Correspondence, Chapter 03
Summary: An AU where Reid never joined the FBI, but got roped into consulting for the LA field office while working and teaching at Caltech. Hotch gets his email referred from a fellow agent, and they start to work on cases together -- until they start talking on a regular basis. Regular becomes frequent, frequent becomes constant. They know nothing about each other, but they don't really mind.
Rating: Mature/Explicit (eventually)
Chapter CW/notes: Mentions of alcohol, a very long conversation happens where Hotch is a little buzzed. Big, BIG focus on their age difference, and unintentional misinformation. Spencer has no idea Hotch thinks he’s older, or at least not OLD older, and gets a little panicky/clams up -- and yes I realize Hotch could just background check him and find it out but he respects the man enough to not do that. The chapter is linear, it just encompasses a lot of time passing so hopefully that’s not too confusing. Set in season 6, self beta’d.
Word Count: 5025
Early September 2010
And so, it begins.
The dynamic shift, the vast change in how Hotch and Dr. Reid had been corresponding for the past few months. Evolving from something so professional and academic to something… looser. More freeing. More room for error, of course, but the risk turns out to be more than worth it for what they gain.
The texts are sporadic, at first. Short interactions, here and there, all stemming from that first, longer conversation about Jack. Hotch follows up the very next day, after he gets to talk to his son in the morning over pancakes. Jessica hovering nearby the whole time. She had apologized for her harsh words, and commended him after the fact how he’d approached Jack on the subject and led the little boy into a conversation rather than a lecture like his teachers had done. Because, as Spencer had mentioned -- there was no need for one. Jack already had the situation handled.
6/4, 12:39 You were right.
6/4, 12:39 He invited the kid that was bullying him over for a playdate. Trying to win him over by killing him with kindness.
6/4, 12:43 My kind of kid.
6/4, 12:44 You’ve taught him well, Hotch.
And that was it. That was all it took to kick off what turns into a frequent occurrence. Slowly, as time passes, their quick texts turn to conversations that naturally revert to work. It’s where they spend most of their time, after all, and what they had bonded over in the first place. But unlike in their emails, it isn’t just about the cases or profiles or statistics required to crack them. It’s much more opinionated than that, erratic in it’s content and frequency. Commentary on Hotch’s team, ideas on the cases they work, case studies and research projects and sometimes even just office gossip that somehow always makes its way to Hotch’s attention despite everyone trying to keep it from doing so.
Or just Dr. Reid observing their antics. This is the beginning of the tonal shift, and Hotch can’t help but think… it just might be a welcome one.
6/12, 10:03 Your tech analyst always sends me rainbow font emails.
6/12, 10:07 Yes, she’s doing that with everyone on the team. It’s Pride month and she’s being supportive.
6/12, 10:11 She considers me a part of the team? How sweet of her.
6/12, 10:12 You are, and as far as the bureau goes you might as well be.
6/12, 10:13 I doubt I could sneak you into payroll, though.
6/12, 10:21 I bet Ms. Garcia could.
6/12, 10:28 Don’t. Say. Anything.
6/12, 10:29 But yes, she could.
It turns into a small reprieve, for Hotch, in the constant deluge of bureaucracy and violence that fills his work day. The single moment he allows a sliver of himself to appear through the cracks of his armor he has to wear to guard himself from it all. To be the stoic leader the team needs, the unmovable tree in the storm.
Only in his quick, typed under the table conversations he has with Spencer does he allow himself the slips of humor. Barely there traces of a smile. Finding the smallest spots of light in his dark days, in his work that can surround and consume to the point of suffocation. Hotch thrives in it, he always has -- while others have drowned. But he doesn’t mind finding this small self-indulgence. Making the decision for himself that he can joke and poke fun at his work and not feel guilty about it. That, for once, he can allow himself this.
Until one day, Spencer returns the favor -- and starts talking about his own work.
7/21, 16:17 If I leave all of my Ph.D. applicants in a ditch in the desert, is that still murder?
7/21, 16:30 Technically or hypothetically?
7/21, 16:34 Different question, would you be my legal council if I snap and it happens anyway?
7/21, 16:37 Of course.
7/21, 16:38 But as your attorney, I have to advise you that we never had this conversation, and murder is wrong.
7/21, 16:40 Hypothetically.
Spencer takes a little longer to open up, but when he does it is through this window into an academic world Hotch had never planned or thought he would ever be privy to. He begins to reveal pieces of it, bit by bit, until Hotch starts to form a picture in his mind of what shape this professor’s life really takes. Making deductions based on his speech patterns, what goes on throughout his day, his word choices, and profiling the man through text message without even meaning to.
He tries to put a stop to it as soon as he realizes this. Dr. Reid isn’t just a consultant anymore, he is his friend -- and Hotch will always do his utmost to not profile his friends. But it’s a little too late for some aspects that can’t help but stand out as time goes on. Such as the inkling that the other man probably isn’t senile with a cane and a stooped back, like Hotch had first thought. Certain parts of his day allude to someone who is a bit fresher to the academic scene -- instead of spending decades on a college campus.
But Hotch sets that aside, to be scrutinized at a later date, and instead turns his focus into enjoying what Spencer has to offer him. As his friend. The stories he shares freely, now that they’ve spent all this time breaking down the barriers. He regales Hotch with his own daily problems, grievances, as well as the little bright spots that he just wants to share with Hotch so that it can lighten up his own days. Which were much more bleak, and crowded with danger and horrid things.
Hotch lives for those messages.
7/28, 20:42 So I have a godson.
7/28, 20:44 He’s four, and he just came to visit last week with his mother. Have you and Jack ever done science experiments at home?
7/28, 20:46 Because I have some that are definite crowd pleasers. Do them right, you can call them ‘physics magic’. I can send you the instructions, it’s well worth it.
7/28, 20:47 I’m not sure how helpful I would be in a scientific area, but I’m always willing to try.
7/28, 20:49 I’d require video evidence of it, then.
7/28, 20:50 But they are so fun, I’d forgotten how much.
7/28, 20:51 No children of your own?
7/28, 20:54 Never found the right person, but I always spent so much time on my degrees that I hadn’t really thought about being a parent.
7/28, 20:55 My Godson really brought it to light, though. I love having him here.
7/28, 20:56 I bet he loves when you come around, or when they get to visit you, too.
7/28, 20:59 I work in a science lab, with lasers and telescopes bigger than my first apartment. My approval rating is pretty high when it comes to my godson.
Although Hotch finds that he doesn’t always start these interactions, the ones that lead to topics outside of work, he also isn’t against them in the slightest. They begin to start messaging at all hours, because of this; first thing in the morning, during their lunch break, whenever something pops up -- what used to be jokes that would just be kept to themselves, turn to conversation starters. And that development shifts the dynamic even more.
8/11, 10:31 Coffee shops always make me feel old, and like I’m a grad student all over again.
8/11, 10:38 You don’t have a T.A. to run and get you coffee?
8/11, 10:41 Of course you would send out for coffee.
8/11, 10:42 Well my order is two steps, not sixteen.
8/11, 10:43 Tyrant.
8/11, 10:43 Pretentious.
They start to tease, banter, and poke fun at each other. Comradery, friendship, and the more it goes on the more it seems to spiral towards something else. Something new.
But it’s these small moments, messages, conversations that can last a minute or an hour, that make Hotch’s chest feel so much lighter as the weeks go by. Hints of a smile easing onto his face, smoothing out and softening the edges in a way they haven’t in a long time. Garnering some attention from the rest of the team, or whoever is in the vicinity that felt brave enough to mention it.
“Who are you talking to?”
“Who’s the lucky lady?”
“No one,” Hotch would answer, schooling himself and pocketing his phone. “Just a consultant on a case.”
This is how it goes… for months.
They never speak on the phone. Never even hint at video calls. Never send pictures. (Although Spencer does make a mention once or twice about that promised video when Hotch finally gets around to attempting the ‘physics magic’ experiment he’d emailed him. Hotch secretly hopes that maybe, one day, Spencer will just get to show them in person. Instead of Hotch having to record it for anyone to witness.)
But they talk like clockwork. Play chess on the regular, allowing them to talk more fluently with a laptop to aid the flow of conversation. It starts with once a week, then twice a week, standing dates after hours that meld so seamlessly with their messages every workday. They keep it to the weekdays, at first, since Hotch is busy with Jack on the weekends. But that doesn’t last long. Suddenly, without warning -- it becomes every night as well. That shift is such an organic, natural progression, that it slips in without either of them making comment on it. A silent agreement, because mentioning it would mean admitting why they were pushing this in such a new direction.
They just… missed talking to each other. Two days was too long.
Now, it’s every day.
They text for hours; check in on each other at random throughout the day even when Hotch is on cases or Spencer is busy with his duties as the leading doctoral expert of Caltech. Times when they should be swamped, unavailable to anything other than their primary focus and work load, still littered with short messages. Before and after each flight, when Hotch gets back to his hotel at night, when Spencer has to lecture out of town and they just so happen to be passing each other during travel -- mere states away. So close, yet so far. It’s all the time, it’s constant, and it’s wonderful.
Spencer still helps with cases. Often, even more often than he ever helped the L.A. field office. But it’s not always through email, anymore. Sometimes it’s just easier for Hotch to shoot him a quick text. A detailed message in the middle of their everyday banter and dribble but no less out of place, knowing the good Doctor will answer him quickly. Time is of the essence when they are on a case, but they are always on retainer for each other. Waiting in the wings, ready to jump in with quick, snappy wit and bitten-back smiles, and Hotch feels so good. So light. Better than he has in years.
Hotch is happy, finding a friend in Dr. Spencer Reid, even if sometimes that friendship seems to transcend layers he didn’t know were there. Developing into something else, something he hadn’t touched in a long, long time.
Months pass. Months. Like a blur. Like they’ve only just started this thing that’s anticipatory and comfortable and flexible in its medium and that is so easy -- everything Hotch needs in his life -- that he can barely imagine what his days and nights were like before this. Before Spencer.
But it’s months into this correspondence, this charged and bright thing, that he’s home late one night with a Scotch in one hand and a losing game of online chess long forgotten on his laptop screen. Lost in messaging Spencer, back to his phone instead of the chat feature of the chess game. Because texting is their comfort zone, now. He never thought it would be, had seen teenagers and adults attached to their phones like a lifeline and used to scoff about it, but he finally has begun to understand.
Because here he is -- not even looking up when he takes a drink -- lost in his conversation with Spencer. Making each other laugh, in a way he hasn’t in so long. Loud and high and afraid he might wake Jack down the hall so he stifles it with another sip of his Scotch.
9/8, 21:12 If Jack wakes up, you know that’s it for us. He’ll never go back to sleep.
9/8, 21:13 Then stop laughing so loud. I honestly can’t imagine you laughing enough to wake him.
9/8, 21:14 Usually I don’t. I never laugh like this, but I used to.
9/8, 21:16 Mr. FBI isn’t allowed to laugh, I thought. Didn’t they beat that out of you at the academy?
9/8, 21:19 I was able to retain a smidgen of humor, it’s well hidden. You just seem to bring it out more than others.
9/8, 21:20 I’m flattered.
9/8, 21:20 You should be.
9/8, 21:21 If my team saw me crack a smile I’d probably be forced to get a CAT scan.
9/8, 21:23 Do you need one? I have an M.A. in Cognitive Sciences, I’ll be your second opinion.
9/8, 21:24 Probably, but I’ll live.
9/8, 21:25 Very stiff upper lip of you. They teach you that at the academy, too?
9/8, 21:26 No, that would be Scotland Yard. I liaised there for a while.
9/8, 21:28 Wow, you get around. Have you been anywhere else on your global exploration?
9/8, 21:31 Hardly that, I just go where the bureau tells me. I’ve already been bounced all over the country before landing at the BAU. All you can do is keep the ‘stiff upper lip’ and adapt.
9/8, 21:31 “Keep Calm & Carry On”?
9/8, 21:33 Garcia gave me that on a mug last Christmas. I still don’t know what it’s from.
9/8, 21:34 Your age is showing. Get with the times, old man.
9/8, 21:35 You’re one to talk.
9/8, 21:35 What?
Hotch bites back a smile, thinking about how for months he had been so sure Spencer was this elderly professor in his 60’s or 70’s that just happened to find their conversations interesting. That was… very apparently wrong, Hotch can see that now, but he hadn’t had any evidence to the contrary for the entire time they corresponded those first few months.
He could have done a background check on the professor at any time, is sure Garcia already has one saved in a file ready to send him at his first request, but it’s more fun this way. The not knowing, the learning about each other piece by careful piece. Even the smallest bits of information, such as age.
He bet Spencer would get a kick out of his first impression of the man, though.
9/8, 21:37 Oh come on, you know.
9/8, 21:39 No, I actually don’t. Congratulations, you’ve stumped the super genius.
9/8, 21:39 But really, what do you mean?
9/8, 21:42 I always just assumed you are at least ten years my senior, maybe even fifteen. How are you more with the times than I am?
9/8, 21:43 I work at a University. I am surrounded by hormones and the dribble of youth.
There’s a slightly lengthy pause after that exchange, enough Hotch starts to pay closer attention through the buzz of liquor settled over his skin pleasantly.
9/8, 21:49 How old do you think I am?
9/8, 21:50 I don’t know, is it rude if I answer?
Hotch is not laughing to himself, he promises.
9/8, 21:52 Why do you think I’m older?
9/8, 21:53 This feels like a trap.
9/8, 21:53 It’s not.
9/8, 21:56 Well, honestly just from your academic achievements. Not everyone has that kind of time. And all your departments you run, you have to have a pretty level head and knack for maturity to keep that all in order. Especially doctorate students.
9/8, 21:58 Thank you, I think.
9/8, 22:00 I bet you’re the coolest old man on campus, though, don’t get me wrong.
Hotch does outright laugh after he sends that, manages to keep it a little bit quieter, and commends himself on having the upperhand in the conversation for once as he stares at his phone for a few minutes, awaiting an answer.
If he had to guess, Hotch supposes he’s held on to that stubborn image of Spencer being a stooped old professor out of habit. But the more the two have talked, after he'd gotten to know the man and his written verbal expressions and just the way his life runs day to day, it’s pretty easy to see that that is not correct. Spencer could be someone around Dave or Jason’s age, but more likely even younger than that -- closer to his own.
And that… is an intriguing thought that sparks something in his chest. He smothers it with another sip of Scotch and realizes that it has been a solid five minutes of silence. With Spencer not even typing out a response.
9/8, 22:06 Was it something I said?
9/8, 22:07 No, I’m just… contemplating my answer.
9/8, 22:07 Answer to what?
Hotch hasn’t drank that much, but he doesn’t believe he asked a question at all. He scrolls back through their conversation and doesn’t see one. Spencer has asked a good handful, though, all about Hotch’s perception of his age.
9/8, 22:09 Respond, not answer.
9/8, 22:10 I’m all turned around now.
9/8, 22:12 Flustered in your old age? Now I’m flattered.
This is almost like flirting. Skirts the edges of it, and Hotch feels more emboldened to try the more Spencer tap-dances around what is obviously Hotch’s incorrect assumption of his age. He had had no idea Hotch thought he was older, that is apparent, and it’s throwing the other man for a loop for some reason Hotch can’t ascertain.
9/8, 22:15 I’m not old.
9/8, 22:15 I’m not even older than you.
9/8, 22:16 And how do you know that?
9/8, 22:17 Just trust me on this.
9/8, 22:17 Well, how old are you?
Another long, lengthy pause that Hotch waits for with baited breath. He knows that Spencer is there, that he’s staring at his phone and trying to decide the best way to answer without really answering anything. It’s only a matter of minutes, but that is a long time for them. When they are deep in a conversation like this.
Hotch isn’t laughing to himself anymore, but he’s more pleasantly confused than worried. He really has no idea what is making Spencer so hesitant.
9/8, 22:22 Spencer?
9/8, 22:25 I’m not going to tell you.
9/8, 22:26 What, you want me to guess?
9/8, 22:28 You’ll never guess.
9/8, 22:29 That sounds like a challenge. How many guesses do I have?
9/8, 22:31 None. Listen, I don’t want you to know. I shouldn’t have said anything.
9/8, 22:33 I’m afraid it’s going to change your perception of me, and we’ll stop talking like this.
9/8, 22:34 Just keep imagining me with wrinkles and a cane, I’m okay with that.
That drops the small smile right off his face.
Hotch is… surprised by this turn of events. What could be so shocking about this that Spencer thinks they would stop talking to each other? They’re corresponding every night. How could he possibly stop on a dime like that?
It doesn’t make any sense. And that’s not the alcohol talking.
9/8, 22:37 I honestly don’t see how that would be possible.
9/8, 22:39 I’m not going to stop talking to you just because you aren’t the senior professor I imagined running Caltech with an Iron Fist.
9/8, 22:40 Now you’re projecting.
9/8, 22:40 You saying I’m too strict?
9/8, 22:41 Tyrant, I think was the term I chose.
9/8, 22:42 Pretentious.
9/8, 22:44 But Spencer, unless you are somehow underage with five Ph.D.’s, there’s no reason for us to stop talking.
9/8, 22:47 You would not believe how many people treat me like I'm underage, to this day. So that doesn’t inspire confidence.
Hotch pauses with his glass halfway back to his lips, only a few sips left in the glass. Staring at his phone and struggling to make sense of what Spencer is saying. Hotch had been trying to joke and tease with him, but now the word ‘underage’ feels like a glaring beacon of a word on his screen.
He’s very suddenly more than a little nervous, even through the haze of alcohol. He is 45 years old, no matter what he keeps telling Spencer -- there is a limit to this being appropriate or not. What that limit is, he’d have to consider when he’s more sober, and it makes him feel like he should be reigning in the flirtatious notes that keep worming their way into the conversation.
But it’s not actually possible for him to be that young, and everything he’s learned about the man indicates he’s closer to his own age. Was he in his 30’s? Even that felt too young for what Hotch had (subconsciously) profiled -- no, it has to be something else.
No matter what, he didn’t want to keep getting Spencer worked up like this about it. His age hadn’t bothered Hotch before that night, so maybe if he drops it they can revert back to how they’d been spending their late evening hours before this turn in the conversation.
9/8, 22:50 But I’m NOT underage.
9/8, 22:51 If that needed to be said.
9/8, 22:53 Can you buy alcohol by yourself?
9/8, 22:54 Yes.
9/8, 22:54 See this is what I was afraid of.
9/8, 22:55 Relax, I was trying to tease you.
9/8, 22:57 You don’t have to tell me, Spencer. I’ll just keep picturing Sean Connery, or John Steinbeck in the later years.
9/8, 22:59 I see you have a type.
9/8, 23:00 Well, who do you picture when you think of me?
9/8, 23:01 Hugo Weaving, Matrix era. Or Richard Feynman.
9/8, 23:02 Well now I feel typecasted. Who’s Feynman?
9/8, 23:02 An American Theoretical Physicist from the 40’s-60’s.
9/8, 23:03 Ouch. How old do you think *I* am?
9/8, 23:04 I’m afraid to answer that.
9/8, 23:04 O.u.c.h.
9/8, 23:06 You’ve been borderline flirting with me, and you just said you thought I was in my 60’s! What was I supposed to think?
9/8, 23:07 If you’re looking in that age bracket, I’m sure I can get you the Biology Department Head’s number.
9/8, 23:07 He’s 72 with rheumatoid arthritis.
9/8, 23:08 You are hysterical. So funny.
Hotch is smiling wide down at his phone again, feeling lighter and glad he got them back on track.
He can’t help but think back to what he just tried to drop entirely. Blame the Scotch, or whatever drive to know that makes him dig down and root out information in cold cases in his spare time, Hotch doesn’t think he can let it go. Not when it was something Spencer hadn’t meant to be a secret in the first place. Not when, knowing that it has created misinformation between them unintentionally, results in Spencer shying away and hesitant to tell Hotch anything more about himself.
Not when he’d said ‘flirting’, because that had been what Hotch was doing, and he can’t even describe how disappointing it would be to quit while he was ahead. When the build up has been so gradual and easy and everything he’d been looking for and could never seem to find.
Now, this slight disruption is sticking in his mind, sharp like a thorn in his side. Always there, making itself known, and he wonders if he is lucid enough to try and draw the information out of Spencer via interview tactics -- or if the brilliant man would see right through any of his attempts.
Probably. Who was he kidding? Spencer had more degrees and college hours under his belt than Hotch could manage in a lifetime. Best to do this the old fashioned way, then.
9/8, 23:10 38.
9/8, 23:11 Oh. Really? That’s kind of young to be Unit Chief, congratulations.
9/8, 23:11 No, not me. You. I’m guessing 38.
9/8, 23:12 Oh.
9/8, 23:12 Incorrect.
9/8, 23:13 I don’t even get a hint?
9/8, 23:13 Nope.
9/8, 23:15 We’re not playing a game. I’m not telling you.
9/8, 23:15 So you won’t guess my age, either?
9/18, 23:17 Chicken.
9/8, 23:17 45.
Hotch near throws his phone across the room. Almost makes a quip about how reading his file is cheating -- but he knows Spencer just made a stupidly accurate ‘educated guess’ because he knows fucking everything.
They really should just put him on the payroll. Hotch is being selfish keeping the man all to himself.
But God, is he enjoying it, too.
9/8, 23:19 There’s no way you profiled that with that kind of accuracy.
9/8, 23:20 How do you do that?
9/8, 23:21 Black magic.
9/8, 23:22 I’ll get it out of you one day, I swear.
9/8, 23:23 And as a man of your word, I believe that you truly believe that.
9/8, 23:23 Full of jokes tonight, aren’t you?
9/8, 23:25 I live to amuse.
9/8, 23:25 And make you smile.
9/8, 23:27 You are one of the few that do.
With a careful pause, nothing left in his glass, a thought perched on the edges of his mind that is already watery with cognitive dissonance, Hotch starts typing before he’s even fully made the decision.
9/8, 23:30 You really think my flirting is borderline? I was going for subtlety, but I must be rusty.
9/8, 23:32 Actually, I just thought I was projecting.
9/8, 23:23 You were married, I didn’t want to presume.
The consideration is touching, and sobering even in the dimness of his home office, but it draws the softest of smiles back to Hotch’s face when he begins to type out his answer.
9/8, 23:35 Thank you, for thinking of me first.
9/8, 23:37 But Haley and I separated a long time before she died. We were actually divorced before she went into WICSEC. I miss her every day. But I did try to date for a while, before that.
9/8, 23:39 No luck? I would have thought the FBI badge would at least garner some interest.
9/8, 23:40 I’ve been told I’m intimidating.
9/8, 23:41 I don’t think you are.
9/8, 23:42 You will if you ever meet me. I’ve made underlings cry before without speaking a word.
9/8, 23:44 The Hotchner stare. Have you coined that?
9/8, 23:45 I should. It’s got a ring to it.
They banter and causally slip a few more… flirtatious comments in, and Hotch realizes it really isn’t that much different than before. That he had indeed been flirting with the man long before he knew his age. Which was odd, he didn’t typically go for older men and women. But now that he’s aware Spencer is younger than he thought, possibly even his own age (he swears he is, would put money on it if he could), somehow there’s more of a charge in their correspondence, a warmth and buzzing elation that has nothing to do with his Scotch. Especially now that it’s long gone.
It’s all Spencer, and how they compliment each other, and Hotch finds himself near giddy with that information.
He tries, towards the end of the night where it tips over into the early hours of the morning, to imagine an image of Spencer again -- and finds that he doesn’t even care to. He’s enamored with the man and his wit and the way he makes Hotch laugh without trying. How he looks, his age, it doesn’t matter. Not really. Not to Hotch.
But he is still curious why Spencer won’t reveal it. He can’t be that young.
9/9, 00:43 You really won’t tell me?
9/9, 00:45 Maybe one day. When I’m feeling brave.
9/9, 00:46 Well, I’ll be there. Waiting.
9/9, 00:46 32.
9/9, 00:47 You’ll never guess.
9/9, 00:48 There’s only so many numbers.
9/9, 00:50 Goodnight, Hotch.
[9/9, 00:51] Goodnight, Spencer.
Tagged List: @spencehotchner @ssa-sarahsunshine @gothamapologist @reidology @marsjareau @dragon-snaps-fandom @emmyraebird @just-an-emo-rat @aaron-hotchner187 @dk18077 @more-heid-pls @fakin-it-til-i-make-it @merpancake
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one night stand au for the ask game! (if ur still playing lols)
Yes I most definitely am! (Sorry this took us a sec, I had to consult with my better half 💕 )
This one has been unintentionally underwraps for months, but we work on it pretty much every night. This is a HotchReid roleplay fic, set in an AU where Reid doesn't join the BAU until season 3. And ends up meeting/sleeping with Hotch literally the night before his first day. But they don't know they will be working together when they do, not until Reid is walking into Hotch's office the next morning. And as hard as they try to have that be the end of it -- Hotch is his boss after all, they just can't be doing this -- they find themselves breaking the rules they set down for themselves. Again, and again, and again.
There's so much sex in this, we've already written at least 250k words and we're still going. It's so good. But it is... a lot of sex.
The lovely @spencehotchner writes for Hotch, and I'm writing for Spencer.
With +250k in my docs I feel like I kind of have to include a snippet, so it's below the cut. It's safe for work, sorry folks, just super long. Because I ramble like a mofo so my entries are so, so long. We still need to edit/beta everything but we do plan to post it at some point. Some day. It's too good to keep to ourselves.
Aaron smiles up at him goofily as Spencer tugs him up. "Mm, I'm coming, I'm coming." He scrambles up and follows him.
He would make breakfast if he could. He would make it so good, and kiss Spencer over coffee, and get to know him all day. He’d ask all the questions he wants to ask-- what makes him tick. What puts that beautiful smile on his face. What makes his brain whir, and his heart spin, and his body go electric. He wants to know all of the things that turn Spencer on, even outside of sex. He wants to know what he wakes up for in the morning. What he tastes like after a good cup of coffee.
"What time do you get off work?" he asks.
Spencer turns to him, eyes wide and... hopeful. Fuck. Aaron is watching him, with this content and appraising look, like he's thinking of things they don't have time for -- not just the sexy things, but other things. He'd said something about coffee the night before, and for the first time since Spencer got word he'd been offered the position at the BAU, he really wished he didn't have to start today. He'd been looking forward to it for weeks.
But all he wants right now is to drink coffee with Aaron in his kitchen.
"Um, well -- first day and all. New team, new boss. Usually I'm nine to five, normal hours, but I don't know how late I'll be there or... if I'll be off early," he glances at Aaron from beneath his lashes, fingers still tangled together, shower beating against the tile behind them and steaming up the room. He pulls the man with him beneath the spray, straight into a kiss that's wet and slick as the shower warms them and sluices down their skin.
He tries to pretend he isn't still shaking a little, aftershock tremors of their morning sex, and nerves about what Aaron is going to ask him. If he's going to ask him.
"Did you have something in mind?" he dares to ask, and it's quiet and barely heard over the shower, but Spencer does ask it. He's proud of himself for that. The affect Aaron is already having on him is palpable, and Spencer likes it -- likes the way Aaron makes him feel. In general, and about himself.
Aaron hums, placing a small kiss on his lips, hiding a smile. "Yeah, well. There's this thing called dinner that people often do at night. I was planning on having it. Was wondering if you'd maybe join me."
It’s not subtle, not in the slightest, but Aaron is through with subtle for the moment. He’s ready to lay it out on the line, here. I want you, I know you want me.
Spencer's heart is about to beat out of his throat, and he smiles so wide he's all teeth and upturned lips and a deluge of pecks to Aaron's own smile that he tries to hide from him. They're basically the same height, the man can't hide a thing from Spencer when they are pressed this close.
"I'd love to," he beams, kissing him again a little deeper, a little more playful, and he's going to make them both late at this rate. But God, does Spencer love kissing Aaron. "I'd love nothing more."
Aaron smiles, pinching his side playfully. "Yeah? Well, I guess that means I'll have to get your number."
Aaron can imagine it now-- being on a case, seeing Spencer’s number on the device in his hand as he texts him good night. Them talking throughout the day today, in the future, little check ins on each other, because Aaron is sure he’s not going to be able to get this boy off his mind. It’ll be a struggle to do anything but text him all day.
He runs a hand through Spencer’s wet curls, playing with the ends of the strands, trying to memorize the way the shower’s steam paints a blush on Spencer’s cheekbones. Watercolor. Aaron could see him as a work of art.
God, he had to be crazy. But going home at night with a random stranger was crazy for him. Standing in his shower the next morning was crazy for him. Asking for his number was crazy for him.
Crazy felt good.
"Play your cards right, you might even get my last name," Spencer says cheekily, giggling and dodging out of the way as Aaron tries to pinch his side again.
But he's... so happy, so delirious with it, that nothing could ruin his day now. Because he was going to have dinner with Aaron after his first day at work for the BAU, which he'd been dreaming about since Jason Gideon used it a lure to recruit him into the FBI just after his second Ph.D.
For the first time, in a long time, his life felt pretty perfect.
Aaron grins and steals another long, slow kiss from him, feeling light and airy and good.
Fucking hell, does he feel good.
They get out of the shower and Aaron dresses as quickly as he can, because he really does need to go. As soon as he's dressed, though, he's pulling a half dressed Spencer into his arms to kiss him again.
Spencer manages to get into briefs and slacks and is trying to color coordinate some kind of dress shirt and sweater combination with a tie (literally everything is clean, this shouldn't be this hard) when Aaron is there pulling him into a searing kiss. Still damp from the shower, dressed in his clothes from last night, smiling against his mouth and Spencer can't help how he huffs out a laugh and kisses back with just as much enthusiasm.
He really didn't want the man to go. But it was quickly approaching 7:00a.m. and D.C. traffic had to be hell, even with a cab. Spencer had always taken the train when he was at MIT, the East coast had a well established system. So he'd decided the week prior he would just do the same here and save himself the daily morning anxiety attack of trying to make it to work on time on his own. That's what public transportation was for. Regulated, mass transit. Set arrival and departure times. A soothing balm if there ever was one.
"Give me your phone," he says with a smile, still so close he basically speaks against Aaron's mouth. He takes the offered iPhone and puts his number in under his name, just his first name. Ready to make the man earn the rest of his personal information.
Maybe, if dinner went well, they'd have... all night to get to know each other. Was it too much to hope Aaron would stay the night again? Probably, but Spencer was in a dreaming mood. Reach for the stars, might as well. With everything going so well, it was only a matter of time before something happened to interfere.
God, he hoped they didn't catch a case on his first day.
Aaron smiles down at the name on his screen. Spencer. He pulls him into one more final kiss, his head spinning pleasantly. There will be more where that came from, he reminds himself. Prays hard in that moment to whoever is listening that he’ll be able to make it to...
"Tonight," he promises. "I'll see you then."
The BAU Section Chief, SES Erin Strauss, is the one to greet Spencer when he arrives at the FBI building in Quantico. She's a stern woman, but friendly enough for someone in such a position of authority, and she seems very pleased that Spencer is there to join the team. Calls him 'Dr. Reid' often enough he knows either Gideon or his former team leader had mentioned it was something he was particular about -- or she was more concerned about his appeal politically than what he can do for the team.
He didn't let it sour his mood, though, because the morning had just been... too good to be ruined by something as trivial as that. Spencer had gotten the job, he was there in the building, had just received his badge and his gun and his ID card for the key-padded doors and a whole slew of other orientation day milestones.
And now he was on the seventh floor, about to walk into the Behavior Analysis Unit, where he can see people milling about busy as worker bees and his chest swells with nervousness and excitement and too many emotions to name.
If not for Aaron, and their amazing night and morning together, Spencer would be all nerves and worry -- but the morning sex alone was enough to knock a lot of that tension out of his spine and shoulders. He was ready for today, more ready than he'd ever thought he'd be.
Chief Strauss leads him into the 'bullpen', as she calls it, a lower level agent holding the door open for both of them, and then she's leading him to a cluster of desks that must be part of the new team he's joining.
"Good morning," she says, startling a trio that was talking animatedly over coffee -- and then all eyes are on Spencer. "This is Dr. Spencer Reid, I'm sure you were expecting him. Is Agent Hotchner in, yet?"
The three standing there very obviously fight rolling their eyes, and Spencer gets the feeling it's not about him or his title as 'Dr. Reid' -- or he hopes not anyway. His hopes are confirmed when a pretty, petite blonde smiles sweetly and sincerely at him and introduces herself as "Jennifer Jareau, but call me JJ", the communication liaison for the unit. A position Spencer wasn't aware existed, but he could definitely see the merits of it. Then, she addressed Chief Strauss.
"Hotch is always here by 8:00 a.m." she says, in a way that was somehow not condescending, but probably should have been. "He'll be up in his office waiting for you, ma'am."
"Thank you. Agent Morgan. Agent Prentiss." She nods to the others, and Spencer merely waves and grimaces a smile, wanting to actually introduce himself and hoping the others understand at least a little bit. He isn't sure he can actually say no to the woman who was his boss's boss.
"Erin, are you going to let him meet anyone?" says a voice from above them, just a half a level above the bullpen where offices line the walls -- and it's fucking David Rossi. Standing there, in the flesh, and Spencer is actually a little starstruck. Since when had David Rossi come out of retirement? He knows he's gaping a little bit, mouth parted on a million and one questions to ask the man, but at Chief Strauss's huff of indignation, he lets his jaw snap shut.
Later. He can ask later.
"Is Agent Hotcher ready for Dr. Reid? I'm sure you all have a case to go over," she says in a drone, and Spencer's stomach drops at that. Fuck, he hopes they don't have a case. He... has a date. That would probably be a bad excuse.
"I don't know," David Rossi says in a teasing lilt, then merely turns to the side and speaks into an open office door. "Hotch, you ready for Dr. Reid."
Spencer is blushing down to his roots, and Rossi merely winks at him to show he's joking. Apparently, Chief Strauss was being over the top and not just like this all the time. That kind of makes the situation worse, in his opinion.
Strauss doesn't wait for an answer, and starts up the stairs with Spencer following and trying to get used to the team dynamic. David Rossi actually pats him on the shoulder as he tries to slip by. "Don't worry, he's all bark and only a little bite. And I'm pretty sure he still hasn't read your file yet."
Well, that's not exactly promising.
Aaron still manages to show up about 15 minutes earlier than he had planned on. He had an extra suit at the locker in the office, and just went straight there to get dressed.
Which, of course, meant he had to run into David.
"So," David says, a shit-eating grin on his face. "Someone didn't need a ride home last night."
Aaron keeps his face stoic as he adjusts his tie, sitting down at his desk. "Do you need something, Dave?"
"Who was she?" David just barrels on, raising an eyebrow. "I wasn't under the impression that you were on the prowl last night, but I was apparently wrong."
Aaron stares him down.
"That good, huh?" Dave just grins, and grins and grins, and Aaron doesn't let the fact that he's had the most amazing morning in years show through on his face. Nothing can take away the fact that, on his phone, there's a number with the name Spencer beside it.
"I'm an adult," Aaron says, simple as that. "Now, can you leave? I still have to go over the--"
"Oh, he's here!" Dave says, looking out the door. Aaron's blinds are closed, and he raises an eyebrow. "Oh, he's young. Erin are you going to let him meet anyone?" David says as he steps out of the door.
Aaron laughs to himself, straightens his tie again, prepares himself to meet the newest team member. He hopes whoever this is will be good for him-- good for the team. He's nervous. He loves his team, thinks they have a great dynamic. Change is... different. After Elle had left, things had been rocky. No one could replace her, but this new kid was supposed to be something special.
Aaron would just have to see about that.
"Come in," he says, busying himself with some files to look like he isn't anticipating the worst, when a knock rasps at his door.
Chief Strauss knocks at the Unit Chief's door, the team leader that Spencer would be directly under for the foreseeable future, and just walks on in -- in fact, the knock seems a little last second. Like she doesn't usually announce herself when she comes in, and is on her best behavior in front of Spencer.
He's not sure why, it's not like he wouldn't find out how everything works around here eventually. He isn't going anywhere.
"Aar- ahem, Agent Hotchner," again, with the hesitation, acting formal. Spencer looks around the dark wooded office lined with books on Law and sadism and serial killers alike, until he turns to the desk against the wall. "This is Dr. Spencer Reid, your newest team member."
Sitting there is a man in a dark suit, broad shouldered, black hair, bent over some files spread on his desk and seemingly very intent on his work. Finishing whatever he was making note of before looking up at them.
Dark eyes. Darker lashes. Tunnel vision stare that pierces through Spencer, and all the breath escapes his lungs.
Strauss turns back to him with a tight, friendly smile; unaware of the bomb that has just gone off inside Spencer's head.
"Dr. Reid, meet your new Unit Chief: Supervisory Special Agent, Aaron Hotchner."
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