Title: The Ache for Something More
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Genre: Drama, Established Relationship, First Time, Het, Hurt/Comfort, Menage or More, Slash
Relationship(s): Aaron Hotchner/Haley Hotchner, Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid, Haley Hotchner/Spencer Reid, Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid/Haley Hotchner
Content Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Violence – Graphic, Canon Drug Use Discussion of Canon Typical Cases Canon Torture
Beta: Alpha-greeneyesblue, Beta-ScarsLikeVelvet
Word Count: 244,735
Summary: After rescuing Spencer Reid from the hands of Charles Hankel, Aaron invites him to live with him and his family. It starts a journey that none of them were prepared for but none of them want to let go of either.
Aaron tossed his last folder onto the out pile for it to be collected at the end of the day with the rest of his work from the day. It was only Wednesday, but it had been a long week already. Haley was sick, and Jessica had been keeping Jack during the day, and Aaron and Spencer had been picking him up when they got off of work. Today was the first day that Haley had kept Jack all week. She had already texted that she was worn out and was going to go to sleep as soon as Aaron got home. Aaron had food ready to be delivered about half an hour after they got home. It wasn’t that strange for him to do that, so the order wasn’t out of place. Haley would text if she didn’t want to cook, so Aaron made plans.
Looking up at the ceiling, Aaron was glad that he had nothing else to do and that he and Spencer could get going toward home a lot quicker. He knew that Spencer had been done for nearly two hours but was working on some cold cases from other units outside of the BAU. Aaron controlled what was slated to Spencer. Spencer would take them all, and Aaron knew it. Though he had been bringing home less and less work to work on during the evenings. Aaron brought home fewer case files as well, not because of that, but because he had less to do. Dave had stepped up to take on some of the work that should be his as second in command, which was a lot of work off of Aaron.
“You look like you need a stiff drink,” Dave said as he leaned in the doorway to Aaron’s office. He had two glasses of what looked like his good scotch in hand.
“I need this week to be over. I have meetings tomorrow, and I don’t want to do them.” Aaron waved for Dave to move over to the couch and chair in the corner. Aaron pushed himself up and out of his chair to walk over and sit in the chair, shutting the door as he passed. “It’s not after hours.”
“Eh, both of us are done, and really, the BAU is never off duty if we are in the area and aren’t on leave of some kind.”
“This is your talking scotch. You only bring it out when you want to talk.”
“You are very right. I want to talk about the kid.”
“I assume you mean Spencer and not Jack.”
“You assume rightly. I’ve tried to be gentle around the team.”
Aaron raised an eyebrow, and that made Dave laugh as he handed over the scotch.
“I can be gentle.” Dave laughed a little, and Aaron did too.
“What do you want to know about Spencer.”
“See, Jason talked to me about him, and that man that Jason painted and this man that I see are two very, very different people. Then there is the fact that he’s living with you, still. I’ve tried to get someone to tell me about what happened that made him come to stay with you in the first place.”
“Everyone likes him.” Aaron took a sip of his scotch. It was Dave’s really good vintage of the stuff. It burned but was smooth at the same time. “Jason brought him in way too early for the unit.”
“He wanted someone to shape to his way of being; he knew that he was going to leave, and he thought that someone like Reid would be the perfect person to mold into his image.”
“He just discounted the effect that others on the team would have on Spencer. Jason was always hands-off, and when Spencer realized that, he sought out me, and even a little bit Morgan, then Elle. While Elle had been new to the team, she wasn’t new to the FBI. Where Jason tried to teach him through absence, we taught him through actual teaching. Then came Georgia.”
“Georgia. Jason refused to talk to me about that.”
“It’s no wonder. It’s what spelled his downfall. He talked a doctor into hiding the fact that an agent, while in the hands of an UnSub, had been given drugs. According to the doctor, it was evident upon his arrival that he was already mentally dependent on the drugs and needed help. Still, Jason said that the FBI wouldn’t help him and that he would get better care without the FBI knowing.”
“The FBI has programs like that for units that deal with undercover with drugs and other things. It wouldn’t be hard to make sure that he got the appropriate care. It wasn’t like the agent could have helped being drugged.”
“Exactly. We had video confirmation that the agent was handcuffed to a chair with his own handcuffs, and he had been held there the entire time. There was little that could be done to stop that once it happened. Once he was taken, his path was unchangeable, unless we found him. We didn’t, he had to help us. He gave us what we needed after he had been tortured and drugged to find him. We still didn’t find him quick enough, and he ended up having to make the second kill of his career. Only that kill weighed on him. Tobias Hankel’s mind was fractured. He hadn’t tortured the agent, but an alter personality had. Tobias had been the one to give the agent the drugs to help with the torture that the alter had put him though, as he had done in his life as the alter was his father.”
“Damn. And I assume that was Reid?”
“Yes,” Aaron said.
“No wonder he is staying with you.”
“He wasn’t doing well in rehab when he had to live there as well. It was too confining. He was not allowed to go where he wanted, do what he wanted. He’s been alone for a long time. At least staying with Haley and me, it was less like a prison to him. Haley was pretty good about taking him wherever he wanted as he wasn’t allowed alone just in case he bought drugs. Jack started to really like him, and both she and I thought that it was a good thing at the moment to have Spencer stay with us. He’s got two adorable kittens that love him. They snuck into the house, and Spencer fell in love. Two Maine Coon cats, one white with the name of Curiosity and the black one is Midnight. Midnight is a pervert and likes to watch me shower.”
Dave looked like he was near laughing as Aaron talked about Midnight’s favorite activity.
“I hope that she grows out of it, but I don’t hold hope on that. They have the run of the house but prefer to stay down in the basement room that is Spencer’s. It works for us. It helps Haley during the evenings when I have to stay late and work, she gets a little time. Spencer even takes afternoons where I can’t, and he watches Jack while Haley does things. He watches him when she and I have dates. It saved our marriage.”
Dave looked flabbergasted at that, and it was a hard thing to do to him.
“You two had the perfect marriage.”
“You know the divorce rate for the BAU, Dave. We were not that far from it. I tried, but Haley was fed up with the life I was living away from her. It wasn’t just Spencer that changed it, but it was started because of him being taken. Haley knew that one of my team had been taken. She got a wake-up call, I think. She started to go to a support group for spouses of law enforcement officers from beat cops to high up in the agencies. I give in a little more, and your help with paperwork has helped a lot.”
“JJ was the one that brought up some of the more sensitive things about why you were not staying as late as you used to be and seemed to make it like if I didn’t have someone to go home to, I needed to step up.”
Aaron took another drink of his scotch, a little bigger than the first. It was a damned good scotch.
“I asked Reid why he was staying with you, even now.”
“How did that go?”
“I got a half an hour lecture about family models that are alive across the globe that have multi-family houses. Ones that the US has gotten away from. There was also something about it takes a village to raise a child.”
“And what did you learn?”
“That he was unwilling to talk about it.”
“It’s more that he’s private,” Aaron said. He drained his scotch and set the glass down. “He had a minor freak out when we went to Virginia Beach because he wasn’t freaked out that I had packed up his things for the trip.”
“I would freak out about someone packing my underwear,” Dave pointed out. He drained his glass of scotch and set it down on the coffee table. He leaned back on the couch and relaxed. “So, you look at him as a son?”
“No, a good friend. I don’t have anywhere near the same type of feelings toward Spencer that I have toward Jack.”
Dave nodded his head. There was a knock on Aaron’s door before either one of them could say another thing.
“Come in!” Aaron called out as he stood up. The door opened up, and Spencer popped his head inside. He froze a little when he looked at Aaron’s desk, and he wasn’t there. “Over here, Spencer.”
Spencer’s head turned quickly toward where Aaron was. “Oh, sorry. I’ll come back.”
“No, no. It’s fine. Dave and I were nearly done. What do you need?”
“I’m going to get a coffee from the canteen, and then we can go.”
“Grab me a hot chai latte with a shot of espresso.”
“OH, that sounds that good. I’ll get one of those for myself. How long until we leave?”
“I’ll work on getting ready for when you get back.”
Spencer nodded, his eyes shining with happiness and anticipation. He shut the door again as he stepped back out of the office.
“I don’t think I have ever seen anyone who wanted to go home that much unless it was after a case.”
“He and Jack have a date to go to Capital One Arena for the Caps game versus Tampa Bay.”
“He’s into hockey? And Jack is?”
“Jack loves it. They watched a good bit of it before the season ended last year. They didn’t get to the playoffs, so it ended in April. Every single night that Spencer is home, they watch a game. Jack mostly stays up for them. It’s adorable, really. I think he might like it better than soccer and he loves kicking the soccer ball around.”
“I can’t see him watching hockey.”
“I have no clue how it started, but it started, and it’s a little weird, but it’s part of him. Now, it’s not exactly a big thing that he makes known to anyone.”
“He was bullied for it in school; I am unsure if it was high school or college, but given his favorite team before moving here was the LA Kings, I would say just college. It’s not that hard though to see why he might like it, his mind and the points and the intricate movements of the puck, skaters, sticks.” Aaron stood up and grabbed the glass to hand it over to Dave as he stood up.
“He was bullied a lot, wasn’t he?” Dave asked.
“He once told me that I kicked like a nine-year-old girl because he was a twelve-year-old prodigy in a Las Vegas public high school.”
“No wonder no one wants to talk about him behind his back. I’m glad you told me, though. That would be something I would need to know.”
“Oh, I agree. I was waiting for you to ask.” Aaron gave Dave a grin.
Dave took his leave from Aaron, and Aaron moved over to his desk to start to clean up and get ready to leave. He was packed and ready before Spencer got back. So Aaron texted him to meet at the car, and he grabbed Spencer’s messenger bag before slinging it over his shoulder.
“Heading out?” Morgan asked.
“Reid said he had a date with Jack?”
“Yeah, they are going out to dinner so that Haley doesn’t have to deal with a child tonight or worry about food.” Aaron didn’t mind lying to Morgan about things that he really didn’t need to know, and if he told Morgan didn’t need to know, it would make it something that Morgan would want to know. He would dig.
“That sounds wonderful,” JJ said with a smile on her face.
“Yeah, I think it sounds like a good evening. I plan on getting some takeout and opening a bottle of red and letting Haley just relax this evening.” Aaron opened the glass doors and stepped out. “Goodnight.”
Aaron heard the rest of the team call out goodbyes as well as a few other agents from other teams. He felt his phone vibrate and he pulled it out as the elevator doors opened up. He let himself into it and pressed the floor that he needed before seeing that Spencer was at the car and waiting.
It wasn’t long before Aaron got to the car, Spencer was leaning against the trunk of the car with the lid popped. It wasn’t all that strange to Aaron to see him like that. It was his normal place to wait, no matter if the trunk was open or not. Aaron looked in the passenger seat to see three cups in the cup carrier. He wondered what Haley had wanted him to get that wouldn’t get cold on the way home.
“What did Haley want?”
“Chai latte, but she likes it hot and cooled down.”
“It brings out more of the spices with the steaming process,” Aaron said.
Spencer gave Aaron a grin before he opened up the passenger seat door before getting in. Aaron dropped the bags into the trunk and closed the lid before moving to the driver’s seat. He sat down, and Spencer handed over the drink that was for Aaron. It was still warm, and while it wasn’t that cold outside yet, it was a cool day, and even with his suit jacket, Aaron was a little chilled. He would have to get his warmer suits out.
“So I wanted to ask you something,” Spencer said as he fiddled with the heater to get it warm on him.
Aaron had already blocked off the ones on his side of the car, so while he got a little warmth from the air moving around the inside of the car, it wasn’t full-on blasting him.
“Sure. You can ask me anything, Spencer.” Aaron knew that it wasn’t a big thing because Spencer wasn’t acting nervous.
“What do you and Haley do for Halloween?”
Aaron was glad that he was at a point where he could look at Spencer while driving. He glanced at the younger man before looking back at the road.
“Well, we don’t decorate much. Usually, Haley carves a pumpkin the weekend before. This year we plan on taking Jack out. Why?”
“I love Halloween. This is the first time that I’ve lived in a house and could decorate.”
Aaron smiled, and he was pretty sure that someone looking at him would call him sappy. “And you want to know if you can decorate our place?”
“And hand out candy. That way kids won’t have one less house on the street. I think it would be a lot of fun. Kids didn’t come to my area because there were no houses, and no one sat outside of the apartments and handed it out. I found that out my first year there.”
“I’m shocked you waited this long to ask.”
“Well, I’ve been looking online and figuring everything out. I have a diagram of where I want to stick everything and even a mockup of what it will look like using a picture of the house and cut and paste images of the items.”
Even without seeing it, Aaron was pretty sure that the plan that Spencer had was going to be more in-depth than some of the tactical plans that Aaron had put together for SWAT when he had been in the unit. It was going to make for an interesting look to the house. There were a few other houses along the street that went all out, and Aaron loved looking at them. Halloween had never been that big of a holiday but it seemed that for Spencer it was. Though given it was so close to his birthday, Aaron wasn’t shocked.
“I look forward to it. If we don’t get called out on a case this weekend, we can go shopping. Haley and I can pick up costumes then, as well. We have not decided what we want to dress as yet.”
“Oh, that will be cool. I have the three stores I need to go to, but one of them I only need a single thing so I could leave early with Jack today and pick that up. It’s on the way to the arena.”
“You know the fact that you have two season ticket sets really confounds me.”
“I resell the tickets I can’t use because of cases and whatnot, or I just don’t feel like going. Since they are glass by the Capitals bench, they sell well. I get two because I like to take friends on occasion or give a game night as a gift to various people. Also, if I want to go alone, the seat next to me is empty, which is nice.”
“Sometime, when Haley is feeling better, you and I will have to go to a game.”
“I know who has the tickets to the seats beside me. We could all four go. I’ve swapped with them before when they had a group of four.”
“That could be fun. Haley would be appalled at how they treat each other.”
“Oh, I’ve seen some fun fights.”
Aaron listened as Spencer described some of the fights that he had seen as well as great plays. Aaron felt a warmth inside of his body form, listening to Spencer as he moved from hockey to Halloween. It was very, very interesting how many things Spencer kept to himself so that no one ever saw him as he was and made fun of him for it. Aaron really wanted to just smack every single person who had shaped Spencer into the timid being he was when it came to anything personal. It was a strange thing to see Spencer like he was at this moment, freer than he had ever been as far as Aaron’s knowledge.
It wasn’t until they were at the exit that would take them home that Aaron realized what feeling he was feeling inside. It wasn’t friendship, and it wasn’t brotherly love. It was a very different kind of love that Aaron had felt for Haley early on. It wasn’t nearly as fresh of a feeling, and Aaron felt a little like an idiot for not noticing it before now.
Aaron focused on the drive home and pushed those thoughts away. He made it all the way into the driveway before they broke free again. He watched Spencer as he grabbed Haley’s drink and handed it to her as she came outside with Jack. Jack was jumping up and down at Spencer’s feet with a tiny Washington Capitals jersey already on. Aaron thought he looked adorable. Aaron looked at Spencer again and sighed. He knew that feeling inside of himself, and he hated it. He hated the feeling that he was betraying Haley when he hadn’t meant to. It felt like a betrayal of the highest order, and Aaron wasn’t going to do that. Not to himself and especially not to Haley.
Spencer slipped into the backseat of the car and handed off Aaron’s coffee, Haley’s chai, and kept his coffee to himself. He slid Jack’s kid’s sized hot chocolate out of the cup carrier and slipped it between his knees. It wasn’t very warm at all, really, but it was good enough for Jack. Spencer took a drink of his coffee before he picked up Jack’s drink and turned it so that Jack could take a small drink of it. They were going pumpkin picking to carve them for Halloween the next week.
What had started out as Spencer just wanting one good Halloween in a house with really cool decorations had turned into a significant affair. Haley had found a place that you could go and pick your own pumpkins. Now they were out while it was barely light, and they were driving an hour to get where they needed to be.
“Oh, Spencer, here,” Haley said as she turned around in the car to hand back something. Aaron started to back the car out of the spot that they had parked in.
Spencer took it and realized that it was fingerless gloves that were pretty damn thick. They were also purple with pumpkins on them.
“And just in case you have the same quirk with gloves as you do socks.” Haley handed back another pair that was orange with black witches on them. The tags and swift tack had already been removed from them.
“Oh, these are cool.”
“Yes, she bought enough for the whole family,” Aaron said.
The word family still made Spencer’s gut churn a little at the thought. He had a family now. He still wasn’t sure what kind of family they were, but even he had started to call them that.
Spencer leaned forward to see that Aaron’s was on his leg. They were black with ghosts on them. It was very strange to see the comical gloves on Aaron’s thigh. Spencer had always known that the persona that Aaron wore at work was different than the one that he had to wear around Haley. There was no way that he could be like that at home and still have a life. Yet it was strange to see him dropping it all to show it to Spencer. Spencer was sure that one day, he would not feel that way, but he always hoped that he valued the family that had let him join them.
“Drink!” Jack demanded.
Spencer turned away from his thoughts and looked back at Jack. He held the cup up again and let Jack guide him on how much he wanted to drink. Jack was getting a lot better at feeding himself as well as drinking without spilling. Haley was great as she didn’t mind the messes that Jack made as he learned. Spencer had seen a lot of mothers that coddled the kid and didn’t want the clothes getting dirty at all. So they made sure that the kids couldn’t make any mess by feeding them or keeping them on a bottle longer than needed because it was easier on them.
Haley was a wonderful mom, just like Spencer’s had been before she had gotten sicker.
“Spencer, you didn’t go home for your birthday,” Haley said when Aaron pulled them out onto the highway. She turned to where she could look at Spencer.
“No, I didn’t. Mom got sick, and she didn’t want visitors. We talked on Doctor Norman’s phone on my birthday, though. I’ve already put in notice with Aaron that I’ll be heading to see her the team’s first weekend down where we are not on call. We are only not on call today and covering tomorrow for another team who needed the day off for personal matters.”
“I heard about the wreck,” Haley said.
Spencer nodded as she was still looking at him. Rossi was going to the funeral as he had known the Unit Chief that ran that team better. And even though he had moved onto another unit, the team he had been on wanted to go. It was supposed to be their weekend on-call, but Aaron had offered, and no one else batted an eye at being on call on Sunday.
“After we pick pumpkins, we can do a late breakfast at the diner that’s on the way out of the city,” Aaron said.
“Sounds good. I packed protein bars just in case I got hungry.”
“You would live off of those things if we allowed you.”
“No, I wouldn’t. I like all of the varieties of food found in the Pacific, and no one had perfected that kind of protein bar yet.”
Haley laughed, and Aaron snorted.
Spencer looked back at Jack, who was still holding onto his hot chocolate but wasn’t drinking unless Spencer was there to tip it up and help him.
“You like that, huh?” Spencer asked, focusing on Jack at the moment. That weird feeling like he was nauseous was back. He didn’t like it and his research into it wasn’t exactly helpful. There were a lot of conditions that presented with that symptom and Spencer wasn’t that worried about it. It was come and go and other than being around Aaron or Haley, or both, he didn’t get it. He put it to emotional issues of just having a family for the first time in what felt like his entire life. He had good memories of his mother from when he was younger but when he needed her, she had been so sick.
“Spencer?” Aaron called out.
Spencer jerked his gaze up to the rearview mirror to lock his eyes with Aaron’s. “Yes?”
“You were off in dreamland. Jack wants a drink.”
“Oh.” Spencer turned his head to look at Jack to see the boy pouting at Spencer. “Sorry, Jack.”
“Pen,” Jack said, and he patted Spencer’s hand that was resting on the car seat.
“You ready to pick a big, big pumpkin?” Spencer asked.
“Big!” Jack made a motion with the hand he had been patting Spencer with and then grabbed a hold of the cup in Spencer’s hand again. Jack finished off his cup of hot chocolate before Spencer had his coffee gone.
“I think we will have to go about getting another set of drinks.”
“Well, then it’s a good thing that a pop up coffee cart is going to be there huh?” Haley asked.
“Yup, it’s why I chose it instead of a closer one. They also do self picking on apples as they have a massive apple orchard. We can come back next year. They do different kinds each weekend. I thought it would be a fun family trip this time. They will also be selling hot and cold apple cider from their apples. I thought we could snag one of those each before heading out into the fields to grab pumpkins. Then on the way out, new coffee to tide us over on the trip to the diner which is in the town but on the far side so who knows that the traffic in and out of this place will be like.”
“This is true.” Spencer looked back at Jack who was holding the cup up to his mouth and trying to every single last drop out of the hot chocolate. Spencer wondered if a hot herbal tea would be a good idea and then they could share it. A lot of caffeine wasn’t good for kids Jack’s age but he liked to drink what they were drinking sometimes. It always sucked when he wanted their coffee and there was no way that any of them were giving it to him.
Jack handed the cup back when he was satisfied that he had got all that he could. He eyed Spencer’s cup.
“This is the yucky stuff,” Spencer said.
Aaron had let Jack take a sip of straight, black coffee once and the boy had hated. He’d called it yucky stuff. Since then when they were drinking coffee and he hated it, they called it yucky stuff and Jack stopped asking for it.
“Yuck.” Jack shook his head and stuck out his tongue.
Spencer reached down to grab the book that he was reading and really hoped that no one asked what it was. He hadn’t been thinking straight that morning when he had loaded up his messenger bag. He knew he had a book in there, but he hadn’t been thinking too much about what it was.
Jack settled in with his toys and played, so Spencer started to read. Jack would throw something soft at him now that he had toys in hand if Jack wanted his attention. It was better than yelling, which wasn’t good when someone was driving. It hadn’t taken long for Spencer to teach him that. He didn’t do it when Spencer wasn’t in the car in the back with him, which was a good thing.
Spencer didn’t even try and keep track of times or twists and turns. The only point that he cared about was when the sun came up and started to get right into his eyes. Spencer groaned and picked up his tea before giving it a swirl to mix it back up before taking a drink. He realized it was getting to the point where he wouldn’t want to drink it anymore and chugged what was left.
Looking around, Spencer saw that they were not even on the highway anymore. He looked at the signs, but none of the names were anything familiar. He didn’t think he had been in this part of Virginia before. Jack was playing with a stuffed hippo at the moment, petting it and talking to it. There were a lot more words in his speech than there used to be, and Spencer was proud of that.
“Almost there,” Aaron called out as they turned down a road.
In the distance, Spencer could see the orchards starting on either side of the road. It was pretty to him. The trees on either side of the road they were on, making a windbreak. He watched as those trees thinned out, and then it was just a large expanse of fruit-bearing trees.
“Very pretty out here,” Haley said.
A large store was visible at the end of the road. To the left was a large parking lot and to the right, there were a lot of little shops. He could see the drink cart, and there were also two different shelters that were selling food. One was sweets like donuts, and then the other was savory food. Spencer heard his stomach growl a little. A donut sounded really, really good. He looked over at where people were parking and walking around. It looked busy even though the sun wasn’t even that high in the sky.
“Busy,” Aaron said.
“Yeah, but it looks like most are heading to the apples.”
Spencer settled his book into the bag and grabbed his wallet out. As soon as Aaron parked the car and shut it off, Spencer started to undo Jack from his seat. The boy waited until Spencer got out before he climbed out to be picked up by Spencer. There were a lot of very strange people around, and Jack was okay with people that he knew but strangers; he liked to be in the arms of someone or in the cart at the grocery store. Spencer would gladly hold him while they walked until he was trusting of the other people around. He hated it when his father had forced him to talk to people when he didn’t want to.
“Looks like this is going to be a beautiful day,” Aaron said as he came around to shut Spencer’s car door before he opened up Haley’s door to help her out. It was always so cute to Spencer when he saw them do that. He wanted something like that one day. He didn’t even care which side of it all he was on, opening the door for someone to show that he cared or having them open the door for him. Spencer grinned as he saw some of the huge pumpkins that were on display at the front of the pumpkin patch.
Spencer wanted a giant pumpkin anyway for his decoration. He really wanted two that were roughly the same shape, but he wasn’t holding out on that one. The fields were plentiful, and by the time that they got close, Spencer noticed that there were not a lot of people in the fields, and there were a lot of giant pumpkins left. There was an attendant to help them figure out what they wanted.
Letting Aaron handle it all, Spencer walked over to the edge of the field with Jack and let him look.
“Big,” Jack said.
“Yeah, there are a lot of big ones out there. Let’s see if we can find the perfect one that is Jack sized.”
“Yeah,” Jack said.
“Let’s go!” Spencer said when he saw Aaron heading toward them with a cart.
Spencer watched with glee as Aaron’s horror grew at what Spencer was putting in the second cart at the Halloween store. This was a place that was dedicated to just decorations with a few specialized costumes for people who went in for a large setup on their yard and house to hand out candy. there was a place that had costumes around the block, and they were headed there next. It was a packed store, but they were good about having everything there even though it was so close to Halloween.
Aaron reached out and snagged Spencer’s list before he looked at Spencer. “Just how many things are left on this list that we need to get?”
“Seventeen, but they are all small and fragile.” Spencer didn’t mark things off as he bought them. He would scan the list to confirm that he had what he wanted and what was needed in his head. The list was technically irrelevant, but he did have alternate things beside each item just in case they were sold out. There was one larger thing that he did want, but he was going to buy it and pick it up the next day when just he and Haley went shopping. He had already talked to someone and had a ticket for the item. It was actually Jack who wanted it, but he was more than willing to add it to what he had planned.
“Seventeen. Spencer, this is a lot of stuff.”
“Yes, and that’s why tomorrow Haley and I are going to get the totes to stick it all in for next year. I can do four different years of things with all of this by moving things around a little to freshen it up.”
“Daddy!” Jack screeched from where he was running around the area they were in. He wasn’t touching anything but was looking at everything. However, it was all out of the window at that point because Jack had found a stuffed purple dragon. It looked like it was part of a costume for a dragon trainer of some kind. The dragon looked like it was a young one.
Spencer walked over and picked up the dragon, checking it over for hard spots or anything that would choke Jack. There was nothing. He handed the dragon down to Jack, who started to cuddle it.
“Looks like he has a new best friend,” Aaron said.
“I guess it’s better than him hugging and patting the huge pumpkin that he found.”
Spencer laughed because Jack had found one of the largest pumpkins in the patch and had become attached. Spencer had settled with getting two that were of different size since none of them found one that was as big as Jack’s. It hadn’t been that big of a change in plans, but the one that Jack liked was kept right at the bottom of the stairs, just off to the side. When Jack was leaving, he told it goodbye, and when he got home, he hugged it and kissed it. They dared not cut into it and make a Jack o’ Lantern out of it. They had found a nice batch of them to do that with, and they lined the railing on the porch, one for all four of them.
The neighborhood kids were all intrigued by the display, and Spencer was excited for Halloween night and handing out candy. He had never been all that fond of trick or treating alone, but he had done it. He was glad that now he was an adult and he really couldn’t do it. He was more than happy to hand out candy to whoever came up and gush over costumes.
“Let’s get these last things, and then we can meet Haley.”
“Sure, sure,” Spencer said.
Haley had taken Aaron’s car to do a little shopping for tomorrow for food as well as get the candy that they wanted to hand out. Spencer had already bought a few extra bags, just to be safe. If there were extra, it would go into work into the candy bin in the kitchen for people to grab what they wanted. It’s what a lot of people did, but then there were a lot of staff in the BAU, and they would go through it like nothing.
Dinner was going to be at Five Guys. There would be enough fries to go around, and Haley would share her burger with Jack. It was a standard way that they did it when eating there. Aaron would get Cajun fries and Spencer regular, and they would all share, one order was more than enough for two, but Jack loved fries so he would get a good bit of the regular ones.
It was another half an hour, because Spencer was meticulous with what he picked out. He needed to make sure that there were no limbs broken off of the four black leafless trees that he wanted. Aaron was a good sport and never once said a damned thing about Spencer taking too long. He never did unless Spencer went on a weird tangent in a story, and then he gently corrected him back.
“Done,” Spencer said when he added the last of the items to the cart. It wasn’t overly full since it was all smaller and fragile things, outside of the trees. Those were still fragile but not small.
“Haley just texted that she is on her way to Five Guys. We should all get there as soon as possible. Are you sure that there is room for all of this in the yard and on the porch?” Aaron asked as he eyed the carts. The first had been parked up front after it was filled.
“Yup,” Spencer said, popping the P.
Checking out was painless since one of the staff had pre-checked out the stuff in the first cart, so all that had to be done was to scan the receipt attached to the cart. Before long, they were getting it all into the back of the SUV with a few things on the seats on either side of Jack. The boy was more than content to just sit there with his dragon in his arms. Spencer figured that it was going to be impossible to get the dragon away from the boy without him throwing a fuss, but that was okay.
Haley was seated inside of Five Guys with a book in her hand and their drinks sitting on the table.
“Mommy!” Jack said, just loud enough for Haley to hear him but not overly loud. Though given the singing going on by the cooks, it wasn’t like anyone was really going to care about that part.
“There are my boys!” Haley said, and she crouched down just as Aaron let Jack slip down to where he could run to her. Jack had the dragon clutched in one hand, and he threw his arms around Haley’s neck, hitting her in the back of the head with the dragon. “Oh, who is this?”
“Pen?” Jack asked.
“Oh, you named your dragon after Spencer. That’s cute.”
“No! Pen?” Jack asked again, this time letting go of Haley and looking at Spencer.
“You want me to name him?” Spencer asked, not sure if that was what Jack wanted or not. He could hear the questioning tone for the boy, even though it was a new tone for him.
Jack nodded his head.
“How about Lilac?”
Jack shook his head.
“Yeah!” Jack jumped up and down. He hugged Orchid tightly to his chest. “Chid.”
“Chid is a very good name for him,” Aaron said as he picked up Jack and settled him into the high chair that would put him up level with the table. He was usually good in a booster seat, but the tables that were free were all high tops.
“We are going costume shopping after this, yes?” Haley asked.
“Yes.” Aaron sounded like he was worn out, but there was a playful glint to his eyes.
“You poor baby,” Haley said.
A number was called out, and Haley shooed Aaron away to grab the food. He came back a minute later with a tray full of bags before Spencer grabbed one and started to see whose was whose as far as sandwiches went. Jack grabbed a fry as soon as they passed by his face, and he chomped down on it, Chid settled on the table beside him where hopefully nothing got onto him.
“Fry?” Jack asked, looking at Aaron’s fries.
“Ummm…Aaron?” Spencer asked, and he drew Aaron’s attention to his son, who wanted a hot fry.
“Sure, buddy,” Aaron said, and he handed over a fry that didn’t have a lot of the Cajun spices dusted on it. Jack munched on it.
“I don’t think I have ever seen him use ketchup,” Spencer said. He looked down at the table to see that there was none there. He only put them on some fries, usually diner fries that didn’t hold up to good tasting fries.
“I don’t like ketchup,” Haley said.
“Ah. I see.”
“And I’m like you, I only put it on bad fries,” Aaron said.
Spencer had noticed that, but it and Ranch were one of the staple condiments that America used on everything as far as Spencer could tell. He didn’t tend to use them unless he needed the taste of the food underneath to go away.
“These are not bad fries,” Spencer said before he took a bite of his sandwiches. He watched Haley cut out about half of her burger and cut it into bite-sized pieces for Jack before setting it all on the plate of the high chair. The top bun was held to the meat with the cheese, but the bottom fell off.
Jack picked up the first bite, ignoring the bottom bun and popped it into his mouth. He started to chew and made humming noises.
“So, what kind of costume are you guys looking for?” Spencer asked when he swallowed his food. He took a sip of his tea. He had gotten used to drinking unsweet or lightly sweet tea as it was mostly what was kept in the fridge at home.
“We don’t know. Something interesting that there won’t be a lot of. Why?”
“Well, I’m going to be there, and I already have my costume picked out, so I don’t need to shop around, so I thought I would help you guys find something to wear. It’s a big store.” Spencer had gone and picked out his costume after his meeting with Doctor Freya that he did once a month. It was just a check-up type thing that Spencer wanted. Sometimes after hard cases, he called the doctor to talk with him.
“Oh, that would be nice. We don’t even care if we all match or have the same theme. We figured we would let Jack figure out what he wants to be and go from there.
“That’s good.” Spencer thought about what was at the store, according to the website. There was a lot of pick from, and not all of the female versions of things were the sexy costumes. Spencer was looking forward to what they chose.
Haley laughed as she heard the front door open. She knew that it was Spencer.
“I’m home!” Spencer called out after shutting the door a little harder than he usually did. That just showed how excited he was.
Aaron had told Haley to expect him home as early as he could get, but before lunch was not the time that she would have thought that he got there. Spencer had ridden with Aaron, so he must have taken the train and then a bus to get home.
‘Why didn’t you call?” Haley asked as she heard Spencer come up behind her. She turned around after she ripped off the top of the box to get the shells out for macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. It was currently Jack’s obsession for lunch.
“I got home just fine, and you have enough to do. You don’t need to haul me around,” Spencer said. He turned to open up the fridge just as his stomach growled.
“You didn’t even eat lunch?” Haley walked over and grabbed the water pitcher from the counter before she poured it into the pan to make a double batch. When she put the pitcher back, she slapped Spencer’s hand away from the lunch meat that he was about to grab. “You go and entertain Jack while I finish lunch. After you eat, you can start to turn the house into a scary place.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Spencer said. He gave her a mock salute but grabbed two of the string cheese from the fridge and made a mad dash away from her.
Haley knew the second one was for Jack. Spencer always shared those with him. Haley had never been able to get Jack to eat them before he had seen Spencer eating them. Now they were a shared snack for the two of them. Haley couldn’t get Jack to eat them for her at all. She wasn’t that worried about it at all as it was a personal thing. Jack wouldn’t eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Jessica when she watched him. Haley, though, had never seen a boy with that much personality so young.
There was the tiny thought in Haley’s mind, though that Jack had it because of Spencer. It wasn’t a bad thing, but Spencer was very much a good influence on Jack. He allowed Jack to be who he wanted to be and to do what he wanted as long as it didn’t hurt him. Jack didn’t throw fits if he was denied something, and even though Haley thought that Spencer’s long explanations were wasted on Jack, the boy listened. There was no way that Jack understood it all, but he at least knew that he wasn’t going to get his way, and crying wouldn’t get it either.
Once the water was up to boil, she dumped the shells from the entire box in and started the water that the hot dogs were in. The hot dogs had been put into the water when it had been boiling, so a little longer with heat, and they would be ready to drain. She had already cut them up so they wouldn’t take nearly as long to cook and were already mostly good on that front. The sound of the TV turning on wafted into the kitchen, and Haley smiled. She figured that the movie about space was going to be turned on so Spencer could finish watching it. Jack loved to look at the pretty images, and when they weren’t on the screen, he would play with his toys.
Jack was by no means a perfect boy. He threw tantrums when he was tired. He wanted more candy than he was allowed. Spencer had sworn a month ago that Jack had been possessed by something. Jack had been a right terror for Spencer that entire evening. There was no cause of it until Haley had noticed a few days later that Jack’s pants didn’t fit him anymore, they were too short. A growth spurt had caused the irritableness in Jack. It wasn’t the best thing in the world, but it wasn’t the worst. At least they knew what to look for.
Spencer had sworn though that he wasn’t going to survive Jack and his terrible twos if that was the way that he was. It had made Haley laugh but also kind of hate Spencer. That meant he was still planning on sticking around. Which wasn’t a bad thing. Haley wanted him to stay, but there was that small part of her that fell a tiny step closer to being fully in love with him every single time that she saw him with Jack.
Jack was attached to Spencer and there would be no getting rid of him without having a very, very upset Jack on their hands and right now, Jack was starting to feel his oats as far as terrible twos went and Haley did not want to add anything else to that. She would endure, and he would move on, and Haley would be happy again in all aspects of her life. There was a not that small part of her though that dreaded that day as well. She was afraid that she was going to slip back into the person she had been before that resented Aaron’s job and the pull that it had on him.
Spencer living with them had changed her, but Haley wanted to make sure that those changes were going to stay with her long term. She didn’t want anything changing. She knew that she was using him, but Haley really didn’t care. They were all happy, and they were a happy little weird family. Everyone on their street had stopped looking at them oddly, but then Spencer had been doing a lot of light tech services around when someone lost a remote or had an issue with a computer. Haley had been shocked the first time he had recovered a computer for someone that had nearly died its final death.
“Hungry,” Jack said when he noticed that Haley was there in the room with him.
“I know, sweetie, it’s almost ready.” Haley looked at the clock in the kitchen to see that it was time to stir the noodles before letting them finish off their boiling. She had the milk and the butter as well as the shredded cheeses ready to go. Jack loved her recipe now that she had finally figured out how much Velveeta cheese to put into it. It was a good mix of cheeses in it, and she bought them all by the block and shredded them herself. It saved money and was better because she controlled how much cheese she put in. It could also be cut into cubes for Jack to snack on.
When it was all ready, the cheese nice and melty, and the hot dogs were added, then it was all mixed up and dished out. Spencer could sometimes eat like a horse at lunch, so the rest was left in the pan, and if he didn’t eat it, then he would take it into work the next day.
“YAY!” Jack cried out as Haley appeared with three bowls in her hands.
“I’ll get the drinks,” Spencer said as he settled Jack’s bowl into his lap on the couch before setting his bowl on the coffee table.
“He’s got his own iced tea made with that herbal tea you found Monday. It’s the pitcher with the green lid.”
“Cool.” Spencer disappeared.
Haley settled down onto the couch and watched as Jack’s eyes were focused on the TV where a make up of another galaxy was being zoomed in on. Haley grabbed the TV remote and turned the volume up a little so she could hear it. Spencer listened with it low and read the captions on the screen more than he listened to it. It was strange, but Haley had gotten used to the captions on the TV.
Spencer entered with three glasses spread in his hands. His long fingers keeping hold of the one in the middle. Each one of them looked different, and Haley couldn’t figure out why. Jack’s was in his plastic cup, of course, but even the other two were vastly different from each other. One was the darker tan color of the tea in the pitcher for them while the other was a lighter color, but it wasn’t the light color of Jack’s.
“I mixed some of Jack’s into mine for a lightly flavored tea. Want to try it?” Spencer offered her the middle glass after he set them down. Jack’s was left in front of him on the coffee table where Haley could grab it easily and hand it up to him.
“Sure.” Haley took the glass and took a sip. It was pretty good, but she would probably do more half and half with the mixture.
“Is it good, Jack?” Spencer asked.
Haley looked to see that Jack had a good one-third of his gone from the bowl. He was chewing everything and eating the slices of hot dogs with no noodles, but he was obviously very hungry. Jack only nodded in answer to Spencer’s question. He shoveled another spoon full of noodles into his mouth.
“So how much do you have to do? I mean, the house looks pretty good.”
“Oh, I need to add the fake cobwebs and the glow in the dark stuff. It’ll last for at least most of trick or treat time if not all since they are starting it at sundown this time.”
“Yeah, we are looking forward to that. Do you need any help?”
“Nah, though, I wouldn’t mind help later on when I need weird handprints everywhere in blood on the webbing. I thought I would get Jack’s help with that, as well. That can be right before you start to get dressed. Aaron should be home by then as well.”
“Are you sure you are fine watching Jack while we slip over to that cookout for a few minutes? It won’t bother your timing?” Haley had learned that there were certain things that Spencer had a slight compulsiveness with. While he had learned to let go at work, in his personal life, if things didn’t happen when he had planned, he could freak out a little.
“Oh, yeah. I’ve already factored that in. I thought I could have Jack help me drop the eyes in the yard then. They glow in the dark as well, but we can see them tomorrow morning easily to pick them all up so that no one hurts themselves on them.”
“Enough of them that I think every kid can get one. If I’m correct in my ratio of kids in the area as well as the percent of extras that will come based on the population of the area and kids who go where the best candy is versus where they live.”
Haley wasn’t shocked that Spencer had turned it into a whole thing about numbers. Numbers made Spencer’s world go around, and Haley kind of adored him for it.
“They are bouncy balls, so I can keep whatever is left for next year.” Spencer had about half of his food gone and was watching the screen reading the words even as he talked.
Spencer’s brain kind of scared Haley. She knew that geniuses existed, but it was always something that she heard of but had never met one or been that close to one. Spencer’s brain could do anything that he wanted. He could be anything that he wanted, and he had chosen to be a profiler with the FBI. He could be making at least ten times what he was if he had moved to science tracks and worked in a think tank or something like it. He could be courted by the best companies, and she was pretty sure that some of the mail that he got was just that. She didn’t look at his mail and some had just addresses, and she never looked them up.
“I think the house is going to be the most popular on the street and maybe even further than that if kids have seen it while driving to and from places.”
“So, I should go ahead and put out the extra eyeballs?” Spencer asked after he took a drink of tea.
“Thirsty,” Jack said.
Haley grabbed his cup and handed it to him. Spencer hadn’t filled it all that much, so they would probably have to fill it up again, but he would be able to drink one-handed with it.
“Yes, Spencer. I would go ahead and put all of the eyeballs into the yard.” Haley knew that they were going to be the most popular. She had plans to come back early. Jack was probably going to fall asleep halfway through anyway and catch the end of the visitors they had to the house.
The house, as it currently looked, was scary and sweet all at the same time. Spencer had done well at making sure that even timid kids weren’t going to be too scared to walk up to the house alone.
Something cold and wet pressed itself to Haley’s arm, and she jumped a little before looking down to see that it was Curiosity wanting to cuddle. Midnight was crossing the couch toward where Jack was and laid along his body, soaking up what little warmth could be had from the boy. It was funny to see Jack have to choose between eating, drinking, and petting the kitty.
“I have bells for them tonight, and I plan on securing them with leashes to the porch. I’ll be on the steps, and they should be able to get to me, and that is about it. If they get too cold, it won’t be too hard to put them in quickly.”
“I’m sure they will love all of the kids running about screaming,” Haley said.
“They do okay with Jack. I’ll keep a close eye on them.”
“I know you will, and I didn’t mean that condescendingly. They love chasing Jack around when he’s a little hellion. I’m sure that they’ll be perfectly fine outside.”
“Oh.” Spencer got a little bit of a blush on his face. He didn’t always do the best at interpreting tones of voice if there wasn’t a lot of difference in it from regular.
“Pen, Pum,” Jack said.
“After we finish eating, we can go outside and play with Pum,” Spencer said with a smile on his face. He ate a bite of his food, and Jack started to eat on his again.
Rolling over in bed, Aaron groaned as he felt Haley’s lips on his chest, kissing down it. He reached up to tangle his fingers into her hair as it skirted down his groin. He loved being woken up like this. He loved the feel of her mouth wrapping around his cock. Aaron tried to push up into Haley’s mouth, but there was another hand holding him down. Aaron groaned at that. Haley was being aggressive, something she was getting more into as she grew in confidence as she grew into the new person that had been becoming.
The smell of her arousal filled Aaron’s nose, and he opened his mouth to ask if she had come already. Still, then he realized that two hands were holding his hips down on the bed, and there were two more on his chest as another body moved astride his chest. Aaron’s hand was pushed from the hair of the second person, so Aaron grabbed the hips that were above him, and he knew that it was Haley. Aaron pulled her forward, enjoying the feel of a mouth around his cock. He knew that he should care who was in bed with them, but Haley was here, and there was nothing else needed.
Aaron looked up at Haley, seeing the lust in her eyes before Aaron had even touched her sex. She was wet already, and Aaron loved that. Whoever they were with, obviously seeing them going down on Aaron had revved her up a good bit. Just as Aaron was licking up between Haley’s folds the first time, he felt the mouth on his cock leave. Aaron groaned out his displeasure before he felt a very wet hand slip up and down his cock quickly. He felt the lube left behind and then felt someone sliding down on him.
Grabbing Haley’s hips, Aaron drew her closer, making sure that he was giving Haley the best orgasm that he could as he was being ridden. The feel of a pussy and the feel of an asshole were very different, while it was not something that Haley did a lot of, anal sex had been part of their sex life when things were going on in Haley’s body that didn’t allow for vaginal sex.
“Here,” Haley said, and she reached over and grabbed something before dropping it on Aaron’s chest. It was a dildo.
Aaron took hold of the dildo and reached down for where he felt the lube bottle at his side. He slicked up a hand to get enough on the dildo, so he didn’t hurt her. She was wet as hell, but Aaron would never want to hurt her. Aaron pushed at Haley to get her to scoot back so that he could get a good angle to fuck her with the dildo.
“Spread me open,” Haley requested.
Before Aaron could get his hand up there, another hand was wrapping around Haley, and long, thin fingers were spreading her open. Haley leaned back onto the person who was riding Aaron, tipping her sex to where he had a good angle, and Aaron pushed the dildo inside of her. Aaron could look up at her face to see the other person was still in shadow. Aaron could get behind a dream lover at the moment.
Aaron was getting closer and closer as he fucked Haley with the dildo, between the ass gripping his cock as it rocked on him. Aaron was the first to orgasm, his body nearly dislodging Haley as he fucked up hard into the body on him. Haley grabbed Aaron’s chest, digging her nails into his skin as she tipped forward. Aaron let go of the dildo as Haley fell over. He braced her with one hand under a breast and the other tangled into her hair to kiss her.
The person on Aaron pulled off of his cock, but he stayed where he was.
“Oh, fuck,” Haley said.
“Hales?” Aaron asked.
Haley didn’t answer, her head tipped down onto Aaron’s chest. The next thing that Aaron knew was that the other person was moving, small rhythmic movements that Aaron knew. The person was fucking Haley. That meant it was another man. Aaron reached down and found where the dildo had been discarded and kept reaching back until he found where the other cock was inside of Haley. He pushed his fingers up to push one on each side of the cock that was fucking Haley.
“Does that feel good?” Aaron asked.
“Yes.” Haley sounded like she was close to orgasm.
Aaron locked his eyes with her, watching as she came on another man’s cock.
“Spencer,” Haley said.
Aaron shot up in bed and looked around. He was breathing hard, trying to push away the dream that had woken him up. He could feel how wet the sheet was where it was over his crotch. He really needed to get these thoughts out of his head. That was the second time in a week he’d had a dream about Spencer, a sex dream.
Slipping from the bed, Aaron looked at Haley, where she was curled on her side with a leg half hanging off of the bed. Aaron cleaned up the bed quickly, so she didn’t roll into that kind of wet spot before he cleaned up himself and got ready for his run.
Aaron pushed himself through the last hill on his running route. He was going a different route than he did with Spencer. While Spencer had gotten to where he enjoyed running, he did not do well on hills, so when Spencer begged off or didn’t want to run at all, Aaron took to his old, ten-mile route. He got to the top of the hill and stopped. His lungs were burning. He knew that he was going to be worthless for the rest of the day. Thankfully it was Saturday, and they were not doing a lot. Aaron looked around to see who was about and saw no one, so he dropped to the ground. He had run too long at too hard of a pace and needed a break. He dropped backward, glad that it had been warm the past few days. For the first day of March, it was unseasonably warm. He groaned and thought about the past year.
It had been just over a year since Spencer had come to live with them, and while it was supposed to be short term, it had turned into something that was probably going to be a lot longer. It worked well for all of them, though. They didn’t feel the need to be in each other’s pockets. Aaron could do his own thing if he needed, and Haley still had someone around to help her.
Golfing had been an enjoyable hobby for Aaron to pick up again. Haley was perfectly happy to let him go out for a round at the club on the weekends he was home. Haley could go out and not have to worry about leaving Aaron with Jack if Aaron had things he had to get done. Spencer was good about keeping the boundaries up that he didn’t mind watching Jack but that he did have a life of his own.
Jack was attached, though, so Spencer gave in probably more than he should, but Aaron kept his hands off of that one since Spencer was an adult and didn’t need Aaron making choices for him.
“Where’s Reid?” someone asked as they ran past.
“Twisted ankle,” Aaron called out, still unsure who it was but recognizing the voice from the group of other agents in the area that he ran with on occasion. The group was transient based on reassignments, who was working that day, so Aaron never tried to keep all of the names in his head.
“Tell him I hope he gets better soon,” the many yelled as he got too far away to talk.
“Sure!” Aaron yelled back. He let his head drop back down to the ground and looked up into the mostly dark sky. It was a good morning, he was just bogged down in what Garcia called angst. Things had not really improved since October, and Aaron realized that he was falling in love. The problem was that he didn’t not love Haley anymore.
Aaron still loved Haley just as much, but he loved Spencer as well. That was the big point for Aaron. He wasn’t sure how to go forward, or even what to do about it. He didn’t want to throw Spencer out of the house. They all really worked together. Jack loved Spencer, and the boy would be devastated about it. He was still too young to understand precisely why Spencer would be leaving. Aaron would even miss the stupid cats, even if Midnight still had not got over her whole obsession with Aaron showering. It was weird to have them living together, yes, but it worked.
The first time that someone at the BAU had brought up how odd it was, Spencer had given then an hour-long discourse on how the new age version of family units is so changed from what had been for a long time. It wasn’t proven to work better, given how changed it is when humans are social creatures. Aaron had listened to it all, and the rest of the BAU hadn’t brought up again.
Aaron wondered if his wanting to get rid of Spencer to see if the emotions went away was actually going to work. It wasn’t like Spencer wasn’t going to come over to spend time with Jack or that Aaron wasn’t going to see him at work at least five days a week. There were a few things that would stop this. Aaron just had to get his head around it all. He would never cheat on Haley ever.
Telling Haley was something that Aaron was wrestling with. He knew that he needed to, but he didn’t want to hurt her that way. Aaron never wanted to hurt her that way and then have Spencer still living with them, it would hurt her even more.
There was no way to not hurt everyone if he told anyone. He would have to keep it all to himself and never tell anyone. It was the only way to not hurt everyone in the whole situation. Aaron could keep his own counsel. He might write it all out and let the words just enter the ether and then burn them. The fire pit that they had in the backyard wasn’t set up at the moment, but it wouldn’t be hard to get it set up. They could have a night where they ate food cooked over it. Jack loved hot dogs, and if there were macaroni and cheese with them, he really loved them.
Haley wouldn’t think anything odd about it. The construction crew for the pool that Haley wanted had broken ground the day before, and it would all be ready before summer really hit which Aaron was glad about. Jack was super excited, and Haley was over the moon. Spencer was ambivalent about it all. He liked swimming, but he had never really lived in a place where swimming every day was a thing. Aaron figured that when it was built, Spencer would like it more. He might even get some more sun on his pale white skin.
Aaron pushed himself up and started to stretch out again to run the three miles that it was going to take to get him home. He took it slow and let the pounding of his feet on the pavement carry him home. As he was nearing home, he heard the words in his head from the week that had just passed.
“There won’t be anyone to open that door for at least thirteen minutes, and it took me less than five to do this.”
Aaron tried to shake the words from his head that had chased him the entire first seven miles of his run. Chester Hardwicke had nearly got the best of Aaron by pissing him off. Aaron had been overly pissed two minutes into the interview, and it was only Spencer and his ability to pull shit out of his ass to save their lives. Unlike the first time, when it had been Phillip Dowd, Aaron had little to do with saving their asses. At the end of the day, Aaron’s anger at Spencer had been irrational for something that Spencer couldn’t help.
Three days now, Aaron had been pissed at himself for being upset that Spencer was the one that had gone with Aaron on the custodial. When the word had come down to Erin that Spencer needed to start going on custodials since he finally looked less like a school kid, Aaron hadn’t been happy. He didn’t need to be trapped in an SUV for hours with Spencer on the way to and the way back from the custodial. It was not what he needed when he had woken up that morning after a fantasy that involved Spencer alone instead of Spencer and Haley like this morning.
Aaron hated himself for the way that he had been acting toward not only Spencer over the last few days but Haley as well. Neither of them deserved it.
As the house came into view, Aaron knew that no matter what, he had decided he couldn’t not give Haley his confession. He would wait until that night to do it.
Haley was in the kitchen with a bowl of oatmeal in front of her. She had a book in her hand and was thoroughly engrossed in it. Aaron smiled at her before he turned to head up the stairs to shower. He heard the scratching of claws and shook his head as the not so little cat came running past Aaron into the bedroom and then the bathroom so she couldn’t get locked out of the bathroom. Aaron had learned that the sounds that the cat could produce were not conducive to anyone sleeping. Not even Spencer in the basement, so he didn’t try and lock her out.
Aaron checked on Jack who was asleep in his bed but he was moving a little so he would be up soon. Aaron quickly got into the bedroom and stripped off so he could shower as quickly as possible. The first thing that Aaron did was wash out his hair. He hated the sweat as it rolled down his face with the water falling on it, so it was first and then his hair. He turned around to see the black blob in the corner before the water got out of his eyes, and he could see clearly.
“Oh, come on!” Aaron said as he saw Curiosity in the other corner. How the cat had got there was a mystery. “It’s genetic. Pervert cats are genetic.”
“Aaron?” Haley called out.
“I have a new friend to watch me shower,” Aaron said.
“Really? She was down in the basement asleep on the foot of Spencer’s bed a few minutes ago. Did you want a drink of coffee?”
“Yes, please.” Aaron had left the house without coffee, wanting to get as far away from his dream as possible. The curtain was opened, and Midnight turned to glare at Haley as she handed the coffee cup to Aaron above the cat’s head. Aaron drained the entire cup while Haley watched him. Her eyes raked up and down his body, and unlike usual, his cock didn’t even twitch in interest.
“Case still bothering you?” Haley asked.
It was the excuse that he had used the last two nights when she had wanted sex. Last night they had both been so tired from taking Jack to the park after dinner that they had crashed.
“Something like that.”
“Maybe tonight after we have a good relaxing day. Spencer said that he had plans out and about, but he hadn’t decided if he wanted to go or not as his driving foot is the one that he sprained.”
“I offered to drive him into town to drop him off where he wanted to go and then pick him up later. He said he would think about it. I don’t like him getting on the bus. Not after he griped about his foot getting stepped on three times that last time he was on there.”
“I offered, as well. I do have an errand to run, and I can drop him off while running it, and then one of us can grab dinner while picking him up. Or he can ride the bus. That’s up to him.”
“I know. He’s not been hurt on a case in a while, and then walking across the bullpen floor, he gets knocked over and sprains an ankle. It defies all logic that he’s as clumsy as he is but doesn’t get hurt on cases like he does otherwise.”
“He’s focusing on something else. I see it here, less now but still. He’s always focused on if he’s doing something right. Is just walking across the floor, attracting eyes to him. Is he dressed right. He’s self-conscious in a way when he’s just here or just in the office. While on a case, though, he’s in his element. He’s only worried about the case and nothing else.”
“Agreed,” Aaron said, and he did agree with her, he was just a little thrown that she figured that out when he hadn’t.
“I thought he was awake at one point, but I think he went back to bed. Probably why Curiosity came up here to terrorize you with her sister’s fetish.”
The word fetish had Aaron thinking back to his dream, and his cock started to harden. He hated it, but Haley had already noticed.
“Want me to get naked and chase off the cats?”
“Yes, I don’t think them watching us have sex is a good idea.” Aaron knew that Midnight usually ran if he splashed her with water, but he wasn’t sure what Curiosity would do.
Haley chased off Midnight first and Curiosity before she shut the door. Thankfully, Midnight was usually okay with being chased off if she had got to watch a little of Aaron showering. Just a moment after the door shut, Haley was slipping back inside of the shower with Aaron. Aaron quickly washed off his body as he let her get under the spray to get wet. He was covered in sweat, and he didn’t like to have his cock dirty when it entered her.
Aaron picked up Haley and coaxed her to wrap her legs around him. It had been a long while since they had shower sex. With Haley being the right size, it wasn’t hard for Aaron to support her through the whole thing. He found her mouth as he pushed her into the wall, and it wasn’t but a few seconds, and then he was entering her.
“Shit,” Haley said as Aaron sunk himself all the way inside of her. He kissed her again, blocking her ability to speak to him. Aaron chased his release inside of her, thrusting over and over again while grinding on her so that she could get off as well. He loved this, being inside of her. He wanted this more and more.
Aaron kept his other thoughts away, thinking about what it was like to be inside of her, to feel her walls gripping his cock as she came. The sound of her moans even through their kiss. The way that her fingers dug into his skin as he kept on fucking her. When he finally came, Aaron felt shame. He buried his face into her neck and began to cry as he set her down.
“Aaron? Honey, talk to me.”
Aaron shook his head. He just wrapped his arms around her tighter and sunk to the ground with her in his lap. Her hands rubbed at Aaron as he let his emotions out into her neck.
“I can’t right now, Hales. Just give me time.”
“Okay, Aaron, but whatever it is, I still love you. There is nothing that you would or could do that would make me stop loving you.”
Aaron leaned in and kissed her, sweet and chaste.
“I’ll tell you tonight,” Aaron said.
“Okay.” Haley kissed Aaron on the forehead and looked him in the eye for a few seconds.
Aaron finished showering and didn’t remember a single thing that he did. He walked to the kitchen and grabbed the bowl of oatmeal, and popped it into the microwave. He looked at the time and frowned because it was after nine, and still, Spencer hadn’t made an appearance yet. He sighed as he started down the stairs and stepped inside of Spencer’s room. There was just the light from the stairwell that was shining into the room. It was shining over Spencer, who was tangled in the bedsheets. He looked so innocent like that, just like he had when he had joined the team.
Spencer moved on the bed, groaning a little in pain. Aaron looked at the ankle that was out of the sheets and saw that he wasn’t wearing his brace, but there was an ice pack lying off to the side. Aaron walked over to the small fridge and freezer that was in the corner. It was used for overflow things for upstairs since there were three adults and Jack, but Spencer had been keeping his ice packs for his ankle. Aaron grabbed one from there as well as the sleeve for the pack, so Spencer’s skin didn’t freeze too much. Aaron made sure to soften it before he laid it over Spencer’s ankle. He picked up the old one and put it back in the freezer with the sleeve in the pile.
Aaron looked back at Spencer, and he knew that he was fucked. There was no walking away from Spencer, and there was no walking away from Haley.
“What I want, I’m not going to get,” Aaron whispered before he turned to leave the room. Curiosity came running in, nearly running into Aaron before she recovered and jumped on Spencer’s bed. She marched right up to his pillow and started to prance on it while purring.
Aaron slipped out before Curiosity woke up Spencer, and Spencer caught him staring at him while he slept.
The rest of the day was spent focusing on Jack. He needed to focus on the one thing in his life that was more important than anything else, and that was his son.
Aaron carried Jack down to where Spencer was lying on his bed with his foot up and an ice pack over it.
“Hey, I need a little bit of time with Haley in the living room. Do you mind watching Jack? I’ll shut the door, so he can’t get out and make you chase him.”
“Sure.” Spencer grabbed the remote to the TV, and Aaron realized that it was on, but there was no sound, just the text rolling across the screen from the captioning. He rolled onto his back before he sat up himself and settled up against the headboard. Aaron settled the backpack that held a few of Jack’s toys when they were going out to places for long trips onto the bed so Spencer could have extra things to keep Jack entertained.
“Want a new ice pack?” Aaron asked. He saw that the one on Spencer’s ankle was too molded to his foot for it not to be too warm.”
“Yeah, that would be great.” Spencer gave Aaron a big smile when he walked back with the ice pack.
Aaron laid it over his ankle with the new position and took his time. It was all black and blue, turning darker as the days went. Aaron had taken him to the medics on the base, who was usually good for a quick fix.
“Thank you, Spencer,” Aaron said.
“Always, and you are very welcome.” Spencer was giving Aaron a big smile again, and it nearly broke Aaron’s heart.
Spencer groaned as he rolled in bed to look at the clock. He sighed and reached out for the pills that he needed to take. He could feel the throbbing in his ankle starting up and knew that it was time to take his Motrin. There was water in his refillable bottle on the nightstand with an easy-open lid as well as a pack of peanut butter and cheese crackers. Haley had picked those up from the store so that Spencer could put something on his stomach when taking his Motrin. He opened the crackers and ate half of them before drinking half of his water. He took the pills with a few sips of the water and then finished off the crackers. The water was drained, and he settled back on the bed.
There was little for Spencer to do except sleep. This was his usual wake up time, but he didn’t need to wake up at this hour. He wasn’t going on a run with Aaron. He wouldn’t be for at least two weeks, and even then, he would probably have to walk the first few days. He had an air cast, but his foot didn’t like it at night, so he took it off.
Midnight woke with a purr, and Spencer reached down to pet her back to sleep. Curiosity was somewhere above his head, probably on the pillow that was on the other side of the bed. Spencer wasn’t going to roll over to see if she was there or not. Midnight wiggled up the bed and tucked her head under his chin. She rolled onto her back so that her belly could be rubbed. Spencer loved lazy mornings like this. Where he knew he didn’t have to get up and do anything. Running didn’t count as he loved his one-on-one time with Aaron. The man had opened up a lot over the past year and was comfortable telling him stories from college and when he worked as a prosecutor. There were even stories of stupid things that he and Haley had got into when they were younger.
Spencer never asked about Sean or Aaron’s parents. It was something that was deeply personal. The way that Haley talked, he didn’t talk about either of them much to her either. Spencer could understand, just from what little bit he had learned while working with Aaron. Abuse was hard to talk about for people like Aaron. It wasn’t that hard to understand why either. Spencer’s abuse at the hands of his mother wasn’t something that he had seen for abuse when he had been a child. It was just the way that life was with them. Looking back at it with the eye of an adult who had the training and the understanding to spot abuse. It was hard not to see it.
It was the underlying cause of Spencer’s near addiction to Dilaudid cut with the psychedelic. He hadn’t wanted to be, but he was, and he knew that it wouldn’t take much to make him crave again. It was part of why he was enjoying staying with Aaron and Haley. It wasn’t typical by any means, but they seemed to want him around as much as he wanted to be around. He did keep a weather eye on the whole situation to make sure that he wasn’t overstaying his welcome at all. He never wanted to be that kind of person who sucked a friendship dry before moving onto someone else.
“I know that Haley fed you last night, so don’t wake me up to feed you this morning.” Spencer had seen what was left of the dishes before he had gone to bed, and the cats normally didn’t eat too much during the night, they mainly drank. Still, even if they did eat all of their food, there was no reason to feed them again as they wouldn’t be starving. When Spencer was up for the day, he would make sure that they had food.
The sounds of someone moving around upstairs had Spencer closing his eyes and trying to will himself back to sleep. He knew it was stupid, he should just get up and start the day, but he really didn’t want to see Aaron going on the run without him and especially didn’t want to see him coming back.
Spencer knew that he must have fallen asleep at some point because he had hazy dreams of Aaron coming to see him, and then his ankle was cold again. Aaron said something but then was gone. It was all strange, and Spencer wasn’t sure what to think of it as he lay in bed and tried to psych himself up to getting up for the day. The pain was going to be there as he worked his ankle from the stiff position that it took after he had been asleep for so long, and that was a pain he was not looking forward to.
Every single morning was like that. He rolled onto his back and noticed that neither of the cats was in the room with him. That meant that Aaron had to either be showering or had showered recently, so they were with him or with Jack. Spencer sat up in bed and grabbed the ice pack that still had a chill on it, and he laid it to the side while he put the air cast on his ankle and made sure it was as tight as he could stand to help him get around.
Spencer dressed in warm clothes even though it was March. He didn’t want to get cold at all. The thick sweater that he chose was one that Haley had talked him into buying one day when they had gone shopping for new winter clothes for Jack. Who had grown another inch seemingly overnight two months ago. She had badgered him into trying it on and then gushed over how he looked. Spencer just loved it because it was warm and soft.
The stairs were murder on his ankle even after being on it to get dressed. Spencer wasn’t going to head back down for anything for a while. The kitchen was empty when he made it up there, but the smell of oatmeal drew him over to the bowl that had become his breakfast bowl. He grabbed it and added some brown sugar. Then a few pinches of cinnamon and mixed it up a little before popping it into the microwave to warm it up enough to get the sugar melted sufficiently to mix it in. He smiled as he listened to one of the cats making a run for it down the stairs with Jack’s laughter following behind. The laughter stopped, probably as one of his parents snagged him before he could take a header down the stairs.
Spencer could vividly remember the last time that stairs had been left open for Jack. They still had never figured out how the gate hadn’t been latched right, but one of the cats had knocked it down, and the sound of that had sent all of them running. Aaron had caught Jack right as he was going head over ass down and grabbed his leg to stop him from hitting his head. Spencer had nearly fainted at the sight. Haley had started to cry. They were all so obsessed with keeping a good eye on the gates at the bottom and tops of all stairs that it was becoming something that might need an intervention.
Grabbing his oatmeal, Spencer set it on the counter to cool a little while he worked on getting his coffee ready. There was a fresh carafe on the counter and just from the smell when he cracked open the lid to pour it out, Spencer knew that it was the excellent coffee that Haley didn’t bring out often. It was more expensive and the way that they would go through three pots on the weekends. It was rare that it was brought out at all.
Spencer took the first sip of the coffee and moaned in pleasure. He was taking a muscle relaxant but knew that he would need to wait to take it until he had a full meal in his belly or he would get sick. Once it was working though, he would be drinking a lot of coffee as it made him very, very sleepy. He had taken it before bed. Still, as he had to take it three times a day, there were two other times where he would need to actually drink enough caffeine to not fall into a coma, but during the lunch one he might take a small nap. He had the day before on Aaron’s couch in the office. He had eaten at his desk and used his lunch break to nap. Aaron had woken him up with a regretful smile and a fresh Chai latte with a shot of espresso and a little extra vanilla. It had been excellent and just what Spencer had needed to get through the day.
“SPENCER!” Jack yelled as he ran into the kitchen. He was running full tilt but stopped just short of running into Spencer to give him a hug around his good leg. Spencer ruffled Jack’s hair.
“Good morning, Jack,” Spencer said. He tried to put rights to Jack’s hair, but it was a mess from going to bed with it wet. Spencer looked up at Aaron and Haley to see that they were both sporting damp hair that looked like they had showered at the same time. Spencer was fully glad he had not come up to get breakfast earlier. He still didn’t do well with knowing when they were having sex.
“Did you still want to head out to do things today?” Aaron asked as he reached for the carafe and started to make a cup of coffee for himself. There was his bowl from breakfast sitting in the sink with water in it.
“I haven’t decided.” Spencer didn’t mind them taking him places, it wasn’t like he really wanted to be on the bus with his ankle the way that it was. He just wasn’t sure if he wanted to actually leave the house anytime soon.
“I have an errand I have to go and run in about an hour. I’ll gladly take you wherever and leave you. Then one of us is going to head out and get Chinese for dinner because I’m craving General Tso’s so we can pick you up, or if you get done early, it would be no issue to get you earlier.” Haley looked earnest as she said, and Spencer knew that she meant it as well. They never had an issue doing things for Spencer, and it wasn’t all just because he was their built-in babysitter.
Spencer had never felt like it was the reason why they wanted him to stay with them, but it was nice that he was able to help them more than just paying a little of the bills. Spencer started to eat after getting settled in at the table. Jack was munching on what looked like cut-up blueberry bagel between bites of his own oatmeal. Aaron was chewing on the other part of the bagel. It was a calm and serene moment until Midnight came running in with Curiosity on her heels. They were obviously in a playful mood.
Jack’s attention was off of eating and wholly on the cats as they did laps around the kitchen before Midnight jumped over the gate and down into the basement. Curiosity just sat at the base of the gate and stared down in there.
“Come here, baby girl,” Spencer called out, and he snapped his fingers. She turned around and trotted over to him before jumping into his lap and curling there.
“By the way, she had a new hobby,” Aaron said after he took a drink of his coffee.
“Yeah?” Spencer asked. He looked up at Aaron wholly.
“She was in the shower with me as well as her sister. It’s the first time, so I am unsure if she is going to continue to do it or not, but,” Aaron said.
Spencer tried to hold in his laugh, but he couldn’t. Haley laughed as well, but Aaron only gave a wan smile. That stopped Spencer laughing, but he covered it by taking a drink of his coffee. He wasn’t sure what was wrong with Aaron, but he really hoped it was the cat thing. Yeah, Aaron griped about it, but he could ignore the cats or have them locked in the basement while he showered. He would chase Midnight off on occasion, but it usually wasn’t a big deal. Or at least he had been acting like it wasn’t a big deal.
Even though his ankle was going to hate him, Spencer slipped down to his room for the rest of the morning. He had hoped that whatever funk Aaron was in would be gone by lunch. Spencer turned on the TV and let the sound of a science documentary fill the room. He left the door mostly closed so that the cats could get in and out as needed. As well as the sound of up above didn’t come down the stairs, and he wasn’t sending much noise up either.
Midnight cuddled with him until lunchtime as Spencer kind of got lost in what was on the TV. Haley left for her errand, and Spencer was glad that there was no more pressure on him to leave when he heard the front door shut.
“Lunch is ready,” Haley called out.
Spencer groaned, and he grabbed the container of his lunch pills and moved Midnight away from him so he could get up. His ankle was stiff again, and he figured that when he was done eating, he would need to ice and elevate it again. Aaron and Jack were already at the table when Spencer entered the kitchen. The smells of cheese, potatoes, and bacon threw Spencer until he saw the table ladened with fried potatoes, bacon, and eggs. There was even a plate with biscuits on it. Spencer’s stomach growled at how hungry he was.
“You should have said something,” Haley said as she ushered Spencer to the table as fast as he could go.
Spencer sat down and took the biscuit that was handed to him. He ripped it open to cover it in butter but stopped when Aaron handed him something. It was a jar that looked almost like apple sauce, but the color was wrong.
“Apple butter,” Aaron said.
“Oh, that sounds interesting.” Spencer laid the biscuit down on the plate and scooped out a little of the apple butter from the jar and dropped it onto his biscuit. He took a bite and hummed as the taste was wonderful.
“I love that on my biscuits.”
“And in his oatmeal, but I had to find a place to get it this early in the year. Not a lot of places around here stock it.”
“It’s good.” Spencer tried the next bite with a thin strip of butter on it and then the apple butter, and he found that he liked that best.
“At least you aren’t worried about your figure,” Haley said.
“There is no reason to be. My metabolism is high, and with all of the calories I burn running, I actually have found that I need to eat more than I normally do lately.” Spencer piled the food onto his plate and snagged a strip of bacon for Jack when the boy had finished off his first and most of the potatoes that were on his plate. Eggs were always very hard to get him to eat, even with cheese in them. He laughed when Jack reached over to snag a potato from Spencer’s plate, getting it into his mouth before Spencer could take it back.
“How is your ankle?”
“As good as it can be. I hate crutches, so I have to deal with walking on a sore ankle. I have done it before.” Spencer shrugged it off. He knew that Haley had not been happy about him not using the crutches. He had a railing for going up and down the stairs. Crutches and him were not a good combination. It was hard for him on his unbalanced legs to manage his body on crutches. It was just better not to use them at the moment.
The conversation that included Spencer died down a little as he stuffed his face and then went for seconds. He ate more potatoes as it seemed Haley liked the eggs better and Aaron the bacon. Jack ate his stomach full and drank a good bit of milk. Spencer popped his pills halfway through the meal. Even with food in his gut, by the time he was done putting his plate in the dishwasher after rinsing it, he was feeling the muscle relaxer.
“Nap?” Jack asked as he held out his hands to Spencer when Spencer passed him by at the table.
“Yeah, buddy, that sounds really good,” Spencer said. He stopped and picked up Jack, settling him on the side that was best before he started to the living room at a much slower pace than usual. He set Jack down and then laid down and held Jack crawl up on him. Before Spencer could grab the blanket, he felt it being thrown over them. Jack’s body was a small weight on Spencer’s chest, but he could breathe just fine. If it weren’t for him, he would have gone back down to his room, but he wasn’t going to carry Jack down there.
“Night, Spencer,” Jack said.
“Night,” Spencer said back. He frowned at Jack’s grasp of his name. He missed being called Pen.
After the nap, the afternoon flew by while Spencer set himself up on the couch to read. Jack spent most of the day with Aaron, and while Spencer knew that wasn’t strange. There was an odd feeling to it all.
Haley was avoiding Spencer as well, and that wasn’t like either of them. Spencer really hoped that he hadn’t already worn out his welcome, but if he had, he would leave. He just hoped that he hadn’t done something that made either of them dislike him. He wasn’t ready to go. He loved it too much there, but he would never stay where he wasn’t wanted.
When it was near dinner time, Spencer went back down to the basement, telling Haley that he wasn’t feeling the best. She nodded her agreement and left him alone, stopping in only long enough to give him his Chinese food and then leave. The TV was silent, and Spencer just watched the words scroll by.
Haley watched as Aaron engaged with Spencer less over the day. She knew that he had been down in the basement with him that morning for a few minutes, and she had heard him say something but had not heard Spencer say anything back to him. She wasn’t sure what was wrong with Aaron, but the only conclusion that she could come to was that Aaron knew about her feelings for Spencer, and he wasn’t taking it well. Though she wasn’t sure, there was a way to take that well at all.
The sex that morning had been different, and at first, Haley had been all into it. It wasn’t until after that Haley realized that something was off. That Aaron wasn’t acting normal, even with the bit where he had cried. It had been so long since Aaron had cried like that, and Haley hated that she wasn’t able to make him feel better.
Aaron had spent the afternoon being everywhere that Spencer wasn’t, which, as Spencer had taken over the living room, meant Aaron was in the kitchen a lot or up in the bedrooms. He had even gone outside to do some gardening, which he never did this early in the year.
Spencer and Aaron had developed such a good friendship, it was one that Haley knew that Aaron needed. He was more open with him than he was any of the other friends that Aaron had made over the years. If she were the reason it was broken, she would hate herself. She just wanted them all to be happy, but it was impossible, so she had been trying to make them both happy.
“Hey, buddy,” Aaron said, not long after dinner was done. “You wanna go down with Pen?”
“Yeah,” Jack said.
Haley watched as Aaron carried Jack from the living room to the kitchen and then down into the basement. Haley figured that it was now that later that Aaron had talked about. He had gotten his head straight on his shoulders and was ready to talk to her about the fact that she was in love with Spencer. Not wanting to talk in the living room in case the sound carried down, Haley got up from the couch and walked to the bedroom. She figured that Aaron could come and find her pretty quickly. She settled down into the chair in the corner and looked outside until she heard the bedroom door shut. She turned to look at Aaron, debating even doing it as she was just because of the look that Aaron was going to have on his face when she told him.
Aaron was owed that much at least, not having to fight to have Haley look at him while she confessed that while she still loved Aaron, she just loved Spencer as well.
“Aaron, I have a confession to make.” Haley watched as Aaron turned resigned. He looked devastated as well, and Haley could feel the words getting stuck in her throat. “I’m in love with Spencer.”
Haley watched Aaron’s face as he processed the words. There was confusion and then something else that Haley wasn’t expecting relief. Aaron walked over to her without saying a word, and while he was moving quick, Haley wasn’t scared of him. She never was. Aaron had never raised his voice in anger at her or made her feel unsafe. He was scary when he was determined, but there was never fear.
Aaron dropped to his knees in front of her and took hold of both of her hands, turning her so she was facing him fully. “You don’t know how much I needed to hear those words.”
Haley was shocked and confused. There was no way that it could be a good thing. She loved someone else.
“I’m in love with him, too,” Aaron said.
It took a second repeating of the words in Haley’s head for her to understand what Aaron meant by that. She frowned at him and repeated them silently, and then it hit her. Aaron had thought that she knew and that she was confessing that she knew before he could tell her. They were both right idiots. Haley grabbed Aaron by his face and pulled him up into a kiss. If there were tears, Haley didn’t care. She wasn’t even sure if they were all from her.
“What are we going to do?” Haley asked.
“I have no clue,” Aaron said. He pushed up and picked up Haley before sitting down with her in the chair with her in his lap. “I’ve been dreaming this week. Erotic dreams that don’t just focus on you.”
“You’ve been avoiding Spencer today, and he knows it. Every time that you walked through the living room but didn’t talk to him, didn’t look at him; he looked so gutted.”
“I’ll apologize, but we need to work on what we want out of this before we even approach him with it. He loses everything in his life, Haley. If we back off because we are not sure that it’s what we want, it would be too similar to Gideon leaving for him not to take it the wrong way .”
“I agree,” Haley said. She leaned into Aaron and sighed as he wrapped his arms around her. She didn’t have a clue what she wanted. She hadn’t thought about it at all. She hadn’t let herself get that far. There was no thought about if she could have them both. It wasn’t anything that the people around them would understand. Jessica would never understand it. Haley knew that when she had married Aaron despite what her parents wanted, she was putting distance between them. Her father hated Aaron, and Haley had never figured out why. Aaron was a wonderful man, and he had proven himself to be a great father.
“I’m scared,” Aaron said.
Haley pulled herself upright in Aaron’s lap and looked at him. She could see the fear in his eyes. “Do you think he will hate us?”
“God, no. Spencer would never be like that. He’s a kind man who has a heart big enough for everyone, including a man who drugged him up while an alter inside of him tortured him. He was able to separate what one body did to him into the three personalities that had been with him. He was messed up from the torture but also from having to kill Tobias to save himself from Charles. That’s not a man who would hate someone for liking him.”
Haley nodded her head, but she was wrapping her mind around what Aaron said. She knew everything that had happened to Spencer that had led him down the path that had him living with them, but she had never heard it put in terms like that. She hadn’t realized exactly how bad it had been for him.
“He’s not wanted a relationship,” Haley pointed out.
“Yes, I know, and if he still feels that way, we can easily back off, but he’ll know, and it won’t feel like we are keeping things from him. It would be better because we wouldn’t have to tiptoe, and if he can’t stand to live with us because he doesn’t want to hurt us, we will let him go.”
“I can see him doing that. Moving even if he doesn’t want to just because he thinks it would be better on us.” Haley really could see him leaving. Jack would be devastated, and even Haley would miss the cats.
“I was ready to tell you that I would do anything for you that wasn’t going to hurt Spencer because my feelings were not a reason to hurt him. I would go to therapy to learn how to live knowing that I loved two people but would never do anything about it because I do love you, Hales. I love you just as much today as I did the day I married you. More really.”
“I felt horrible, and I’ve tried to figure out since I realized I was falling in love with him how to deal with it all, but it wasn’t going away. He’s so damned easy to love. I don’t understand how his father could-” Haley stopped and looked at Aaron.
“It’s okay, Haley. You don’t have to tiptoe around that. I was put in enough therapy for that years ago. We will never understand men like mine and Spencer’s father. It’s horrible how much they ruin the lives of good people, but we both got out of it. We are both the best men we can be. We are worthy of love, even though I think that is part of why Spencer is the way that he is. He’s afraid of putting himself out there and having it taken away. He’ll be resistant at first but not because he doesn’t want it, because he doesn’t think he’s going to get to keep it.”
“We can show him,” Haley said.
“Yeah. We can. Why don’t you get the ice cream and all of the toppings out and we can do dessert.”
“That sounds really good. Are you going to get Spencer out of his cave?”
“Yeah. I’ll send Jack up to you, and then he and I can talk.”
“Sure.” Haley waited for Aaron to let go of her before she slipped out of his lap. Aaron leaned down and kissed her as soon as he was standing up right. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Aaron said, and he gave Haley a smile. It was the kind of smile that told her that everything was going to be okay because they were okay.
Haley walked down the stairs with Aaron behind her, holding hands like they used to do to remind each other that they were there. Haley let go of him when they reached the kitchen, though, so that he could go down into the basement to fetch Spencer and their son. It was surreal to even think about the fact that they were thinking about this. There were a lot of conversations that needed to be had between the two of them before they even added Spencer into the mix.
Aaron wasn’t built to have a half relationship with anyone. He was going to want it all and from the start, which was probably going to scare Spencer a little bit. There was a lot that needed to be figured out as far as possible future kids went. Haley and Aaron hadn’t stopped, but she wondered if that was something that they would have to think about down the road, adoption at least. The last time that Aaron had brought up Spencer having kids of his own, Aaron had stated a few family health issues stopped Spencer from possibly wanting to procreate. Haley could understand it, but she hoped that he changed his mind one day. A surrogate could be found if he wanted a kid later if Haley was unable to.
“Mama,” Jack said as he came up the stairs. He latched onto her and kept a hold of her while she gated the top of the stairs. Jack had been pretty good at mealtimes when Spencer was to and fro, but she didn’t want to risk it at the moment. Jack’s two favorite men were down there, and he would head that way as soon as he could if he were allowed.
Jack stayed latched onto Haley’s leg as she walked around the kitchen, finding the toppings for the ice cream. She got out the bowls and the spoons and put them on the table to be used. When she turned back after grabbing the gallon tub of ice cream, she found Aaron holding the gate out of the way so Spencer could get upstairs.
Spencer looked a little wary, but he didn’t seem as out of sorts as he was earlier in the day.
“Who wants ice cream?” Haley asked as she started to scoop out some into the first bowl.
“Me,” Aaron said with a raised hand.
“Cream!” Jack shouted, which had all of the adults in the room shushing him.
“Me too, I guess.” Spencer’s tone wasn’t the happiest that Haley had ever heard it, but he didn’t seem like he didn’t want to be there.
Haley gave Spencer a smile and handed him the first bowl with three scoops of ice cream. Aaron was next, and he took Jack’s as well, holding the boy up and putting him on the counter beside where all of the ice cream toppings were. Jack picked his out while Spencer made a near work of art with his addition of chocolate, strawberry, and peanut butter sauce. Aaron’s was an utter mess like it always was, and Jack just liked his with the strawberry on top, so it was easy to just let it all run down. It wasn’t unusual to see that.
Aaron grabbed the can of whipped cream and put a dollop on top of Spencer’s ice cream while his back was turned to grab the rag to wipe up where he got a spot of chocolate on the counter. Aaron slipped a cherry on top just as Spencer turned back around.
“Aaron!” Spencer said emphatically. He reached out and plucked up the cherry and dropped it into Aaron’s bowl. “Don’t cheat and get more of each just because you know Haley will yell at you for taking too many cherries.”
Aaron just laughed and dropped another onto Spencer’s. It fell through the whipped cream and nearly disappeared.
“You jack-” Spencer stopped himself, and even Haley knew the word that was about to come out of his mouth. She laughed and covered it up. Spencer sighed and grabbed one of the spoons before scooping up the whipped cream and all and dropping it onto Aaron’s ice cream, making it look like an even bigger mess.
Aaron picked up his bowl of ice cream in one hand and Jack’s in the other. “Spencer, can you get Jack? I forgot that I had stuck him there.”
“Sure.” Spencer stepped over to help Jack down. Jack ran off after Aaron to get his ice cream. “Oh.”
“What?” Haley asked as she put up the ice cream before starting to add her two sauces to her ice cream.
“I assumed we would eat in here.” Spencer looked uncomfortable about something, and Haley couldn’t put her finger on it. She wasn’t sure if he didn’t want to be in there or didn’t want the more intimate setting of the living room.
Spencer shrugged, and Haley took that as his routine, he was sure it was a him issue, not an everyone else issue answer.
Haley had hoped Aaron talking to him would help Spencer feel more secure about how Aaron had acted. Still, it seemed that it wasn’t helping as much as it was supposed to be. It appeared that Spencer had gone back nearly a year in time. He hadn’t been uncertain like this since he had moved in right out of rehab. It wasn’t the best, but it was better than him hiding in the basement.
Spencer settled into the couch as far away from Aaron as he could get, so Haley took the seat in the middle. Jack’s ice cream was gone, which Haley knew would happen, and that was why she only gave him a little. Haley noticed that Spencer had his leg out on the coffee table, and his leg wasn’t braced in the air cast.
“Do you need an ice pack?” Haley asked.
“No, I’m fine. Thank you, though.”
Haley looked at Aaron with a pleading look on her face. She hated to see Spencer so upset. Aaron just shook his head and glared at his ice cream. Spencer had seemed fine in the kitchen but not out here.
“So when does that movie you want to see hit the theater?” Aaron asked.
Spencer didn’t answer. He was eating his ice cream in small near-perfect sections, so there would be enough sauce left for the ice cream that didn’t have any on it. Haley reached out and tapped his leg. “Huh?” Spencer asked as he looked up finally.
“That movie you wanted to see? When does it come to that little theater you like?”
“Oh, um. Two weeks ago.”
“You said it was a limited run.”
“Yes. It has three showings left.”
“Why didn’t you say something?”
“About what?” Spencer seemed perplexed that Aaron cared so much.
“Spencer, Aaron said he would go to it with you.” Haley remembered Aaron being interested in seeing it.
“He doesn’t need to. I saw it the other day after work before I headed home. The night that Aaron dropped me at the coffee shop when I was meeting a friend for coffee. We decided to go and see it since he was interested.”
“I wanted to see it.”
“You and Haley could go and see it.” Spencer seemed still a little perplexed about Aaron wanting to see it. Haley had a feeling that Spencer wasn’t used to people being interested in the things that he was interested in.
“Not my kind of movie, but it’s up Aaron’s alley. He likes that kind of thing. I don’t.” Haley made a look like she was upset to her stomach. While the movie wouldn’t be that bad to see, she wanted Aaron and Spencer to go and see it. She wanted to see them get closer while she did things with him as well.
Haley didn’t know a lot about making a three-person relationship work, she knew what it took to make her and Aaron work. There wouldn’t be a single relationship but four different ones if they made it that far. Aaron and Spencer’s, Spencer and Haley’s, Haley and Aaron’s, and then the relationship between the three of them. It was going to take work, and while it wouldn’t be apparent at first if that work was going to be worth it, Haley really hoped that it was going to be.
“Really?” Spencer asked, and he looked at Aaron with a look of hope on his face.
“Yes.” Aaron gave Spencer a smile.
“There is a showing tomorrow afternoon. We could head out and get lunch-” Spencer stopped himself as he looked at Aaron.
“Jessica wants to do lunch tomorrow with Jack and me as she hasn’t gotten a lot of time with either of us. I’m inviting her to dinner Tuesday night so she can see Aaron a little more. I’ll make lasagna and cheesy garlic bread. If you go on a case, we will reschedule her coming to see Aaron.”
Haley was glad that she could have the afternoon alone with Jessica even if they were at home. She wanted to talk to her about this. If she didn’t have her sister on her side with this, she wasn’t sure who she was going to have to talk to about it all. Jessica was probably going to call her stupid and insane, but she didn’t care. She wanted this, just as much as she had wanted Aaron when she saw him that first time.
Aaron expected Spencer to be a lot more reactive than he was. Spencer’s case file had been filled out before they had even left Chula Vista. Aaron hadn’t even seen the way that the two young men had been killed by Jack Vaughn, or whoever the man was really. It was cases like these that pissed off Aaron. There was no justice for the young woman who had been killed. The men who killed her would never be convicted for her death.
The team was scattered around the jet with Dave, Prentiss, Morgan, and JJ staying on the far side, giving Aaron and Spencer the couch area to be alone. Morgan kept looking at Spencer, who was ignoring everyone on the jet. Aaron had been shocked when Spencer had taken the seat at the other end of the couch. It wasn’t that it was strange, it was that Aaron had already been sitting there. Aaron had been pretty sure that Spencer was going to take one of the seats that would put him alone, and he would glare at anyone who took the seat across from him.
Aaron looked at his personal phone when it vibrated. He had texted Haley to tell her that physically, they were fine, but not mentally.
Do you want me to cancel the plans for dinner that Jessica and I have?
Aaron smiled and replied to her. No. I’ll take him out to dinner, but having Jack at home for Spencer cuddles wouldn’t be bad. I’ll text you when we are leaving the restaurant.
Sure, Haley sent back.
“Haley?” Spencer asked as he set aside the blank paper he had been staring at. It wasn’t the letter to Diana since Spencer had mailed that off that morning. It might be the one for the next day, but Spencer rarely ever wrote the letter just after a case. He tried not to talk about his cases that much after the Fisher King.
“Yes. She’s got dinner plans with Jessica and Jack, so it’s you and me for tonight.”
Spencer looked at the windows that were across from them. “We will be getting back to the base by threeish. Get reports filed and things cleaned out, and we can leave by four. Get to places before they really get busy.”
‘What do you want?” Aaron asked.
“Steak and one glass of excellent beer.”
“I know just the place.”
Spencer nodded and started to write again. His hands were flowing across the page, and the writing was very different than Aaron had ever seen him use. It was pretty, near calligraphy.
A line was readable by Aaron, so he looked at it. It was familiar in a way that Aaron wasn’t sure he could place.
“Is that…” Aaron trailed off as Spencer looked up at him.
“Elvish from Lord of the Rings, yes. It is a letter to a friend of mine. We learn languages and write to each other in them. He was shocked after I learned Russian. We just swapped to this. Next is Vulcan.” Spencer was smiling as he talked and wrote, so Aaron left him to what he was doing. They were still three hours from home, so there was time to get Spencer to open up a little more.
The scratch of Spencer’s pen over the paper had Aaron half dozing, which he didn’t need, so he stood up to make himself a cup of coffee. The pot was empty from never being started so Aaron found the hidden stash of good coffee that he left on the jet and made a pot of it. He leaned against the counter and looked at the team, or at least what he could see of them. He was there about a minute before Dave joined him.
“How is the kid doing?” Dave asked.
“You know he’s not a kid, right?” Aaron asked. He knew that there was every chance that Spencer was overhearing them. He would need to make sure to cut Dave off. Spencer was good at listening when he was focused on other things. No one but Aaron had picked up on that, though. He figured that mostly, it was their own fault if they opened their mouth and stuck their foot in it.
“He could be my kid, Aaron. So I’ll call him kid. It’s better than what a lot of the rest of the FBI calls him. Gideon’s genius or even your genius or just the genius. It’s like it’s the only thing that he’s good for is his brain. I can see why Jason wanted him in the BAU. His ability to remember everything you read is great, but that’s not all. He connects things that only his brain can do. I know that you and Morgan have been his main teachers, but you two have done well with him.”
“He was easy to teach. He’s eager when he’s learning, even if it’s learning how to shoot guns.” Aaron tried not to think about the age difference between them. He and Haley had talked about it, but it wasn’t like either of them were actually attracted to Spencer because they were so much older than him. It was just because they liked him for who he was.
“Yes, I heard about that with Dowd. I was given that by Garrett so that I didn’t piss Reid off when I came in.”
“He’s pretty good with a gun now, and we do go out to the range during the week sometimes, and I teach him more. If he gets used to a gun, I don’t think that there is one that I can’t teach him outside of sniper. He’s growing so much, and I think that Jason was right that he could be the future of the BAU but not with the way that he was teaching him.”
“There was no teaching,” Aaron said. He looked at where Spencer was still writing. The way that he had slowed down meant that he was listening. Dave hadn’t seemed to notice, though.
“He thought that just doing and letting people watch is enough to teach him. Coffee’s made,” Dave said. He pointed.
Aaron looked to see that it was. He grabbed two mugs and filled them up before waving the carafe at Dave, who shook his head. Aaron added a little creamer to his and then creamer and sugar to Spencer’s. Dave stayed in the kitchen area, and Aaron could feel his eyes on him. Aaron sat down with the two cups in hand before he settled the one on the couch between them.
Spencer finished the letter and signed it with the signature that Aaron knew only because it looked a little less like his normal but close enough. Even if it was in Elvish.
“Thanks,” Spencer said as he slipped the letter into an envelope and sealed it up. It was already addressed and had a stamp on it. Aaron saw that the letter was going to New York. He wondered who it was that he was sending it to. The name was not filled out but was just three letters. JMG. Aaron tried to figure out who it was.
“How do you know them?”
“I met them at Caltech. They were there picking kids to join him at his business. We are just pen-pals. I wrote him a letter asking him a question, and it just evolved from there. Right now, he’s in New York, but usually, he’s here in the DC area, but we don’t hang out.”
“Sounds lonely,” Aaron said.
“Oh, no. It’s what I needed. A friend who I can gripe to and be as close as I want without having to make myself be more or less than I was. He gets me, and it’s just wonderful.”
“You’ve never talked about him before.”
“That’s because no one else needs to know about him. Morgan and JJ would be trying to force me to hang out with him. I mean just because he’s gay and I’m…flexible doesn’t mean that we have to hook up and try and be more than just pen pals.”
“Flexible?” Aaron asked. He turned on his seat to where he was looking at Spencer, his back to the rest of the team. Dave walked past them with a pat to Aaron’s shoulder before he retook his seat.
“Sexuality is complicated if you don’t think you are straight, gay, or bi. I am not sure what I am so flexible seems the best thing.”
“Speaking of sexuality and flexibility. We never did get to finish the discussion that we started years ago.”
Spencer looked up at Aaron with a confused look on his face. Aaron could see his eyes moving as he tried to figure out precisely what Aaron was talking about.
“Oh, wow. I thought I was the only one that would pull out things like that.”
“It was an interesting discussion, I thought, and I meant to bring it up again, but then Gideon was back, and things were different. So, have you in the years in between figured out anything else?” Aaron propped his head on his hand after resting his elbow on the couch back. He really hoped that no one looked at them as they talked. Spencer might not get the body language, but there was no way that Prentiss, Morgan, and Dave wouldn’t. JJ might. It wasn’t a cut and dry thing with her. She had little training when it came to the things that profilers learned, but she was around the team enough to pick things up.
“I can see where some relationships would be better served with three in it. The thought that you can get everything that you need from one other person is just impossible for some people. I could be in love with someone but not get what I need from them emotionally. I have to wonder if the concept that you can only love one person is really just a religious rule that doesn’t serve humanity. Triads are around in other cultures that don’t place as much need on the whole one man and one woman thing. Pairings that are three men, two men and a woman, two women and a man, and three women.”
“That doesn’t quite answer the question that I proposed last time.” Aaron was happy that it had come up a long time before. Aaron had forgotten about that until the night before while on the case. It wasn’t something that he wanted to bring up around other people, but it worked now.
“I really can’t answer that, though. I’ve never been in a relationship with a single person much less had the want to be in one with two other people.”
“Outside of the box, Spencer. Come on. You’ve done enough therapy now to be able to speculate based on what you know about yourself.”
Spencer gave Aaron a glare, but there wasn’t a lot of heat behind it. Aaron gave him a smile even though the urge that welled up inside of him had nothing to do with a smile. Spencer leaned over to look at the rest of the team. Aaron turned around to see that Dave was making edits on his manuscript. Prentiss had headphones in, and JJ was doing something with paperwork. Morgan was the only one not fully visible, but he almost always listened to music after a case.
“Why are you pushing this?” Spencer asked.
“If you really don’t want to talk about it, we don’t. You’ve not asked me to stop.”
“I know.” Spencer turned to face Aaron, lifting up the coffee to take a drink as he mirrored Aaron’s pose on the couch minus the arm. “I have found people I’m mentally attracted to. Meaning that I think we could be good together, but the whole thing of being in a relationship hasn’t really come up all that much. I don’t know what I want, and that makes it hard. I could see myself wanting more than one person if the first gives me enough that I am happy, but I just need that little bit more. So yes, as I think right now, I could see myself in a relationship with two other people. Gender, I am not sure about, but then I haven’t found a person that I like as more than friends yet. I think.”
“You think?” Aaron smiled as he said it. Even though what Spencer was saying wasn’t all that good, it wasn’t horrible either. Aaron knew that Spencer not being near the same age as the rest of the kids in college would mean that he wasn’t as well versed in dating as others, but he hadn’t thought it would be like this.
The timetable that they had both set for this needed to change to give them both more time to get their heads wrapped around what Aaron knew and would share with Haley.
“I can’t exactly add someone to my love life if I don’t know what I want, can I? I mean, I know people do it, they think they know, and then they don’t, and things get messy.”
“There is that. Messy can be bad, but you can’t always know before it happens.”
Spencer shrugged. He sipped at his coffee again for a few minutes. Aaron felt like he shouldn’t break the silence as Spencer thought about what he wanted.
“I guess it’s my childhood that makes me hesitant about starting anything with anyone. It’s not the fact that I could snap, as it were, at any time. I can’t help that, and worrying about it will just make me crazy. I never saw a healthy relationship in my parents. They fought from my first memory to my last. Hell, the only healthy relationship that I have seen in my life is you and Haley.”
“It’s the only relationship on the team.”
“No, JJ’s in one.” Spencer scooted closer on the couch to Aaron, and his voice dropped down to a near whisper as he spoke.
“What?” Aaron asked. He wanted to turn and look at her. He hadn’t heard her talk about anyone.
“That detective from the case that the team went on in March of last year. The serial killer who was mimicking Jack the Ripper.”
Aaron remembered that case as it was one of the ones that Aaron had wished Spencer had been on. It had been horrible, and they had not saved the last victim in time.
“Detective LaMontagne?” Aaron asked.
“Given the accent that he has and that she calls him Will. That’s who I assumed it was. I have heard her in her office when she thinks no one else is around. Everyone kind of forgets that I’m around. Which isn’t always bad. I hear great things and sometimes horrible things.”
“It sucks that you have to endure that, though.”
“Like Rossi a little bit ago. He probably didn’t even realize that I overheard him. I could tell that you knew though, so points for you not telling him, so he made a little bit of an ass of himself. I do wonder what it would have been like to have Rossi as a dad, though. He’s gruff, but I figure that it’s all bluster. He probably would have been a great dad.” Spencer yawned, and his jaw popped when he did it.
“Why don’t you take a nap? I heard you tossing and turning last night.”
“I keep seeing it,” Spencer admitted.
“Then lay down here. We figured out when you had that cold that you sleep well, being reminded you aren’t alone. No one is going to care.” Aaron knew that he was walking a fine line at the moment, what he could get away with as a friend, and pushing the boundary of what a lover did, but he didn’t care. He hated the dark smudges under Spencer’s eyes.
Spencer kicked off his shoes and curled onto the couch in the way that he did, making himself so much smaller than he was out of a need to fit on the couch. He laid his head on Aaron’s thigh and nearly melted down into the couch when Aaron started to trail his fingers through his hair, soothing him.
It wasn’t long before Spencer was dead asleep on the couch.
Prentiss came over after a little while with the blanket in hand, and she laid it over him.
“You know Hotch, if you want to keep it a secret from him, you might want to look at him a little less like he’s the cream in your coffee, so to speak. How long have you been in love with him?”
“I don’t have an exact date, but I noticed it in October.” Aaron wasn’t shocked that she had picked it up. Prentiss was the wilder profiler that they had. Her life had been strange and hard, long before she had joined the BAU. Aaron had never figured her all the way out, but he knew that she didn’t dismiss things because they were not the norm.
“And Haley?” Prentiss asked.
Aaron looked at the rest of the team to see that even Dave had headphones in. Probably jazz or the Rat Pack playing.
“We are both tied up in him.” Aaron had no clue why he was telling her, but it was nice to talk to someone about it that wasn’t Haley. It was good to talk about it all.
“Haley is younger than you, yes? Not much but a little?”
“So you are both about fifteen years older than him? It’s about right given how grown up he was before he ever hit the age of eighteen. I’d threaten you, Hotch, but I think you’d rather cut your own heart out than to hurt him. Just don’t string him along.”
“How did you know?”
“The way you looked when you heard what he had gone through on this case, and then this.” Prentiss waved her hand at where Aaron was carding his fingers through Spencer’s hair. “JJ’s done it a few times, so no one is probably going to think much of it. I mean, you are married, and you think the sun and the moon shone out of Haley, so I doubt that anyone is going to bat an eye at this. But…be gentle with him, Hotch. He’s still figuring himself out as a sexual being, and while I heard a little of what you two were talking about, I think he’s too scared to tell anyone what he really would label himself.”
“The term is demisexual. It’s a newer term, and I saw it for the first time in 2006 on The Asexual Visibility & Education Network online. The gentleman who coined it said that he didn’t feel sexual attraction until he had an emotional attraction to someone. It fits what I heard from your conversation and discussions of sexuality he and I have had before.. We had talked about it between the two of us at a dinner out so we could get to know each other better after I joined the team. It’s part of why I went looking around and found that site.”
“Demisexual,” Aaron said. He would keep that part to himself. If Spencer was demisexual, he would tell them, or if he hadn’t figured out that it had a name, Aaron could tell him.
“I’m gonna go,” Prentiss said as Spencer started to move like he was dreaming, and it wasn’t good.
Aaron laid his other hand on Spencer’s upper back and rubbed, his hand spreading out to get as much contact as he could. Spencer calmed down within a minute and settled back down into sleep.
The rest of the flight was easy, with the team all just being on their own. Aaron woke Spencer to give him enough time to wake up all the way before they got off the jet. Work was work, and Aaron just pushed through all of it. He wanted to get home to Jack and Haley and see his family, but he knew that Haley needed the night out with her sister.
Aaron had to be perfectly honest with himself. He wanted a night out on a date with Spencer to see if what he thought was really there. He knew he was in love with the younger man, but that didn’t always translate to wanting anything more than that. It was something that Aaron needed to work out, and Haley did as well, before they made their overture to the younger man.
“Dinner time?” Spencer asked as he dropped a stack of files on Aaron’s desk. It was a few files that Aaron knew JJ had dropped on Spencer’s desk before they had left for Chula Vista. That meant that Spencer had been doing stuff to keep himself entertained while Aaron got rid of the 911 stuff that was on his desk.
“Yes,” Aaron said, and if they were at home, he would have added something else to that to make sure that Spencer knew how excited he was to get out of there. Aaron handed over the keys to the car as soon as he got close to Spencer. He was a little worn out, and Spencer seemed fresh-faced after his nap.
Once they were in the DC city limits, it wasn’t long before they pulled up to the restaurant where Aaron directed Spencer. The smell of cooking steak was overpowering, and it made Aaron’s mouth water. He laid his hand on Spencer’s lower back and directed him toward where he knew there were tables that were up for grabs for pairs. If there were none open, he would give his name, and they could sit at the bar and drink and eat an appetizer while a table became empty for them.
One table was empty, so Aaron pushed Spencer toward it. He laughed as he watched Spencer try and pick where he wanted to sit. He chose the seat that put his back to the room.
“You can sit in the other, you know,” Aaron said.
“You like to have a look at the room around you, and I’m too antsy that I’ll look everywhere but at you.”
Aaron almost opened his mouth to tell Spencer that it really only mattered if they were on a date. However, he really didn’t want to freak Spencer out while he was still figuring himself out, so he sat down and grabbed the local beer menu to hand to Spencer. Despite all of the chains in the area, this place survived by having local beers and local food as much as possible. Aaron loved this place, but Haley found it too loud. The music wasn’t that loud, but there were a lot of people, and they made a lot of noise. It was the perfect place for Aaron to take Spencer for their not-date.
“Do you feel better?” Aaron asked as his cell phone chimed. Aaron picked it up from where he had set it on the table. “Well, how about we do more than one beer each?”
“One is fine with me.” Spencer was looking at the beer menu.
“Strauss gave us the morning off. We can come in the afternoon and get what work needs to be done. She wants you to meet with Doctor Freya at some point over the next few weeks to talk over the case.”
“I already called him from my desk, and next Wednesday at lunch, he’s going to meet me in Quantico at that dive you love.”
Aaron laughed because that dive, as Spencer called it, had become one of Spencer’s favorite places to grab lunch from if Haley didn’t pack them something to eat.
“You love it too,” Aaron said as he pointed at Spencer. Spencer just gave him a grin that made him look so beautiful. Aaron’s heart ached at the sight. Aaron wanted to reach across and brush the hair back from Spencer’s face and kiss him. It was a strange feeling for Aaron, who hadn’t felt it toward anyone but Haley.
“Love is a strong word for how I feel about it,” Spencer said. He looked down at the beer menu one last time before setting it down and picking up the food menu.
Aaron watched Spencer’s eyes as they moved over the page. It was still a marvel to him to see his eyes do that and that he kept that knowledge that he learned from the page. It had helped once when Haley had a craving for something, and Aaron had no idea which restaurant that it had been at. Spencer’s brain had kept that tucked away. Someone had heard Aaron joke about it saving his life. Now, when someone had a pregnant wife or girlfriend, they texted Aaron to get Spencer to cough up the information or would text Spencer if they had his number. They always paid in good coffee, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Aaron had paid Spencer back in a good lunch as well as a week’s worth of morning coffee from the place he liked in Quantico.
“So, what are you thinking?” Aaron asked.
The sound of Spencer talking about which beer he was trying to decide between washed over Aaron. He figured that the only way the night could be better was if they were actually on a date together, and Haley was there.
Spencer yawned, covering it up with his hand as he felt his jaw crack. He looked at Aaron, who was not that affected. Beer had that effect on Spencer, and he wasn’t sure that he liked it. It was only when he was already tired, but it seemed like something that was a kick in the gut after he was already down. He looked over as they pulled into the driveway of the house to see that Haley was waiting at the door with a half-asleep Jack in her arms. Spencer felt that ache in his body that said he wanted to cuddle, and since cuddling with Aaron or Haley was out of the question, he would settle for Jack. Jack was a wonderful cuddler, and it was nice to do it with him.
“Jessica brought over that thing we were talking about,” Haley said as Aaron and Spencer got out of the car near as one. Her eyes moved over them, and she walked closer and transferred Jack over to Aaron before she walked to meet Spencer. She wrapped her arms around him in a hug. Spencer hugged her back tightly, reveling in the feel of her in his arms and the smell of her shampoo. It was a soft scent that made Spencer feel like he was coming home.
“Good. I think tonight is a good night for Spencer and Jack to cuddle in it.”
Spencer frowned as he pulled away from Haley to look at Aaron. “What?”
“Come and see,” Jack said. He held out his arms to Spencer as Spencer got close, so he picked up the boy from his father’s arms and walked toward the house.
Jack directed Spencer, where he needed to go, which was just the living room. There was a recliner in there now. It looked as soft as a cloud. Spencer knew that the talk had been heavy about getting a lazy boy so that more than one person could stretch out. Aaron had been for another couch, but Haley wasn’t. Spencer had stayed out of it no matter how much both of them tried to cajole him into giving his opinion.
“Nap,” Jack said as he laid his head on Spencer’s shoulder.
“It’s too late to take a nap.”
“Sleep.” Jack’s tone was like he was suffering for indulging Spencer. Which he very much got from his mother. Spencer had heard that from her a few times when she was talking to Aaron.
“You know that does sound really good.” Spencer walked to the recliner and settled into it. He leaned back, and the chair moved some but not the rest of the way. Jack moved around to settle on his chest, his head over Spencer’s heart, and his arms wrapped around Spencer as far as they could get. Spencer found the handle to tip the recliner back, and it was like laying a cloud.
“Water?” Aaron asked.
“Sure.” Spencer watched as Aaron and Haley walked to the kitchen.
The last two weeks had been strange to Spencer. Haley and Aaron had both near as one pulled away from him a little more and more, and then two weeks ago, they had kind of both pushed back into his life. Even though they lived together, it was easy to dodge away from Spencer. He had his duties in the house, and he did them with no issue, but having them around again and in Spencer’s face felt a little off.
Spencer just wished he knew what had been wrong between them that they felt they needed to avoid Spencer a little. He was fairly certain that it wasn’t something that he had done, but that worry lived at the back of his mind. He watched what he could of the two of them working in the kitchen. There was more than just water getting going on.
The line of sight was perfect with how the chair was positioned to see into the kitchen with a turn of Spencer’s head. He watched the way that the two of them were around each other. Spencer had never remembered seeing his parents like that at all. There was always touching with them. A hand on Haley’s hip or shoulder when Aaron moved behind her. Haley always touched the part of Aaron that was touching her. Kisses here and there, usually where Jack couldn’t see so that he didn’t make a comment on anything being eww worthy.
Aaron stopped Haley as she came to the stove with a jar of something that was too far away for Spencer to tell what it was. They kissed, slowly and surely like a couple in love and secure with each other did. Spencer reached up to rub at his heart, which was aching a little and encountered Jack’s head. He looked down at the boy who was fully asleep. Spencer carded his fingers through Jack’s hair. He allowed himself to dream about having a kid of his own to help with the ache that was in his chest at not having someone like Aaron or Haley to be in his life. It was the only thing that he could be upset about because he wasn’t so callous to want someone who wasn’t his to want.
There was that horrible ache though when he saw them together. He wasn’t sure that he was ready to face that, though. He wasn’t too far from the end of the ban to date again. He hadn’t wanted to before the whole Georgia mess, and he didn’t see that really changing. Dating was messy, and Spencer was just now getting to where his life was back to as normal as it could get. He didn’t want to add anything messy into the mix.
Haley had been very vocal about Spencer bringing dates home months ago. Still, it had slowly tapered off, and she said nothing about it now. Spencer assumed that she knew that she had made her point and didn’t need to mention it anymore.
The smell of chocolate filled the house as Haley stayed at the stove and stirred something there. Aaron came into the living room with a bottle of water that had a straw in it so that Spencer didn’t have to lean up to get a drink.
“Thanks,” Spencer said.
“Welcome. Did you want some cocoa?”
“Sure. What are we going to watch since Jack’s asleep.” Spencer could see the movie set up with the drinks on the coffee table.
“I don’t know. I texted Haley to pick it out when you were in the bathroom before we headed home. She had texted that she was home, and Jack was sleepy.”
“You can put him to bed.”
“No. He wanted cuddles with you, and he’ll get cuddles with you.” Aaron ruffled Jack’s hair, and the boy grumbled.
Spencer realized that Jack was not as asleep as he thought he was. The boy was usually only still when he was dead asleep, but it seemed he was just enjoying being on Spencer. Spencer wasn’t sure that it was a good thing that Jack treated him like he treated Aaron and Haley. Jack was good for him and pushed the rules when he thought he could get away with it, but Spencer wasn’t a parent to him. At best, he was a pseudo-uncle. That wasn’t enough for him to act like a parent, though. The hard thing was that Aaron and Haley didn’t call him out on it. He wasn’t sure where the line was there on that, and it was something that bothered him but not enough to bring it up. He would get used to it.
Haley came into the room a few minutes later with three mugs of cocoa. She handed Spencer’s to him, and it had a straw in it. Aaron took the other two cups from Haley so that she could sit down without spilling them. Spencer turned his head to the TV as Haley settled in at Aaron’s side on the couch. They were the perfect couple, and it sometimes hurt to see them. It wasn’t enough to push Spencer out of the house, though. It wasn’t anywhere near enough.
The sounds of the movie started up, and Spencer frowned as he had no clue what was going on. He did recognize Harrison Ford, but that was about it.
“I am assuming that it’s really important since it’s made so dramatic.”
“Yes,” Aaron said with a smile on his face.
Spencer noted the name of the movie to look up later as he had no clue why it would be so interesting based on the title. Jack fell asleep while the man escaped from the bus that had wrecked, saving a life as he did and then getting away to try and take care of himself.
Tommy Lee Jones was the next person that Spencer knew, and he was enraptured by the movie. Right up until Jones’ character made a speech about outhouses. Spencer started to laugh, and he couldn’t stop. Jack thankfully slept through it all.
“What’s so funny?” Haley asked as she looked at Aaron.
Spencer saw that Aaron was laughing as well.
“Morgan gave that speech on Spencer’s third case when a suspect got away. It wasn’t until a few of the locals laughed that Spencer figured out that it wasn’t something he just made up. We broke up before someone filled him in, and I would guess by Spencer’s face, he never looked up what it was from.”
“No, but now I need to make sure to tell Morgan that I figured it out.” Spencer kept his eyes on the screen as the movie was started up again, and his eyes didn’t leave it until the credits started to roll.
“Did you like it?” Haley asked
“Yes, I did.”
“Good, then we are watching the Client.” Haley got up and walked to the movie rack and started to rifle through it.
Spencer didn’t feel nearly as tired as he had before, so he agreed to it. Jack had started to snore a little, so Spencer moved his head some. The boy stopped near instantly.
“Here, I’ll take him upstairs,” Aaron said as he appeared in Spencer’s eyesight. Spencer had not even heard him get up off the couch.
“He’ll sleep better in his bed, and I’ll feel better about him, and you both not sleeping down here tonight.” Aaron gave Spencer a soft smile. Spencer gave him a smile back and nodded his head. He reached over for the bottle of water, taking a long drink of it as Aaron carried Jack to the stairs and up them.
Haley disappeared into the kitchen and wasn’t in a place that Spencer could see. Without Jack on him, Spencer felt like he was chilled. He debated getting up to get a blanket to cover himself but decided against it as he didn’t want to move. He felt like he could sleep on the recliner, and his body would not hate him for it. Haley appeared first with what looked like lemonade in one glass and tea in another. The tea was settled down for Aaron, and the lemonade was walked to Spencer.
“Thanks.” Spencer took the glass and took a drink of it. It was just slightly sweet with more tart in it than anything else. The coffee table was cleaned up from the movie night debris. Spencer wondered when that had been done as he had not noticed Haley getting up at all.
The movie started again when Aaron got back downstairs, and Spencer knew that he fell asleep not long into it.
Spencer looked up from the textbook that he was reading and making notes in for a class that he was going to be teaching at the Academy. Aaron had approached him about it that afternoon, and it was something that was right up Spencer’s alley. Aaron hoped that it would help him get a little more settled into his role as a teacher, given that the BAU taught classes to law enforcement across the country as well. He felt the hand on his shoulder as Aaron read over his shoulder at the textbook that Spencer had dragged out of one of his boxes in the basement.
“That’s an interesting text.”
“It was at Caltech in the used bin, and I bought it. It’s why I started to take the classes that I did and ended up with my softer science degrees. It got a few things that are still relevant, and it allows me to use its references to find things online that are more updated.”
“I might borrow it from you and read sometime. For now, though, I’ll just get the cookies I came in to get.”
Aaron’s hand didn’t leave Spencer though all that quick. Instead, Spencer felt it settle in on his shoulder, and the finger dug in a little, it helped release a small knot in Spencer’s muscles, and he let out a breathy moan at how good it felt. Spencer felt Aaron’s other hand settle on the other side, and both dug in. His thumbs swept up and down, feeling the edge muscles, and Spencer wanted to ask him to keep on going. After a few seconds, Aaron did move his hands a little, and his fingers started to dig into his skin, helping to coax the muscles to relax as he pushed deep and hard.
“You know, I’m the Unit Chief, and still you are tenser than me.” Aaron’s tone was pondering. Spencer had a quip on his tongue about Aaron getting tension relief nearly every single night from his wife, but he stopped before saying it.
Spencer didn’t want Aaron’s hands to leave him. The deep massage that he was getting had him nearly turning into a puddle of goo at the table. His hand had dropped the pen he was using, and it was resting on the table. The other hand was spread over the page he had been reading from. It was now just resting there with no tenseness to it at all. He sighed as he felt Aaron find another knot a little further down his back, right at the edge of where his thumbs were digging in. The hands moved down to work on that knot.
“Your shirt is getting in the way,” Aaron said.
“I-” Spencer bit off the rest and curled his hands into fists. “Do you want me to take it off?”
“Yes, as well as turn the chair around. Rest your chin on the back of it. No wonder you toss and turn sometimes. Is the mattress not good enough?”
“No, it’s fine. I just can’t get comfortable some nights.” Spencer didn’t want to tell him that he had been having erotic dreams about two people touching him. Dreams that had him waking up with his cock soft and his underwear messy. He still didn’t know who he was dreaming about. It bounced between two males and two females as far as Spencer could tell. It might even just be the same two people with only one of them touching Spencer enough for him to feel what gender they were.
“Have you thought about going to one of the spas and getting this done?” Aaron asked.
Aaron’s words shook Spencer out of his thoughts, and he stripped off his shirt as he stood up. He stepped back. He turned the chair, hesitating only slightly in sitting down and leaning forward when Aaron’s bare hand laid down on his shoulder. He felt the warmth of it.
“I don’t think I could stand being touched like that by a stranger.”
Aaron said nothing in response to Spencer’s words. Still, he did cup his hand around the base of Spencer’s neck and squeezed in a move that was becoming known to Spencer as something that Aaron only did to him. He had never seen Aaron do it to Haley. It was strange but not all that uncommon to Spencer now. Spencer wadded up his shirt and used it as a buffer between him and the chair as he leaned forward on it. He tipped his forehead to rest on the shirt and chair instead of his chin.
The hands were back on him in seconds, and Spencer felt how sure they were now that there was no barrier between skin and skin. It felt damned good as the hands moved to feel just under the skin, mapping everything before finding where Spencer’s back ached the most and digging in there.
Spencer didn’t hold in the groan of pleasure at the release of that knot when it was gone. Aaron’s hands were like magic, going after every single sore muscle that he had and soothing them away.
“Where did you learn this?”
“I took a class to learn how to do it early in Haley’s and my marriage. She did a lot of work in the yard where we were living at the time, and she always had a sore back even though she did everything right. So I learned this for her. It helped a lot when she was pregnant. I took a refresher course of sorts to make sure that I knew how to massage even her belly when she was pregnant. I think it’s the only reason I wasn’t cursed to hell and back when she was giving birth.”
Spencer laughed and closed his eyes. He focused on the feel of hands over his back and touching him all over. He groaned as another knot was found. It felt like it had been holding his whole back hostage. When Aaron worked it loose, everything that had been making Spencer tense just lifted off of him. He heard Haley enter the room. Jack was asleep, and it was a good thing as Spencer did not want the boy seeing this.
“Magic Hands,” Haley said as she started to clean up the table.
Spencer tried to make a noise that would stop her. Still, it just came out a moan as Aaron kept on working on finding anything else that was wrong on his back, slipping down to where his hands were getting the small of his back and Spencer’s sides. His hands swept up Spencer’s side, teasing skin that Spencer had never been touched at by someone who wasn’t him. Spencer wasn’t sure what the feeling he felt from it was. He sighed and let himself start to drift off at the table. He let Haley clean up his stuff. It was near bedtime, and while tomorrow was Friday, he still had work to do and needed sleep.
“Thanks,” Spencer said as he listened to Haley slipping his work into his messenger bag. She sat down close to him next, and her hands settled down into his hair, scratching at his scalp, and that felt so good compared with Aaron’s hands on him. He didn’t want this to go away, but he also knew it had to end.
“Hey, it’s time for all geniuses to be in bed,” Aaron said after a few minutes.
“Don’t want to,” Spencer whined, and he knew it was a whine, and he sounded like a child. He sighed heavily as Aaron coaxed him to stand up and turn around to face him. Spencer refused to open his eyes. He felt Aaron loop his hands around his neck, and then he was being lifted. On instinct, Spencer wrapped his legs around Aaron’s waist and wrapped his arms around his neck tighter. Aaron moved as soon as Spencer was settled on his body.
Spencer squeaked when Aaron started down the stairs. He clung to Aaron tighter until they stopped. He knew that he should feel like a child being tucked into bed, but he felt nothing of the sort. He felt cherished. He felt loved. Spencer wiggled out of his pants as he laid in bed. He could sleep in his underwear for tonight as he didn’t want to get up. He reached out to drop his pants off the side of the bed, but Aaron grabbed them from him. Spencer didn’t know what to do as he watched Aaron put his dirty pants in the hamper and then reached under the blankets and tugged his socks off of him. Spencer grabbed his underwear in one hand just to make sure that those weren’t going to come off as well.
Aaron just laughed and walked over to the bed after turning out the lights. “Do you need anything?” The light on the nightstand flipped on, it was Spencer’s low cast light. Aaron’s hand move the hair back from his forehead where it had fallen before Spencer’s glasses were removed.
“No.” Spencer felt good. His back didn’t ache, and he was just happy. He loved where he was at the moment. He loved being around Aaron and Haley. As his mind shut down with Aaron touching his hair, Spencer realized that both of them had been touching him a hell of a lot more than they had ever before. He just didn’t know what that meant.
Haley picked up the phone and looked at it before setting it back down in the cradle. She was nervous. She hadn’t felt this nervous in a very long time. Hell, since she had gone on that first date with Aaron years ago. Even on her wedding day, she hadn’t felt this nervous. She remembered a lot of her wedding day, which was something that her mother said she wasn’t going to remember. Yet it was all crystal clear in her head.
Forcing herself to pick it up, Haley dialed a number that was as memorized as Aaron’s desk phone.
“Reid,” Spencer said as his greeting.
“Spencer, it’s Haley.”
“Oh, hi. Umm.”
Haley could just see him turning to look into Aaron’s office to see why she wasn’t calling him.
“Umm, Aaron’s at his desk. Did you need him?”
“No. No. It’s Friday, and I realized today that you and I haven’t been on a meal out since you’ve been allowed back at work full time with cases. I wanted to know if you want to go out to dinner tonight? Aaron can drop you someplace, and we can eat there, and I’ll drive us home, or you can.”
“Oh, umm.” There was a silence of words on the other end, but Haley could hear Spencer fidgeting with papers on his desk and even the clack of a few keys. “Sure. Sushi?”
Haley had figured that Spencer would want that given how he had been eyeing the menu for the closest place that delivered it to the house. She had an idea for a place that Aaron didn’t like to go to. He didn’t like being on display at Benihana. He would go if Haley pushed, but Haley didn’t like to do that. She wasn’t sure if Spencer would like it, but unless he had been and hated it, it would be where they ate dinner.
“Yeah. I know a good place, and you can get what you want, and I can get what I want. I’ll text Aaron the address.”
“‘Kay,” Spencer said. There was the sound of more typing and then a rustle. “How are you feeling today?”
“Good. I know you were both gone before I woke up on your run, and then I was in the shower while you two were eating. We didn’t get to talk this morning.”
“No.” Spencer actually sounded a little upset about that.
“How are you feeling? How is your back?”
“Much better. It was really good to sleep without it aching any. I think I slept the whole night through, he’s really good at that. I might have to pay him to be my masseuse more.”
Haley laughed and let the sound of Spencer typing away on his keyboard wash over her.
“How much work do you have left that you need to get done today?”
“That’s mine? None. I’m working on a few files for Prentiss right now. Then Hotch and I have time at the gun range so I can train on a new gun. Hotch thinks I might do better with a revolver. We are going to try it.”
“I do remember him talking about that.”
“I guess he got a special gun requisitioned for it. I just hope I don’t disappoint him if I don’t do better with it.”
“He’s not going to be disappointed. He’ll just keep on going until he finds a gun that works for you.”
“He hopes that if I get comfortable with a different gun, I might start to do better with the Glock.”
There was the sound of someone talking just in the background, so Haley didn’t say anything.
“Oh, I guess time got away from me. Don’t forget to text Hotch where you are going to be so he can drop me off. Bye, Haley, have a good afternoon. I’m going to see if I can hit paper men in the crotch again.”
Haley heard the click on Spencer’s end and wondered precisely what Spencer meant by those words. She wondered if Spencer would volunteer if she asked or if she would have to ask Aaron about it. She turned to look at Jack, who was asleep in the middle of the living room in the recliner that he had slept on top of Spencer in on Wednesday. It seemed like so long ago but had only been two nights before.
Last night, Aaron had come up to Haley horny after giving Spencer that massage. He had gone for so long that Haley had two orgasms before Aaron had found his. Finally, another orgasm from his hand before Aaron had been satisfied that Haley was. She had almost called a stop to the massage when she had entered the room, but Spencer had seemed so into it and peaceful that she hadn’t. Aaron had been so careful in carrying Spencer down into the basement that the younger man hadn’t felt his erection. That would have probably scared the shit out of him.
Spencer was not virginal, but he was not precisely knowledgeable or experienced in the way of relationships as far as Haley could tell. He still blushed when he figured out why Aaron and Haley went to bed early or got up late or if they disappeared for an hour or two in the middle of the day on a weekend. Haley was looking forward to helping Spencer learn those things if they chose to go forward with this. Haley knew that right now, Aaron would say yes, but Haley was more hesitant. She wanted to go on this date with him and see what she thought by the end. Then see about an evening with the three of them where it was a little more intimate than just a typical dinner at the dinner table.
Haley had plans for that. A dinner out on the back porch with lighting that would seem romantic with the heaters going to make sure they were warm enough. Spencer wouldn’t think a damned thing of it, at least she hoped. She felt a little bad about the stealth dating, but she agreed with Aaron that it was better than them going on a few dates and then realizing that this wasn’t what they wanted. They might love him, but that didn’t mean it was relationship territory. Spencer was a good man, and Haley hoped that even if he didn’t find a relationship with them, he found one with someone one day.
Aaron had already broached the subject of having two lovers with Spencer. He hadn’t been repulsed by it, but whether that meant that he wanted to get into a relationship with two people that had over a decade in age on him was another thing. Spencer was an old soul, it wasn’t even just that he’d nearly raised himself from the moment his father had left them. That had given him experience that he usually wouldn’t have and a way of looking at the world. Still, there was something in his manner that just screamed he was older than he was.
Haley grabbed her book and settled onto the couch to wait for Jack to wake up. She had an afternoon full of fun planned for him, which included heading to the local rink to watch an afternoon practice for the Capitals. Spencer had been the one to tell her about the open practice and how to get invites to it. It was going to be interesting to see. Haley figured that Jack would adore it, but she wasn’t sure if she was going to.
Jack woke up half an hour before they had to leave to get to the arena on time. Haley dressed in an undershirt along with a shirt on top of that while Jack was decked out in his full hockey gear. The boy was happy as hell to be going and had been since he had seen Haley in her Capitals shirt.
Haley figured that it wasn’t long before Spencer made it their family sport. Haley was getting more used to listening to the games at the house in the evenings. Spencer was fully engaged in the season, and he followed even when he was away on cases. Aaron’s phone was better for looking things up. So Haley sometimes got comments an hour after Spencer had looked things up on Aaron’s phone if they were relaxing in hotels.
The arena was not nearly as packed as she had thought it would be. There were some families with kids that were not school age, as well as many that were. There were also a lot of people who were there just on their own. It was perfect, really. The players on the team came over and gave Jack high fives every time that they saw him with his hand pressed to the glass. There was an intensity that felt different than when Haley was watching on TV, and they were playing different people.
There was laughter but also serious moments.
“How is the little man?” someone asked when the team was packing up to head out. She looked to see that one of the players was standing at the glass looking at Jack, who was still looking at someone else who was skating at the edge of the rink at the other side.
“I remember him from coming with the agent who sits in these seats,” the man said again.
Haley had no clue who the player was. The number he was wearing meant nothing to her.
“Ah, I see. Yeah, Jack’s doing well. He really enjoyed coming to this. You’ll probably see us more for afternoon practices for at least the rest of the season.”
“Hi!” Jack said as he realized that there was someone in front of him.
“Hi,” the man said. He was smiling at Jack without his helmet on or gloves on his hands. Someone else came running over to him as quick as he could on the ice with his feet slipping out from under him a little. He handed over a puck and what looked like a stick that was a lot smaller. The player took the puck and signed it with a marker that Haley hadn’t noticed being handed over. When he was done, he held the puck over the glass and then dropped his arm down to allow Haley to stand with Jack, and Jack took it from him. The stick was next, but it wasn’t signed. Haley looked at both of them to see that the stick had been signed by someone else. Another player skated over, and Jack screeched a little and put his hand to the glass for a five. Haley figured that it was Jack’s favorite, or at least Spencer’s and Jack had responded because Spencer had so much.
“You are welcome. Your husband is a constant in his seats when I assume he is in town for work.”
“Ah, he’s a really close friend of the family, but yes. I’m sure that he’ll drag my husband and me to a game with him and Jack soon, though. Jack’s started to want to watch the games at home. He stands in front of the TV with a stick and puck and gets so excited. I have found that I adore watching him watch the games.” Haley had no clue why she said that.
The two players laughed for a few seconds before someone yelled for everyone to fall in. Haley watched as they both nodded at her in goodbye before she saw that practice was over, and the coach was talking to them. People started to file out, but Jack wasn’t going anywhere. The team was still talking, and then Jack wiggled to get out of her arms. She watched him as he monkey-climbed over the seats to get where the team was going to be heading back into the locker room. He stuck his head out, and the team all gave him a five as they passed through. Jack was laughing and telling them each “hi” as they slapped his hand.
If there was nothing else that Spencer did for Jack, this was something that Haley would cherish. Jack had never been this happy about anything. He loved playing soccer, but he didn’t like watching it all that much. This, though, was a sport that Jack loved to watch, on the TV, in person, and just all around.
Looking at the time, Haley looked at her phone to see that Aaron and Spencer had already left Quantico. It would be just about perfect for Haley getting to Benihana. Aaron and Jack could take Haley’s SUV home while Haley and Spencer used Aaron’s car. It wouldn’t be hard to do that, they could have a guys night while Haley and Spencer had their night.
It was going to be a good day.