Spencer cackled louder than he meant to, alerting the team of his drunken stupor. He was on his fourth heavy glass of wine and Hotch watched Agent Anderson and another agent, a woman whose name he didn't know, make sure Spencer stayed upright. He wasn't a heavy drinker and it didn't take much for him to become impaired. Despite that Hotch saw him sneak Anderson's drink to his lips. He downed half of it before the other man noticed.
"Alright, smartass," Grant smiled. "Let's see if you can answer trivia now!"
"Even drunk I can still smoke your asses," Spencer grinned. Oh, yeah, he was intoxicated. "Besides, my blood alcohol content is only 0.11% right now!" Okay, maybe not. "I may not be able to drive a car but I am still sexually competent." He winked at his companions. Definitely drunk.
JJ and Penelope joined Hotch and Haley. "Should we cut him off?"
"He never lets loose like this. I think he needs it after Harris," Haley looked confused but knew better than to ask questions. "Besides, Agent Anderson and..."
"Agent Moore. Elizabeth." JJ supplied.
"Right. Agents Anderson and Moore are more than capable of handling him."
Throughout the night the team retreated away from the bar and off the dancefloor to where Hotch and Haley had originally set up camp to take a break. They watched Spencer, unaware of his ability to drink. Even if his drinking abilities didn't reach over to his ability to hold said drinks. He stood to use the restroom and fell back in his seat. Anderson laughed loudly, drunk but not quite as inebriated as Spencer.
"Grant!" He whined like a child.
"C'mon, Spencer," He helped the lanky man up. "You're lucky I have to pee, too."
Spencer put his weight on the agent. Anderson practically had to drag him all the way to the bathroom. Spencer got handsy when drunk, based on the way his fingers played with Anderson's hair and shirt collar.
They came back five minutes later. Penelope brought over a glass of water and some nachos. "You sure you can handle Boy Wonder, Anderson?" She asked.
He laughed, guiding the water into Spencer's hands. "Trust me, Penelope, I can handle him. You go have fun. I'll make sure he doesn't drink anymore."
"You never let me have fun!" Spencer groaned.
Penelope laughed and left to rejoin the team. The table dwindled once more as people got their second wind. It was early for the night to end, or for Spencer to be as drunk as he was. He was starting to sober up the slightest bit, happily munching on nachos.
Morgan rejoined the dance floor, Hotch and Haley eager to join. Penelope watched them all carefully, inquisitively. JJ passed Spencer and his friends, ruffling his hair as she passed to play a game of darts with some strangers.
She had beaten them for the second time in a row when her phone vibrated. A case. She sighed, going on to rally the troops.
By the time she'd alerted everyone else the word had made its way to Spencer, Grant, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth bid her goodbyes, grabbing a taxi. Grant was in the middle of helping Spencer up when JJ and Hotch found them.
"Don't worry, I have a key to his apartment. I'll get him cleaned up, get his go-bag, and bring him to Quantico. One hour?"
"Yeah... Uh, yes, that's perfect. Thanks, Anderson," JJ smiled and he reciprocated. The team watched him drag Spencer out of the bar, leaning on one another.
"I never knew Anderson and Spence were so close," JJ muttered.
"Grant Anderson. And I didn't either."
But they didn't have time to think about that, and they all rushed off to their next case.
"Hey, love," Grant yelled through their apartment. "Your phone's blowing up, I think you've got a case!"
He could hear Spencer groan from the kitchen. "What does it say?"
He picked up Spencer's phone and unlocked it, a text from JJ covering the screen. "Three young men murdered in Oklahoma, bodies found with left ear cut off. Gotta be at the base in 30 minutes."
Spencer peeked his head into their room where Grant was still getting dressed. He smiled at the Star Trek boxers.
"I'm sorry," He said. "I know we were supposed to get breakfast this morning."
"We'll get it when you come back," Grant smiled. "But we can still drive in together. I have files piling up so an extra hour won't hurt my work or my paycheck."
He walked over to Spencer and wrapped his arms around his neck. Spencer was considerably taller than Grant, the latter being able to easily hide his face in the former's neck. They stayed silent around each other for a moment.
"Mm," Spencer sighed. "Do we have to go?"
"Don't pretend the severed ears don't excite you, Doctor Reid. I know your brain is already swarming with theories."
"Hmph. You know me too well, Agent Anderson."
They grinned, heading out the door hand in hand.
"I really didn't know Reid and Anderson were so close," Emily muttered over her cup of coffee. JJ, Rossi, and her were sitting in the bullpen, watching the two men exit the elevator together. They finished their conversation before going separate ways.
"Morning!" Reid smiled, shocking all of them.
"Since when are you a morning person, kid?" Rossi asked.
"Oh, I'm not; I'm a night owl. But Grant and I had a really interesting discussion on the way into work today. Hey, did you know that the phrase night owl was originally used in the 15th century to simply describe owls, all the way until the 18th century when it became a phrase for nocturnal humans?"
"So, I see you don't need coffee, then?" JJ laughed.
"Coffee!" He exclaimed. "I finished mine on the way here. I'm gonna grab some before we debrief. Don't start without me!" He ran off toward the kitchen, empty coffee cup in hand.
The remaining profilers laughed. "Just wait till he hears that Garcia brought doughnuts!" Emily said. Rossi and JJ followed her into the briefing room, everyone else sans Reid waiting in there.
"Where's Reid?" Hotch asked.
"Where do you think?" Rossi said. "Kid's by the coffee machine getting his fix."
"Did I actually see him run into the kitchen?" Morgan asked. "What's got the kid in such a good mood he's willing to run?"
JJ shrugged. "I dunno, but did you know he carpools with Anderson?"
"I've noticed they've become friends since around the Hankel case."
JJ tutted softly. "I told him it might help if he had friends who weren't on the team. I suppose he didn't look very far before he found one."
"At least our Wonder Boy found a good friend! Anderon's a sweetie," Penelope said. "And it's nice that he isn't taking the metro every day anymore. I've seen him come in with Anderson a few times."
"I didn't even know they lived close to each other," Emily said. "When I started I looked through some personnel files," She ignored Hotch's raised eyebrows. "And he lived the opposite direction of Quantico from Reid."
"Maybe one of them moved?"
"Not Reid. I'm alerted of all address changes for direct subordinates," Hotch said. "Nonetheless, it's hardly our business. Shall we get started?"
"Reid told us not to start without him. He'll only be a minute." JJ said. Penelope's fast typing was the only sound in the room, everyone waking themselves with coffee and doughnuts.
"Ah," She said after a moment. "Anderson did move! They live in the same apartment complex."
There were various murmurs of makes sense and oh, I see before Reid joined them.
"I'm here!" He said. "I said not to start without me-Ooh, are those doughnuts?"
"Yes! I saved one specifically for you, 187," Penelope grinned.
"Frosted with sprinkles!"
"Yes!" He sat down, munching on the doughnut while the team watched on affectionately.
Penelope ruffled his hair and grabbed her remote. "Alright, as the text our lovely liaison sent out, we have three bodies. All men, all missing their left ears..."
Grant leered into Hotch's office from the bullpen. Stoic as he was, the people around him could read his emotions better than he could sometimes. Hotch clenched his jaw and when he hung up the phone he slammed it onto his desk. He rubbed at his eyes, took a deep breath, then yelled out a command to some rookie agent.
Someone was hurt. Hotch didn't yell at subordinates unless they needed reprimanding or someone on his team was in danger.
Grant did a quick mental track of where everyone was.
Prentiss and Rossi were working with biohazard to evacuate a block that potentially was exposed. Jareau was still in her office, trying to control the media. Garcia was in her own office, tracking purchases and old arrest records for suspects. Morgan and Spencer were going to search the house of their main suspect.
Garcia and Jareau were safe. There was no question about that. Prentiss and Rossi were at slight risk, being in the general area. Morgan and Spencer... Grant couldn't think clearly about them.
He tentatively went up to Hotch's office.
"Sir, is everything okay?"
Hotch looked up, not noticing Grant having come in. "Everything will be fine."
"That doesn't answer my question," He hesitated. "Is... Is Spencer okay?" Logically he knew he shouldn't ask a question like that. Their relationship wasn't a secret but had also never been explicitly stated. They worked with profilers - there was no way the team didn't know about the two of them. More of a Don't Ask Don't Tell. The question was entirely unprofessional and showed a disregard to Spencer's teammates.
He stared in anticipation, Hotch glancing back down at the phone like it was a reminder.
"He's been exposed," He finally said. "He went into the shed, not knowing there was uncontained anthrax powder. He's locked himself in there, alone, and is trying to find the cure."
Grant shut down for a moment. He stayed silent until Hotch leaned forwards, asking if he was alright.
"When was he exposed?" He asked, not answering Hotch's question. He didn't want to ask that. He wanted to yell - to say that of course, he wasn't alright, his boyfriend of nearly three years was infected with an unknown strain of anthrax that killed everyone up to this point.
"Approximately ten minutes ago."
"And why isn't he in the hospital?"
"Doctor Reid believes the cure is somewhere in the shed. He told me he wouldn't be leaving until he found it, or he could no longer work."
"Well, Spencer, shouldn't be such an idiot. Where is he?"
"Anderson, you don't have the clearance to know that or to go there."
"You're already going," He argued. "You know Spencer will stay there long after he should. I can talk some sense into him. Let me come with."
Hotch shook his head but gestured for Grant to get his things.
"Spencer, you idiot!" Grant yelled as soon as he saw his boyfriend through the small window. He had locked the door so no one could get in. The bags under his eyes seemed bigger than they did this morning. A sheen layer of sweat coated Spencer. "What the hell happened?"
"It was an accident, Grant. I didn't walk in here anticipating getting infected with anthrax."
Grant shook his head, as though to clear it. "Doctor Kimura will be here soon. She'll help you look for the cure and then she is going to drag your ass to the hospital."
"Grant," Spencer whispered. He looked past him and saw Morgan and Hotch. They were whispering furiously to each other, unaware of the men separated by the door. "I love you."
"Don't you dare do this to me, Spencer Reid,"
"Don't make me die without saying what I need to say, Grant Anderson."
Tearfully, Grant nodded.
"I love you. The fact that you could've chosen anyone in the world to spend your time with, but you choose me is unfathomable. I love you, and I am so proud that I can say that. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, no matter how short or long."
"Fuck you!" Grant stage-whispered. "How dare you practically propose to me right now?"
Spencer laughed softly. "I don't have a ring. We can't get married."
"No, you just wait! You're going to find this cure because you are ridiculously smart, and like some kind of goddamn superhero you always do what needs to be done! So you are going to get this cure, you are going to be okay, and then when you are least expecting it I am going to propose to you and you're gonna cry like a baby. And you're going to say yes, and it won't matter if we can legally get married or not because we are going to be together until I die or I kill you for pulling some stupid shit like this again and I end up in jail for murdering a federal agent!"
Grant pressed his thumb up to the windowpane. Spencer did the same. He wasn't sure how long they stood like that until someone tapped on Grant's shoulder.
"Hi, Agent Anderson, is it? I'm Doctor Kimura," Grant was taken aback by the tiny woman in the large hazmat suit. "I'm going to have to ask you to back away while I let myself in."
He quickly wiped at his eyes. Sniffling, he spoke. "Take care in there," Then, quietly, he added, "If he starts to flounder it means he's worse than you think. Don't let him push himself too far, and don't offer him narcotics. He'll say no and it will only upset him."
Kimura nodded, pushing Grant away before she let herself in.
The doctors spoke in hushed tones that Grant couldn't make out. He found himself sitting by a hazard tent, waiting for Spencer. Morgan and Hotch whispered to each other, sending pointed stares to the shed. After a bit Hotch left reluctantly, barking orders over a phone call. Grant wasn't sure how much time had passed when the door shot open, Kimura guiding Spencer to the hazard tent.
"Everyone out of the way!" She called. "Doctor Reid found the cure and has taken it, but he still needs to be scrubbed down and brought to the hospital."
Everyone scrambled out of her way, doctors springing to action to help her. Grant watched, helpless, while Morgan spoke to Spencer through the plastic lining about the state of their case. He seemed reluctant to leave until Spencer pointed towards Grant. He nodded and walked away, giving Grant space to run to Spencer.
"God, you scared the hell out of me!" Grant yelled, ignoring the other people in the tent with Spencer. "Don't you ever do that again!"
"I promise I will try really hard to never again get infected with anthrax poisoning."
"Oh, you bastard!" Grant found himself laughing, and Spencer giggled too.
"I love you, but you will be so much more useful back at Quantico. Go back to base and make sure Hotch doesn't bite the head off of any unsuspecting rookie."
"There is no way I am leaving you, Spencer. I'm gonna see you off to the hospital."
"Grant, they're about to strip me naked and scrub me down. Is that really something you want to see?"
"I mean, we haven't had alone time in two weeks..."
"I'm sorry!" He laughed freely now. "I'll give you privacy, and I'll see you at the hospital."
He blew a kiss that made Spencer blush and ran to his car, determined to arrive there before the ambulance.
Of course, that didn't happen.
When he arrived at the hospital Doctor Kimura was waiting anxiously.
"Agent Anderson!" She called, pulling him into an empty room. "Doctor Reid's condition worsened in the ambulance. I don't want you to worry, we've stabilized him. But I do want to inform you that he developed aphasia en route. He's sleeping now and won't wake up for at least two hours. We're hoping that when he wakes up the aphasia will have reversed itself but at this point, we have no subject pool to base our theories on. Would you like me to bring you to his room?"
"Two hours, you said?" Grant ignored what she said about the aphasia. Spencer would be fine, he decided. At least until he woke up. Then it was a bit of a crapshoot.
"Oh, um, yes. At the very least two hours, but I'm assuming it to be closer to three."
"I will be back in one and a half. Call me if his condition changes - I'm his medical proxy!" Grant ran off, ignoring her confused looks. He had to get something for when Spencer woke up and, hopefully, Spencer wouldn't expect it.
May 2009, continued
Spencer woke up slowly. He was aware of his surroundings before he could see them, slowly opening his eyes. The room he was in was bright and it took a moment before he remembered what happened before he fell unconscious.
Afraid to speak, he looked around the room slowly. He saw a blurry figure on the chair next to his bed, holding something colorful. He blinked a few times and the blurry figure became Grant, nearly asleep and eating Jell-O.
"I want jello," Spencer grumbled, forgetting his fear of aphasia in favor of the fruity dessert. "Can I have some?"
"Spence!" Grant cried, jumping up. He forgot his drowsiness and was up in an instant, checking over Spencer carefully. "Thank God, you're speaking normally. Doctor Kimura told me you had aphasia before you passed out?"
Spencer nodded, making a grabby hand towards the Jell-O.
"Here," Grant laughed. He carefully put the jello in Spencer's hands. If Spencer were more aware of his surroundings or more awake, he would've felt Grant's nerves. "Eat this and I'll get you more once you finish it."
Spencer nodded numbly, not bothering to look down at the food before shoveling in a mouthful.
"Wait! Be careful!" Grant yelled at the same time Spencer made an odd face. He reached towards his mouth slowly. Like a child, he reached inside and pulled out a small object. With awe, he looked down at the glinting metal in between his fingers.
"Is..." He cleared his throat. He was suddenly much more awake. "Is this what I think it is?"
"Well, you're a genius so probably, but you also just survived an anthrax attack. So, what do you think it is?"
Grant smiled sheepishly. "I was right about you not expecting it though, yeah?"
"Grant Anderson, is this a proposal?"
"Spencer Reid, if it is, will it be successful?"
Spencer, as predicted, began to tear up. "Is this a joke? Or a drug-induced hallucination? I told Doctor Kimura I didn't want narcotics!"
"No, my love, it is neither of those things. I am proud to call you my boyfriend, but I want to call you my fiance, and maybe someday my husband. Will you marry me?"
"Yes," He whispered. Then, louder, "Yes!"
Grant took the ring out of Spencer's hands. He carefully washed it and slipped it onto Spencer's extended finger.
"I love you," Grant whispered. "And don't you dare end up in another hospital bed like this again!"
Walking into Quantico together, the two men didn't want to let go of each other's hands. It was like a brand new honeymoon phase, starting since the proposal and still going strong a month later.
"Are you sure you ready to be back?" Grant asked.
"Yes, darling," Spencer laughed. He snuck a quick kiss, well aware of the cameras in the elevator. "I've been out three weeks. Doctor Kimura confirmed at my last appointment that my lungs are fully recovered. I have loved staying home with you, but I'm ready to be back with my team."
The elevator opened up and they stepped away from each other, still professional despite their impending nuptials.
"Lunch today?" Grant asked. "You can tell me how long it takes the team to notice!"
Spencer grinned and nodded, shooing Grant off to his office.
"Pretty Boy!" Derek crooned when Spencer stepped into the office. "I'm glad to see you up and breathing. Doc cleared you for work?"
"Yes, and I have the paperwork to prove it! Hotch doesn't trust me anymore after the whole knee incident."
"You did lie to him about being allowed in the field, Reid," Emily laughed. "But it's good to have you back."
"Thanks, it's good to be back!" He slung his messenger bag on the desk, taking a seat. Despite the gruesome files in front of him, he couldn't help the smile on his face.
"I haven't seen a smile like that on you in a long time. You must be really happy to be back. Maybe you needed this break," Emily joked.
Spencer, grinning even brighter, ran a hand through his hair, trying to draw attention to his hand. "I've felt pretty happy lately. I'm looking forward to the future."
"Well, don't get too happy. You'll jinx us for a case."
"Yeah, we don't want to drag you to the jet your first day back!" Derek laughed. "Now you better get to work on those files. We saved you a few that we thought might pique your interest."
Spencer's smile faded a bit, but he nodded. Derek and Emily walked to their own desks, not commenting on Spencer's ring.
He set to work on his files, even more, shocked when Rossi welcomed him back but didn't comment on the ring either. That man was the king of marriage, and he couldn't even offer congratulations?
Glancing down at his watch, it was too early to take lunch. But he could still drop by Agent Anderson's office to go over some files. Totally professional.
He grabbed a stack of files and stalked off, dismayed at his coworkers' reaction, or lack thereof. Immediately upon entering his office, Grant frowned.
"What's wrong, Spencer? You look upset."
Spencer plopped down in a chair, sighing. "I am! It's stupid, but no one said anything about the ring. I thought this whole time no one said anything because of DADT, but maybe it's because they don't approve?"
"Oh, my love, I'm sure it's nothing like that. They're probably all overjoyed you're back that they managed to miss the ring. Did you mention it to anyone?"
"Well, no, but they're profilers! They noticed when I started wearing a different kind of briefs, but they don't notice an engagement ring?" He hesitated. "Maybe they just... aren't as accepting as I thought."
Grant frowned. No one on the team seemed like a homophobe, let alone everyone on the team. "Why don't you work in here for the rest of the day? We can still go get lunch and if you finish work early we can head out whenever you want. Hell, Hotch will probably encourage it, since it's your first day back."
"No, I don't want to be an inconvenience," Spencer shook his head. "I can work in the bullpen with everyone else."
Grant stood and took the few steps to Spencer. He pulled his fiance over and sat Spencer down in his lap. It was a bit awkward, Spencer being so much taller, but it felt familiar. Spencer melted into Grant, leaning his head on Grant's shoulder.
"This is so unprofessional," Spencer lamented.
"I'll be sure to call HR after you leave."
Spencer snorted, moving his head so he could face Grant. "I love you. Thank you for loving me."
Grant's heart broke a bit at that. "I'll do it every day for the rest of my life if it means I get to breathe the air that you breathe."
Spencer leaned in for a kiss and Grant eagerly closed the gap. He recalled their first kiss, how awkward it had been. Neither man had been expecting it and when it happened, one late night at the office together, they both knew how fucked they were. They'd been together since.
Grant pulled away for a second, before immediately going back to Spencer's lips. He put his hands in Spencer's long locks and started to play with it. Neither of them noticed the door opening until a small shriek sounded through his office.
Spencer, startled, fell off of Grant's lap and onto the floor. "Ow!" He groaned. "Oh, what the hell!"
He looked up and saw JJ and Penelope standing at the entryway. Penelope's scream was louder than he thought, apparently, as various agents came running towards the scene. Quickly, the entirety of the BAU team was there, looking confused.
"What the hell!" Penelope cried. "Oh, my god!"
Spencer frowned. Out of everyone, he assumed Penelope would be the most accepting. Besides Prentiss, who he assumed was a lesbian.
"I know it's a bit of a shock to see me kiss someone but you don't need to act horrified," He glared. Grant helped him off of the floor.
"But... you and-" She pointed at Grant. "And I didn't... men?"
"I understand it's unprofessional to kiss at work, but I was upset and no one typically comes into Grant's office. I won't subject you all to seeing such mutiny in the future."
"Have you done this before, Spence?"
"We try not to make a habit of it, but it has happened a few times."
Grant looked horrified, pleased that Spener was answering the questions.
"I didn't even know you liked men!" Emily cackled. "Oh, my god! I thought I was the only gay member of the team!"
"I'm actually bisexual, but you need to work on your profiling skills. I've never hidden it."
"I didn't know either, Spence," JJ commented.
"Oh, come on! What, did none of you know?"
He was met with blank stares.
"Why didn't you ever tell us?" Penelope asked.
Spencer raised a brow, "What part of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' don't you guys understand? I thought this whole time you guys didn't talk about it because of DADT."
"Wait," Derek interjected. "How long has this - He gestured at the men - been going on?"
"Three years," Grant finally piped up. "As of last month."
"Reid, you understand you're supposed to file the paperwork when you date a fellow agent, right?"
"Hotch, you understand what that would've done to our careers as queer men, right?"
Hotch nodded briefly, looking down.
"Okay, let's just take two ginormous steps back," Penelope said. "I need to know everything! So, you've been together for three years. Do you live together? Do you have pet names? Anderson, does he rant in his sleep? Is he as virginal as everyone thinks because I think our Boy Wonder is a secret freak and-"
"Don't answer that, Grant."
"I think I'll let you take those questions, Spence."
"Traitor," Spencer mumbled. The team crowded into the office, a space much too small for eight people. "We live together and have since May of 2007. Most couples use pet names. I do not rant in my sleep. My sex life is not up for discussion!"
"You do rant in your sleep sometimes, my love," Grant whispered.
"Traitor!" He repeated.
"Ooh! Pet name! What other names do you use?"
"I call him my love, baby, Spence, or sometimes Pen or Penny," Grant answered if only to see Spencer turn that lovely shade of red.
He did exactly that.
"Oh-ho, those last ones are definitely for the bedroom. What does Reid call you?"
"Darling, love, or honey. But he doesn't use them very often."
"Darling," Spencer said through gritted teeth. "I'm going to kill you for treacherous acts." He put a hand on Grant's shoulder, eliciting a soft gasp from JJ, then a loud cry from Rossi.
"Complimenti a tutti e due!" He cried out. "When's the big day?"
Spencer looked down at his hand, then seemed to realize something. "Did none of you notice the ring? You didn't just ignore it?"
"Spencer, I don't think I could ignore that thing if I tried to," Emily laughed. "That is shiny enough you better watch that no crows take it!"
"Congratulations to you both," Hotch said, excusing himself from the unprofessional dialogue. Rossi followed suit.
"When's the wedding! Are we invited?" Penelope asked.
"Oh," Grant said, looking down at his ring. "We don't have a date. We can't get married, not legally."
"Oh, god, of course not! I'm sorry, I didn't even think!"
"It's okay, Garcia. Until we can get married, which is becoming legal in more and more states, then we're just engaged. If it's legal in Virginia then we'll elope. If not, then we'll remain fiances."
Garcia gave them a sad congratulations and excused herself. She dragged Emily along, despite the brunette's reluctance. JJ hugged Spencer and Grant a promised shovel talk before leaving as well.
"I..." Derek hesitated. "I hope you didn't think we ignored this on purpose. We care about you, Reid. We just want you to be happy."
Spencer smiled, the first real smile since he and Grant separated this morning. He squeezed Grant's hands softly. "I am. He loves me, and I love him."