“I cannot believe I let you talk me into this,” Charlie complains as Don leads him into the bar. Don chuckles, and Charlie glares. “I mean it, Don. Blind dates you’ve set me up on before have been…less than ideal. What makes you think this time will be any different?”
“Oh, I think this time will be quite different. You’ll see.” Don smirks and scans the room. He spots a table where a pair of familiar faces wait, and taps his brother’s shoulder. “C’mon, this way.”
Charlie dutifully follows Don, and stops with a slightly confused look when they come to a halt at a table where two men are seated. Don grins as one of the two stands, shaking hands and doing the not-quite-a-hug-with-backslap maneuver that men are so prone to.
“Don, my man, I see you managed to get him to come with you.”
“Not for lack of trying, I assure you. Charlie, this is my friend Derek; he works for the FBI back at Quantico.” He gestures towards the slender man still seated at the table. “And this is Dr. Spencer Reid. Reid, this is my brother Charlie.” Reid starts to stand up with his trademark I-don’t-like-to-be-touched awkward wave, and Charlie holds up a hand to stop him, feeling a bit awkward himself. Mostly, he realizes, he’s staring.
“Please don’t get up on my account. It’s nice to meet you, Dr. Reid.” Charlie sits down and gives Don an I’ll-talk-to-you-later look, causing both Don and Derek to laugh.
“Don and I are going to go grab a beer. You two kids have fun! Nice meeting you, Charlie,” Derek quips as he and Don make a speedy exit.
Charlie looks down at the table when he realizes he’s staring again. Reid shifts a little awkwardly and clears his throat, not entirely sure how to start the conversation, but Charlie looks back up.
“I don’t usually…” Charlie begins, then stops, unsure if the admission that his brother set him up without bothering to tell him that his date was a man, and that he’s not entirely sure how to react to this, would offend Reid.
“Don’t usually date men?” Reid interjects. “I don’t usually, either, but Derek promised me I don’t want to miss this opportunity, and I think he was right. Besides, Alfred Kinsey said that ‘Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual...It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories.” Charlie stares outright now, mouth slightly open, and speaks without thinking.
“Do you always talk like you swallowed an encyclopedia?” Reid grins. Charlie blushes and backtracks quickly. “I’m sorry, Dr. Reid-“
“Spencer. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by that, I just…”
“Don’t worry about it. Derek, back there? He calls me a walking encyclopedia at least twice a week. I’ve heard worse.” Charlie smiles wryly.
“I get ‘walking calculator’ from Don fairly regularly. Since I was about 5.” He meets Spencer’s eyes, and blushes a little as Spencer gives a knowing grin.
“Well then. Charlie, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”