even a few parents that were sitting with groups of teens and talking. It was never more evident that many of the kids in the school were there because of prestige. Kids sitting at tables with their back straight and a plate of food in front of them that was served just like food at any other school, but the kids had napkins tucked into their collars and were using the silverware on things that didn’t need it.

Spencer looked at Aaron who was looking around as well. He could see the tightness around Aaron’s eyes that told him that he knew well what a lot of the kids in the room were going through. Jack knew table manners as all children should be Jack had no clue that there were different kinds of forks. He had never been forced to eat pizza with a knife and a fork like about a quarter of the lunchroom.

“You go and find a seat for us. Jack, Alice, and I will go get our food,” Aaron said before he pressed a kiss to Spencer’s forehead.

“I’ll go with you. We don’t need to drop any food,” Jill said.

Spencer let go of his hold on Aaron’s arm and watched as Aaron with a grin on his face offered that arm to Jill. Spencer shook his head at the antics of his soulmate.

“Jill has told me about you two. Just the basics after she came home pissed one day because one of her new team was bitching about two men sleeping together. It seems that he had not realized that his new head was also married to a woman,” Daphne said as she sat down at a free table. There was enough room for all six of them plus a few others at the table, but so far no one else had sat down at it. It was the only empty table in the whole of the lunchroom. “When she took over the DC C.A.R.D until we moved here from California where she had been working with the Coast Guard on terror response.”

Spencer held up a finger and reached into his bag to pull out the tablet. He quickly set it up and turned the volume down to a more personal level before he started to type.

I remember when she was appointed. I was very happy about her placement before I even heard about who she was married to. You do jewelry design, right? Moved to the DC branch of a pretty popular jewelry store. I do like looking at jewelry, but I don’t like to wear it.

“Neither do I. Jill, and I did tattoo bands for our wedding bands when we got married.” Daphne looked over at Spencer’s tablet. “That’s cool. I bet it helps when you are in cases. Makes it easier when your team is not around.”

Aaron is the only member of the team that knows enough sign language to be able to read my hands. The rest rely on this and paper.

“Hello,” a new voice said, and a woman sat down beside Spencer, too close for comfort. Spencer scooted away from her and toward Daphne. There was silence at the table. “My name is Mirinda Davis. You are Doctor Reid, yes?”

Spencer nodded, a little dumbfounded that the woman would just sit down beside him. Mirinda looked at Daphne, and a look of disgust came over her face.

“You know that she is one of those lesbians, don’t you? Not the type of woman you want to be seen conversing with.”

“Considering that he’s already taken, Mrs. Davis and very much not interested in what you have or don’t have on under that dress, I don’t think that he cares about making friends with a woman who is married,” Aaron’s voice was hard. Spencer looked up to see that he was carrying two trays while Jill was setting down her and Daphne’s trays. Jack and Alice were sitting across the table, looking a little apprehensive.

“He’s not wearing a ring, Aaron.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“You can’t protect everyone here,” Mirinda didn’t seem willing to get up. “He’s a doctor.”

“I’m well aware of what he is. He’s just not the kind of Doctor you think that he is and his work with the FBI, on my team, makes him not the kind of boy toy that you are looking for. He’s not going to be able to be flashy for a camera. He’s also my soulmate.”

Mirinda looked at Aaron like she didn’t believe Aaron, so Spencer stood up and took the trays before setting them down and kissing Aaron on the lips. He kept it chaste, but it was very evident that it wasn’t a joke. Jack giggled, and Mirinda walked off in a huff.

“I was not aware that her children went here. Her ex-husband works on the Hill and divorced her when he found her in bed with a college student, and the children were with the Nanny. She’s bounced to five other college students over that time, and now she’s trying to settle down with the first pretty thing that can keep her in the style she likes.”

I don’t think that I have ever been hit on like that, especially in front of kids. I feel sorry for her children.

Aaron hummed and picked up his piece of pizza off his plate before he even sat down. Spencer retook his seat and frowned at the pizza on his plate. His stomach was upset from what had happened, and he wasn’t sure that he should eat at all.

“I have gummy worms,” Alice said, and she offered over a bag of the worms. Spencer smiled at her and took one of the blue ones before he took a small bite. “I like to leave the head for last.”

Spencer laughed at the horrified looks on Jill and Daphne’s faces.

“So do I. That way I know they have watched me eat the rest of their bodies,” Jack chimed in.

“And the arms and legs off of gummy bears. Then leave them lay for a while and work on the limbs of the rest before finishing them off.”

Spencer couldn’t help but shake so hard with laughter that the whole table was shaking. Aaron was looking at Jack like he didn’t know his own son while Jill and Daphne looked like they would rather be anywhere but where they are. Spencer grabbed his stomach because it was starting to hurt from laughing so hard.

The table was silent, and when Spencer looked up at Aaron, Aaron looked like he was a little upset. It made Spencer laugh harder. The kids were eating their food and discussing softly what they liked to eat first off of all of their snack foods that were shaped like animals and insects. Spencer pulled his tablet closer to him.

It’s perfectly natural for children their age to find it funny. They are eating food that is shaped like creatures that are not human. They are not ripping the heads off of dolls or setting them on fire. Gingerbread cookies were some of the first humanoid shaped things and children have delighted in biting the heads off of them for over a hundred years. If they only ate the head and left the bodies scattered around, that would be different. Or if the giggling while doing it lasted past them starting to develop a strong sense of their conscience.

“I hope so because otherwise, you are the only going with him to therapy,” Aaron said, but he looked at Jack a little affronted.

“He’s not a serial killer in training, Aaron,” Spencer signed as he looked at Jack. Neither of them was looking. “We would have already noticed his fascination with live things. He hated it when he found that dead baby bird in the backyard. He’s gentle with Midnight and would never hurt him. He’s fine. It’s child’s play.”

Jill snorted, and Daphne hit her before she started to laugh.


“Child’s Play is the name of a series of movies that are anything but. However, Aaron, I agree with Spencer. It’s fine. It was just shocking to hear it from them in public after just meeting.”

Spencer looked around the room, seeing a lot of the parents looking at them. When he saw Mirinda looking at him and glaring, he glared back. He barely paid attention to the rest of the meal unless the kids were talking to him. He left his tablet up but used his hands to talk for the most part. It was easier that way and less likely for anyone else to hear him. Spencer wasn’t sure how long it would take for him to settle into the role of the stepfather when out and about with Jack but he knew now why Aaron wanted him there. Jack was talking and being animated, but he kept looking at Spencer. Having both Aaron and Spencer, there was helping Jack settle into the school as a speaking student.

Jack started to laugh, and he nearly fell over as he laughed so hard he couldn’t breathe right. Alice was laughing just as hard beside him. The swell of pride in Spencer’s heart that Jack had become so unreserved in the past few months with him right there helping him made Spencer feel truly like a parent for the first time. It was a feeling that Spencer hadn’t thought he would ever have and it felt damned good.

The End


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