Spencer stood there too stunned to respond. He openly gaped at the officer as he tried to wrap his head around what he was just told. Opening his hand, he saw the amulet and wondered.
“Um, could you help me try to find someone? It’s ah, it’s my Uncle Rob Simmons. He’s a photographer.”
“Well, this is the place he’d be. Come on back to the station and I’ll see what I can do. What’s your name kid?” Spencer rolled his eyes; He was almost 31 years old for Christ sakes. He very much hated how young he looked to others.
“Fine,” Spencer huffed out his annoyance, but he was still trying to get his bearings. He was having a hard time believing that he was in 1963. Time travel. Not. Fucking. Possible. Sure, he entertained the fantasy when he was young and discovered the Doctor Who television show, but he knew reality. He surmised that he was either having a bizarre dream or he was starting to show signs of schizophrenia. He knew, technically, he was past the age of onset, but it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility. He would reserve judgment until he could figure out just what the hell was going on.
“My name is Spencer Reid.” The office led him to his patrol car, and they sped off to the local police precinct. Spencer was handed off to a detective and the officer disappeared but came back a short-time later and handed Spencer a pair of slippers for his feet.
“Spencer, Officer Wilkes tells me you had quite the night.” The detective looked him up and down with an amused smile at the pajamas. Spencer couldn’t help that, if he really was in the past, Doctor Who hadn’t started yet.
“Um, I ah am not really sure what’s going on. I woke-up in an alley I guess in the middle of SoHo?” Spencer questioned the detective.
“That’s what I was told. Now Wilkes also said that you are looking for someone. A photographer named Rob Simmons?”
“Yes, please can you help me?”
“Stay here let me make a few calls and I’ll get back to you.” Spencer sat uncomfortably in the chair painfully aware that he was still in said pajamas. He shyly looked around and was thankful that the other officers around him weren’t paying him any attention. It was only a few minutes when the detective came back and sat down.
“Okay, I have information and a phone number. I’ll call him first then we’ll take it from there, alright?” Spencer rolled his eyes at the detective; he wasn’t an idiot for god’s sake.
“It’s fine Detective.” Spencer sat patiently as he waited for the detective to ring his Uncle’s house. Spencer barely listened to the conversation, practically tuning out what the detective was saying.
“Sir, sir,” The detective said more forcefully making Spencer focus back on him.
“Oh, ah sorry. Did you need something?” Spencer furrowed his brow as fear shifted inside him.
“Mr. Simmons wants to talk to you.” Spencer signed as he took the old-fashioned phone in his hand.
“This is Spencer Reid,” he said cautiously.
“Well young man I don’t know who you think you are, but I don’t currently have a nephew. My sister isn’t even old enough to marry much less have a kid.” Spencer waited a beat before he spoke.
“Look, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I am your nephew. My mother’s name is Diana Simmons. She,” Spencer looked at the detective and lifted an eyebrow indicating he wanted some privacy.
“Whatever kid, I’ll be right over there.” The detective pointed out the coffee maker and box of pastries in the back of the bullpen. Spencer waited until the officer was gone before he started to speak again.
“Look, my mother is Diana Simmons, later Dr. Diana Reid. She is schizophrenic but is currently being managed by medication. You are Rob Simmons a renowned photographer. When you were six years old your Dad gave you one of the new play cameras called a Diana camera. You thought it was amusing that the camera had the same name as your baby sister. You spent the whole summer taking pictures of anything and everything around you. You were also the first person to know something was really wrong with my mother.”
Spencer heard nothing but heavy breathing for a few minutes on the other line. Then the man finally spoke.
“Alright. I’ll come get ya’ but I want to know what the hell is goin’ on.” Spencer heard the phone click and knew his Uncle had hung up on him. Getting up from the chair he walked to where the Detective was.
“My Uncle is coming to get me in a few minutes. Where is the best place to wait for him?”
“Come on, I’ll wait with you.” The detective led Spencer to the front of the precinct and sat down next to him to wait. Spencer didn’t have long to wait before a man that Spencer would have recognized anywhere came sweeping in. The man walked up to them and, playing his part, pulled Spencer into a hug.
“Well Nephew looks like ya’ got yerself into some trouble there.” A glint in his eye told Spencer that the man was quite amused by what was happening.
“Seems so.” Spencer turned to the detective and again lifted his brow, “Am I free to go detective?”
“Yeah get out of here. I don’t want to hear that you are waking-up in alleys anymore though, okay?”
“Believe me, I don’t want that either.” Spencer smiled as he fell into step with the man next to him. Neither of them said anything as Spencer was led through the streets of SoHo to his Uncles apartment. He ignored the strange looks he was getting from everyone around him. He knew what he looked like currently, but he wasn’t going to let himself get anxious about it. There were too many other weird things going on for him to be concerned about looks. Once inside Spencer was able to slip off the thin slippers and stretch out his feet as he collapsed down on the couch.
“Okay kid, explain yourself.” Rob sat down across from Spencer.
Spencer reached inside the pocket of his pajamas and pulled out the amulet. He saw the recognition flash in his Uncles’ eyes.
“Where did you get that?” Rob tried to take it from Spencer, but he held on tight to it.
“Your attic, in 2011.”
Rob sat back in his chair and stared long and hard at the man who called himself his nephew. Spencer felt like he was being scrutinized from head to toe and knew he wasn’t wrong in that assumption.
“That thing will mess with your life kid. When you get back home, I’d advise you to destroy it.”
“Why, what is it?”
“It’s a time-travelling device. It’s been in our family for generations. No one knows its true origins, or how it got in our family’s hands in the first place. I found it in my Granddad’s things after he passed away. Well, I went to sleep that night and found myself waking-up in 1889. I didn’t believe it at first. But trust me when I say that nothing good can come from possessing that thing.”
“So, this really is 1963 and I’m not having a schizophrenic break?”
“No son you are not following in Diana’s footsteps if that is what you are worried about. You really are in 1963.” Spencer noticed his Uncle staring at his pajamas and frowning.
“Oh, ah it’s a TV show that hasn’t started yet. In fact, it will in exactly five months from now. Of course, they had a terrible opening because of the assassination of- “Spencer stopped himself. He knew he shouldn’t say anything more; he didn’t want to upset his Uncle.
“An assassination? When? Where? Who is it?” The photojournalist in Rob was coming out and Spencer knew he shouldn’t have said a damn thing. “And dammit boy if you know somethin’ and it could be prevented don’t ya’ think ya’ have a duty to tell the appropriate authorities?”
“Oh, right and just how would that go Uncle? ‘Oh, I’m a time-traveler and I know something terrible is going to happen in a few months and you have time to prevent it. And no, I’m not crazy.’ Right that would go so well.”
“You got an attitude on ya’ don’t ya’ son. You really are Diana’s boy.” Rob just shook his head and Spencer could have sworn that he had a twinkle in his eye. “And yeah you’re right. They’d throw ya’ in clink faster than I could get ya’ a lawyer.”
“Well, I’m here now. If it’s okay with you I’d like to look around the city for a while. I’ve never been to this part of New York before. Please, one day?”
Spencer saw his Uncle shake his head at him then smile. “Okay kid, one day. But first ya’ gotta clean up. You’re about my size so one of my suits should fit ya’. I’ll spot ya’ a few bucks too.” Rob snorted a laugh and shook his head at the young man. “I see it ya’ know. You have Diana’s eyes, and her messy hair.”
Spencer smiled because his Uncle had always remarked how much he looked like his mother. Getting up from the couch Spencer followed his Uncle through the small apartment. Looking around he didn’t see anything of his Aunt, he wondered if this was before or during Rob’s courtship. Taking a chance, he decided to ask.
“So, Uncle, how’s Stella?”
Rob stopped in the middle of his bedroom and turned to face Spencer.
“You know Stella? Wait, ya’ know what? Don’t tell me I don’t want ta’ know. I wanna be surprised.” Rob went to his closet and pulled out slacks, a button-down shirt and a casual jacket. He asked Spencer what his shoes size was and was pleased to learn they were nearly the same size. Leaving the clothes Rob showed Spencer the bathroom then left him so he could shower and change.
Spencer came back out of the small bedroom after cleaning up and changing and his Uncle looked up with a smile.
“Now don’t ya’ look better,” Rob said as he approached with a tie and handed it to Spencer. Taking the accessory, he tied it around his neck then turned to look in the small mirror that was hanging in the living room.
“Anywhere I should avoid?” Spencer turned back to look at his Uncle questioningly. The man took out a map of the area he kept in one of the drawers of his desk. He ticked off the places that Spencer should try and avoid if he could. Straightening up Spencer took a deep breath and started towards the door. His Uncle called out to him as he put his hand on the doorknob.
“Don’t you need this?” Rob held out the folded-up map.
“Nope. Eidetic memory,” he smiled at the look on his Uncles face.
“Why does it not surprise me.” Rob huffed out under his breath. Spencer chuckled as he once again gripped the doorknob and walked out and down back to the street, this time appropriately dressed.
Taking his time Spencer walked the district in awe. He was having fun seeing this part of New York for the first time ever. When he got to the heart of the arts district Spencer took an even slower pace. Old meat-packing warehouses had been slowly turned into cheap artist’s lofts. Some, Spencer could tell, people actually were squatting in because they hadn’t been transformed as of yet and It didn’t seem that the authorities even cared.
After a while he was getting thirsty and he decided to duck into one of the small lunch counters and ordered a sandwich and something to drink. He felt better his quick meal that he decided to keep going. When he came upon a ‘model for hire’ business it piqued Spencer’s interest. Stepping inside he walked up to the front desk and asked the attendant how it worked. The attendant explained that they specialized in models for photographers. Spencer was given a book to look at that contained pictures of all of the models currently working. He went through the book and didn’t see anyone that caught his interest. The attendant gave him the addresses of three other known business just like theirs. Taking the information Spencer visited each one. He wasn’t even sure what he was looking for, but it was the third one that he finally found it. There in the book was the model Aaron M.
“Him.” Spencer spun the book around to the attendant who pulled out a small appointment book that had Aaron’s name on it. Seeing that the man was free Spencer was told he could rent a camera for the entirety of the session if he didn’t already have one. He could buy one or two hours, plus film and camera rental it only cost him twenty-five dollars. He spent a little extra and bought six more canisters of 35 mm film. Just in case. Spencer was directed up to the room where Aaron was waiting. The attendant explained that they could set the terms of where the session took place between the two of them. He had a choice of there in the make-shift studio or out on the streets. Finally, taking a deep breath Spencer approached the door and walked in.
Sitting on a chair with a book in his hand and a leg up over one of the armrests was the man that Spencer hadn’t been able to stop thinking about. For a moment all ability to speak had left him.
“Well, I guess we could do this without any introductions.” The man slowly smiled, and it twisted something in Spencer’s stomach. “But I think it would make the session boring. Don’t you?”
“Oh, ah sorry. I’m ah Spencer. Spencer Reid. Nice to meet you Aaron.” Spencer smiled wide and was rewarded with a look form Aaron that had him wondering just what it would be like to see him naked in bed. Spencer closed his eyes a moment and swallowed hard.
“Well Spencer, where do you want to do this? Here? Down in one of the studios? Or do you have something else in mind?” Spencer thought that Aaron’s smooth deep voice was going to be the death of him.
“Ah, why, why don’t we do a roll here then maybe utilize one of the studios downstairs?”
“Your session. You just tell me what you want me to do.” There was that deadly smile again. Spencer hoped he could get through the session without somehow embarrassing himself.
Spencer just nodded and turned around to try to get himself under control. Taking one of the packets of film he loaded up the rented Leica M3 Singlestroke. It was a camera Spencer was quite familiar with, having one in his own collection back in 2011. Finally, he got the film seated properly and changed out the lens to a filtered lens that he could insert different colored filters. He wanted to play with the double exposure, light, and filtering with the model. Smiling Spencer turned back around and said that he was ready.
“Just tell me how you want me,” Aaron said, and the innuendo wasn’t lost on Spencer as a small incontrollable shudder ran through him.
“Do you have a different colored t-shirt?” Spencer didn’t want the white, he hoped that the model had something else.
“Actually, yes I do.” Aaron went to a small travel case and pulled out several t-shirts in various colors. Spencer opted for the royal blue. He had an easy time with blues in his work and he hoped it would be the same this time. Aaron took off his white shirt and Spencer got quite the eyeful. While not classically muscular Spencer saw that Aaron was nicely built. His waist was narrow but not unpleasantly so. He followed the lines of the model’s body and noticed slim but firm hips straining against the tight well-cut jeans. By the time Spencer eyes came back up to his chest Aaron had the almost too tight blue t-shirt on him which made Spencer swallow hard as he tried to bring his breathing back under control.
“See something you like Spencer?” Spencer saw the playful look in Aaron’s eyes, and it took his breath away. That was the second innuendo from the man and Spencer had to shake his head to somehow try to take control of the situation.
“Uh, yeah, could you sit in the window sill? One leg in the sill with your back against it and your other leg bend down where your foot is touching the floor. Right arm on your knee, left arm relaxed on your left leg. Perfect.” Spencer was pleased with the afternoon light that filtered in. He spent a few minutes framing then took a series of long and short exposure shots, then rewound the film back to the first position and took a double exposure at different angles using the natural lighting. It was an effect that was almost impossible with digital cameras. It could be done once the photos were uploaded into a computer, but to get the true beauty of double exposures it needed to be done the old-fashioned way.
Spencer spent the rest of the first roll of film and all of a second with Aaron in different positions around the small room. When it became dusk, he deiced to change tactics.
“Why don’t we go outside?” Spencer looked up and saw the model smiling at him.
“Okay. You lead,” Aaron gave him one of his megawatt smiles and it again fluttered something low in his belly. He hadn’t been this attracted to someone outside of his marriage in years.
Leading the dark-haired man downstairs Spencer looked for interesting places close by. He shot another two rolls using various techniques and filters. When he looked at his borrowed watch, he noticed that his time was almost up.
“Well, our time is almost up. I only paid for a two-hour session.”
“You are quite good. You didn’t hesitate once, so not a student. Are you a professional? And if so, why are you using a rental?” Aaron asked him as they walked side by side back to the little series of studios.
Spencer let out breath as he thought of what to say, “Well I’m visiting my Uncle for a couple of days and didn’t think to bring any of my cameras with me.” The lie easily rolling off his tongue. How in the hell would he be able to tell this man the truth? He would sound way too crazy.
“Well next time you should bring your own equipment. I bet your even more fun to watch when it’s an instrument you are intimately familiar with.” Aaron quirked up the side of his lips into a small smile.
The flirtatious tone didn’t go unnoticed by Spencer as his cheeks flushed. As much as he would like to stay and find out more about Aaron, he knew he had to go back home. He didn’t think that he was ever going to be able to come back and he had made the most he could out of the time he did have.
“Who says there will be a next time?” Spencer flirted back.
“Because I couldn’t help seeing the way that you look at me.” Spencer’s eyes widened and he choked back a retort. “And I liked watching you too.”
The two men entered the studio and Spencer hesitated on saying his goodbyes. For some reason he felt like he wanted to cry. They had barely spoken to each other, yet Spencer felt like a connection had been made between them.
“Till next time Mr. Reid.” Aaron walked away not waiting for Spencer to respond. Sighing deeply Spencer took the film out of the camera and turned it in. The attendant quickly inspected it to make sure that it was still in good working condition. Satisfied he nodded to Spencer who then left the studio and started to walk the twelve blocks back to his Uncles apartment.
He was startled when he felt someone brush-up against his side.
“You seem to be going in the same direction as me.” Spencer turned to look directly at Aaron.
“My Uncle is a few blocks from here.”
“Hmm,” Aaron hummed as Spencer felt the man’s eyes on him. “Why don’t you have coffee with me? I find I don’t want to quite let you go yet.”
Spencer ducked his head down to hide the flush he could feel building on his cheeks. For the first time in years he didn’t even contemplate his actions, he just decided to go with it.
“Sure, why not?” He gave his companion a wide smile.
“Then follow me.” Spencer bit his lip as he followed Aaron through the streets of Manhattan until he ducked down an alley and led Spencer to an out of the way little café. When they walked inside Spencer was assaulted with smoke and a dimly lit atmosphere. On stage was a young man sitting at a microphone with a companion on the side holding a drum. Spencer lifted a brow when he looked at Aaron who had a stern look on his face but there was a twinkle in his eye.
“They make the best espresso in the city; would you like one?” Aaron asked him as he waived down a waitress.
“Yes, thank you,” Spencer mumbled but it was just loud enough for Aaron to hear. He turned to his gaze to the stage when he heard the slow beat on the drum. The man on the stool then started to speak in a low clear tone.
“The hermit locks his door against the blizzard. He keeps the cabin warm.” The drummer knocked out a series of beats on the drum then the speaker resumed. “All winter long he sorts out all he has. What was well started shall be finished.” Two more beats and a long pause. “What was not, should be thrown away. In spring he emerges with one garment and a single book. The cabin is very clean.” Spencer sat there mesmerized and the poem somehow struck a very deep chord inside him. He frowned as he tried to settle the well of emotions that started to rise in him and schooled his expression as he once again lifted his head to watch the poet on stage. “Except for that, you’d never guess anyone lived there. *” With a shaking hand Spencer reached for the demitasse of espresso that had appeared on their table. Taking a sip, he cleared his throat before he spoke to his companion.
“You know beat poets are most noted chiefly for their rejection of poetic as well as social conventions, exemplified through experimental, often informal phrasing and diction and formless verse that attempts to capture spontaneity of thought and feeling. The young man up on stage seems to convey that idea very well.” Putting down his coffee Spencer abruptly stood from his chair and quickly walked to the bathroom.
Standing at the sink he curled his fingers tightly around the sides, more to help keep him upright than anything else. Thoughts of James and the day he and Maeve cleaned out his room flashed through his head. He didn’t even try to stop the tears. Not even when he heard the door open and someone came to stand next to him.
“Hey, are you okay?” Spencer felt Aaron shift to stand beside him.
“Yeah,” Spencer choked out as he turned away to grab a towel. Wiping his face, he turned back towards Aaron as he took a shaky breath. A few seconds later he felt gentle fingers on his chin lifting his head.
“You don’t look fine. Do you want to talk about it?” Spencer shook his head no; he didn’t want to talk about this with a stranger. “Okay, you don’t have to. Come on, let’s just enjoy our coffee.” Aaron took his fingers off Spencer’s chin and he immediately felt the loss of those warm, soft fingers on him. Giving himself a moment to get under control he followed behind Aaron back to their table. The next few poets ran the gamut of funny to poignant. Spencer sat there intrigued as he listened to an art form that was almost extinct in his own time.
He sat with Aaron as they drank their coffees and was grateful that he didn’t push for answers. Every once-in-a- while they would lock gazes and Spencer could swear, he saw a bit of heat behind those warm inviting eyes. Conversation would flow quick between them then long periods of silence. Spencer had never experienced this, and he rather enjoyed it. By the time they left it was late, but Aaron stayed with him until they got almost all the way back to his Uncle’s apartment.
Spencer felt a hand grab his and he was quickly pulled into an alley. “Spencer,” Aaron looked like he wanted to ask him something but couldn’t quite get the words out. The two men stayed like that locked in a gaze that spoke of want and longing. “I’d like to kiss you,” Aaron finally broke the spell between them.
Spencer thought about it a moment. If this was the only time he was going to see this man, then he wanted something more than pictures to remember him by.
“Yes.” His voice came out more breathless than he expected. Aaron smiled as he leaned in and softly brushed his lips against Spencer’s, teasing and tempting all at once. Then slowly, almost painfully slow the kiss became heated as lips were pressed to his. Spencer felt Aaron wrap his hands around his hips and pull him closer. Spencer slid his arms around Aaron’s back and practically melted against him. By the time Aaron broke the kiss Spencer was flushed and quite aroused. It had been a long time since someone had touched him like Aaron had.
“Well,” Spencer was breathing heavy as his arousal hadn’t waned.
“Well indeed Mr. Reid,” Aaron said as he teased his lips against Spencer’s once again.
“I, I’m sorry I ah need to get back.” Spencer bit his lip and more than anything he wanted to follow this man back to his apartment and get lost in his arms, but the reality of his situation and thoughts of Maeve entered his mind.
“Okay. Can I see you again?” Aaron ran his thumb across Spencer’s lips and was rewarded when a shudder passed through him.
“I,” Spencer didn’t’ know what to say. He didn’t think that he was ever going to see this man and he didn’t want to give him false hope. “I don’t know. Do you have a number?”
Aaron smiled and it caught something in Spencer’s heart and twisted something in his gut. He knew right there and then that it would be so easy for him to fall in love with Aaron Hotchner.
Aaron plucked a little notebook he had in one of his coat pockets, dashed off some numbers, tore the sheet off and handed it to Spencer.
“Here you go.”
They stood there looking at each other for another minute before Spencer moved away from the wall and started to walk the last block to his Uncles place.
“Well, this is me.”
“Goodnight Spencer.” Aaron squeezed his hand once before he walked away. Spencer tried to tell himself that his heart wasn’t breaking. He had no idea how he started to fall for someone after just one day together.
Once he finally got inside the apartment he was greeted with a sandwich and some potato salad and the ever-familiar chicory coffee.
“Well, you were gone quite a long time Spencer,” Rob remarked as Spencer emptied his pockets of the film.
“I found that series of photography studios where you can rent time with a model and a camera. I met a rather intriguing model by the name of Aaron M.” Spencer didn’t realize he had a dreamy look on his face until his Uncle cleared his throat. “He, he invited me for coffee. Went to this little out of the way beatnik café.” Spencer knew he was smiling too much when he turned back to look at his Uncle.
“Watch out Spencer. That kind of thinking can get you in a lot of trouble.” Rob looked very concerned at the young man as he sat down in his chair and began to eat.
“It’s not like that Uncle. I doubt I’ll ever see him again. When I get back home what are the chances that I’ll come back if I put the amulet away?” The sad note in Spencer’s voice should have alerted his Uncle but it didn’t. “Besides in my time laws are taking effect that allow for anyone to get married to anyone as long as they are the legal age of consent.”
“Really now, that would be something to see.” Spencer smiled and wondered what Aaron would have been like in his own time. He shut down that train of thought rather quickly because he knew that it was an impossible idea to even entertain.
After finishing his meal Spencer was more tired than he even thought possible. Slipping out of his borrowed clothes he put his pajamas back on and announced to Rob that he was going to go to bed. He laid down with thoughts of Aaron and his day in New York running through his head and how tempted he was to stay. But he knew he had responsibilities back home. Just before he dozed off though he wanted to try an experiment. He slipped out of bed and grabbed the film and stuffed them in a sock of his Uncle’s. He couldn’t quite help the tear that slipped out as he held the sock and the amulet in his hands. Spencer soon fell asleep and dreamed of Aaron.
When he woke several hours later, he saw that he was back in his room at his Uncle’s house. Sitting up in bed he could feel the depression setting in. A part of him felt that he left the beginning of something very special behind.