It Only Took Eight Years – Chapters 9 – 12

Year Eight – Part One

It was early on Sunday and Jack was still at his sleepover when there was a knock on Aaron’s door. He hadn’t moved from the couch all night trying to make sense of his relationship with Spencer and the confession his friend had dropped on him the night before. The knock was more insistent so he got up and opened the door. Spencer was standing there and he didn’t look much better than Aaron felt.

“Spencer, come in.” Aaron moved aside to let the younger man in.

“I’m only staying a minute Aaron.” He came in and Aaron noticed he had a letter in his hands.

“Spencer, what’s going on?” He noticed how nervous Spencer was and Aaron’s heart was racing. He had a feeling he wasn’t going to like what his youngest agent had to say.

“Here.” He handed Aaron the envelope for him to take. Spencer stepped back and wrapped his arms around his waist, his raw emotions playing out on his face. Aaron read it slowly, confusion in his eyes.

“Spencer, you don’t mean this.” Something shifted in Aaron’s heart and he wasn’t sure what was going on.

“Aaron, I can’t stay, I need to get some distance and this is the best solution for both of us.” Tears were forming in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall.

Aaron was angry, “Spencer, you drop this bombshell on me, then run out the door and don’t even give me a chance. Now you’re running even further, what the hell Spencer?”

“Then tell me. If you can tell me right now what I know you feel for me then I’ll stay.” Spencer looked at his friend in anticipation not daring to hope.

“Spencer.” Aaron didn’t know what he felt, or he didn’t want to acknowledge what he felt, he wasn’t sure which. He was quiet for too long and he knew it. When Spencer spoke again he was shocked back to reality.

“I thought so.” Spencer said with a touch of anger in his voice. His heart was breaking, he didn’t want to go, but if he stayed little pieces of him would die every day that Aaron refused to acknowledge what he knew was between them.

“Aaron if you can’t acknowledge what’s between us then you need to let me go, please, please just let me go.” Spencer’s voice had that pleading tone that always broke something in Aaron. He didn’t know what he was afraid of but he let those fears control him and it was tearing apart the one person Aaron vowed never to hurt again.

“Spencer, give me time, I just need some time here.” Aaron wasn’t quite sure why his heart was racing and why he felt tears threatening.

“You’ve had eight years Aaron. You know where I’ll be, but I can’t wait forever.” Spencer spun away and walked out the door for the last time. He finally let his emotions catch-up to him as tears easily fell from his eyes. He hadn’t wanted it to come to this, but the longer he stayed in the unit the more it hurt that the person he loved didn’t want to acknowledge his feelings. It was better this way, or so he thought.

Aaron ran out the door to try to catch-up to the genius, but he was already backing out of Aaron’s driveway. Desperate, Aaron started to get in his car to follow the young genius. His phone rang and he looked down to see it was Spencer calling.

“Don’t follow me. At least not right now Aaron, because whatever you tell me now I don’t know if I’ll believe you because you’ll say anything to make me stay.”

“Spencer that’s not true. You’re not even giving me a choice here.”

“I know and I know it’s not fair, but you’ve had chances in the past. I’ve left enough clues that I thought you’d get it at some point, but you refuse to see Aaron and I can’t live like this anymore. Goodbye Aaron, I love you, I’ll always love you but I can’t make you love me so I need to leave.” Spencer hung up on Aaron, didn’t give the man a chance to respond because if he did his resolve would break and he would be tempted to stay.

Spencer didn’t let himself fall apart, not yet, not until he entered the safety of his apartment. He curled up on his couch and then and only then did he let the break down happen. He asked himself yet again Why? Why couldn’t the man he loved love him back? At least this time though it was him that was leaving. He was making the decision not the other person. He vowed to never be abandoned by anyone ever again and yet he shattered. He shattered at the realization that he was leaving the one person in the whole world who never abandoned him, never truly gave up on him. Oh, they’d had issues over the years, hurts, times that their friendship was strained and rocky, but Aaron never gave up on him. But, Spencer just couldn’t take it anymore, he loved Aaron more than he knew was good for him and he needed time and distance to sort out his feelings.

Aaron stood in his driveway for a long time wondering just what the hell had happened. When his phone rang again his heart soared hoping that it was Spencer calling back. It wasn’t though, and he couldn’t understand why his heart was pounding fast and why there were tears running down his face. He looked back down at the ringing phone and realized it was Jack calling.

Aaron cleared his throat before he answered, “Hey buddy, what’s going on?”

“Dad, you forgot to pick me up.” Aaron looked at his watch and cursed. He was supposed to have picked Jack up from his sleepover an hour ago. An hour? Had he really been standing in his driveway for an hour?  He shook his head and tried to get his emotions under control. He wiped a hand down his face to clear the tears away as he questioned why his heart was breaking. Why he felt a sudden emptiness in his heart where Dr. Spencer Reid lived.

Aaron stalked back into his house, grabbed his car keys and went to pick-up his son, pushing those questions and those feelings aside.

“What the hell do you mean Spencer resigned? And why didn’t he tell any of us?” Morgan was angry that his little brother had just up and left without saying goodbye.

Spencer had used the last of his vacation time as his notice. Aaron saw that he had come in over the weekend and cleared his desk of paperwork, consults and pending cases. All of his mementos and the couple of pictures he had were gone as well. When he looked in the desk Aaron didn’t know why he wanted to cry when the little film canisters that Reid used as rockets to show off his physics magic were gone. Somehow the loss of those small canisters made it seem final and he again fought back the tears that threatened. He wasn’t about to show his emotions at work.

“Morgan, I’m not sure what’s going on but he left his letter of resignation with me over the weekend. I did my best, but he was determined.” Aaron lied to himself and lied to the team, he couldn’t tell them the real reason Spencer left was because of him. He already hated himself he didn’t want the team to hate him as well.

“Hotch you have to get him back. We need him, he’s important to us, to all of us.” Morgan frowned as his anger came through and Aaron let himself take it, “Did you guys break-up or something? Is that why he left?”

“What?” Aaron asked “No, there was no break-up Morgan we weren’t dating.” Aaron glared at his subordinate.

“Are you sure about that? I mean we all thought…“ Aaron cut off the younger man.

“Morgan he left you his contact information for a reason. I’m sorry there’s nothing I can do.” Aaron stalked back to his office and sat down hard. He slammed the door harder than he realized and knew the team was definitely going to profile that one. He leaned over his desk head in his hands. He didn’t know what to do.

“So, that’s it? You’re just going to sit there and feel sorry for yourself?” Aaron hadn’t heard when David Rossi came into his office.

“Dave, not now please.”

“You’re being an ass Aaron.”

Aaron frowned, “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t you think I’ve noticed how close you and Spencer are? Aaron, when are you going to realize that you’ve been dating Dr. Spencer Reid for the last, what eight years now?”

“Not you too Dave, you guys are crazy.” Aaron sat up in his chair and glared at his oldest friend fighting the truth in his own mind.

“Are we?  Every Tuesday, even when we are on a case, you two go to dinner. Every Saturday he’s at you’re place for dinner and movies. You were carpooling again every day, unless you’re out then he either takes the train or drives himself. You sit next to each other on the plane 9 times out of ten and for someone who doesn’t like to be touched you are the only person he lets touch him on a consistent basis. You’ve even admitted to me that you slept with him. You don’t do things like that unless you care very deeply about someone. Aaron, what are you afraid of?” Dave stared at Hotch wondering if he would ever be able to reconcile his feelings for the younger man.

Hotch sat back in his chair and stared at his friend, “I don’t know.” He said with such sorrow that Dave felt for Aaron, but he wasn’t going to let his friend off the hook. He saw the pain in Aaron’s eyes and knew there was only one solution, he just wasn’t sure if Aaron would ever be ready to acknowledge how much he loved Reid.

“Well you better figure it out because it’s not only Spencer you’re hurting.” Dave got up and walked back to his office, hoping that his friend had the courage to acknowledge what his feelings really were.

Aaron leaned further back in his chair and closed his eyes. I am a straight man, what the hell is going on? He reflected back on the times he gave in and let himself be with Spencer, let himself feel more than this emptiness he felt on a daily basis ever since Haley had been taken from him. He had tried to feel more for Beth than just friendship, but it just wouldn’t come. He cared for her, but he didn’t love her, not like she wanted or needed. He asked himself the question that had been deep in his mind for so long, how and when had he fallen in love with Spencer?  He sat up suddenly with the realization,

Oh my god, I’ve fallen in love with my best friend, with Spencer Reid.

It was during this realization that Garcia came to his door, “We have a case bossman.” She looked in and saw that Aaron was trying to get himself together.

She came into the room, closed the door and sat down, “I know it may not be any of my business sir, but I’ve had enough time to observe you and Reid together over the years. I only wish I could find something like what the two of you have. I know that is hasn’t been all flowers and candy. I know you’ve had problems, especially after Emily, but don’t waste it. After losing Erin I realized that life really is too short for regrets and, I know I’m probably pushing boundaries here, but if you don’t go after him, I guarantee this will be a regret. Sir. Please don’t fire me.” She looked at her boss with not a little fear and trepidation in her expression.

Aaron huffed out a laugh, “So, am I the only one that didn’t see it?” She nodded her head yes, “No, I’m not going to fire you Garcia.” He graced her with a sad smile. “But right now I don’t know what to do, so let’s just leave it there.” She could see him throwing up his walls and knew this conversation was over. She just hoped that her words got through to him.

“Okay. We have a case, I’ll see you in the conference room.”

“Be there in a minute.” He watched her as she got up and left his office.

He sat back again in his chair and wondered what the hell he was going to do about Spencer. For now though he made his way to the conference room, they had a case after all.

One month.

Jack was calling Spencer and it put a smile on the genius’s face.

“Uncle Spencer, when are you coming back home? Daddy misses you, he’s sad all the time,” Jack said as Spencer answered the phone. He closed his eyes against the pain he felt as he cleared his throat to try to talk to Jack.

“I don’t know buddy. I need some time to think, okay?” He didn’t want to lie to Jack but he also didn’t want to reveal too much to the boy. He wasn’t sure how much Aaron had told Jack and he didn’t want to be the one to say anything out of line.

“Uncle Spencer, Dad misses you, he was happier when you were around.” Jack wanted to cry, he missed his Uncle Spencer so much. When his Dad had left the phone on the table he decided to make the call, he couldn’t lose anybody else in his life, he needed Spencer as much as his Dad did.

“Listen buddy, it’s not that I don’t want to be there but I can’t be, not yet. I know you don’t understand but I hope that soon I can come back, okay?” Spencer gripped the phone tight, it was breaking his heart that a little boy was hurting because his father was paralyzed in his decision.

Jack pouted, he thought that he could get Spencer to come back and everything would be like it used to be, “I just want it like it used to be,” he said quietly trying to be stoic like his father, but it just wasn’t working.

“No matter what happens Jack I will always be here for you. If you need to call me you go right ahead.” He didn’t get much farther when he heard a voice in the distance.

“Jack, who are you talking to?” Spencer heard Aaron in the background and his heart was pounding just a little.

“Uncle Spencer,” Jack said softly. Then the phone was being taken from Jack, Spencer could tell the phone was being shifted from one hand to another.

“Spence,” Aaron breathed softly into the phone, “I.” He didn’t know what to say, all words dried up in his throat as he tried to talk.

“it’s okay Aaron. Jack just wanted to say hi.” He waited to see if Aaron would say anything and when he got nothing he tried to hide the hurt he felt, “Well, I ah, I’ve got to go. I have an interview to get to.” He hung up on Aaron and set the phone aside.

Aaron felt the sting of the hang-up and knew it was because of him, because of his indecisions but it didn’t make it hurt any less.

“I’m sorry Dad,” Jack said so quietly that Aaron almost missed it.

Aaron pulled Jack into a hug. “It’s okay Jack, if you ever need to call your Uncle Spencer you do that. I know you love him. It’s okay buddy.” Aaron held onto his son as he felt silent tears on his shoulder. When Jack was spent Aaron took him into his room and got him ready for bed.

When he finally went to his own bedroom and laid down for the evening, he closed his eyes and cursed himself yet again for the paralyzing fear he felt. When his own tears fell he didn’t stop them, he turned to his side and shut out that annoying voice that told him to stop feeling sorry for himself and go to California and get Spencer back.

Three months.

Aaron hadn’t made any decisions on what he was going to do. He didn’t want to admit that he missed Spencer. He didn’t want to admit that sometimes at night he felt the crushing weight of grief at losing his best friend. He wondered why he was making this so complicated, why he was thinking about this too much, why didn’t he just go after what he truly wanted? What he’s wanted for years. Then those old fears and supposed complications crept into his head and he again didn’t go after what he wanted. He let his father’s voice override any decision he tried to make. Heard that voice telling him how disappointed he was that his son liked men. Memories of his father’s belt and humiliation ran through his head and he sometimes was just too tired to fight.

When it got to be too much he would call the number that Spencer left him. If Spencer answered he found it difficult to say anything and he let the silence come between them. There was too much burning inside of him and he never knew what to say. If Spencer didn’t answer he would leave short simple messages, this last one he almost broke, but all he said was “Spence, I miss you,” He said it so quietly that even he knew he sounded broken, but he didn’t erase it, he let it sit there between them. Then he hung up.

Aaron knew this half-life, this terrible indecision was tearing him up and he knew he was hurting Spencer again, but he didn’t know how to move on, didn’t know how to tell the second most important person in the world to him that he loved him. He often found himself sitting in his chair at night with a glass of scotch in his hands and his ingrained fears, the voice of his father, FBI rules and societies ‘morals’ rule over his heart.

The team noticed it, noticed that this indecision was tearing their boss, their friend apart. That Spencer’s leaving was doing to him what Gideon’s leaving did to Spencer. No one knew how to help or what to say, even Dave was at a loss. Aaron was falling apart right before their eyes and no one knew how to get him to move forward, or how to get him to go after what it was he was missing.

Even Jack noticed it and he wished he could help his Dad. He missed Spencer too but every time he tried to talk about the genius his Dad would close off, so Jack stopped bringing it up. It hurt the both of them but Jack just wanted things to go back to the way they used to be.

Spencer got the messages Aaron kept leaving him. He heard the sadness and desperation in his best friend’s voice and it almost broke his resolve. He wasn’t going to run back, wasn’t going to fall back into that same pattern of Aaron’s denial. But it was this last message when Aaron simply said, “Spence, I miss you,” that Reid almost broke. The raw grief he heard in Aaron’s voice hurt him more than anything that had happened in all of the years that they had known each other. He played that message over and over one night and cried himself to sleep over it. He had the vague impression that what he had done to Aaron was as bad or maybe worse than what Gideon’s leaving had done to him. He wasn’t going to give in though, Aaron had to come to him, had to admit to them both what he felt. Spencer knew that then, and only then, would either man be able to move on, whether it was together or separately, Spencer hoped that it would be together.

Six Months.

Aaron was running after the unsub from the north while Morgan was coming after him from the east. JJ was trying to keep up with Aaron, but she fell behind. They were running through the woods of the Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho, and the unsub was keeping just ahead of all of them. What Aaron didn’t expect was the ambush. The unsub had a partner and the rifle round ripped right through Aaron’s vest. He was hit twice before he went down. The unsub they were chasing paused to check to see how hurt Aaron was and this gave enough time for Morgan to come up on them, and he was able to get a bead on the first unsub as he tackled him to the ground. He got the man handcuffed and propped next to the tree while he called on his radio for back-up and emergency services. The partner took off running through the trees again and Morgan took a split second to make a decision.

“Hotch!” Morgan dropped next to his boss, his friend and saw that Aaron had been shot in the upper chest and the stomach. Moran’s heart was in his throat because both bullet wounds were potentially fatal. “Hotch stay with me man you gotta stay with me.” He was trying to staunch the flow of blood over both wounds.

“Reid…” Hotch tried to speak but it came out garbled and Morgan had to lean in close to hear. “Tell Reid…” Morgan was desperate, Aaron kept trying to move and it was aggravating the bleeding.

“Hotch, you gotta lay still man, help is on the way,” Morgan yelled into his radio again then JJ was finally there. Her look of horror at seeing the man she thought of as a big brother on the ground bleeding was tearing her apart.

“What the hell happened?” She yelled at Morgan.

“Michaels had a goddamned partner. Ambushed us, here.” He grabbed JJ’s hand and pressed it to Hotch’s chest wound. “Don’t let go JJ, whatever you do don’t you fucking let go.” Morgan was near panicking.

“JJ,” Aaron whispered.

The blond leaned down to try to hear her boss better. “JJ, please, tell Reid,” Aaron mumbled as he tried to get his throat to work, but his mouth was dry and he was having trouble focusing. “Tell him I loved him, tell him take care…Jack.” Aaron’s eyes were near panicked and JJ was trying to fight back her tears.

“Dammit Hotch, stay with us, stay with us and tell him yourself.” He reached up with the last reserve of strength he had to grip her arm tight.

“JJ please.” Aaron looked at her with such sadness that it was breaking her heart.

“Okay Hotch, okay but you hang on please, please hang on.” She was pleading, they both were but Aaron was losing the battle to stay conscious. By the time help arrived he was unconscious and he was being airlifted to the nearest hospital.

Spencer looked down at the phone and saw that it was Aaron calling again. A part of him should have been upset that the man kept calling and leaving these messages, but he wasn’t. Each time he heard Aaron getting closer and closer to admitting what he was feeling, but it didn’t mean that Spencer was going to make it easy for him. On the contrary, he wanted Aaron to work for it, wanted him to finally break and admit unconditionally what his feelings were.

Spencer knew there was something wrong when it was the third phone call in a row. He finally answered, “Aaron, what the hell?” He was slightly annoyed because the man had never called this many times in a row.

“Spence.” Spencer looked confused because it was JJ on the other end of the line.

“JJ? What are you doing on Aaron’s phone?” He was not in the mood for one of Aaron’s manipulative games, if that was what this was.

“Spence, Aaron he…” Spencer could tell that JJ had been crying. He knew her so well, knew when she was holding back her emotions, knew how she sounded when grief struck her. All of a sudden Spencer’s heart was in his throat and he didn’t want to hear what JJ was about to tell him.

“JJ, what’s going on, what happened to Aaron?” His breath was shallow as his heart stuttered in his chest.

“Spence, he’s been shot,” JJ couldn’t hold back anymore and he heard her crying on the other end of the phone. “It’s bad Spence, please you need to get here, please. He, he told me to tell you…” She stopped to try to get herself under control.

“No, no don’t tell me.” He didn’t want to hear any confessions that Aaron had made to JJ, he wanted to hear them from Aaron. “I’m on my way, where are you?” She told him they were at Saint Luke’s Magic Valley Hospital in Twin Falls Idaho. He hung up without saying a word and immediately made reservations on the earliest available flight out of LAX. He didn’t let himself panic till he was actually on the plane.

Five hours later he was rushing into the waiting room of the hospital. He saw JJ and ran up to her.

“How is he?” Spencer demanded to know.

“It was bad Spence. He was hit in the chest and the stomach.” JJ looked away as fresh tears threatened. “He’s still in surgery. They won’t tell us what’s going on yet.” Spencer pulled her into a hug as he tried to hold back his own tears.

“Spence, you gotta listen to me,” JJ said as her head lay on his shoulder, “He wanted me to tell you,” She didn’t want to cry, she needed to finish this, “He wanted me to tell you that he loves you and I think, I think if he doesn’t…he wants you to take Jack.” She broke then, wrapping her arms around Spencer.

Spencer didn’t know what to say as he held the blonde tightly in his arms. He didn’t want to hear those words from JJ, he wanted Aaron to tell him. He wanted, no needed for Aaron to be okay. He broke his hold on JJ and ran out of the hospital. His emotions were too big, too much as the man he loved was fighting for his life. He pulled out his phone and replayed the message, “Spence, I miss you,” over and over as he tried to hold on.

Eighth Year – Part Two

Spencer was pacing outside the hospital with the phone clutched to his ear. Tears were falling as he tried to hold on to the hope that Aaron was going to be okay. He did not hear when someone came up behind him and he jumped when a hand landed on his shoulder.

“Hey, just me,” Morgan said as he held his hands in front of him. He was startled when the younger man flew at him and wrapped his arms around him. Morgan closed his eyes and schooled his own emotions as he gently hugged his the man he saw as his little brother.

“Hey kid, you gotta hang on. You have to trust that he’s going to come out of this, okay?” Morgan rubbed the younger man’s back trying to sooth him.

“I should have been there, I shouldn’t have run Morgan.” He buried his head in Morgan’s shoulder and he shattered. The man he loved was in there fighting for his life and Spencer was having a hard time processing his feelings..

“Reid, you can’t do that to yourself. Come on kid, you have to hang on.” Morgan pulled the man back and grabbed his shoulders, “You have to hang on and you have to believe that he’ll be okay.”

“I know Morgan, but I just, I can’t help feeling like I should have been there.” Spencer pulled away and wrapped his arms around his waist. He walked back into the hospital waiting room with his head down. Sitting in the corner he gave off an air of wanting to be left alone, and though it was hard for them, the team backed off and didn’t push.

“Hello, who’s here for Aaron Hotchner?” A doctor stood in the waiting room ready to speak to the team. They all stood and converged on the doctor eagerly awaiting the verdict of their boss and friend.

“He’s still in surgery, but I was asked to come out here and update you. The bullet that went through his stomach was a through and through. It grazed his small intestine and the surgeon is working to repair the damage. Unfortunately it ricocheted and went right through his spleen and we are going to have to remove it. He will be able to function without it, but there are going to be some care instructions he is going to have to follow. He will be more prone to infections, especially during recovery. Part of the problem we are having is previous scar tissue. It’s complicating the repairs as some of it had begun to build up and was beginning to wrap around the area in question.” The doctor paused a moment to let the team settle before he continued.

“We are working as diligently as we can to not only clean up the scar tissue, but repair the damage to the small intestine. The surgeon thinks that he can repair the damage without any type of removal, which would be the best case scenario. Now as to the bullet to the chest, it did not go clean through. It is lodged very close to the Superior Vena Cava and we have to be very careful on it’s removal. This is one of two main veins that bring de-oxygenated blood from the body and into the heart. It is vital that during the bullet removal that nothing happens to the Vena Cava. This is the more delicate part of the surgery and it is cause for concern. We are doing everything we can to minimize the risks, but we wanted you to be aware that there are risks.” The doctor finished and the team looked devastated.

“Just do what you can Doctor.” Rossi was finally able to speak past the lump in his throat. “You’ll keep us appraised?”

“Of course. I need to get back but know that we are doing everything we can to minimize any risks to Agent Hotchner and to get him through this surgery without any further complications.” The Doctor turned and left and all eyes turned on Spencer who was backing away and retreating to his corner of the waiting room. When JJ tried to approach he just curled in on himself, he didn’t think he could talk to anyone right now as guilt was crashing down on him.

The team wanted to help Spencer, but they all knew this side of him and if they pushed too hard he would retreat even further into himself. They also knew that if anything happened to Aaron, it would destroy Spencer, especially since it had only been just shy of a year of him losing Maeve.

Several hours later the doctor came out again to speak with the anxiously waiting group.

“Okay, just for full disclosure, we had some complications. We lost him twice while working to dislodge the second bullet-” Everyone in the room heard the sharp intake of breath and the grief coming from Spencer as he absorbed this information. “But, we got him back and we were able to finally get the bullet out. There was minor repair to the Superior Vena Cava, but with time it should heal just fine. Now as to the repairs to the small intestine this will take a little more time. Agent Hotchner will have to be on a modified diet, exercise and work program to give it time to heal and his body adjust. The surgeon, unfortunately had to take a small section because the scar tissue went deeper than he thought at first. I will leave a detailed list of instructions that he will need to follow. Now are there any questions?”

“How long will he be out and when will he be ready to take back home?” Rossi went into mother hen mode at this point and everyone else let him.

“He will probably be under for a few hours. We’ll evaluate him tomorrow and if everything looks good he will be airlifted back to Quantico. I’ve already called ahead to Potomac Hospital and they will  have everything ready for Agent Hotchner. And before you ask, you can see him tomorrow, right now he needs complete rest.” The doctor turned and went back to dealing with his other patients.

“Alright lets get to the hotel. We all need to get some sleep then we’ll come back in the morning.” Rossi started directing everyone out of the hospital. He walked over to Spencer, “Come on kid, you can double up with one of us.”

“No, I’m staying,” He looked away from Rossi.

“Reid, you need sleep, and we have the ro-” He was cut off from anything else he was going to say.

“No Rossi, I said I am staying.” He pulled his legs up to him and said nothing else hoping eveyone would just leave him alone..

Dave knew then there was nothing he could do to get Spencer to leave so he just handed him a piece of paper with the address of the hotel.

“In case you change you’re mind,” Dave gave the younger man’s shoulder a squeeze as he tried to reassure him. He turned and left  with a heavy heart.

After everyone had gone Spencer went about finding out where Aaron’s room was and during the minor chaos of shift change he made his way there and slipped into the room. When he saw Aaron on the bed hooked-up to a ventilator and other live-saving machines his heart broke and he cried silently as he sat down in the chair next to the bed. He grabbed Aaron’s hand in his and held it.

“Aaron, you have to wake-up, you have to wake-up and tell me yourself what you told JJ. You have to be okay, not just for me but what about Jack? You have to be okay for Jack. That boy needs you Aaron he can’t lose another parent.” Spencer held his hand tight and moved the chair closer. “I love you Aaron, please, please come back to me.” He bent and kissed the hand he was holding as tears streamed down his face.

He did not hear when the nurse had come in and he was startled when a hand touched his shoulder.

“Sir, you’re not supposed to be in here,” She said quietly.

“Please, please let me stay.” The raw grief on Spencer’s face broke the woman’s heart and against her better judgement she agreed.

“Okay,” She patted the young man on the shoulder as she finished checking Aaron’s vitals.

“Do you need anything honey?” She asked kindly.

“No, I’m fine thank you.” He almost whispered as he continued watching the ventilator breath for Aaron. The nurse left the two of them alone sending up a prayer that the man on the bed will eventually be okay.

“You know you messed up all my plans. I had gotten a position at Cal Sci in the Math department. I would have been working with an old friend of mine. I kind of wanted to make you jealous,” He laughed to himself as he held Aaron’s hand. “I knew you were close to coming to California. I know I was being petty, but dammit you wouldn’t budge.” He rubbed circles on the back of Aaron’s hand, “Come on Aaron wake-up please.” He lay his head on the bed as close to Aaron as he could get.

Spencer hadn’t realized he had fallen asleep like that until he was being woken up by a different nurse.

“Sir, I need to check his vitals.” He let Spencer move out of the way before he checked the machines. After he was done he left then came back in a few minutes later with a different chair.

“Here, I think this will be more comfortable,” He switched out the chairs for the young genius.

“Thank you,” Spencer almost whispered as he lowered into the chair.

“Its not a problem. I have a partner and I cannot imagine if anything like this happened to him. If you need anything just let me know. I’ll be Mr. Hotchner’s nurse till the morning. Just ask for Marshall.” He gave Spencer’s arm a gentle squeeze as he left the room.

Spencer pulled a book out of his messenger bag and started to read out loud to Aaron, hoping that it would wake him up. He knew he was being a bit irrational, and that Aaron just had major surgery and would be down for a few hours, but his anxiety and fear were fueling what he was feeling. He needed Aaron to be okay and he needed reassurance that he would be okay.

A few hours later he was being woken-up by the morning nurse. He saw a blanket had been put around him at some point during the night and a pillow was behind his head. On the tray table was some coffee and what looked like a breakfast sandwich waiting for him.

“Marshall told me that there was a young man who sat by Mr. Hotchner’s bed all night. Normally people who aren’t family shouldn’t be in here. But he said that he thought there was more between you,” The nurse put a hand on his shoulder and he didn’t flinch.

“My name is Karen. If you need anything just let me know. Here’s some coffee and something to eat. I was told that you probably haven’t eaten all night. You have to keep up your strength young man or you won’t be any good to him when he wakes up.” She smiled at Spencer as she walked over and checked Aaron’s vitals.

Spencer watched her as he took the coffee and sipped it. He saw the sugar and creamer packets and proceeded to put several of the sugars in the coffee and a couple of the creamers. He took another sip and moaned in appreciation.

“I’m ah, I’m Spencer.” He told her as he picked-up the sandwich and took a tentative bite. He wasn’t sure how his stomach was going to react to food. He had been so tense since JJ’s phone call that he couldn’t eat. After the first bite he realized he was ravenous. He polished off the whole thing in just a couple of minutes while the nurse worked around him.

Just before she left she turned back to him and smiled, “It’s nice to meet you Spencer.”

After she left he went to the bathroom and splashed water on his face and saw a new toothbrush and toothpaste sitting there along with a small hospital packet of toiletries. Spencer smiled and shook his head knowing that it was probably Marshall that left these things for him. He brushed his teeth, then took off his shirt and washed up his torso. Using the items in the bag and drying off a moment later he had to admit he felt a little better. He put his shirt back on and made his way back out to the room. He walked up to Aaron and bent down and kissed his cheek, running his hands through his hair and closed his eyes.

“Okay Aaron, you’ve been down long enough, you need to open your eyes now.” Spencer kept stroking his hair and kept begging for Aaron to wake-up. He knew rationally that nothing he did was going to wake Aaron sooner, but it gave him something to focus on so his heart would stop hurting so much. After a while he pulled back and sat back down. He realized he was still hungry, the sandwich woke-up his appetite. He got up and went in search of the cafeteria. He found it easily and got something else to eat as well as several snack items and another coffee. He took the food to go and made his way back to Aaron’s room. He pulled out his food and ate it and downed the second cup of coffee. All of these things kept him busy for a short-time, kept his mind off of the man lying on the bed. But when he was done he sat back with the book from the previous evening and started to read again.

It was a couple of hours later when the Doctor showed-up and Spencer was afraid he was going to kick him out.

“It’s okay Spencer. Karen told me that you were here all night. I’m not going to make you leave. Anyone who risked breaking hospital policy to stay with him all night is someone that Mr. Hotchner needs right now.” The Doctor smiled warmly at Spencer.

“Do you know when he’ll wake up?” Worry laced his words as Spencer held onto Aaron’s hand.

The Doctor looked thoughtfully at the younger man before he spoke, “It was the equivalent of two major surgeries at the same time Spencer. The anaesthesia would have worn off hours ago. The fact that Mr. Hotchner didn’t wake-up is not necessarily cause for alarm. Sometimes patients can stay in a coma state and it could be several hours or, honestly it might be several days. What we need to be concerned about now is if Mr. Hotchner is able to breath on his own. Later this afternoon I am going to turn the ventilator down and see how his lungs are functioning. If he is able to maintain I will be taking him off the ventilator then, but if not he may have to be on it for a little while more. If he is breathing on his own by this afternoon I can make arrangements for him to be flown back to Quantico and transferred to Potomac Hospital.”

Spencer nodded his head, not trusting his emotions as he kept his eyes on Aaron.

“Well, I will leave you two alone for now, but I will be back this afternoon. I will also let the rest of your friends come in for a few minutes after we do the ventilator test.” The doctor gathered up his things and left the room.

Spencer went back to his chair, but he had moved it  so that he was as close to Aaron as he could get. He grabbed the book and went back to reading out loud, while one hand held Aaron’s the whole time. After a while he wanted more coffee and went back to the cafeteria. When he got back to the room he just stood in the doorway and looked at the man lying in the bed. His heart ached for Aaron to be okay, and his hand shook with emotion. He got himself under control and took up his vigilance. He made a vow right then and there that he was not leaving Aaron’s side. He was going to stay with him till he woke-up, no matter how long it would take.

A few hours later the doctor came back in and readied Aaron for the ventilator test. He allowed Spencer to stay because he knew that there was no way the young man was leaving anyway.

“Okay Spencer, I’m going to turn down the ventilator to 50% and we’ll see if Mr. Hotchner adjusts and starts to breath on his own.” The Doctor waited for a few seconds and Spencer realized he was waiting for a signal from him. Spencer nodded yes. The Doctor turned down the ventilator and Spencer waited, his heart in his throat. It was a tense few minutes when all of a sudden the machine was being manipulated by Aaron’s own breathing. Spencer and the Doctor both let out the breaths they had been holding.

The Doctor let Aaron breath this way for a few minutes to make sure he was maintaining. When he was satisfied he started to slowly unhook Aaron from the machine. After the tube was  taken out the Doctor listened to his heart and his lungs.

“The lungs are strong and he has good, steady breathing. The heart also sounds good, but I will want to do another check later and if he is still maintaining I’ll make arrangements for his transfer.” He smiled over at Spencer, obviously happy with the results.

“Thank you Doctor…I’m sorry I didn’t get your name.” Spencer was embarrassed that he may have been told the Doctor’s name but he hadn’t remembered it.

“Greene, Doctor Greene. And I hope he comes out of this soon, but his body suffered a great trauma Spencer, so he may be down for a while, while his body heals and gets used to the repairs that had to be made.”

“I understand. I take it the rest of my friends are here and anxiously waiting to come in?”

“They are, I will get them, but please only two at a time and only for a few minutes. Mr. Hotchner’s body is adjusting to having no spleen and he is susceptible to infection, especially this early in his healing.”

“Thank you again, and I will be careful Doctor Greene.” Spencer shook the Doctor’s hand and waited for the first of the visitors.

It was no surprise to Spencer when it was Morgan and Rossi. When they saw Spencer they immediately realized that the young man had stayed the whole night.

“Reid, you stayed here all night?” Morgan went to stand next to his friend.

“I couldn’t leave him Morgan. I had to stay.” The tears he had been fighting all night shone in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall.

“Its okay kid, I get it.” Morgan grabbed his shoulder in a reassuring grip.

“How is he? Do you know?” Rossi turned to Reid as he tried to wall up his own emotions. That was his best friend on the bed and he didn’t know how to process what he was feeling.

“They took him off the ventilator because he’s breathing fine on his own. Doctor Greene said his heart sounds good as do his lungs. They were worried about the lungs because of the damage to the Vena Cava, that’s why he was on the ventilator in the first place.” He went on to explain in detail how the two organs work together and normally Rossi or Morgan would have cut off his rambling, but not this time. This time they both knew this was his way of coping. So they let him ramble till he was done.

“I must look worse than I feel if you two let me go on that long.” Spencer smiled sadly.

“I know this isn’t easy pretty boy, but we’re all here for both of you.” Morgan just stood and watched his Unit Chief and willed the man to wake-up. After about twenty minutes Spencer explained about the short time and suggested that JJ and Emily might want to come in. The two men left and a few minutes later the two women entered.

JJ wrapped her arms around Spencer and held him close. “He’s going to come out of this Spence, you have to believe that.” She reached up and kissed his cheek before turning to go stand beside Aaron’s bed. Taking his hand in hers she just watched for a few minutes.

“Hotch, you gotta be okay. We all need you, especially Jack and Spencer. Come on bossman, you have to open your eyes.” JJ stood there waiting for something to happen and willed herself not to cry. Emily came up next to her and pulled her into a hug. The two women held each other as they prayed that their boss would be okay.

“Doctor Greene thinks he may be like this for a few days. He believes that Aaron’s body is just healing itself, trying to repair the damage.” Spencer stepped to the other side of the bed and held onto Aaron’s hand. The women stayed for a while and talked to Aaron hoping that it would somehow make him wake-up.

After they left Spencer was alone again. He pulled out some of his snacks and started to read to Aaron once more. It was several hours later when Doctor Greene came back in to check on his patient. After reviewing his vitals and being satisfied with the heart and lung functions he told Spencer that he felt it safe to transport Aaron.

“I will be back and give you the details of the transport. I will also ask if its possible that you go with them, if that is what you’d like.” The Doctor asks Spencer.

“Of course, I would appreciate it if you could make that happen.” The Doctor just smiled as he left to go make the arrangements.

“Guess what, you’re going home Aaron.” Spencer picked up Aaron’s hand and held it between his own, rubbing his cheek he felt the fingers twitch.

“Aaron,” He jumped up and moved closer to Aaron’s head, “Aaron come on wake-up, please wake-up.” He laid his head gently on the older man’s chest hoping for his love to wake-up. He stayed like that for a long-time but Aaron didn’t wake up.

A short-time later he was being woken-up again by Doctor Greene. “So Mr. Hotchner will be airlifted out of here tomorrow at 10 am. And the pilot reassures me that there will be room for you on the helicopter.”

“Thank you Dr. Greene, for everything.” Spencer tried to smile but it felt false. He just wanted Aaron to be okay.

By Six o’clock the next evening Aaron was in a private room at Potomac Hospital and Spencer was again keeping up his vigilance.

He had called Jessica just before they got Aaron on the emergency transport helicopter to let her know what was going on. Jack was frantic and wanted to speak with Spencer.

“Uncle Spence, please tell me Daddy will be alright.” Spencer could hear the tears over the phone and it broke his heart. He didn’t know what to do if Jack lost Aaron, it would devastate the boy.

“Jack the Doctors are doing everything they can to help your Dad. Now, we are flying home today and I’m sure the hospital will let you come see you’re Dad. Why don’t I call you as soon as we get settled.” He tried to reassure the young boy.

“But you didn’t say whether Dad would be okay,” Jack’s voice was quiet and Spencer cursed himself.

“Jack, you’re Dad is in a very deep sleep right now. His body is trying to heal from the surgery. He may be like that for a few days so you have to be strong Jack. Can you do that? Can you be strong for your Dad?” Spencer’s voice was calm even though he didn’t fell calm. He knew Jack needed for him to be.

Spencer heard him sniffling over the phone, “Yes Uncle Spencer. I can be strong for Dad.”

“Okay I will call you as soon as we land.”

“Okay, please make Daddy be okay Uncle Spencer,” The little boy hung up and Spencer’s heart was heavy. and tears were in his eyes but he didn’t let them fall. He had to take his own advice and be strong. When he got to the hospital he vowed to be strong for Jack to help him through this.

He called Jessica as soon as they landed and Jack was allowed to see Aaron after about two hours.

Jack tried to be strong and stoic like his father but his heart was tender like his mother’s and seeing his superhero of a father on the bed and hooked up to machines it broke the boys heart.

Spencer vowed to stay and be there for Jack. The boy needed someone to turn to and Spencer wanted to be that person. The next few days were going to be difficult for them both.

Eighth Year – Part Three

It was taking longer than anyone thought for Aaron to come out of the coma. The doctors originally thought that it would be a matter of days, but it was now going on three weeks. Spencer barely left his side. JJ or Emily would come to see him and bring him coffee and something to eat in the mornings. Penelope would bring her laptop and headgear and stay with them for a couple of hours in the afternoons, often bringing him lunch. At night it would be Dave, Morgan or both, and of course they brought him dinner. He knew what they were trying to do and he appreciated it but he really just wanted time alone. Luckily none of them stayed too long, even Penelope could tell when to leave.

Jessica brought Jack over every day after school. The nurses had brought in a folding table that Spencer would set-up so Jack could do homework, only helping when Jack was struggling. He would often head to the cafeteria and get snacks and sodas for them while Jack worked. Afterwards the boy would sit on Spencer’s lap and he would read to his two men. Sometimes Jack would take a nap and curl up next to his father.

After Dave and or Morgan would leave he’d go to Aaron’s house and take a shower and clean-up. He had his friend Charlie pack-up his clothes and had them sent over-night to him. He left the boxes in Aaron’s house so it would be easy to change. He also took advantage of the washer and dryer, and kept food stocked so he could have something available when he was there. He slept a few hours a night, or at least tried to.

He worried the whole time he was away from the hospital, but it was important that Jack’s routine wasn’t interrupted too much. After cleaning up and doing his laundry he would make Jack dinner and they would go over his homework just before settling down for some reading or watching TV. Jack wanted to watch Doctor Who with Spencer and it became a nightly routine. Later after getting Jack into a bath and then to bed he’d sit and read with him.

“Uncle Spencer?” He asked one night, sadness in his voice.

“What is it Jack?” The young boy was snuggled in Spencer’s arms and the older man was trying to comfort him.

“Is my Dad going to ever wake-up?” His eyes were shining with tears.

“Yes he is Jack, we just have to have some patience with him. You know your father does things his own way.” Spencer smiled softly, hoping to ease the young boy’s fears.

“Uncle Spencer?” Jack looked up into Spencer’s face and the expression broke his heart.

“Yes, Jack?”

“After Dad wakes-up are you going to go away again?” His face showed his fear and sadness at the thought of losing Spencer again.

“No Jack, I’m not leaving again. I promise.” He kissed the boy’s head and pulled him close. He began to read to him again and only left when he felt Jack’s breathing even out and he could tell the boy was asleep. He went to Aaron’s bedroom, like he did every night with a heavy heart. He crawled into bed and curled around one of Aaron’s pillows. The man’s scent was still on them and it comforted Spencer. He’d fall asleep with thoughts of the man he loved and silent pleas that he would wake-up.

Spencer was once again camped out in Aaron’s hospital room. He had asked everyone to let him have a day to himself. He knew they cared, he knew they were worried about Aaron, but the constant in and out of his friends was frustrating him. He needed space and the longer that Aaron was still out the more he needed to be alone. He was again curled up in the chair, holding Aaron’s hand and reading to him. The doctor had already come in to do his rounds and everything seemed to check out. The doctors were still puzzled what was taking so long for the older man to pull out, but they would wait another couple of days before they ran the battery of tests to see if there was an underlying cause.

Spencer was in the middle of the second half of Cloud Atlas when he felt it. He lifted his eyes for a moment and the movement was gone. He sighed in frustration but went back to reading. Then he felt it again, this time stronger. He felt Aaron’s finger’s curling around his in a tight grip.

Spencer surged out of his chair, not letting go of that hand.

“Aaron?” He said quietly.

The hand fluttered again and Spencer saw rapid eye movement.

“Come on Aaron, open those eyes, please, please open your eyes.” Spencer encouraged the older man and a few minutes later he was rewarded with Aaron slowly opening his eyes. It took the older man a few moments to adjust his eyesight. He moved his head and looked up into the face of Spencer Reid.

“Spence?” His throat was dry and the name came out raspy but it was the most beautiful sound to Spencer at the moment.

“Yes, Aaron. I’m here, I’m here.” He squeezed the hand that he was holding.

“How…” He tried to swallow so he could say more without his throat hurting. Spencer started to move but Aaron gripped his hand tighter, “How long?”

“You’ve been in a coma for almost a month Aaron.” Spencer took a chance and bent down and kissed the man he loved. “God, I thought I was losing you. Dammit Aaron Hotchner.” He couldn’t talk as he laid his head against Aaron’s and tried not to cry. He felt fingers slowly card through his hair and hold him there.

“Spence,” Aaron croaked out, “I love you Spence, I’m so sorry.” He started to cough from the effort.

Spencer pulled back and grabbed the cup on the tray and poured some water into it then inserted a straw.

“Here, drink,” he said softly as he held the cup out for Aaron. The older man took a few sips to slake his thirst and to coat his throat so he could talk.

“Spencer,” he smiled and he couldn’t help the tears that escaped, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I was a fool-“

“Shh, don’t talk now. We can talk later okay?” Spencer smoothed Aaron’s hair away from his face then he pulled away for a moment, “I’ll be right back, I’m just getting the doctor.” He went to the nurse’s station right outside the room. “He just woke-up.” He couldn’t quite keep the smile off his face and the nurses all quietly cheered. They had been rooting for the couple and were happy for him. Spencer practically ran back to the room and impatiently waited for the doctor.

“Mr. Hotchner, It’s nice to see you finally awake.” The doctor came in looking at his patient file.

“How bad is it Doctor?”

“Simmons, Dr. Michael Simmons.” He smiled at Aaron, “Dr. Green at St. Luke’s sent over your file. The bullet that grazed your heart, you are lucky. It nicked the Vena Cava but they were able to repair it and the tests keep showing that it’s healing just fine. The bullet that went through your abdomen was the one that caused the most complications. Mr. Hotchner, they had to remove your spleen. Now while you are out of immediate danger and you’ve been lucky with no infections, you will have to be careful. You are going to need to see your regular doctor on a more regular schedule. I’m recommending a higher dose of vitamins to boost your immune system.”

“Will that affect fieldwork?” He wanted to know now if he could still be a field agent. Spencer gave him an exasperated look at that being his first question.

“No, Mr. Hotchner, it won’t. But I do advise you taking more precautions. Also they had to take a small portion of your small intestine. You had very invasive scar tissue and when trying to repair the damage from the bullet they needed to clean-up the scar tissue. In doing so the doctors needed to remove about an inch. Now while this doesn’t sound like a lot your body has to get used to the loss. You will need to be on a strict diet that will moderately increase the types and amounts of food you can take in. I will leave everything with your partner and the two of you can look it over when you go home.” Aaron lifted a brow at the word partner and a small smile escaped. He liked the sound of that but he wasn’t sure where Spencer’s head was at. This was suddenly a lot to take in though and he laid his head back and blew out a breath.

“I know it’s a lot to take in right now, but you’ll have plenty of literature to go over and if you have any questions you can call me anytime.” Dr. Simmons went around the patient checking his vitals, checking for skin and nerve sensation, making sure there were no hidden concerns.

“Thank you Dr.” He waited a moment till the doctor finished, “When can I go home?”

The Doctor just furrowed his brow a moment, “Mr. Hotchner you just came out of a near month long coma. It will probably be a few days. We’ll let you rest today and in the morning I am going to have the nurses get you up and walking. It will depend on that. I can safely say about 4 – 5 days.” The Doctor smiled said he’d be by later before he left.

Spencer sat down again and took Aaron’s hand in his own. His heart was so full of emotions he didn’t know what to say.

“Spencer, you’re quiet.” Aaron looked down at their entwined hands and smiled.

“Did you mean it Aaron?” Spencer looked up at Aaron and waited with bated breath.

“Yes Spencer I did mean it. I love you Spencer Reid, I’ve loved you for years but I was a confused, stubborn idiot.” He closed his eyes and swallowed, “I’m so sorry Spencer I never meant to drive you away.”

“I love you too Aaron.” Spencer stood and leaned over the unit chief then slowly and softly kissed him. “Don’t you ever do anything this stupid again,” he chided. There wasn’t much heat behind it because they both knew the dangers of the job.

“I was about to come out to California. The day Garcia gave us the case I had it all set.” He looked to see the shock on Spencer’s face. He knew with that last phone message the man had been close, but he didn’t think that Aaron was going to go through with it.

“I’m here now, we’re here, let’s just start over.” Spencer smiled that shy boyish smile.

“Move in with me.” The request was so out of the blue that Spencer was caught off guard.

“Wha-what?” He was breathing shallow and his heart sped up.

“Spencer I want you to move-in with me. We already know each other, have spent enough time together, live with me, with us. Jack adores you and I know he would love to have you…“ Spencer put a finger on Aaron’s mouth to quiet him.

“Yes, Aaron I will move-in with you.” The two men basked for a few moments in their happiness when they heard a noise at the door.

“Dad, you’re awake, you’re awake,” The eight-year old ran into the room and crawled up on the bed and being careful he hugged his father.

Aaron reached around and held onto his son. Closing his eyes he breathed in deep and buried his head against his boy’s shoulder.

“Hey buddy,” he said quietly in Jack’s ear. “I love you so much Jack.”

“Uncle Spencer has been taking care of me, he cooks dinner, and we watch Doctor Who, then he reads to me till I go to sleep. Please Dad, make him stay, don’t let him go away again.” Jack almost whispered this to his father, not wanting Spencer to know what he was saying.

Aaron smiled over at Spencer, “Jack just asked me to make you stay and not go away again. Do you want to tell him or should I?”

“You tell him.” Spencer still had that boyish grin on his face.

“Jack, Spencer is going to move-in with us.” Aaron laced his fingers with Spencer’s again as he smiled softly at the younger man.

“Really?” Jack moved off of Aaron’s bed and ran around to Spencer and threw his arms around the genius. “I love you Uncle Spencer.”

Spencer closed his eyes as he hugged Jack close to him. “I love you too Jack.” He took a moment before he released the boy. “Okay, I have to go make a phone call, okay Jack?”

“Okay Uncle Spencer,” Jack crawled back on the bed and lay down next to Aaron.

Spencer smiled as he walked back out of the hospital room to go call the team.

Four days later Aaron was walking into his home with his arm wrapped around Spencer. The two had talked more in the hospital and Aaron had confessed all of his fears and why he held back so much. He confessed that his feelings grew after that night they had been together after Haley’s death. He confessed that he had been frozen, that he didn’t want to feel love like that again, and his guilt over deceiving Spencer with Emily’s fake death. He told Spencer that when they had made love that second time his heart broke open, those frozen parts of himself shattered and he ran. He ran in fear because he figured out he was in love with the genius, but couldn’t handle it, not with the guilt that had entered his heart. He made Spencer listen to him, even when the conversation became uncomfortable for the both of them. Each broke down at different times and each time they just held each other and talked past the hurt, the pain, the anger and the feelings of abandonment that Aaron had felt at Spencer’s leaving.

By the time Aaron was released a newer, deeper bond had formed between them. The love they shared shone through and their hearts were lifted. When they walked into Aaron’s house an hour later, he didn’t expect the sight that was before him. The team was there welcoming him home and he felt right for the first time in a long time.

“You guys didn’t have to do this,” Aaron said in his stern unit chief voice.

“Yeah, Hotch we did. Except we didn’t plan it, Genius over there did.” Morgan indicated Spencer with his head.

“Spence?” Aaron smiled at the man in his arms.

“Yes Aaron.” He smiled that crooked boyish smile that Aaron had come to love. Aaron shocked everyone in the room when he pulled the genius into his arms and gave him a passionate kiss that held the promise of so much more.

“Oh My God, does this mean you guys are you know, together, together?” Garcia squealed as she watched two of her family show their love for each other.

Aaron broke off and smiled at the analyst, “Yes Garcia, that means we are together. And no comments from you Dave.” Aaron glared at his best friend.

“I was just going to say it was about time that you got your head out of your ass.” Dave smirked.

“Right,” Aaron just shook his head and accepted the teasing. The team stayed for a while. Morgan barbecued and the everyone else helped set-up for them to all gather around the table and eat.

Several hours later after the team cleaned-up and left the two men alone Aaron and Spencer were getting ready for bed. Aaron smiled over at Spencer as he slid under the covers and pulled the younger man to him, wrapping his arms around him and holding on tight.

“You know this is the first time that we are going to sleep in the same bed knowing what this relationship actually is.” Aaron teased softly.

“You’re right.” Spencer sighed contentedly as he snuggled down against his lover’s side. “I love you Aaron.”

“And I love you Dr. Spencer Reid,” Aaron closed his eyes as he held onto the man curled next to him, “I’ll always love you,” he said as he drifted off to sleep.


It took another six-week’s for Aaron to heal completely from his wounds and in that time Spencer had officially moved in. He had to take a week to go back to California to gather up the few things he had there and to say goodbye to his friend Charlie. When he got back he got all of his books out of storage and together Aaron and Spencer created a make-shift library in the spare room of Aaron’s house. It didn’t take long for the younger man to feel like he was finally home.

Jack was excited, he had come to love Spencer very much and he was ecstatic that his Dad had finally admitted his feelings for the genius. He may have only been a kid, but Jack wasn’t stupid, he just wondered why the adults in his life were.

Aaron was happy as well. When he finally let all of those fears go and was able to finally admit all those feelings he had bottled up he felt free for the first time in a long time. He had a surprise waiting for his lover when he came back from California.

Spencer walked in the door to quiet jazz playing in the background and a table set with wine chilling in the ice bucket and an amazing smell coming from the kitchen. The lights were dim and candles were skillfully placed all over the living and dining room. He didn’t hear Jack anywhere but he quickly figured that the boy was probably still with Jessica.

Slowly he set his bags down and made his way towards the kitchen.

“Aaron?” Spencer called out softly.

Aaron smiled to himself and moved out of the kitchen to see Spencer standing there with a quizzical look on his face. He walked up to his lover and pulled him into his arms. No shame, no second-guessing, no fears, Aaron slowly kissed the man in his arms with the passion that had always been simmering just under the surface of their long friendship. When he finally pulled back and cupped Spencer’s face he smiled.

“I love you Spencer.” He closed his eyes and let the feeling wash over him, “I missed you.” He wasn’t going to take Spencer for granted, not anymore.

“I missed you too Aaron.” Spencer stepped up and wrapped his arms around the older man, “I love you.” The words slipped easily from his lips. He never thought they would get here and he felt horrible that it took a near tragedy for Aaron to finally open-up about his feelings, but in the long run he didn’t regret anything because it brought them to here and now.

“Sit, I have dinner ready.” He led Spencer to the table and kissed him once more before going into the kitchen. A short-time later he was bringing bowls of salad for each of them. It was only the beginning to a wonderful meal. It was light, and the lovers were playful as they fed each other, talked and enjoyed some delicious wine. When they were done Aaron led Spencer to their bedroom and the younger man saw new dark red silk sheets, more candles that Aaron went about lighting and the music that had been playing in the living room was being filtered into the bedroom.

Spencer raised a brow as he turned in Aaron’s arms, “Are you sure?”

“God, yes. Because if we don’t I don’t know how much longer I can take it.” He backed Spencer up till he hit the wall. Aaron placed his hands on either side of Spencer’s head as he slowly leaned in and again kissed the genius with that barely controlled burning passion. He darted his tongue out to lick and taste his lover’s lips and Spencer moaned deeply in the back of his throat. His arms came up around Aaron and he pulled the older man to him, melding their bodies together as his mouth was ravished.

The lover’s undressed each other, taking their time to relearn all the tastes and textures of each other’s bodies. They touched and gripped, bit and licked, as each piece of clothing was removed exposing naked flesh to each other.

Finally Aaron lifted the genius who wrapped his legs around his lover’s waist, then turned from the wall, Aaron collapsed down on the bed with the younger man under him.

“God Spencer, I never thought I’d feel you in my arms like this again.” He laid his forehead on the younger man’s as he let a tear escape his eyes. Spencer reached up and brushed it away, his own feelings churned up and almost too much all at once. “I’m sorry Spencer, I’m sorry for all the lost time and all my own fears. I’m sorry for all the times I hurt you, hurt us, I love you, I love you Dr. Spencer Reid,” And that was all it took for Aaron to get lost in the body beneath him. He cherished every touch, every taste, every motion and burned it in his memory. He made love slowly to his beautiful genius and in the process it was him that came undone, he broke open yet again but this time he let himself feel everything, he let Spencer in, let his lover see him fully and completely exposed for the first time.

When he collapsed next to Spencer and pulled him in close, kissing the genius he felt more settled than he had in so very long.

Spencer saw everything and it was heady. He was let in to see the older man’s vulnerability along with his pain, and his love. Spencer would cherish this, keep it in his heart and never abuse it. For the first time he saw Aaron’s complete honesty with him and knew he was given a gift.

There were no words they could say to each other at the moment so they just held each other, using their hands and mouths to say everything that they couldn’t with their voices. After a while they fell asleep wrapped up in each other as their hearts soared with the knowledge that this was their true beginning.