Summary: Spencer really likes his new coworkers: they're nice, welcoming, friendly, and made his transition to the BAU as easy as possible. Which makes it impossible for him to turn down an invitation to eat dinner with them at an upscale fancy restaurant, no matter how anxious that makes a boy who grew up with next to nothing feel.
Tags: insecurity, anxiety, allusions to poverty, hurt/comfort, team as family, angst with a happy ending, fluff, background jelle
TW: mentions of poverty, financial difficulties, and food insecurity
Pairing: Gen (Aaron Hotchner & Spencer Reid, Derek Morgan & Spencer Reid)
Word Count: 3k
Masterlist // Read on AO3 // Bad Things Happen Bingo
This fills my "trying not to cry" bad things happen bingo square and is set a few weeks after Spencer joins the BAU, in an AU in which Elle was there before him.
Everyone is so nice, is the thing.
And that’s great. Really, it is. Spencer isn’t about to complain when JJ kindly walks him through the filing system all the while asking questions about him and his life, or when Derek ribs him gently about his ducktail hair or his nerdy brain. No-one cuts him off when he gets carried away — unless it’s time-sensitive, of course — or teases him about anything that cuts too close to home. Being the new guy in the most prestigious unit in the FBI could’ve been a nightmare, but this team made it easy. He’s so grateful for all of it.
It just makes it really hard to turn down dinner invitations.
He watches his shaking fingers in the mirror as they button his shirt up and wrap his tie around his neck, poking it fastidiously under the collar, not a wrinkle of fabric out of place. He glances down at the countertop again, re-reading the restaurant name copied down in JJ’s careful handwriting onto a piece of copier paper regardless of having committed it to memory the first time he heard it. Sur la Rivière: a fancy European restaurant in DC.
He’d hoped for a cheap and cheerful Chinese when Hotch had first brought up the idea of a team bonding dinner, something more his style, but he’d smiled anyway when Elle had mentioned this place her foodie friend had recommended, no matter how strained it might have been. He’s the new guy after all. He doesn’t expect much swing when it comes to choosing where to eat.
As soon as his shirt and tie are perfectly in place, he gets to work on taming his curly hair. It makes him look younger when it’s loose and fluffy, and with a baby-face like his combined with already being the youngest person in the entire FBI, every year he can add on counts. Soon, though, there’s no more grooming he can use to stall the inevitable, and he sighs tiredly before clicking off the bathroom light and heading to the hall.
He collects his phone and wallet, checking for the sixth time that evening that his credit card and extra money to tip the waiter is definitely in there, grabs his keys, and heads out of his apartment.
Derek is in his car waiting on the curb for him like he promised he would be, looking effortlessly suave and cool in a way Spencer never will as he honks his horn at the sight of the younger man walking towards him.
“Pretty boy!” he calls, his grin making Spencer smile, too. “Took you long enough. Hop in, fancy European cuisine awaits.”
Another rush of nerves floods Spencer’s stomach at the mention of the fate he’s signed up for, but he smiles anyway as he opens the passenger door and slides in. “Thanks for giving me a lift, Derek,” he says, hating that his anxious discomfort is so obvious in his voice.
Thankfully, Derek doesn’t pick him up on it, simply pulling away from the curb and beginning the drive across town. “How many times do I have to tell you not to mention it? I live less than ten minutes away, Spencer, it’s really not a problem.”
Spencer flushes a bit at that, wringing his hands in his lap as he watches the streets of his district pass by out the window. “Well, I appreciate it anyway,” he settles on, flashing Derek a quick smile that he doubts he sees anyway with his eyes glued so firmly to the road. “Riding the metro is a nightmare at this hour.”
“Never learned how to drive?
I didn’t have the money for lessons, Spencer wants to say, irrationally frustrated at his situation. I was rushed through the academy too quickly to learn something as trivial as driving.
“I was too busy getting five degrees,” Spencer says instead, forcing a smile on his face. He wishes he wasn’t so well-practiced at managing other people’s emotions; wishes he could say what he’s really thinking. But he can’t, not in front of the people he’s trying to impress, not so soon.
“Alright, alright, I get it, you’re a genius,” Derek chuckles. “I’m glad you’re coming tonight, we all are. Gideon didn’t tell us much before he left, just that you had an IQ of 187 and he’d pulled a lot of strings to get you in at only 22.”
Spencer winces slightly at the mention of his ex-mentor. “Yeah, I’m sorry he ran out on you guys so suddenly.”
“Hey, from what I hear, he did the same to you,” Derek counters. “You guys seemed way closer than we were anyway. I never really liked the guy.”
As much as most of Spencer hates Gideon for abandoning him without warning, leaving him to find his footing in the FBI alone and afraid, a small part of him still itches to defend him. “He was a good mentor. Not such a good friend, as it turns out.”
Derek looks away from the road for a moment and shoots him a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry, man. But Gideon’s loss is our gain. You’re gonna be an amazing asset to the team, I just know it.”
A genuine smile crosses Spencer’s face at that. “Thanks, Derek. I can’t wait to really get stuck in, you know?”
“I remember the feeling.” Derek grins again.
They continue chatting for the rest of the journey, Spencer finally relaxing into the company of a new friend— that is, until Derek cuts across one of his stories from his second PhD. “Hey, the restaurant should be up on the left somewhere but I can’t see it…
“Oh, there,” Spencer says, pointing at the sleek, almost anonymous-looking black sign hanging above a set of fancy doors. How can doors be fancy? They’re supposed to be functional, not pretentious. All of a sudden that sinking feeling that had lifted on the car ride over settles back into his stomach and he can’t help but swallow nervously as Derek parks the car and they step out into the street.
Everyone’s already seated when they finally push through the restaurant doors, and Spencer hates that he made them both late with his apprehensive stalling, but no-one really seems to mind as they all cheer happily at the sight of them, ignoring the dirty looks it earns them from the other patrons.
“You made it!” Penelope squeals as she gets up from her seat to give Spencer a hug. He’s a little touch-averse, really, but something about Penelope’s hugs make him never want to leave her arms. He does anyway, though, and he and Derek find their seats opposite one another at the end of the table.
“I’m glad you’re here, Spencer,” Hotch says kindly as the waitress passes the two late-comers their menus.
“You’ll fit right in,” JJ promises, “we’re like a weird little family, to be honest.”
Spencer flushes a bit under the attention of so many experienced FBI agents, but he nods anyway before they all get started on deciding what to eat. He listens vaguely to everyone talking amongst themselves, giving one another suggestions in a way that corroborates JJ’s statement, and all of a sudden Spencer’s collar feels tight. It’s not just the nerves of meeting new people or the anxiety of an alien social environment, he realises he doesn’t recognise a single item on the menu.
He knows what the words themselves mean, but reading the words 'tortellini of venison’ and trying to imagine deer meat pasta is not easily done. The only simple meals seem to be seafood and Spencer’s never been a fan of fish. The only food he can even begin to imagine himself actually putting in his mouth, chewing, and swallowing is the porterhouse steak: not that he’s ever really eaten much red meat like that.
Spencer isn’t a fussy eater. He’s eaten a wide variety of dishes from any number of different restaurants across multiple cuisines, he’s just never had the kind of money to eat at a place that serves caviar, for God’s sake. Far too soon, the waitress wanders back over to the table, taking everyone’s orders with a polite smile on her face.
He listens as everyone confidently orders their meals: the smoked trout, the Moroccan quail, the lobster tagliatelle. Spencer thanks the heavens he isn’t a vegetarian, at least, but it’s not much of a consolation prize when everyone’s eyes fall on him.
“Uh, I’ll have the porterhouse steak,” he says uncertainly, hoping nobody notices the sweat beading on his forehead or the anxiety raging behind his eyes.
Everyone seems to accept his answer, the waitress taking their menus and walking back towards the kitchen as the rest of them resume their conversation. Hotch’s eyes linger a moment too long on him, and Spencer thinks he sees something like concern in his gaze, but before he can think much of it, Penelope’s drawing everyone’s attention to JJ’s bracelet.
“Can we please appreciate this?” she says, sounding scandalised for some reason Spencer can’t quite discern from context yet. “Elle, baby, you have taste. This is absolutely gorgeous! Are you sure you don’t want to date me, too?”
Spencer’s eyebrows raise slightly at that. “Oh, you two are together?” he asks, although now that he realises it he’s not sure how he didn’t notice sooner.
“Are you sure you’re a profiler, kid?” Derek laughs. “They don’t exactly hide it.
“Even though they’re supposed to,” Hotch chimes in with a faux stern look. “You two are gonna have my job at some point.”
“Aw, but where would we find another Unit Chief that would help us hide our secret so well?” Elle says charmingly, making everyone laugh, including JJ, who presses her face into her shoulder fondly.
It’s easy for Spencer to momentarily lose himself in the banter, smiling as they tease one another, interspersing their gripes and funny stories from work among it all. They include him in all of it, and he doesn’t feel left out for even a second, finally relaxing into the unfamiliar environment of a fancy restaurant, eased by the reassuring company of his new team.
“JJ’s right,” he muses out loud when there’s a brief lull in conversation, “you guys really are like a little family.”
JJ leans away from Elle towards him for a moment, wrapping him in a side hug. “And you’re the perfect addition to it, Spence,” she says softly, everyone’s expressions reading nothing but fond agreement. “We needed a little brother to add into the mix.”
Spencer blushes again but leans into her touch.
No-one gets a chance to say anything else before the food arrives, the servers bringing JJ and Elle’s meals first, then serving Hotch and Penelope, before they finally bring out his and Derek’s order.
Everyone dives into their food, immediately making noises of contentment, passing bites around to one another, but Spencer can’t join in the jubilant celebration of a good meal. He picks his knife and fork up shakily as he stares at the massive portion of steak in front of him. It’s served with roast potatoes and flecks of a pointless salad that he suspects is only there as a garnish rather than actually part of the meal, but that’s not what has him worried.
This huge slab of meat hasn’t been sliced beforehand. He knows that he’ll shake the whole table if he tries to do it: it’s a massive, impenetrable slab of red meat that Spencer has no chance of enjoying, let alone finishing. He stares at it as tears burn in his eyes: he’s so out of his comfort zone and he’s so terrified of messing up and pushing away these newfound friends that he can’t move.
“Spence?” JJ cuts in gently, putting a hand on his shoulder, forcing him to look up, only to find everyone looking at him with worried expressions on their faces. “Are you okay?”
“Sorry,” he says, standing up abruptly, the disturbance of the table barely registering in his brain. “I just need a minute.”
He rushes out of the restaurant without looking back, drawing in deep breaths as soon as he’s in the cool evening air of spring. Thoughts race through his mind at a million miles an hour as he grasps for something concrete to grab onto, eventually settling for a tall flower pot.
He looks up to find Hotch standing next to him, deep concern written across his face, and Spencer’s heart clenches at the thought that he’s already messed this up so quickly. Could this night possibly get any worse?
Apparently, it can, because all of a sudden he feels his face crumple and the stinging tears finally spill down his cheeks. He sinks down to the ground and buries his face in his hands, humiliation glimmering in every cell of his body.
“Oh, Spencer,” Hotch says gently, lowering himself to the cool pavement next to him and placing a warm hand on his back. He lets him cry it out for a couple of minutes, his palm drawing small circles in between his shoulder blades, trying again to get through to him when Spencer’s sobs calm down slightly. “You want to tell me what’s going on?”
With a shuddering breath, he forces himself to lift his face from his palms, although he still refuses to meet Hotch’s eyes, keeping his gaze fixed firmly on the Korean restaurant across the street. “I guess it just all got to be too much,” he whispers.
“Yeah?” Hotch says encouragingly. “What specifically?”
“I— I didn’t have much growing up. It was just me and my mom so we were living in the middle of Vegas on a single disability check each month. And, uh, then I went to college, and I was barely scraping by there, too. It’s only recently that I’ve known the luxury of knowing for sure I was eating that night, and it still gets to me sometimes when I’m faced with fancy restaurants and heavy, expensive meals. My body’s had to work for years on virtually nothing, there’s no way I can stomach a steak like that. I guess, all those feelings that are a lifetime in the making combined with the anxiety of eating with the team for the first time… wanting to make a good impression, it just all got too much. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—”
Hotch raises a hand, and Spencer finally meets his eyes, finding nothing but compassion and understanding there no matter how much he searches. “You don’t need to apologise, Spencer, not for something like this. I’m sorry that none of us thought to make the first team dinner with you a more casual affair, and I’m even more sorry that you felt like you couldn’t tell us you were uncomfortable.”
“It’s not, but I’m glad you accept my apology,” Hotch says, smiling softly. “You know, we all bring baggage with us, Spencer. I can’t relate to food insecurity, but I had my own issues when I first joined the BAU. I grew up with a pretty terrible father, and the thing I found myself reprimanded for the most when I was a new recruit was the inability to follow orders. I’d spent my whole life scared of this man, obeying his every word, and I couldn’t help but hear him when my superiors would tell me to do something. When I was finally free of him, it was like I couldn’t help but rebel.
“You’re not the only one whose childhood follows them around, and I’d much rather it be something like this that we can easily manage, than something that will affect you or the team in the field, okay? Instead of beating yourself up over things you can’t control, try and remember that you have a whole new family who will do anything they can to make you feel as comfortable as possible. We already think the world of you, Spencer. Sacrificing fancy dinners that — let’s face it — can’t beat cheap junk food anyway is hardly a big ask.
Warmth spreads across his chest at Hotch’s words, replacing the feelings of failure and rising anxiety with something that feels like a promise of all the good to come. There’s something fatherly, something deeply paternal in Hotch that there wasn’t in Gideon, and it’s the most comfort Spencer’s felt in years. “Really?”
“Really,” Hotch nods, squeezing his shoulder gently. “You wait here one minute, okay?”
“Okay…” Hotch is gone before he can finish replying, and Spencer is left staring at the doors confused, until the rest of the team are piling out of them a few minutes later, Hotch bringing up the rear with his jacket and wallet in hand.
“We just paid the tab. How does cheap Chinese food eaten in the park a couple hundred yards down sound?” Hotch suggests, raising an eyebrow as he smiles warmly at Spencer.
He looks around briefly at the rest of the team, who are all giving him encouraging looks, not a trace of judgement or annoyance to be found.
“That sounds amazing,” he laughs wetly, the tears springing to his eyes this time caused by a completely different emotion. “I can pay you back, though.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, pretty boy,” Derek says, patting Spencer’s back, “we’ve got it. Now, come on, I’m gonna order sweet and sour chicken balls, and I want them now.”
“That’s what she said,” Penelope giggles, linking her arm with Derek’s.
“That was terrible, baby girl, but I love that you tried.”
“Do you want to share shrimp chop suey with me, babe?” Elle asks JJ as they clasp hands, walking a couple of steps ahead of them.
“Well, I’m certainly not sharing with any of these losers,” JJ teases, before kissing Elle’s cheek.
Spencer feels Hotch place his hand on his back, and he turns to smile gratefully at the older man. “Thank you,” he says quietly, trying to convey just how earnestly he means it. “No-one’s ever done anything this nice for me before.”
There’s a slightly sad tinge to Hotch’s smile, but it doesn’t look like pity. “I’d get used to it if I were you. That’s just how we do things in the BAU.”
Well, if that’s the case, Spencer thinks, smiling as he falls into step between Hotch and Penelope, I think I might just stick around.
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Elle teasing you at work
light smut +18
spare tip, ma’am?
taglist: @emilyprentisslittlewhore / @temilyrights / @utterlycomplicated
Elle was watching you from afar, you were focused on working on paperwork from the previous cases, she on the other hand was focused on watching you from the moment you sat down until now.
She knew that teasing you during the work hours wasn't professional, but it was late and the office was almost empty and she was dangerously bored, besides it was just some innocent fun.
Pulling her cell phone from her drawer, Elle typed the most obscene text she could and pressed send. She kept watching you and your reaction. The smile on her face only grows when she saw you blush and look in her direction, mouthing:
“What the hell, Elle?”
Your reaction only encouraged her to go further and send more texts, each one describing in details what she was going to do with you when you both get home, Elle was taking great pleasure in seeing your reaction to her texts, the blush in your cheeks was growing and spreading to your neck, she could see you trying to hide your arousal by clenching your thighs together.
You tried to ignore the next texts but your mind couldn't help and wonder towards your phone and what Elle was texting you now. Judging by her smirk, the texts were still as dirty as they can be.
“Don’t ignore me” she said, walking past your desk heading in direction of the ladies' bathroom
Elle decided to increase the antics by sending you a picture of her to you, judging by your face when she came back the picture had the effect she expected.
“You're okay,y/n?” she asked innocently “You look a little flustered”
“I’m fine, Greenaway” you said “I just need to go home”
Elle arrived at the parking lot minutes after you, the most of the ride was silent, Elle’s hand was placed unto your thigh to keep you from forgetting her texts and what she had planned to you when you arrived home.
As soon as you entered your apartment, Elle pulled you close kissing you. Clothes were being discarded everywhere in the living room.
“You’re so needy today” she teased, pushing you against the bed
“Your fault” you responded
Elle sat on your hips, pinning you down in the bed, her hands held yours over your head.
“Do you want it?” she asked
“Yes” you said
“You have the do better than that” she responded kissing your neck
“Please, Elle” you begged “ I want you so bad”
“That’s a good girl” she praised, going back to kissing and nibbling at your neck.
Elle's hands left yours and went to your breasts, massaging them, pinching your nipples harshly, ripping a moan from you. She attached her mouth to your nipples sucking them, her tongue danced around it.
“Elle, please” you moaned
Elle’s hand traveled down your body, stopping between your legs, pressing her digits against your heat feeling your wetness soak her fingers.
“ You’re so wet, pretty girl” said her nibbling at your chest, leaving hickeys and marks all over your breasts.
Elle plunged her fingers inside you, you bucked your hips trying to get more of her inside you; she moved her fingers curling them, hitting that sweet spot inside you making you dig your nails into her shoulder causing Elle to moan loudly into your chest. Hearing your moans, Elle increased her movements, using her thumb to rub circles on your clit.
You came screaming her name with her fingers buried inside you; you closed your eyes trying to steady your breath.
“Cuddle me?” you asked looking at her
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