The Ache for Something More – 8/9 – DarkJediQueen

Title: The Ache for Something More
Author: DarkJediQueen
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
Author Notes:
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.
Artist: Starkindler

Chapter 22

Aaron pulled into the driveway of the house and just relaxed down in the driver’s seat. It was not like he had anything worth doing inside that he needed to rush in. The house was spotless. With Haley gone, Aaron had hired a maid to come and clean. She was escorted in by a fellow agent and watched with what she did. She had been around the day before while Aaron had been off of work. Well, he hadn’t been at work, but the Foyet case file had been taunting him as it always had. Spencer, Haley, and Jack had been gone for just about a month. If Aaron thought about it, he could name it down to the hour and the minute with ease. Yet, he tried not to.

The feeling of eyes on him was normal. Aaron always assumed that Foyet was watching him. Aaron grabbed his briefcase from the front passenger seat and got out. He found the key to the front door and walked into the house. It was so silent, and Aaron was pretty sure that the house being silent was going to be what drove him insane. There wasn’t even the sound of claws on the floors to let him know that he wasn’t alone. Aaron walked to the living room and turned on the TV, finding some movie channel that didn’t show stupid assed movies and let it play. He turned up the volume to where he could hear it pretty much anywhere on the first floor. He slipped up to his office and dropped his briefcase.

Aaron looked around to make sure that nothing was out of place before he turned the light off. He changed out of work clothes and then left the bedroom as well. The movie was on, out of commercial, and Aaron saw that it was the first of the Lord of the Rings. He smiled and figured that it would help him for the evening. Though it also might keep him up but he didn’t care all that much really. He slept for shit no matter what. He had tried Spencer’s bed and the master bedroom. He had even tried sleeping in Jack’s small bed, but none of them helped him sleep, so Aaron had just given up and let himself pass out wherever he was, which was usually the living room. He took a nap at lunch in the office cause at least there he could sleep. It was strange that it was where he could sleep.

“What do I want?” Aaron asked the room. He hated the silence, even with the TV, there was no excited talk from Spencer about the movie or Haley’s laughing. Jack playing was the sound that Aaron missed the most. Hell, Aaron knew that he was deluding himself. He would take Spencer’s snoring at the moment over nothing. Spencer only snored when he was sick, and that meant cuddling. Which Spencer liked it, but he really liked it when he was sick, even if it was just a head cold.

Spencer’s regular cuddling was always good, but when he was sick, he did it because it made him feel better. He acted like a little puppy, and that was why Aaron loved it.

Aaron heard the noise of a car before he saw the flash of lights that said the car had turned into the driveway. He frowned as no one was supposed to come over. Aaron looked at the safe that held his gun. His work-issued weapons were up in the main safe, but Aaron had more than enough guns around the house at the moment in safes. He walked to the window to look out at the car. It was Will’s. JJ and Will were in the front seats, and when Will got out, he went to the back of the car. When Will stood up, he had Henry in one arm and food in the other. JJ came around the car to take the food. Aaron recognized the bags as the place that JJ loved to get Chinese food from. Spencer got things from there on occasion for dinner if he was out and about.

Aaron met them at the door, and he tried to put a smile on his face.

“You don’t have to pretend with us, Hotch,” Will said as he got close and handed over Henry.

Aaron took the boy with ease, and he smiled down at him. Henry was looking at his face.

“Spence made me promise that I wouldn’t let you brood too much. I figured that I gave you enough space before now to get settled into life here but expect us over a good bit. You can always tell us to leave, and we will, but only if you actually mean it. And I’ll know if you mean it.”

Aaron cracked a smile for JJ. It wasn’t his best smile, but it was one. It was the closest thing to a smile that he had cracked since his family left him.

Aaron stepped back to allow the two of them into the house. They went right for the living room where the TV was still playing way too loud. Aaron followed behind to turn it down to where it was just background noise. Aaron knew the part it was at. It was right after Frodo had been stabbed. Henry started to wiggle in his arms, so Aaron sat down and shifted him to where he was holding him under the arms. He bounced the boy on his legs.

“I can’t imagine a house being quiet at all after living with not only Haley and Jack but Spence and his two cats.”

“Our cats,” Aaron said.

“Yeah?” Will asked. He smiled as he slipped a box of food onto the coffee table in front of Aaron. “Spencer said that he thought that you and Haley thought they were yours as well. Except when Midnight is staring at you in the shower, then she is all Spencer’s cat.”

“She was getting worse, and it’s actually quite interesting as even just spraying her with drops doesn’t get rid of her anymore. I have to actually get her soaked, and then she just shreds the curtains. So it’s best to just let her watch like the creeper cat that she is.”

“Creeper cat, that’s actually kind of funny.”

“Spencer calls her that. I tend to agree that it fits her well.”

Henry started to yawn, so Aaron laid him in the crook of his arm and started to get ready to eat.

“I can take him,” JJ said.

“I’ve got this. Jack was this small not too long ago. I can still eat and hold Henry at the same time.”

“You said you took care of Jack as much as you could when you were home so that Haley could have time, but I guess I just assumed that meant small things.”

“No. Unless I was asleep or injured, I took care of Jack as much as I could in the evenings and on the weekends when home. I felt like it was part of what I needed to do to be a good father and husband. When Spencer moved in with us, he helped a good deal as well, especially when I was at work, and he was still home. He did good once he got used to Jack and settled with him. It didn’t help that Jack loved him from practically day one. Though I think that Haley would very much like to hate him for how much hockey they sat on the couch in the evenings and watched while she and I did coupley things together.”

“JJ was telling me about that. Hockey doesn’t seem like a sport that Spencer would like.” Will sounded just as surprised as Aaron had been when he first figured it out.

“I think that someone in college got him into it. I never really asked about it. I mean, the Kings were close to there. I know that he helped the basketball team with stuff, but he barely watches it. I think it might be how hard you have to watch on TV to keep track of the puck as well as the detailed way that things are in the sport. I don’t question it at all.”

“Jack’s room is full of hockey stuff.” JJ reached out and snagged one of the egg rolls with her chopsticks. “I’ve seen pictures when Spence has added something else in there. It’s a good split between hockey and soccer.”

“Yeah, Jack still loves soccer, but he likes playing it and hockey. Thankfully the seasons for local leagues are opposite of each other. It’s going to be interesting later, though when he’s in school. The school that he would go to doesn’t have either sport offered. There is another school, private, that does. We were discussing it all before all of this. Everything now depends on how long he is gone. I’ve spoken with the headmistress about it, and Jack’s been offered a spot at the school for kindergarten, so it would move to other grades as he ages up and isn’t here.”

“That’s good. What’s the name?”

“New Haven. It’s actually in Dumfries. One of the agents in Cyber Crimes told me about it. He lives a few blocks over and is part of the group Spencer, and I run with on occasion. He has three kids there. He takes them to and from every single day and would be willing to take Jack to and from as well a few days a week if we are on a case, and Haley doesn’t want to. Or just take him, and Haley can pick him up. It’s a damned good school, and I make more than enough to send him, especially since Spencer still gives me rent. I stick that into an account for Jack and have been just letting it gain interest other things like that.”

“New Haven, they are the genius school, right?” Will asked.

“Kind of. Yes, they have a large group of geniuses there, but they started as something for those whose kids need more protection but don’t need like First Kid type-level protection. Jack liked the tour we took back in April before all of this went down. Spencer was still a little under the weather, so he went with us and asked more questions than I thought was possible, even for him.”

JJ and Will laughed, and Aaron joined them.

“Spencer asking more questions than you thought? I didn’t think that was possible.”

“I guess he had been holding them all in because he knew that I wouldn’t be able to answer there. It’s a damned good school, and Spencer mentioned that he wished a place like that had existed, and he and his mother could have afforded it in Vegas.”

“Why?” Will asked.

“While there are those who are a fast track out of there, they spend their intramural times with kids around their own age. So even if the ten-year-old is a sophomore on an educational level, they spend time with the nine to twelve-year-olds. Bullying is not allowed. There was actually a kid who had been kicked out in April and sent back to regular school because he wouldn’t stop bothering the younger kids and threatening them. I was impressed with the level of security that the school did have. I was just impressed all over. Haley loved how it all felt. Spencer was more than happy with the kind of education that Jack was going to get there, and the colleges the school is affiliated in the area to make sure that everything that is taken there is counted for a good transcript to head into college with.”

“Well, I figure that Spence would be happy with anything that gave Jack a good education.”

“Class sizes are great, and there is a girl who will be starting with Jack’s class that is deaf. There are more than enough teachers there that know sign language, and so she won’t even need an aide in all of her classes. There are eight-second languages offered, outside of ASL.”

“I think that maybe I want a flyer or something about it for Henry. I’m sure that we can work something out by the time that Henry is old enough to go there.”

Aaron nodded his head. He smiled as he got up to head up to find the little pamphlet that he had brought home. Spencer and Haley had all grabbed one as well. Aaron had never thrown his away, so it would be easy to give it to JJ. There was a picture on his desk of Haley, Spencer, and Jack that had been taken before Aaron had realized that he was in love with Spencer. They all looked happy, and Aaron missed them so much. He reached out to touch Spencer’s face in the picture. He did the same for Haley and Jack before he walked to Jack’s room and grabbed one of the stuffed animals on the bed.

JJ and Will said nothing as Aaron handed over the pamphlet before sitting down with a large stuffed eagle in his lap. It was one of the toys that Jack carried around in a rotation that only made sense in his head.

“Oh, this does look good.”

“I’m sure that by then, Jack will be a model student, and I can put in a good word for you. Though I’m sure that Spencer can sweet talk the headmistress as well. She’s kind of infatuated with Spencer’s mind. She had been trying to get him to come in and talk to the other kids who had skipped grades about how they feel and such. Or a guest lecturer in physics and or math or any of the degrees that he has. Though again, she was trying to get me to give one on the FBI or being a prosecutor.”

“She knew that?” Will asked.

Aaron looked around and saw that the food was mostly gone. Henry was asleep in his arms like he had been not long after being held the way that he was. It had been like second nature to go up and grab things with Henry in his arms. Aaron swallowed past the lump in his throat at the thought of Jack, who wanted a sibling and had been asking since Henry had been born, but Haley was getting older, and it was getting less and less safe. They had been trying, but so far nothing. It seemed like adoption. Aaron knew that he could easily go that route, and he would look into it while Haley and Spencer were gone. It would be best to have that all ready for when they came back. It would give Aaron something to do.

“Oh, she did full background checks on Haley and I. I’m pretty sure that my FBI file was in her hand. She didn’t have anything on Spencer, but then the paperwork was only on mom and dad. She had Spencer fill out one as someone who would be gaining access. I guess there are a few kids who have non-familial people coming and getting them all of the time. His file was linked with ours. By the end of the meeting, she had Spencer’s file as well. We are pretty easy since we are the FBI.”

“You know this school sounds almost too good, but then I remember that our jobs have proven that reality is very much stranger than fiction.”

“You got that right,” Aaron said.

“Can we have a frank discussion?” Will asked.

Aaron looked at him. He knew that Will had been getting a little more agitated as the night had gone on, but he thought it had to do with being here and thinking that Foyet had been looking at them. Now it seemed it was something else.


“I know that your life revolved around your family, but hiding here at home is not the way to piss off Foyet.” Will leaned forward on the love seat. He looked serious.

“I know, but I just…I have few friends that aren’t the team, and I just don’t like the looks I’m getting. It’s getting better.”

“Part of my station and I are going out tomorrow. Guys night out, it’s called for the married ones in the station. There are some ladies who are going who are married. It started out as guys night, and we just kept the name as others started to come. There will be more than enough drivers to get everyone home, or you can come home with me. It’s my turn to drive. We take over a cop bar and just hang out. I know it’s not agents, but at least none of them will know what is going on. You can hide to your heart’s content. It’s going to be good.”

“Sure.” Aaron nodded his head. It did sound good. Getting out and about. He lived his life the way that he needed. He went shopping, made food for himself. He lived, but it was hollow. This might just be the thing that he needed to get his act together to start to make Foyet pissed off that he was living his life and wasn’t letting the fact that his family was gone from him ruin it. It had; there was no question about that, but he needed to make Foyet pissed off enough to do something that was going to make him mess up. That was what he needed. He had spent too long, just wallowing. It was time to do something. “Thank you. I needed that.”

“We know, but we were letting you get adjusted. Be thankful I talked Morgan out of this. He was going to offer to spar with you and talk about it then.”

“Thanks. Dinner and holding Henry was much better.” Aaron smiled and laughed at his own words, feeling lighter for them. The smile didn’t feel so put on anymore. He was as happy as he was going to get, and it was good enough for now.

Spencer stepped outside and looked up at the night sky, seeing the dots of stars in the hot air. It was June in Phoenix, Arizona. It was worse than Vegas, but so much better than DC was. The air was hot and dry, not hot and wet. Despite why they were there, Spencer was at least used to this kind of summer. He heard the sound of a car pulling up and looked to see that it was Haley. She got out and walked around to the back of the car, and as soon as the door was opened, Jack was getting out and running to Spencer.

Dropping to his knees, Spencer reached out and caught Jack as he jumped.

“Papa,” Jack said with a sob. The nightmares had been getting worse. Nightmares that the bad man killed his mother. Only Spencer could calm him down.

“Thanks,” Spencer mouthed at Haley as she walked up with the backpack stuffed with things for Jack. Spencer stood up and held Jack to his body, getting him settled down. The discussion had already been had with Spencer’s boss about the nightmares, and he was very understanding, and as long as Jack wasn’t a bother to Spencer doing his job, he could come and hang out at night. Having the night shift at the library at the university was a good thing, Spencer figured if for nothing more than this.

Haley worked at an office as a secretary, and Spencer worked night-shifts strictly at the university library. It was better than them working at the same time and having to leave Jack with daycare. It had been a horrible week while Spencer had adjusted, but it had been worth it. Haley got up and took Jack to the local school for a little bit of education for a few hours while Spencer got about six hours of sleep. Then Spencer picked him up and spent the afternoon with him. Spencer went down for a nap at the same time as Jack and would get another in before he went to work at ten that night. There were just the hours between five and ten where Spencer and Haley had any time together, at least during the week. Spencer’s schedule changed only by the nights that he worked, so there were two days where Spencer was able to sleep some with Haley when she didn’t have to go to work.

Intimacy had been something that they hadn’t built up yet. Yes, they slept in the same bed. Yes, they cuddled in there. No matter what, when they woke up in the morning, they were plastered to each other, but sex hadn’t been part of their life, and Spencer really didn’t miss it. Haley had been tired, and both of them were scared. Jack’s nightmares were not helping at all with that either.

Jack’s schooling as something that Spencer had lucked out at finding. It was for parents who had school-aged kids and worked. So the school was open and fed the kids lunch before sending them home. There weren’t a lot of educational things going on since it was summer, but there was coloring, basic math, and even some writing classes. Jack was enjoying it a great deal, and it was only that he was as advanced as he was that he was allowed in there. Especially since the sob story about Jack seeing the death of the third person in their relationship. It at least covered the reason why Jack demanded his Dad and not his Papa. Jack was mostly good in the schooling, but he got stubborn at some points, and Spencer blamed those bits all on Aaron.

Aaron was like a ghost to them, gone from them, alive but still there to haunt them. Spencer missed him like a limb that he knew would come back. Spencer’s paranoia was massive enough that he had taken the time to qualify for carrying a gun around. He kept it locked in his car in a safe while he was on campus and had gotten permission for that with the whole lover was killed back in New York, and they had left, and they were all jumpy. As long as the gun stayed locked in the car, the Dean had no reason to care about it. It wasn’t like a college student was going to break into every single car in the lot looking for a gun. Spencer never told anyone but Haley, the Dean, and campus security that it was there.

“Are you sure this is okay?”

“Yeah. I have an office that he can play in if I am out on the floor filing books, and he can play behind the desk while I work on checking in books or the research for the display that I am working on. If he falls asleep, I’ll settle him in the office with the baby monitor, and I’ll carry the other around with me. There is a woman who works the day shift who has a daughter with epilepsy. They are working on a new medication right now, so until they figure out the dosage and stuff, she comes to work with her. She stays in the office and plays, and the baby monitors are hers. She left a note that I could use them.”

“How did you luck out on this job?” Haley asked.

“Sheer, dumb luck,” Spencer said with a grin on his face. He pulled Haley in for a kiss. Jack made an impatient noise at Spencer’s shoulder but said nothing else. He laid his head fully on Spencer’s shoulder and just laid there. “I’ll go out to breakfast for the both of us before dropping Jack off at school.”

“Okay. I’ll go shopping after work for the things I need for dinner.”

Spencer nodded his head. The store had been out of red onions and fingerling potatoes when Haley had gone shopping the weekend before, and instead of going to another store, Haley had just come home without them. It was the meal that needed them that she wanted to make tonight, so a store trip it was. Spencer had offered, but Haley had just shook her head. She didn’t mind Spencer and Jack going with her to the store, but she wanted to do the shopping. Haley didn’t need to work, but she didn’t have nearly as much to do here as she did back in DC. She had gone nuts that first week after getting things set up in the house, so she had found an easy to do job. The hours were fairly flexible, and she could go down to part-time if she wanted, but so far, she was enjoying it. It kept her busy, and that was what they needed. If she had gone into WitSec alone, Spencer could see her not taking a job. Given everything that was going on, there would be concessions made about Haley and what she was supposed to do in WitSec. With Spencer around, though, they divided up everything, and it worked.

Haley kissed Jack on the forehead, and the boy made a noise and then lifted up to give her as close to a hug as he could with the way that he was in Spencer’s arms. Spencer waited for Haley to get into the car before he turned to head back inside. He grabbed the sign that described that he was on break for ten minutes and then settled down into his chair. The project he was working on was on the screen, and he looked at the cameras to see that the students who had been in there were still at their tables. While it was summer class time, there were a lot of students who were working on their master’s or doctoral thesis in the building. Spencer had gotten to know them well over the past month. While Spencer didn’t have the full degree that he had been given to settle here, Spencer knew enough about everything to make sure that he could pass off the degree that had been faked. The Marshals hadn’t been too worried given Spencer’s IQ and the degrees that he did have. Spencer had spent his first week doing research into what it took to have the degree that was faked for him and made sure that he could pass it off.

It wouldn’t be too hard, Spencer thought after this was all said and done to head back in and get his Ph.D. in library science. It was fascinating, and Spencer already had most of the groundwork. He was even working on a thesis for it that he could tweak as needed once he was back in DC.

“Papa?” Jack asked before he wiggled a little. Spencer set him down on the desk so that Jack was facing him.

“Yeah, buddy?” Spencer looked at Jack to see that he looked tired.

Jack looked around.

“Bad guy’s not gonna get Daddy, right?”

“No, the team is making sure that Daddy is safe just like I am making sure that you and Mommy are safe.”

“Daddy has to miss us,” Jack said.

“I’m sure that he does.” Spencer minimized the tabs on the computer and brought up the check-in and check-out screen before he grabbed the notebook from his bag. He pulled out the pen he was using and started to write a letter to his mother. He did it during every shift that he had, and on the days that he didn’t work, he did it when he woke up.

“Can you write me letters to daddy?” Jack asked.

“Doctor Tyler?” a student asked as he walked up to the desk.

Spencer looked up at him and slipped the pen into the notebook before closing it. The kid looked at Jack, who was looking at him with wide eyes.

“Yes, Mister Keynes?” Spencer asked.

“I’m looking for a book, and it’s not where it’s supposed to be, and the system tells me that it’s not out for shelving and not checked out. Devin told me about how you like to know every single book here and what the spine looks like.”

“Let’s go hunting then.” Spencer looked at Jack with a smile on his lips. “Want to go book hunting with me, Jack?”

“Yes, please.”

Spencer stood up out of the chair and turned around to crouch again. Jack climbed onto his shoulders and let Spencer grab his legs to hold him. He didn’t tug on Spencer’s hair. Keynes looked at them with a grin on his face.

“Your son is very good. I didn’t even know that he was here.”

“His mother just dropped him off. He’s having nightmares, and she needs sleep. So the Dean of the library is more than willing to allow him to come here as long as he doesn’t disrupt my work when he’s having a bad night.”

“Yeah, there is the rumor that you lost your…third?” Keynes seemed unsure of the words.

“Yes. And he was the biological father of Jack.”

Keynes didn’t ask anything else about it. Spencer knew that they were the oddity of the area. The college was more accepting of everything, and after Jack had a meltdown in the store demanding his daddy while Haley and Spencer were both right there, there needed to be something added to make sure that no one really went looking for information that wasn’t there. It worked better in the long run as Jack kept on calling Spencer Papa, and Aaron was Daddy.

Jack’s first name had been kept, and since Jack was calling Spencer Papa, it was easy to change Spencer and Haley’s names wholesale. So they were Michael and Sara Tyler. Spencer had picked the last name while Haley had picked the first. Doctor Tyler had just sounded good to Spencer, and it was a nod to Rose Tyler and Doctor Who. No one, of course, had picked up on that given that Spencer didn’t talk about that kind of thing with anyone.

Haley was tired, she wasn’t sleeping well, and despite her trying to hide it, Spencer knew that she was waking up throwing up at least the last few mornings. Spencer had checked to make sure that she wasn’t running a fever, and she never was. He was worried about her, but she seemed to do well with eating the rest of the time. Haley said it was stress, and Spencer could understand that. He had dropped a few pounds because of the stress and not being able to eat. Stress came about in a lot of ways in people, and no two were exactly the same. Yet, Spencer was worried about her.

Jack fell asleep while Spencer hunted for the book. He knew what the spine looked like as he had read the book already, and so it wasn’t hard to find, just time-consuming. Someone had filed it wrong as it was where it should be if two of the numbers of the call number were flipped. Spencer handed the book to the kid looking for it and then returned to the desk. He laid Jack down on the bench that was behind the desk. He had laid down blankets on it already just in case Jack woke with a nightmare. Spencer didn’t plan on leaving the desk again, and he easily set up the monitor right where Jack was but hidden so that he wouldn’t have to move the boy away from him. The office was an option, but Spencer liked being able to turn around and see Jack.

Spencer looked around to see that no one was around, so he started to work on the secret project he had going on. He knew enough about computers to be just dangerous enough to do things. He made sure that his connection actually showed him as coming from New York and one of the all-night coffee shops that was open near the NYU campus. He searched for where the BAU was at the moment. It always made headlines in some way, shape, or form, and he found that the team was Florida. There was a press briefing, and Spencer watched it. He could see Aaron in the background behind JJ, the silent sentry who made sure that if things got out of hand, he could step in.

Aaron looked tired, and it was more than just the normalness of a case that was making him tired. It was hell on Aaron, Spencer knew that. Harder on him than on Haley and Spencer. Aaron was alone while they had each other. Spencer wished that he could have been the one to stay. He was built for being alone more than Aaron was. But the team needed Aaron at the helm to make sure that everything wasn’t gone to hell by the time that Foyet was caught.

There was another bit of footage that was from when the team had gone to the dumpsite of the newest victim on the case. Spencer watched everything about the case and noted something about the placement of the body, it was from a book he had read not too long before he had gone into hiding. Spencer shut off the video and looked at the newspaper articles. The book he had read wasn’t a popular book. It was the first book by a new author that came from a small publisher that was local to DC. SO the fact that the killings were based on that book made Spencer’s skin crawl. He debated what to do. He knew that there were ways to do what he wanted to do that wouldn’t call attention to him, but he wanted to make sure that the team took it seriously.

Spencer thought about it as kids came and went from the library, a few trailing in who looked like they had woken up and couldn’t sleep, so they decided to work on homework. The sun was getting ready to come up when he figured out the best way. Aaron would know that it was him by the chapter and verse listing but also the wrong quote after it. Then he linked the book. Aaron would know it from the title as he had said he wanted to read it, and the book was in the library at the house. While they didn’t have Spencer to read it and tell them all that they needed to know, Aaron could read the book pretty fast. It was the only way.

Someone had read the book and was killing based on it. There had been seven murders in the book that ended with the killer killing themselves and the seventh at the same time. Spencer closed it all down, wiping all traces of what he had done from the computer. He had beefed up on that kind of stuff when he had come to the college. There were computers and more than enough professors who were more than to discuss what they were teaching, and the books were more than helpful.

Spencer looked back at Jack, who was still asleep to the world.

Amy came in at five-thirty to make sure that Spencer had time away from the desk to do some work if he needed, but he really didn’t need to do the filing, but he did. He left Jack with Amy, and the baby monitor still going. He wasn’t going to leave Jack there alone, even with someone that Spencer trusted.

“Papa?” Jack called out just before six and when Spencer was slipping the last book back on the shelf. He turned around and started up toward where Jack was. The boy was looking around and rubbing at his eyes. Thankfully, Amy had stayed back away from Jack but was watching him to make sure he didn’t run off.

“Thanks,” Spencer said. He had talked to the three different ladies who worked the morning shift about how not to scare Jack at all. He didn’t like strangers, even female ones. It was a given with being in hiding. Jack would rather just not talk to someone than to mess up. There was little that Spencer couldn’t fix if Jack did mess up, but Jack was near silent when he was around other people. It was in ways better and, in other ways, horrible.

“Home?” Jack asked.

“No, buddy. We are going to go to breakfast, and then I’m dropping you off at school, and I’ll pick you up later when it’s done, and I get a few hours of sleep.” Spencer picked up Jack and let him wrap himself like a monkey around his chest. Amy laughed a little, humor in her face but sadness in her eyes. It was the same that was always there when people knew what was going on. While most didn’t really understand a relationship with three people in it, they understood loss and a child losing a parent. He figured that most just stuck Spencer into the column of step-dad and left him there to help them understand. Spencer didn’t care what they thought as long as no one caused him issues.

“Have a good day, Michael,” Amy said.

“You too!” Spencer grabbed his bag after putting his things away and then grabbed Jack’s. At the restaurant they went to, Spencer would change Jack’s clothes and then get him off to school. They could drop him off as early as six in the morning, but usually, Haley did it later. There was playtime until it was cut off for the start of activities. Jack would play by himself or with a few of the kids he had kind of got close to. Jack’s stories were entertaining to the other kids, and it was easy to explain away to the parents that their third, their dead Sean had been a writer, and he wrote about FBI agents for when Jack slipped up.

Breakfast was a very low key affair, and then Spencer was dropping Jack off. This was their life, at least for now.

Haley felt the roll of her stomach before she got entirely out of bed. She groaned and stumbled to the bathroom to throw up. She hated this, and she wished that she knew what was wrong with her. It wasn’t like she was running a fever. She didn’t have drainage from her sinuses, and her allergies weren’t acting up. There was nothing wrong with her. When there wasn’t even stomach acid left in her stomach anymore it stopped acting like she was going to dry heave again, Haley pushed up to leave against the side of the tub. It was cool on her body. She was covered in a little bit of sweat from the throwing up. Haley hated it. She had been throwing up so much, and it had been three mornings in a row that she had been doing it. It slowed down, but if today was like the last two, she was going to be sickly feeling until lunchtime.

Spencer was dropping Jack off at school, and Haley had already texted her boss that she wasn’t going to be in when she had got home from taking Jack to Spencer at the college and hadn’t been able to get back to sleep. She had been looking like shit the day before, and her boss had told her to take the day if she didn’t get enough sleep.

A week before her boss, Greg had called her in the night to see if she could check on why the alarm was going off at work since she was the closest, and he had heard how much Jack was screaming from the nightmare. Haley had pushed off going to check on work, and Greg had been more than happy to head in himself and left Haley to deal with Jack. Then when Haley had got into work, she had been called to Greg’s office. He told her about doing half days when she was woken up with the nightmares from Jack like that when Spencer was working and even a day off all the way. Haley hadn’t planned on taking him up on it, but between no sleep, Jack’s nightmare, and the throwing up, Haley wasn’t going to be able to be chipper at all.

Haley jumped into the shower and started to get clean for the day. She dressed in a pair of sleep pants and one of Aaron’s shirts that she had smuggled with her. Spencer had done it as well, so she didn’t feel bad. Neither shirt was one that people would be able to track back to Aaron. It was from a stupid marathon in Seattle from years before. Aaron had found them one day while cleaning the garage and had slipped them into his drawers to use. They were now soft from age. Haley had laughed the first time that she had seen the shirt that Spencer had taken before she had shown him her sort of matching one.

The sun was fully up, and Haley glared at it as she moved to the kitchen to make herself some tea. The thought of coffee was turning her stomach. She had bought a blend of tea from the store the day before that had black tea in it as well as peppermint, so she hoped that it calmed her stomach. It wasn’t like Haley hadn’t dealt with this before. She had gotten the stomach bug before, but it had never presented like this. The sound of the water boiling in the kettle settled Haley down while she moved to grab some bread to toast. Dry toast was one of the few things that she liked to eat when she was like this. The texture of saltine crackers wasn’t something that she liked. It had been hard to find things as Haley didn’t like most of the standard go-tos when it came to upset stomachs. She had been through a lot of trial and error growing up. Haley grabbed a can of ginger ale from the shelves in the pantry. She didn’t like it cold when her stomach was upset, so she had left it out of the fridge. She stopped and drank a few sips of it before the toast popped up.

It was a little cool for the city, but Haley liked the warmth on her body, so she slipped outside with her plate of toast and her ginger ale to watch the sun as it rose up in the sky. There was a deck lounger outside that had pillows all over it. Haley had spent a lot of time there since they had moved to Phoenix. Sometimes Spencer and Jack joined her when she settled there at night to watch the sun setting.

Haley missed Aaron like he was a limb that she had lost. She was glad that she wasn’t alone with Jack, that she had someone to depend on, but she wished that Aaron had come with them. It was something far fetched, though, as there was no way that Aaron would go into WitSec when there was Haley and Spencer to protect Jack. He didn’t like it, but Aaron was a man of action. There was no way he was going to hide if he had another choice. It was one of the things that Haley loved about it, but at the moment, it made Haley ache. She was growing closer with Spencer, but there was no Aaron around. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that at all. She loved Spencer, and she loved Aaron, but the separate relationships had been growing pretty steadily on the same track. The relationships with Aaron were not growing. She just hoped that it didn’t make for something horrible when they finally made it back home.

When it was too warm for her, Haley slipped back into the house and looked at the time. Spencer should have been back from dropping Jack off school. She looked for her phone and found a text from Spencer that he was stopping at the bookstore before heading home. Haley laughed as she shook her head. She looked around the kitchen again to make sure that everything was cleaned up when her eyes fell on the calendar. She walked over and flipped back. She knew the day of her last period, and with moving into WitSec and everything with that, she hadn’t realized that she should have another period and be on one at the moment. Haley looked down and laid her hand over her stomach. She had noticed a little weight gain, but she wasn’t nearly as active as she had been in DC. Her job was sedentary, and for that first two weeks here, they had eaten out a lot while getting settled in. Haley hadn’t felt like cooking much at all during that time, so they hadn’t.

Haley went to the bedroom and changed into clothes that she didn’t mind going out in, and she drove to the closest store that carried pregnancy tests. Her heart was in her throat the entire time as she purchased it and drove back home. She wasn’t sure what she wanted, and that was a kick in the gut. She had wanted to get pregnant again before she wasn’t able to. If this was negative, then she could be in menopause, and that would hurt so much. But if it was positive, that meant that Aaron was going to miss parts of this. She had no clue who the father was, and that had been all part of the plan, but this was something different when half of her lovers were not here to enjoy seeing her as she glowed.

Drinking more ginger ale than she usually would, Haley settled on the couch with the TV going. She also drank down a glass of water to make sure that she needed to pee soon. Hopefully, before Spencer got back from the bookstore. He could take hours there, so she hoped that she had time to get settled with the knowledge either way before he came home.

The urge to pee struck her, and Haley went to the bathroom. She did what was needed, learning with Jack that peeing on the stick was hard as hell, so she used a cup and went that way. Haley cleaned up and carried the test to the kitchen, laying it on the side of the sink while she went about getting things ready for dinner. She had wanted chicken for dinner, so it had been in the fridge. She just needed to make up the sauce she wanted it to marinate in all day. It took little time, and then Haley was waiting the last few minutes. She had gone for one of the longer timed tests as it had been what she had used when she had been checking to see if she was pregnant with Jack.

Pushing herself away, Haley walked to the backdoor and looked outside. The timer she set went off after a few minutes, and Haley turned around to see that she wasn’t alone, and Spencer was looking at the sink. Where the test was. Haley stepped closer, and she saw that it was positive, and it wasn’t faint at all.


Instead of answering, Haley burst into tears. Spencer strode across the room and grabbed her up, and sat down with her in his lap. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight.

“We’ve not…” Spencer trailed off, and even though he didn’t say the words, Haley knew what he was meaning with that. It wasn’t hard to figure it out.

“No, no,” Haley said as she tried to stop the sobs. She knew that it was hormones and just everything, but as she finally started to calm down, Haley felt better. She felt like she was less drifting all alone in the middle of a sea with no one around. “It’s my second missed period. I should have started around the time that we were leaving for here. I just didn’t notice.”

“Morning sickness, not sickness, sickness.”

“Yeah.” Haley laid her head on Spencer’s shoulder, dropping her nose into his neck. She could smell the books on him from the library and then the bookstore. Spencer’s job had a lot of technical books but not a lot of fiction, and while Spencer had a library card for the local public, it was a little out of the way for him to hit going to or from work, so he bought books and then gave them to shelters in the area. It was just like back at home. It made Haley feel a little better about at least a few things.

“We need to get you in to see a doctor so they can push you toward an OBGYN that deals in pregnancy at your age in life. You are fairly healthy and active, so I don’t think that things will be that bad. I feel so useless right now. You and Aaron talked about this, and you had all of your plans, but I just mainly listened because I hadn’t been through this with you. Even JJ’s pregnancy was a little offhanded when it came to me. She shared a lot with Will, which was something that should have been done.”

“Spencer, you went to seven different libraries and read every single pregnancy book that they had and then went to the local chain store and did the same while buying a few for her that you liked the best. You can do this.”

“Yeah, but I don’t know all of the things about you and pregnancy. What you like to eat, what made you sick the last time. I mean, Aaron talked about garlic making you sick for the entirety of your second trimester, but that was about the only thing that he talked about. Other than how you and bed rest didn’t get along.”

“You’ll learn them just like every other new father out there.”

“Do you…No it doesn’t matter.”

“I’ll be asking for testing as soon as possible, there is a new way to test, and I’ll just need a blood draw, and then it can be compared to you. It’s not going to go through any centers to check that you are in a DNA database like you would be for work, so if it matches you, it’s yours. If it’s not, then it’s Aaron’s.”

Spencer hummed a little, and he pressed a kiss to Haley’s forehead. “We have that list of doctors in the area that the Marshals approved. So I think it’s time to pick on and see when they are available to see you.”

“Just…stay like this for a little while longer.” Haley gripped Spencer’s arm tight and kept him right there.

“Of course,” Spencer said.

Haley watched Spencer as he read over the large poster that was on the wall. He was the epitome of calm and collected, but she knew that he was anything but. He was taking longer to read that than even she would, and with his reading speed, that meant that his mind was probably elsewhere.

Haley’s life had been nothing but tests over the last two weeks. The regular doctor had a free appointment that day, so they had gone after picking up Jack from school. A cancellation had made it easy. Spencer had swapped shifts with the other person who worked nights, explaining what was going on. He hadn’t gotten a lick of sleep that day, so by the evening had been dead tired and unable to work. Now here they were two weeks later and getting the results of the DNA testing.

Spencer had been the one to lay out what was going on with the doctor who had been a little shocked at Spencer’s age, Haley’s age, and the fact that Haley was unsure who the father was. It had been easy to let Spencer just take over the talking with that. He was better at it, especially when it came to lying about Aaron being dead and how it was something that they needed to know. After that, Doctor Gajos had been more than understanding about it all.

“Mister and Mrs. Tyler, are you ready to find out? I have the DNA from both of you.”

Doctor Gajos handed over a sheet of paper, and Haley watched Spencer’s eyes take it in. She saw the way that his eyes moved and then filled with tears. She wasn’t sure what that meant. She really didn’t at all. Spencer took the paper, and he sat down in the chair he had started in. Doctor Gajos look at Haley with concern in her eyes. Haley just shook her head in that she didn’t understand. The next paper was handed to Haley, who needed a little help reading it.

“It’s mine,” Spencer whispered.

“I have a name for a good counselor,” Doctor Gajos said.

“Thank you, but no. We are very private. It’s just a shock, that’s all,” Haley said. She could see where the little lines matched up on the second sheet. She could see her fake name and then Spencer’s and then the baby’s. There was a lot of overlap. Haley wasn’t shocked that Spencer knew what his DNA looked like on paper. She figured that he had done that kind of stuff at Caltech. It wasn’t like he wasn’t curious as hell.

“I’ll leave you two to talk. We have a few things that we need to go over for the rest of the trimester and then what to expect with the next one. Just open the door when you are ready.”

“Thank you,” Spencer said.

Doctor Gajos left, and then they were alone.

“Talk to me.”

“I don’t know what I wanted. I mean, I want a kid. I want a kid with you, but it’s your last, and I just don’t know. I would hate for Aaron to miss any part of you being pregnant with his kid, but I also feel so fucking happy that it’s mine.” Spencer’s words were low so that hopefully no one overheard them. “It’s stupid, but it’s how I feel, and you and Aaron all about me telling you how I feel no matter what it means.”

“I’m upset too. Aaron’s going to hate this, but we need to make a decision right here and now about what we are going to do.”


“What the Marshals tell Aaron.”

Haley watched as Spencer processed that. Haley had been thinking about nothing else except for that over the past two weeks. There was nothing that Aaron could really do, and Aaron wasn’t going to care that the baby was Spencer’s. He just wanted more kids. But Aaron loved being there for the pregnancy the first time. He had fallen asleep so many nights with his hand over Haley’s belly, protecting Jack even when he had been so damned small. He would worry, and that was worry was enough that Haley didn’t want him to know. It killed her, but she knew the type of man her husband was.

“He’ll do something stupid,” Spencer said.

“That’s what I thought as well. Aaron told us both that day that we controlled what the Marshals told him. I figure that it had more to do with the relationship and with things that Jack did, but this will be a good cover for that as well. I don’t want him doing something stupid and provoking Foyet anymore than he probably already is. Knowing that I’m pregnant and away from home, away from the support network I have of my friends and Jessica, he’ll do something stupid.”

“So, we don’t tell him?” Spencer asked.

“Yes. Hopefully, it won’t be long before Foyet is caught, but we have to prepare like we are going to be going through everything here.”

“I know when our little bit was conceived,” Spencer said.

The topic of Aaron was over, and Haley knew that Spencer would bring it up again when he was ready. This was a good segue into what he wanted to say next.

“When?” Haley asked. She knew that there was only an estimated date, but she hadn’t paid that close of attention.

“That weekend, where I was allowed to have sex again after I got better.”

Haley shook her head at that. It was one of the few times that they hadn’t really cared about condoms at all. The weekend had been filled with sex between all three of them, but they focused mainly on Spencer. Aaron had taken Spencer just the once with Spencer liking it but not wanting it again after that. It had been enough, though, and even if Spencer hadn’t done it, Aaron never would have cared.

“We are having a baby,” Haley said, and she saw for the first time since Spencer had seen the test a genuinely radiant smile on his face. She had a feeling that he was going to be even worse of a mother hen than even Aaron had been, and she was looking forward to it.

Chapter 23

Aaron wasn’t sure how he was going to make it through the rest of the time that Spencer, Haley, and Jack were in WitSec. He went about his life outside of the house like there was little wrong, hoping that pissing off Foyet was going to make him do something. So far, there had been a few sightings, but by the time that a cop or an FBI agent anywhere near where Foyet had been sighted, he was gone. He wasn’t sure that it was worth it, really. He wasn’t giving Foyet what they thought he wanted, but there was also just the plain fact that Aaron’s family wasn’t around him, so it was probably enough for the sick twisted game that Foyet was playing.

There was no way that Aaron would ever put Spencer, Haley, and Jack in harm’s way, so he wasn’t going to call them back.

Spencer was watching at least the team when they were on cases. He had helped in a very weird way with one so far, and Garcia had tried to follow where he had sent it from because Aaron wasn’t above having them moved, but even she had failed. Aaron had sent it to the tech division, and they hadn’t been able to follow it either. Aaron hadn’t been aware that Spencer was that good at computers unless that was a recent thing. Yeah, he was good at certain parts of the tech jobs that were needed for the team, but after that was all said and done, Spencer didn’t really like to use them. Aaron knew that most of the FBI they came across saw him as some kind of Luddite, but he was damned good with computers. He had to be to get the degrees that he had from Caltech.

Aaron wasn’t sure if it was something that Spencer cultivated because then he could show people up, or he just didn’t realize that people thought that he hated technology. Aaron had learned the first day on the job that Spencer did better with paper files, and it had to do with how his brain remembered things. Yet, there were those who didn’t care enough to look closer.

A knock on the house door had Aaron looking up. He frowned and tilted his head to the side as he walked to the living room window. It was Saturday afternoon, and instead of going out and doing anything, Aaron had decided to stay inside and plan a joint birthday party for Spencer and Jack. It was only August, but after he had missed Haley’s party, he wanted to do something. He wasn’t going to put a deposit on anything just in case they weren’t back by then, he hoped to God that they were, but he wasn’t going to plan that. He had wanted them home before now, but things were going at the pace that Foyet wanted. He was the puppet master.

Aaron saw the SUV that was parked at the side of the road in front of the house. There was someone in the front seat, and it was only years of looking at security details that told him that man was a guard of some kind. Unless Foyet was paying for armed security, it wasn’t him outside of the house, but still, Aaron grabbed his gun from the safe before going to the front door. He stopped in front of the door and inhaled deeply before exhaling. He opened the door and looked at the man standing there. He had a little bit of bed head going on but not the on purpose kind, it looked like he had been running his hands through it. He had a pretty face and a body that showed that he cared about maintaining it.

“Agent Hotchner?” the man asked.

Aaron nodded his head.

“My name is Jax. I’m here to see Doctor Reid.”

“Why?” Aaron narrowed his eyes and looked to make sure that the man wasn’t carrying a weapon. If he was, it was well concealed.

“I’ve not heard from him. He and I are pen pals, and usually, I at least get a letter that tells me he’s not dead.”

“Oh, I see. Um, please come in.” Aaron had no clue who this man was, but he knew that Spencer wrote to a gentleman, and Aaron only knew his initials.

“Thank you.” The man turned back and waved to the guard in the SUV and then entered Aaron’s house. He stopped when he looked at the security device that was on the wall. “You know there are better ones on the market, right?”

“I went with the best in the area,” Aaron said.

“Ugh, I forget how assholish some companies can be in the DC area. Now, Agent Hotchner, what’s going on?”

“Why do you think that something is going on?”

“Well, Spencer last wrote to me about how he was getting better from that horrible strain of the flu that he ended up with after an idiot on a case tried to make it worse.”

Aaron had forgotten that it was the cover that Spencer had gone with for his anthrax for those that he couldn’t tell about it. To his mother, he just told her it was regular flu with a dose of a chest cold on top. Aaron hated that he had to lie to her, but he understood that she still wasn’t the happiest about his job. Right now, she hated the FBI for having to have her son go into hiding. Aaron hadn’t heard the end of that. He hadn’t even been aware that she had the number to the house until she had called and yelled at him for fifteen minutes before hanging up on him.

“Agent Hotchner?” Jax questioned.

“Sorry. I got a little distracted. Would you like something to drink?”

“No, thank you. I just stopped by because this is the return address for Spencer’s letters, and I wanted to make sure that he was fine. He can sometimes go a little while without responding to a letter but never this long.”

“He’s away, and no, I cannot tell you where. He’s in witness protection along with Haley and Jack.”

“I see. Something went wrong with a case?” Jax frowned and looked around the house. “No, there had been big cases in the area for a while. There was the Boston Reaper, though. I keep track of the cases that his team goes on, so I know when to not push on a few things when he tries and dodge things in letters. The Reaper case was a big one that I learned not to talk about at all.”

“You are very perceptive,” Aaron said. He knew that there was a reason why the man wasn’t giving him a full name. Spencer never even gave the name Jax. Just JG or calling him in pen pal. Aaron never pressed, and he wasn’t going to now. He knew that he should be more paranoid about this, given everything that was going on, but he just couldn’t make himself do that. Jax was giving off a lot of worried vibes.

“I have learned to be with my job. Have you thought about getting one of the Grimes Tech units?” Jax waved at the console for the alarm.

“I did, but there was no company in the area that installed them for private citizens. There is a single place, and they only do it as part of a full security situation which includes guards on the premises.”

“I see. Well, that does suck.” Jax looked around for a minute. “Do you have my address? I’m sure that Spencer has a letter somewhere.”

“I do. I have your last that you sent in a pile in the office.”

“Okay, good. Can you drop me a letter once a week to let me know that everything is fine as far as you know with Spencer, Haley, and Jack? It will help me worry less.”

“I can do that.”

“How is his mother taking this?”

“Not well at all.”

“No, I doubt it. Is there…someone is watching her, yes?”

“Yes. She’s being watched, and her unit is on a kind of lockdown. He’s not going to get through there to get to her so that he comes home.”

“Good. I’ll take my leave. My flight leaves in a little bit, I was just here for business. Spencer’s cell phone rang but was never picked up.”

“Yes, WitSec has his personal and his work phone and is monitoring all calls and voicemails. If it’s work-related, it’s forwarded to me. If it’s not, it’s just left alone.” Aaron grabbed a card from the stand in the foyer. “Call me if you have any questions.”

Jax pocketed the card and then handed Aaron one of his own. It was a simple one with just a single email that was attached to Caltech. “It makes it easier to weed out stupider emails from people if I use that one. Thank you for your time, Agent Hotchner. Please email there if you want, I’d prefer the check-ins to be mailed, but I can understand if you are on a case. Spencer has taught me the love of getting that kind of mail, but I can understand not being able to keep it up like him. I’ll take my leave. Have a good day.”

Jax left quickly, and when the back door to the SUV opened up, Aaron saw that there was a man standing on the far side who got into the driver’s seat, and there was a third guard in the back with Jax. Aaron had no clue who the man was, but right now, it wasn’t worth combing the Internet looking for him.

Aaron watched the driver pull out of the parking spot in front of the house and merge into the light traffic for the street. He waited for a long time at the door, waiting to make sure that no one was doubling back.

When he was sure, Aaron walked up to the office where he was keeping all of Spencer’s mail that he knew wasn’t something that needed to be opened as soon as possible. Aaron hadn’t been shocked when Spencer had asked it of him. Most of Spencer’s bills were automated, like the rest of the BAU that didn’t have a spouse to take care of all of that. Haley took care of a few things for him and her, but mostly, Aaron had it all set up automated, so she didn’t have as much to worry about.

The first thing that Aaron did was pay Spencer’s car insurance that he had got in the mail the week before. It wasn’t quite due yet, but Aaron knew that it was policy renewal time. He looked it over and made sure that from what he could tell, Spencer wasn’t being gouged. The rates were actually good, given his age.

Aaron noted the address for Jax’s return and then added it to the card with the email address. Then he pulled out the folder that he had started to plan things in for the party he was planning. It was going to be a Halloween themed as Jack seemed into Halloween from the year before, and Aaron knew that it was Spencer’s favorite. If they got back after, but before Halloween, Aaron would just move it all to that night, pre and post trick or treat. He smiled as he saw the picture of the four of them on the desk. Aaron had made sure to get a good print of it and find a really good frame so that he could see them.

A lot of Aaron’s time was spent in the office now that he was alone in the house. Hockey wasn’t on so Aaron couldn’t distract himself with Spencer’s season tickets, which he would gladly use if needed. Spencer had gotten four sets this year, and Aaron had wanted to tell him that it wasn’t needed, but Spencer had wanted to do it, and so Aaron didn’t feel like he could rightly tell him no since it was his own money. It was something to look forward to. Aaron had even made sure that the party wasn’t on a night where the Capitals were playing at home. Just to be safe.

A text from JJ had Aaron laughing. It was an image of Henry with a pout on his face. Even before the text came through next Aaron knew it was going to be about Henry missing Spencer. What did shock him was JJ asking if they could come over to visit so that Henry didn’t miss Spencer all the way.

Aaron debated for a few seconds before he hit that it was fine for them to come over. He got up and moved to the kitchen to figure out what he could do for the three of them for dinner. JJ would be bringing food for Henry to eat as it wasn’t like before, where Spencer brought Henry over randomly on the weekend, so he kept the food on hand. Aaron would make a note of the things that he liked of what JJ brought and get some of it. Taking Henry for a weekend didn’t seem like a horrible idea. It would mean that Aaron wasn’t home alone all the time. The next weekend that they weren’t on call, he would talk to JJ about taking him for that whole weekend.

It wasn’t long before the doorbell was being rung, and Aaron checked to make sure that it was JJ, Will, and Henry before he opened it. Henry was shoved at him by JJ making Will laugh, but Aaron just cuddled the boy close to him. Henry still had that new baby smell even though he wasn’t a new baby at all.

Aaron lifted Henry to where his head was on Aaron’s shoulder and his body resting fully on him.

“So, I don’t know what your plans are for dinner, but I brought over stuff for pasta and garlic bread, and you are going to sit with Will and watch whatever you want while I cook.”

“JJ,” Aaron said as he looked at the woman. She had that glint in her eye that told Aaron he wasn’t going to win. “You don’t have to take care of me.”

“I promised Spence that I would make sure that you weren’t a lonely asshole. So go bond over sports with my son and boyfriend, and I’ll have dinner and wine ready soon. I hope you have good wine. We are staying the night as I plan on drinking too much to drive home.”

“And I have a concussion and shouldn’t be driving,” Will said.

“Concussion?” Aaron looked at Will, worried. He didn’t look any worse for the wear, but his eyes were a little off.

“See, this is why we are here. I want another adult to help me with Henry. Will should not be holding him unless he is sitting down.”

Aaron nodded his head and moved toward the living room. He had called Jessica over before when he was concussed to have Haley have help with Jack when he had been a baby.

“So, what happened?” Aaron asked as he sat down in the recliner with Henry. Henry just snuffled and settled in like he was going to sleep. Aaron looked at Will.

“Yeah, it’s nap time. JJ fed him just before we came over. And I would love to say that I was hit over the head with a brick or crashed into a wall while fighting a suspect but what really happened as that one of my lovely co-workers shot backward in his rolling chair and hit me just right to where I went ass over tea kettle over the side of another desk, and my head hit first on the ground.”


“Yes, I was on duty when it happened, so I was rushed to the hospital in the back of a squad car, and now my co-worker just has a chair that he has to lift up to get out of after that. It’s not the first time that he’s gotten so into something that he doesn’t look back, but he butts against the main walking area, and so he’s supposed to check. he was moved from another place as he used to hit the back of the chair of the guy in front of him all the time.”


“Yes. Thankfully no one is ragging me about it, not that they should, but you know assholes.”

“Yeah, I do. That it happened where everyone could see is a good thing. My chief is just happy that I didn’t break my neck, which he thought was going to happen as he watched me go backward over the desk.”

“It still sucks.”

“Yeah. I wasn’t even supposed to be working. I had to swap shifts to cover a night that Spence usually watches him and don’t even try to say we should have asked you. You had that damned meeting, which is how Spence usually gets to watch him.”

Aaron knew that Spencer always watched Henry when Aaron was at that monthly unit chief meeting unless, of course, they had a case, but in the way that all the luck in the world was, they rarely had cases on those days. Aaron nodded his head and tossed Will the remote. Will flipped through a few channels until he settled on a sports channel that was showing an old hockey game.

The smell of food as the sauce started to cook, and the smell of Henry made Aaron’s heart ache a little. Haley was getting ever closer to where it wouldn’t be safe at all for her to try and get pregnant or menopause was going to hit. Aaron hated that they were missing this time, but they could always adopt. Some older kid who had trouble that Aaron knew they could handle. With the three of them, they could handle anything.

Aaron wondered if he could also find a private adoption in the area to get a newborn. He knew that older kids needed love too, but he and Haley had been so wanting another baby to share that experience with Spencer. Spencer had been looking forward to it. Aaron wanted that for all of them, just the once and then after they would go for an older kid who might not get placed at all.

Pushing those maudlin thoughts away, Aaron looked at the TV to see that it was an older game, but it wasn’t that old. Hockey was something that Aaron had watched when there was nothing else on, and he was working from over the years. He had never paid enough attention before Spencer to learn a damned thing about the game, though. He watched the fights on the ice, and that had been about it.

“Making plans to go to any games?” Will asked.

“I planned on it. I have Spencer’s tickets. Thought about taking Morgan, maybe you. It’s not like I’m short for people who want to take pity on me.” Aaron heard the words and cursed himself. “I know that it’s not pity, pity. It’s just wanting me to not be alone. I know that. Even Dave’s offered to have me over for a meal or two. I just…I needed to get used to this before I started to do other things.”

“I get that. I do. It was like that for me after Pops died. So I get it. I do.”

JJ came in with a wine glass in her hand and a glass of water in the other. Aaron took the wine and Will the water. JJ pressed a kiss to Will’s forehead and then left again.

Aaron knew with his friends around, he was going to make it through this, but it was going to be hell.

Spencer stopped long enough to grab a drink of his Gatorade from where he had set it down near the area where he was. The gym was pretty much empty, which was a given for the time of night that it was. He glanced at the clock while he drank and found that he still had half an hour before he needed to go and shower and get dressed for work before walking across the campus to get there. Haley was in her second trimester, and the morning sickness that had struck at any point in the day had tapered off. Now she was craving the weirdest things in the world, which Jack found funny.

Haley had started to show, and Spencer was freaked out a little. Jack loved to cuddle with her in the afternoons. Haley’s boss had pushed her to go down to part-time, and she had taken it. Working only when Jack was in school for the day, which was going to be a little longer soon when his pre-school took up. He was going to be a little young for it, but that just meant two years of it. There was a good school nearby that had two years of it for the kids who were nearly four but not quite when the school year started. Spencer was glad of it because that would mean that Jack would be entertained, and less of that would be on him. At the current, he was making short lessons for him to stay entertained with Haley during the afternoons as the boy was not nearly as involved in learning things as he was back in DC.

Dropping the empty bottle down to the bench, Spencer turned back to the heavy bag that he was taking swings at. It was something that Morgan had helped teach him now to do to help with anger issues. Spencer hadn’t been that thrilled with it but had learned as part of a bonding experience with Morgan. He hadn’t thought that he would like it at all, but he had ended up liking it. He hadn’t done it a lot over the past few years, but now, with Haley pregnant and them away from Aaron, Spencer had been going at least once a week since the news had dropped.

Haley was letting him deal with it on his own while making sure that he knew that he wasn’t alone. Spencer knew that, and unlike what Haley was probably thinking, Spencer wasn’t craving. Not the release that Dilaudid would give him, but he did crave Aaron. He just wanted to feel Aaron’s arms around him and have Aaron tell him that it was okay. Spencer wanted to know that Aaron didn’t hate him for him not being there for this. Spencer knew that Aaron didn’t care about who the father was. It was the only reason that Spencer had even agreed to sex without condoms when it came to Haley. Aaron had talked to him until he was blue in the face about it. There was not going to be a single bit of resentment about Spencer being the father. Hell, Aaron was probably going to say something about it being fitting that it had been that weekend where they had celebrated Spencer being alive and with them after Anthrax as the conception time.

It was missing the beginning of the pregnancy. Aaron not being able to be there to help settle Haley down. Aaron feeling bad about Spencer having to do it all alone when Aaron had promised to be there to help him through his freakouts.

Spencer had gone to the bookstore and bought every single pregnancy book and had read them. He had kept the few that he liked and the couple that Haley wanted to read and donated the rest to a local clinic that was for mothers who needed help, whether they were single or had lost their partners, whatever the reason. It had felt good to do that, and Spencer had been glad that the books weren’t going to go to waste. Haley already made plans to give her maternity clothes to the clinic as she grew out of them. It wasn’t like most of them were going to be used all that much.

Running after Jack was helping to keep Haley from gaining too much weight and Spencer made sure that she was staying good on that front as well. The less she gained, the better for her issues like she had the first time. Haley was leaving most of the food in Spencer’s hands. The baby inside of her was growing at the perfect rate needed for how far along Haley was. Spencer was being obsessed. It was the only word for it, and Spencer knew it, but right now, it was the only thing keeping him sane. He wanted to quit his job and stay with Haley all the time. Right now, she was more vulnerable, and if Foyet found them, he could do a lot of damage with a single knife wound.

Spencer punched the bag so hard that he felt his skin split under the tape he had wrapped around his hands. He stopped and looked at it. He could see the blood starting to seep through. He knew that he had rubbed a few areas raw, but he had kept on going. He would have time to shower and dress his wounds before his shift.

The locker room was empty, it was part of why Spencer came here when he did. The gym was open for nearly the entire day. There was a space of an hour where it was closed so that staff could clean it, but that was at two am. It was a while from now. Still, Spencer rushed through all of that. When he exited the shower, he saw a young man sitting beside the bench where he had his bag.

“Hey, Doctor Tyler,” the young man said.

Spencer knew him. He came into the library a good bit at the moment, working on his thesis, which he had started in the spring. He had a small medical kit in his hand. It wasn’t the one that was in Spencer’s bag but a different one.

“Hello, Aiden.”

“I’ll be out there; just yell when you are ready, and I’ll bandage your hands before you go into work.”

“Aiden.” Even if Spencer wasn’t a professor to the kid, it wasn’t right for him to even let Aiden think that there was anything that could happen. Even if Spencer wasn’t with Haley and Aaron, it was never going to happen.

“My older brother died when I was a teenager. He left behind a pregnant wife who didn’t handle him being dead at all. If it wasn’t for the baby, she would have died not long after him. Even little Sophia being born hadn’t saved her. The doctor’s said that she died of a broken heart, so devastated by the loss of the love of her life. My parents took custody of her, but she calls me dad. I’m going to take over caring for her after I get settled in a good job. I was the surprise baby, and they are older, and she’s getting so damned big. I was there the night that your wife came with your son. I saw the grief in her eyes, so I listened. You lost the other part of your triad. You come in here, and you beat the shit out of the bag two to three nights a week, and she doesn’t get to take care of you after. I can understand if you are wanting to help with her stress levels, but seeing your hands isn’t helping her, not when she knows you are doing it alone. Even if you won’t let me help, go to the clinic. It’s open until midnight, and you can get them to take care of them.”

Spencer looked down at his hand that had a huge cut in it and knew that Aiden was right. Haley loved to kiss Spencer’s knuckles like she was taking the hurt away with that single move. Spencer had never kept what he was doing from her. He had never wanted to, but he could understand Aiden’s words now.

“Actually, I’ll just put on my pants, and then you can do it. It’s hard to put my shirts on with my hands bleeding.”

“Sure. Just holler.” Aiden stood up and left the first aid kit there by Spencer’s bag before he slipped out of the room.

Spencer tried not to think about the story that Aiden told. It was something that Spencer had wondered about. If something happened to Haley, what Aaron would do. He wasn’t sure that the man wouldn’t just fade away. Spencer hoped that he and Jack and the baby would be enough, but Aaron loved Haley and had loved him for over half of his life. No matter what, Spencer didn’t have that longevity in terms of time. He couldn’t fault Aaron for it either. There was something about losing the love of your life that broke some people.

Getting dressed took longer than Spencer would have liked with, but with where his mind went, he wasn’t that shocked. He called out for Aiden, and the younger man came into the room. He looked at Spencer’s hand and hissed.

“You really go all out, don’t you?”

“I got a little caught up in my head. So how do you know how to do this?”

“My brother liked to punch the bags as well when he was calming himself down. I heard you in here one night when I was debating coming in and running to try and wear my body out so that maybe my mind would shut down and I could sleep. You seemed so into it that I chose not to bother you, and I ran around the campus. I started to drop by every night and realized your schedule. I don’t bother you, but tonight you were bleeding more than normal.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“I understand loss much more than a lot of other people, and while you are holding it together, I can still see it in you. I just couldn’t let you go through it alone again. You need friends, even if it’s not me, you need to find a friend or two that are not your wife.”

“And you think you would be a good friend for me?” Spencer asked.

“I have no clue, but you need someone. Me or a co-worker. No one is going to care if we are friends since you don’t have a single thing to do with my degree that I am getting other than maybe holding books for me that I might need and stopping others from getting them. Still, you have your favorites already that you do that for so no one is going to bat an eye.”

Spencer watched as Aiden worked on his hand, cleaning it and then smearing antibacterial cream on it. He wrapped it with gauze next, and the way that he did it reminded Spencer of medics.

“How did you learn this?”

“I take a first aid refresher course every year. Hometown only has volunteer firefighters and EMTs. So me and a few other kids who lived there started to take classes at the hospital an hour outside of town. When I go home for the summer, we help out where we can. Before, we couldn’t do much while in high school but help other kids and do small stuff, but now we can do more. I like doing it as a hobby, so when I go home, I’ll probably volunteer. I already have my job lined outside of it, and they are more than fine with me volunteering at it.”

“That sounds good.”

“What did you want to be when you grew up as a kid?” Aiden asked.

“A doctor of some kind to help heal everyone who was sick. It didn’t work out because I just didn’t want to do it.”

“But you like working in a library?”

“It’s where the books are.”

Aiden laughed as he started to wrap Spencer’s second hand.

“Let your wife take care of those. If you want, I can meet you here twice a week, or you can text me when you are coming, and I can do my running while you beat the shit out of a bag and then I’ll clean you up before taking my shower.”

“That sounds really good.” Spencer took the phone that Aiden offered, and he entered in his fake name as well as his cell phone number. He knew that Aiden was right that he needed to make a friend while he was there. It wasn’t healthy for him not to have someone. Even Haley went out to eat with a few people that she worked with.

Spencer just kept on thinking about when he left. That he would be leaving behind someone who would miss him, and even if it wasn’t a relationship that would ever be more than friends, that was a heart that was a little bit broken. It made it all seem like it was a lie. He hated it, but he was craving this now. Aiden would never replace Aaron in any way, shape, or form, but he would be a good friend to have while he had him.

“Are you sure?” Spencer asked as he looked at himself in the mirror. He had gotten his hair cut shorter than he normally would. He could hear the comments from the team about how he looked. Haley had called it a boy-band haircut, and while Spencer had been worried about it, Haley seemed to really like it. That was enough for him. It helped to hide himself a little bit as well.

“Yes, I am sure. It’s Friday night, and you deserve to have an evening out to yourself. You haven’t gone out when it’s not the three of us since we got here. Yes, Jack and I will miss you, so I won’t sprout.” Haley laid her hand over the swell of her belly, but she was smiling as she did it. “But we will be fine without you for a little while, Spencer. Everything will be perfectly fine.”

“Call me if you need anything. Anything at all.”

“I won’t need anything, and I will not call you. I’ll just go out and pick up whatever I need. Jack will love the short trip.”

Spencer huffed a little, and he allowed Haley to pull him away from the mirror before shoving him toward the bedroom door. He grabbed his wallet from where he had laid it out that day after he got home. He had more than enough cash to cover an emergency, as well as his cards with him.

The night air was hot even to Spencer, who loved the weather. He was looking forward to it cooling down a little, at least for Haley. Haley was miserable most of the time with the way that her body moved at the moment. It wasn’t the best, but Spencer was glad that they should be going toward cooler weather so that she could feel better about it all.

Jack had been even more clingy since Haley had figured out that she was pregnant, which Spencer knew was normal; he just wished that he could do something about it. Haley was worried that Jack was jealous, and she was dealing with that just fine. Spencer knew that he was trying to be a protective older brother already.

Aaron had given Jack the order to take care of the two of them, and Jack was taking it very seriously by trying to be the protector to the little one. Sprout was what Jack had taken to calling the baby, and it had stuck so far.

Haley didn’t want to find out the sex until they were home, which Spencer had agreed to that. Up until the point where it was a month before she was due and they were still in Arizona. Spencer knew that Haley would give in then. Everything that they were acquiring at the moment was very gender-neutral or in soft colors. Spencer was happy about that. He didn’t really like the color of blue that most boy things were, and he had more clothes in pink than Haley did.

Spencer wasn’t one for big gender roles. He would rather Jack play with a doll because he wanted to than to play with a toy soldier. After all, it was manly. The discussion of that kind of stuff hadn’t come up that much, but then Jack’s favorite things in the world were superheroes, the real and the fictional, as well as hockey and soccer. He played soccer with girls, and Wonder Woman was one of his favorite characters in the world, and it wasn’t because she wore skimpy clothing. He loved her lasso and how strong she was but also caring.

“You ready?” Aiden asked as he rolled down the window on the passenger side of his car.

Spencer nodded his head and looked at the back seat that had a few other grad students in it. Spencer still wasn’t the surest about all of this, but he would try it.

The drive to the bar that had been picked was short, even to Spencer’s mind. It was packed, but there was a set of tables that was full of a few grad students, TAs, and a lot of other lower staff at the college.

“Holy shit, you actually got Doctor Tyler out of the library!” one of the women said. Spencer had seen her around, but he wasn’t sure who she was. She came into the library but didn’t talk to him.

“I told you I would.”

“Doc, this is Amelia. She’s one of the newest professors at the college. She is more than happy to lord that over everyone.” Aiden shoved at her shoulder as he walked up to the bar.

Spencer took a seat at the table, he wanted to get to know people before he went up to get a drink since he wasn’t going to be drinking. He wasn’t on tap as a DD, hence why he had been picked up, but he was more than willing to just not drink at all. Haley’s car was in the shop after someone had hit her in a parking lot, so Spencer wanted her to have the car with her just in case. Aiden had been more than willing to pick him up.

“There is nothing wrong with liking to live with books,” an older man said as he sat down beside Spencer.

Aiden came back with a bottle of water and a can of coke for Spencer while he looked to have tea in his hand.

“I didn’t know if you wanted tea or Coke.”

“Coke is fine.” Spencer looked at the older man. He wasn’t sure who he was. There were so many professors at the college, and Spencer hadn’t met even a quarter of them. He was content in his library. “I do like living with books.”

“Yes, Aiden told me that you read a remarkable rate. I’m not shocked you like to read with that kind of ability.”

Everyone at the table introduced themselves to Spencer before the older man held out his hand. Spencer gave him a wave, and the man laughed a little.

“Adam Laird,” the man said.

“Mike Tyler.”

“Welcome to our little group of idiots.” The way that Laird said it was full of fondness. Like it was a ragtag group of people who didn’t fit in anywhere, and so they adopted each other.

Spencer thought that he might like it.

Haley heard the sounds of the birds outside. It was just early enough that Haley didn’t want to get out of bed. It was the weekend, and Spencer had worked the night shift the entire week, so he had got home, and he didn’t go back until Monday night. It was nice, and Haley was happy. She had the entire weekend with her lover and her son. They hadn’t had a lot of time together lately that wasn’t sleeping, and Haley wanted to fix that.

Spencer was wrapped around just like when they had gone to sleep the night before. Spencer didn’t tend to move in his sleep anymore, but Haley did. It depended on what her back and her bladder wanted on how she slept, and it seemed to change every other hour. Spencer didn’t mind, even if every time she moved, he woke up. Right now, he had a hand splayed over her belly. Haley laid her own hand over it and smiled. She was going to be waking to this every single Saturday as Spencer had swapped his shifts so that he worked the weekdays instead of weekends so that Haley wasn’t alone with Jack for long hours while Spencer slept and such on the weekends. It was good because, after the issues with Jack’s birthing, Haley was already restricted to not being able to lift up the boy, who wasn’t pouting so hard about that.

Jack’s jealousy after his sibling was not getting any bigger, which Haley was glad about. He still was very pouty, but he was at least more willing to help Haley with things. They had explained as well as they could about how Haley needed help with things. Spencer was already going to be helping her with the shopping on Sunday, and so that part was good. The sound of feet skittering down the hall had Haley laughing inside. One of the cats was awake and making terror. The sound of a second set of feet had Haley changing that to them both making terror.

The cats were missing Aaron just as much as the rest of them. It was just impossible for them to really articulate why. Though Haley knew that they did, not just because Midnight had peeked at either of them showering but also that Curiosity had stolen one of Aaron’s shirts that Haley had brought along with her to use to sleep in. She had found it hidden behind the couch where the cats liked to curl up and sleep at night. It was something that Haley hadn’t been worried about, but she had swapped it for another and washed the original one. She was wearing it now.

The creak of the door had Haley opening her eyes. She looked to see that it was Curiosity who was peeking into the room. She ran over and jumped up onto the bed to get a little affection from Haley by rubbing her face on Haley’s. Haley removed her hand from her belly and petted on Curiosity until the cat got bored with it and took off. Just a few seconds later, Midnight was there for her love as well.

“You two are the only things that are keeping me sane in all of this. You ache so much at the loss of him, and I can’t do anything to help settle it.” Haley kissed Midnight on the nose, which the cat didn’t like and took off away from her. Haley laughed.

Spencer had taken over the entire set of duties when it came to cleaning out the cat bins. They were all in the basement, so it wasn’t like Haley was around them. The laundry room was on the ground floor, which was a good thing with Haley getting pregnant. She could do the clothes after Spencer brought them down, and then he would take them back up again for her to sort and fold if she didn’t get it done before he got home. She liked to do it on the bed up on the second floor anyway as it was much easier for her as there was actually enough space. As her pregnancy progressed, she would have to do it all on the bed and probably over the course of the entire afternoon after she picked up Jack from school.

Haley looked at the time. It was just after six. Spencer needed at least another hour of sleep as he had trouble falling asleep the night before, and she knew that he woke with at least one nightmare as it had woken her up. He had cuddled into her back at that point and fallen asleep with ease. Haley knew that Spencer was worried about Foyet finding them while Haley was laid up with her pregnancy and unable to defend herself. She had already done everything needed to be able to carry a gun, and she knew how to fire every single gun in the house. It was something that Spencer had insisted on before they had known that she was pregnant. It helped to settle him when he was at work.

Jack’s nightmares had been lessening a good bit. Haley hadn’t had to take him back to the library, but she had called a few times to let Spencer tell Jack a story over the phone to get him to sleep again. They were adapting to life like this, and Haley kind of hated it.

The Marshals were keeping her pregnancy a secret, which was the only good thing in all of this. Haley didn’t want Aaron trying to force Foyet’s hand any more than he was already doing. It wasn’t like Haley knew that Aaron would be doing stupid things to make the killer after they do something in anger or just a fit of stupidity. It was something that she knew even before they had left DC. Aaron wanted his family back, and that was before he even knew about the newest one that would join them.

Spencer rubbed his nose on the back of Haley’s neck, his arm moving a little on her body before his hand rubbed at her belly. He settled down seconds later, and his breathing deepened. Haley knew that he did that not long after they laid down, but she hadn’t realized that he did it all night long. She now understood why it took a little more coffee than usual to get him going. He was checking on her, waking up just enough to where he could do it, and then going back to deeper sleep. There would be no stopping it, so Haley just laid there, letting him get some more sleep. She didn’t need to pee at the moment, which was a good thing as it seemed that Sprout just liked to sleep on her bladder no matter how big they were. Jack had been like that for the second and third trimester, no matter how Haley laid in bed.

Haley turned her head to the door to look and see exactly how far open the cats had got it, and the answer was not a lot at all.

With the morning sickness and everything, the first trimester hadn’t gone the best. Haley hadn’t felt arousal really at all, but then she hadn’t during Jack’s pregnancy either when she had the morning sickness. Aaron had worried about it, but Haley really hadn’t been. Now she was an old hat at it all. Spencer had been a little worried until she had told him about Jack’s. The second trimester so far was something that Haley wasn’t ready for. She had spent a good bit of it with Jack a little horny, but this time it wasn’t there. Not until the night before. Spencer had worked an earlier shift to cover for someone else who was going to work a split to make a kid’s game, so Spencer had gotten home earlier than normal, but he had been too tired to want sex so Haley had gone to sleep horny and now that she was slowly waking up, she could feel it building in her body.

Spencer had showered, it had been that which had woken up Haley to let her know that he was home. When the shower had shut off, Haley had been able to feel how wet she was, but Spencer had left the bathroom with bags under his eyes, and his movement seemed slurred like he was drunk yet, Haley knew that there was no way that he was. He was so tired that he seemed drunk. Haley had let him drop down into the bed, and she ignored her wants.

Haley and Aaron’s favorite times with Spencer were always when he was sleep mussed and open in ways that he wasn’t when it was middle of the day or even at night. It was like his brain wasn’t fully switched on when he was just waking up, and he forgot whatever hang-ups he had when it came to sex. Haley knew that he wasn’t ashamed of what they did, but he was so used to never having sex that everything felt so different.

Rolling over, Haley looked at Spencer’s sleeping face. Spencer’s hand followed the movement like he didn’t want to never not be touching her belly. Haley loved it. When they cuddled on the couch, Spencer had his hand on her belly every single chance that he could get. It was nice. She loved it. Aaron had been the same way, and while Haley knew it was Spencer, it was like Aaron was there as well.

As the time neared seven, Haley felt Spencer’s fingers moving more over her belly. It was just light touches here and there, but it was more than enough to get Haley going again. Spencer’s other arm was under the pillows, cradling Haley’s body close to his with the lump under the pillow. Spencer was just in a pair of loose-fitting boxers that she was pretty sure was Aaron’s, but she never asked about that. They both had robbed Aaron blind of some clothes that they had snuck with them as they had flown across the country. They had been allowed a few small things with them, and Haley was pretty sure that it had all been things of Aaron’s for the both of them.

“Morning,” Spencer said after a few more minutes where his touches on Haley’s belly became more and more firm.

Haley didn’t say anything back; she just wiggled her arm down to snatch Spencer’s hand and direct him lower. Haley gasped as Spencer’s fingers slipped into her folds, and they both found out exactly how wet she was.

“I’d say you are having a good morning. Do you want me to make it better?” Spencer asked as he slipped his fingers down a little more, a finger skirting her hole before crooking and slipping inside of her.

Haley gasped at the sensation and lifted her top leg so that Spencer could get in there more.

“The door,” Haley gasped after a few minutes of Spencer playing with her.

Spencer stopped, pulling his hand free of her, and he licked his fingers as he got off of the bed and walked over to shut and lock the bedroom door. There was a monitor on the nightstand with the power on so that they could hear Jack when he woke up. He would play in his room until they got up.

It was easy to settle in on the bed when Spencer got back. Haley looked at him and saw that he was aroused. It wasn’t an always thing with him. Haley knew that sometimes he got her or Aaron off while not wanting anything himself. He wasn’t even always aroused when it happened either. It wasn’t that big of a deal to Spencer, so she never made that big of a deal about it. She knew that there was a lot to learn about Spencer’s sexuality that a book wasn’t going to tell her. She had been on forums before, but now that she had a laptop from work that was all hers and she didn’t have to worry about anyone getting on it, she had done more looking into it. Her boss didn’t care about that kind of stuff. Haley had worried about it back home, though, and even the guys finding it.

Haley knew that they wouldn’t be upset about her looking it up but that they weren’t talking to her enough to where she had to actually look it up herself.

Spencer bit at the inside of her thigh, it wasn’t even hard enough to leave a red mark, but it pulled Haley back to what he was doing. She looked down at him to see that he was glaring a little. He knew that her mind wasn’t on that for a few seconds.

“Sorry,” Haley whispered.

Spencer had moved to where he was ready to eat her out, and she hadn’t even noticed. She did feel a little bad about that, but not enough to stop him. Haley knew that the best way to apologize was to let him do what he wanted. Her gag reflex was horrible at the moment. Even just eating sometimes triggered it, and so blow jobs were off the menu for at least a little bit. It was something that had happened with Jack as well, so it hadn’t been a shock.

“Fuck,” Haley whispered as she felt Spencer’s fingers parting her folds and then his tongue right there, going from hole to clit. Haley relaxed down into the bed, and her whole body felt limp as Spencer set about giving her oral. The orgasm came way too quickly but with the way that her body hadn’t got a release in so long and how much she wanted, as well as how damned good Spencer was at it all. Haley wasn’t shocked by how quick she came. “In me.”

“Haley,” Spencer whispered as he got to his knees between her legs.

Haley shook her head back and forth. “That’s closer to a later time. I specifically asked the doctor if it was okay, and she said that it was. Please.”

“Don’t beg.” Spencer got off the bed to shuck what clothes he had left and then got back in. He was usually a little more graceful, but Haley knew that he didn’t want to risk falling on her. He didn’t get undressed on the bed while she was in it at all.

There was no need for condoms, but Haley did see Spencer’s eyes dart to where they were. Haley had bought them for anal as she didn’t like the clean up afterward. There was also lube, which was something that Haley didn’t need. She had been more than wet enough before Spencer had made her orgasm.

Spencer carefully arranged himself to where he was leaning over Haley, his eyes on her face like he was looking for permission on her face that she had already verbally given. Haley knew that this was a first for Spencer. He was going to be very careful, just like Aaron was the first time after they had known that she was pregnant with Jack. Haley just wanted sex. It had felt so damned good the first time around. Sex had been almost better than any other time when she had been pregnant. Spencer ducked down a little more and smiled before he started to inch inside of her.

Haley had been so focused on Spencer’s face that she hadn’t paid any attention to the rest of them, and given the smirk on Spencer’s face, he knew that.

“Spencer,” Haley gasped as Spencer kept on going slow inside of her. She kind of hated that Aaron had taught him how to tease her just right while they were having sex. It made things so much worse in times like this. Haley tried to move quickly to get the rest of him inside of her, but he just pulled back to match how much she went down on him.

“Ah, ah.” Spencer reached down with his free hand and cupped her breast before he finally slid home all the way inside of her. She didn’t move at all. As if it was a reward for that, Spencer started to tease his thumb over her nipple.

Haley gasped and arched her back at the feeling. She didn’t notice that her eyes had shut until she had to open them to look when she felt hot, wet heat on her nipple next. Spencer wasn’t hesitant with sex, not anymore. He knew how to play Haley’s body to get her off as quick as he could or to take his time. Today was about taking his time. Haley grabbed him by the hair to draw him up for a kiss when he started to move inside of her. He was quiet, outside of gasps and moans. He always was. Too many years in college when he was going through puberty. It was okay, they were working on getting him loud. Lost in lust was usually when he was the loudest, but Aaron was the master at getting him to be lost in lust.

Spencer was moving like a man on a mission as he slowly fucked her. It felt good, almost too damned good.

Haley came long before her body was fully ready for it, but Spencer just kept ongoing. He fucked her through a second before he finally came himself. It felt damned good, her body clenching around his cock inside of her. She wanted more, but her body was worn out, and she could tell that Spencer was as well. There was also the fact that they couldn’t ignore the sounds of Jack entertaining himself any longer. First up before that, though, was a shower and then maybe going out to breakfast as a family. Haley was hungry enough to eat a whole cow, and she wanted waffles.

Spencer smiled at her as he slipped out from inside of her before leaning down to kiss her. “Waffles?” Spencer asked with a smirk on his face.

“How did you know?”

“You were talking about them in your sleep when I went to bed. The kids at the school talk about this place that’s close to campus that has the best waffles, and you can stick pretty much whatever you want in them or on top of them. How does that sound?”

“That sounds heavenly.”

Haley pulled Spencer back down for a few more minutes of kissing before they went to shower. She was going to take what she could get until she could be with all three of her guys again.

Chapter 24

Aaron was about a mile from home when he saw his phone flashing with a call from Strauss. Aaron found the closest spot that he could pull off the road safely on as he wasn’t set up to answer hands-free at the moment. He frowned as the call dropped, but before he could pick up the phone to call her back, she was calling again.

“Hotchner,” Aaron said as he answered.

“Aaron, don’t go home.”


“SWAT is on it’s way to your house. One of your neighbors called the hotline and not the locals when she was pretty sure that she spotted Foyet going into your house. The security system has been turned off, and the new company intercepted it after I called. The cameras are all turned off and have been since he entered the house.”

“He thought he turned it all off, didn’t he?”

“Yes. The new system is much better than your old one.”

Aaron nodded his head as he looked toward where his house was. He was too far away, and there was too much between him and it, but it was helping to settle him. Just a week ago, the work crew had finished up installing the new system. A company had started up a new office in the area that exclusively used and ran Grimes Tech security systems in the area for those who were not the elite. A group of agents had overseen every single aspect of the system that was going in to make sure that nothing was screwed up and that the crew was who they were supposed to be. The company hadn’t blinked at all at it. Most of the guys who were on the crew were from New York, down in DC for the new expansion and training, and then would be heading home.

“So, can he be seen at all?”

“The first spotter is arriving there in a few minutes. You left early, so Foyet won’t be expecting you for a little bit, so just hang tight there. Everyone is approaching with sirens and lights off and parking three blocks away and walking it. Do you have your kit with you?”

“I do. It’s in the trunk in my go-bag. I’ll get it.” Aaron turned off his car and got out with his phone in hand. He got what he needed from the trunk, including his vest. He was going to put it on under his clothes. He wasn’t taking any chances, they could end this today.

“I’ll make sure that everyone is on that channel and then head your direction. You are in control of the scene and will be unless you do something stupid. You and your team know this guy.”

“Make Dave be in charge.”

“I will once he’s on scene. He and your team were still in Quantico. When I say you left early, I mean it. You left early, even for you.”

“I was going to go home and get changed before heading out to dinner and then drinks with a few of the guys from Domestic Terror.”

“Well, it’s a good thing. You can hopefully stop anyone from making idiots of themselves. I’m going to go. Get on the radio and make sure that they do what you say.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Aaron hung up the phone and started to strip out of the top layers of his suit to get the vest on. He dressed himself again after and slipped the comm into place.

“Testing,” Aaron said.

“We can hear you loud and clear Hotch. Come and join us.” The guy on the other end rattled off an address. Aaron knew it. It was one of the agents who lived near him that he ran with sometimes. It seemed that his place was being used as their base of operations.

Aaron started the car up again and started to make his way through the streets to where he needed to go, never getting that close to his house in case Foyet had cameras or something set up to watch the streets that fed into Aaron’s. The yard of the house was crawling with agents, and there were a lot of cars in the street. Aaron parked his so that he could get out easily to head home when it was time.

“Hotch,” a voice called out.

Aaron scanned the crowd until he found Anderson with his hand raised up.

“What are you doing here?”

“I was in DC on a run for Strauss. She had a few secure files that needed to be shuffled from her office to the Hoover building, and I offered. After I dropped them, she called to tell me to come here as quickly and as discreet as possible. The team is on their way. We have two cameras set up using houses that watch yours. Two of your across the street neighbors were in their backyards, so we were able to intercept them and get the cameras set up using their back doors. There has been no movement inside of the house yet. Other agents are moving to the areas behind the house to keep an eye.”

“We have confirmation that he went inside?”

“The description that we got from your one neighbor is confirmed, but as far as if he stayed, we have no clue. A team is coming with equipment so we can see if someone is there.”

Aaron nodded his head and walked over to where the SWAT team was working on their plans for breach. The blueprints for the house had been in FBI hands since Foyet had made his threat to Aaron’s family known.

“Hotch, can we have a word?” Gregory asked as he pointed to an SUV.

Aaron waved for Gregory to head that direction.

“Look, I know that parts of this case are need to know. We know that Reid was living with you after an issue with being taken on a case. I know that he stayed even after he was supposed to move out. I know that Jack loves him based on the few pictures that I have seen of them together. I need to know what else was going on.”

“He was the third in our relationship. That’s why I sent him with Haley and Jack.”

“A triad?” Gregory asked. He looked shocked but not upset.


“Damn, no wonder that was kept from most. I can’t see some of the guys working the case with anything close to the same drive they would if it was a standard relationship. I’ll keep that to myself.”

“Hell, if that’s Foyet in there and he starts to talk, he’s probably going to say it. My team knows. The BAU knows, and they don’t care. Those who need to know, do. That’s all that matters.”

“You are the most straight-laced man that I have ever met. Taking a third, a younger, male, subordinate third is nothing like what I thought that you would ever do.”

“It was a shock, but I fully support that it saved my marriage. Haley gets something from him that I can’t give, and she’s happy.”

“You do love him, don’t you? You didn’t do it just to make her happy?” Gregory looked worried about that.

Aaron smiled before looking toward where his house was. It wasn’t visible at all, being three blocks away.

“Yeah. I love him just as much as I love her. We both were miserable for a while, trying to ignore what we were in love with him. This is the best thing in the world for all three of us. Jack loves him so very much, he makes us both better people. He worked his way into a little spot that seemed to be empty just for him.”

“Yeah, that’s the in love Hotch I remember from back when you married Haley.” Gregory looked a lot less worried then. “So let’s go over everything that we need to. This isn’t going to be easy. We are going to make sure that he can’t slip out through any of the yards around before we let you go in. Teams are arriving now to secure the houses so that he can’t make it inside. It’s going to be slow going as we work on figuring out what kind of security he set up for himself all around the area.”

“Slow and steady works it well.”

“So I’ve heard around the vine that you have been a cold asshole, but I never believed a single word of it. I read over this fucker’s profile that you gave out. He tortured a cop in Boston for years by watching the man as his life slowly crumbled under the weight of the deal that he made. I’d have done the same thing that you did. I would have gone out every single night and acted like I wasn’t missing the biggest part of myself.”

“I wanted him to freak out and do something. I just didn’t expect him to just go into the house and wait.”

“He probably means to attack you so that he can watch you struggle with that.”

“That’s what I figure as well. I forget how good you were at all of this. Why I wanted you for the BAU.”

“SWAT is in my blood,” Gregory said.

Aaron nodded and laughed a little at the way that Gregory smirked at him. Aaron had tried for six months to court him into the BAU, but the man had never bitten at all on it. Aaron had given up when Gregory had challenged him to a fight. Aaron had won but barely. His own days of SWAT had been too far behind him, but he hadn’t let all of the moves leave him.

Workouts had been his only solace the last few months. He had turned his body back into what it had been like in SWAT days because he needed to do something, and at least if he worked out on the Quantico campus, Foyet wouldn’t know about it. In fact, there were a lot of guys who had been around helping Aaron with keeping fit. People that Aaron hadn’t really talked to a lot before, but now he had standing dates with them to spar. Morgan helped where he could, but he had a lot of classes that he did during the week and only missed them for cases. The hole that Spencer left on the team was like an open wound that wasn’t ever going to close until he was back.

“We have confirmation of a body in the house,” a voice said over the comm.

Aaron turned to look at the command station that Gregory had set up. He saw the screens that showed what the cameras were seeing. Mainly the body that was moving around the house. Aaron couldn’t tell what room he was in other than it seemed like it might be the living room. He wasn’t up on the second floor, at least not right now.

The time from when the infrared cameras went up, tracking Foyet’s every single move in the house to when Aaron was allowed to get into his vehicle and drive off to head home for the day felt like it took a lot longer than it did. Aaron was left to watch the man pace in the house while it happened. Hell, Aaron felt like he was on display as well. Watching the man as he paced. It reminded Aaron a little bit of a line from a movie that he had come in on Spencer watching one time. He had never asked the name, and Spencer had never given it. On the screen, a young man had talked about the beast of a worm pacing in the sand like the great cats of old, or something like that. Aaron had always meant to ask Spencer what the movie was and if they could watch it together sometime, but he never had. Aaron had added it to the list of things that he wanted to do when Haley, Spencer, and Jack were home.

Aaron pulled into the driveway and turned off the engine of the car before he pocketed his keys. He could finish this and be on a plane to wherever the hell his family was in hours. He could be happy again.

It wasn’t nearly as hard as he thought it was going to be for him to walk into the house. He went through his normal routine of stripping off his jacket after setting down as his briefcase. He checked the latch on the holster for his gun before stepping into the living room to put the gun up. There was a steady chatter of voices over the comm telling him where Foyet was in relation to him. Aaron had his backup gun on his leg like usual, as well as a knife in his pocket. It was one that Gregory had on him. It wasn’t a standard piece of equipment that anyone in the FBI carried on them, but it would work with what Aaron needed.

Aaron dropped his keys into the dish at the same time that he heard the creak of the floorboard in the living room. Jack loved to always step right there to make it squeak. Aaron ignored it. He wanted to be in the living room before Foyet knew that he knew that he was there.

“He’s coming toward you slowly,” Gregory said over the comm.

Aaron took two steps towards the living room. He paused and waited to see what Foyet was going to do. Aaron looked at his hand to see that it was shaking. He wanted this to be over, but to do that, he had to go into that room. He had to face the man.

“Hello, Aaron,” Foyet said just as Aaron stepped into the room. Foyet gave him a grin. “You don’t look that shocked to see me.”

“I’ve been waiting for you to come and try something stupid.” Aaron looked at Foyet, who had his gun already drawn and ready to fire it off. Aaron ignored the gun. Foyet wasn’t going to hurt him until he did what he wanted to do.

“Stupid? I don’t do anything stupid.”

“Coming here is stupid. You came into the house of an FBI agent while you are on the most wanted list with an addendum that it doesn’t matter if you are brought in alive.”

“And yet, here I am. Alive.”

“You won’t shoot me to kill me, so why am I afraid of that gun?”

“How do you know I haven’t booby-trapped the whole house?”

“You might have, but then I’m right here, and it’s not like I am going anywhere else.” Aaron leaned against the doorway.

The glare that he got from Foyet more than made up for it.

“You didn’t take the deal. Why didn’t you take the deal?”

“I don’t make deals with killers like you.”

“And yet you sent your family away. You are afraid of me.”

“I’m afraid of what you would do while I was on cases to them.”

“And you sent your fuck-toy to protect them. Aren’t you afraid that he’ll take her away? You aren’t there, and she’s falling in love with him more and more. You are going to have them come back, and they are going to leave you. The fuck-toy is going to be the loving husband to your wife and child. Jack’s not going to remember you at all by the time that you kill me.”

Aaron laughed a little bit. The look on Foyet’s face was more than enough to make Aaron really laugh. He had only a second to react before Foyet was aiming the gun at his head. Foyet took a step toward him, and Aaron heard the shattering of the glass before Foyet was dropping down. Aaron rushed over and kicked the gun away even as he saw the blood seeping down into the floor form where the bullet had ripped through Foyet’s head.

“Clear,” Aaron said as he felt no pulse on the body in front of him.

“Sorry about that, Hotch,” Gregory said.

“Never tell them when you are breaching,” Aaron said. He understood. The escape of Foyet not only from jail but for how long he had fooled everyone was a black stain on the FBI and on the Boston PD’s honor.

“Still, I know you would rather have killed him, but we had to take the shot that we had.”

Aaron stepped back from the body and looked at the man who had been the cause of his family being ripped from him. He wanted to go back to them. He wanted to be on that plane to them now. There was the debrief, though. There were a few things that Aaron had to go before he could leave, though.

“How are you holding up?” Gregory asked when he came into the room a few minutes later.

“I feel like my skin’s too tight and that this was too easy.”

“He was too confident after having too long to get pissed about you not doing what he wanted. You were living your life and were happier than you had any right to be. At least by what he could see.”

Aaron nodded his agreement. It still felt like it was all too easy. Foyet had been too easy to take down. Aaron walked around the house, trying to figure out what Foyet had touched. He found that Jack’s room had been touched a lot while the master bedroom was only touched a little.

Spencer’s room, on the other hand, was thoroughly messed up. Nothing was in the same place as it had been when Aaron had gone to work that morning. He had looked it all over as he did every single morning.

“Aaron?” Dave called out before there were steps on the stairs.

“Yeah?” Aaron asked as he turned around to look at him.

“JJ, Morgan, and I will oversee the cleaning of the house. Make sure that things are cleaned up and all traces of him removed. You need to get on a plane to Arizona.”


“Their Marshal is here to escort you. You are going to be going alone on the BAU jet. I called in a few favors on that front. Go and get your family back.”

Aaron wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He needed to talk to Strauss. He needed to do a lot of things, but the draw of going after his family after nearly five months was too much.

“Look, it’s all on audio, and you didn’t fire. Just go.” Dave was smiling at him, and Aaron wanted it so bad.

Aaron nodded his head and tried not to all out run up to the ground floor and out the door.

Spencer watched Jack as he played with his car at the table. Dinner was about ready, so it was the only reason why Jack was allowed to have his toys there. Haley was stretched out on the couch on her side so that her belly was relaxed, and hopefully, the ache in her back would go away. She had a check-up earlier that day, and Spencer had taken the night off of work so that he could go with her and not screw up his sleep too much. Everyone at work was willing to swap shifts with him as needed for Haley’s appointments. It wasn’t hard to play the sympathy card to get them either. Hell, most of the time, he was asked if he needed to swap. Spencer gave his boss the appointments as soon as they were made, but sometimes, the doctor needed to move them around if something happened. Given the stage of pregnancy that Haley was in as well as Haley’s age, neither of them felt comfortable going to anyone but the doctor for the appointments.

“Spencer!” Haley called out.

Spencer turned from the stove and grabbed the glass of juice that was inside of the fridge.

“Jack, stay in the chair and away from the stove.”

“Yes, Papa,” Jack said, looking up at Spencer so that Spencer knew that he heard him, and it wasn’t a rote answer.

Spencer gave the boy a smile and ruffled his hair as he passed by him. Haley had said she wasn’t thirsty when she had set herself up in the living room, but Spencer had known it was only a matter of time before she wanted something. The fresh orange juice had been something Haley had been cravings for days, and so Spencer kept on squeezing her out some every single day.

The flash of headlights on the street made Spencer look outside, but the vehicle just drove by. He looked back down at Haley, who looked half-asleep on the couch.

“It’s not bedtime yet,” Spencer teased as he set the glass down on the coffee table, swapping the straw from the empty glass to the new one. Haley grabbed the new glass as quickly as possible and took a drink before setting it back down.

Lights arced across the living room again, and Spencer looked out, seeing a vehicle go in front of the house again. He narrowed his eyes as he tried to figure out if it was the same make and model as the last time. He knew it had been an SUV, but he couldn’t remember that well if it was the exact same. Paranoia was all well and good, but not when it made Haley nervous.

“Dinner is about twenty minutes away from being done. I’m about to add the sauce to the casserole and stick it back into the oven.

“Okay. I’ll get up in fifteen and have Jack wash his hands.” Haley turned her eyes back to the TV but turned back a few seconds later with a grin on her face. She pursed her lips and waited for Spencer to kiss her cheek before she turned back to the TV again.

Spencer laughed as he went back to the kitchen. He stirred the sauce before pulling out the rack in the oven to spread the sauce on the casserole. The main part was pretty much cooked, so it was just getting the sauce nice and cooked to where it would thicken up on the casserole. It was a recipe that Spencer had grabbed from a website about cooking for pregnancy. It sounded really good, so he was excited to try it. Spencer walked to the sink to wash up the pan that he had used for the sauce. Everything else was already cleaned up as he liked to do that as he went.

Jack was still playing with the cars when Spencer noticed the lights across the house again. Spencer walked to the front door, looking out the window to the side of it. He watched as the man across the street pulled into his parking spot in front of the garage and then got out of his car. Spencer chastised himself for his paranoia and then went back to the kitchen. He checked to make sure that everything was put up, and the timer was set before he settled in at the table with Jack.

The doorbell ringing three minutes later, shocked Spencer. He got up and walked over toward the door, grabbing his gun as he moved from the case that he had settled on the stand just inside of the living room.

“Spencer?” Haley asked.

Spencer just made a movement of her staying where she was. She did sit up though this move took longer than any other.

“Jack,” Haley said, and Jack came running into the living room. It was a good move.

Visitors were not something that happened at the house. Spencer always went to other places to meet the few friends he had made so far in Phoenix. Spencer looked out the window and saw that there was an SUV parked outside, but he couldn’t see anyone inside of it. He stopped, though, when he saw that it was the standard SUV that the FBI used. That didn’t mean a damned thing. With junior agents, it was sometimes stupid easy to steal their vehicle. Foyet could have easily grabbed the vehicle from anywhere.

The doorbell rang again, and Spencer moved to the side to get a good look at who was at the door. The light in the hallway was off since they hadn’t been expecting anyone. Spencer nearly dropped the gun when he saw the shape of the jaw of the man who was outside. His heart started to beat loud enough that Spencer was shocked that the man outside didn’t hear it.

“Aaron,” Spencer whispered as he reached out to open the door. He stepped over to where Aaron would see him and his gun. There was only a single reason why Aaron would be there with no one else from WitSec. Hell, the Marshals probably thought that they didn’t want to be around for the whole reunion.

Aaron’s eyes darted down Spencer’s body, pausing at the gun in his hand.

“Spence,” Aaron said with a grin on his face. He stepped up and pulled Spencer into a kiss before anything else could be said.

Spencer reached out blindly and found the case where he dropped the gun after flicking off the safety. He grabbed the sides of Aaron’s face so that he couldn’t break the kiss before Spencer was ready. Aaron chuckled into the kiss.

“What happened?” Spencer asked before his brain fried itself from the fact that this wasn’t a dream. He pressed his forehead to Aaron’s and smiled at him.

“Foyet got upset that I wasn’t going off the rails like he thought that I would, and he broke into the house, but the new security system and the neighbors caught him. SWAT took him out after I drew him toward a window.”

“He’s dead?” Spencer asked.


“Spencer?” Haley called out, and it was like a cold breeze to Spencer’s body.

“DADDY!” Jack screamed.

Aaron pulled away from Spencer and ran to grab up Jack into a hug. Jack was already crying. Spencer shut the door so that the neighbors didn’t get too much of a show. Spencer heard Haley getting up, but he was stuck still where he was. It had seemed so easy to make the decision not to tell Aaron about the pregnancy. It had seemed like the best idea at the time, but now that they were facing that, Spencer wasn’t sure how Aaron was going to take it.

Spencer had assumed that they would be flown home to actually go home, but it seemed that Aaron had hopped the first flight to them, given how he was still dressed for work. Spencer could.

“Aaron?” Haley called out as she appeared at the doorway from the living room into the front hall.

“Haley.” Aaron’s words held love in them but also a longing.

Spencer hated that he was stuck behind Aaron and Jack. He wanted to be elsewhere when Aaron found out. Making the decision, Spencer started to walk toward where the kitchen was, hoping that making a cup of tea for all of them would distract him.

“Spencer?” Aaron asked.

Spencer made a noise that even he knew meant nothing at all and waved a hand toward the kitchen before he disappeared. He heard the low talking and then the sound of nothing. Spencer focused on filling up the water kettle before he picked out an herbal tea. It wasn’t like they were going to get a good night’s sleep anyway, not with Aaron there. Jack was going to refuse to sleep, and Spencer couldn’t blame him. Spencer kind of didn’t want to go to sleep either, afraid that it was all a dream.

“Hey,” Aaron said, and then there were hands on Spencer’s shoulders stopping him from moving. “We don’t need tea.”

“I need to do something.”

“Then come into the living room and touch, me or Haley, hell, Jack. Don’t hide, Spencer. Please, don’t hide.”

“We kept it from you.”

“And that was the right decision. You don’t even have to tell me why. I know exactly why you did it, and I understand. I fully support you on that. I don’t even need to ask. You were right in that I would have been fucking insane to get her home that I would have gone on the air and called his ass out.”

“You knew,” Spencer said as he turned around and looked at Aaron.

“Halfway through my flight home, your Marshal that checks on you here called me to warn me. I said that you and Haley would probably kill me for it, but yeah, I knew. Seeing her, though, was good.”

“You aren’t upset?” Spencer asked.

“I’m upset that I missed the beginning.” Aaron tipped Spencer’s face up to where Spencer was looking him in the eye. I’m upset that I wasn’t here to help because I was supposed to be. I’m not upset that she is pregnant. I’m not upset that you kept it from me.” Aaron kissed the side of Spencer’s face. Trailing up to his temple as he wrapped his arms around him. “Now come, and let’s cuddle on the couch. We can talk a little bit.”

Spencer allowed Aaron to pull him into the living room. Haley was sitting in the middle of the couch while Jack was bouncing around the room as he grabbed toy after toy and even some books. All things that he had talked about wanting to show Aaron as soon as he could. Aaron sat down behind Haley and pulled her to his body. It was the same kind of position that they laid in a good bit of the time before Spencer and Haley had left. Spencer settled into where he was half laying on Aaron’s legs but touching Haley as much as he could. It was a usual way for the three of them to lay, Spencer finding the position a nice one compared to many they had tried.

“Do you know anything about gender?” Aaron asked.

“No. We wanted to keep that a surprise until you were around.”

“What about the father?” Aaron asked. His hand was on Haley’s belly then, the gentle swell of it.

“I got the test on that done as soon as possible, and Spencer is the father.” Haley laid her head back on Aaron’s body as much as she could.

Aaron was silent, and Spencer made sure not to look at Aaron as he waited to hear what Aaron’s answer was.

“Good. I’m glad.”

The words had been said before, but even now, Spencer had been worried that Aaron wouldn’t think that when confronted with everything.

“We can leave whenever you want,” Aaron said.


“Dave called in favors. The BAU jet brought me here, and it’s waiting for us to be ready to leave.”

“Really?” Haley asked, looking up at Aaron’s face with a grin on her own.


“That’s good. We can pack up what we want to keep and have it shipped back home.” Haley laid her head down again, closing her eyes in happiness as she reached out and touched Spencer as much as she could. It was going to be a long night, but Aaron was there. Foyet was dead. There was nothing better.

Spencer heard the knock on the front door, and he frowned at it. He heard the water running from Haley’s shower and Aaron’s steps up on the second floor. Spencer checked the gun on his hip before he headed to the front door. He was shocked that it was Professor Laird.

“May I come in?” Laird asked.

“Jack’s asleep on the couch after a bad night. Let’s just step outside.”

“Sure,” Laird said as he stepped back.

Spencer didn’t shut the front door all of the way. He didn’t want Laird inside, not with Aaron running around. No one needed to see him. Aiden had stayed a good friend, but Spencer had got really close to Laird over the last month. The man stopped by when he left campus every night that he worked late just to talk to Spencer. It was never for long at all, but it was nice. Laird was smart, smart enough to be able to teach at colleges that were much bigger, but he liked the smallness of this one, and it was one that kids wanted to go to, so there were enough to keep him entertained.

“I’d like you to keep on talking to me.”

“What?” Spencer asked. He was confused.

“When you head home to DC.”

Spencer reached for his gun, and Laird held up his hands. He didn’t look that worried.

“I knew as soon as I saw you who you were. That you gave a different name and professed to have a wife and a child when you never did before. I knew that something had gone wrong, so I kept my mouth shut. That doesn’t mean I didn’t look into it, but I did do it discreetly. Thankfully I teach abnormal psychology, and therefore I touch a lot of the BAU cases that are public. The BAU responded yesterday to something in the DC suburbs where after a few hours of speculation, the Boston Reaper George Foyet was confirmed to be dead after he came to the house of the Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner’s residence. It’s been many years since I saw Haley in person, but she looks much the same when I saw her drop off that meal to you when you were late that one day.”

“I think that maybe you should come inside.” Spencer didn’t know what to do. The threat was over, but this was just out of the range of his depth of knowledge. He wasn’t sure if he should be hauling the man in or telling him that he’s a damned good actor.

“Professor Laird, it’s been a long time,” Aaron said as he opened the door behind Spencer.

“Hotch, it very much has.”

“Have you been watching my family?” Aaron asked. He wrapped an arm around Spencer’s shoulders and pressed a kiss to his temple as he held out his other hand for a shake.

“No, just your genius. He works at the library at the college.”

“Ah. Come inside. Haley’s just about ready to come down. I’ll have to leave you for a second when she is. Her legs are a little unsteady.”

“Yes, Spencer has told me much about her pregnancy and how freaked out he is.”

Spencer gave the man a little glare, but there was no heat behind it. It was just something that was the truth, but he didn’t like it.

“He’s handling it better than I did, according to Haley. He hovers less.” Aaron was laughing as he pulled Spencer inside with him, brushing his hand away from the gun. Aaron leaned in. “He’s fine. Gideon and I talked with him a lot for the BAU. He would come and stay for weeks during summer break, staying with Haley and me.”

“He never did come over to dinner like I wanted.”

“Haley might not have known his name off the top of her head as it’s been years with the invention of email and such since he’s come to stay, but she would have known his face.”

“He knew.”

“Well, it’s not like the Marshals would have thought you would know a random professor from a college you’ve never been to.”

“That’s true. And I didn’t know him, but he knew me.”

“Aaron?” Haley called out.

“DADDY!” Jack yelled next.

“I need to go and help her down the stairs. Spencer, do you mind getting coffee?” Aaron asked.

“Sure. I’ll start another pot as well.”

Spencer all but ran to the kitchen. He was glad that Laird had never said that he knew who Spencer was as he liked it there in Phoenix and would have hated moving out of the area. It would have sucked a lot. Spencer poured out three mugs and the cup of tea that he had been getting ready to make for Haley. She had slowly tapered off of caffeine from the moment that she had known she was pregnant. She said she didn’t miss it since Spencer found her many types of tea to drink.

Laird was sitting down in a chair when Spencer made it into the living room. Aaron and Haley, though, were not to be seen. Jack was on the couch, staring at Laird.

“Yeah, that’s Hotch’s kid, all right. I would know that look anywhere.” Laird smiled as he took the cup from Spencer.

“Yeah, he gets a lot of things from his father. Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I didn’t want you to move. New name and other things like that mean WitSec, and I figured that you wouldn’t want to move unless you really had to. Hotch has always been kind to me, and I remember him and his wife with fondness. I saw her at the library that day and knew exactly who she was. If you were with her, protecting her like that as well as who I assumed was Hotch’s kid and unborn child, things were bad. So I wanted to make sure that everything would be fine for you to stay. Yes, I made up our friendship out false terms, but I never lied about anything else.”

“Given that most of what I said was a lie in some form, I can understand that.”

“Yes, and you are a fantastic liar. It took me a long time to figure out when you were lying and when you were not. As soon as I saw Hotch’s name and the Reaper’s together after his escape from Boston months before, I pretty much figured that it was what Haley was hiding from. I’m glad that Hotch was already here. It made me feel less like I was screwing up your placement.”

“He took what amounted to a red-eye to get here as soon as he was released to come and get us.”

“Papa?” Jack asked as he held out his hands.

Spencer looked at Jack and settled down beside him and handed over Haley’s mug. Jack blew on it a little and tipped it into his mouth after the taste settled in his mouth; he cringed and shook his head.

“Then go and grab a juice box.”

Jack shoved himself off the couch as soon as Spencer took the mug back from him. Jack was more than willing to try things, but he had learned what he did like and what he didn’t. Most of Haley’s herbal teas he liked but not the one that she started the day with.


“There is a lot that you don’t have on the situation,” Aaron said.

Spencer turned to see that he and Haley were there at the bottom of the stairs. Spencer hadn’t even heard them come down. Probably too focused on Jack and Laird.

Haley was looking at Laird; her eyes were narrowed like she knew that she knew him, but she wasn’t sure where from. “Adam.”

“You are correct, Haley. Adam Laird.”

“It’s been years.” Haley disengaged from Aaron and walked over to give Laird a hug before she moved to sit down beside Spencer on the couch, taking Jack’s spot just as he was returning with his juice box. He handed that to Spencer while giving Haley a glare.

Spencer got the straw into the juice box before he moved the pillow beside him to allow Jack to have room to sit there. Aaron sat down on the other side of Haley, making them the picture of family.

“So, Papa…” Laird started off.

Aaron laughed and jumped into the story of everything and why Spencer had gone into hiding with Haley and Jack and not him.

Spencer leaned back on the couch and let the sound of Aaron’s voice wash over him. He loved hearing it and was happy to have him back. He had missed him so much but hadn’t let himself go down that path when they were apart. There was nothing good that could come from it. He had a task and was more than willing to complete that path before allowing other things in. When the story was winding down, Spencer felt Aaron’s hand on him and looked to see that Aaron had leaned back, and his arm was across the back of the couch, touching Spencer.

They were a family again, and while there were still things to talk about, everything was better because they were together.

“So how far into being here did you figure it out?” Aaron asked.

Haley looked over at her husband and smiled before she looked at Spencer, who was spread out on the couch on the jet with Jack lying on top of him. They were both asleep. Haley had figured that they would fall asleep as soon as they were laid down, and she had been correct. Jack hadn’t slept nearly as long as he should have, and despite Haley sleeping well, she knew that Spencer hadn’t. Even with Aaron between them on the bed, Spencer had not slept well at all.

“When I should have had my second period. The first missed one was during all of the kerfuffle. I was sick for a week, and Spencer was getting worried. Then I looked at a calendar. I went out and got a test, then we went to the doctor. The rest of the tests followed. We waited until we knew whose it was before we made the final decision on having the Marshals tell you. In all fairness, I expected them to tell you anyway. Not on the flight over here.”

“I figure that they agreed that it wouldn’t do me any good. If I joined you guys, it would mean a new location, and that would draw attention that wasn’t needed. I’m glad that I wasn’t told. I hate that you were both alone for it. Spencer had to have gone a little nuts with it all. It was okay knowing that we were trying and everything, and I would be there. I had been there through your first pregnancy and the issues that happened during it but to have him be alone with no support system.”

Haley laughed a little before she pulled out a journal that she had been keeping. It was a list of every single book that Spencer had read about pregnancy and infancy, as well as anything else that was pregnancy-related that she had. Issues she had, food that made her sick, her cravings. She had kept it all up without Spencer knowing so that she could show Aaron but also use it as blackmail material to show their kid when he or she was old enough, and Spencer would be mortified.

Aaron took the journal and started to read it. His eyes got wide when he found the list at the front that had all of the books that Spencer had bought with a check beside each one as he had read it.

“Dear God, Haley. Did he do nothing but read for the first few weeks?”

“He took them to work. I’m not even sure how much research he did while there. He worked nights so that one of us was with Jack most of the time. He slept while Jack was in pre-pre-school. Jack is smart enough for that, but I doubt he’ll be able to start school early. I know we looked into places back home. He’s doing so damned well in that. We can see about getting him into something like it back in DC.”

“I’ve been in touch with the headmistress at New Haven. She’s got an opening in her morning classes for the kids who aren’t old enough for kindergarten but are too advanced for pre-school. He can test into it. She knows what was happening and how everything went. She doesn’t see where this needed to mess with his education schedule.” Aaron looked back down at the journal.

Haley saw that he was at the cravings section and the things that made her sick.

“Turmeric?” Aaron asked.

“That took a few tries to figure it out, but it was clenched with a tea that Spencer got for me. It’s herbal, and it was the only thing that the tea had in common with the foods I had eaten. It sucked cause the tea itself was fucking good. We still have it, and Spencer packed up all of my teas. He loved it, as well. Thankfully it’s just the taste of it and not anything else. I’m looking forward to trying it when I’m done with this.” Haley waved at her belly.

“And she’s healthy?” Aaron asked. His eyes were on the pages where Haley was keeping track of her weight and blood pressure. The weight was weekly, and the blood pressure was daily. She also checked her sugar every single morning. That was kept on a different page. Haley was ready to make sure that she stayed as healthy as she could for this one. She didn’t want bed rest again.

“Yeah, he or she is,” Haley said with a smile on her lips.

“I see that Jack calls them Sprout.”

“Yeah, we’ve adopted it instead of staying them, or she or he. It’s been easier and much better than it.”

“I agree. So Sprout. I can do that. So Sprout is healthy?”

“I’ve been keeping track of everything that went wrong the last time. I’ve cut out a lot of sugar, tea is drunk with none. Spencer’s been good about salt intake and making all food without it. Jack had to adjust to how some things taste without salt, but he’s still young, so it’s easy.”

Aaron flipped through a few blank pages and looked like he was about to shut the book when he found the section that was full of Haley’s writing with the recipes that Spencer had found that she loved. He slowed down in that section and read through every single recipe before he found the list of recipe books that Spencer used to cull the recipes. Those had been packed up by Spencer and loaded into the SUV before they had left. There had been little that Haley wanted to actually take with her. A moving company was going to pack up everything and move it out as soon as the FBI arranged it. Spencer had called his boss as soon as he could and explained that he had to leave to head home for a family emergency and that he would not be back. He hated doing it, but Haley knew that there was no way they wanted to stay through a two-week notice.

“You know I know that I shouldn’t be shocked by this, but I am. I really am.”

“Spencer’s attention to detail on every single aspect of my pregnancy? Yeah. I thought the same thing. I thought at first that he was just overcompensating because you weren’t around, but then I remembered how detailed that last paper was that he did and all the research that he put into it. It’s what he does for every single aspect. I should have realized it after we took in the cats.” Haley looked at where Midnight was sleeping on Spencer’s feet while Curiosity was hiding somewhere. They had been put out of the carrier as soon as the doors shut. There were two shallow filled litter pans on-board. They had been allowed out while the jet had been readied for take-off, but during take-off, they had been ushered back inside. Midnight had only left Aaron’s lap when it was evident that Spencer was asleep.

“I’m kind of upset to miss it.”

“Oh, he’ll still be reading other books as the pregnancy goes along, just more about infancy and then toddler years.”

Aaron laughed. He reached out and laid the journal down before picking up Haley’s hand. The table was up from between them so that Haley could sit there. The couch had been too shallow for her to get up and out of easily, so she had opted for the chairs instead. It had been a good decision as she had peed nearly twice an hour. She had drunk a lot of tea while they had been packing everything up in the house that they wanted to take with them. It had been startling to take only a few hours to pack up what they felt they needed to live again from that life. It was going to be strange to go home.

“Jessica is going to be happy to see you, especially since you are pregnant.”

“I’ve missed her so much. The Marshals were good about getting letters to her, but I couldn’t get an answer back, just to be safe. I hated leaving her behind. I just want to hug her.”

“Morgan will be picking her up and dropping her off at the house. The team made sure that it’s all cleaned up and ready for all of us.”

“He was there, wasn’t he?”

“I bought a new and very much better system. It caught him going in after a neighbor reported seeing him. They didn’t call the locals but the FBI hotline that we had set up for sightings of him, so it was handled well. SWAT had the place surrounded, and when it seemed like he was going to attack, they took him out with a sniper. There were no traps in the place, which was a good thing, but they wanted to make sure. I’m sure the house is going to smell like lemons and pine.”

“The two smells most houses should smell like before the family moves in,” Haley said.

Aaron laughed. He leaned over to kiss her hand. It felt strange like they were both dancing around something that they were unsure about. Haley had never been away from Aaron for so long. It had been good to have Jack around and even better to have Spencer to help with Jack, but Haley had missed Aaron. She missed how they all were with him around.

“I have a question that I want to ask,” Aaron said after a few more minutes of silence.


“I’m glad that he’s asleep. I spent the past month thinking about this, and I know that it’s nothing that would be recognized legally and that no one would ever really understand it. Still, I want something more than just a verbal acknowledgment of the relationship with Spencer. I’ve looked into handfasting rights and various things like that. There are ones that are already set up for triads. I know that Spencer hates the feel of metal on his skin a lot of the time, so I was thinking that a tattoo would work. There are a few shops in the DC area that do wedding band tattoos. We can get one that’s going to be easy to narrow down for your wedding band. It can be hidden or shown. However, you want to do it. I would keep wearing our band, and so would you, but when we went out as a triad, or we just want to show it off, we can take the rings off. During cases, I will have to wear it so that it’s not that noticeable that I’m with Spencer. I’m known enough that it would be weird that I would go from a wife to a much younger man.”

“You really have been thinking about it, haven’t you?” Haley asked.

“That and other things. I had a lot of downtime without cats, a child, or two lovers running around.”

“And you wanted to make sure that I was okay before you asked Spencer.”

“I want this, but that doesn’t mean you are in the same place. I don’t want to move forward on it unless we are both united on that front. We both know that if Spencer felt that either one of us was hesitant about it, he would hesitate himself. He’s good at reading both of us.”

“He’s gotten a lot better at reading me just like he is able to with you. We’ve spent a lot of time together. We told everyone that we were part of a triad and that you had been killed in New York, and we were dealing with it. It made it easier to understand why we were a couple who preferred to be at home when we should want at least a night or two out every once in a while to get away from the kid, especially after I found out I was pregnant. My boss was understanding even if he didn’t understand.”

“You guys were lucky to find a place that was as accepting as it was.”

“Well, the house is in an area that’s pretty LGBTQ+ accepting, and it’s the same with my job. The college, of course, was easy to deal with. I think it’s part of why Spencer wanted to be there. It was also one of the few places that had a job that allowed him to work what he wanted.”

Spencer turned a little on the couch, and Jack grunted before Spencer rolled back to where he was fully on his back again. His arm came up and wrapped around Jack’s body, holding him close. There was the sound of purring, and then Curiosity came running before jumping on the back of the couch. She made a chirping noise before she jumped down to land on Spencer’s hip and then got comfortable right on Spencer’s chest, where Jack wasn’t taking up space. It was just a typical movement that Haley felt her heart beating a little fast.

The fact that they were going home hadn’t settled in her yet. Haley knew that they were going home, but she figured that it wasn’t going to be until she was seeing the house, laying in her bed, or even just being inside of the house that she would feel that pull that she was home. Yet it was hitting her now, while they were in the sky flying home. She was going home. She was going to be able to sleep in her bed, see her friends, work her job, see her sister, she was going home, and it was one of the best feelings that she had for a while. It was wonderful to be home again, even if she wasn’t actually there yet.

“When is Morgan dropping off Jessica? And why is he picking her up?”

“Morgan is dropping her off about an hour before we are probably going to get home. She’s going to fill up the cat boxes and make sure that food and water is ready for them as I didn’t even think about having anyone do it. And she can’t drive at the moment. Her car was hit at work and is in the shop for repair. She said she would get a cab, but I told her that she was crazy for wanting that. Morgan doesn’t mind at all, and she can stay the night or Spencer, or I would drop her off at home.”

“Yes, I’m already being asked not to drive that much with my belly as protruding as it is. I figure that part of that will also be the fact that DC driving is worse than Phoenix.”

“It will be. It’ll be just like last time. I’ve already got an email sent to the same company who does the taxi service. Jack can be taken to and from school by Spencer or me if New Haven takes him in. He can even just come back to the office when we are there after it lets out instead of taking him all the way home. When we are on cases, I’m sure that Jessica won’t mind driving you to and from a few times a week. We can talk to her about that.”

“There are times I forget how efficient you are with thinking, and then I remember that’s why you are where you are in the job. I can’t wait to get home and sleep in our bed. Don’t even let Spencer think that he’s going down to the basement for at least a week. I need both of my guys around me.”

The smile that Aaron gave Haley told her that he felt the same way as she did. If Haley had her way, Spencer wasn’t going to go back to the basement at all. Ever.


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You can call me Becca. I am a barista in my day-to-day life. Most of my free time is spent writing fics and a few original stories. My current fandom obsessions are 9-1-1, Criminal Minds, James Bond, Superman & Lois, and Teen Wolf. You can follow me on my website.

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