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An Exchange Of Power

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An Exchange Of Power. Banner Art by Chestnut Nola.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1997.

“Jonathan Fitzsimmons,” extending his hand. “People call me Jay.”

“Dr Spencer Reid,” the teen replied. “People call me Doctor.” He looked at the hand like it might bite his own off. “Um. Sorry. Not really fond physical contact…”

Jonathan raised an eyebrow while lowering his hand but was not offended. Spencer broke into a wide grin followed by a silly, nervous giggle. “Sorry. I’ve only been here for a few weeks and there’s so much pomp and posturing…” he trailed off.

“I like your accent,” Spencer offered, attempting to salvage a situation he felt was slipping away. “Where are you from?”

“England,” Jonathan replied a little cautiously. “Beds…”

“Beds?” Spencer enquired, his brow dipping into an adorable frown, lips slightly slack, skin smooth and flawless, unusual in a lad who couldn’t have been more than sixteen years old. Jay took in all these elements in a millisecond.

“As in Bedfordshire,” he clarified. “It’s a county in England.”

“Oh,” Spencer said with a smile, taking his turn to absorb the sharply intelligent eyes and the dark-haired, chiselled features of the slightly older student. “I’ve never been.”

Jay contemplated their situation for a few seconds. He was at MIT for one term, all he needed to qualify for having study experience on foreign soil and a nice add-on to his MSc to boot. He didn’t see any reason to deny himself the possibility of enjoying some extra curricular activities during that time.

“Maybe I can tell you about it. Over a cup of tea?” he said, tilting his head in a gesture of invitation that Spencer did not fail to miss.

The responding blush was adorable. The young man was obviously completely oblivious to his own attractiveness and wasn’t accustomed to dealing with any kind of interest demonstrated in getting to know him better, Jay thought to himself.

“I— I think I’d like that,” Spencer replied, surprised at his own bravery. But there was something very alluring about the older student.

Geniuses that they were, it wouldn’t take either of them very long to figure out that the beauty ran far deeper than skin.

Two Weeks Later

“I thought British people were supposed to be models of repression and conservatism?” Spencer felt rather than heard the soft chuckle from where Jay’s lips trailed softly between his shoulder blades, tasting and savouring smooth skin with soft, swollen lips.

“That whole stiff upper lip thing is merely a ruse. To lull our enemies into a false sense of security before we pounce!” said Jay, playfully nipping his neck, eliciting squirms of pleasure and laughter from Spencer. He climbed out of bed and slipped on his jeans with the intention of relieving himself in the dormitory loo down the hall.

Spencer sat up and sighed, watching him. “I can’t believe you’re only here for one term.”

He had just pulled on Spencer’s MIT’s sweatshirt before diving onto him again, pinning him with his welcomed weight, determined not to think that far ahead. He kissed him, and for a few blessed moments, they both could forget.

Twelve Weeks Later

Spencer stood in the pre-departures area while Jay checked in. He was looking down at the floor, an expression like a kicked puppy on his face.

He smiled, slinging his messenger bag over his shoulder while strolling away from the check-in desk towards him. He took his chin between his thumb and forefinger and tilted his head up. Spencer astutely avoided his gaze.

“Look at me, Grand Master,” Jay said firmly. And Spencer couldn’t help but meet his eyes then. He rolled his eyes at the applied endearment of his favourite game.

“Not yet,” he said firmly.

“But one day soon,” he replied, pulling him into an embrace and allowing his lips to caress Spencer’s ear with the words.

“We’ll keep in touch, won’t we?” Spencer said hopefully, pulling away and shoving his hands into his pockets, rather than fiddle them aimlessly against each other.

“For as long as we can. I promise,” Jay replied. Spencer nodded. He understood his long-term goals. He wanted to serve his country. The threats to national security were becoming more sophisticated with every new attack. A new wave of genius would be needed to safeguard against the abuse of online intelligence. After spending three months in a more than satisfying relationship - both physical and sapiosexual - with him, he couldn’t think of a better person equipped to fill that role.

No mushy, teary or heartfelt goodbyes. They had said all that needed to be said that morning, wrapped in each other’s arms.

Spencer watched him all the way up the escalator to departures. And though he felt a small sense of loss as the Englishman turned and waved before disappearing, the empty part of him that Jay had filled during their time together was enough to remind him that the experience had been more than worth it.

He smiled to himself as he turned to exit the building. He was nothing if not optimistic that maybe, just maybe, they would be lucky enough to meet again.

Schiphol Airport, Present Day

Hotchner didn’t particularly enjoy being away from home soil, but these were extenuating circumstances. As soon as word had come down from the upper echelons of the British and US Intelligence of the intent to collaborate on this latest threat to plague both their nations, and Reid had been earmarked as the mind that would represent FBI interests on European soil, Hotchner had insisted he accompany him for the exchange.

He was a lynchpin in his team. The least he could do was ensure a smooth handover.

It was the early hours of a Friday Spring morning when they landed and headed for the Arrivals lounge. Both men had slept during much of the jet flight, waking up an hour or so before landing to go over some details.

The devil was in the details after all.

Airports at junctures like these were always busy regardless of time of day, which could be a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective. Hotchner watched his subordinate, a little more jittery than usual, disembark the FBI jet, stumbling on the last step before feet hit solid ground. He quickly shot his hand forward to steady him.

“You OK, Reid?”

“Sure, sure. Fine. OK, Hotch, really.”

Hotchner didn’t push his mild concern. He understood, up to a point, the reasons for using Reid in this particular case and his invaluable skill set, but did wonder sometimes at the personality quirks that revealed so much about him and if they might compromise him. Regardless this was not his decision, and the best he could do under the circumstances was play his part in ensuring a speedy conclusion to Reid’s time away from the BAU.

Their walk through arrivals was uneventful, passport control and customs officers not even sparing them a glance. It was just easier this way; to move and blend with the crowd rather than set up some “special meet.” That sort of thing could sometimes flag unwanted attentions.

Hotchner spotted the dark-haired, slender, bespectacled man waiting for them in the same moment Reid did. Reid was walking several feet ahead, and though Hotchner couldn’t see Reid’s face, it was obvious from the MI6 Quartermaster’s expression that they were beaming at each other.

The embrace was mutual, welcome and comfortable. He took in the body language as he strolled passed them and deeper into the lounge area. He was so intrigued by this sudden change in Reid, germaphobe and shunner of human physical contact, he didn’t register the blond man tracking his movements away from the pair.

He took a seat at a bar, strategically opposite a mirror, and ordered a coffee.

The Quartermaster - Jonathan Richards (an alias no doubt) - and Reid following to sit at a table moments later. They placed their identical messenger bags side-by-side at their feet. Aaron sugared his coffee, glancing up occasionally at the relaxed ease with which they interacted. He vaguely wondered about the agent’s security detail while sipping his drink, when a blond man in possibly the sharpest cut of suit he had ever seen, sat two stools down from him. Their eyes met, fleetingly, but it was long enough.

Aaron spared his peripheral vision to watch him order a martini. He tried not to frown. If this was to be Reid’s caretaker, what the hell was he doing drinking high alcohol spirits at 2am in the morning?

Less than five minutes passed before Reid and Richards stood, lifting each other’s bags from the floor without missing a beat. A brief embrace and both men headed off in their designated directions, inserting exchanged earpieces as they walked.

“Welcome to Great Britain, Dr Reid,” Bond’s smooth purr drifted over their now shared comms device.

“We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we, 007,” came the murmured reply. Bond was briefly surprised at the cheekiness before he chuckled. Definitely hints of Q, he thought to himself. He was going to miss the cheeky-mouthed little arse, he mused, keeping his eyes trained on his new charge.

He took a breath before exiting the arrivals area into the cool air where Spencer Reid stood waiting, looking up at the night sky with a wistful expression.

“I’m sure you’ll be back home before you know it. And I know the Quartermaster,” said Bond, grabbing his suitcase. “Let’s go, Dr Reid.”

And as one unmarked vehicle pulled out of the car park to make its way to the heart of British Intelligence, a jet sped up the Heathrow runway and into the night sky, chased by dawn all the way back to Washington.