Title: Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Series: A Universe of Meetings
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Fandom(s): Criminal Minds
Relationships: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Spencer Reid, Jack Hotchner
Tags: Disability, Alternate Universe
Summary: Aaron was intrigued by Mister Spencer, Jack’s favorite volunteer at his school, he just didn’t realize that he was going to become the man’s savior as well during a tumultuous holiday season.
Notes: Based on Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
“It makes absolutely no sense,” A voice said from around the corner. Aaron Hotchner followed it and found that a young man was sitting on a table with a group of kids all around him. And there in the center looking at the man like he was enthralling was Jack, Aaron’s son. Aaron stayed right where he was and listened as the man entertained the children with stories about Elves and Reindeer. Aaron was significantly entertained by the story, and it wasn’t until he felt his phone vibrate that he realized that it was time to go. He had set the alarm just to be safe. The man paused in his story, and Aaron stepped forward. The man didn’t even look at him.
“Jack, I think that’s your father here to get you.”
Jack turned around to look at Aaron with a grin on his face. Jack launched himself up and into Aaron’s arms, thankfully not hitting any of the other kids.
“Thank you for the stories, Mister Spencer,” Jack said.
“You are welcome. I look forward to seeing you after the winter break,” Mister Spencer said with a grin on his face.
Aaron was happy to finally have a face to go with the name of Mister Spencer. He was a new volunteer at New Haven Academy, and Jack was enthralled by him. Jack talked about him a great deal, and it seemed that Mister Spencer was a very involved volunteer.
“You aren’t coming to the party tomorrow?” Jack asked.
“I have other things to do, but if I get them done in time, I might try and slip in for a little while.” Mister Spencer smiled and waved as Jack grabbed his backpack and slung t over his shoulders to go with Aaron out of the school. Jack really liked New Haven, and it was right on the way into and out of work for Aaron, so it was easy for him to be more involved in Jack’s care when Aaron was in town. The school kept the kids entertained with homework help, sports, and other things after the school hours were done, and it was a great help on Aaron. Especially after his last nanny had quit to get married. Aaron smiled down at Jack as Jack started to talk about the stories that Mister Spencer had been entertaining the kids with while they waited for their parents to pick them up.
Jack kept up the chatter for the entire drive home. He was especially upset that the present that Jack wanted for Mister Spencer for Christmas had come a day late and might not get it at all. Aaron sincerely hoped that it was at home waiting so they could wrap it up and Jack could at least leave it as the school for Mister Spencer.
The party was in full swing when Aaron arrived. The kids only had a half of a day of school and the second half, going from lunch hour to whenever the parents picked them up was a party. The gym was decked out in various finery from all religions and followings that Aaron knew. He smiled at the metallic snowflakes that were everywhere. Aaron had taken half of a day to spend here at the school with Jack. Aaron was interested in meeting the teachers. Jack’s inclusion into New Haven had been quick, but as it was a school that was heavily used by many of the higher-up’s in politics and in the military in the area, it was the safest school for Jack.
“You look a little out of your depth,” a woman said from beside Aaron.
Aaron turned and looked at her and recognized her from images on the website for the school
“Headmistress Epps, yes it’s a little…over the top, but the kids look like they are having the time of their lives.”
“They do enjoy this. It gives them something fun to do and allows us to get to know some a little better. There is an outdoor picnic on the last day of school as well.”
“I don’t see Jack,” Aaron said as he looked around.
“Young Mister Hotchner is helping Mister Spencer with a surprise for the kids. They are in the science labs next door. Even I have been barred from entering. Why don’t you pick up some food and then maybe by then they will be done.”
“That sounds wonderful.”
“Foods with known allergens to the kids we have on campus are labeled, and there are teachers staffing the tables, ask if you have anything you don’t like or can’t eat and they will tell you what is good for you to eat.”
“I’m much like Jack, there is little I won’t eat and nothing that I can’t.”
“Good. Enjoy, Agent Hotchner.”
Aaron found the food table easily, it was covered in chafing dishes that had either a fire under them or what looked like ice to keep the food at good temperatures. Aaron was looking at the food for a long time before eating anything. There were very long descriptions of the origin of the food and the way that was prepared attached to the table in front of the pans the food was in. Aaron was enjoying reading about them.
The laughter from behind him had Aaron turning around. He looked up at the snow that was falling from the center of the room. The air kicked on, and it started to blow around. Aaron saw Jack at the base of a weird looking machine. He looked at his empty plate before tucking it under his arm and going to over to greet his son. Aaron saw that Mister Spencer was grinning, but there was something on his face besides the grin that said that he was not happy. Aaron frowned at himself as he thought about trying to help the man wipe the sad look off of his face. It was not a good thought in his head. Aaron did not need to start to think about one of Jack’s teachers like that.
“Hello,” Aaron said as he stopped behind Jack.
“Dad!” Jack screamed as he turned around. Aaron hugged Jack and stepped back from the machine. “Look at Mister Spencer’s inside snow machine.”
“That is very cool.”
“Yes, I used it for a play that was being put on last year. I would love to tell you what I mixed to get snow that melts but doesn’t leave water behind but I’d have to kill you.” Mister Spencer winked at Aaron when he said, and Aaron couldn’t help the smile on his face or the laugh that escaped his lips.”
“Well, then I’ll just have to marvel at what you’ve done instead of asking about it.”
“Dad, let me tell you about the food since you have a plate and it’s empty.” Jack tugged on Aaron’s hand to draw him over to the food, Mister Spencer forgotten in the rush to show Aaron everything.
Two hours later, Aaron was stuffed and feeling like he needed a nap. He looked around for Jack and found him sitting on a set of benches in the corner by himself. In his lap was the present. Aaron frowned because he would have assumed that Jack gave it to Mister Spencer earlier. Yet there he was with it in his lap. Aaron walked over and sat down beside Jack.
“I really wanted to give it to him personally, and he left before I could. I got distracted by the snow machine.”
“I think that Mister Spencer would be happy getting it as a present after Christmas. So why don’t we take it home and then you can take it back when school starts up again and give it to him then?” Aaron asked.
“Sure. Are you ready?”
“Yes.” Aaron could get behind a short afternoon nap. It would be nice to just relax with the sounds of Jack running around the apartment.
Aaron usually didn’t take so much time off at Christmas, but with no Nanny and not a lot of cases, he had been able to take all of Jack’s days off of school off of work. Still, Jack spent some time with friends around the block which gave Aaron time to do a little last minute Christmas shopping. He had most of the gifts for everyone that he needed, but he needed a few last ones.
There was a massive display at a bookstore about an illustrated book version of Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, and Aaron stopped to look at it. Jack liked the song, and it could make an excellent book to get for reading on Christmas Eve. Jack would enjoy it, and Aaron would enjoy reading it to him. Aaron slipped inside the bookstore and walked around to grab a copy. Aaron also saw that there were a good bit of new books that Jack didn’t have yet and while Aaron had already bought Jack a great many presents, Aaron would never see books as true presents, so he grabbed all of the new ones that were out.
Book shopping took little time as the crowds were not in that store. No, those crowds were everywhere else. Usually, the hustle and bustle of DC in the winter got to Aaron but today it was a good day, and Aaron felt really good, so nothing was going to get him down. He found a place to eat lunch, something that Jack would yell at him for because it was covered in gravy and fried. Jack was on a healthy food phase, and he was very much into fruits and vegetables, so Aaron had plans for that for Christmas.
“You can’t be serious,” A voice that Aaron knew, or at least he thought he knew said. Aaron looked around, and he spotted someone who was standing in the entrance to an alley with his back to the road. Aaron frowned and stepped up to him. It was a good way to get mugged. Aaron tapped him on the shoulder as he started to speak again. “I don’t understand how he got that through the courts so quick or how in the hell they think that I cannot take care of myself. I let him move in with me, and he kicked me out, and now he has convinced a court that I am not able to take care of myself. I didn’t even get the summons for court.”
Aaron stopped and frowned with his hand just above the man’s shoulder. It was Mister Spencer.
“No, I am not upset at you, Henry. I know. I don’t know what’s going on either, but now I have nowhere to go, and he’s frozen my cards. I can’t even buy food without him. Makes it hard to leave him doesn’t it?”
Aaron growled at that statement, and Mister Spencer spun around, and his eyes darted around like he was trying to find the person who had growled. The eyes settled on Aaron, and Mister Spencer inhaled deeply.
“Mister Hotchner,” Mister Spencer said. He looked really wary.
“Mister Spencer, I couldn’t help but overhear what you said.” Aaron didn’t know the man from Adam but to be allowed to teach, even just volunteer at New Haven, Mister Spencer had to survive the most stringent background checks. Aaron felt like he could trust him. Still, his team would call him a full-blown idiot. “I would like to offer you my couch.”
“I couldn’t-” Mister Spencer cut off as the voice on the other end of the phone screeched something. Aaron just smiled.
“If Jack found out that his favorite person at new Haven had nowhere to go this holiday season well he might be really upset at me. Also, I still home the capacity to be a lawyer for DC and Virginia. I might be able to help you unravel what’s going on. I can also loan you money until we get the cards and your ability to live on your own free from whoever this man is.”
“I-” Mister Spencer swallowed and closed his eyes before sighing. “Henry, I’ll talk to you later. I know your number by heart so if my phone gets cut off don’t worry, I’ll find a way to contact you.”
“Do you need anything now?”
“No. I put my stuff into storage and paid cash for a year two weeks ago. I have been staying at a hotel, but my card was declined this morning, so they kicked me out. I have spent the past few hours calling my bank and then al around town as I have been pushed from place to place before my one of the ladies who has known me for years told me that my accounts were on hold based on a court order. The courts are even harder to get through to. I spent my last bit of money on a pitiful breakfast with horrible coffee at the cheapest place I could find.”
“What reason was given for why your finances were put under a hold and this man able to control them?”
“His name is Steven, and up until two weeks ago, we were partners. Boyfriends, lovers, whatever name you want to call it. We have been dating for three years, and he’s slowly become more and more controlling. While he was out of town two weeks ago, I moved everything that I cared about out of the apartment and then waited for him to get home and left him. He I guess didn’t like that and got his best friend and lawyer buddy to prove without me being present that I was incapable of managing my own life even though I’ve been doing it since I went to Caltech at thirteen.”
“I’m shocked you didn’t add blind in there.”
Aaron stopped the words that he was about to say as he looked at Mister Spencer, really looked at him. His eyes were mostly trained on Aaron but had been close enough that Aaron had not realized it. He was standing with his ears pointing out.
“You are blind?” Aaron asked when he could think of nothing else to say.
“Yes. I would have assumed that Jack would have told you that.”
“Jack has never mentioned that you were blind. He’s told me just about everything else. So blind and a genius means that you can’t take care of yourself. Well, we shall see about that. I have some shopping to do, and you can fill me in on what is going on with Steven and your money, then I can see about starting the paperwork to get your money back.” Aaron looked for a cane that would help Spencer around, but there was nothing. Aaron wondered how Spencer moved around in his world. A thought occurred to Aaron. “How did you know that I was here and how did you know when I came to pick up Jack the other day.”
“Jack always smells like you in the morning. A mix of the cologne that you wear and the gun oil you use to clean your gun. Today, you still have that smell on you, but the gun oil is fainter. I have an IQ of one hundred and eighty-seven, a memory that catalogs every single word that I hear and smell that my nose takes in, as well as both of those being very hyperactive. I can also read Braille as fast as ten thousand words per minute if I am reading fiction books, technical books slow down a great deal, but I still read faster than the average blind person.”
Aaron just stared at Mister Spencer and was trying to come up with something to say in answer to that. He wasn’t sure what he could say really.
“It’s okay to not know what to say to that,” Mister Spencer said with a smile. He reached out, his hand only wavering slightly as he laid it on Aaron’s arm. “So you were saying something about shopping. I know that you are BAU so I’ll start at the beginning of when I met Steven so you can figure out the type of man that he is.”
“The beginning is always a good place to start,” Aaron said. He reached over and laid his hands over Spencer’s before he slowly turned to where they were going in the direction that he had been going when Aaron had heard Mister Spencer.
Aaron swallowed tightly as he and Spencer left the courtroom. There was going to be hell to pay, and Aaron was sure that he had just uncovered a ring of judges in the DC court system that used the law to keep people in relationships with men who wanted to control them. The first day of the trial had gone fine with Aaron presenting everything that he had been able to uncover about Spencer being alone from agent thirteen up, technically he had been at Caltech when he was twelve, but he had only been that age for a month, so almost everyone called him thirteen when he started college. The judge had not said anything bad. It was the second day that the questions began and Aaron realized that the judge didn’t care about justice, just about keeping Spencer in the hands of the man who wanted to control him. Aaron had called in a favor from a few judges in the area, and they had come to the afternoon session of the second day. It only took the judge making the decision that Spencer was still much of a fragile person to ever live alone, even after supporting himself for as long as he had before Steven had entered the picture for hell to reign down.
The case had been reopened, and every single bit of evidence and testimony was gone over as well as the court transcripts from the first hearing where Spencer’s ability to manage himself had been taken away. The court officer who had been the one to deliver the summons to Spencer had been called into the place and asked why he had not delivered the summons. The man had been duped into thinking that Steven was, in fact, Spencer. Aaron was sure that this was going to affect a lot of the court system for years to come as this whole thing was unraveled.
“Well?” Jack asked where he was sitting with Derek Morgan, one of Aaron’s BAU team members and a good fill-in babysitter when needed. Jack liked him, and Aaron trusted him.
“It’s too late on a Friday but come Monday morning I’ll be in control of my money again. I can go and find an apartment.”
“I’d wait until after Christmas,” Morgan said as he stood up. He offered his hand to Spencer, Spencer put out his hand, and Morgan found it. “I have a few nice places that I can show you. I do the renovations myself. Might be a bit big for you alone but all of them would be easy to navigate blind.”
“Why would you do that?”
“We don’t always get to stay around and help those that need it. That man in there was one step away from chaining you in a basement and keeping you there.”
“Yes, Aaron explained that to me.” Spencer looked a little sick at that. “I’ll wait until after Christmas. I’m sure I can find a hotel to stay in.”
Morgan looked at Aaron, and there wasn’t a better time that Aaron was glad that Spencer could not see that look. Jack was just looking up at all of them. He understood most of what happened. Aaron didn’t hide everything that he did from Jack but just the more gruesome aspects. It was hard to keep it all from Jack and Aaron didn’t like hiding that much from his son.
“Spencer,” Aaron said, and he turned Spencer around to face him. Spencer hadn’t minded it the few times over the past two weeks where Aaron had done the same thing. Spencer never kept it quiet when Aaron did something that he didn’t like, which Aaron had been afraid of with Spencer all but moving into a home with strangers. Aaron still wasn’t sure why he had done it, but he had, and while Spencer was a guest, he didn’t mind helping out.
“Jack and I do not mind you staying with us until you find a place to live. You have no clue what the state of your accounts look like and while the judge has demanded that all but half of each utility be returned if more money than it was taken out, you have no clue how long that is going to take. Morgan would not be upset with paying him for first and last month later but let’s not do anything crazy before you know what is what.”
“Are you sure? It’s two days from Christmas, I figure that you and Jack want to do your own thing.”
“Jack’s has a present for you since the day before the school party. You left the party before he could give it to you.”
“Yeah, I wanna give it to you on Christmas,” Jack said as he tucked himself into Spencer’s side. Aaron smiled at Jack who had been very happy to have Spencer live with them over the past two weeks.
“Fine,” Spencer said, but his eyes were a little teary, but Aaron didn’t say a word about that. Aaron listened to the background Christmas music that was playing, it was all instrumental, but Aaron picked out Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer easy.
One Year Later
Aaron turned down the radio and hoped that Jack would lower his voice as well, Aaron was well, and good sick of Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. Aaron tapped the screen on his phone to transfer the call to the audio system of the car. They were driving back from lunch out, the last that Aaron was going to venture out except for work in the last two days before Christmas Day.
“Hello,” Aaron said because he did not recognize the number. He knew the beginning numbers were local and the set reserved for landlines.
“Aaron,” Spencer said.
“Where are you calling from?” Aaron asked because Spencer only had a cell phone. Aaron knew that well. Aaron needed the landline for work. Spencer did not, so it was understandable.
“You got a landline?” Aaron asked. He saw the turnoff for his area of town and was about to put on his blinker.
“I did. I was hoping you, and Jack could come by.”
“Sure.” Aaron took his fingers off of the blinker and waited. Spencer was the next exit in about a mile. Jack was in the backseat with a book in his lap. Thankfully happy to read and not sing Aaron’s ears off for at least the length of the phone call. Aaron was quite glad of that.
“How far away are you?” Spencer asked.
“About ten minutes. I was just getting to turn at my exit off the highway.”
“Okay. Just knock.” Spencer hung up before Aaron could say a single word after that which was very odd. Spencer was usually very polite over the phone and in person really, but he never hung up on anyone, except for the one asshole that had called on Christmas Day because Steven had tried to kill himself because he didn’t have Spencer in his life anymore. All that had got him was a psych hold where the man had been found to be very unhinged. The seventy two hour hold had turned into rehabilitation and when he tried to kill one of the people there a much longer prison stay in a place for the criminally insane. Aaron had made sure that he would be told if Steven ever got out. Spencer had hung up on that person when it was figured out that the man was blaming Spencer. Spencer had not cared at all. Which really he didn’t need to.
“We are going to Spencer’s?” Jack asked.
“Yes.” Aaron flicked on his blinker to tell the people behind him which way he was going when he hit the end of the exit as there was only one lane. They were only a few minutes away from Spencer’s, and Aaron was a little worried.
The relationship that had formed after Aaron had all but saved Spencer had been very slow going. Spencer was not ready for another relationship, and really Aaron wanted to make sure that Spencer didn’t like him just because he had saved him. Spencer had become more hesitant in the relationship as Aaron had slowly started to turn it into more, with Spencer’s blessing. Jack could not be more thrilled that he got to spend more time with Spencer outside of school, where Spencer still volunteered.
It had taken three days for Aaron to realize that he had no clue what Spencer did for a living. He was a writer who wrote under three different names, depending on what he wrote. He enjoyed writing fiction, and so he wrote for ages seven and up. Including Jack’s favorite books series that Aaron had not bought him copies of yet. The boy read them at school and Aaron had planned on getting the set for him after Christmas, there were thirteen in total the Christmas before. With one coming out the week after Christmas, which had been under the tree along with the rest of the set, all signed by the author. Jack was not aware that Spencer was the writer, just that Spencer knew it as his favorite books and he had talked someone into getting him a copy. Two more books had come out in the series since then, and each one had arrived on the day it was launched along with a signature from the author. Jack was in high heaven each time, and Aaron lost his child for several hours while he read it.
Aaron knew that Spencer planned to tell Jack soon as Jack was getting to where he was little better at secrets and understood that some things were better kept as secrets. Spencer wrote under different names for a reason. Aaron pulled into Spencer’s driveway that has a car in it. It was wrapped in a bow. Aaron knew what it was as soon as he saw it. He had talked about liking it but that his car was still in very good condition. Aaron could, of course, buy any car he wanted, he had invested his trust fund well when he was young, and he made more than enough money in his job.
Spencer was standing in the driveway and was bouncing on his heels. It was a nervous tick of his. He brought his hands forward, and Aaron saw that it was the newest series that Spencer was launching for kids. Jack had been waiting for it. It was coming out the next day. Jack was out of the car before Aaron could unstrap him. Thankfully, Jack was good and waited for the car to be turned off before he unbuckled.
“HOW DID YOU GET THAT?” Jack demanded, yelling in his loudest voice.
Spencer handed over the book, and Jack started to flip through it. He stopped on the page that Aaron was sure was the dedication page. Jack’s mouth dropped open, and he looked at Spencer. Aaron got out of his car and walked around to look at the book.
“To Jack, who makes me smile even when I am not around him. And to his father, Aaron, who has taught me what real love is like,” Aaron read aloud. Aaron smiled at Spencer and looked at the house. Aaron had wondered what Morgan’s plan was when he had all but talked Spencer into renting this house for a year and then seeing about buying it. The house was just big enough for Aaron, Spencer, and Jack and in the area where Jack played soccer.
“I knew it!” Jack said, and he ran the two steps to Spencer and hugged him around the waist. “I knew it was you!”
“Well, I’m glad that I was not able to fool you for long. You are too smart.”
“A whole series dedicated to Jack?” Aaron asked.
“Oh, yes. It’s the talks we’ve had. Though there is more as well, the money I make off of it half goes into Jack’s trust fund and the other half to kids at New Haven who need tuition help and scholarships.”
“And the car?”
“We need a family car that we both can fit into. Your passenger seat sucks.” Spencer was grinning.
Aaron walked up to Spencer and kissed him. He could live with moving in with Spencer.