It started when Spencer spilled his coffee all over his desk. Aaron was walking through the bullpen and heard him exclaim. A moment later Morgan let out a surprised noise. When Aaron turned, the two other men were mopping at papers scattered across the desktop using Spencer's cardigan. Aaron winced.
Later during a routine phone consultation in the conference room, Spencer was tilting his chair back on two feet as he expounded on the geographical profile they'd constructed of the serial rapist in Virginia Beach. Out of the corner of his eye Aaron saw Emily jerk forward, and then Spencer was gone from Aaron's peripheral vision with a crash. Aaron picked up the handset of the phone to keep the detective on the other end from hearing as Spencer swore and Emily and Dave tried hard not to laugh. Emily was leaning down to help Spencer up; she'd moved too late to catch him.
On the way home Spencer's clutch went out and Aaron had to ask Jessie to keep Jack for another hour while he turned around and retraced his route so Spencer wouldn't be stranded. AAA got the Volvo towed, but Spencer grumbled all the way to Jessie's house.
After picking Jack up, the three of them went out for pizza, and while they were at the restaurant, Spencer's phone rang.
It was Morgan, who Aaron surmised was trying to get Spencer to go out and hit the bars with him. It was a rare Friday night not spent on a case, and Spencer's tone grew increasingly frustrated as Morgan clearly refused to take no for an answer.
Aaron distracted Jack by drawing pictures for him on the back of the place mat, but even Aaron's anatomically impossible rendering of Superman didn't keep Jack's attention when Spencer finally burst out, "Look, I have a boyfriend, okay? And I'm trying to have dinner with him, and I really just don't want to go out drinking and watching you hook up with some random girl when we both know you're head over heels in love with Prentiss. Why don't you try taking her to a movie instead of calling me?"
He snapped his phone shut and scowled when he saw that two matching pairs of dark Hotchner eyes were fixed on him.
Aaron raised his eyebrows. "Derek's in love with Prentiss? I'd thought she and Dave--"
Spencer huffed a sigh. "David's trying to make Derek jealous so he'll actually get off his a--um, so he'll actually do something about it." He blew impatiently at the lock of hair that fell into his eyes. "But I'm sick and tired of watching Derek moping all week in the bullpen and then acting like a stud whenever we're hanging out."
Jack looked seriously at his father. "Daddy, will Spesser yell at me next? I promise not to spill things on him again."
A hot flush spread across Spencer's cheeks while Aaron was still fumbling for words. Spencer reached out and patted Jack's shoulder, then seemed to realize that wouldn't do. He scooped Jack up and hugged him awkwardly. "I won't yell at you, Jacks," Spencer promised.
Jack hugged him back, then snuggled into Spencer's lap. Aaron could tell he was getting comfortable there, which meant Spencer would be getting uncomfortable, since they were still in the middle of a pizza parlor. Spencer was getting better with Jack, but he still had to be caught unawares most of the time. Aaron had taught Jack to crawl in bed with Spencer in the mornings, when he wasn't totally awake yet, or to snuggle up--quietly--on his lap while they were watching Star Trek or the Discovery Channel. They were still working on the idea of Spencer being a parental figure to Jack in public.
"Come on," Aaron said, smiling at his son and his partner. "Let's go pay the bill. After bathtime you and I will have to figure out how we're going to announce this to the team, because you know Morgan's not going to forget what you just said."
Spencer looked sheepish, then scowled again. "Yeah, well, he can deal with it."
After bathtime they got Jack settled into bed, and Aaron decided not to bring up the topic of telling the team. Instead he let Spencer stay where he'd ensconced himself in the family room, working on an article he was writing for the FBI newsletter. Aaron sneaked into the kitchen and opened a bottle of the sweet red that was Spencer's favorite. Then he called to Spencer that he was going to run down to the store, and Spencer replied with a grunt.
Shrugging, Aaron headed for the garage and drove to an Italian cafe just a few blocks from his apartment. Spencer had raved over their tiramisu more than once. Aaron got two large pieces, then stopped by a florist on his way back for roses.
When he got home, he called a greeting but hurried past the family room on his way to the bedroom. There he quickly changed into a pair of soft cotton pajamas Spencer had bought him for Christmas, along with the matching robe. He went back to the kitchen barefoot to collect his supplies and carried them all to the family room. He set everything on the coffee table, but Spencer didn't look up from his notebook until Aaron dimmed the lights.
"What are you--" Spencer began, his tone cross. Then he seemed to register what Aaron was doing. "Oh. Oh."
Aaron offered him a smile that hopefully wasn't too hesitant. He hated to see Spencer unhappy, but they had only been together for a year, and Aaron still found himself doubting sometimes whether he could really make Spencer happy.
"God, Aaron," Spencer murmured, staring at him as Aaron lowered himself to sit on the floor next to the couch.
"I thought you needed something nice," Aaron explained.
Spencer set his notebook aside, his expression solemn. "I love you," he murmured, leaning down and kissing Aaron softly.
Aaron held up the roses. Spencer's lips quirked and he kissed Aaron again. "I love you so much."
That called for the tiramisu. Aaron gestured to one of the plates on the coffee table. Spencer gave him an absurdly wide smile and slid down to the floor in front of him. "I really love you." He wrapped his arms around Aaron and kissed him again. Aaron hummed and kissed him back.
The tiramisu and wine ended up being ignored for a long time.