Fandom: Criminal Minds
Rating: PG-13 (FRT)
Word Count: ~ 2,900
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their copyright holders. No profit is intended.
Summary: Reid doesn’t believe it when Prentiss tells him that Hotch was jealous at the train station. Turns out Emily was right.
Author’s Note: SPOILERS for Episode 6.08, "Reflection of Desire”. When I saw that scene in the train station where Hotch is all
This takes place in my Five Dinners universe, but can stand alone. (All “Five Dinners” stories can be found here).
“That was pretty rude of you this afternoon, you know.”
Spencer turned his head from where he was looking out the SUV window toward Emily, who was driving. “Excuse me.”
“This afternoon. At the train station. What you did was pretty rude.”
Spencer blinked quickly, trying to discern her meaning. He failed. “Okay, I know I have an eidetic memory and should get this but… what are you talking about?”
“Gawking at the women, Reid. It was rude.”
Spencer managed to suppress rolling his eyes. Barely. “Sorry if it offended you,” he said in a tone that implied anything but. He went back to looking out the window for any sign of the UnSub’s car.
“Oh, not me. I couldn't care less,” Prentiss said. “But, seriously Reid, ogling other people while standing next to your lover is just not done. I know from personal experience that it can be… upsetting.”
Spencer blinked again and shot her a quick look. “You mean… Hotch?”
“Were you standing next to another lover?” she asked, slightly amused.
Spencer was surprised by Prentiss’ comments. Although the team knew of his relationship with Aaron, there was an unspoken rule that the pairing was, well, unspoken. The team refrained from asking personal questions, and Spencer and Aaron refrained from engaging in any personal demonstrations. Spencer knew that the team supported them, but outside of the occasional witty remark by Rossi, no one discussed the union.
Emily must really feel strongly about this to bring it up, Spencer thought. But he was uncertain as to why she thought it was a big deal.
“Look, I appreciate your concern. I know Hotch was annoyed because I was distracted instead of concentrating on work, but it really isn’t—”
“Reid. Hotch wasn’t annoyed. He was jealous.”
Spencer gave a startled bark of laughter. “That’s preposterous.”
“Because no one would be jealous over me.”
“Spencer,” Emily said gently, “trust me on this. Hotch was jealous. He didn’t like seeing his lover admiring someone else. You really better make it up to him.”
“First, Hotch wasn’t jealous. Second, I wasn’t admiring; I was just watching. There’s nothing to ‘make up’ for. Third, this is silly. Hotch wouldn’t care what I was doing so long as…”
Their conversation was interrupted by the call telling them that the UnSub had been found and that they were needed right away.
Spencer could tell that Hotch was disappointed that he and Prentiss didn’t catch the UnSub. But they had his vehicle, and thus his address, and they were about to head over there.
Spencer could also tell that Hotch was torn when the victim – Penny – asked him to stay with her. He needed to be with his team but, sometimes, the victims needed them just as much. Spencer agreed with Rossi’s reassurance that it would be fine. They knew who the UnSub was, they knew where the UnSub lived, now it was just a matter of capturing him. And, even if things went wrong, they had the police, who also desperately wanted to catch this man. Hotch could take the time to offer comfort to someone who had just been through hell.
Spencer also noticed that Hotch wasn’t quite looking at him. Before he had time to really obsess over that fact, they were on the move with jobs to do.
Spencer was glad that the confrontation had ended without any additional bloodshed, but to see a son carrying down the long dead body of his mother while trapped is a psychotic delusion was disconcerting, to say the least.
Prentiss had driven him home after the capture had been made and Spencer was relieved that she had dropped her prior topic of conversation. In fact, conversation had been at a minimum. Sometimes even when a case had a ‘good’ ending, it still really wasn’t a ‘good’ case.
Spencer was glad to reach the house he shared with Aaron, feeling some of his tension drain away as he entered the warm home. He could hear Aaron talking to Jack upstairs and he made his way quietly toward them. Spencer knew that Aaron liked it when a case was close to home (well, as much as anyone could ‘like’ knowing that there was a murderer lurking in their general area) because Aaron was able to take care of Jack at night.
Spencer found them in Jack’s room, with Aaron trying to get on his son’s pajamas and Jack being far more interested in a dump truck instead. Aaron was still in his suit and it was obvious that he had just come in from seeing the victim and was now trying to get Jack ready for bed. Spencer smiled for a moment as he leaned against the doorframe, watching the scene. “Hey,” he said softly.
“Spencer!” Jack exclaimed and the proceeded to try and ram the toy truck into Spencer’s feet.
“Hey!” Spencer cried and jumped out of the way. Jack just started to laugh.
“Hi,” Aaron said to him briefly, then focused on his son. “Come on, Jack. Let’s at least put on your shirt.”
Jack giggled and ran across the room, clutching the truck to his chest.
Aaron sighed. “He’s a little hyper,” he told Spencer, a slight exasperated tone to his voice.
“I can see that.”
“Why don’t you head downstairs? I’ll handle him tonight. I didn’t make dinner, but I’m sure there’s something in the fridge or…”
“I’ll be fine,” Spencer said, but Aaron had already turned his attention back to Jack. Spencer headed down the stairs. Spencer knew that while there were times that Aaron (and Jack) really wanted Spencer’s company, there were also times that Aaron needed to spend time alone with his son. Spencer realized that such time helped to calm Aaron and allowed him to lose his worries from the day. Even when Jack was being uncooperative.
About a half hour later Aaron came down. “I can heat some leftovers for you,” Spencer said from where he was reading on the couch.
“No, thanks. I’m fine.”
“How’s Penny?” Spencer had been wondering about the latest victim since he gotten home but he knew not to ask in front of Jack. They were pretty adamant about never discussing any case in front of Jack.
Aaron sat on the chair next to the sofa. “Alive. She was heading toward surgery. I’ll stop by the hospital in the morning to get her statement.”
And to check on her, Spencer thought but didn’t say. He knew that Aaron didn’t like to admit that sometimes he lost his sense of impartiality with some victims. “Did Rossi fill you in on what happened?” he asked instead.
“Both he and Morgan. The UnSub was so emotionally invested with his mother; her death must have been the trigger.”
Spencer nodded. “Yes.”
Aaron rose. “I’m going to finish my report. I’ll probably be a while.” He started to walk from the room.
Spencer blinked in surprise. He knew something was off, but he couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong. Aaron had seemed a little distant with him, but he knew that sometimes one or the other of them needed additional time to decompress. Then it hit Spencer that Aaron hadn’t kissed him when he had gotten home. It was not as if they would spend their free time kissing, but… they would usually acknowledge each other in greeting. This time Aaron hadn’t.
Emily’s words drifted back to Spencer. He gave a surprised laugh.
“What?” Aaron asked from the room’s entranceway, his tone slightly stilted.
“Just remembering something Emily had said. She thought you were jealous, earlier today at the train station.” Spencer smiled, expecting Aaron to laugh or at least be amused.
Instead he saw Aaron stiffen. “I was not jealous.” Aaron turned and strode from the room.
All Spencer could think was, Emily was right.
But she can’t be, he countered. He replayed the scene at the train station in his head. While he has an eidetic memory, his remembrances were far clearer with visual as opposed to audio memories. As such, he could remember anything he had read, but things that he had had heard faded from his mind, unless he was specifically concentrating on remembering the words. (He will never forget, for instance, those final overheard phone conversations between Hotch and Foyet, or when Tobias Hankel ordered him to choose.)
Nonetheless, he tried to recall what had happened earlier that afternoon when he, Hotch, and Prentiss had entered Union Station. They were considering how their UnSub had watched the women, waiting to choose one to abduct.
“This building has three exits,” Spencer had said. “North, south and west. You're here to target a woman, but you don't want to attract attention.”
Hotch had replied, “Well, standing in the middle, gawking at passing women would certainly attract attention... like you're doing now.”
Spencer had to admit that he had been distracted by a passing woman. And as he replayed the scene in his head he realized that Hotch’s tone had certainly sounded… annoyed.
He also realized that Emily’s snide comment to him of “Just like that. IQ of 187 is slashed to 60,” was meant to diffuse tension that she could sense from Hotch.
Emily was, indeed, correct. Spencer had been rude and Aaron had been jealous. Spencer sighed. He knew that if he tried to confront Aaron he would deny being upset. Spencer also knew that, no matter what, he had to apologize because Aaron was, in fact, upset.
Spencer went into the office, where Hotch was busily writing a report. “So, Prentiss tells me I was rude.”
Aaron barely looked up. “Reid, I’m busy now. I have to get this report done.”
‘Reid.’ Not ‘Spencer’, but ‘Reid’. In their own home. Where the formality of work was usually replaced by the familiarity of intimacy. Spencer could almost see Aaron’s defense mechanisms rising – the tense posture, the trademark ‘Hotchner glare’, the focus on the work before him.
Spencer sighed. “She was right. I was rude.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it, Aaron. Contrary to what Morgan thinks, I’m a man. And sexuality is fluid. Sometimes I get distracted by a beautiful woman.”
“I know you’re a man, Spence. I have first-hand knowledge of that fact.”
Spencer smiled slightly and then went and leaned on the desk, right in front of Aaron’s chair, blocking Aaron’s access to the computer in front of him. Aaron gave him a stern look but, before he could say anything, Spencer bent down and kissed him, very gently. And kept kissing him until Aaron finally responded.
Spencer licked at Aaron’s lips, keeping his kiss light, teasing. “I promise, Aaron, that it was just an admiring gaze. Like appreciating artwork. When you look at a Michelangelo, you know you can’t take it home with you but you enjoy the beauty all the same.”
“You’re comparing that woman to a Michelangelo?” Aaron asked, his voice a little amused, a little annoyed.
“Maybe more like a Monet. Beautiful from the distance, but full of flaws and imperfections up close.”
Aaron gave him an exasperated look. Spencer kissed him again.
“You’re jealous,” Spencer whispered against Aaron’s lips.
“No one has ever been jealous over me. Not ever. I still can’t believe it.”
“I’m not jealous.”
“I’m flattered. But… concerned, since jealousy is rooted in insecurities and that means my actions have somehow left you insecure.”
Aaron leaned back and looked Spencer directly in the eyes. “My insecurities are not your fault.” He then flushed and looked away quickly.
“Which means there are insecurities.”
“Aaron. Please.” Spencer reached out and stroked his lover’s face. “It was just a look. I would never…”
“I know, Spence.” Aaron closed his eyes and leaned into Spencer’s hand. “That’s why I’m really more annoyed with myself than with you.”
“Can you tell me why? It was just a distracted gaze.” Spencer smiled. “And it’s not as if anyone would take me up if I were to offer,” he tried to joke.
Aaron looked at him with a penetrating gaze. Spencer’s smile quickly faded. “I don’t know what you see when you look in the mirror,” Aaron said, “but when I look at you I see a confident, handsome, brilliant young man who’s compassionate and emphatic and knowledgeable about some many things that it never ceases to amaze me. I wonder what I can possibly offer you in the long term and what regrets you’ll have if you stay. For instance, I know I can’t give you children or a traditional sense of family. I know you say that’s not what you’re looking for, but you’re young and your priorities can change.”
Spencer’s breath caught and he forced himself to swallow. “You do know that you described my biggest fear between us, don’t you? That you’ll come to your senses and leave.”
Aaron tilted his had quizzically and opened his mouth to speak. Spencer placed his finger on Aaron’s lips, forestalling speech.
“Think about it, Aaron,” Spence continued. “You were in an essentially exclusive heterosexual relationship for over 20 years. You are a handsome, intelligent, successful alpha male with a strong sense of morals and belief in family. You’re certainly young enough to want… and have… more children. I can never give you that. And as for me, I don’t want my own kids. The fact that there’s any risk that I could inflict my mother’s schizophrenia on someone innocent makes the concept unacceptable. But I can’t tell you how much I appreciate, and how much I enjoy, the fact that you allow me to be part of Jack’s life.”
Aaron cupped the back of Spencer’s neck and drew him down for a kiss. When they drew apart, Aaron said, “So, we both fear that the other will ‘come to his senses’ at some point and leave.”
“And we both know that there is no way to predict what will happen between us in the future.”
“But I also know, Spencer, how close I feel to you. How you’ve been there and supported me through the worst time in my life. I know how easy it is for me to talk to you and how I’ve told you things I’ve never told anyone, including Haley. Part of that is that she was there for certain things and just knew them without having to be told. But part of that was also that I felt I had to protect her from the darker aspects of myself. But you’ve already seen those elements, you know them, you even have them yourself. I can’t promise you forever, obviously, since we can’t predict the future. But I can tell you that I can’t imagine feeling like this about anyone else, ever.”
Spencer gripped the desk and closed his eyes, his emotions overwhelming him for a moment. “Thank you,” he whispered.
He felt Aaron draw him down for another kiss. He went willingly. “You do know,” Spencer said quietly against Aaron’s lips, then pressed their foreheads together, “that I have admired and respected and… hell… been in love with you for years now, don’t you? That you’re the only person who actually accepts me as I am and doesn’t view me as an anomaly. That you supported me and encouraged me to find my own footing, my own path, and have done so since I first met you. You were never like Gideon, who tried to mold me into his own concept, or Morgan, who, despite our friendship, still wishes I could be ‘normal’ at times. You get me, Aaron, which no one, not even my mother, has ever fully done.”
Aaron kissed him firmly. Spencer put his arms around his lover and held him close.
“We’re a couple of big saps, aren’t we?” Aaron finally said.
Spencer snorted. “So it seems.”
“We better keep this sappiness from the team.”
Spencer smiled. “Good idea. They’d be teasing us for years.” His smile faded. “I am sorry, you know. About this afternoon. I promise not to get distracted by pretty women again.”
Aaron smiled broadly. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Spencer. You’re a man, after all. Sometimes beautiful women are just distracting.”
“So are beautiful men.” Spencer kissed Aaron’s forehead, his cheek. “Come to bed.”
“But my report…”
Aaron thought for a moment and then stood, pulling Spencer up with him and kissing him teasingly. “You’re a bad influence. And a distracting beautiful man.”
Spencer smiled and kissed Aaron more firmly.
Aaron pulled back slightly and ran his gaze along Spencer’s body. “Although you have to admit that you do ‘owe’ me for your actions this afternoon.”
“Yeah…” Spencer said slowly.
“And that today’s theme is watching others.”
“So I want to see you do a strip tease.”
Spencer swallowed nervously. “That would be silly.”
Aaron kissed the corner of his mouth, his jaw, his ear. Spencer whimpered slightly.
“Not silly,” Aaron whispered directly into Spencer’s ear, his hot breath making Spencer shiver. “Sexy.”
Spencer knew he would do anything Aaron asked. “You have to promise not to laugh.”
Aaron pulled back to look at him, desire evident in his intense gaze. “That’s not even within the realm of possibility.”
Spencer gave a silent thought of thanks to Emily for pointing out his actions and wondered what she would think about the way that Spencer was going to ‘make it up’ to Aaron. But then he followed Aaron into the bedroom and thoughts of anything but each other quickly faded away.
Author's Note: There are several more stories in this universe. All of them can be found at the "Five Dinners" tag here (scroll up from the bottom of the page).