- *No Site Warnings Apply
- Challenge Response
- First Time
Aaron Hotchner understood more than most everyone probably thought he did. Jack was spending Christmas Day with Haley, and then Aaron was going to get him all the way through New Year’s. It was kind of perfect, but that meant that Aaron was alone for Christmas, all day long. Dave was going to New York to spend it with a few friends of his. Aaron hadn’t asked if he could come along, and Dave hadn’t offered.
Morgan was in Chicago. JJ had been a little closed-mouthed on it all, but Aaron was pretty sure that she was in New Orleans with Will LaMontagne, Jr, spending Christmas with her boyfriend. Garcia was doing something weird that Aaron hadn’t understood a single thing about. Prentiss had been dodgy about her plans, but Aaron figured that Reid knew as they were closer now that Spencer was getting help with his addiction issues. Reid was heading to Vegas, at least that was what Aaron assumed he was doing considering that he had done it every single year since he had joined the team. Things were better with his mother, and that meant that Reid should be looking forward to it.
DC was covered in snow. Aaron looked down from his living room window at the people that were out and about. No matter the time, Aaron’s area was always busy. Last year at this time, the whole house had smelled like ham and the smell of spice from Haley’s mulled wine in a crockpot. Aaron had not bought a single thing to eat for the day, he wasn’t even sure that he wanted to eat a damned thing at all, other than the oatmeal he had already consumed. Aaron looked at his glass of scotch that he had poured from Dave’s Christmas present. He had only taken a sip of it, but it was like lead in his belly. He hated the feel of it, so Aaron grabbed the glass and poured it back into the bottle. It was too good to throw down the drain. Aaron slipped the bottle back into his drink cabinet, and he dropped down onto the couch.
Aaron glanced at the time to see that it was nearly lunchtime, and he should be hungry, but he wasn’t. It was horrible that he didn’t want to even go and get something from a restaurant that was open. There were plenty, he knew that. He had seen the signs on local places that proclaimed they would be open for Christmas. Aaron didn’t know what to do with himself. This was the first time that he had ever been alone on Christmas. He had been with Haley for every single one from the moment he had left home until this one.
The smell of spice-filled Aaron’s nose. He frowned and looked around the room. It was not spice but spicy, the heavenly scent of Aaron’s favorite Chinese dish. He would know it anywhere. Aaron frowned and looked at his front door, there was a shadow on the floor. Aaron got up and walked over to the door and unlocked it before opening. There was no one there but down on the welcome mat that Jessica had given him one day when she visited him to make sure he was okay, was two large bags of food, from two different places and Reid’s messenger bag but no Reid.
The sound of the elevator door shutting told Aaron that Reid had gone back down, but why would he leave his stuff right there on the mat. Aaron didn’t want to leave it, and he wasn’t going to leave his apartment lest the woman in the apartment two down find him. She had already tried to get him to take her on a date even though Aaron had turned her down. The casserole she made him as a welcome to the building gift had been tossed, and the pan cleaned and returned an hour later. She had looked mystified at that, but Aaron had just told her that he didn’t eat food that wasn’t prepared by him. Which was a lie but he had told her that he didn’t need it when she tried to give it to him.
Aaron grabbed the messenger bag and slipped it over the hook on the coat rack on the wall by the door before he grabbed the food. Despite the threat, Aaron didn’t shut the door all the way, he left it cracked open just like he usually did when he knew that Reid was going to come to his room at the hotel to talk about the case. There were times that Reid just needed to speak, to get it all out while his brain worked. Aaron would listen intentionally but never talk until Reid paused. It worked for them, and Aaron knew that he was the only one who could handle Spencer when he was like that. Prentiss might be the second, but even she would try and insert her own words into it.
The food was from two different places, there was Chinese with a variety of things that Aaron knew that Reid like as well as Aaron’s favorite meal and appetizer. The second bag held Pad Thai, shrimp for Aaron, and what looked like vegetable for Reid. Aaron slipped those onto the counter by the fridge and popped the lid and slipped a paper towel over the top, and then shut it again. When they were cool, he would pull the paper towel and add them to the fridge to eat cold later. Aaron had seen Reid eat cold Pad Thai more than warm. Aaron had promised to try it once that way, and it seemed that Reid was forcing that on him today.
Aaron looked in his fridge to see if there was beer, and he found a six-pack that was leftover from when he had moved in, and the team had come over to help him. Reid had brought four different kinds, and this had been what he said as his favorite. Aaron always wondered if that was why no one else had drunk it. Aaron was really glad of it, though. He grabbed two of them and set them by the Chinese food before he pulled the others out of the pack and slipped them into the door. To make it easier to grab. Aaron knew that Reid could down a six-pack and not get drunk.
“Oh!” Reid’s exclamation of surprise sounded through the door. “Um.”
“Come in, Reid,” Aaron called out.
Aaron wandered toward the door and saw that Reid was carrying bags. There were presents in there. Aaron looked at his tree, stacked his with gifts for Jack, but on the stand beside it was the gifts for the team.
“The team wanted me to drop off your gifts to you since I was the only one staying. How did you know I had set that down? I was silent. I didn’t make a single peep.”
“I smelled the food and saw the shadow at the door.”
“Oh, that makes sense.” Reid walked right for the tree and settled down the gifts beside the stack for Haley and Jessica. Aaron knew that he shouldn’t have probably got Haley something, but it had been a habit for so long, and he didn’t want her to know that even though they weren’t together like that anymore, he didn’t appreciate the mother of his child.
Aaron watched Reid as he sorted the gifts out, the ones for Jack were added to the pile that was for him from Aaron but off to the side so that it wasn’t mixed up. Then the ones for Aaron were added between the ones for Jack and the others. Aaron wondered what the team had got him this year. There was always a theme, and before it had been a joint gift from them all for something for Aaron and Haley to do as a couple without Jack. Walking over to where Reid was, Aaron grabbed the gift that was wrapped in purple from the stand on the stand and the one behind it that was smaller. Aaron hadn’t realized it until he had finished his shopping that he had bought Reid three gifts. The one was smaller and slipped into the cover of the book that Aaron had seen and bought for him.
“Here,” Aaron said as he tossed the larger one to Reid.
Reid caught it and looked at the gift with a frown on his face. There was some weight to it.
“It’s not time for presents.”
“Ah, I have another for you, and that one will be of use for you as you are staying all day.” Aaron heard how that sounded, so he backpedaled a little. “Unless you have other plans.”
“Oh, no. Mom is sick. She caught a chest cold, and she refused to see anyone when she is sick. I’ve tried before, but she just gets overworked, and it’s not worth it. I talked to Rossi, and he said you had no plans today, and I figured even if we just hung out and didn’t mention the C-word that it would be better than us both being alone.”
Aaron’s heart clenched at that a little. He knew that everything was up in the air with his life, but since he had been served the divorce papers, Aaron only had a single rock in his life, and that was Reid. The younger man had invaded his life, and Aaron hadn’t realized it until he was looking forward to the weekends when he didn’t have Jack, and Reid showed up with coffee before dragging him to something. Aaron had never been that active in his life when it wasn’t work or chores, and it wasn’t that hard to see that it wasn’t just the distraction that Reid gave him as the reason Aaron was looking forward to it.
There was no reason to shy away from the fact that Aaron realized during one trip to the Jeffersonian to look at bones of dead bodies that while Aaron loved Haley, he hadn’t been in love with her for a while. Things had settled into a pattern, and he liked that pattern. He didn’t like it being disrupted. Yet, he had settled into a bachelor’s life where he did little that wasn’t working or Jack, and then Reid had invaded. Yet, Aaron hadn’t had a single issue with it. Reid, though, had not invaded Aaron’s life inside of his apartment before. There was a brief thing if Aaron wasn’t ready for plans, but they had never eaten a meal here together. Aaron was glad that they were changing that.
Aaron walked back to get the two beers he set down and snapped the caps off of them before handing one to Reid. Reid juggled it, and the gift a little before the gift was settled down into the crook of his arm, and he had the beer in the other hand.
“Have a seat, Reid,” Aaron said, and he waved at the couch, where Aaron was sitting down as well.
“Oh, um, sure.” Reid nearly downed down so hard that Aaron was afraid that his beer was going to slosh out, but Reid took a drink of it as he was dropping down, and it only sloshed into his mouth. It was uncoordinated but graceful at the same time, and Aaron wondered how many times he had done something like it to make it look like he meant to do that.
Aaron was finding that Reid had huge depths that he didn’t show to just anyone. Aaron wasn’t even sure that JJ had seen them, and those two seemed to be joined at the hip sometimes. Morgan was growing on Reid, or Reid was growing on him. There was less of an edge of a bully to how Morgan treated him, and it was becoming more brotherly, or at least how he had seen Morgan treating his sisters the one time they had come to visit him.
“This is good,” Reid said as he took another drink of the beer.
“Reid, it’s what you brought to my apartment warming party,” Aaron said.
Reid pulled the bottle away and looked at the label. “I have good taste in beer.”
Aaron laughed. He waved at the gift. Reid settled his beer down onto the coffee table, on one of the coasters that had been his gift to Aaron for moving in. He grinned at the image before looking at the gift. He reached into the pocket of his shirt, and Aaron saw that there was a small wrapped bit of something there. Reid handed it over with a shy grin. Aaron just raised an eyebrow and waited for Reid to open his gift before he did his.
“Oh, this is awesome,” Reid said, looking at the mug after plucking it from the box. Aaron had found a box that wasn’t the original one as he wanted the gift to be a two-fold surprise. He had just assumed he would get a phone call from Reid about it and not see his face when he noticed what it did. Reid’s fingers were tracing the equations that were on the mug. Aaron had it custom made from a local shop and hadn’t even thought a bit about it. It was something new that he had never seen in the housewares store, and it had been worth every fucking penny with the look on Reid’s face right then.
Aaron slipped his finger in the paper and opened it up. There was a tea bag in the wrapping paper with a piece of paper behind it. Aaron saw that the name of the tea was Please Let It Be Requited. Aaron laughed a little at name until he saw the paper behind it. He assumed it was instructions on steeping time as well as maybe ingredients, but those were on the wrapper for the bag.
Please call me Spencer
Aaron swallowed and looked at Spencer, who was looking at the mug to sharply. His eyes were not moving like they were reading what was on it. He was purposefully not looking at Aaron. Aaron looked at the tea bag again, and the name on it clicked into place. He laughed a little and then set the items down before he slipped Spencer’s mug from his hands. He now understood why Spencer had overdone a good bit of things like food and gifts. He had been putting off coming to Aaron’s even though he wanted to.
“Spencer, look at me.” Aaron covered Spencer’s hands with is own. He moved them until he was able to thread his fingers through Spencer’s. Spencer’s breath hitched, and he looked at Aaron. Aaron tugged on Spencer’s hands until he moved to sit on the cushion that was between them. Aaron let go with one hand and cupped the back of Spencer’s head to pull him closer, Aaron pressed a kiss to each of Spencer’s cheeks before he brushed his lips over Spencer’s.
Spencer sighed and pushed in to press their lips together. Aaron let go of his other hand and cupped the side of Spencer’s face to keep him right there.
Aaron’s stomach growling stopped the kiss. Aaron laughed a little and pulled back to look at Spencer. “We should probably get some food in my stomach.”
“I’m hungry too,” Spencer said.
Aaron couldn’t tell if Spencer was just talking about food, but that was going to wait a little while. Right now, he needed to tackle food, and then the discussion could go from there on what else they were going to do. Aaron used his and on Spencer’s cheek to pull him up to stand at the same time that he did. Spencer darted in for another kiss, and the smile on his face told Aaron that he was happy with just that for the moment.
The boxes of food were easy to figure out whose food was what. Aaron snagged his, another beer each, as well as a fork for both of them. Aaron had chopsticks, but he knew that he didn’t want to put Spencer in a position to feel like he had to use them. As he walked to also snagged the roll of paper towels. Spencer was already in the living room with the won-tons and egg rolls open and his food sitting on the arm of the couch. He was sitting on the middle cushion, though. Aaron sat down in the same spot he had been in but then scooted down to the floor after he set his things down. Aaron reached up and pulled on Spencer’s thigh until he moved down as well, pressing his leg to Aaron’s.
The TV remote was there, and Aaron turned it on to some science channel that he learned the channel of just in case Spencer had ever stayed for dinner.
“Oh, I’ve wanted to see this,” Spencer said as the channel turned from commercial to the actual program. Aaron realized that it was on the hour, so they were catching the beginning.
Aaron pressed a kiss to Spencer’s shoulder to make the younger man look at him. Spencer turned to look. His eyes were soft in a way that Aaron was pretty sure he had never seen before.
“So, Spencer, what date number is this?” Aaron asked.
“Oh, well-” Spencer swallowed, and he blushed.
Aaron’s eyes traced that blush as it crept down his cheeks and then his neck to hide under his shirt. Soon Aaron was going to make sure that he saw just how far down that went.
“Fourteen,” Spencer finally answered.
“Fourteen?” Aaron questioned because there was no way that it was that much. Aaron started to think about every single one of the afternoon and evening excursions that they had gone on, and he only counted up eleven. “What are the other two?”
“Atlanta and Flagstaff after the cases were over. You asked me to dinner, and it was just us, and we didn’t talk about the cases at all. It wasn’t until after they were done that I realized what it was, coupled with everything else. I just kept on coming over when Jack wasn’t around.”
“Fourteen. I like that number. Fifteen can be us both going out and us both realizing what we are doing. You pick it, but make sure that it’s Jack friendly.”
“You want to take Jack?” Spencer asked.
Aaron saw the spark of fear in Spencer’s eyes, but Aaron knew that it couldn’t be that Spencer didn’t want Jack there. Spencer had talked about all kinds of things to do with the boy when he got old enough to enjoy outings that were more than just going to the park to play. So it had to be something else. It was the date with all three of them. It was Aaron wanting Spencer to be around Jack while on a date that was freaking him out. Aaron cursed himself on that one. He groaned internally and tried to figure out how to do this and not freak Spencer out all of the way. Spencer didn’t hate Jack, but Spencer wasn’t good with kids. It was going to be hard to get Spencer past that ad given what he knew of the younger man’s childhood, Aaron understood.
“Jack likes you. He was enthralled that last time that you came over with files for me when he was sick, and Haley was out of town, so I worked from home. He kept on trying to engage you a little, but you were ignoring him or not understand the cue of what he wanted. So, yes, I want to go out with both of you, and since I have him all week, it’s going to be the only way that we are going to get time together that’s not here.”
“Kids don’t like me, Aaron. I don’t think that taking him out to a restaurant where him throwing a fit will be a big thing is the best way to go.”
“Well, it’s not like you are going to thrust into watching him alone at the table for more than it takes for me to use the bathroom. Besides, we have tomorrow for Jack to get used to you.”
“Tomorrow?” Spencer asked. He paused with an egg roll half to his face, a little dusting of duck sauce on it. Aaron hadn’t even noticed him opening the packet, and he hadn’t seen Spencer with it in his hand. Magic hands, that what Garcia called it when Spencer did things that no one noticed.
“Well, I figured that it was best to get Jack used to you before we went out. I pick him early tomorrow, and then I have him until the second.”
“Oh. That’s…what time did you want me to come over tomorrow?”
“Don’t you have a go-bag in your car?” Aaron asked. He knew that Spencer had driven since he hadn’t come up with everything at once, and he really didn’t think that Spencer would have taken that all on the bus or in a taxi.
“Yes. Oh, you want me to-” Spencer stopped himself, and he blushed deeper with that. He nodded rapidly.
“On the couch, not my bed. Not that I don’t want that…just not now.”
“Oh, no, I didn’t. I just…it’s different than sharing a room. I’ve never-” Spencer stopped and bit at his lip.
Aaron recognized it as a movement that he did when he was worried about what he was going to say, sounding like he was stupid or young. Aaron knew that Spencer’s life wasn’t anywhere near the way that anyone else’s had ever been. Even for a genius and his life, he hadn’t been raised normally at all, given his mother’s illness. Aaron tried to remember if he had ever mentioned girlfriends or boyfriends, or even anything remotely sexual. There was the thing with Lila Archer, but Aaron knew it hadn’t gone past some kind of crush on Spencer’s part and a little bit of hero worship on hers.
“I have never stayed the night with anyone.”
Aaron tried to figure out if that meant that Spencer had not had sex at all or if he had sex but never slept over after. Either one was something that he could see with Spencer. His entire life was strange as hell, and yet he had gone to a school here, intelligence was more valued than others. However, there was something a little wild about Spencer when he was settled in himself.
“Well, then this will be a learning experience for you and me. I’ve never had someone over as well. Haley and I went from sneaking around with each other because my father would hate her, and her father did hate me to living together after college. We both stayed in dorms during college.”
“Huh,” Spencer said.
“I just assumed that you married in college. I don’t know why.”
“No, we didn’t get married until a few years after she finished her degree in history.” Aaron hesitated, but Spencer didn’t seem put out talking about Haley. It wasn’t like she was an unknown to Spencer, but it was still a little crass to talk about his ex-wife with him.
Spencer nodded, finishing off his egg roll before he grabbed a fork to dig into his meal. It was a noodle dish of some kind with just vegetables. Aaron frowned. He knew that Spencer ate meat, but the only thing that meat in this whole meal was the pork egg roll. Aaron was about to ask when he remembered Spencer talking to Garcia once about the fact that he went through periods where he didn’t want meat all that much, he would usually eat seafood if he wanted something other than fruits, vegetables, and pasta. This seemed like one of those times.
“I’ve had sex,” Spencer said after a long silence where both of them were eating their meals.
“You don’t have to explain, Spencer.”
“No, I know, but I also know that most of the BAU as a whole thinks that I’m some blushing virgin. It’s hard to leave Caltech without random sex during finals just to get your brain to shut down.”
Aaron felt his eyes widen at that. “Explain.”
“It’s not like we are wired differently than other people. Highs and lows happen, and it’s hard to say no to random sex with someone when you are in the midst of a rush at figuring something out or needing to focus on anything other than the issue you are having with whatever experiment or paper you are working on. Cold food that you leave in the fridges in the labs and hope that someone doesn’t yell at you for eating it when you knew that someone else had eaten yours already, and sex when you want and never leave the lab until it’s done. That’s what my last few years were like after I hit eighteen.”
“Same person?” Aaron asked.
That blush was back on Spencer’s face then, and it went down even further.
“No. I am sure that if I spent a while thinking about it, I could name off how many, but I never really cared. We were safe. Condoms and lube were everywhere that the professors didn’t look or stored in backpacks. It was never personal.”
Aaron looked at Spencer and saw his world reshaped in that instance about how he thought about the younger man. It was something that Aaron hadn’t figured for the younger man. Maybe a round with each sex to figure out if he liked one over the other or just sex in general not…that.
“I wonder what Morgan would think of that. He thinks you are not that experienced in sex at all.”
“I mean, I have no experience in romance and that kind of thing. It usually started with a callout that someone wanted sex with someone of a specific gender. That was about the extent of it. I mean, my first time was during exams for winter quarter just after I turned eighteen, and I grabbed a condom and a tube of lube and said I need to be fucked when we were all working on a group project after the professor had left for dinner.”
Aaron could see that. Spencer not caring about the pressure of being a virgin and what it meant and just wanting to get off with someone and not have feelings.
“That’s not what this is.”
“No, I didn’t figure that you would, Spencer. Not with our jobs, not with the whole stealth dating you’ve been doing.”
“I didn’t even notice it until Grant told me.” Spencer shrugged like it was no big deal.
Grant. Grant Anderson. Aaron knew that they were friendly, but Aaron hadn’t realized that they were that friendly. He would have to be nicer to the guy for the next while lest he start to be a little upset with Aaron in Spencer’s life. Aaron wasn’t looking forward to telling Dave and getting him to take over Spencer’s evaluations. Though it would do Dave some good and given Aaron more time with Spencer and Jack.
“Eat, food’s getting cold,” Spencer said, and he knocked his leg against Aaron’s a little with a grin on his face.
Aaron grabbed the bag that Haley handed him, and he handed over the gift bag that had Haley and Jessica’s gifts in them as well as a gift certificate for their parents that he had been getting them for years.
“Where’s Jack?” Haley asked.
Aaron looked down where he had settled his son and saw that he wasn’t there gripping Aaron’s pants like he had been. There was no way he had got past Haley, so he must have run somewhere in the apartment. Aaron had all of the doors shut to the rooms and the bathroom, so he was in the living room or kitchen. Haley had already said her goodbyes, but Aaron could understand wanting to see him one last time.
Turning to head inside, Aaron heard Haley settling down the bag, and then she was following him. Haley had said Jack had been hard to get to sleep and had not slept for nearly as long as he should have. Aaron had hoped he would still be asleep when Haley dropped him off so that Aaron could get Spencer awake before Jack invaded, but Jack had been more than awake.
Aaron couldn’t see Jack anywhere, and he wondered just where his son had got to. Haley made no noise as she helped him look. She had been told that Spencer had stayed overnight after they had hung out since they were both alone for Christmas. Haley had a soft spot for Spencer, so it hadn’t been that much of a shock when she sounded happy that Aaron wasn’t long.
“Aaron,” Haley said, and she sounded a little breathless but not worried.
Aaron turned to see where she was looking to see that she was looking at Spencer it wasn’t until Aaron realized that it wasn’t a pillow that Spencer had arm wrapped around but a dead asleep Jack under the blanket. Spencer was still asleep, but his arms were wrapped around him tightly.
“Well, have fun, Aaron,” Haley said. She kissed Aaron’s cheek and turned to leave.
Aaron was just stuck staring at Spencer, who was deep asleep again with Jack on his chest. He could see Jack crawling up to lay on him. It was Aaron’s favorite way to nap with him on lazy afternoons. He snapped a picture of it and smiled at the image before he pocketed his phone. It wasn’t going to be that bad of a week. He was actually looking forward to it more than he had been.
Profilers for Christmas is an anonymous crime drama Advent Calendar featuring both art and stories. Additional information about the challenge can be found here.