Chapter 1: 1
Spencer looked at the clock once more, then flopped back down in bed with a frustrated sigh. It wasn't that unusual for him not to be able to sleep, but this time there was a major difference: he had a solution, at least a potential one, if he only made up his mind to bite the bullet and use it. Releasing an uncharacteristic growl of frustration, the young man reached out and turned on his bedside lamp then picked up the phone and dialed.
"Wha.. yeah, Morgan here. What is it?"
"Derek? It... it's Reid..."
"No. I... I just couldn't sleep. I need advice, but it can wait 'till morning. I'm sorry to wake you..."
"Hey, no. It's okay. You know I'm here for you anytime, kid. Talk to me."
"It's about... you know what it's about. At least, I think you do."
"You know why nothing really happened, right?"
"Okay, almost nothing. I mean... she kissed me... I kissed back... then it all went horribly wrong."
"Sounds like a good start to me." Derek responded lightly, but he could almost see Reid's frown over the phone line so he relented. "Okay, no more teasing, I swear. You got scared, didn't you?"
"More like terrified. That's why I told her the truth. I didn't know what else to do... I knew it would make her mad and upset... and get me some breathing room. It wasn't just that I was supposed to be protecting her, though that was part of it. She... she was expecting... and I couldn't... I didn't know..."
"Easy, kid. I get it. I remember that moment. Your feelin's are all twisted up, your body's fightin' your brain... scarier than any perp I've ever faced. You wanted what she was offerin' you, but somethin' inside kept whisperin' that if you asked her to slow down or told her you weren't ready..."
"Which you figure the sex is gonna be anyway, since you have less than no clue what you're doin'. Scarred for life either way... I know. Boy, do I know. I'll tell you, Spence, first times can really suck."
"I didn't even *have* a first time and it sucks!"
"I hear you, I do. Just chill out. There, uh... anything else about the pool you need to get off your chest?"
"What are you asking?"
"Nothin', I guess. I just wondered if that was the whole story... the mutual liplock, I mean."
Spencer flushed brightly, swallowed and shifted the phone to his other ear.
"No... there was... something else." he mumbled.
"Okay. Go ahead."
"It's like rippin' off a band-aid, man. Say it fast, it won't sting so much."
"Maybe. Alright, so the kisses I could handle. That part was actually... nice. What scared me and made me so desperate to get her to back off... was the touching. She put her hands under the water... and touched me."
"Intimately, I'm assuming."
"You assume correctly."
"Didn't it feel good?"
"I think so... but I've only "felt good" like that a few times and I always suppress it because... because I don't know what to do. When she... it confused me more than anything else. Intellectually, I understood that I was supposed to react when she touched me... that it was natural. Emotionally... I was shocked and afraid... and I panicked. The truth about her manager was out before I could stop myself..."
"Gideon doesn't think you let him down. You know that right? He gets what kind of pressure you were under."
"Pressure is no excuse. An experienced field agent should know better..."
"Yeah, well, you're not one, at least not yet, but it doesn't change how valuable you are to the BAU right now. God... you see things in ways the rest of us can't even dream of. When you caught on to the importance of that collage... it practically broke the case, man. You will be a great agent, Reid. We all believe that. I just wish I knew how to get it through your skull and into that genius brain of yours."
"Some things take longer to sink in."
"Like what to do when a sexy blonde throws herself at you."
"Look... it's almost three a.m. Neither of us is gonna be any good tomorrow if we don't get some sleep. Tell you what... after work you, me, Hotch an' Gideon'll go for dinner. We'll talk more about this then, okay?"
"Okay. Thanks for indulging me. I know I can be..."
"Hey! Whatever nasty name you were about to call yourself, don't even think it."
"I wasn't going to put myself down. I was only saying that sometimes I know I'm..."
"I said stop."
"Go to sleep, Spence."
"That's all I ask. Night, kid."
"Good night, Derek."
5:45 THE FOLLOWING AFTERNOON:
Sitting with the other three around a table in a casual local restaurant, Reid did his best to look as if he was intently studying his menu, when he was actually watching the faces of his coworkers and friends, trying to determine how much Derek had already told them. Finally, Hotch smiled, sipped at his wine and put the young man out of his misery.
"You can stop guessing now, Spencer. Gideon and I don't have any idea why we're here. Morgan just told us you needed to talk and asked if we'd join the two of you for dinner. His treat."
"Hey, I never said that last part!" Derek shot back, grinning.
"You should have."
"Okay, okay. I'll pick up the check. Now can we order? I'm starvin'."
The meal went well, despite the fact that Reid only spoke once or twice and never about the subject of the previous night's phone conversation. At last, as they sipped coffee and debated whether ordering dessert was wise or not, Derek got frustrated and confronted the young man.
"Okay, Spence. About time you got to it, don't you think?"
"I... I can't. It's just too..."
"... embarrassing. I know. Can I tell 'em?"
After a few moments of hesitation and staring at the tablecloth, Reid nodded and Derek smiled reassuringly at him before turning back to the table at large to tell the story.
"I got a call from Spence early this morning. What happened in the pool shook him up... got his mind runnin' in circles so he couldn't sleep. Turns out when our starlet went after him... well, put it this way; it was a whole new world and he wasn't ready to deal with it. He said all he could think of was getting her to quit and back off."
Gideon gently gripped Spencer's shoulder and spoke quietly.
"That's why you told her the truth. You were afraid and couldn't see any other escape route."
Reid nodded again.
"I'm sorry... my mind was a mess and that's the first time in so long that I've experienced that... I mean, confusion isn't my normal state of mind, Gideon... I always do my best to solve the problem I'm given, no matter what it is, but when she kissed me and... I just couldn't think!"
"Spencer, stop. Calm down... take a breath. I'm not angry with you. I know it wasn't your fault."
"It was, though... I let her trick me, pull me into the water... I let her..."
"What? Let her what, Reid?" Hotch asked, suddenly concerned, but Spencer went silent again, gazing pleadingly at Derek.
"Apparently she went beyond kissing to groping." Morgan responded, the barest trace of darkness coloring his tone. "That really freaked him and he told her about her manager's death, hoping she'd get mad enough to leave him alone."
Hotch chuckled sympathetically.
"It worked. So... is Morgan telling the truth, Spence? You're really.."
"... a virgin. Unfortunately, the answer is yes, and I'm likely to be buried as one if I keep reacting the way I did in that pool..."
"C'mon, kid, I told you that's how it goes." Derek interjected. "I went through the exact same thing when my first chance came up. I'm sure all guys do."
"I'll accept that fear is a natural part of the process, but most guys wouldn't get so scared they'd chase the girl off, would they?"
Gideon reached out and gently turned Spencer's head toward him.
"Most men aren't you. And yes, they would. I pushed my wife away at least five times before I finally let her convince me that what I was feeling was normal... and that I wasn't the only one who was scared."
"God's honest truth."
Reid turned to Hotch and got a sheepish grin in response.
"My first time... I was shaking so much the girl asked me where I'd found a shop that rented those machines from cheap motels... the ones that make the bed vibrate? Once I was into it, everything got easier, but those first few minutes... sheer torture."
"You're making that up."
"I swear I'm not. I'll give you her name and number and you can call her. She'll confirm every word."
Derek laughed, but it transmuted into a yawn, causing him to check his watch.
"Man, I gotta get home and catch up on my sleep, since *somebody* woke me up way too early this morning." He teased.
"I said I was sorry." Spencer shot back, grinning easily.
"You're forgiven. You ever do it again, though, I'm comin' over to your place an' force feedin' you a valium."
Gradually, the group broke up and headed out, laughing and talking quietly as they made their way to the parking lot. As Spencer drove away, the other three watched him go with somber, reflective faces. At that moment, if they could have read each other's minds, they would have been shocked to realize what similar paths their thoughts were taking.
Chapter 2: 2
The following day, Hotch, Derek and Gideon were sitting around a table in one of the office conference rooms, sharing the lunch they'd ordered in and not talking. Spencer had, not unexpectedly, called in to say he was staying home. He had reassured Gideon that if he were needed all they had to do was call, but if not, he would rather avoid facing his pseudo-big sisters Elle and J.J., knowing they'd see his discomfort and persistently nudge him until he revealed what was wrong.
Growing tired of the silence, Hotch finally spoke up and confronted the other two about its source.
"Okay, enough, guys. We can't just let this slide. I think we have to come up with a way to help him."
Both of the others looked up, startled, and Hotch's ever-present profiling skills kicked in, allowing him to instantly and correctly read their expressions. "You too? Well, why weren't you saying anything?"
Gideon merely looked back down at his unfinished meal. Derek, however, blushed from his collar to his hairline and reached for the tall cup of soda in front of him, hiding behind it. "Morgan?"
"Oh my God..."
Abruptly, Gideon showed marked interest in the conversation.
"Derek... is he right? Are you attracted to Spencer?"
"Will both of you *please* just shut up?" Derek groaned, slumping in his seat and closing his eyes.
"It's nothing you should be feeling guilty about. Who and what appeals to us isn't under our control. What we do about it once we're aware... that's a different story." Hotch continued.
"Stop... I'm beggin' you..."
"I need an answer, Derek." Gideon prompted. "Are you attracted to him?"
Looking up, Morgan recognized the expression on his boss' face and cringed. Gideon was utterly serious and wouldn't relent until he heard the truth.
"I... I'm not sure... but I think so."
"In what way?"
Hotch whistled softly and replied with surprise in his voice.
"Wow... that's the last thing I *ever* thought I'd hear coming from you..."
Derek glared and seriously considered reaching out and cracking him in the side of the head, but Gideon saw the intention and spoke up.
"Yeah, yeah... no smacking co-workers, even if they deserve it. I hear and obey."
"... stop baiting him. I get it."
"Good. Now back to the topic. We should find a way to help Spence. Agreed?"
Both of the others nodded.
"The question is what do we do?" Derek asked.
"And how do we present the idea to him without sending him into cardiac arrest?" Hotch added.
"That shouldn't be a problem. The way he sounded last night, it's lack of knowledge that's bothering him." Gideon countered.
Hotch steepled his hands under his chin and looked pensive as he responded.
"True. He's so bright and so used to having the right information or the right reference on the tip of his tongue all the time..."
"... but when she made a move on him in the pool, his body took over and his mind took a hike. No wonder he got scared." Derek finished. "Whatever we decide, let's do it at my apartment. No concerns about traumatizin' the wife and kid, Jase doesn't have to worry about his privacy gettin' invaded and way less public than a hotel."
"He makes a point." Hotch mused thoughtfully.
"Okay, so we've got the where. Now for the what."
"I'm for improv; let it happen the way it wants to happen, you know? You can't plan everything out. Spontaneity balanced with the right amount of prep work... equals booty call. That doesn't guarantee you'll get an answer, of course..."
"That's never a guarantee." Gideon replied, smiling. "We need to have at least a sketchy battle plan. He'll be looking to us for confidence and guidance and if we're fumbling around wondering what to say or do next, it just won't work."
"That's for sure. Okay... well I think we can skip kissing. He seems to have that down pretty solidly already..."
Sitting outside in the main office space, Elle and J.J. were also sharing lunch, but they couldn't keep their gazes from drifting to the partially open conference room door.
"God, that looks really intense. You're sure you don't know what's going on?" Elle asked.
"And it isn't a case?"
"If it was you'd think Gideon would've invited us to join in."
"What else could they be getting so serious about?"
"No clue. All I know is when twelve o'clock hit, they all grabbed their take-out, trooped in there and started eating. They never said a word the first half hour or so. Then Hotch spoke up and since then the conversation hasn't slowed down."
"I just wish I could hear them. If it's something we can help with..."
"Obviously we can't. It's probably just guy stuff."
"Jason Gideon... talking about football and telling off-color jokes. What's wrong with that picture, J.J.?"
"Yeah... damn, I wish I'd thought to be sneaky and tell Garcia to monitor them..."
CONFERENCE ROOM: TWENTY MINUTES LATER
"Lunch is about over, gentlemen. Are there any points we haven't covered?" Gideon asked, looking from Derek to Hotch, making sure he saw no uncertainty or reservation about the plan in their expressive faces.
"Not that I can think of." Hotch replied, gathering his trash in preparation for returning to work. Derek was quiet and the other two rose and started out, but he spoke at the last minute, bursting their contented bubble.
"Ummm... just one thing. Who's gettin' the supplies?"
"Yeah, supplies. You know..."
Hotch flushed as he realized what the other man was referring to.
"Oh. You mean... supplies. Well, I could stop by the drug store on the way home... I might get some difficult questions, though, when she realizes what I bought."
"That's another thing. You need to talk to her... make sure she's okay with you bein' involved with this little scheme and if there's a line she doesn't want you crossin'."
"No question. It may mean you two end up doing this on your own..."
"We can handle that. Your marriage comes first." Gideon assured him.
"If you can get the pharmacy stuff, I'll do the rest. I know a little place..." Derek told them, smiling again and blushing.
"You do? And what exactly are we talking about?"
"Nothing out of the mainstream, I swear. I was just thinking about a couple of... training aids that I came in contact with during one of my more... adventurous relationships."
As Derek walked close to him on the way to the door, Hotch leaned close and murmured in his ear.
"Beer after work tonight?"
"If I get details... absolutely."
Stepping up and into the small shop, Derek reveled in the sensory deluge that was the hallmark of Paper Moon, one of his favorite places in the city. As the door whooshed closed, the soft chime from a box above it announced his arrival and he instantly tuned in to the Celtic music playing unobtrusively in the background. The audible blessings were followed by the familiar and long missed aroma of sandalwood incense and the faintest hint of freshly brewed mint tea from the pot sitting on a hotplate behind the counter. The space itself was a wonder to behold, done in a muted color scheme consisting of blues, purples and silvers in various depths and shades. Derek smiled and breathed deeply. He knew the place had lasted so long because nobody would ever guess what was sold here unless they came in, and those who entered did so with full knowledge of the purpose Paper Moon served.
Derek wandered around for a few minutes, but things weren't where he remembered so he moved back out into the open area in front of the counter just in time to greet someone he'd missed even more than the store itself.
"Yes, can I... Morgan! Good to see you! Been a while, my friend."
"Yeah it has, Marty. Haven't been havin' much luck in this department lately."
"Ooooh. So sorry to hear that. Does this visit means things might be turning around?"
"Hope springs eternal."
"Well, I'll leave you to explore. When you're ready, just yell for me. I won't be far."
"Actually, you've made some changes since I was in last. Place looks great, but..."
"... you couldn't find what you needed. I did do a little re-shuffling of certain product lines a week or two back. Makes the place more user-friendly. Speak and we'll seek."
"First I need a ring and harness combo."
"Most of those are on the back wall now," he commented moving off and trusting Derek to follow. "unless you're looking for something really exotic. I've got a few new items behind the counter you won't believe unless I show them to you."
"Not this time. I'm going for easy to use and gentle."
"Uh-huh. Initiating that potential new love, hmm? He's in good hands with you that's for sure." Marty reflected, tapping his chin with a finger as he perused the myriad of packages hanging on the wall. "Are we talking young, inexperienced and likely to go off at a moment's notice... or older and not sure his rocket launcher will fire at all?"
Wondering how fully Gideon intended to participate, Derek almost said "both", but he knew his focus had to be Spencer.
"The former. And he's not even potential. He's just... a good friend."
"Right. If I had a dollar for every mouth I've heard that from, I could run this place strictly for fun instead of fun *and* profit. Here. This should do nicely. No studs or other shiny bits of metal to scare the young one and the size is easily adjustable in case he... surprises you."
"This is perfect. Just a couple more things."
"Of course. Ask and I'll do my best to place whatever you need in your hot little hands..."
LATE AFTERNOON: THE FOLLOWING DAY
Hotch sighed and leaned back in his chair. The day had been busy, but it only involved a local case, so he relaxed and felt grateful that at least he wasn't jet-lagged. He and his fellow conspirators hadn't had much time to talk about Spencer, but he'd at least been able to steal a few moments to inform them that he'd gotten his wife's approval to help the younger man she'd begun to think of as a little brother. Derek had refused to reveal what he'd bought or where he'd gotten it, making the other two unbearably curious. Not long after that the case had taken priority and they'd been split up the rest of the day.
Just then, the object of his thoughts strolled by, his gaze buried in a magazine, and Hotch took the chance to set the critical first step of their plan in motion.
"Hmmm... oh. Hi."
"I could use some serious coffee. You feel like going out and grabbing some before we head home?"
"There's still some in the break room, I think..."
"That? They could use it to patch the asphalt on the highway. I need to wake up, but I don't feel like staying that way for the next month."
"Well... I was hoping to finish this article."
"It'll be here tomorrow."
"I guess... okay."
"Great. Just let me go grab Jason and Derek..."
"All four of us... again. What's going on, Hotch?"
"Yet? I'm going to hate this..."
"You won't, at least I hope not." The other man reassured him, looking around to make sure the ladies were out of earshot then lowering his voice anyway. "The three of us talked at lunch yesterday... and we think we've come up with a good plan to help you."
"Help me with what?"
"Your... experience problem."
Spencer's jaw dropped slightly, he paled and stared blankly. In his head, he was screaming and running for his life, but outwardly he simply looked pole-axed and was unable to produce complete sentences.
"My... you... well, that's... I mean... wow. You guys..."
"Spence, sit." Hotch offered, drawing the stunned young man down into a chair. "Are you okay?"
"I... yeah, I think so. It's just that I wasn't sure I'd ever get propositioned; never mind twice in a couple of weeks. You just... threw me, that's all. Actually, I'm not used to that either. I can usually roll with the punches pretty well. I don't know what's wrong with me lately...I'm starting to wish the planet Vulcan really existed, 'cause I think I'd be so much better off there..."
Hotch chuckled, reached out and touched Spencer's chin, turning the young man's head toward him and away from the inner monologue he was, as usual, running through out loud.
"Spence, listen to me for a minute, okay? It was just an idea. We thought it would be easier if you had your first experience with people you trust and who care about you. If you say no, we'll forget this conversation ever took place, I swear."
Spencer looked confused, then embarrassed, followed swiftly by hurt and slightly lost.
"I know she didn't really want me. She was scared and off-balance and she was desperate for something... anything that would make her forget that her world was being turned upside-down. I just wish she hadn't picked me..."
The words made Hotch's heart twist, but he fought his immediate reaction down and worked to project only comfort and reassurance.
"I was kind of hoping you wouldn't figure that out. I should've known better. I'm sorry..."
"Yeah... me too. Umm, what... what exactly were you guys planning? I mean... what did you want to..."
"Everything, if you're ready for that. If you're not, that's okay. You can dictate how far it goes."
"Everything. Does that mean... Elle and J.J. aren't..."
"No. No, they know nothing about this."
"Then... you're married, so that lets you out..."
"As far as full on sex goes, yes it does. Other things... I've already gotten approval for."
"She... your wife said you could... no way!"
"I wouldn't lie. Once I explained that it was a one-time thing, strictly to help you feel more comfortable with your body and sex in general, she was very open to me participating."
"So if I agree to the-the whole program... it'll either be Morgan or... no. Not Gideon. I couldn't. He's been like a second dad. It would just be too weird..."
"I can see the logic in that."
"Morgan... wow. I... I don't know... but he's the only choice left. It could work, I guess. We're already close friends... I trust him with my life..."
"So you want to at least try? Like I said, you run the show. It only goes as far as you say it does."
"I'm not sure. Let's go find that better cup of coffee and talk about it, okay?"
"Sure. Hang on..."
30 MINUTES LATER:
"You okay, Spence? You look a little shell-shocked." Morgan noted as the waitress walked away after delivering their coffee and food.
"I... I am, just a bit. Hotch... he told me about what the three of you... what you're offering to do for me. I guess I'm still... wrapping my mind around the idea. It isn't easy..."
"Understandable. Why don't you share your thoughts?" Gideon prompted.
"Well... I know it's not the usual thing these days to be twenty-four and still... inexperienced. But then, I'm not the usual twenty-four year old, either. My life has been... unique, to say the least. I've spent most of it isolated from everyone else my age because my mind was ready for advanced placement calculus while my body was still stuck in fourth grade. By the time puberty came around I had so much else to focus on that I just... shoved those feelings aside and refused to deal with them. Existing up here..." he said, tapping his brow, "... was so much easier and... and safer than acknowledging that my body might need stimulation as much as my mind did. Now... I'm stuck with the results of that decision."
"A mind that's matured way beyond twenty four years of living... and a body that got left behind." Derek intuited, frowning in sympathy.
"Basically. And if I don't find out what this... what sex is about, I know I'm in for more misunderstandings..."
"Like what happened in the pool." Hotch responded quietly.
"Exactly. She assumed... and made asses out of both of us. I... I don't want to ever go through that again. I just thank God my inner dufus only shows up when nobody I know is around."
"Hey, what'd I tell you the other night about talkin' yourself down? Huh? What'd I say?" Derek mock growled, playfully swatting Spencer in the side of the head.
"Damn right. You dis yourself, you're dissin' a friend of mine. I don't let anybody get away with that."
"You think of me as a friend? Really?" Spencer responded, looking at Morgan with an expression that was part caution and part wonder.
"Yeah. Of course I do. We all do. I thought you knew that."
"I guess I did... but it's hard to be sure. Reading strangers is much easier for me than reading..."
"Friends." Derek supplied. He reached out again, this time for a brief, gentle caress of Spencer's wrist.
"Right. Friends. Do friends let friends ruin their dinner with way too much sugary pastry?"
"Sure, kid. Friends even buy. Let's go see what they've got on display."
As the other two rose and moved off toward the glass-front cases loaded with cakes and cookies, Hotch sipped his dark roast, gazed into it for a moment, then shot a sideways glance at Gideon.
"You were right. There's something there. Potential... I'm not so sure it's a good thing."
"It's barely started. They don't even recognize it yet. It could fizzle out."
"Not that you want it to."
Hotch's only response was a smile. Gideon smirked into his cup and replied before taking a small sip. "Yenta."
"Maybe. Is it so wrong to want to see two friends happy?"
"You ever try match-making for Elle or J.J..."
"Don't worry. I'm not stupid and I have too much to live for."
Derek and Spencer returned just then carrying vastly divergent offerings. Derek had chosen a Danish that was half strawberry filling and half lemon curd. Spencer's two-plate haul, however, raised eyebrows.
"Two brownies, two glazed doughnuts, eight petit-fours and a slice of carrot cake?" Hotch recited incredulously as the young man slid back into his seat. "No wonder you don't sleep."
"I don't eat like this all the time. I just couldn't decide which one I wanted and Derek said since it was his treat..."
Gideon looked a question at Morgan.
"It was the easiest way to get him back to the table before the coffee-shop closed for the night."
Spencer paused with a petit-four half way to his mouth and scowled at Derek.
"Are you saying I'm indecisive?"
"Only when it comes to sugar. I hope."
Hotch rolled his eyes briefly, smiled then got back to the original topic of conversation
"So Spence... what I was hearing earlier was that you do want help. Is that right?"
Swallowing the bite of brownie he'd just taken, Spencer hesitated then answered softly.
"It is. If you all really want to... I'd appreciate it."
"Saturday morning at Derek's. Assuming we don't get pulled away on a case, that is."
"Saturday. I'll be there." The youngest member of the team confirmed, popping a treat in his mouth so he wouldn't be tempted to talk anymore, as he feared anything he said would reveal how nervous and uncertain he was.
Gathered in Derek's house, the three proposed instructors for the day waited and worried about what the next few hours might hold. Derek was attempting to shed some of his nervousness by gently needling the other two, but since Gideon was prudently ignoring him, he'd focused on Hotch. Watching from the front window for Spencer's approach, Hotch sighed and rejected his colleague's latest bizarre suggestion
"No. He'll be nervous enough as it is."
"Just as a joke. It'll loosen things up, get the day started on a light note."
"I am *not* answering the door naked. If you want to, that's fine, but Spencer's cardiac arrest will be on your head." Hotch admonished Derek.
"You are way too uptight, my man."
"Better uptight than arrested for indecent exposure. We *are* law enforcement, remember. You show anything below the waist where someone on the street can see it, it's my duty to lock you up."
"Like to see you try..."
Gideon smiled indulgently and shook his head, but never looked away from the book he was reading. When the current disagreement had started he'd retreated to a chair in a distant corner, far too wise to get pulled into a dispute that was really about the anxiety the other two were feeling, not about public nudity. If he got in the way, or worse, appeared to take sides, he would only exacerbate the tension.
"He just pulled up." Hotch announced, stopping Morgan's next snipe in its tracks. Derek strode over to the window to confirm the statement then moved for the door, halting only when Hotch spoke up again. "Let him ring the bell, Morgan. Don't look as anxious as you are."
"True. Look, Hotch, I know I've been a pain in the neck..."
"It's okay. We're all on edge, we all deal with it differently. Gideon and I isolate, you... you turn into a smart-mouth brat."
"Smart-mouth, sometimes. Brat, never." Morgan gleefully denied as he moved to open the door for Spencer, who had just knocked. "Hey, Spence. C'mon in. You look good man... really good." He praised, intently studying the faded jeans, dark green polo shirt and loafers the young man had chosen to wear.
"I do know how to dress casually, Derek. It's just not appropriate at work."
Morgan chewed his bottom lip and gave Spencer a frank head to toe appraisal.
"Yeah, well, seein' you like this... I know we gotta spend more time together off the job."
Gideon strolled up behind Morgan just then, murmuring "Go easy." close to his ear and Derek nodded slightly in acknowledgement.
"Is there anything we can get you, Spence? You hungry, thirsty..." Hotch asked, moving away a few steps so the younger man wouldn't feel like he was being closed in on.
"No... no thank you. Anything you can do for scared to death?"
"Hopefully, yes." Gideon replied, smiling lightly. "If you feel like showering, the towels and whatever else you might need are waiting in the bathroom."
"I should shower before?"
"Not if you don't want to. I have to warn you, you'll definitely need it after your nap."
"This'll take a lot out of you, Spence. It's not just your body that's involved, it's your mind and your emotions." Morgan explained. "Trust me, if everything goes right, you won't be able to help falling asleep when we're done."
Spencer gazed meaningfully at Derek, a question in his eyes, and was deeply grateful when Derek read him and he wasn't forced to actually say the words. "Don't worry... if it's what you want, I'll still be there when you wake up."
Spencer favored Derek with a shy, but clearly relieved smile and, almost unconsciously, reached out to touch the other man's forearm while his gaze followed Hotch and Gideon as they walked towards the bedroom.
"Um, is there... I mean, do I undress with the three of you, or..."
"Not if you don't want to, the sequel."
"Okay... I think I'll use the bathroom then."
"Thought you might. There's a brand new robe on the back of the door. When you're ready just slip into it and meet us in the bedroom... end of the hall on your left. Take your time." Derek told him, stepping away a little to help quell his growing urge to plant a long, heated kiss on Spencer's mouth; a move he was sure would scare Spencer as much as the idea of it scared him.
"Ummm... okay. Thanks."
"Longer than half an hour, though, I'm gonna send out a search party." Derek joked.
Derek smiled reassuringly and turned away, striding down the hall. Spencer groaned under his breath and closed his eyes for a moment, wondering for the tenth time that morning how he could want so badly for this to happen and still be so frightened. Dragging in and releasing a few deep breaths, he moved forward slowly, searching out and finally finding the bathroom. Once inside with the door closed and locked, he leaned back against it, grimacing, then moved to face the large mirror and began to talk sternly to himself.
"You want this... you *need* this! You trust all three of them with your life, you can trust them with your body. No... with my penis. They're my friends, they're going to make my penis my friend. I trust them with my penis. God help me, I sound like Low-On-Brain-Cells night on the Playboy channel... I can't go in there..."
After a few minutes spent silently wavering between going forward or running like the wind, Spencer caught sight of the robe Derek had mentioned. It looked expensive and luxurious, but he knew looks could deceive, so cautiously he walked back and lifted it off the hook.
"Silk. Wow, this is really beautiful... how could he possibly know forest green is my favorite color? I'm positive I didn't tell him..."
Grinning and praying none of them came looking for him just then, Spencer lifted the material to his face and slid it against his cheek. His eyes dropped closed and a low sound of appreciation sounded in his throat.
"That does it..." he finally conceded, laying the robe on the counter and staring at it. "I'm a sensualist and a true sensualist can't die without ever having experienced sex. I mean... if I'm wrong and heaven and hell do exist, I'll get laughed out of whichever place I end up."
Fighting off his shivers of fear and embarrassment, Spencer slowly tugged his shirt over his head, folded it neatly and placed it on the counter.
In the bedroom, the other three had claimed various spots on the mattress, trying to keep some distance between them. Derek was the only one who seemed even faintly comfortable being around his co-workers in the uniform they'd agreed on; t-shirts and boxers. He sat back against the headboard, reading a magazine, while Hotch and Gideon's gazes were both glued to the floor.
"It's been fifteen minutes. Should we go talk to him at least?" Hotch asked, frowning.
"Give him a little longer." Gideon advised, slipping his shoes under the bed to keep them out of the way. "The one thing we can't do is push him. He has to take this at his own pace."
"The way we all did our first time."
"Besides, I said half an hour before I send the swat team into the.... bathroom. Oh my... Spence..." Derek whispered
As Spencer finally arrived in the doorway to the bedroom, the other three all stared. The young man's hair was mussed and imperfect, partly from removing his shirt and partly because he'd been nervously running his hands through his locks all the way down the hall. The dark, shimmering robe fell just below his knees, the silk clinging to his spare form here and there, and he clutched it together fiercely at the waist as if it weren't already securely tied. Where the fabric lay close to his face, the color accentuated the green in his eyes and played up the color swiftly ascending his neck to gently tint his cheeks. The total effect left his three colleagues captivated and momentarily speechless. Derek was the first to recover, grinning broadly as he rose to greet Spencer and draw him fully into the room.
"I knew it... I knew this color would look spectacular on you. When you walked in with that shirt on today, I almost said somethin', but I wanted you to be surprised. How does it feel?"
"Okay... a little short, but okay."
"No, against your skin, kiddo. How does the silk feel against your skin?"
"Amazing. I've never worn silk before. It's so soft... when I touch it I feel like I shouldn't... as if it's too perfect to be handled. I can't quite conceive of all those worms working so hard just for some human who won't be worthy of what they created..."
Hotch now joined them, tipping Spencer's chin up and encouraging eye contact.
"I thought we got past this. In your time with the BAU you've more than proved your worth. A little bit of luxury is the very least you deserve. Today the focus is on you and there's nothing shameful or wrong about that. No more self-deprecation. Are we clear?"
"Yes... but I wasn't." Spencer protested mildly. "At least I didn't mean it to come out that way. I was just trying to find the right words..."
"You struggling for what to say? I don't buy it. You usually have more words than you know what to do with."
"More than *any* of us know what to do with, sometimes." Derek chuckled, adding to the tease.
"Funny. Can we get going on this please, before I have a chance to find out if blushing can be fatal?"
"We already started. That question about the silk and your skin was part of the first step. Before anything else can happen, you need to learn to tune in to your body... to hear what it's asking for. I've got an idea for helping you do that... but I need to know that you really trust me."
"You know I do, Derek."
"No. I mean deep, *total* trust. Some of the things we'll be using today might freak you out a little, but I swear you won't get hurt. Solemn promise. Now... do you trust me? Do you trust us?"
Spencer hesitated, concerned that Hotch and Gideon looked as uncertain and confused as he felt, but eventually he shored up his courage and responded.
"I do trust all of you. Deeply... and totally."
"Alright. C'mon over and sit on the edge of the bed. I need to show you something."
Once they were all settled once again, Derek lifted a small tote bag from its place on the floor, leaning against the bedpost. Reaching in, he withdrew one of the items he'd purchased at Paper Moon, split open the plastic surrounding it and pulled it out, holding it up for Spencer's inspection.
"That... that's a blindfold. For me?"
"For you, but only if you say yes."
"If I can't depend on sight to tell me what's happening, I'll have to focus on what I feel... on the signals from my body."
"Exactly. So... do you wanna try this?"
After a long pause, Spencer nodded. While Derek was distracted with sliding the blindfold into place and adjusting it, Hotch shot Gideon an uneasy glance, wondering if he was feeling the slow shift in the dynamic as well, but the older man's expression showed only curiosity. Gideon clearly wasn't seeing red flags as the obviously more experienced Derek began to take the lead. Relying on his faith in his friend's instincts, Hotch gradually relaxed and accepted being a bit player in Derek's show instead of a co-star.
"Is it okay? Not pulling hair or too tight?"
"No. No, it's fine."
"Great. To start with, we're gonna touch you, just lightly, anywhere the robe doesn't cover. Kisses, caresses... almost anything goes. I'll be askin' you questions once in a while, so be ready to answer the best you can."
Derek slowly ran a hand up over Spencer's face, lingering along his jaw-line then sliding up to stroke over the cheekbone. Instantly the tender, delicate touch rekindled the heat and color that had subsided some minutes before. Next he brushed across the brow and down the nose, careful to keep the stroke firm enough not to tickle the super-sensitive skin. When his thumb skimmed Spencer's bottom lip, the young man's mouth fell open just a little at the pressure and Derek took the opportunity to barely slide the broad digit inside. A moment later he felt the brief touch of heated moisture across the pad as Spencer licked the invader. Logically, Derek understood the reaction was likely involuntary, but logic had nothing to do with the sparks shooting from his hand straight to his groin. Suddenly, with more certainty than he'd ever felt about anything in his life, he knew that he and Spencer Reid would have more than a few stolen hours during this single day. It might not be much more, might even turn out to be extremely short-term in fact, but there was at least a chance, and for the moment, that was enough.
It took Hotch a little time to decide what to do, but eventually he leaned in, breathed warmly on Spencer's neck and barely touched the pulse point with his lips, praying that what his wife enjoyed would also please the young man he knew so little about. When Spencer hummed almost inaudibly and turned his head an inch or two away, offering more access, Hotch grinned and repeated the kiss over and over, working his way around and up to the ear. Once he reached his goal, he paused, simply breathing once again, taking in the unique scent of Spencer Reid and delighting in it before tracing the outer rim of cartilage with his tongue. Spencer jumped then re-settled, moaning quietly. The wanton sound drove straight into Hotch's core, leaving him no doubt that Spencer wouldn't be the only one needing and finding release before the day was over.
Gideon, meanwhile, was gently massaging his protege's hands and wrists. Having watched Spencer study and research for hours at a time, taking endless notes with only pen and paper, he knew those hands often suffered severe writer's cramp. His laptop keyboard wasn't much of an improvement and Gideon sometimes feared the boy would develop tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome later in life. Many times he'd longed to go to Spencer, interrupt and do just what he was doing now; carefully working muscle and joint, coaxing tension and pain to evaporate. He'd never done it because he knew in his heart what a bad idea it would be. The way his libido was slowly responding to the feel of soft skin and the first traces of sweat under his fingers only reinforced that. Now, however, he had the chance to help, to touch free of guilt, and he was reveling in the moment, even as he left off at Spencer's hands and moved down to the floor, beginning on his feet and calves.
"Okay, Spence..." Derek began, his voice husky as he regretfully retrieved his thumb. "...time to speak up. Tell me what you're feelin'. What's your body sayin'?"
"I... I'm not sure. I-I know my... my penis is... I'm getting an erection..."
"Yeah, you are. That's good."
"My mind says it isn't... my mind keeps telling me to make it go away."
"Of course it does. That was your solution every other time it happened." Gideon told him. "This place, this time is different. You're free to let go... to enjoy what you're feeling. You're not in pain, are you?"
"No... but it's strange... I'm scared."
"That's okay. Your first orgasm is *supposed* to be terrifying, but you're not alone." Hotch pledged to him. "We're here to support you. What do you need to make that final push, hmmm? Tell me..."
"I... talk to me."
"No, I mean... graphic talk. Describe what... what it feels like for you when..."
"You're sure? Absolutely?"
"I am. Please..."
"Okay. If I'm really into my partner, my initial orgasm is always intense and powerful. First... I feel the tingling start up, down behind my balls and around the base of my penis. It gets more and more intense the longer I hold back my release. Then my balls start to draw up closer to my body. The muscles in my thighs and hips get tense... that tells me I'm getting really close. The moment just before I come always seems to surprise me, no matter how many times it happens; it's like a mild shock, sending fingers of electricity all through my body. I arch my back and I'm usually yelling or crying out. I tremble and convulse a little each time I ejaculate. I can feel the heat and wetness of the fluid surrounding me inside the condom... and the muscle contractions of my partner squeeze me like my own fist would. That's usually enough to make me come one more time before the orgasm ends."
"Oh... Oh, God... somebody... help... it-it's happening... like he said... help me..."
Noting Spencer's hands scrabbling for purchase on the comforter, Hotch entwined their fingers on the right and Gideon, reaching up from the floor, did the same on the other side. Derek massaged their young student's shoulders and softly pleaded with him.
"Quit fighting, Spence. Let go... give in to it this time... no shame, no worry... just let it happen..."
Derek gazed down and realized Spencer's erection had grown to a point that the head was slightly parting the folds of the robe, giving Morgan a tantalizing glimpse of the treasure he was dying to fully uncover. He longed to rush ahead, ripping away the blindfold and then the dark silken fabric, but he forced his own desires down once again and re-focused his attention where it belonged.
"Can't... need... have to... stay in control..."
"Wrong. You need to lose it. You must be so hard right now... so close to exploding. Lose control, Spence... c'mon, buddy... give it up... just step off the ledge and fly... it'll be so good, you can't imagine... feel that heat moving up, fluid pulsing and rising... feel the pressure... the energy has to be released, Spence... you can't hold back much longer... want it, need it, take it... it's all yours, man..."
"Oh... oh... God, I'm... Derek!"
"I'm right here. We all are."
A moment later, Spencer's fingers tightened down on the hands locked with his and his first orgasm, the experience he'd turned away from so many times, finally struck with all its might, seemingly getting its own back for so many years of rejection. Shaking and shouting, he gasped for air as he was overwhelmed and dragged along with the sensations wracking his body. Suddenly, he saw himself in the swimming pool again, but this time it held waves worthy of the Atlantic on its worst day. Open-mouthed, he could only watch as a towering wall of water crested over his head then crashed down, smothering him in darkness. As his release slowed and trickled to a stop, Spencer slumped over and collapsed into Hotch's arms.
"Oh my God... he's passed out."
Chapter 5: 5
Half amused and half guilty, the three men worked together to make their temporarily unconscious apprentice comfortable, stretching him out and removing the blindfold before gently slotting a pillow in under his head. While they waited for him to wake, they used the bathroom one after the other, making quick work of their own erections. Hotch and Gideon had disagreed with the move at first, arguing that knowing how he'd affected them could only bolster Spencer's confidence, but Derek had erred on the side of caution, sure that Spencer wasn't ready yet, and had vetoed them. Reluctantly, the others agreed and now all three were perched back on the bed, patiently awaiting their sleeping beauty's recovery. At last, his eyelids fluttered and opened a little. Hotch brushed back hair from Spencer's brow and smiled.
"Hey there. Welcome back buddy."
"Um... what happened?" the young man murmured as he finally began to return to the world.
"You blacked out."
"Was I supposed to?"
"Well, we weren't expecting it, but it doesn't mean there's anything wrong. It can happen if your release is especially intense." Hotch explained as the three men helped Spencer slowly sit up.
"I did it? Seriously? Wait. It was my first... one of those and I can't even remember it! How fair is that?"
"The word is orgasm, and trust me, it's alright, bud. I'm gonna do my damndest to make sure you're wide awake for the next one." Derek assured him, chuckling. "You think you're ready to keep goin'?"
Derek grinned gently and laid his hand on the knotted sash holding Spencer's robe together.
"Good. That means getting rid of this. Can you handle that now or do you need another few minutes?"
"I... I can handle it. I'm just not sure any of you can."
"I know, I know. It's just... I'm not exactly the governor of California."
Hotch smiled and threw in his two cents.
"Have you seen him lately? He used to be Arnold. Now he's dropped the Arn and he's just old."
"Spencer... have we ever criticized you or made you feel insecure?" Gideon asked.
"No. No way. You guys have always been thoughtful and accepting. You never once made me feel like I didn't belong on the team or that I was worth less than all of you just because I was younger. I mean... you've teased me about not speaking to crowds, but it was gentle... and kind."
"Do you think we'd change that and start judging and laughing at you now?"
"No. I know you wouldn't. I guess I just needed a reminder. Thanks..."
"No problem, kiddo." Derek replied, caressing the sash lightly with two fingers. "You wanna untie this or should one of us do the honors?"
Still not considering it anything even close to an honor, but knowing better by now than to voice that opinion, Spencer blushed brightly, ducked his head and muttered his response.
"I'll do it."
When he tried, however, his fingers abruptly seemed numb and useless. Frustrated and embarrassed, he sighed and looked up at his mentors. Hotch grinned lightly.
"You're nervous. It's okay..."
"No... no it isn't. I wanted so badly to be cool and sophisticated and-and blasé ¡bout this... like sex was something normal and everyday that didn't scare me at all. I just can't pull that off..."
"Nobody's askin' you to. Here..." Derek offered, laying his hand over Spencer's. "... you and me together. That end slides right through... That's it... see? Not so tough. Good man. Open up the robe, Spence. Let it slide off your shoulders... nice. God, you are so beautiful..."
The object of the compliment was instantly ready to protest once again but a quick glance at Morgan's expressive face stopped the negative words before they could emerge.
"Wow... you really believe that." Spencer whispered. "You really do..."
"It's true." Derek responded, running one hand over Spencer's collarbone and up his throat. "The way you're all flushed... I love how the hot pink mixes with this perfect milky skin. Just gorgeous..."
Spencer unconsciously leaned into the touch and made a tiny sound deep in his throat. "Oh yeah... and that doesn't hurt either." Derek responded, his voice tight.
"Hmmm? What doesn't?"
"The noises you make. Bet you don't even know you're doin' it..."
"He's right, Spence." Hotch added. "When I was kissing you before, you were humming. Made me pretty crazy." he chuckled.
"Crazy? You mean you guys got... you all got... because of me?"
"Let's just say you were... highly stimulating. C'mon... roll over toward me for a minute so Jason can get the robe out from under you. That's the way..."
Once he was sitting normally again, Spencer's nervousness suddenly resurfaced as his focus switched back to Derek.
"What... what now? You said something about... the next one. Are you... you're going to touch me this time... right?"
"Easy. Don't pysch yourself out, here, kid. Yeah, we're all gonna touch you in different places, see if we can identify a few hot spots for you. First we need to talk a little, though... and I've got another training aid to show you."
"Oh... okay." Spencer replied, breathing deeply to calm himself.
"First thing; now that we're gettin' into more serious stuff, you need to pick a word that you can say if you really need things to slow down or stop altogether. If you're in severe pain, or if you just get scared beyond what you can take, you say the special word and nothin' more happens until you're ready. With me so far?"
"Good. So there can't possibly be any confusion about what you mean, the word needs to be something that wouldn't normally come up in conversation. Can you think of one like that?"
"Maybe... it's a little strange, though..."
"Stranger the better. Go on."
"If you say so. My word is Chaucer."
"As in the Canterbury Tales?" Hotch questioned.
"I told you it was strange..."
"No, no. Considering what your mom did while you were growing up, I shouldn't have been surprised. That makes perfect sense."
"It was one of her favorites... mine too."
"And not likely to be thrown out in casual conversation. That'll work. Okay... next is the training aid I mentioned." Derek continued, reaching down into the tote bag again and bringing up the ring and harness combo. Hotch looked slightly confused, but, to Derek's surprise, Gideon didn't. "You know what this is, Jase?"
"I'm not that old, Derek."
"I never said you were. Just figured you were a little too deep in the... conservative side of things to have ever even seen one of these. You wanna explain it?"
Gideon blushed momentarily, but he also nodded, so Derek handed it over. Jason looked up at Spencer warily.
"The common name for this... you might consider it nasty language, Spencer. I can tone it down if..."
"No. It... it's okay. Dirty words go with sex... at least that's what I've always assumed. Say it."
"They don't... not always. I suppose it depends what you consider dirty. This is a cock ring and ball harness. The ring sits around the base of your penis... and the harness goes around your testicles to prevent them from rising close to your body. Together... basically, you can't achieve release until they're removed. It's an effective tool for helping develop sexual stamina."
Spencer's eyes widened at the description. Hotch was staring at Derek as if he were seeing his old friend in a completely new light, but the other man was too focused on Spencer to notice.
"Spence? We good? It's your decision."
"Ummm... it looks... painful."
"Only if I didn't know what I was doing."
Spencer finally tore his eyes away from the strange device and met Derek's confident gaze.
"Obviously you do. Someday you will tell me *how* exactly you know what you're doing, right?"
"Probably." Derek answered with a grin then fell silent, unwilling to push or influence Spencer's decision any further. Eventually, after another brief, startled glance at the ring and harness, the younger man took a deep breath and nodded.
"Brave man. Way to be strong, Spence."
"After what he managed on that train, I don't think there's any doubt that he's either one." Hotch put in, drawing a grin and a wry comment from Gideon.
"Too true... but if you ever scare me like that again, young man..."
"I know, I won't have an ass left to kick. That's what you told me that day and I've never forgotten it."
"You better not. Losing you... it just wouldn't be acceptable, kiddo."
"Not to mention the fact that if anything happened to you, Garcia would kill all of us very slowly." Hotch added.
"I don't know about that." Spencer replied. "Elle and J.J. would probably insist on her leaving something for each of them."
The other three all laughed.
"No doubt." Derek chuckled. "Go on an' lay back for me, okay? Breathe deep and slow and try not to close your eyes this time. You won't be so scared if you can see what's happening. Good... that's great... relax. Let me in, Spence... let your knees and thighs fall open. You can do this. I promised no pain, remember?"
"I know. I'm sure it won't hurt. I just..."
"It's gonna be okay. The first time someone touches you... yeah, it's a little scary and shocking, but it feels so good. You want me to describe it like Hotch did? Would that help?"
"Actually, I... I think it might. Is that weird?"
"Hell no. Some people get off easier on visual stimulation, some respond to words. It's just how we're wired. Let's try a little of both, see which one works better. Prop yourself up on your elbows and watch what I'm doing. That's it..." Derek praised, gently easing Spencer's knees apart and smoothing his hands up and down trembling inner thighs. Gideon ripped open the packaging and returned the ring and harness along with a tube of lubricant retrieved from the tote bag. Derek studied him curiously, much as Hotch had done to him earlier, but he chose not to question Gideon just then. "Thanks. Okay, Spence... first, I spread a little lube around the inside of the ring so it goes on without pullin' on delicate skin. Then... I slide it over the tip of your cock..."
Mouth slightly open, breath becoming shallower by the second, Spencer tried to look away, but found himself mesmerized.
"Derek... my God..."
"Easy... easy, now. Can't wait to touch you, Spence... good thing this ring is adjustable. I was hopin' you'd be this big an' thick, man... this is somethin' any man would be proud of. Might not be able to get my hand all the way around it. I can't wait to try, though. Gonna slide my fingers through the fluid that seeps out of the tip... an' use it to make my hand move easier. Then I'll just glide up and down on you, real slow to start... feeling you get harder an' longer inside my fist. I'll keep strokin' you, faster an' faster... 'till you come all over yourself an' my hand. You lookin' forward to that?"
"Yes... oh yes..."
"Almost there.... just a little more. There. The ring's right where it should be. You feel that?"
"I... I see it... wow... oh wow..." Spencer whispered, his voice strained and breathy.
"I know. One more minute, okay? It's about to get scary again. I just need to wrap the harness..."
"Ahhh! Derek! You're... you just..."
"I had to move 'em a little to get this on right. You okay?"
"I... I am... I guess I'm just sensitive there..."
"All guys are. It's part of the fun. Okay you two..." he said, looking from Gideon to Hotch. "... just like the first time. Do what you feel. Long as he seems to be enjoyin' it, anything goes."
"Yeah, you've got the fun part." Hotch mock complained as he dropped down on his side facing Spencer.
"Easy part you mean. I've got the section guaranteed to make him happy. You an' Jase get to explore uncharted territory an' dig up all the buried treasure. Sure you don't wanna switch?" Derek asked, grinning wickedly.
"Hardly. Do you think we should start with the nipples?" Hotch inquired of Gideon, echoing Derek's smile, but focusing it on Spencer.
"Always a popular choice." Gideon agreed, sliding into position on Spencer's other side and dropping a lingering kiss on his shoulder.
"Don't worry." Hotch reassured. "Trust me, this kind of play can feel really good. Can we show you?"
"Okay... but tell me too... like before."
"I can do that. Jason?"
"I'm not much for talking during foreplay... but I'll do my best."
"Whatever you can manage, I'm sure it'll be appreciated. Here we go, Spence... relax and just feel this... enjoy it." Hotch exhorted quietly, laying one palm over Spencer's nipple and slowly circling his hand. The tiny area pebbled and began to respond within a few seconds, so he switched to directly stimulating the flesh with his fingers, stroking and lightly pinching. "Mmm, you're sensitive here. Some men aren't. Nice bonus for you..."
"Ohhh... good, good, *good*... "
"This is nothing. Hang on to your Phd's, oh brilliant one..." Hotch chuckled as he leaned in and swiped Spencer's nipple just once with his tongue.
"Yes! More! Now!"
"He's getting demanding. Sure sign that we're doing something right." Gideon injected, gently nibbling his way along the younger man's jaw, creating a path of barely visible marks that led to his ultimate goal: Spencer's lips. "I know you know how to kiss..." he continued in a quiet growl, addressing their student now. "... so show me. Show me everything. I'm almost there... get ready..."
A moment later, Gideon's mouth dropped softly onto Spencer's. This was something the young man understood and knew how to respond to and he did so eagerly, opening his lips and allowing Gideon to push his tongue inside. Unaware, Spencer began humming once again, the vibration growing in intensity until it was a low rumble that waxed, waned and reverberated through his upper chest. As this was where he was concentrating his efforts, the earthy, sensual noise eventually began to affect Hotch as well and he lifted his head to praise Spencer's expression of joy and sexual abandon.
"Atta-boy, Spence... God, you sound so sexy right now... I can barely stand it. Makes me wish I had one of those rings on to help me keep control too. I swear, you just drive me absolutely crazy..."
Near the foot of the bed, Derek grinned faintly, but he was fighting to rein himself in as well. The passionate, compelling scene he was witnessing had him half erect and he was trembling with the effort of keeping it that way. It only got worse when Spencer pulled away from the kiss for a moment and panted out a barely audible question; one that stunned them all.
"Do... do you want me to... touch you?"
Chapter 6: 6
Despite his shock, Hotch swallowed hard, smiled and managed a response, though it wasn't the one he wanted to give at all.
"No... no, Spence. I can handle it myself, though it was incredibly sweet of you to offer. This day is about you... what you need, what you want."
"And if I want to?"
To Hotch's immense relief, Derek interjected.
"You don't have to thank us that way, Spence. Don't ever think you have to do that for anyone. It's your body, kid. Surrender it when you know it's right... but don't just give it away. You're too good a person for that. Besides, I'm not sure you're ready to be jackin' someone else off just yet. Focus on your desires... forget what you think we want an' try to zero in on *your* feelings, okay? This may be the only time you ever get to indulge in that during sex, so take advantage while you can."
"Wh... what do you mean?" Spencer asked, his words stumbling as Hotch moved up to tease his ear again and Gideon began working over the nipple on his side.
"If we were one on one, I'd expect some attention from my partner. I'd want you to touch me, lick me... show me you know I'm a person with needs and nerve endings, just like you. Today... today is rare and special. You get to just lay back an' be the one soakin' up all the goodness an' you're not allowed to do a thing to repay us for it."
"And you... you don't r-regret that?"
"Not for a second." Hotch whispered, gently drawing Spencer's ear-lobe between his lips and sucking on it, pulling a sudden gasp and a slight arch of his back from the young man beside him. Gideon lifted his head and chuckled.
"When you move like that... and taste this sweet? How could I ever have any regrets..." Gideon added.
"Oh! Ohhhh... Derek, can you... will you touch me now? Please..."
"All you had to do was ask. Hold on tight..." Derek warned him as he ran the palm of one hand lightly up the underside of Spencer's cock. The young man surprised all of them once again by producing a sharp, distinct squeak and forcibly deepening his breathing. "Good?"
"Sounded like it. Can't wait to hear what you do when I get you down my throat later on..."
"Your... but that'll..."
"I won't choke, trust me. I'm an old hand at goin' oral. Get ready, kid. I'm gonna step this up a little..." Derek told him, attempting to wrap his fingers around Spencer's solid flesh and, as he'd thought, not quite able to make a full fist. Chuckling, he began to slowly stroke the young man anyway. "Mmmm... you feel so good, Spence. It's so sweet to finally touch you..."
"Derrrrek.... yes.... oh, God, yes... so sweet... never knew..."
"That's it, Spence. Talk to us... tell us what you want. What can we do to make it better, hmmm?"
"Can't... can't say it..."
"Yeah, you can. Go on... no prompting this time. You can say it... hell, you were pretty commanding a minute ago... channel that again. C'mon..." Hotch encouraged.
"I didn't mean it... really..."
"Yes you did and it's fine." Gideon breathed over the nipple he was gently licking. "Ask for what you want, Spencer... you're allowed..."
Spencer thrashed his head a little, stretched his neck back and groaned before he finally gave in.
"More what, Spence? Talk, kiddo. More what?"
"Everything! More kisses... I need to feel your touch more..."
"Good man! That's what we're talkin' about! Way to go..." Derek praised, speeding up his strokes a bit. Hotch slid his lips down over Spencer's throat, nipping lightly with his teeth, then shifted up and dove in for a deep, powerful kiss. Spencer accepted him readily, his head extending forward just a bit to meet Hotch halfway. Gideon canted his gaze upward briefly and had to chuckle at how quickly their shy young man had turned into a near-hedonist.
"I think he's enjoying himself." He directed at Derek over his shoulder.
"Nah, I couldn't tell." The other man replied, his eyes locked on the soul-kiss Hotch and Spencer were fiercely engaged in. He hated to break in, but he sensed things were fast moving to a conclusion and he needed to talk to the younger man.
"Hotch. Hotch? Hey, this is hotter than anything I've seen in a long time, but can you gimme a minute here? I need to ask Spence somethin' an' he can't answer me with your tongue down his throat." Derek requested, grinning.
"Mmm... sorry. I told you we wouldn't have to teach him how to kiss..."
"Yeah, I noticed. Okay, Spence... remember what Hotch told you earlier... how it feels when you're gettin' close to your orgasm? Spare a little concentration and rate where you are for me. One to ten."
"N... nowhere near a one..."
"Tell me somethin' I don't know. I'm the one holdin' onto you, man." Derek laughed. "C'mon, kid. One to ten."
"Seven... maybe eight..."
"Good. Muscles tight? That tingle startin' up?"
"God, yes... I don't w-want this to... to be over... but I... I may not... don't know if..."
"Okay, I hear you. You want the ring an' harness off?"
"I do... but n-not yet... Hotch said... it gets better... the longer you wait... a few more minutes? Please?"
"I can do that. Not much longer, though... pleasure's a real thin line away from pain, an' I said I wouldn't hurt you."
"Okay... I understand... just a-another minute... "
"I can help you make it last even after I take everything off, you know."
"You can? How? Tell me."
"All I have to do is give a little squeeze right where the ring's sittin'. You can stay on the edge for a long time that way..."
"Okay... okay, do it. If it... it means more of y-your touch... go ahead..."
"You sure? It was just a suggestion. I wasn't tryin' to talk you into anything."
"I know that... and I'm sure... please, Derek..."
"Your wish is my command. You gotta listen up an' pay attention for a second, though. When the external control goes away, it can be overwhelming. You're gonna feel like you're losin' it, like you just can't keep your orgasm from happening... but you can. Focus... concentrate... an' hold on."
"I'll try... just hurry... I need more..."
"You'll get it, kid. I promise you that. Maybe not today... but when you're ready, I'll show you everything..." Derek murmured, slowly and carefully removing the device he'd encased Spencer in. "There's the harness... you doin' okay?"
"I... I think so... you were right... I'm fighting it... but it... it's not easy..."
"I know. Here goes the ring... slow and easy... good. It's off, Spence. Breathe deep... don't let it win just yet... be strong... nice. That's the way... great control, m'man. Awesome."
"Help me... you said you could!"
"I will. I was curious to see what you could do for yourself. Impressive." Derek praised, sliding his fingers swiftly down to the base of Spencer's cock and providing the extra bit of restraint his young lover was pleading for.
"Oh... better... so much better..."
"Glad to hear it."
"You can... touch me again..."
"Stroke you... masturbate you... bring you off... make you come..." Hotch whispered in Spencer's ear. The other blushed furiously, but a barely audible moan also escaped his lips and he dropped onto his back once again, his dark, disheveled hair drifting over the pillow as he twisted his head back and forth.
"Any... or all... of the above..."
"Can you say it, Spence? You don't have to if it's too embarrassing... graphic language doesn't ever have to be part of sex for you if you don't want it to be... you're a sweet, sensitive, gentle soul..."
"You did it for me... just because I asked."
"I've been around... and I'm not that sweet or sensitive."
"Will it...will it make it hotter? More intense?"
"It could... it really could. Especially the way you respond to... verbal stimuli..."
Spencer was quiet for almost a minute, biting and worrying his lower lip, then his expression cleared and he spoke up, just loud enough so Hotch could hear him.
"I need you... Kiss me, lick me, talk to me... make me come. *Help* me come... show me what it feels like..."
"Atta-way, Spence." Derek praised, speeding up and firming his strokes just a little. "Don't be afraid to do and say whatever feels right..."
With the additional stimulation, Spencer felt his hips surge up momentarily, pushing into Derek's hand, and the involuntary motion both scared and delighted him.
"Oh! Oh, Derek... good. So good... I'm close... really, really close..."
"I can feel that."
"If... if you won't let me... you do it... please?"
"You want me to... Spence..."
"Don't tell me I'm... not ready. I never will be... unless you push me... unless I push myself. Please, Derek..."
"Okay, babe... okay. You're right, but you had to be the one to say it, though. Had to be your decision... not mine."
"I know... and I made it... now hurry..."
"This... is somethin' I don't hurry... not usually anyway, but you are just too hot for words... minute you walked through the door today you had me hard." Derek confessed, slipping his free hand down inside his boxers and beginning to stroke himself. "Couldn't help it. Then you walked into the bedroom in that robe... with your hair kinda wild an' tangled... an' I almost lost control right there."
"Derek... Oh, God... yes. More of that... all of you, talk to me please..."
Hotch, knowing the young man's orgasm was swiftly approaching, locked one hand into Spencer's as he'd done before and began to whisper in his ear.
"Don't close your eyes this time, Spence. Keep contact with us... with the world. That'll help you stay conscious. Watch Derek's face... focus on how much pleasure it gives him just to be skin to skin with you... stroking you faster and harder... while he does the same to his own cock. Watch his thigh muscles... he's fighting to last a little longer... and he's doing it for you... so he can come when you do."
On the other side, Gideon urged the panting young man back into a reclined position then moved in behind him to be a support so Spencer wouldn't have to do it himself. Then he began to spill his own exhortations into the opposite ear.
"That's good... relax... let yourself feel... that's right... the pulsing, the sensation of his fingers gripping you, sliding up and down... don't fall away this time, Spencer... it's an incredible experience, you don't need to fear it... stay here... stay and feel... yes, open your beautiful eyes... let Derek really see how you're feeling... show him the power rushing through you when you orgasm... show him the joy... that's it, Spencer, that's it... here it comes..."
When he and Spencer both found their release at nearly the same moment, Derek tried to speak, to encourage the younger man, but his rational mind deserted him. All he could manage was moans, hisses and cries of ecstasy. When he realized Spencer was unreservedly echoing his sounds of pleasure, it only made his own orgasm all the more intense.
Braced against Gideon's broad chest and clinging to the fingers that Hotch had once again threaded into his, Spencer writhed, moaned and shouted as his delayed orgasm slammed into him like an eighteen wheeler headed down-hill with no brakes. This time he remained aware not only of the world around him, but of the caring, supportive people easing him into and through the amazing experience. What he didn't know, however, it took Hotch and Gideon several minutes to realize. They stared at each other across their panting young friend, thoroughly embarrassed by the spreading wet patches on their boxers. When they finally did speak up, their voices were filled with quiet awe and the sentences were broken and censored.
"Did you..." Hotch began.
"Yes." Jason responded, a tiny smile gracing his lips.
"And without ever..."
"I was too focused on..."
"I haven't done that since..."
"That's as good a word as any... and much cleaner than some that are running through my head right now..."
Chapter 7: 7
THREE HOURS LATER:
Gradually, reluctantly, Spencer felt himself swimming back up through layers of cotton and fog, rising out of the contented sleep he'd been enjoying. Groaning unhappily, he returned to the world to find himself covered with the top sheet and a comforter. His gloom vanished instantly, however, when he realized he wasn't alone in the warm cocoon. Gazing down at where a dark hand was draped protectively over his midsection, Spencer grinned sleepily and quietly called out his companion's name.
"Derek... Derek, you awake?"
The hand twitched and the other man released a sound of displeasure much like the one Spencer had produced a moment before.
"I am now... lemme guess, if the prince don't sleep, nobody sleeps right?" Derek chuckled.
"Oh no. Tell me there's no valium in the house."
"No, but I can get my hands on some... How you doin', kid?"
"I'm fine. Jason and Hotch..."
"They cleaned up an' took off just after you fell asleep. I tried to get 'em to stay, but Jase insisted it wasn't all three of us you wanted to wake up with."
"He... he was right about that."
"Good to hear." Derek acknowledged, tugging Spencer a little closer. "You know... I've never experienced anything like I did today. None of us have. Jase and Hotch actually got a little shook up there at the end."
Spencer rolled to face Derek and came up onto one elbow, his face awash with concern and regret.
"They were? If I did something wrong or upset them somehow, I didn't mean it..."
"Hey, hey, calm down. I said that wrong, okay? You did fine." Derek soothed, reaching out to touch Spencer's face lightly. "You impressed the hell out of 'em, if you wanna know the truth. Havin' an orgasm without ever bein' touched or touching yourself... that's not somethin' that happens too often."
"I... they... they did?"
"Yeah. You should've seen the two of 'em. Neither one knew what to think about it. Hotch said he hadn't come in his shorts like that since he was a teenager."
"But... why? I'm not sure I understand..."
"Because of you, Spence. The way you moved an' sounded... the way you responded to their touches and words. Trust me, just bein' in the room would've been enough for any guy to lose it. You... are incredibly sexy an' I'm gonna find a way to get that through to you."
"Just looking in your eyes... I can see you believe that. I just... I don't..."
"Shhh." Derek told him, laying a gentle hand over Spencer's lips. "It'll take time to change your mind, I know.... but I will. Somehow, some way, I will."
Spencer lightly kissed Derek's fingers then gripped the hand tightly.
"Thank you for keeping your promise... for being here when I woke up. That meant so much."
"As if I could be anywhere else."
Slowly, Spencer's eyes widened and his expression filled with amazement. His throat tightened momentarily and when he found his voice again he could only speak in an awed whisper.
"This... you didn't just do all this to help me, because we're friends. There's more..."
"No, don't try and protect me, Derek. I can handle what you're feeling. Just say it... please."
"It's not that easy. You don't really know who I am... who I've been." Derek began, sitting up fully.
"So talk to me."
"I date, I make love, I let the good times roll... but I don't fall. One of my boyfriends, he told me "Derek Morgan might play, but he don't stay." That's been my motto for so many years... then you come along and all of a sudden... thoughts are goin' through my head that scare the shit outta me."
"What was he like as a kid? Where does he live? Should I try to get him to move in with me, or convince him to let me live with him? If all he's got is a tiny apartment, whose furniture do we keep? Who do I call about a commitment ceremony? How do I tell him I love him when I don't even think he's sure we're friends?"
Spence was silent and somber for several minutes, gripping Derek's hand fiercely while tears shimmered at the corners of his eyes. Just when Derek's heart had begun to sink and he was sure Spencer was about to leap up and sprint away, the younger man spoke again and both fell onto their sides, embracing and bellowing relieved laughter.
"My place is a shoebox, we're definitely living here... and I'd like to keep my bookcases and my Lazyboy recliner."
"You got it, kid... anything you want..."
"One more thing?"
"Call me babe, call me sweetheart, call me hot stuff if you feel like it... but no more 'kid'. I'm not a child anymore... not after today."
"Oh, I know you're all man. Or did you forget how I proved that earlier..." Derek purred, dipping his face into the hollow of Spencer's throat and drawing a deep breath. His young lover shivered and let his head fall back.
"Mmmm... I like that... my, uhhh... my education isn't... complete is it?"
"No... and it doesn't have to be... not until you're ready."
"God, you make me feel so good... so strong and desirable..."
"You are... you are. I desire you, Spence. More than you could possibly know... but it's not about what I want or need. You come first... before anything else." Derek vowed, shifting up and locking gazes with the younger man. "You decide if you're ready for anything more. You know I'll back off if you tell me to."
"I need more information before I make my choice. Why don't you tell me about this final step... describe it to me." Spencer asked, a wicked smile playing on his lips.
"In full... graphic... detail?" Derek responded, punctuating his words with kisses.
"You're not stupid... an' you're not a mediaphobe either. You know the basic process..."
"Agreed... but I may be about to trust you with guiding me through a watershed moment in my life. I need more than what goes where, Derek."
"Like will it hurt?"
"Like that." Spencer replied, the faintest tinge of fear now coloring his expression and his tone of voice.
"A little. You'll need to stretch to take me in and the first time... it aches. No way around that."
"Stretch... with your fingers, right?"
"Yeah, to start. I've used my tongue before, too. That... that can be seriously hot, especially if your partner's receptive and willing to experiment a little."
"I will be, I think... just not today. Not yet... Fingers?"
"Okay... First, I take a few drops of lubricant and warm it up between my fingers. Then I slip my hand down behind your balls and start to rub it around a little, just to get you relaxed. When I can feel you're ready, I slip just the tip of one finger inside you and move it in and out, really slowly... and I twist it back and forth to start the stretching..."
Spencer half closed his eyes, shifted on the bed and whimpered faintly. "You okay?"
"No... I'm getting... an erection again... I need you, Derek..."
"You want show and tell, that it?"
Spencer nodded. Derek hesitated, feeling himself begin to tremble, which shocked him. Sex hadn't made him truly nervous for a long, long time and it took him a minute or two to understand why this partner and this situation was making him so anxious: this man wasn't just any warm body and this time, he couldn't walk away afterwards and go whistling back to his life with barely a thought and no repercussions or regrets.
"Yeah... yeah, I'm here. Sorry. It's just... it hit me how much it's gonna mean to me if I say yes to you. Like I told you, Spence, I'm a player... always have been. If I let this happen I'll never be one again. I know what you said, an' I believe you, I do, but... are you really ready for this? Are you sure you're ready to be in a committed relationship? I mean... you're so young and so new to all this. There's so much you haven't seen and done when it comes to dating, sex, love... I couldn't stand it if I thought I was robbin' you of even the smallest thing you deserve to experience..."
"I was ready ten minutes after I first met you, Derek, and anything I'm missing, I trust you to give me. I don't want to date anyone else or make love with anyone else. I'm too smart to waste my time that way... when all I'll do is end up right back where I belong."
"God, I love you, sweetheart..." Derek murmured on a shaky exhale, dropping a soft kiss on Spencer's brow then pulling back with a quiet laugh to stare down into the immeasurable depths of his lover's eyes. "Just saying those words doubles how petrified I am right now, but you know what? I couldn't care less... Okay. Okay, Spence... if you want show an' tell, that's what you get..."
Getting to his feet, Derek swiftly stripped off his t-shirt and boxers then reached out and pulled the concealing bed-covers down and off, exposing the body he adored. He barely stopped himself from proclaiming Spencer's beauty again, but he managed, knowing the other man would only brush off the sentiment once more. The work that would result in Spencer truly believing how striking and alluring he was needed to be done outside the bedroom, and at the moment Derek couldn't think about anything except where they were and what was, hopefully, about to happen. Sliding back onto the bed, he leaned forward, braced himself on his fists and dropped his face down over Spencer's for a deep, intoxicating kiss. When he finally pulled back, both men were flushed and breathing heavily. "I've been hungry for that all day... watchin' you kiss those other two just about drove me insane..."
"Was it alright? I mean..."
Derek grasped Spencer's hand gently, directed it down to where his own erection was slowly regaining strength and held it there for a few seconds. To his shock, when he released his grip, his lover didn't retreat.
"That answer your question?"
"Completely. Wow.... oh my God... is it... do I feel like this?"
"I don't know." Derek replied, kissing his way down to Spencer's chest. "Describe it..."
"Heat... pouring off you. I can feel your pulse... that's so amazing..."
"Mm-hmm... amazing is exactly how you feel. An' that pulse? Wait 'till that's inside you. Feels like you've got two hearts. Keep goin'... what else?"
"Sweat... I didn't know you could... sweat there... oh, yes... more of that, please..."
"I noticed you were sensitive here... God, Jase was so right... you do taste incredible..."
"Oh... oh, it's getting worse... I'm... I'm leaking..."
"I know, baby... I know... I can feel you against my hip... long an' strong, hot an' heavy... wanna get that inside me one a'these days... feel you push into me 'till you can't go any deeper... then slide in an' out... speed up, slow down over an' over... keepin' me on the edge 'till you decide the time is right to finish me off..."
"Derek, for God's sake... you know what words do to me..."
"An' I love seein' it. Hey, did I *ever* claim I played fair?" he responded with a wicked grin. "You gotta let me go for a minute so I can get the supplies..."
Reluctantly, Spencer complied and Derek reached over the side, grabbing the tote bag and pulling it onto the bed. He retrieved the condoms and lubricant Hotch had provided and tossed the bag back to the floor. "Okay... here we go... relax for me, Spence... open up your legs... that's it... slow an' easy... just touching for now... yeah... good. Relax..."
"Oh! Ohhhh... God, Derek, that's..."
"There... feel the muscle gettin' loose? Little by little... nice. More lube... I slip right in... Easy, Spence..." Derek told him calmly as the young man seized up around the invader. "If you get really scared you know what to do..."
"S... special word..."
"That's right. Don't be ashamed to use it if you have to, alright?"
"I... I'm fine... so far... it feels good... strange, but... good..."
"I haven't moved my hand yet. Let me in, baby... yeah... let me go a little deeper... that's it... now out, back in... and twist."
"Mmmm... Oh, Derek... yes... yes, yes... Derek..."
"I'm probably gonna have to use at least three fingers, Spence." The older man warned. "That's gonna burn and sting at first, but it gets better once your muscles adjust. Can you handle that?"
"I want you... want this... I'll do anything to... have you inside me... a part of my body... like you are my heart... I can take it. Do it, Derek... do it..."
"Yeah... we'll get into being careful where and how you say that later on." He laughed, gently removing his finger. Spencer protested, but the other hushed him. "Relax. I just wanna get you over on your side before I go any further. It'll be easier that way. You'll be sore enough tomorrow as it is without strainin' your back."
"Oh... okay. Just hurry, please? I really liked how that felt..."
"So did I, believe me." Derek responded huskily, helping Spencer roll over, gently positioning the younger man. When he slowly re-entered his lover's body, it was with two digits this time and the younger man hissed. "Ease up, Spence... lemme in... there... good..."
"It... it does burn... a little..."
"I know. Hang in, okay? Be strong..."
Another few minutes and Derek was able to insert a third finger with relative ease. He considered seeking out and stroking Spencer's prostate to ease the ache a bit, but decided to save that wonderful surprise for what came next.
"Hey... you doin' alright?"
"Yes... it's better... I hardly feel the... the burn anymore..."
"That means it's about time for the main event, then. You're nice an' open... stretched out..."
"Mmmm... I can feel it... I'm ready for you... want you so much, Derek..."
Ripping open the condom packet, Derek quickly encased his cock in the sheath and lavishly covered the latex with the remainder of the lubricant. Reaching around, he palmed Spencer's cock and whispered lovingly in his ear.
"Okay... when I start, your erection's gonna fade some... but don't be worried. It'll come back with a vengeance once you get used to havin' me inside."
"I-I understand... now please..."
"I love you, Spencer Reid..."
"Love you... ahhhh! Derek..."
"Easy... let yourself adjust, Spence... yeah. You feel so good, baby... like we were made for this... perfect fit... gonna get a little deeper now..."
Spencer tried to speak, but found his voice wouldn't obey his commands. He was reduced to grunts and murmurs of pleasure as Derek gradually pressed in a bit at a time, until finally their hips were molded together and a dark chest lay flush against a pale back. As his discomfort died away to be replaced with intense pleasure, Spencer closed his eyes and began producing the unconscious, rumbling hum that had so delighted Hotch and Gideon. Feeling the sound vibrate through their skin-to-skin connection, Derek gasped and shivered. "So that's what they were talkin' about... hell, Spence... never known anything like it..."
Retreating until he was halfway out, Derek thrust back in slowly, but with the multiple sensations assaulting him, he knew he wouldn't be able to stay at that tempo very long. Stroking Spencer's rapidly recovering erection, he made his next pull and push a little harder and quicker. "Spence... baby, I'm so close... I need to really move... you okay with that?"
An unsteady nod against his shoulder was all the answer Derek received and all he needed. In moments his thrusts were strong and regular and Spencer was supplementing his hum with occasional groans and cries. What emerged when his lover finally caressed his prostate, however, was a full blown scream that freed his voice box at last.
"D-Derek! Oh my God... again!"
"My pleasure... and yours..."
"Yes! God, Derek, yes... yes, yes, yes... make me come, Derek! Stroke me harder... like that... I'm coming... don't stop, Derek, I'm coming!"
"Me too, babe... feel it, Spence... two hearts... two hearts... you an' me forever..."
"Love you, Spence... love you..."
Chapter 8: Epilogue
MONDAY, EARLY AFTERNOON:
"So what do you think? Should we do a press release with or without the victim picture? J.J.? Hey, I'm over here."
"What? Oh... sorry, Elle. I was distracted..."
"I noticed. Don't tell me you're crushing on Spencer..."
"Me? Hardly. Someone else seems to be, though."
Elle glanced discreetly in the direction of the pair that had ensnared her colleague's attention to the exclusion of all else. Looking back to J.J., Elle grinned and shook her head.
"Morgan? The ladies man of all ladies men? Please! I *don't* think so."
"I do. Look again..."
Elle complied, despite firmly believing J.J needed a few hours of extra sleep. A more careful study of Morgan and Spencer shifted her perspective, however.
"Well... No, c'mon. They *are* friends, you know. There's nothing more going on..."
"Yeah? What was that then?"
"You didn't see that? Just before he walked off, Morgan kissed his fingers and then he *stroked* Reid's wrist!" J.J whispered excitedly.
"He did not! Derek was... wiping his mouth, that's all..."
"Wiping what? It's way past lunch."
Elle glanced at the men once more, but her expression had gradually moved from disbelief to confusion. Her uncertain response reflected how she was feeling.
"Yeah, and I know who he's drooling over..."
"J.J. stop!" Elle hissed, giggling, but hiding her face. "Hotch would kick *both* our asses if he heard us!"
"Heard what?" Hotch intoned wryly from behind the women. Both glanced up at him with guilty smiles.
"Nothing..." Elle began, only to be overridden by the more open and candid J.J.
"Morgan's flirting with Spencer, I know it, but she refuses to believe me."
Hotch stared at the floor for a long time then finally answered in a quiet, affectionate tone.
"I'm only telling you this because I know you both genuinely care about Spence and I can trust you to keep your mouths shut..."
Elle gaped. J.J. grinned broadly.
"He *was* flirting! How totally cool is that..."
"It's gone way beyond that stage." Hotch corrected. "The feeling is also mutual."
"No way! How do you know?"
Hotch merely smiled and gave the ladies a gentle admonishment in lieu of an answer.
"Get back to work, you two. And remember..."
"Not a word. We won't, I swear..." Elle murmured as Hotch strolled away. She managed to regain her focus and for the remainder of the afternoon work went smoothly, but at six o'clock, as she was walking across the parking garage to her car, she saw Morgan unlocking his own vehicle and could no longer resist resolving her tangled emotions. As Elle slowly approached, Derek saw her reflection in his car window and turned to greet her with a bright smile. The grin faded when he caught her expression.
"Elle? What's up?"
She studied him carefully for a moment before she responded with a sad smile of her own and a question that was half regretful and half warm and tender.
"My God... they were right. You and Spencer are in love aren't you?"
"What? I don't know what you're talkin' about..."
"It's okay. I won't tell anyone. You know that. I'm just... can I give you one kiss? Just on the cheek..."
"Yeah... of course. Go ahead."
Elle dropped a soft peck on the left side of his face and pulled back reluctantly, tears shimmering at the corners of her eyes. Derek looked even more confused and reached out to grasp her hand.
"Hey, what's this all about huh? You've never been one for waterworks."
"Pay no attention. I'm just feeling like a fool, I guess... finally seeing the risks I didn't take, the opportunities I passed on."
"No. I'm really happy for both of you. I hope you can believe that."
"He's so amazin', Elle... special beyond anything I ever thought I'd find. If you or I had jumped a little quicker, maybe things woulda been completely different, but..."
"No apologies for being in love, Derek."
"There was never intent to cause you pain..."
"Forget it, okay?" she chuckled brokenly through the tears that had now spilled over and begun to streak down her face. "It's not your fault that I'm always one step from catching up to the perfect guy. Story of my life..."
Gently, she hugged him and kissed him once more, whispering in his ear before she pulled away. "You take care of him and *always* treat him right or I will kick your ass to D.C. and back."
Their little fingers curled around each other and they both tugged slightly. Elle released his hand and walked away without saying anything more. His heart aching, Derek watched her go until he could no longer distinguish her from the shadows in the dimly lit garage, then he climbed into his car and sat for a long time, silently thanking God for what he'd found and praying that someday Elle would be as lucky.