brooks // s.r (ch.2)
Summary: You find yourself caught between who you are and who you once were as certain events from your past threaten to effect your future
Pairing: Spencer & fem!reader
Warning: mature language, familial trauma (daddy issues/emotionally unavailable parental figure), smut, 10 year age gap, angst, mentions of torture, major character death
Word Count: 4,456
“How was it?” Her hands were clasped together, resting on top of the expensive, wood desk she had imported almost fifteen years ago as she proposed the question.
“It was alright.” With a shrug of your shoulders, you replied honestly.
Her eyes narrowed, as if to challenge your reply as she silently waited for you to elaborate. You could tell she didn’t believe you.
“What would you have done differently?” She tried again.
“Nothing.” You gave another straightforward answer.
“There wasn’t anything you would’ve done differently?” She pressed further. “Any instructions you didn’t agree with or feel comfortable taking?”
You knew what she was getting at, but you weren’t going to give her the satisfaction of hearing the response that she desired because it simply wasn’t what you felt.
It almost seemed like she was trying to drive a wedge further between the two of you. The questions she was asking seemed more like an interrogation, one where she was searching for a right answer that you were refusing to give up, instead of a constructive interview.
You’d answered every question honestly, though. Despite the strained relationship you had with your father, working alongside him had proven to be practical.
Granted, the two of you didn’t exactly spend a lot of time together, you avoided each other, actually, but you were both able to do your jobs well enough to contribute towards solving the case and that was a win, as far as you were concerned.
This was the first time in the history of the bureau that two members with any sort of relationship had been allowed to work on the same team together.
There had always been very strict rules in place about relationships amongst agents that were a part of the same department, but when they were created, they were created under the impression that the relationship between two agents would be romantic.
There weren’t technically any protocols in place about familial relationships amongst agents. Not only that, but if there were any rules in place, you and Aaron weren’t exactly the poster children for best father daughter relationship.
The two of you had a lot of problems, which, in a way, made Erin more willing to take you on as a member of the BAU, under the understanding that your relationship with your father would not affect your ability to do your job.
Much like Dave, Erin had been a part of your life for as long as you could remember. The two of you weren’t close by any means, but she had kept a close eye on you while you were in school and monitored your progress until you became eligible to apply to the bureau.
You were mature enough to convince her that you’d be a great asset to your father’s team. She had faith in both of you to do your jobs individually, but she had no idea what to expect when she put the two of you together.
Her questions, although intrusive, were meant to get a better understanding of your dynamic together and if the two of you could continue to work together without a hitch.
“You’re sure there’s not a single thing that you would’ve changed?” It wasn’t her intention to upset you or make you uncomfortable. She had a job to do and it was her duty to make sure that things ran as seamlessly as possible.
“With all due respect, madam chief, he’s a good leader.” Your heel no longer clicked against the tile like it’d done a week before. As you leaned forward in the chair to match her posture, you clasped your hands on top of her desk before you confidently explained, “A horrible father, but a good leader.” Her gaze softened at your reply. “If you’re expecting me to say anything bad about him or his leadership, I have nothing to say.”
She considered your accusation for a moment, pausing briefly to reflect on what you’d just shared before she proceeded to ask, “Do you think it would be beneficial to consider counseling for the two of you?”
When you were younger, and still had hope that your father could change, you considered proposing counseling to your father.
It wasn’t until you were older that you realized in order for your relationship to change, he had to want it to change.
Counseling wouldn’t benefit the two of you because as far as you were concerned, your father wasn’t willing to change and if he was, he would’ve done it by now.
“Beneficial to whom?” You were trying to understand her angle. Was she asking the question with your best interest in mind, or your father’s?
“Both of you.” She confirmed. “And the team.”
Her last statement caught you off guard.
When you first came to her, she made it very clear that if you were to proceed with your request to apply for a position at the BAU that the relationship between you and your father would not be disclosed to any of your teammates.
If you disclosed it, she told you it would be grounds for immediate dismissal.
You understood why it was something that was to be kept a secret. You couldn’t imagine how the team would react to not only finding out that Hotch had a daughter, but that she’d been working alongside them in plain sight.
Erin wasn’t prepared for all of the paperwork and complaints that might arise if someone on the team had a problem with you, your father or your relationship together.
If another agent filed a claim because they thought your father was giving you any sort of special treatment, not that he ever would, then she’d have a very, very big problem on her hands and she hated having very big problems on her hands.
“I can assure you, this has nothing to do with the rest of the team and I prefer if it stayed that way.” You replied firmly.
Had Erin not know you and Hotch were related, the tone you’d used with her not a moment ago would’ve been the missing link that led her to connect the pieces together.
“I think that I’ve displayed the ability to work with him, haven’t I?” You proposed, putting her in the hot seat.
“You have.” She agreed.
“Then I don’t see how counseling would be beneficial to anyone.” You dismissed the idea.
Her eyes flickered to the clock on the wall behind you. It was time to wrap your meeting up.
“If anything comes up-“ She started, rising to her feet as she led you towards the door.
“I’ll be sure to let you know.” You assured her.
“Thank you.” She pressed her lips into something that resembled a smile as she held the door for you to exit.
You decided to take the stairs down from Erin’s office. There were only a couple of floors that separated her office from the BAU, but if you took the elevator, you ran the risk of bumping into one of your new coworkers and having them question why you were coming from Strauss’ office before the sun had fully risen.
Dark, orange sunlight was pouring in through the windows of the BAU when you arrived on your floor and you couldn’t help but smile.
It was early and you had to force yourself to get out of bed that morning, but watching the sun flicker through the windows while it continued to rise in the sky made it all worthwhile.
Despite the difficult conversation you were forced to have a few minutes ago, it was a beautiful morning and something about feeling the sunlight decorating the room eased your nerves.
The office was completely empty as you continued your march towards your desk. It was almost eerily silent, accept for the soft click of heels echoing behind you, causing you to turn around.
“Good morning.” Emily greeted you with a warm smile as she made her way over towards your desk.
“Morning.” You replied with a small wave.
“You’re here early-“ She commented, and although she hadn’t phrased it as a question, you answered her anyway.
“I had a meeting with Strauss.” It wasn’t a lie. You had in fact met with Erin earlier that morning, but it wasn’t for your first case follow up, like Emily assumed it was. “How about you?” You asked her. “Do you always show up before everyone else?”
She didn’t strike you as a morning person. Come to think of it, she’d actually made a comment on your last case about how much she hated waking up early.
“Not always, I just-“ Her eyes roamed around the office as she stalled until they landed on the large stack of files on the desk farthest from the two of you. “Had some files I had to catch up on.” She settled on.
Her desk wasn’t even close to the one that she was looking at, but you didn’t question it. Whatever she was doing at the office this early, really wasn’t any of your business.
You were about to ask her if she had submitted the file for the last case yet and ask her for help if she hadn’t when the door to your father’s office opened.
You didn’t know he was in yet and when he saw both you and Emily were gathered in the bullpen, he visibly stiffened.
“Morning.” He let out lowly as he made his way down the stairs and towards the elevator.
“Good morning.” Emily replied with a smile as he made his way through the glass doors. You didn’t say anything. You knew he wasn’t talking to you, anyway.
“You want some coffee?” Emily asked, attempting to salvage the remains of your previous conversation.
“Sure, let me just set my stuff down.” You agreed, shrugging your bag off of your shoulder and setting it down at your desk.
“You know, you were incredible the other day.” Emily complimented with a smile and although you knew she meant it with good intent, you couldn’t help but feel guilty about accepting the praise she’d given.
“I didn’t do much-“ You reminded her.
“Of course you did.” She assured you. “You know, when I first started this job I wanted to dive in head first.” A chuckle escaped her lips as she recalled just how eager she was to make a good impression. “I was so eager and ready, I didn’t know how to just sit back and follow instructions.” Where Emily had trouble following direct orders, you didn’t. It was one of the very first things she noticed about you. “You were incredible, especially for a new agent.”
She could sense your hesitancy about accepting her compliment and was about to lay it on even thicker than she already was when the large, glass doors on the far side of the room opened again, catching her attention.
When she turned around, she half expected to see Aaron quickly making his way to his office. He had a meeting every Tuesday morning before everyone else arrived and often forgot to bring a pen with him, despite the fact that he’d been attending the same meeting for nearly a decade.
He had a lot going on in his mind at any given time, but he’d been a little distracted ever since you join the team. Emily was the only one that had noticed, but then again, she was the only one paying attention.
However, Hotch wasn’t the one making his way back into the bullpen. It was JJ, who greeted both you and Emily with a smile as she approached the two of you.
“Morning.” She hummed happily and you wondered how either of the women before you were as chipper as they were without a cup of coffee.
Maybe you were just stressed from your meeting with Erin. The thought of her suggesting counseling with your father lingered in the back of your mind and was making you feel sick. It was safe to say that what was meant to be a gentle suggestion ignited something that you’d buried deep inside, many years ago.
“Hey-“ Emily replied for the both of you verbally when you pressed your lips into a very forced smile and offered her a wave.
“You’re here early-“ JJ observed, her brow furrowing almost as if she had proposed the statement as a question and was waiting for an answer.
“Strauss.” Emily answered for you and you simply nodded your head, confirming what she’d said was true.
She’d been there before. When she was the communications liaison, before she had a family to go home to every night, she spent most of her mornings in Erin’s office reviewing case files and keeping her informed about the inner workings of the BAU.
It wasn’t a part of her job description, but when she was younger, JJ dedicated everything she had to give towards her career and her work, which was why she woke up every morning, long before the sun was due to rise, and forced herself to drive into the office to meet with Strauss.
It was safe to say that she’d been in your shoes.
“I have something for you, actually-“ You announced, rummaging through your bag as you searched for the gift you’d packed earlier that morning for your coworker. “For your son.” With a smile, you handed her a brightly colored children’s book. “It was my favorite book as a kid.”
“Wow, he’s going to love this!” She beamed, flipping through the pages in awe. “You didn’t have to do this.” Her heart swelled at the kind gesture as she thanked you for the gift on Henry’s behalf. She knew he was going to love it. “Thank you.”
You wouldn’t call her your friend, but JJ was the closest thing you had to one. She had been the first to introduce herself to you and even though you initially feared that it was out of pity, since you were new to the team, you could tell that she was a genuinely kind person, one that you hoped would see you as a friend some day.
Silence settled between the three of you and you wondered if Emily was going to extend the invitation for coffee to JJ, or if the offer was even still on the table, since she hadn’t made mention of it since JJ had arrived. Suddenly, she nudged JJ’s side gently, getting her attention.
“Think they’re done yet?” The smallest smirk was threatening to stretch across her lips as JJ checked her watch.
“They should be just about-“ She replied softly.
Maybe the reason Emily didn’t extend the invite for coffee was because it was no longer on the table. It was clear to you now that the two women had other plans.
You weren’t offended.
Truthfully, you were a bit relieved. The conversation with Emily had been a bit uncomfortable. You weren’t used to receiving overwhelming praise like the one she had been giving you before JJ arrived and the thought of enduring more praise and awkward small talk, wasn’t something you were necessarily looking forward to but something you would’ve endured if it meant getting closer with your coworker.
Taking a seat at your desk, you turned on the large monitor and started booting up the system. You had a good half an hour before your day officially started and decided to use that time to catch up on a couple of emails and continue organizing your desktop. You’d been looking forward to customizing your home screen, but something always pulled you away from your desk before you had the chance to.
Both Emily and JJ exchanged a look of confusion as you took a seat. JJ felt her heart tighten in her chest as she watched you turn your computer screen on.
She didn’t know that Emily had offered to grab coffee with you before, but she noticed the way your demeanor switched at the mention of someone being ready for them.
She could tell that you naturally assumed that they had plans, which was why she felt bad that you silently decided to excuse yourself from their conversation and attempt to focus on your work instead.
Especially, because the plans that they had made were centered around you.
“Come on, Brooks-“ Emily smiled as JJ gently placed a hand on your shoulder, inviting you to step away from your computer and follow them.
You weren’t sure where you were going. A couple of seconds ago, you weren’t even aware that their mysterious plans included you, but as the two women guided you down the hall, you silently followed.
“Just around the corner, here-“ Prentiss beamed, finding it hard to contain her joy as she lead you into the break room.
When Penelope sent them a group text last night with an idea, everyone was on board.
It was last minute, very last minute, but everyone agreed that it needed to be done.
You hadn’t had the pleasure of utilizing the break room yet. Until JJ and Emily led you to the room, you didn’t even know where it was.
You were prepared to see a few fold up tables and chairs, an outdated coffee machine and maybe a microwave. What you weren’t prepared for, were the pink, purple and green streamers that lined the walls along with a large sign that read, “Welcome to the team Brooks!”, in pink glitter glue.
Your mouth fell open in shock as you were ushered into the small room where Rossi and Penelope had just finished hanging the last streamer.
“Welcome to the team!” Garcia greeted you happily, pulling you in for a bone crushing hug as she welcomed you.
You could barely express your gratitude you were so overwhelmed by emotion.
“Thank you.” You muttered out.
“I hope you like chocolate!” She exclaimed, pulling you towards one of the tables that held a beautiful cake in the center. “Oh wait, please don’t tell me you have any allergies-“
She forgot to ask you personally and it wasn’t like anyone else knew whether or not you were allergic to anything. She was so excited to bake you something that she’d forgotten to ask.
“I’m allergy free.” You assured her.
“Wonderful!” Penelope cheered happily, thankful that you’d be able to indulge in the cake she’d spent all night baking.
She quickly grabbed a paper plate and a knife, eager for you to taste her divine creation as she made the first cut into the cake and offered you a slice.
You were about to thank her, but before you could, someone else spoke.
“You started without us?”
Two of your coworkers had been missing upon your entrance and you hadn’t even realized they were absent until they rounded the corner and made their way into the break room where the small celebration was being held.
Derek, who was holding a couple of balloons in his hand and a box of donuts in the other, wore a small frown.
“I didn’t know how much longer it would take.” Penelope explained. “Were you two stuck in traffic or something?”
“I let Reid drive back.” Derek justified with a chuckle and you knew exactly what he meant by that.
Spencer feigned offense, or maybe he really was offended, you really couldn’t tell, but the way Derek playfully elbowed his side earning a small grin, led you to believe that he wasn’t actually as offended as he was pretending to be.
All eyes were suddenly on you.
You hadn’t even noticed what Spencer had been holding until he approached you and offered it to you.
“These are for you.” Spencer smiled, handing you a bouquet of white carnations, taking you by surprise.
“They’re beautiful.” Bringing the bouquet up to your nose, you took a deep breath of the fresh flowers. “Thank you.”
He wondered if you knew that he’d settled on white carnations because they symbolized good luck or if you just found them visually appealing. Either way, he could tell that you appreciated them.
“What are those?” Penelope asked, taking a peek inside of the bright, pink box Derek had set down on the table next to her cake.
“Donuts?” He replied, pointing to the sticker on the box that clearly indicated its contents from the bakery up the street.
“Why are they here?” Penelope pressed on, a twinge of annoyance in her voice as she crossed her arms over her chest and challenged him.
“Emily asked if we could pick some up on the way.” He explained with a furrowed brow, wondering why Penelope was suddenly against the donuts that he knew were her favorite. He’d even made sure that the dozen he selected had a blueberry cake one just for her.
It took him a couple of seconds to figure out why she was so upset, but when it finally hit him, he understood.
“I didn’t know you’d already made a cake.” He explained honestly and upon hearing his confession, her brow softened. She couldn’t stay mad at him for long.
“Well, everyone dig in, there’s plenty to go around.” She clapped her hands together cheerfully as she continued to hand out plates full of her cake, making sure that everyone at least took a bite before they reached for a donut.
You still couldn’t believe that everyone seemed to be in on the whole thing. You were truly caught off guard, considering how they hadn’t been exactly warm or inviting upon your arrival.
They’d always been a close team, a family, and when you first arrived, you felt like an outsider amongst them. Although that was never their intention, they were all aware of how their actions might have effected you and decided to right their wrongs.
“I told you they’d come around.” Rossi nudged your shoulder gently as he made his way over to you. You had just finished taking a bite of the cake Penelope had made and it was extraordinary. She really had a knack for baking.
You offered your friend a smile, one that nearly mirrored his own when a thought crossed your mind, causing your smile to vanish.
“Did you force them to do this?” You frowned as your heart sunk in your chest.
The reason you were so moved was because everyone had gone out of their way to make you feel welcomed and you truly did, but you wanted it to be genuine, not forced, and you feared that the only reason they went above and beyond was because a certain someone mentioned how you felt.
“They did it entirely on their own.” He promised you, and you felt a wave of relief wash over you.
Across the room, JJ was dipping a piece of her donut into her coffee while Emily stood beside her. Derek approached them both with a wide smile.
Emily extended her hand for the receipt that she asked him to bring back so that she could reimburse him for the donuts, but he feigned confusion and simply shrugged his shoulders.
It didn’t matter. She’d slip twenty dollars into his bag when he wasn’t looking and call it even.
“Whose idea were the flowers?” JJ asked, prompting Derek to proudly puff out his chest when he was presented with the opportunity to take credit for the good idea.
“Mine, but Spencer picked them out.” He gave credit where credit was due. “I wanted to get her a little welcome gift, something that said sorry if we were a little cold, but we’re looking forward to having you on our team.”
“Charming.” Emily chuckled softly, her eyes finding Spencer across the room engaged in conversation with Penelope. Although, they weren’t really conversing. Garcia was sharing a story with him and was convinced she had his full attention, but what she failed to realize was that his eyes were fixated on you as you and Rossi continued your conversation.
Penelope didn’t catch the small smile that was threatening to tug across his lips, but Emily did. Emily was the only one that had noticed the way he brought his coffee cup to his lips to hide his growing smile, but then again, she was the only one paying attention.
When Aaron returned from his meeting, the bullpen was empty. He expected his team to be at their desks, waiting for him to return from his meeting, but they weren’t, which only made him frustrated than he already was.
He was livid.
Erin was way out of line when she suggested that he should consider counseling with you. It was unprofessional, no matter how much she tried to convince him that she was only looking out for the interest of the rest of the team, it wasn’t her place.
His bad mood wasn’t something he could shake easily. He’d always worn his heart on his sleeve, making everyone else painfully aware that he was upset about something. He’d never really been all that hard to read when he let his emotions fester and linger like he always did.
When he realized no one was where he expected them to be, he made his way towards the break room, where he heard laughter and commotion that peaked his interest.
As he rounded the corner, he saw the banner that’d been hung earlier that morning and felt his jaw clench. Every member of his team was gathered in the break room, celebrating you and your arrival.
He saw you smile from across the room and felt like the air had been knocked out of his lungs. It’d been so long since he’d seen you smile. The last memory he could recall was probably when you were a little girl.
You looked happy, for the first time in a long time, you looked happy and he didn’t know what to make of that.
JJ was the first to notice Hotch standing in the doorway and she softly cleared her throat to gather everyone’s attention.
Penelope’s eyes went wide upon seeing Aaron for two reasons. One, was that she hadn’t exactly asked for his permission to throw the welcome party she spent all night planning and two, she hadn’t extended him an invite because she knew he’d be in a meeting that morning.
Everyone waited for him to say something and when he finally did, it was void of any type of emotion.
“We’ve got a case.” He announced plainly, putting an end to your celebration at once as he demanded your presence elsewhere.
The brief moment of bliss between you and your coworkers was nice, but it was time to get back to work.
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