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The Agent and the Nanny

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Aaron Hotchner sometimes hated that his dead ex-wife's family had tried to sue for custody of Jack. It had made his life a lot harder when it had already been hard trying to deal with a traumatized child that was afraid of being taken away from Aaron again the way that he had been when Foyet had targeted him and his mother. Then his mother was dead at the hands of the man who Jack only knew as George. He was too young to understand what had truly happened other than one of the men that his father usually caught to stop them from hurting people had been able to hurt his mother. Jack had never blamed Aaron for that. Jack understood enough to know that they could not precisely predict when a killer would strike. Jack was too much in love with seeing Aaron as a superhero to actually hate him for the death of his mother, at least at the moment. Later on, when he understood more, and he was old enough to understand it all, Aaron would tell him. Explain it all better and hope that Jack didn't hate him.

It hadn't stopped the Brooks from trying to take Jack from Aaron. Which had sent Jack back to how he was just after the death of Haley in his not sleeping. Aaron, unfortunately, had to take off the time while the court case was happening from work right when he had just got back from grievance leave and time to settle his son into life without his mother. Aaron had hated it but at least Erin Strauss, his Section Chief had been understanding and had stood behind Aaron. The team had stood behind him as well, including giving their own statements to the court about Aaron and his love of his son and giving up their vacation time and donating it to Aaron, so he didn't have to take personal leave without pay. Aaron hadn't needed the pay, but it also made his job easier to keep as his and the brass from ousting him.

The year that followed Haley's death had been horrible and not just because Haley was dead. The Brooks' put Jack through hell. Visits with psychologists because they wanted to find the one that would tell the courts that Jack would be better hell and away from him. Aaron made sure that there was no doubt in his ex-family's mind that he was going to fight for what was his by the time that they had bled themselves of every bit of money they had. Aaron's substantial trust fund that he'd come into after his mother died at the hands of the bottle after the death of his father had paid for it all. He'd used the best family lawyer money could buy and kept the fight clean. He didn't bring up a single thing that was distasteful in the Brooks' lives. The Brooks' though had dragged his name through the mud. His record with the FBI as well as the psychologists that he had talked to all gave him the best evaluations. In the end, Aaron had kept Jack, and the courts made sure that outside of Aaron drowning himself in a bottle and actually becoming a danger to Jack, there was never going to be a bid for custody of Jack again. Jack's psychologist had been mean as hell about what having Jack nearly taken from him one day in the middle of the mall after the Brooks' had called the Child and Family Services Agency on Aaron and they had shown up in the middle of the mall. It was only Jack freaking out and biting Jessica on the hand before Jack was able to stay with Aaron and they drove with an agent into the facility to give interviews about what was going on. Two weeks later, Aaron had been served with the paperwork that said his custody of his own child was being called into question.

Jessica had been his go-to for watching Jack up until the Brooks' tried to take Jack. After that Aaron had interviewed nanny after nanny. It had taken a month and a half of Will helping with Jack before a good live-in nanny had been found. She lasted two weeks and only left because her father had fallen ill three states away and moved back home. It had now been six months of a revolving door of nannies and Aaron was at wit's end. He needed to find someone who wouldn't upset their life anymore. Jack would start to get attached and then the new person would be gone. Aaron wanted someone who would at least stay for a long while. Jack had not even tried to get attached to the last three. Which made the hunt even harder but then Aaron could understand what was going through his son's head.

Sabrina, the last nanny, had taken Jack and left him at the Academy in the hands of Garcia because she couldn't take it any longer while Aaron was gone on what had been a three-day case. Jack wasn't the issue. Jack was the pinnacle of good. He didn't do anything wrong, and he never lashed out. He wanted stability, and he bent over backward to try and make the nannies stay, even if he didn't let himself get attached to them. Aaron felt horrible, and he was near ready to take a desk job to settle his life. He and Jack's psychologist though was worried about what that would do. Jack would take that blame on himself. He knew exactly what his father did for a living and that change after a year of change might be the thing that broke his child and Aaron couldn't stand that.

The newest batch of candidates was no more spectacular than the last. The agency that Aaron was going through wasn't at fault. He didn't want this one to fail and going with what he had before was bound to fail again. He knew there was something about repeating the same thing over and expecting something different was the definition of something not good, but Aaron couldn't remember what it was at the moment.

Grabbing his desk phone, Aaron dialed his direct handler at the agency which was also the owner. After his third nanny, Aaron had been directed up the chain of command there as she was the best at trouble placements. Aaron hated that he was a trouble placement, but at least it wasn't because his child was a demon. Working for someone like him with his job was like basically taking Jack on as their child.

"Agent Hotchner, have you made a decision?"

"You have tried to me to take a man this whole time. Given my requirements, do you have one to suggest?" Aaron had stuck to his guns to have a female nanny step into his life to be that woman that Jack would be lacking but as the lady who ran the agency said that Aaron had a lot of other women in his life that he would not need a woman to step in and raise Jack. JJ, Prentiss, and Garcia would be role models enough in Jack's life that he would have the woman touch.

"I do. Doctor Spencer Reid. He has three Ph.D.’s, two BA's, and has a medical degree. He's a genius who found he enjoyed taking care of children during med school and being a nanny while he earned his other degrees. He's just coming off a job being a nanny to twins for a visiting ambassador. "

"What about his background check?" Aaron figured that if he was watching a visiting ambassador's kids that he was good to take care of Aaron's kids, but then sometimes they had weird things that they didn't care about. Aaron had met enough during his time working for the FBI.

"The only thing that popped was that while he was in med school, he cared for an ill mother, and lied to the state after his father left them. He's had glowing reviews. I can send over his file." There was no noise over the phone, so Aaron figured that she knew his resume by heart or at least had it all on one page and ready for the day that Aaron finally caved.

"Send it to the same lady just like last time." Aaron had Garcia look into all of his nannies before actually taking them on. "Why would the state care about him taking care of his mother?" Aaron tried to think why anyone would have an issue with someone in college stepping in and taking care of their parents. It didn't seem like he had stopped going to school, not with that steam of degrees that he had attached to his name.

"He was ten when his father left and twelve when he went to college."

Aaron nearly dropped the phone at that. He just stared into space. "And how old is he now?" Aaron did not need an eighteen-year-old stepping in and being Jack's nanny.

"Twenty-nine. The only thing that he lacks in the points that you want is his gun scores. He doesn't test well on them, but if needed he can shoot to wound and has before. I'd trust him with my kids."

"I'd want to set up an interview." Aaron never went into it cold, and he always met them before taking anyone to Jack to meet. Aaron looked at his watch. He needed to get going to a meeting, but given what he was doing, no one in the meeting would mind him being a few minutes late.

"Of course. I can call him as soon as I get off the phone. I'll email you with a few meeting times and you can…"

"I'm sorry. My team will probably be going on a case. I will need to meet with him tonight." Aaron didn't want to dump the new person on Jack, but hopefully, he and Aaron would hit it off. The age was a little concerning to Aaron, but he could live with it. Obviously, if he had gone to college, got as many degrees as he had, and still took care of his mother, Doctor Reid was a damned good juggler of things. Hopefully, Aaron and his life with Jack wouldn't be so hard that he quit so quickly just because life wasn't perfect in the Hotchner household because of Aaron's job.

"I'll put you on hold."

Aaron waited. He grabbed a case file and worked on it while he listened to jazz hold music. The interview was just going to be for Aaron to get a gut feeling of him. His actual hiring as Jack's nanny was dependent on Garcia's background check. He would message her and have her rush the background check.

Five minutes later, the line clicked as she picked it up again.

"Agent Hotchner, Doctor Reid will meet you at the coffee shop in Quantico city that's closest to the main road out. He said that he will be able to find you."

"Thank you." Aaron looked at the time. Will said he could keep Jack until the next morning if he had to work late or meet with a new set of nannies. Aaron hoped that this Doctor Reid was compatible with Jack. Aaron didn't pray much anymore. He hadn't since he had been a child, but at that moment he sent up one. He really needed something in his life to go right.


The coffee shop was busy for eleven at night. He tried to spot this genius Doctor Spencer Reid. There were people everywhere, and no one screamed GENIUS to him. Aaron though had only ever met computer geniuses, and most of them were those stereotype ones, and while Aaron knew that they were stereotypes, just didn't know what else to look for when it came to a genius. The only person that caught his eye was the man talking to the barista at the bar. Everyone but him had been served, and the two were chatting while she was making his drink. The man was dressed in a nice suit but not like the ones that Aaron wore. It was fitted to his slim frame in a way that made him stand out. It accentuated his body in a way that made all eyes go to him unlike Aaron's cut of his suit that while it looked good and was very much evidently not off the rack, it wasn't meant to draw eyes except to note that it made him look powerful. The jacket accentuated his thin frame, and the pants were cut just right to make him seem almost taller than he was. The jacket was open, and Aaron could see the soft dark maroon vest over his pale blue shirt. He looked good. He looked damned good, and it was making Aaron's blood pump just a little bit. Even his long and slightly curly hair wasn't a detractor, it looked really, really good on him.

Aaron had noticed a lot of people over the years since he and Haley had divorced, but he had not wanted to actually do anything about any of it. He was a little burned out on finding someone to be with. He had thought that he was going to be with Haley until he died. His heart still ached a lot from how that had gone. Aaron knew that he should not still be hurt over it, but he did, and he couldn't help it. He was also a little afraid of Jack getting attached to someone who couldn't take the job and the way that Aaron's life was and would leave. Aaron had more than just his own heart in the mix.

When the man's drink was done, he turned and walked right at Aaron, taking the seat opposite him. Aaron was about to tell him that he was waiting on someone when the man's mouth opened, and he spoke words that Aaron never expected. "Agent Hotchner. Spencer Reid." He did not offer a hand for a shake at all but did look at Aaron's nearly empty drink before sliding over the second cup in his hand that Aaron hadn't even noticed. He had spent too long looking at his face and his ass to notice it. Aaron was glad that telepathy wasn't a thing that was real because he would have been caught and would never be able to face Spencer Reid again.

Aaron couldn't do a single thing except for staring at him. This was nothing like what he thought a genius should look like. He was also nothing like what Aaron thought a nanny should look like. He looked like a model who needed to be in pictures and on runways.

"Agent Hotchner?" Spencer asked. He looked at Aaron like he knew he hadn't made a mistake but wasn't sure why Aaron wasn't acknowledging him.

"Sorry, I was just a little shocked."

"You didn't see my headshot?" Spencer asked.

"No, this was all very sudden, and I'm going to be heading on a case, so I used the owner's recommendation and then my analyst ran a background check on you. I never actually looked at your file at all."

"So, are you wanting me to watch him tonight?"

"A friend of mine is currently watching him, but I was hoping that if you two were at least comfortable, maybe Will wouldn't mind staying over and making sure that Jack is settled with you before he and Henry leave."

"Henry is...?" Spencer asked.

"Will, son. Will is in a relationship with JJ the media liaison on my team. Right now, things are rocky because the State Department tried to poach her, but she threatened to quit the government instead of transferring, so HR got involved. That got a lawyer involved, and then the State Department backed off. Will's been stepping in to watch Jack as much as he can and then I have another friend who makes up the rest of the time if I don't have a Nanny. She would probably watch him all the time, but her job is just as demanding, and she doesn't have another kid."

"So, you've had a revolving door of nannies since your ex-wife was killed, I am sorry about that by the way. I read about it in the papers, and then the court case made the papers about Jack's custody. I can see why Jack is having issues attaching to people."

"You have three Ph.D.s, and two BAs and one of the Ph.D.s is a medical degree?"

"Yes. I can practice general medicine. I have a degree in child psychology, mathematics, and computer science, and the two BAs are in sociology and abnormal child psychology, that one will be a Ph.D. in under a year I will be defending it soon."

"Why?"

"A little broad but I think I know what you want to know. I went to school to be a doctor. Then I took the round in psych and liked it, so I changed to a psychology track as well as keeping my general practitioner Ph.D. going. The mathematics and computer science were while I was too young to actually go to full medical school. The rest just fell to keep me entertained. I have a reading speed of twenty thousand words per minute on printed paper and if the device can keep up with me fifteen thousand words per minute on computer screens. I have an eidetic memory with well above normal aural standards. I've never tested it formally, but I would say that I can recall about eighty-five percent of what I hear if I am not paying full attention and between ninety and ninety-five percent of what I am focusing on hearing. I have an IQ of 187. I was pushed to do things with my degree, change the face of medicine and whatnot, but I found that I liked taking care of kids. I'm doing just as much good with that as I would with any other job. If I can push kids to be their best, every single one that I come in contact with, isn't that just as good as saving lives?"

"I agree. I think that I could have done better with my life with someone like you in it." Aaron picked up his cup of coffee that Spencer had got for him and found that it was just about perfect on how he liked it, down to the flavor of the syrup that he usually got. Which was a little shocking.

"I came inside when they called out your drink. I was behind a group of people, and I figure that is why you didn't see me. Though you wouldn't have known who I was anyway. I do not own a car, but I do have a license. Most of the families that I have worked for over the past few years have drivers and/or cars that I could use to take the child from place to place. I don't mind driving at all, but my last car was totaled while it was on the side of the street where I live and since I mostly use the bus or the train to get around I've never bought one. I do have the money saved up for one. If you would like and this works out, I can purchase one at any point."

"I have a second car. It was my ex-wife's but as I had bought it for her when she died everything reverted to me to take care of Jack. I would gladly let you use it. I have the insurance up to date as I do use it as Jack likes to ride around in it. When I take my car in for maintenance and such, we use it for a day or two. I also left it for use for the other nannies. If you would prefer a different car, I can understand wanting one of your own."

"I'll be fine using it. So, have I passed whatever test you wanted me to pass?" Spencer asked. He was smiling at Aaron, but there was a tilt to his lips that was very close to feeling flirty.

"You have. Now the big test is Jack." Aaron stood up and grabbed his coffee. He watched as Spencer followed. "Ride with me?"

"Sure, makes no sense to have me take the bus when we are going to the same place."

"How did you end up here instead of Vegas? I remember that from my analyst’s summary of you." Aaron showed Spencer to his car, and while Aaron had the urge to open the door for him, he did not. No matter what his mind or maybe his heart, he wasn't sure, wanted, he was not going to court the man who he was hiring to help him raise his son.

"I followed a family out here just after I graduated fully from medical school. Then the wife decided that since I was there more than her husband, that I was going to be her replacement for her husband. I kept pushing her off and then the husband decided that if his wife weren't giving him sex, I would. Neither of them was well pleased when I sat them both down and told them was quitting because of sexual harassment. The one thing about medical school, I learned to stand up for myself. They both blamed each other and then when I dropped that it was both of them, the wife went into hysterics that her husband was gay, he wasn't. He was sexually fluid enough for any port in a storm mentality. I found the agency I am currently with and have never left. They treat us good and make sure that the families have been looked into as well. It's safe all around for both sides. That's what I really like about it."

"It does make it nice. There are a lot of agencies in the area, but none of them had the strictness that I wanted. One UnSub that I have hunted decided to hunt me back. It was a first for the BAU, so none of us were prepared for it. If you do last the case that I am on, I will require weekly shooting range sessions with me. I won't risk him, and my house is littered with guns, they are safely in safes, but that doesn't mean anything."

"I know that my scores are low, but when it's needed, and I am under duress, I do my best on that. I would not mind weekly shooting range sessions. Who would watch Jack during that?"

"It would be while he is at school. Jack's school is New Haven in Dumfries. I tend to leave for work early some days so on those days after you drop him off you could hang around Dumfries or Quantico until the time, I have the range set for. Depending on cases, I have an area of the range blocked out for me on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If I am on a case for both of those days, the woman in charge makes sure that I have time on either Saturday or Sunday. If you get to where I am comfortable with you being able to defend Jack and yourself, I will drop it down to once a month, unless you prefer the weekly."

"We shall see when the time comes. It might not even get that far. I'm shocked I will be able to access the Academy gun range."

"Special situation. My bosses would rather indulge me than to have me leave because I don't trust my son will be safe when I am not there. I will not require you to wear a gun when out and about unless there is a direct threat against Jack or me. I am not that paranoid."

"Though you have every right to be. Miranda was frank on the phone that the man stalked you and your family that made you have to put your ex-wife and son in Witness Protection. I could understand being paranoid."

Aaron looked at Spencer as they stopped at a stop light. Spencer was looking straight ahead. He was relaxed in a way that said that he felt safe with Aaron. Aaron knew that it was mostly because of his job, who he was in the job. It might be easy to be an asshole and such in other aspects of the FBI, but in the BAU dealing with the cases that they did, those people did not last long at all. Aaron had got used to people trusting him just because of who he was. He instilled that in a lot of people and not all of them were victims that he was dealing with.

The rest of the drive to Aaron's house was quiet, Aaron watching Spencer out of the corner of his eye as Spencer looked at everything as if he was seeing it for the first time. It was strange, but then Aaron had never been around a genius to know how they looked at the world. Aaron realized that Spencer had a messenger bag at his feet; he had been so focused on Spencer's face that he had not paid attention to the rest. Aaron looked into the back seat when he was stopped at the stop sign that was closest to his house. There was nothing in the back. He frowned because that meant that Spencer was prepared to stay the night. That was not good. Aaron had hoped that he would be a little more prepared given he was a genius.

Aaron said nothing but he pulled into the driveway, parking on the left side of the three-car driveway. Aaron had bought the house because asking a nanny to live with him while in an apartment was not something that he wanted to do. He had bought a large house so that the Nanny could have a side of it to themselves. It wasn't quite a wing, but the second floor of the house was laid out like a large square with bedrooms around the outer edge and then two rooms in the center. Aaron had converted that to one large room. It was now a library that was more than three-quarters empty. Jack a set of shelves that were his and he was trying to fill them with books he had read, but it was slow going. Aaron's part was filled with his collection of law texts. There was a small number of fiction books in there, but not a lot as Aaron had not spent as much time reading as he would have liked since he had bought the house.

"Your house is beautiful," Spencer said as he opened up the door of the car and stepped out.

"Thank you," Aaron said. The house had grown on him. He had wanted something that was ready to move into so he had been stuck with a house that was a shade somewhere between light and regular purple. Jack had loved it, so Aaron still hadn't changed the color of the paint on the outside of the house. There were two balconies that were on either side of the house. One was attached to Aaron's bedroom and the other the room set that Aaron had set aside for the nanny. Aaron's office was on the ground floor while the attic which took up the entire third floor of the house was empty except for boxes of things. Haley's things that Aaron hadn't gone through yet and things from the house that they had bought to raise their children in together. The basement had a laundry room in it as well as three other empty rooms. Aaron thought about setting up one with a few bits of workout equipment like a treadmill and maybe a stationary bike. He had no clue what he was going to do with the house. It was too big and too empty, but Aaron didn't want to move away. He kind of loved the house.

"Is that Jack?" Spencer asked pointing at the window that was in the sitting room. Aaron looked and saw that Jack was indeed looking out at them. Aaron waved, but Jack was looking at Spencer. Aaron watched as Spencer waved at Jack out of the corner of his eye. Jack gave a hesitant wave back. The curtains opened in the living room, and there was Will with Henry in his arms. "And Will and Henry?"

"Yes. Once we do introductions, I'll show you around the house. Jack used to, but he stopped a few nannies ago."

"Then let's get this over with." Spencer started forward before Aaron did. His messenger bag over his shoulder. Aaron stopped only long enough to get his briefcase from the back seat. Aaron rushed forward to open the door, but it opened, and there was Will with Jack hiding behind him.

"Thanks, Will," Aaron said as he followed Spencer into the house. Will inclined his head. "Detective Will LaMontagne junior this is Doctor Spencer Reid; he's agreed to try and be Jack's new nanny."

"Hello," Spencer said, and he waved his hand at Will when Will offered his hand for a shake. "It's nice to meet you. And this here is little mister Henry, right?"

Spencer reached out for Henry, and the boy went right to him. Henry was still tiny for his age but growing well. He was speaking pretty well in addition to running around like crazy. "You are a pretty good boy aren't you, Henry?"

"Yes," Henry said. He reached out for the lock of Spencer's hair that had fallen from the ponytail that it was in. Aaron hadn't paid much attention to his hair. It looked like messy but controlled chaos. Henry tugged on it gently and giggled. "You are pretty."

"Thank you. You are pretty darned handsome yourself." Spencer looked at Jack and held out his hand to him, but Jack ignored him.

Jack came forward and settled against Aaron's legs while looking at Spencer. Spencer though was ignoring him in favor of paying attention to Henry. Spencer was focused on Henry totally until the boy started to yawn.

"He decided that he didn't need a nap at all today since Jack didn't take one."

"Well, that won't do. What do you say, Mister Henry that you and I go into the living room and settle on the couch and I promise to tell you a really wonderful story? How does that sound?" Spencer was smiling at Henry and Aaron saw that little bit of jealousy on Jack's face. Aaron wasn't sure if that was a good idea or not. He watched as Spencer and Henry walked to the living room, and Jack followed behind. Spencer settled on the love seat and settled Henry into his lap with Henry's head resting on the arm of the couch while Jack crawled up onto the other seat. "Oh, hello, Jack. Do you want to hear the story as well?"

"Yes, please," Jack said.

Aaron listened to Spencer reading to Jack and Henry for a few minutes before he followed Will into the kitchen. Aaron settled his empty coffee cup in the trash and then grabbed the pitcher of water from the fridge and poured himself a glass as well as one for Spencer. He settled Spencer's on the table and looked at Will.

"I know you said that Miranda was trying to push a male on you but that you wanted a female presence in Jack's life. I see that she won."

"I'm done fighting it. She thinks that a male would be best, and I just want someone to stick around for an entire case for once."

"He seems to be doing well. Jack was reluctant again, and he managed that without forcing Jack to do a damned thing."

"He has three Ph.D.s and two BAs one of which is getting ready to become another Ph.D. which he really doesn't need. He likes being a caretaker for kids, so that is why he is doing that instead of being some big shot doctor. I can't remember if the general practitioner degree is one that he counts in his list or that is in addition to the three Ph.D.s. I'm so far out of my depth here. He's way overqualified for this but if he connects with Jack what can I say about it?"

"Nothing. He's doing what he likes so you don't get to say that he should be doing something else. Do you want me to stay the night?"

"Jack will make that decision." Just after Aaron finished speaking his phone went off. "That's JJ telling me to go to the jet. This is not how I want to do this."

"Jack's used to cases. Trying to make it a big deal will make it a big deal."

"You've been a godsend." Aaron drained his glass of water and grabbed Spencer's before going into the living room. He rounded the couch to see that Spencer didn't have a book in his hands but was still talking softly, reading a book from memory, Aaron assumed. Will was right behind him, and he made an amused noise at taking in the boys. Jack was leaning against Spencer while Henry was just out like a light. Spencer looked up at the two of them.

"I've never got him to sleep that fast," Will said.

"Tricks of the trade I am afraid. So, Detective LaMontagne, you look worn out, and your partner will be going out with Agent Hotchner on the case. Why don't I take little Henry off your hands for the night, no charge at all, you can get some sleep and then in the morning or whenever you are off shift at work."

"Henry's going to stay?" Jack asked, and his eyes were wide with happiness.

"I thought a guy's night would be a good thing. We can see how Henry feels when he wakes up. Unless you don't want him to stay."

"No, no. I want him to stay. I'll even help you take care of him."

"That's kind Jack, but I won't need help other than maybe when I am cooking dinner and when I go to the bathroom. Do you think you can do that?"

"Yes, then you can read us more magic books. I want to grow up and have books in my head as well." Jack looked up at Aaron, and he actually looked happy. Aaron was glad as of right now that he had chosen Spencer. Jack seemed taken with him in a way that he had not been with any Nanny, even the first one.

"Well, Jack why don't you settle down here and watch Henry while your father and I make sure that I have everything down so that I can watch you while he goes on his case?" Spencer asked as he scooted to where he could place Henry down on the couch. He picked up a pillow and laid it on the floor and then propped another against the coffee table so that if Henry did roll off, he would hit the pillows and not the leg of the table He brushed at the hair on Jack's forehead before looking at Aaron.

"Yes, um...come up with me. We can talk while I change. I have a walk-in closet, so if you sit on my bed, we can talk." Aaron turned to head up the stairs. He looked at Will who looked about the same as Aaron felt. A little shocked at how well it was going. Spencer's steps were light behind him, and Aaron didn't pause at all as he walked up the stairs and then across the hall to his room. "The other side, three rooms in total will be yours. The middle room is already set up for a bedroom. The other two are empty. They are smaller more like kids’ rooms. Jack as the corner room in the back on my side and the one in the middle has been set up with a toddler bed for Henry. Generally, the door stays open."

"That sounds good. Jack will feel more comfortable with Henry around, and it will give Will a night off. He's a wonderful friend to watch Jack as he does."

"Yes. I'll give you my number, work and personal, as well as the number for the media liaison for the team. She always takes calls so if I don't answer and you need me, call her. She can usually answer or get a hold of me. I do better with texts usually. We relay information to and from each other that way so I can get by with a text where I might not be able to a call." Aaron rattled off the code for the alarm as he entered the closet to change out of the suit and into slacks and a dress shirt. He knew they were going down to Florida and it was unusually warm there for spring. Jack was out of school for a break, given that New Haven was a year around school. Easter was soon, too soon for Aaron to still be avoiding but he knew that he needed to do something about it. He really didn't want to go shopping for it.

Aaron went over everything, including Jack's few allergies, which were not things that Spencer should have to deal with as they were all medication-related and Aaron had none of them in the house. There was a sheet taped to the kitchen cabinet with that information on it. It still made Aron feel better to go over it all with Spencer at least once verbally.

"I call Jack every night so if for some reason he wants to go to bed early, please try and call me before he does." Aaron stepped out of the closet with his hot weather gear go bag in hand. "There is a booster seat for Jack in the back of the car as well as a car seat for Henry. It's one of Jack's that obviously grew out of. You can use the car to go and get clothes."

"I have a bag already packed, Agent Hotchner and Miranda will drop it off to me when you call her and tell her that she can start the hiring packet for at least a temporary basis. I'll keep myself entertained with books in your library. Jack told me that it was kind of empty but that if I loved books maybe I could help get it filled." Spencer wasn't sitting on the bed but was standing at the window that was closest to the closet. "I'll give you my number. If when the case is over, and you are on your way home if you text me a rough arrival home time if you aren't going straight to the office that, and I can have a meal ready for you."

"You don't need to do that. I can cook something or just grab something on the way home."

"Nonsense. I like cooking. By the end of my first month here I'll probably take over all the cooking. You are paying me to live here with you twenty-four hours a day, Agent Hotchner, to be on call when you are home, and you are watching Jack. I see no sense in not helping in other ways. I will do light cleaning in your room and clean up the rest of the house. If you would like me to do a full clean in your room, I can, but I find that many single parents like their privacy. I'll run the vacuum and clean the sinks and toilet and such. Once I get the hang of cleaning, I'll have a schedule down for you to look over. While Jack is in school, I'm not going to laze around reading. I will make sure you are aware of anything school wise as far as my dissertation and defending of my Ph.D. goes as I know about it. Most of the time Jack can go with me. The school is well aware of what I do, and if Jack proves to be as good of a boy as I think he is going to be, then he could, in fact, be in the room with me."

Aaron felt like he was going to be managed by this man and he wasn't exactly sure if he was okay with it or not. Only time would tell precisely how well Spencer ran the household.


Aaron entered the door and shut it behind him, putting in the code that would stop the alarm from going off. The alarm only started to actually beep loudly when the code was not put in after a minute, and then a minute after that it alerted the security company that cops needed to be dispatched. Aaron did not want an alarm that would go off and potentially wake up Jack every single time he entered the house. Aaron had been gone for four nights and three days on the case, and it was already pretty damned late. He had not texted Spencer that he was on his way home. He would make himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and grab a glass of milk before going to bed. He hoped that Spencer was in bed.

Spencer had been faithful in making sure that Aaron was able to talk to Jack every single night and even throughout the day he sent texts and sometimes pictures. One of which Aaron had shared with JJ at Spencer's behest. It had been the next day after Aaron had left for the case and it was Jack and Henry asleep on the couch with Jack wrapped around Henry to stop him from falling off. Aaron toed off his shoes and set his briefcase down. The next day Aaron needed to go shopping for Easter dinner, which was the day after that. The team had the next week off which Aaron was grateful for. It was Friday night, not for much longer though. It was near eleven, but Aaron felt worked up and didn't think that he would be able to sleep for at least another two hours.

The smell of dinner was still in the house. Spencer had made lasagna which Aaron had not been able to get Jack to eat before. Aaron had never figured out why Jack didn't like the thought of it, but Aaron wasn't going to force Jack to eat something like that. He ate spaghetti well enough and that satisfied Aaron's cravings enough and when they were on cases Aaron would get lasagna from places that they ate out at.

Jack was not that picky of an eater, so Aaron didn't force him when he didn't need to. Jack loved every single vegetable except for okra, so Aaron had no issues on that end of things. Aaron debated for a few seconds of heating up the lasagna, and it was going to be more labor intensive than peanut butter and jelly as he entered the kitchen. He found Spencer sitting at the island that stretched from one end to the other at the small end of the kitchen, where the sink, stove, and fridge were.

"Hello, welcome home," Spencer said as he stood up and walked to the stove. He opened the oven and pulled out a plate of lasagna and took the foil off of it. He set that down where there was a place made for him. Spencer walked to the fridge next and grabbed a glass of milk from it and set that down before turning back and getting a salad from inside. "Dressing?"

"Italian, please." Aaron sat down at the spot and pushed the lasagna back from the table enough to where Spencer could set the salad down. The glass of milk was next and then the bottle of dressing. The salad was decent sized, and it and the lasagna were just about going to fill him up. "I don't need you to wait on me. You are here for Jack."

"You know, Agent Hotchner, I think you are one of the first that I've ever had that had not seen me like a personal servant in one-way shape or form. You did not ask, and I did not either. I told you. I set the limits of what I do. Making sure that you are fed so that you can spend more time with Jack falls under the auspices of my job in my mind. Jack tells me that you try when it comes to food but that you don't like to cook that often."

"I don't."

"Then it's good that I do. Now eat," Spencer said, and he gave Aaron a glare that was full of meaning and Aaron started to eat. He mixed the dressing into the salad and began to eat on it. It was just a simple side salad with grated carrots, cherry tomatoes, and diced cucumbers. The lettuce was romaine and a mix of greens instead of just iceberg. He watched as Spencer opened up a notebook and picked up the pen that was beside it. The stack of newspapers was ignored for the moment. "Jack tells me that you usually do ham for Easter dinner. Do you have a preference for the brand? You are a Virginia man, and I know that Virginia is known for hams."

"I usually buy what is cheapest."

"Okay. Jack wants potato salad instead of mashed potatoes. I made my potato salad, and we did a picnic the other day, and he really liked it. Green beans and I need another side dish to make. I will also need a head count."

"Headcount?" Aaron asked. He paused the lifting of his fork halfway up his mouth.

"Yes. Jack's told me who is on your team, but that doesn't mean they are coming alone."

"I'm having Easter dinner with my team here?" Aaron asked.

"Jack said he wanted it. For dessert, I am going to do a sweet potato casserole and a cherry pie. Unless you have a request."

"Sweet potato casserole is what I'll eat. JJ likes cherry pie and so doesn't Morgan. As to another side dish, what about deviled eggs? Everyone on the team likes them, and they are something that we don't get to eat a lot of. I don't think that anyone on the team will not eat it. Garcia doesn't eat meat."

"Yes, Jack told me. I'm going to make her a tofu main dish. I had a child that I had to cook for that I watched for about a year that could not eat meat. Her body did not process it right. She could do fish, but I learned how to make tofu and other vegetarian dishes. Deviled eggs will be easy. Rolls will be fine?"

"Yes." Aaron saw that the list that Spencer was making was two-fold. One side of the page was the food, and the other was the things that he needed to make the food. "I think that I have enough cash to cover the food."

"Don't worry about that if you don't. I can give you the receipt, and you can get me cash on Monday. I already did the shopping for food for us for next week and have the meals planned out. I used the cash that you left for that and took Jack to get some ice cream at that place that he likes. I don't mind doing buying things and then get money later thing. Given that I don't have to pay for room and board except for usually a week at most and Miranda has a few places that we can stay for pretty darned cheap for short term, I don't have a lot of bills that come out. Obviously, if this becomes permanent, then things would change. I know that I can have access to a debit card, and you would have the ability to see what I'm buying and when and accept or decline it."

"We don't need to get that in-depth. I have already talked to my bank, and they would issue you a card that has your name and mine on it if I create an account with our names on it. We can talk about that more at a later date. When were you going to do the shopping?"

"Tomorrow after I make breakfast. Jack already has your day planned out; I helped him." Spencer flipped through the notebook and pulled out a sheet of paper before handing it over.

Aaron set down his fork to take the list and set it down beside his plate. He finished off his salad while he was looking at the list. It was nothing too outrageous, and it looked like a lot of fun. The only thing was that there was a note about buying the books on the list. Aaron looked up to see that Spencer had another list in his hand. Aaron took that as he shoved his empty salad bowl away and laid it on top of the other list. It was a list of books, and there were a lot of them.

"I am trying to figure out if you are Mary Poppins or not."

"You don't have kids who need attention. Your Jack is secure in the knowledge that he gets all of your attention when he can. He understands and knows that you love him. He doesn't need to act out to get your attention. As long as you keep on trying, I don't think you'll have any issues with him. Are there any allergies that you know of for the team? Can you check?"

"As far as the team goes, no. As to who they will bring now but I'll ask when I text them to invite them."

"Oh, Will already did that. He stopped by to get a toy that Henry had left, and Jack asked him to. Or he texted JJ; I am unsure on that. Your dining room needs a good workout. Will is supposed to text you the headcount. I forgot to give him my number, and I don't know if he is going to try and call the house number or not. I have JJ's, but I would rather not have to call her to get a hold of her partner."

"You are seriously going to cook a meal for up to fifteen?" Aaron cut into his lasagna which was still very hot and blew on it before shoving the bit into his mouth. He was a lot hungrier than he thought and was glad that he had a full meal in front of him.

"Seventeen if you count Jack and Henry."

"I was counting them. Prentiss does not have a boyfriend at the moment, and neither does Dave. Garcia will probably bring Kevin; Morgan is about a fifty-fifty chance on a date. JJ, Will, and Henry make nine. Dean Brannon has a current partner, and they will both come."

"Yes, Jack told me about Stephen. I'm gay, Agent Hotchner so there is no need to tap dance around the fact that Agent Brannon's partner is, in fact, a male. That makes eleven and then Jack, you, and I make fourteen. Where is the fifteen coming from?"

"Dave might bring a date? I never know with him. They might just try and keep it close though, and no one but Brannon, JJ, and Garcia will bring a partner. So, plan for fifteen, and if Prentiss decides that she's going to bring someone, I'll let you know."

"Good. Are there any special requests for drinks?"

"Beer, iced tea, sweet and unsweet. The kids will drink whatever we give them."

"Oh, I already have a fruit punch I was going to do for them and make sure that no one spikes it."

Aaron looked down at his empty plate and frowned. It was one of the best lasagnas that he had ever had. He was kind of upset that it was gone. Aaron chased the last bits of sauce and cheese on his plate and licked his fork clean. Spencer wasn't looking at him at all but instead was adding something to his list.

"That will be good. Other than the tea that'll probably be what I drink."

"Even with sherbet in it?" Spencer looked up at Aaron when he asked the question.

"Yes. Actually, that sounds pretty good. I've never had a party at my place before, besides celebrating my own. Jack's birthday parties have always been out at other places. Punch with sherbet in it sounds really good. Make sure you have enough for almost everyone."

"I will."

"Why are you doing this?" Aaron asked.

"Transparent, am I?" Spencer smiled at Aaron. At nearly midnight, Aaron's defenses were down, and Spencer looked too beautiful. A lot more beautiful than he had any right to. He was dressed close to how he had been the day that Aaron had met him. "Well given your job I'm not shocked. I've talked with Miranda, and I think that some of the issues that Jack had with a few of the last nannies weren't that they were trying to connect with him but that they kept themselves apart unless they were watching Jack. I understand that it's what the main focus of the job is, but Jack's used to the team being his family. They are the only family that he wants and being away from them as much as the other nannies were doing made him not like the nannies. The job that you do and making the life of the nanny not be as smooth is all on the nanny. You are paying good money to have access me twenty-four hours a day; no one should be shocked when that means that things change very quickly. You are not a slave driver, and Miranda has been frank with me that you allow for as much downtime as possible because when you are home, you want to be with your son. I don't mind helping with food if I don't make other plans and just going away for a day if you really do want to have an entire day without seeing my face."

"Maybe I should have gone with a psychologist, to begin with," Aaron said.

Spencer laughed and shook his head before he turned back to his list. Aaron got up and walked to the sink to rinse off his plate and then put it into the dishwasher. He saw that the magnet was stuck on it that said dirty. Aaron hated washing dishes, and he would rather rinse them off and stick them in a dishwasher and do a load every other day than to do a sink of them a day. Spencer kept most of the big things up it seemed as the drainer was full of the pans from the making of the lasagna as well as the pan it was baked in.

"There is one thing, Agent Hotchner before you go to bed."

"Please, it's Aaron. I don't need you to stand on ceremony while you are living in my house." Aaron turned around and leaned against the sink to look at Spencer. Spencer stood up and walked to the fridge where he pulled down Jack's chose list.

"Jack and I went over his chore list, and I did change two things, removing one altogether and swapping one of the things for another. I took out the part about him dusting. I do that right before I sweep each room and that will be done during the day while he is gone so instead of that he's going to be the one to keep the plants watered around the house. He has a list and knows exactly how much to give each one. He's done pretty well the last few days. The other thing is that he wants to be in charge of getting the breakfast stuff out and ready every morning during the week. He's done pretty well at his own cereal and milk and even starting my coffee in the morning. I told him that the things could go back if you didn't like it so not to take it as it was going to stay that way."

"That's fine. He didn't like the dusting anyway, but I wanted him to clean in some way."

"Yes, and he knows that part of his job is to keep his room clean. I will clean his rooms on Wednesdays, so when he goes to school when school is in session, anything that's on the floor or out of place in the room will be taken, and he won't get it back until the next Wednesday."

"That's one way of doing it. Hell, that's pretty good."

"It's worked for other kids. Makes their room, their room and they are in control of it. As long as the room doesn't get too messy and he trips on things, I don't care what's on the floor any other day than when I am going in there to clean. Other than that, I'm not changing too much. I understand you need to have control of your child."

"I don't care what rules you change as long as Jack is okay with it. I can easily adapt. Though I have to wonder are you going to do the same with me?" Aaron asked.

"Same with you? What do you mean?" Spencer looked confused, and it looked cute on him.

"Are you going to take my toys if I leave them on the floor?" Aaron knew that as soon as the words were out of his mouth that he should not have said them. The tone was flirty, and there was no place for that in this relationship as it was a working one. Spencer though ducked his head and blushed, which did not help Aaron's feelings at all on his confusion over Spencer and the way that he was being with him. Aaron had never looked at a man twice until Spencer Reid had entered his life. Aaron wasn't sure if that was because there was something about Spencer himself or Aaron was just that lonely. What had he said about any port in a storm for the one man? Aaron knew that nothing was going to happen, even if Aaron did flirt because Aaron did not want Spencer to leave if Jack liked him that much. Jack needed ability in his life. Aaron's job was as stable as it was going to be.

"I don't know, Agent Hotchner," Spencer said, and his tone was definitely flirty as well. "I guess you will have to wait and see."

Aaron laughed a little, and the smile on Spencer's face put Aaron at ease. Flirting was fun. Aaron had kind of forgot what it was like. He hadn't done it in a long time. Spencer got up and walked to the freezer and grabbed something before handing it over to Aaron. Next came a spoon. It looked like sorbet.

"Jack and I made that. I went to my storage unit and got my ice cream maker. Jack had fun helping me mix everything up for it."

"That's good," Aaron said after he took a bite of it. It was really good, and there was just enough in the cup for him to have something sweet after dinner. There wasn't a lot of sugar in it, and Aaron liked that. He wondered what kind of classes Spencer had taken on food nutrition and such. One day he would ask him once they were settled into life together. Aaron figured that there would be a lot of discussions between them over the time that Spencer was with him to help him with Jack. Aaron just hoped that Spencer would stick around for the long haul. Jack, just from the few conversations that Aaron had with him, was very attached to Spencer already.


Aaron heard the doorbell ring and was about to put down the piping bag that he was using to fill the deviled eggs when he heard Jack's feet on the hardwood floor.

"I'll help him," Spencer said as he set down the spoon he was using to mix up the next batch of filling for the deviled eggs. Aaron had offered to help, and since it was not meal time and Jack had his own duties that he was doing, Spencer had accepted his help.

"Dad, Spencer, it's Uncle Dave and Aunt Emily, can I open it?" Jack called out.

"Wait for me, Jack," Spencer said loud enough that the boy could hear him.

Aaron could hear the door opening and then the sound of voices. The voices were getting louder, and then Dave and Prentiss joined him in the kitchen. Aaron turned to look at them. He had the bag still in his hand. He waved with that bag making Prentiss laugh. "Welcome. I'm piping filling into deviled eggs, and then those will be ready as a pre-meal snack while we wait on the rest of the team to arrive."

"I have never seen anyone use a piping bag for that," Prentiss said as she came to a stop right beside Aaron. She looked down at the eggs before trying to take one. Aaron was shocked when a spoon came out of nowhere and smacked the back of her hand. Aaron looked up at Spencer to see him frowning.

"Not until they are all done, Agent Prentiss," Spencer said.

Jack giggled from behind Spencer.

"You are not supposed to eat until everything is ready, and everyone has something to eat," Jack said like he was chastising Prentiss.

Aaron was not able to keep the smile on his face from getting bigger. Spencer crossed his arms until Prentiss backed up. She raised her hands up and smiled as she backed away. The doorbell rang, and Spencer turned to go and answer it.

"Don't let her steal anything Aaron or your butt will be on the line too!" Spencer called out as he walked toward the door.

"He's already ruling the roost huh?" Dave asked as he grabbed a bottle of beer from the fridge.

"When it comes to the kitchen yes. He made dinner last night and breakfast this morning. Jack didn't want cereal, so Spencer made pancakes. Jack has decided that Spencer's cooking can make anything taste good and is the best thing in the world."

"So, Jack is liking Spencer?" Dave asked.

"Very much so. I offered him the full contract this morning." Aaron looked at Dave and hoped the man didn't question it. Aaron had debated all night long, but Jack loved Spencer. The attachment was fast and strong but nothing unhealthy. Aaron kind of hated himself for denying Jack a male nanny before now. Though there was the thought at the back of his mind that it wasn't just the fact that it was a male nanny but the fact that it was just Spencer.

"Good. He seems good for Jack so far."

"He is. Jack's always been good you know except when he's sick or exhausted. Last night Spencer got him to bed with no issue even though it was before his bedtime. I went in and read him a book after he got out of the bath."

“...and Spencer's cooking is better than Daddy's, but still Daddy makes his with love, so it's better than other food from a restaurant," Jack said as he entered the kitchen with Morgan right on his heels. Spencer was not with them, so Aaron raised an eyebrow at Morgan.

"Spencer is helping JJ and Will out of the car by kidnapping Henry. Though Henry doesn't seem to mind, he's been squealing and babbling since Spencer opened the door."

"That's because Spencer and Henry are like best friends!" Jack proclaimed. He grinned at Aaron and then walked over to grab the stool that had been bought while Aaron was away. It allowed Jack to get up into the sink to set his dishes down into it and even run water into them. Aaron was finding that Spencer was slowly teaching Jack to be independent on things that would make him feel like he was helping out. Jack rinsed out the glass of milk he had asked for as a snack and then set it on the side of the sink. He got down from the stool and put it up before walking back and opening the dishwasher. He pulled the top rack out slowly and settled his drink cup into the far back corner. Prentiss, Morgan, and Dave watched him with rapt fascination.

Spencer was the first back into the house but before JJ and Will could get inside Brannon and Garcia pulled up. It seemed that Kevin was sick, having caught a stomach bug that was floating around the office. Garcia planned to take him some leftovers if there was some. Spencer had already promised Aaron that he would set back a little over everything that they had. Spencer did not act like a normal twenty-nine-year-old at all and Aaron would be worried except for he had seen the full packet that Spencer had filled out at the Agency as well as what Garcia had dug up on him. Spencer Reid was one of the most boring people that Aaron had ever seen, for a genius that was. He didn't get into trouble. He didn't do drugs or any that he had got caught doing. The biggest thing that had happened to him besides the dust-up when it was figured out that his father had left him and his mother to fend for themselves had been when he had been he had been found by a cop tied to a goalpost at school naked.

Aaron had not figured out yet how Spencer had not been flagged for that as his mother had never noticed he was gone but then the tale that Spencer had spun about his mother being used to him spending all night at the library had been a good one.

"You know, I think that Spencer is going to be good for Jack and for you, Aaron," Dave said.

Aaron filled the last egg and picked up the shaker of paprika that was on the counter beside where he was. Aaron coated the top on each one, covering one with a great deal for Jack. He liked a lot of paprika on his. He left a few without as Morgan didn't like paprika on his eggs.

"I don't know why he will be good for me." Aaron looked at Dave. He saw Spencer enter the kitchen again.

After that, it was a rush to get everything onto the buffet table in the dining room area. Spencer walked through with Jack first and got his plate, and he kept a hold of Henry the entire time, feeding the boy off of his plate when it was time for Spencer to get his food. Which Aaron forced him to get before Aaron did. Aaron liked the whole Jack getting his food first. Aaron had never thought about it as he was always sent through things like this last when he was young. The important people went first. Spencer sat between Jack and JJ, talking a little to JJ. Aaron was at the head of the table, a place that he hadn't liked to sit but the team had talked him into it. Spencer had just glared at him when he had pointed out that he was the one who made most of the food, Aaron just helped.

The team got along with Spencer well, and Aaron was glad of that. He knew that it was part of why Spencer wanted to do it, the meshing of the families as Spencer called it. The weather was just warm enough that after the meal was finished, drinks were taken outside where Jack and Henry could play.

"Spencer, so I don't want to offend, but I don't know how you keep your mind entertained in your job," Dave said as Spencer dropped onto the ground in the area between the chairs where the rest of the grownups were. Jack and Henry were over at the swing, Henry in the baby swing with Jack pushing him gently. Henry was yawning so it wasn't going to be long before he was down for a nap.

"I keep my mind active by working on school work. I found that I liked being a student. I like being able to choose what I want to learn and just taking classes. I am always working to a degree. I'm finalizing my last thesis for my next Ph.D. at the moment. Watching kids is fun to me. I like doing it. I like teaching them. I've never stayed with one long, long term but I could see myself settling down with a single-family unit if the right one came along. My mother was a professor at a college, so I grew up on campus as well. I don't know that one day I wouldn't settle down into a different job, but I hope not. I love what I do. Kids are awesome, and there are not enough good caretakers out there for the families that need them."

Aaron grabbed the bottle of water that he had made sure to take from the kitchen for Spencer as he had gone out without a drink and handed it over to the younger man.

"Thanks!" Spencer said with a smile on his face. Aaron had only seen that smile on Spencer's face a few times over the past day. Aaron wasn't sure what kind of smile it was, but it made Spencer even more beautiful.

The discussion that followed was mainly around schooling and whatever everyone liked and disliked about it. Henry crawled into Spencer's lap after a little bit and promptly fell asleep. Aaron grabbed a blanket to wrap around the boy to help keep him warm as it was getting more chilly outside but wasn't cold enough to go back inside yet.

"So, Spencer," Garcia said as she leaned back on the lounger, she was on. She was more than a little tipsy as after the kids were cut off from the punch Dave had spiked it. Aaron wasn't shocked that Spencer had glared at the man for doing it and had got water for the kids after that. Garcia and JJ were more than a little tipsy. Though both had a designated driver and Garcia was going to leave her car at Aaron's for pick up the next day they worked. "What did want to be when you grew up?"

"I had a few different things. When I was really young and didn't quite get what was wrong with Mom, I wanted to be a lawyer like my dad. Then Mom was getting worse, so I wanted to cure schizophrenia. Then after dad left me with mom for me to take care of her, I wanted to be anything that wasn't a lawyer. For a while I hated them. I grew out of that. I debated a lot of things in school, but then I just found happiness in babysitting kids. I started when I got to Caltech. They have a childcare center there, and it was one of the few things I could kind of volunteer to do. I was paid under the table as it were to help with Mom as I was underage and couldn't actually be put on the payroll. Then one of the people who worked there got me hooked up with a family that needed a helper over the summer. One of the kids was in a cast, and the other wasn't, and the dad was overseas in the military, and it was just hard to do two sets of things without one of the kids getting upset. So, I took care of Jimmy while his leg healed. We did as much as we could and had fun with it. Then it just kind of stayed with me. I moved on from working at the school to working for families while I went to school. I had a lot of fun with it all, and it was nice. I've been happy doing it for nearly half of my life."

"That's good," Garcia said.

Spencer looked like he was holding back at a laugh at Garcia's tone.

"I think I better get this one home and to bed before she decides that your Spencer needs her help," Morgan said to Aaron.

Aaron kept his emotions off of his face at Morgan calling Spencer his. Spencer was not his, not in any way shape or form. He wasn't a slave.

Slowly after that everyone left in a pair in the case of JJ and Will, Henry was being left at the house as Spencer had already agreed to watch him so that Will and JJ could have a night to themselves with both of them being home. Spencer truly had no qualms about it. Aaron didn't either. Spencer adored the little boy, and it was very evident in the way that he acted that he genuinely felt watching the boy a joy. Aaron kind of liked having him there as he kept Jack entertained, and it would allow Aaron some time the next day to do some things that he needed to do that would require him to be out of the house for a little while. It was lawyer and bank stuff so Jack would be bored to tears.

"Why don't you go and watch that movie with Jack. I just have a little bit of the dishes left to do," Spencer said, turning to look at Aaron as he spoke. There was a load in the dishwasher which was the plates, glasses, and such, and then the bigger stuff and the things that couldn't be done in the dishwasher was actually pretty small because Spencer kept the kitchen clean as he went.

"He wants to watch it with you and me," Aaron reminded Spencer.

"He's been with me all day. Tell him that later this week we can watch it together. You two need some you time." Spencer nodded his head toward the door and Aaron took that as his dismissal. He settled onto the couch with Jack and started the movie. Jack didn't protest. Henry was down for the night as his nap had been short.

When Aaron's bedtime rolled around, he found that he wasn't ready for it. He wasn't tried enough to go up into bed and lay down. He knew that if he did, he would just stare at the ceiling or something like that and it would make him stay up longer. Aaron walked back down from where he had changed into his bedclothes to find that Spencer was curled into the corner of the couch with a book in hand. It was actually one of Aaron's books, a spy novel.

"Enjoying that?" Aaron asked as he settled down on the opposite end of the couch.

Spencer looked up at Aaron and smiled. "Yes, greatly. I've not read too many spy novels before I'll have to dig into the ones that you have when I need some light reading material. Though most of it doesn't really shock me but given how much I have read, it's not...well it's not shocking."

"I know that things have moved very fast, but you are a good fit for us, and I didn't want to lose you. When I am home, I don't expect you to be here waiting on us hand and foot. We can handle things ourselves for the most part for a few hours, I think. Though Jack might pout at my cooking, he'll live. You do not need to not engage in relationships; I just ask that if one is brought back here; he doesn't meet with Jack."

"I don't date that much at all, Aaron. I find that those who are my age don't understand me at all. The men who are looking for a second parent to their child can't look past my age, and those who are mature enough to attract me to them and for me to be someone they are looking for are not looking for someone like me at all. I'm not exactly someone who needs a Daddy or a Daddy replacement, and while I do have issues that revolve around my father, none of them can be helped with sex with an older man. One day I am sure that I will find someone who I like and who understands me, but it hasn't happened yet."

"I can understand that. After the divorce, I had a lot of people pushing me to date. Haley was my first serious relationship. How do I just say goodbye to that as quickly as they wanted me to? I couldn't, and in the end, they finally left me alone. Dave was the hardest to stop, but he finally did get it."

Spencer gave Aaron a sad smile before he picked up the book he was reading again. He looked down at where he was on the page before looking up at Aaron again. "There are some people who are not happy alone, and they don't understand anyone who can be happy alone."

"I'll agree with you on that one," Aaron said. He reached over to grab his book that he was reading from the coffee table. He settled in at his end of the couch and read until he couldn't anymore. When he looked up at Spencer, he found that the younger man had fallen asleep. His book was limp in his hands, and his head tipped back.

Aaron debated for a few seconds what he wanted to do before he got up and tried to wake up Spencer. The younger man did not wake up. He didn't even move really. Aaron slipped his arms under Spencer's knees and around his shoulders before gripping him and lifting. He had muscle on him that Aaron had never really noticed before, it so it was a little hard to maneuver Spencer up the stairs and into his room, but Aaron did it. He watched as Spencer curled onto his side as soon as he was on the bed. There was a pillow on the far side of the bed, and it seemed like he was wanting it, his hand reaching for it. So, Aaron picked it up and scooted it over to Spencer. He looked impossibly younger like that. Aaron looked at the bedding and saw that there were three different blankets stacked on each other and then the sheet. Aaron wondered if he got that cold or just liked the weight of it. Aaron pulled the sheet over him and would let the cold wake him up if he needed more blankets.

It took little time at all for Aaron to start to fall asleep as he laid in bed. He and Spencer might not have talked a lot, but the companionship had been good. Even just existing in the same room as someone was good. It had been a long time since Aaron had anyone like that. Friends in college and after Haley made sure that he knew who she thought was good enough to be friends with them and who wasn't. It was only after it all that Aaron figured out how much Haley had slowly got to where she controlled nearly every single aspect of Aaron's life. He figured it was why he pushed back about the job in the end.


Aaron knew that getting used to Spencer's cooking was not exactly a good thing. He didn't expect Spencer to hang around and work for him forever, even though it was several years before Jack would hit the age where he could stay at home all day alone after school. Aaron knew that they were eating healthier than it seemed, but he was enjoying Spencer's cooking. Aaron looked at the time and found that it was still an hour away from when someone would need to go and get Jack from New Haven from his last day of school for the current school year, so Aaron went ahead inside the house and smelled whatever good thing that Spencer was cooking for dinner. He had got out the slow cooker when Aaron had been leaving for work, so Aaron wasn't shocked to smell dinner already. It smelled like beef stew.

"Spencer?" Aaron called out as he locked the door behind him. It had been two months so far with Spencer, and it was going just well now as it had in the beginning. Aaron walked to the kitchen and found that Spencer wasn't in there. He did peek at the slow cooker and found that it was indeed beef stew and there was what looked like peas left to add to it. Aaron felt his stomach growl, but it was still hours away from dinner. He opened the fridge to grab a handful of vegetables that were always in a container in there for Jack and Spencer to snack on.

The workday had ended early because the team had spent nearly a week on a case and while there was a lot of paperwork to catch up on, they needed a break, so the team had gone in to finish paperwork after getting in at ten at night and going straight home. Aaron had stayed longer to finish a few things that were ASAP Unit Chief things and then he had gone home himself.

"Spencer?" Aaron called out again when the living room turned up empty as well. Aaron walked up to the second floor and found it empty. He frowned at that before walking to the window in his bedroom to look into the back yard. He saw the edge of Spencer's arm near the back porch. He couldn't see enough of him to know what he was doing. Aaron finished off his fistful of carrots, broccoli, and snap peas before going out into the backyard. He knew that something was wrong as soon as he sighted Spencer. He was on his knees staring down at his hands. He looked like the picture of grief. Aaron picked his phone from his pocket and silenced it but also set the alarm so he could and pick up Jack on time. He set the phone on the picnic table and started to walk toward Spencer. Aaron crouched in front of Spencer and reached out to tip his head up. The first thing that Aaron saw was the tears streaking down Spencer's face. Aaron used his light hold on Spencer's face to pull him closer as he dropped to sit on his ass on the ground.

Spencer came willingly and settled into Aaron's lap, wrapped around Aaron like a monkey. His face went right for Aaron's neck. Aaron wrapped his arms around Spencer and held him close while he started to rock them. The tears were fresh as they poured down Aaron's neck. Aaron wasn't going to force him to talk until he was ready to talk.

Just when Aaron thought that Spencer had cried himself to sleep on Aaron, Spencer started to talk.

"Bennington called," Spencer started, and it took Aaron a few seconds to remember where he knew that name from. It was where his mother was. "During breakfast rounds, they found her. She got a hold of a knife and slit her wrists. She bled out in the night."

"I'm so, so, so very sorry," Aaron said as he tightened his hold on Spencer. It seemed like the tears were dried up in Spencer because he wasn't crying anymore. What tear tracks were left were drying up and turning cold. "What do you need to do?"

"It's pretty open and shut. It was evident that Mom did it to herself given the wound shape and pattern, so the funeral home is going forward with her wishes. She didn't want anything big. An announcement in the paper and if the school she taught at for years wants to do a memorial at a later date they can. She didn't want a big funeral or anything like that. I'll have to go and pick up her ashes and then spread them in the woods at the edge of the college. That's what she wanted."

Aaron knew that suicide was higher with patients with the issues that Diana Reid had, but before this, she had lived for her son. Aaron wondered what had changed to make her not want to live for him anymore. Spencer had been going once a month to visit her. Aaron kind of forced him to the last two months. Aaron would let Spencer know when the month-long weekend rotation came out so Spencer could plan his trip. He came back from those trips happy. Aaron wasn't sure what this was going to do to him. It was selfish that Aaron hoped that this wasn't going to make Spencer quit. Life changes like that were hard, and he knew that grief could do a lot of things to a person. Especially someone who was as attached to his mother as he was.

Spencer's life with his mother had not been as good as Spencer portrayed it to be. Aaron knew that. He also knew that Spencer didn't like to talk about the abuse that did go on because he was able to compartmentalize it to the person his mother was when she was sick and the person that she was when she was not in the throes of her disease.

"What do you need?" Aaron asked because what Spencer needed to do and what he himself needed were two very different things.

"I don't know."

"How long will you stay in Vegas?" Aaron asked.

"A day. The funeral home will let me know when I can pick up her ashes. It'll be at least a day or so. I don't know. I don't know what I need. I don't know what I want." The tears started up again, and Aaron held him, rubbing at his back, making nonsense noises as Spencer cried himself to sleep in Aaron's arms. Aaron's heart was broken for Spencer.

Aaron had done something stupid and foolish over the past two months, and that was he had fallen in love with the genius. Aaron had thought that his heart was never going to fall again, he had loved Haley with all that he was, and then Spencer had been dropped into his life. Aaron hated to see Spencer in pain, but there was little that he could do to take that pain away.

When Spencer didn't wake up again after a few minutes, Aaron stood up, making sure he wasn't going to drop him before he walked toward the house. He settled Spencer on the couch in the living room before going back and getting his phone. Aaron walked back to Spencer and took his glasses off of his face and laid them on the coffee table beside Spencer's book. He debated what he wanted to do for a few seconds before staying in the kitchen with his phone. He looked up when peas needed to be added to a slow cooker for beef stew and wrote down that time. Then he called Dave.

"Don't tell me we have a case," Dave bitched as he answered.

"No, we don't. I'm going to take a few personal days. Today is Jack's last day at school, and because of that conference later in the summer, we won't get our normal annual leave days that I would spend with him. So, I'm going to take a few days."

"This wouldn't have anything to do with the death of a certain lady in Vegas would it?" Dave asked.

"How in the hell did you know that?"

"Garcia, I guess has an alert set for things that happened at Bennington and when a squad was dispatched and then it was changed to a coroner, she snooped. She messaged me because she wasn't sure what she should do. You know this team is a family, and he's part of yours, so he's part of ours, but he's still pretty distant from us. She didn't know what she could do to help but not be too in Spencer's face."

"He's asleep right now. I found him in the backyard crying." Aaron walked into the living room to look at Spencer. He had curled onto his side. Aaron brushed some of the loose hair back from his face. "I am going to offer to go to Vegas with him. Me and Jack. Jack's off school so it would be a good trip for him to celebrate the end of the year. His mom didn't want a funeral or anything."

"What are you going to do if this changes what he wants to do with the rest of his life?" Dave asked.

"I don't know, but I will not beg him to stay. He doesn't deserve that. If he wants to stay, I'm not going to kick him out."

"Jack's going to want to go with Spencer no matter what you know that right? Jack's still too close to losing his mother for him not to want to comfort him."

Aaron rubbed his free hand on his face because he had not thought about that. Aaron had just wanted to be there for the man that he had fallen in love with. Dave was right because Jack would want to be. It was times when Jack was caring like that Aaron knew that he was doing a good job raising him. Jack still saw a therapist once a week and Aaron thought that maybe he could see about getting him a second visit for when they got home. He would play that by ear.

"Aaron?" Spencer asked as he rolled on the couch onto his back. He reached up and rubbed at his eyes.

Aaron hung up on Dave and set his phone down on the coffee table before he sat down on the couch at Spencer's hip. Aaron couldn't help reaching out to brush the hair back on Spencer's forehead again.

"I'm here," Aaron said. He dropped his hand down and let it rest on Spencer's sternum.

"Who were you talking to?" Spencer blinked a few times but didn't look like he was stressed out at not having his glasses on. Aaron hadn't seen him without them before. Spencer had contacts, Aaron had seen the case in the bathroom, but he stated that his allergies were acting up too much for him to want to wear them. Instead, Spencer just wore his glasses.

"Dave. I was telling him that I wasn't going to be in the rest of the week, with Jack being off school and not having the normal leave that I have during summer, I won't get a week off with him. So, I’m going to take a few days now."

Spencer looked at Aaron and Aaron knew that look. He had never seen it on Spencer before, but he had seen it on a lot of people, most notably his team when he thought he was being sneaky when he wasn't. Aaron didn't change the look on his face, but he did wait it out to see what Spencer said.

"And if I said that I wanted to go alone, and I didn't want you and Jack to go with me?"

"Then I would stay here with Jack and spend time with him. Jack and I have never gone to Vegas so even if it's just him and I hanging out while you deal with things and then try and hide from the world, that is fine. I don't care, Spencer, I just want to be there for you. I know that you work for me, but you are here for me in a lot of ways that I don't pay you to be. I pay you to care for my son, not be friendly to me and talk to me after he goes to bed. You could disappear after he goes to bed and not reappear until he wakes up the next morning and I could say nothing about it. You talk to me, you let me gripe at you, though you also do a good bit of that back about academics, stupid professors, and how dumb everyone you 'go to school' with is. We are becoming friendly, and it's something I think we have both needed, just never had with anyone."

"Fine but I am getting my own room that's not connected to yours. I want to be able to have my own peace when I want it and not have to hide in my room."

"Rooms that have a door between them," Aaron counter offered because he knew that Jack would want to spend time with Spencer once he fully figured out why they were going to Vegas. "And I won't tell Jack until we are in Vegas, just tell him that we are getting away for a few days. He doesn't need to pester you on the trip out about that."

Spencer nodded his head an agreement and then started to look around for his glasses. Aaron picked them up and handed them over. Spencer put them on and looked at Aaron closely. Aaron knew that Spencer was trying to find the trap in what Aaron was doing but there was no trap, there was no subterfuge in what Aaron was doing. He wanted to be there for his friend. And no matter what Aaron's feelings were on Spencer, he was his friend.


Aaron had been to Vegas before, for several cases. He had never paid attention to Vegas outside of that. Spencer had said that if they wanted to sightsee a little bit before Spencer got really morose, that they should leave as soon as possible. So, Aaron had packed for him and for Jack while Spencer packed what he needed and booked the flights. Aaron paid for it all to make it easier and was just going to dock that from what Aaron paid the agency weekly. Spencer had already sent them the total. Aaron didn't care either way, but it made Spencer happy, so Aaron was going to go along with it. He did not want to upset Spencer who Aaron could tell was holding on by a thread.

Spencer was damned good at keeping his emotions from Jack. At the bookshop that was one of Spencer's favorites, a quick stop before they left for the airport, Spencer had bought Jack a kid's travel guide to Las Vegas, and Jack was to write down seven places that he wanted to go. Jack was mostly quiet on the five-hour flight from DC to Vegas. He only asked questions about things in the book to Aaron or Spencer if Aaron didn't know the answer. Jack knew that something was wrong, but he was also pretty damned astute that he wasn't going to be told until the adults were ready.

They arrived at what would have been around ten o'clock their time, but it was only seven in Vegas. They ate dinner that had been picked up on their way to the hotel and shuttled Jack off to bed before Aaron grabbed a bottle of beer for each him and Spencer. The rooms they were in were part of an extended family suite. Aaron's room had its own sitting room and bedroom while Spencer's did as well. There was a shared kitchen like area with a dining table and a shared balcony.

"What's your favorite thing about Vegas?" Aaron asked as he sat down on the lounge chair that was beside the one that Spencer was on. When they had arrived at the hotel, the two had not been laid out like that.

"In reality, nothing." Spencer took the beer that Aaron handed him and opened it. He drank it down in one breath. Aaron looked down at his beer and offered it to Spencer. Spencer took it but didn't open it. Aaron went back and grabbed two more beers.

"What do you mean nothing??" Aaron asked as he sat down again. He set one beer down on the concrete and cracked open the other to drink. Spencer had picked up the six-pack with dinner and told Aaron that he could drink three with no issue. The one he had, the one he had in hand, and the one on the concrete were going to be the only ones that he had. Aaron could drink three and be more than fine, so if Spencer acted like he wanted more, Aaron would just drink the other three.

"The only thing that I have good memories of in Vegas are with Mom. There are places that I like to eat at yes. I love Binion's, but it's memories with Mom that make each place special and I can remember that in my head. There are a few places here that I like, but those are also places that have bad memories attached to them. It's easier to remember the good if I am not there. There are a lot of places in LA and Pasadena that I miss with more fondness and wouldn't mind taking Jack to one day when you can get a two-week period off work."

"That sounds good. I don't travel much for vacation outside of a place in Maine that I used to go to with Haley when we were younger. I've taken Jack there a few times. We've gone to Virginia Beach, but that's not too far away, and really a new place would be perfect for both of us. New places and memories that are not attached to Haley are good for Jack."

"They really are, and I'd be happy to go anywhere with you so that you can get a little peace time while on vacation."

"That makes it seem like you are staying long term."

"I signed a two-year contract, didn't I?" Spencer asked after he took another long drink of the beer in his hand. Aaron saw that it was soon going to be empty. He debated if he should allow Spencer to have more than the three that he said. He decided that it was not a good idea. Aaron took another drink of his beer before he thought about what he wanted to say to Spencer.

"You did but that before this. I've seen what death can do to people, Spencer. I know the changes that it makes. I am not going to hold you to the contract if you decide that you need to do something different after the death of your mother."

"Will I miss her? Yes, but the woman that raised me and loved me has been gone for a long time, Aaron. She left me in bits and pieces over the years. I said my goodbye to her slowly over the years. It might not be the most healthy way for me to manage it, but it was how I reconciled the woman who used to tuck me into bed and chastise me for growing up too fast. The woman who would lock me in the closet during thunderstorms and not let me out until all the rain was gone just because it was the Devil looking for me. Or the woman who would throw pots and pans at me when she thought that I was someone who had stolen her Spencer's face and tried to trick her into giving up the secrets she held. I can't let those two women merge in my mind, or I'll lose the love that I hold for my mother. It wasn't her that did those things to me. It was the disease that she had. It was the damage done to her mind by the disease."

"In my years working for the FBI, the courts, and especially since I joined the BAU, I think that's the most healthy way of coping that I have found. You don't forget you just choose to not remember her as that woman. Yet you don't make yourself think that it never happened." Aaron drained his beer. He picked up the second and cracked it open. He looked at Spencer's and saw that he had not drunk too much more of it. Probably because he had been talking. "What do you need from me?"

"Just what you have been giving me. Support and maybe if I do break down and cry again, a shoulder to do that on again. Though next time wake me up."

"You are no issue at all to move around. Especially for the short distances that I would be carrying you. I'll do anything you ask. You've helped me so much over the short time you've worked for me, and I know that you do more than you really should, but I don't mind it. You have been a Godsend, Spencer and I want you in Jack's life for as long as you want to be in it.


The taste in Aaron's mouth was what woke him up, and he groaned as his mouth tasted like shit. Aaron knew that he had got drunk the night before. Aaron tried to remember what he had done that caused him to get drunk and then he remembered that the team had been celebrating Halloween. They had actually missed Halloween, and so they had joined it together with Aaron's birthday. Aaron opened his eyes to find that his bedroom curtains were pulled shut enough to where there was barely any light in the room. He saw a bottle of water on the nightstand which had not been there the night before. Aaron also saw two small things below the water. Aaron slowly pushed himself up onto his arms and found that it looked like Tylenol.

Sighing in happiness, Aaron grabbed the water and took a drink to wet his mouth then carefully picked up the pills. He tossed them back as far as he could get them in his mouth and finished off the water before he crawled back under the blankets to get away from the light in the room.

It was hours or minutes later, Aaron wasn't sure, but he was going to go for hours when he woke again. His head wasn't hurting as much. There was a second bottle of water as well as what looked like the stuff he remembered giving Jack when he was a baby and throwing up. There was the word drink wrote on it, and Aaron did as Spencer demanded. Aaron drank the stuff for the kids and then the water. He didn't feel like he was going to puke anymore. He looked around the room and realized that it was pretty late in the day. He should probably get out of bed and see if he could do anything to make up the day to Spencer.

Aaron did not want to admit how long it took for him to get showered and head down to the first floor of the house to see what was going on with his son and Spencer. He found the living room empty; even the sitting room area was empty. He also noticed then that Spencer's car was gone. He must have run somewhere with Jack. Aaron wandered into the kitchen to see if his stomach would handle food when he saw the evidence of a party all over the room. There were streamers hanging down from the ceiling, and a huge banner that looked like it was homemade that proclaimed Happy Birthday Daddy. There were party plates, cups, and napkins on the table and what looked a cake server that said Hotchner on it, Aaron knew he had not owned that before. Aaron walked to the fridge and opened it. There on the second shelf was a small cake, again it looked like it was made at home and a plate that was covered in foil. Aaron picked up the plate and saw that it was his favorite meal, which was kind of hard to make and time-consuming. Aaron set the plate back in the fridge because even the thought of attempting to eat it, or anything was making him sick to his stomach.

Shutting the fridge door, Aaron laid his head on the freezer door before he decided that if he was going to be pissed at himself, he should know precisely what kind of lengths Spencer went to. Aaron opened the freezer door and found the container that Spencer had bought when he had bought the newer, larger ice cream maker to store the homemade ice cream in until it was eaten. Aaron opened the container and found that it was full of butter pecan ice cream. Aaron closed the lid on the container and shut the freezer.

Aaron had texted Spencer that he was on his way home but had not texted that he was going with the team out after work. Aaron wondered how long they had waited for Aaron to show up. Aaron remembered shutting off his phone when it was nearly dead at the bar they had gone to. Aaron had plugged it in when he had got home and fell into bed, but he had not actually turned it on. Aaron made himself go up into the bedroom to grab it where it showed a screen for a full charge on the battery. Aaron waited for it to boot up.

When it was booted up, message after message poured in and he read them all. From Spencer's message to ask him how late exactly he was going to be as dinner was getting cold. Then Spencer was texting and asking if the jet had got delayed. There was message after message asking if he was okay. Then there was a message that said that Spencer had texted JJ and asked if he was okay and JJ had messaged he was hanging out with the team.

Aaron knew that Spencer had not told him about the dinner, but given that it was his birthday and even when he and Haley had been upset with each other over the divorce, Aaron had always seen Jack when it was his birthday, and Haley always made dinner for Aaron so that he could spend time with Jack. The year before she had gone into hiding with Jack, she had actually taken Aaron out to dinner with Jack at one of the places that Jack liked to go that was kind of upscale. Jack was good at his manners, and he was a treat to have there the staff always said. Aaron knew that it was implied that he was going to come home to spend the evening of his birthday with Jack. Jack would have told Spencer about what they had done in his memory.

Bringing up the screen to text, Aaron texted Spencer that he was sorry that he had missed the party.

Jack and I are at the park. He was getting restless waiting for you to wake up.

Aaron wasn't sure if Spencer told Aaron that because he wanted Aaron to join them or so that Aaron didn't worry about where his son was when he should be there. Aaron decided that it was the former and got dressed for the temperature outside. The park was close to the house, so he walked there. Finding that Spencer and Jack were not alone. Jack was kicking around a soccer ball with several other kids while Spencer was seated on a blanket that was close to the soccer field with what looked like a picnic basket. Aaron looked at the time and saw that it was almost lunchtime. Aaron did not ask permission to sit down. Instead, he just sat down beside Spencer and looked at Jack on the field.

"What did you tell him?" Aaron asked.

"He was distressed when he realized that I wasn't getting answers from you and I did not keep that you went out with the team from him. It's not my job to lie to your child," Spencer said. He didn't even look at Aaron. "He told me that he had not told you that he wanted to make a special birthday for you and so you forgot it was your birthday and that was why you weren't there. He held the belief that if you knew it was your birthday, then you would have been there."

"I'm not going to lie to him, Spencer, don't worry about that. I'll tell him the truth that I just didn't even think about the fact that I would have something for my birthday to come home to. I'll tell him that my phone died at the bar where I went with the team and that was why I didn't get any of your messages after the first. I'm sorry."

"I am not the one that you need to be sorry to," Spencer said. He was sitting ramrod straight which was odd for him because he was usually relaxed and settled down into his body.

"No, I still owe you an apology; you are the one that had to deal with Jack and his disappointment."

"It was a strange thing because most of the kids that I have watched, I'm just one in a long line of nannies and the kids know that their parents don't care about things like that. I've held birthday parties for kids because their parents have forgotten. I've never had to do what I did last night, and while I have always held that everything is a good teaching matter, I really don't want to have to go through that again."

"I hope you don't ever have to either," Aaron said. He looked at Jack on the field; a few other adults were joining the kids playing making the game more about just having fun than actually playing soccer. Aaron got up into a crouch, near like if he was proposing. He leaned in and kissed Spencer's cheek. "Thank you for doing so well with Jack. I can take it from here if you want to head back to the house."

"I'm fine where I am. We have not eaten lunch. He has another fifteen minutes," Spencer said.

Aaron nodded and tried to see if the kiss on Spencer's cheek had done anything. The younger man was still just staring ahead at Jack on the field. Spencer had not told him not to do it again, so Aaron took that as Spencer wasn't against it. Aaron knew that he was probably going to end up doing something stupid but the whole reason that the team had wanted him out last night was to talk about him and Spencer. To warn Aaron that it seemed like Spencer had a crush. Dave had just laughed when the Morgan and JJ were trying to make Aaron understand that he could not fault Spencer for the crush, that it was just a byproduct of Aaron being Aaron. Aaron informed them that he knew that Spencer was gay and while he didn't have a real understanding of where he fell on the Kinsey scale, he was somewhere between a one and a three.

There was still a lot of disbelief in Aaron's mind when it came to Spencer. Aaron hoped that he would recognize if Spencer did, in fact, have a crush on him that went a little further than just something that he would have as a passing thing. Aaron knew that he was considered handsome and his mannerisms and the way that he treated other people made him desirable.

Aaron pushed all thoughts of Spencer aside as he rushed to where Jack was and scooped him up into a surprise hug.

"DADDY!" Jack yelled, and he wrapped his arms around Aaron's neck and held tight. The game paused long enough for Aaron and Jack to have a few minutes of time to themselves as they got reacquainted. Jack said nothing about the party the night before, and Aaron wasn't that shocked. Aaron had instilled that in his son, that private things needed to be aired privately and not for the world to know. It was one of the more annoying things that Haley did, though Aaron knew it was so that Haley could get her way. In public, Aaron would do anything to stop a fight and giving in to what Haley wanted was the quickest way of doing it. Though at the end of their relationship, Aaron had stopped, and it had caused a few meltdowns in the middle of whatever place they were at, including a restaurant once when Jessica had been watching Jack so they could have a night out.

Spencer allowed them to finish the little game they were playing and called them to lunch a few minutes later than what he had told Aaron. The other kids were all ushered toward cars or tables around the area as it was cold out and they did need to rest a little. Aaron felt the drinking the night before because he felt worn out when he usually wouldn't be.

"What did you make for Jack for lunch?" Aaron asked as he sat down on the blanket across from Spencer. Jack crawled into his lap. Aaron was going to enjoy things like that for as long as possible because Jack would stop at some point.

"We have a choice of two sandwiches. Turkey and pepper jack cheese and turkey with cranberry sandwiches."

"We learned about those last week at school," Jack whispered in Aaron's ear.

Aaron looked and saw that there were three plates out, all three had cut veggies as well as a few of two different kinds of chips, one looked plain, and the other looked like barbecue. Spencer's plate had one-half of two different sandwiches on it while Jack's plate had just a half of a turkey and cranberry sandwich on it.

"What kind do you want, Daddy?" Jack asked.

"I think I'll do like Spencer and have half of each. It's good to try new things isn't it?" Aaron asked Jack who nodded his head. Spencer handed over the two plates, making sure that Jack had a hold of his before he let go. Aaron settled his plate on the blanket at his hip. He watched Jack as he took a bite of the turkey and cranberry sandwich. Aaron waited for him to make his disgusted face, but he didn't. Instead, he chewed up the morsel and took another.

"It's okay," Jack said.

"Yeah, just okay?" Aaron asked before he took a bite of his own. He agreed it was different and not something that he wanted to eat long term, but it would do for today.

"Spencer taught me about sandwiches people do around Thanksgiving where they put all of the leftovers on a sandwich and eat it. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry stuff, and turkey, sometimes even peas. It's weird, but I want to do that the day after Thanksgiving for lunch. He said I might need to eat it with a knife and fork with how small my hands are, but I told him that it was okay because I've done it before."

"Open faced roast beef sandwiches," Aaron said with a grin on his face. He hadn't done one of those in a while, but it was something that he got when he ate out and not when he was eating at home. He didn't like trying to make such a small amount of gravy.

"I don't think I've had that before."

"There is a diner near here that does them really well. Maybe instead of you or I cooking tonight, we can go there for dinner? Open faced roast beef sandwiches and their huge ice cream boat to share for dessert?" Aaron hoped that Spencer said yes.

"That sounds good." Spencer ducked his head down to focus on his plate.

Jack started to talk about what he had done that morning to try and be quiet while his father slept off his night of drinking too much and having too much fun. Aaron laughed and shook his head. Jack usually wasn't the quietest after he woke up because he was often the last awake, so he didn't need to be. Jack wasn't allowed to outright scream in the house, but he was allowed to have fun and make noise. Aaron hated how quiet he had to be all the time, even outside in the backyard playing when he had been growing up. Sean hadn't had to keep quiet like that. He had been able to do what he wanted as far as that went.

Aaron tried to focus on Jack as the boy regaled him with playing quietly, but he kept on looking at Spencer. Aaron never caught Spencer's eyes going to him, so he started to question the hope that the team had put in his heart and in his mind about maybe the feelings being returned in some fashion. Aaron wondered if the whole team was blind to Spencer and his wants mainly because they were wanting Aaron to be happy. Aaron knew that he could be just like he was with Spencer at this moment forever, even with him loving him. Aaron's feelings did not mean that the other person had to reciprocate the feelings, just like him getting an erection didn't mean his partner had to always take care of it. Aaron's body, his mind, and his feelings were his own, no matter how much he wanted it to be different.


"Aaron," Spencer said, his hand landing on Aaron's shoulder to shake him awake. Aaron resisted though, he was warm and comfortable in bed with Spencer, and he didn't want to wake up. Aaron tried to pull Spencer down onto the bed with him again, but all he got was as far as an arm around Spencer's waist. Aaron tugged, and this time Spencer fell right on top of him. He felt Spencer's hand brace on the bed to hold him up. Aaron could work with that.

"Aaron!" Spencer said a little more sharply.

Aaron just smiled in response. "I was having the most wonderful dream."

"Did it involve waking up so that you can start your day?" Spencer asked. His tone was chiding but fond at the same time. Aaron loved that tone. Hell, there wasn't an aspect of Spencer that Aaron didn't love, even his not so good quirks that irritated Aaron.

"No. It involved you." Aaron paused on his words and tugged, pulling Spencer down just that little bit more to where Aaron could lean up and kiss him. Aaron kept his lips shut because he had no clue what his morning breath was like. Spencer stilled under Aaron's hands, but he didn't try and pull away. Aaron took that as a win and hoped he could talk Spencer into fully getting back into bed with him to laze away the morning. Aaron pressed closed mouth kisses up the side of Spencer's cheek before letting his teeth graze Spencer's ear just like he liked. "And me in bed naked all morning long."

Spencer made a noise that Aaron had never heard before and then he was gone from Aaron's arms. Aaron opened his eyes to look at Spence, and it was only then that he realized that what he had dreamed had been just that a dream. There was no relationship like that between them, but Aaron had been so lost in the dream he hadn't remembered that.

"Spencer, please. I'm sorry. I have no excuse." Aaron sat up on the couch where he had fallen asleep after getting home from a case so late, and he had been so tired, he had laid down on the couch and fallen asleep in his suit, minus the jacket. Aaron rubbed his hand on his face and sought out Spencer in the room. He hadn't gone very far, which boded well for him not leaving Aaron in the lurch without a nanny for Jack. He also had not slapped Aaron, which Aaron would have punched if he had been in Spencer's shoes. Spencer had never shown violence at all, but then this wasn't a normal circumstance.

"You were dreaming about me?" Spencer asked. His voice was odd sounding, but Aaron couldn't place the tone.

"I could blame a lot of things, but that's not fair to you or I. Yes, I was dreaming about you. I've been dreaming about you for weeks. Since the day after my birthday."

"That was a month and a half ago. You kissed me on the cheek that day." Spencer looked very puzzled but not upset.

"Yes." Aaron wasn't sure exactly what Spencer's mood was at the moment. He was unreadable, which Aaron had thought was impossible given the way that he wore his heart on his sleeve. "I've done it a few times since then as well."

Aaron had used it to try and gauge Spencer's reaction to him. Spencer had not demanded he stop, but he also had not initiated anything like it. Aaron had been dancing a fine line for a little while when it came to Spencer and how affectionate he was with him. Aaron looked at the time. It wasn't quite noon yet. There were still a few hours before Jack needed to be picked up from school.

"I'm hungry, and I need coffee. Can we move this to the kitchen? I don't want to not talk about this. I don't want this to affect Jack any more than it has to." Aaron stood up, and he felt a little flare of satisfaction in the fact that Spencer didn't back up from him. Aaron took a step forward, and Spencer didn't back up. He looked nervous, but he didn't move. Aaron felt emboldened by that, and he took another step forward. Spencer reached a hand up and laid it on Aaron's chest, he didn't stop his movement forward but just rested there. Aaron stepped to where it pressed Spencer's hand between their chests and all Spencer did was dig his snort nails in some.

Aaron cupped the sides of Spencer's face and leaned in, giving Spencer plenty of time to turn his face way or protest the kiss. Aaron kept it chaste and gentle just like the first one, but this was much better since Aaron was fully awake. Aaron slid a hand back to cradle the back of Spencer's head as he parted his lips to deepen the kiss. At the first touch of Aaron's tongue on Spencer's lips, Spencer gasped and pulled back. Aaron didn't move backward, but he also didn't try and press in for a kiss again.

"Coffee," Spencer said, and he stepped back, pushing out of Aaron's hands. He spun and walked right into the kitchen. Aaron followed behind him, watching his body language. Spencer wasn't upset, and he wasn't freaked out. He seemed almost unsure of himself and maybe even Aaron.

Aaron settled in at the corner of the kitchen that was opposite where the fridge and coffee pot was. There was a carafe that had appeared in the kitchen a week after Spencer had come to work for him. Spencer added a little sugar to the cup of coffee and a little bit of Aaron's powdered creamer before he poured some coffee into it. Aaron watched him move in a very economical fashion, meaning that his thoughts were swirling.

"If this fails, I don't want to lose this job, and it's not for the job. I'm close to Jack, and I love him. I don't want to be another person who had got close to him and left again. He's lost enough people in his life. I heard you talking to Mister Rossi, and I know that his grandfather is suing for visiting rights and Jack's going to be dragged back into court again, this time he's going to have to talk about how upset even thinking of his grandfather makes him. I've been there for the nightmares he has when he's had a bad day. How he screams for you and is afraid that someone is going to take him. He does not need me being another in a long list of people who have left him. If we start this, I am going to demand a contract change that you cannot fire me if this ends badly."

"That's it?" Aaron was a little off kilter that it was all that Spencer demanded, but with everything that Aaron knew of him, it matched his personality perfectly.

"What else would you like me to demand?"

"Nothing on what I can and cannot ask from you? Nothing else at all?"

"You are an honorable man, Aaron Hotchner. I can't see you pressuring anyone for any single thing at all. You've been looking at me like I'm a feast and you are starved for months, but I figured that even trying to get you to see it would send you into a freak-out. Or you were too worried about something else, and I can't help with that. I figured that at some point you would talk to me about it if you were worried about it being me that would not accept it. I had told you several stories about various former employers that had hit on me and not taken it well. There is also the fact that your first and only relationship of any significance was with a woman. You've not talked about men at all."

"Hit on you? I think that they did a little more than that." Aaron was going to ignore the end for now because it was the part that Aaron had come to grips with a long time before but hadn't actually done a thing about.

"And you would never do something like that. It's not in you to force anyone to do anything sexual that they did not want to do. I knew that not long after you hired me. So exactly how are we supposed to do this?"

"What do you mean?" Aaron asked.

Spencer looked at him over the mug of coffee and cocked an eyebrow at him. He took a sip before he lowered it enough to talk. "Who is going to watch Jack?"

"JJ and Will. JJ's offered if I was uncomfortable asking you to watch Jack while I am on a date as truly I have hired you to watch Jack when I am working. I've never thought too much about it because the only person in my mind that I've even thought about dating is you. You love Jack, and it's been evident since not long after you met him. You also have a huge fondness for Henry."

"Yes, Will's approached me about watching Henry when JJ's on cases and he is working. Henry seems to like me better than the current babysitter that they have. Will said that Henry pouted the entire day when he dropped him off at the babysitters. I told him that I would have to talk to you about that and Jack of course. I would still have time without Henry, but I want to make sure it's not going to upset Jack."

"I don't care either way. Henry's a good little boy, and I don't think Jack will be that upset as Will's usually got a set schedule that he works so it would be easy for you to know when a case with JJ conflicts with his work. Let's go back to us though. I'll call JJ and see when she can watch him while I go on a date." Aaron pushed off the counter and stepped up to Spencer. Spence set his mug down on the counter, and Aaron reached up and cupped his face. Spencer pushed his cheek into Aaron's left hand and smiled. "I want this to work. I'm a foolish man, and I fall in love very quickly and way before I should. I wanted to let you know that up front. I've been in love with you for a while now, Spencer."

"Aaron," Spencer said. He started to blush. Aaron let him tip his head down and kind of hide from him. It was probably all too much for Spencer to take in. Aaron was just about to step back and allow Spencer some space when he heard Spencer inhale and his face tipped back up to look at him. "I'm a little shocked, a lot humbled, and while I can see myself falling in love with you, I only have a profound affection for you right now."

"And that's okay. Everyone loves differently, and it's my issue to deal with if you never click with me like that. I will be disappointed, but I won't pitch a huge fit and be an asshole. I'm very affectionate though to those I'm with, even just short term."

"You are very tactile. I don't normally like to be touched, but you snuck under my radar on that." Spencer rubbed his face up and down on Aaron's hands until he leaned in for a kiss. Aaron felt good about that because Spencer had been the one to want that. It was just the simple press of lips until Spencer gripped Aaron's waist. Aaron wasn't sure that he had ever wanted Haley like he wanted Spencer. He knew that it was disingenuous to Haley, but this need in Aaron for Spencer nearly had Aaron doing a lot of stupid things. Aaron wanted to lick into Spencer's mouth, but he didn't want to move too fast. He had not talked to Spencer at all about his previous history as far as dating and sex went. Aaron hoped that Spencer had some experience, though with sex and that he had a serious relationship at some point in his life.

"We need to go out," Aaron said.

"I thought that we were discussing that," Spencer said back to him, a grin on his face. "I didn't think that my kisses that that power."

"I mean right now. If we stay in here, I don't know what I'd talk myself, and possibly you, into doing but I don't want to do that yet. You'd tempt a saint, Spencer Reid."

"So, we can go somewhere and get lunch after you get dressed. I've not eaten yet. Then we can pick up Jack when he gets off of school. How does that sound?"

"And I shower. I hate sleeping in my clothes. I'll just go." Aaron stepped back letting his hand drop from Spencer's body. Spencer's hands didn't let go of Aaron's waist of their own accord. Aaron reached around Spencer and took hold of his cup of coffee. He drained it down before giving Spencer a kiss on the cheek as he set it down and took off.

"HEY!" Spencer yelled, but he was laughing as he did.

Aaron knew that taking Spencer's coffee was a huge offense, but he didn't feel too bad about it. Spencer had plenty of time to get coffee into his system since he had been awake for over six hours. Aaron didn't dally at all, starting to strip as soon as he got into his bedroom. He quickly got into the shower, starting to actually shower before the water was warm at all. He was freezing by the time it began to warm up, but he had his hair and face washed. Aaron heard his bathroom door open and froze when he heard the sound of a mug clinking on the counter before the door shut. Spencer had brought him coffee. Aaron grinned and finished his shower. He dried off and for once didn't mess too much with his hair. He left it a little messy, controlled but also messy. JJ had made it look like that one night while the team had been out, telling him that he looked sexy like that. Aaron had taken it as she as a female had noticed his looks, not that she was into him. Aaron picked up the cup of coffee when he was done messing with his hair, and he was dressed. He took a sip finding the temperature wasn't that low and that it was made perfectly. Aaron didn't mind cream in his coffee; he just preferred his coffee without it. Some station house coffees needed a lot of cream and sugar to make them drinkable.

Exiting his bedroom, Aaron saw that Spencer's bedroom door was shut, which was odd because usually, it wasn't. Aaron walked over and knocked at it.

"Shit, hold on!"

There was a sound of something falling, and then the door was being opened. Spencer had changed out of his ordinary around the house clothes that Aaron was used to seeing him in and was in a pair of nice pants as well as a thick and warm looking sweater. Aaron wasn't sure that he would be able to keep his hands off of it. Aaron looked to see that what had fallen was a stack of books that had been at the end of Spencer's bed. It didn't seem like Spencer had rushed just that Aaron knocking had scared him.

"Ready?" Aaron asked.

"Um...I..." Spencer looked back at the books and then at Aaron. He bit his lip. Aaron reached out and pulled the lip free. "I haven't picked my book to read."

"On the date?" Aaron asked. He tried not to sound too shocked. Spencer read a lot, and Aaron knew it, but a book for the date just put it onto the wrong footing before it even started.

"No, for when we are waiting on Jack. I normally sit in the circle in the car and read as he can sometimes take a few minutes when he's talking to friends or has one of the teachers on a tangent. I guess I didn't think about what you normally do."

"Stare into space and hope he doesn't take long. Go ahead and pick your book. I'll get the car warmed up." Aaron gave Spencer a very fond smile before he stepped back from the door. He watched as Spencer turned to find a book from the stack that fell, trying not to look too much at Spencer's ass. Spencer though had chosen a perfect pair of pants that hugged his ass very nicely. Spencer's clothes were always nice fitting, but this pair fit a lot better.

Aaron made sure that he had his wallet, keys, and phone before he left the house. There was a text from JJ about Henry missing Spencer. So, Aaron texted that on the way to pick up Jack from school they would pick up the boy. Aaron transferred the car seat for Henry from Spencer's car to his own, settling it in where Spencer could keep an eye on Henry while Aaron moved Jack's booster seat over to the seat behind Spencer.

Spencer came out of the house, locking it behind him with just the book in hand, which was odd enough for the young man as Aaron wasn't sure that he had seen him outside of the house without his messenger bag since he had met him. Spencer gave Aaron a heart-stopping smile as he got into the passenger seat, buckling before Aaron even got the car started.

"I thought you were going to warm up the car?"

"I got distracted putting Henry's seat into the car. Henry misses you so before we go to get Jack, we are going to get Henry."

"You want to have him over to spend time with me?" Spencer asked.

"It'll be a fun day for all four of us. We might even go somewhere fun for dinner. Henry's at the age where he can eat a lot of varieties of food. JJ commented that the few allergies that he's had since birth had gone away. We can pick a place with Jack and Henry's okay. But first, we need to decide where we want to go."

"Oh, I don't care where we go. I just care about being with you. Talking with you in a way that we've not talked before," Spencer said. He turned his head to give Aaron a beatific smile. Aaron wondered how modeling agencies never picked him up for work as a kid. He lived in Pasadena at the college, someone had to have spotted him.

"Then I know just the place," Aaron said.

The drive to the little out of the way restaurant was short, and Aaron could tell that it was already full of the usual lunch crowd.

"Aaron, this place has a three-month waiting list," Spencer said. He didn't unbuckle his seat belt when Aaron did after he parked. Aaron smiled to himself and got out, walking around to open up Spencer’s door. Spencer unbuckled and got out. Aaron shut the door when Spencer stepped away from it. "Is there another place that's close? Is that where we are going?"

"No, we are going here." Aaron held out his arm and Spencer wrapped his around it, letting Aaron pull him forward into the restaurant.

Aaron hadn't been to Jake's place since he opened up for lunch service yet. Aaron had been to dinner service, with Jack a few times. While the place was set up for the go-to place for date nights, there was a divide down the middle of the restaurant. On one side was the date night area and the other was the family area. Both were served from the same menu, but the sound of the kids didn't carry over into the separate dining area. The layout was perfect, and it was only possible because when Jake had bought the building, this had been two different stores so all that needed to be done was a little remodel to the kitchen area and a remodel to the front to join it.

"Oh, Mister Hotchner, welcome. I'll escort you to your table." The Maître d′ gave them a smile and picked up two menus before escorting them to the date side of the place.

"Aaron?" Spencer whispered into Aaron's ear as he leaned close to Aaron.

"Yes?" Aaron asked.

"How...why?"

"Jake was going to college to be a lawyer like me, but he fell out of love with it. So just after the second year of law school he also started to go to a night cooking school. He stayed in law school and changed tracks to get a degree in the type of law needed to help run a restaurant and then when he finished, he went back for business management. He got a degree in that and then went to the hottest restaurant in DC and begged for a spot washing dishes. He worked his way up to Sous Chef by the time I was joining the BAU. Then he was given a chance to buy this place and do his own restaurant. The Head Chef and owner of the other restaurant was happy to let him go and was one of the first to book a reservation for the opening day here. He's done well enough that all of his loans were paid off within two years and he's run a very much in the profit margin restaurant since then. He had a table on either side for me, and other friends when we want to stop by as most of us were original investors and still have a little bit of kickbacks from the place, besides free food."

"So, our first date is a place that you won't have to pay for? So, I'll be covering my half of the bill, and that's it?" Spencer asked.

"You are cute if you think that I'm going to let you pay for anything."

"I don't have a lot of bills, Aaron. You pay my room and board as it were and the car insurance and the gas money."

"And yet your degree bills can't be that cheap. I have money to burn from the inheritance from my grandparents on both sides. See those came with stipulations that a master’s degree had to be obtained to get the inheritance from both sides. Sean and I had until we were thirty to get that degree and if one of us didn't the other got all of the money. So, when Sean turned thirty, I got a lot of money just like I had when I got my law degree equivalent to a master’s degree. Sean had stopped on his degree long before he was thirty but never went back to finish it off. Both sets of my grandparents were homophobes and hated the poor. I donate a great deal of money to charities that they would hate, and I promised myself if I ever went on a date with a guy, I would use their money to pay for it, so they roll over in their graves. Today when I do pay for lunch because I made a deal with Jake that if I brought dates, I was going to pay for the meal but any appetizers he would pay for. I don't think that Jake ever thought I would do it."

"You've not talked about dating much."

"Neither have you." Aaron watched Spencer's body language as he said the words, he wasn't uncomfortable. He was loose as he usually was.

"Fair point. I didn't start to date until I moved to DC actually. I was always too far ahead of my age peers and too young for my education peers. It was a tight rope that I had to walk when it came to that. When I moved here, I got a clean slate. I had one serious boyfriend who dumped me when I had an impromptu date night with them because the father of the kids I was watching was in town after a meeting abroad got scrubbed. The littlest kid got sick, and I went to help take care of her. She wanted me as her mother wasn't home. Their father was fine, my date was not. I never left on date nights when they were on my scheduled day off. That's also when I found out that the guy hated kids and didn't want any. I never thought that I would want a kid, but after watching them for so long, I think that I do. Adoption, surrogacy, I don't really care on that front."

"I have not dated much since Haley, and I divorced. I had thought that she was the one for me. She couldn't accept the man that I had become though. She still saw me as the young man she met in high school and who I was through college. She wanted me to stay a lawyer to become a politician."

"You hate politics," Spencer interjected as a waitress stepped up to the table. She had two drinks in her hand. Spencer frowned at the one that was set in front of him. It took Aaron a second to recognize a Thai Iced Tea. "I didn't order this."

"No, Mister Jake said that you would like it and that if you didn't, I could get you anything else, Doctor Reid."

Spencer looked at Aaron, but Aaron was shocked as well. Spencer though picked up the drink and took a little sip. His eyes widened, and he set the drink down. "The drink is fine. Tell Jake thanks."

It was Aaron's turn to be confused, but he held onto that while they ordered two appetizers. The portions were small and even if they both at just their order, they would be fine to eat a meal.

"And what's the story behind that?"

"A few years ago, just after moving here I met a man who I had a lot of fun with. We never turned sexual, but we were close friends until he started to get busier and busier with work. We both kind of fell to the wayside as far as our friendship goes. I knew he was a chef and the only thing that he knew about me was that I was a nanny. We text on occasion and met up for drinks. He's actually who I met up with that night you got called on a case. I don't discuss personal things with him, but we have a shared fondness for French novels. We used to meet up at this little bistro that went out of business when the kids didn't want to take over for the parents. It was sold, and the new owners ran it to the ground. They used to make their version of a Thai Iced Tea that was made with a non-standard tea base, and I never could figure it out, but I loved it. Jake promised me that one day he would figure it out or buy the recipe off of them." Spencer picked up the drink and main course menu. Aaron picked up his as well and looked down to see that the drink wasn't just Thai Iced Tea, but it had the name of the bistro that Jake and Spencer used to meet at.

"It's a very small world huh?" Aaron asked.

"I also have a feeling that neither of us will be paying anything on this date." Spencer leaned forward as he said it and Aaron did as well.

"I don't think so either."

"So, Spencer-" Jake said, but he cut off.

Aaron looked up at him and gave him a smile.

"You know I have a list of people who are allowed to be seated at these tables, and while I saw Spencer, I did not see you, Aaron." Jake leaned in to give Aaron a hug which Aaron returned while Jake just held out a hand for Spencer to shake when he was done hugging Aaron. "So, what brings you both here, together?"

"A date," Aaron said.

"Oh, that's-" Jake grinned. He gave Aaron a wink. "How did the two of you meet?"

Aaron opened his mouth to say but shut it as he looked at Spencer. Spencer just shrugged.

"He's Jack's nanny," Aaron said finally.

"Wow, Aaron I mean you didn't even work to snag him."

Aaron bristled at Jake's words but stopped at the grin on his face.

"I mean he's seen you at your worst already and is still here before the two of you even got to the nitty-gritty parts. I'm glad because you in the morning after a hard case would scare most people off. At least Spencer's not most people. What meat would you two like?"

"Beef," Aaron said.

"Tuna," Spencer answered, and he gave Jake a big grin.

"I just got some fresh Tuna in. So, your appetizers will be up soon, and then it will be meals, and no you don't get to pick anything else for the meal, other than maybe dessert. You two have to leave to get Jack when?"

Spencer rattled off the time, and Jake nodded before setting both menus on the wall above where they were sitting. Aaron just shook his head and laughed. Spencer waved as Jake left and Jake grinned and flipped him off.

"So other than my team, Jake's about the only person in this area that I'm close with. I already know that he likes you, so that will make that part easy. Jack already adores you. The team loves your cooking and are looking forward to a backyard cookout this summer with you taking care of the main dishes. I already told them that it meant they brought sides and dessert."

"I'd be fine either way. Summer, I do mostly take breaks from classes on degrees unless I'm getting a thesis or dissertation ready. I like your team, and they pitched in to help in other ways at Thanksgiving. We can make it work."

"I don't know what I'm doing as far as dating a guy goes or dating in general. Haley and I were past that for a very long time. Yes, I did things for her and took her out for random things, but that wasn't dating in my book. So, I expect you to speak up if I do something you don't like or don't do something that you think I should."

"I'll be honest just like in my job, despite being a profiler, you are not a mind reader, Aaron and I know that. You've not taken advantage of me in any way shape or form. You actually go out of your way to make sure that I know that every single second of my life not to be in service to you. There is something that I want to talk about. It might be a little early considering this is our first date but what do you see this becoming if we become serious?"

"What do you mean?"

"Haley never worked outside of the house, even before you two had Jack. She volunteered at the museum, the library, the hospital, Jack talks about her all the time and the things that she did that he remembers. I talk to him a lot about the pictures in the albums and such. While yes, I am a Nanny, if I were to become more, the full second parent to Jack, I won't give up my schooling. I have a few patents that I have made in science and technology that do well for me. I use them for a lot of my fun things. Even after the divorce, she didn't really work a full-time job, you paid enough alimony to take care of that. If we got together long term and became serious, how would you handle that as far as finances go and what I do for a living? It would be awkward to pay me to raise Jack if he became our son instead of just your son."

"I hadn't thought that far ahead on things, but I wouldn't have you pay rent. You will still be the main childcare provider for Jack even if we married when it's legal. I never had Haley on a budget, and I wouldn't you either." Aaron paused as the waitress brought out their appetizers as well as refills on their drinks. When she was gone again, he started up. "I would not limit you in your education, even if you stopped doing it. I work a demanding job and whatever you do to make yourself happy. I wouldn't care as long as it was legal."

"I wouldn't stop caring for Jack. Obviously, it would be stupid unless I got a job outside of the home. Even if I stopped getting degree after degree, I have people offer me jobs all the time, and a few are very much based out of working at home and not as much in an office. I just wanted to make sure you didn't think that the classes would stop if we became serious."

"You are a forever student Spencer, I don't doubt that even if you tire of degree after degree, you'll stay enrolled to take at least one class a semester just because it seems fun." Aaron raised up his glass and Spencer did the same before they dug into their food.

The talk after was much more intimate, and Aaron found it was one of the best dates he had ever been on.


Aaron had a headache the moment he woke up. He knew the night before that he had consumed too much alcohol, but there had been a driver for each member of the team courtesy of Dave to take them home after their night out drinking and having fun on Christmas Eve. It had been too many horrible cases back to back, and it was just what the team needed. Jack and Henry had been settled in at one of Will's cop buddy's houses who had four kids of his own and two more for the evening had not been an issue. Aaron remembered getting home and Jack arriving just a few minutes later, Spencer putting him to bed and then there was nothing. Aaron didn't like that part of things.

The bed moved, and Aaron's eyes shot open. He wasn't too hungover to where movement made him feel sick, just had a headache, which was a good thing as he moved so quickly to see who was in his bed that if he had been sufficiently hungover, he would have thrown up. It was from Spencer. Spencer was in his bed. Spencer was naked in his bed, and all Aaron could see was the expanse of his back where the blanket had fallen down their bodies as Aaron had sat up. The sheet that Spencer was covered with left little to the imagination as far as his body went. It was a thin, white sheet, Aaron liked them that way for when he got too hot. Aaron must have pulled the actual blankets off of them as they were piled on the floor on the other side of Spencer. It seemed that Spencer was still asleep.

Aaron debated what the hell to do. It was evident that they had taken a step that Aaron hadn't wanted to take while Aaron had been drunk. He couldn't remember how drunk Spencer was the night before, but sex was something that Aaron liked but not so quickly. Aaron tried to control his breathing, but he was freaking out a little bit, and he knew it. His head was pounding, and it was making Aaron feel like he was going to pass out. He slowly got out of bed trying not to move enough to wake up Spencer. He finally did so and walked to the bathroom where he downed two glasses of water from the sink before tossing back two of his lowest dose headache medicines. He heard his bedroom door open and turned to stop Jack from coming into the room only to find that it wasn't the bedroom door but the bathroom door. Spencer was standing there with Aaron's dress shirt half buttoned on his body. He didn't look near as bad as Aaron felt.

"Good morning," Spencer said smiling at Aaron with that smile that only Aaron got. He stepped up to Aaron and wrapped his arms around his neck, leaning in for a kiss. Aaron turned his head to where Spencer's cheek rubbed against his own.

"Morning," Aaron said. His hands felt like stone. He didn't move at all. Instead, he just stood there. Usually, Aaron would love this, but at the moment all he could think about was what he didn't remember.

"What's wrong?" Spencer asked. He pulled back and let his arms drop off of Aaron's shoulders. He looked bewildered. Then as the silence filled up the spaces between them, Spencer started to look very uneasy. It was a look that Aaron didn't think he had seen on his face before.

"What happened last night?" Aaron asked.

"Ah, you don't remember? Well, we did not have sex. I put Jack to bed, who was finding it funny that you were drunk. He made you giggle, which he thought was the best thing in the world and then I put you to bed. I went to my bedroom to get dressed for bed, and when I was done, I found you in my doorway. You said that your bed was cold. I tried to fight with you on the reason your bed was cold was that you refused to put anything on, but you insisted that you needed something warm in your bed. I was tired, and I knew that Jack would be up early, so I went into your bedroom. It looks like at some point in the night with you wrapped around me, so I took off my sleeping pants."

"And the shirt?"

"Oh, that was you. You wanted the warmth from my skin. So, I took off my shirt, and you acted like a limpet all night. You put off a lot of heat by the way, and it got way too hot under the blankets."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. You touch a lot, but you've not been cuddly like I thought you would be, and I think that drunk you didn't have the barriers you've built up around asking for what you want, what you need. So, Aaron Hotchner, when we are reading on the couch, would you rather we were touching and cuddling? When we are watching TV would you rather that we cuddle?" Spencer raised an eyebrow that was so damned close to the one that Aaron used when he was pushing Jack to talk about what he wanted. Aaron just looked away from Spencer. "There is no harm in asking for something that you want. I won't even make you explain why you want it unless it's really freaky or will potentially cause one of us harm. You have wants and needs that I might not have, just like I will sure have ones that you won't want or need but a good relationship is built on give and take. There may be days where you give me more than I give you, but the opposite will be true another day. Asking for what you need is not taking without giving. Being close to you is no issue, Aaron."

Aaron looked at Spencer and saw that he meant it. He meant every single word that he said. Aaron didn't think that the want he felt at that moment had ever been felt by him at that magnitude before. Aaron stepped up and cupped Spencer's cheeks, holding him right where he wanted him to kiss. Aaron kept up the pressure and exerted pressure with his body, backing Spencer up to the bed that was just beyond the bathroom door. Spencer gasped as he fell onto his ass on the bed. He looked up at Aaron with a grin on his lips and spread his legs.

"And what do you want?" Spencer asked.

Aaron could see that Spencer was getting aroused and Aaron knew that he didn't want penetrative sex, on either end of it but maybe touching and rubbing. It felt good. It felt natural. Spencer wasn't body shy. He wasn't shy of his body at all. Aaron had been invited into his room with him just in his underwear for a long time, especially in the mornings when Jack wasn't up. Aaron smiled and braced a hand onto Spencer's chest, pushing him to lay down on the bed. Spencer scooted up as Aaron moved to kneel on the bed between his spread legs. Spencer in Aaron's dress shirt was something that should not have been as arousing as it was. Aaron looked down at him, cock standing up proud between the open ends of the shirt. Aaron braced himself up on a hand and trailed the other down the buttons of the shirt, deftly undoing the few buttons that were closed with one hand. He didn't spread the shirt open all the way; just what gravity pulled on it. Spencer kept his hands down on the bed but when Aaron brushed his fingers down Spencer's chest that was now revealed and then down his hip and part of his thigh.

"I think that I want you and me to just rub on each other. Maybe touch a little." Aaron brushed the back of his knuckles up Spencer's cock. Making him jump a little. Spencer's hands gripped the bed tightly, pulling on the sheet a lot. Aaron gave him a grin before leaning down and giving him a kiss. Kissing they were good at. They had been doing it for a while. Every single night after Jack went to bed if Aaron was awake enough to not pass out, they were on the couch, or even in the kitchen making out. Aaron really liked it when they were cleaning up, and Spencer sat on the counter drying dishes as Aaron handed them to him. Aaron would step over and kiss him then go back to what he was doing. There was a bit of fun to it all, but even Aaron knew that the kisses alone weren't going to be enough forever. He also agreed with Spencer that his drunk self was taking what Aaron really wanted, with Spencer's permission. It was maddening how much Aaron did want Spencer, but even Spencer didn't push. He let Aaron do everything at his own pace, which at the moment it seemed his own drunk self was upset with the pace Aaron had set.

"Touching is always good." Spencer held up a hand and Aaron linked his with it. Aaron watched as Spencer grabbed the lube from Aaron's bedside drawer. Aaron would have been shocked but it was the left-hand side when Aaron was laying down, and Aaron was left handed so it made sense that it would be no that side. Spencer coated their joined hands with slick and then wrapped those hands around both of their cocks where they were side by side. He let go of the bed with his other hand and pulled Aaron's head down to where they could kiss again. Spencer didn't let up on Aaron's mouth or their cocks. Aaron bounced from one feeling or the other overwhelming him until he came with a cry. Spencer came just three strokes later. They didn't stop kissing though. That was a very slow let down until finally, Aaron needed to move. He pulled Spencer up with him, they were both sticky and messy, and Aaron knew that a shower was just what they needed. He just hoped that Jack stayed asleep until they were done. Aaron was not ready for the whole thing of why Spencer was showering with Aaron. Aaron had been upfront with Jack about him, and Spencer dating, which Jack figured was the best thing ever as it meant that Spencer was never leaving if Aaron and Spencer got serious and got married. That was how the wedding magazine had ended up in Aaron's briefcase at one point he was sure.

"How was that?" Aaron asked after the water was warm and it was good enough to actually get under instead of standing at the edges and freezing from the fine mist that was cold and hitting them.

"Good. Wonderful," Spencer said as he wrapped his arms around Aaron and danced them back and forth. He pressed a kiss to Aaron's cheek as he pulled back to where they could wash up a little. "A perfect Christmas present."

"You've made this Christmas worth it, Spencer. You've made Jack happy when I was afraid that he would never be happy again. You've made me happy and showed me that I could love again. Maybe you do have a little bit of Mary Poppins magic inside of you."

"No, I've just got what it takes to rule you Hotchner men." Spencer was smiling, but it was a serious one. "You've made this Christmas for me as well. I look forward to what each year brings after this because no matter what it's going to be the best just because I have you and I have Jack."

Aaron whole hardheartedly agreed.

The End