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[personal profile] daylyn
Title: Team Dinner
Author: Daylyn
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Rating: PG-13 (FRT)
Pairing: Hotch/Reid
Word Count: ~ 5,000
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their copyright holders. No profit is intended.

Summary: Hotch and Reid decide to tell the team about their relationship. Things don’t go exactly how they expected.

Warnings: A bit of schmoopy fluff? SPOILERS for events that occur in Season 5.

Author’s Note: A continuation of my Five Dinners universe, although this fic can stand alone.


Team Dinner
By Daylyn

Aaron pulled Spencer in closer to his chest as they lay sprawled on his bed, and gently kissed the top of Spencer’s head. Spencer shifted and looked up at him; they kissed lazily, the slow slide of tongues eliciting soft moans. Spencer pulled away with a soft sigh and put his head back on Aaron’s chest. Aaron kissed the top of his head again.

Aaron sighed in contentment, his body sated and loose. He stroked his hand along Spencer’s sweaty back.

He noticed, however, that Spencer was tenser than he should be after such intense love-making. “What’s wrong?” Aaron asked gently.

“Why do you think something is wrong?” Spencer replied, a little too quickly.

“Because your body feels tense. And because you’re too defensive when responding to the question.”

“Damn profilers,” Spencer muttered.

Aaron waited. He knew that Spencer would eventually tell him when something was bothering him, but he learned, the hard way, that pushing Spencer when he wasn’t ready to talk would exacerbate the situation.

Spencer eventually sighed. “We have to tell them, don’t we?”

Aaron felt himself stiffen in response. There could be only one ‘them’ that Spencer meant – the team. And to ‘tell them’ meant admitting that he and Spencer violated the FBI’s fraternization policy and had been involved in an intimate relationship, steadily, for the past six months.

“We should,” Aaron said neutrally.

“It could go badly,” Spencer replied.

That was the problem – it could, indeed, go badly. The fact that Aaron was acting as a hypocrite, supposed to enforce rules while simultaneously breaking them, sat poorly on his conscience. Further, he really did not know how the team would react to him (a) being involved with a man, and (b) that man being Spencer. Actually, he didn’t even know how they would respond to Spencer being involved with a man, especially his boss. The team’s reaction could range from complete acceptance to strong accusations of favoritism, and anything in between (to all of it, he supposed, since each person could react quite differently). An extremely bad reaction could spell the end of Aaron’s career, or Spencer’s.

“I don’t want to have to leave the team,” Spencer said quietly. “At the risk of sounding maudlin, they really are the only family, outside of mom of course, that I feel I’ve ever had.”

Aaron was alarmed. “No one said anything about you leaving the team.”

Spencer sighed and shifted so he was looking directly into Aaron’s eyes. “Hotch, if it goes badly – really badly – one of us will have to leave. The best case scenario would be working for another department in the FBI. The worst would be leaving the Bureau. Let’s be realistic – you’re not going to leave. I don’t mean this as a criticism, but if you didn’t leave the BAU for either Haley or Jack, you’re not going to leave it for me. Nor would I want you to.”

Aaron felt his throat constrict. “I’m not ruining your career. I’ll—” Aaron had no idea how to end that sentence.

Spencer leaned over and kissed him, fiercely. Aaron pulled him in for a tight embrace.

“I don’t want you to leave,” Aaron whispered when they broke apart. “I don’t want to leave either.” He saw a questioning look in Spencer’s eyes. “And I certainly don’t want to give you up. You and Jack are the best things in my life,” Aaron continued and felt Spencer melt against him a little. Aaron took a deep breath. “I don’t know what to do.” He closed his eyes tightly at that admission.

He felt Spencer kiss his brow. He opened his eyes and met Spencer’s gaze; he started to stroke Spencer’s hair before he was even aware that he was moving.

“Look, not telling them is causing tension between us, isn’t it?” Spencer asked. Aaron nodded. “I think we just need to do it,” Spencer continued. “Maybe the reaction won’t be bad. Maybe it will. But we’ll deal with it, together. And if I have to leave, maybe I can convince them to just let me transfer quietly.”

“I’m not letting you leave.”

“That may not be your choice, Aaron.”

“They’ll be a lot of resentment; they’ll blame me if you leave.”

Spencer smiled suddenly. “Well, maybe we can use that to make them feel guilty and keep them from saying something so I don’t have to leave.”

Aaron snorted. “You think they won’t notice that we’re guilt-tripping them?”

“Well, you’re the ‘mom’ of the team; you’re allowed to guilt-trip them.”

Aaron made an indignant noise and tousled Spencer’s hair. Spencer laughed slightly and then leaned in for another kiss. Aaron hummed and started running his hands along Spencer’s back and sides. Spencer straddled him and started to kiss Aaron’s neck and chest.

“So we tell them,” Aaron breathed and then groaned as Spencer tongued his nipple.

“Mmm… yes. Later.” Spencer went back to what he was doing. Aaron pulled him tight.

Later was a good plan.

*****

Later was coming far too soon.

The team was flying back from a case and Garcia was talking to them over the computer connection on the plane. Aaron, almost, thought that it would be a good time to break the news to them, but he saw the panicked look on Spencer’s face and decided that the FBI jet was probably not the place to suddenly announce that you were breaking FBI policy and sleeping with one of your subordinate teammates.

But Aaron knew he had to do something soon.

“I need to talk to everyone… at some point,” he suddenly announced. Spencer slunk down in his seat and wouldn’t make eye contact.

“What’s up?” Rossi asked with his usual aplomb. The rest of the team looked at him with eyes tired from the case.

Aaron swallowed. “It’s actually a personal matter and I would prefer to discuss it someplace that is… not work.”

“O-kay,” Rossi said slowly. Everyone else was now looking at him with intensely curious expressions, except, of course, Spencer, who wasn’t looking at him at all.

“I know it’s an imposition, but would all of you be available to come to dinner at my place?” Aaron gave a strained smile. “We could consider it a sort-of house-warming party.” Aaron had moved to a new place about a month previously; a bigger place with a small yard for Jack to play in.

“Aaron Hotchner, holding a dinner party,” Rossi said in amazement. “God, you’re not going to cook, are you? I still remember that one time when you barbequed steaks and managed to have them both charred outside and cold inside.”

“I’ll come up with an alternative,” Aaron said with great dignity.

“Then count me in. So long as you’re not cooking. Although I’d probably come anyway since curiosity might almost trump food poisoning.”

“I can’t this weekend,” JJ said regretfully and Morgan agreed.

“What about next weekend?” Prentiss chimed in.

“That works for me,” Garcia declared. There was agreement all around, although Rossi still looked extremely amused.

“This better be worth it, Aaron,” he said with a smirk.

Aaron ignored him. “If we’re not on a case, I would appreciate it if you all could come to my place for dinner next Saturday. Say, around seven. Team only, please.” They all nodded. “Thank you,” he continued, and then looked out of the jet’s window, steadfastly ignoring the extremely curious glances.

Dinner at his place. He and Spencer had a little over a week to prepare.

*****

“I’m not ready,” Spencer declared from the kitchen, a note of panic in his voice.

Aaron walked in to find pots simmering and vegetables being cut and Spencer on the verge of hyperventilating. He put his hands on Spencer’s shoulders. “Relax.”

“How can I possibly relax? I’m cooking dinner for the team and my soufflé won’t rise and I don’t think the stew is the right consistency and just why the hell am I making dinner for the team anyway?”

“Because you told me that you were convinced that you cooking the team a homemade meal would shock them so much that they wouldn’t notice anything we said. I wanted to cater, remember?”

“How could you have listened to me? You know my mother’s schizophrenic and that I’m predisposed to moments of insanity.”

Aaron gave him an amused look and then pulled him in for a hug. He felt Spencer slowly exhale and relax against him.

“I’m being overly dramatic, aren’t I?” Spencer asked into his neck.

Aaron pulled back slightly and kissed Spencer gently. “You’re nervous. I get that. I’m nervous too.”

“You’re not having panic attacks in the kitchen.”

“I think I’ve dusted this place like 50 times. Maybe more.”

Spencer took a deep breath. “We’ll be fine, right?”

Aaron kissed him again. “Yes. I promise you that whatever happens, we’ll be all right.” They started kissing again, lazily but with a hint of simmering passion.

The doorbell rang.

“Who the hell could that be?” Spencer squeaked. “It’s only six o’clock. Who would be arriving so early?”

“It’s probably Dave. I’ll go get the door and entertain him.”

Spencer nodded then turned back to the kitchen counter, eyeing the vegetables. “Let me get back to work.”

Aaron went to leave the kitchen, but then turned back briefly. “You’re really making a soufflé?”

Spencer looked into the oven and his face fell. “Apparently not.”

Aaron knew enough not to laugh.

He went to the door and, as he expected, David Rossi was on the other side with a bottle of good scotch. Really good scotch, actually. Aaron let him in.

“Hey,” Rossi said in greeting, handing Aaron the scotch. “I’m aflame in curiosity here. What’s this all about?”

Aaron poured two glasses and handed one to Rossi. “Let’s wait until everyone is here. I only want to do this once.”

“You’re doing nothing to quell my wild speculations. Where’s Jack, by the way?”

“I asked Jess to watch him for tonight.”

There was a noise from the kitchen. “So who’s in there, then?” Rossi asked.

“Reid is cooking dinner,” Aaron said, his voice perfectly neutral.

Reid is cooking dinner? In your kitchen?”

“As you pointed out, I have no culinary talent.”

“And Reid does? This is Dr. Spencer Reid we’re talking about, right? Junk-food junkie Reid. We’re not having a dinner of Twinkies and Cheetos, are we?”

Aaron gave him a steady glare.

Dave had a big grin on his face. “This I have to see,” he said and started walking to the kitchen.

Aaron sighed. “He’s a little sensitive about the soufflé.”

Dave stopped short and stared at Aaron. “Souffle?” Dave snorted. “I didn’t think he had it in him.”

Aaron followed Dave as they went into the kitchen. “Hey, Spencer.”

Spencer smiled and tried to look nonchalant. Aaron thought that he almost pulled it off. “Oh, hi Dave.”

“You’re cooking?”

“Yeah. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t even try to make Italian food. I know that I could never meet your standards.” Spencer looked at Aaron. “Hey, Aaron, would you mind getting me a mixing bowl?”

Rossi raised his eyebrow at Spencer’s use of Aaron’s first name. Aaron kept his face straight. “Sure.” He went to the kitchen cabinet.

“You have mixing bowls?” Rossi asked, his tone amused.

“I was married. Of course I have mixing bowls.” He stood in front the cabinet and wondered where they were.

“Upper shelf, right side,” Spencer supplied.

Dave gave him an incredulous look. “You know where his mixing bowls are?”

Spencer merely sniffed at him, distracted by something in a simmering pot. “I helped unpack the kitchen when we moved Hotch in. Of course I remember where the mixing bowls are.”

Rossi, however, got a thoughtful look.

*****

Everyone was thoughtful with their gifts, although Aaron truly hoped that Garcia didn’t come with another bottle of scotch.

He had no reason to worry. Garcia arrived wearing some bright colored, frilly purple outfit, clutching cookies and candles. Aaron smiled and invited her in.

The rest of the team was milling about the place. JJ and Emily were hanging out with Spencer in the kitchen, offering cooking “suggestions” which Spencer promptly ignored, especially since Emily’s cooking talents were actually inferior to even Aaron’s. Morgan had gone into the kitchen, briefly, but made a hasty retreat when he saw Spencer wielding a butcher knife.

“It’s kinda worth your life to be in there,” Morgan said, indicating the kitchen entrance. Neither Aaron nor Rossi disagreed with him. “Hey, baby girl,” he said, noticing Garcia.

“I’m not late, am I?” Garcia asked, sounding a bit nervous as she stood in the foyer of her supervisor’s home.

“Not at all,” Aaron assured her. “The rest of them were early. Reid’s cooking dinner; let me check and see how that’s coming.”

Garcia stopped short as she was walking into the living room. “Reid’s cooking dinner?”

“We all had that reaction,” Rossi said from where he was lounging on the couch.

“He’s not who I would expect to be cooking dinner,” Garcia said with a tone of surprise.

“I’ll go check on him,” Aaron said again.

“Watch the knife,” Morgan warned.

Aaron ignored him as he went to the kitchen. He wondered whether Spencer really wasn’t some sort of evil genius – maybe he was right and the team would be so focused on Spencer’s cooking that anything else they said would be inconsequential. Aaron sighed. He knew that they really wouldn’t be so lucky.

Aaron walked into the kitchen to find Spencer and JJ in a heated discussion about cayenne pepper. “Penelope’s here,” Aaron said. “How’s dinner going?”

“It’s almost done,” Spencer said and then glared at JJ. “Except for the fact that she’s trying to ruin it.”

“You have no sense of adventure, Spence,” JJ replied.

Emily started laughing and took a sip of red wine.

Aaron took a deep breath. “Why don’t you two go say hi to Garcia, and I’ll help Reid finish up in here.”

“Fine,” JJ said. “But I still think it would be better if you let me add these spices.”

“Absolutely not,” Spencer declared adamantly.

JJ tousled his hair, much to Spencer’s dismay, and she and Emily headed to the living room.

“How are you doing?” Aaron asked Spencer quietly, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Dinner is almost ready and I’m… okay. I’m ready to do this. Well, as ready as I’ll ever be.”

“All right.” Aaron squeezed Spencer’s shoulder and then turned to leave the kitchen.”

“Aaron.”

Aaron stopped and turned back.

Spencer gave him a quick smile. “I think I should be the one to make the announcement.”

“Why?” Aaron asked, genuinely curious.

“Because one of the arguments to support the fraternization rules, especially between a superior and a subordinate, is to avoid an abuse of power. There are assumed power dynamics, both on the job and in a relationship. If you make the announcement to them, subconsciously the team could believe that you have some sort of power over me. However, if I break the news, I’m coming from a position of authority, which also subconsciously establishes a level of equality in our relationship.”

Aaron thought about that for a moment. “All right.”

“You don’t mind?”

“Of course not.” Aaron could see that Spencer looked a bit apprehensive. He reached out and quickly stroked Spencer’s cheek. “You are coming from a position of equality in this relationship. You know that, right?”

“I never doubted it, Aaron.”

They both smiled.

They heard a sound and looked toward the entrance to see Rossi coming in. He gave them a puzzled look and then shrugged. “The troops sent me in. They’re getting restless. What’s happening with dinner?”

Spencer turned back to his pots and declared it perfect.

“Great,” Aaron said, “let’s eat.”

*****

Aaron took a bite and had to admit that Spencer’s cooking really was very good. There were varying gasps of surprise coming from around the dinner table.

“Wow. This is good,” JJ admitted, almost reluctantly.

“Well, cooking is a lot like chemistry,” Spencer said. “Chemistry is the systematic unveiling of the nature of matter—its properties, composition, and structure—and the energy dynamics that accompany matter transformations. Chemistry is the science of matter and the changes it undergoes. The science of matter is also addressed by physics, but while physics takes a more general and fundamental approach, chemistry is more specialized, being concerned with the composition, behavior, structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions. Cooking, on the other hand, is the process of preparing food by applying heat. Cooks select and combine ingredients using a wide range of tools and methods. In the process, the flavor, texture, appearance, and chemical properties of the ingredients can change. So developing an understanding of how the chemicals, or, in the case of cooking, the flavors interact with each other is important and is similar between the two disciplines.”

Morgan looked at Spencer with dismay. “Hotch,” Morgan said, “please tell me that I did not come here to listen to a lecture about the chemical properties of cooking.”

Spencer just frowned at him as the team laughed.

“That brings up an interesting question,” Rossi said, “one that you’ve been avoiding all night. Just why are we here, Aaron? What’s this ‘personal’ matter you need to discuss?”

Aaron felt his mouth go dry. He glanced over at Spencer, who didn’t seem to be doing much better. He took a deep breath.

“Actually,” Spencer began to speak before Aaron got a chance, “Hotch and I,” Spencer paused and thought for a moment. He let out a puff of air. “Aaron and I,” he corrected himself, “have something we need to tell you.”

The team turned their considerable focus onto Spencer. He took a deep breath. “Aaron and I are involved in an intimate relationship. Yes, we are aware that we are violating the fraternization policy. And no, we’re not going to stop.”

There was a moment of silence. “What do you mean by intimate relationship?” Emily asked.

Spencer met her gaze. “Sexual. Emotional. Personal.”

“Is this true?” Rossi asked, looking to Aaron for confirmation.

Aaron nodded his head. “Yes.”

“How long?”

“About six months now,” Spencer said, “although, technically, I suppose it’s longer than that. It started initially after Hotch was attacked by… Foyet… but ended when…”

“It ended when Haley was killed,” Aaron supplied. “I was in not in an emotional state for any type of relationship at that time. We started up again, as Spencer said, about six months ago.”

Everyone was quiet for a moment. “I have one important question,” Morgan said seriously. “Who approached whom?”

“What do you mean?” Spencer asked.

“Who was responsible for the first kiss?”

“I don’t see how that’s any of your business,” Spencer said.

“It’s important, Reid.”

Spencer couldn’t meet Morgan’s intense stare. Aaron felt like he couldn’t breathe.

“I kissed Aaron first,” Spencer finally whispered.

Morgan stared at Spencer for a long moment and then leaned back in his chair with a heavy sigh. “Damn, I’m out.”

“Yeah, me too,” Emily agreed.

“I always knew that Spence had it in him. I’m still in,” JJ chimed in.

“That’s what I thought too,” Rossi said.

“I actually thought they’d been together longer. I guess I’m out,” Garcia mused.

Aaron felt momentarily confused but the abrupt change in mood. “What—” He then saw Spencer’s eyes widen with shocked realization.

“You had a betting pool on us?” he asked indignantly.

“Absolutely,” Rossi replied with a smirk. “And I stand to make a lot of money.”

“You’re making the money?” JJ exclaimed. “You heard what they said. The relationship started after Hotch was attacked.”

“And then they broke up,” Rossi reasoned, “so the relationship really started in earnest six months ago.”

“Earnest had nothing to do with the betting. It was the start date and who approached whom.”

“JJ, you’re a sore loser,” Rossi said with a smirk.

“I’m not a loser.”

Aaron just watched the bickering in dismay. Then he caught Spencer’s eye. The two of them couldn’t stand it anymore; they both broke out in relieved laughter.

The team smiled as they watched the two lovers laugh. “That’s something we haven’t seen in a while,” Emily said as she watched Aaron. He and Spencer eventually got themselves under control.

“So which one of us is right?” JJ asked, gesturing between herself and Rossi.

“I guess in a way you both are,” Spencer said, still catching his breath.

JJ gave a disgusted sound. “What do you know Spence.”

“I do actually have an important question,” Morgan broke in. He looked Spencer squarely in the eyes. “Reid, are you happy?”

Aaron smiled slightly. It didn’t surprise him that Morgan was concerned about and cared for Spencer’s feelings.

“Yes,” Spencer said with a faint smile.

Morgan then turned his attention to Aaron. “Hotch, same question.”

Aaron was surprised, but Morgan seemed genuinely concerned with his happiness as well. He felt his throat constrict at the emotions of knowing that these people cared about them – cared about him. “I am,” he said.

Morgan smiled at both of them. “That’s all that matters to us.”

There were nods of agreement from all around the table.

“I still maintain that they would be really hot together,” Garcia said suddenly.

“I did not want to go there, baby girl” Morgan said.

“I agree with Garcia,” Emily said. “You two would be really sexy.”

“Really?” Rossi asked.

“Oh definitely,” JJ said. “Spence has that pretty look. Even you agree with that, Derek. And Hotch owns dark, brooding, and handsome. Together...”

“Yum,” Garcia said.

Aaron felt like his face was flaming. Spencer hid his face between his hands and looked like he was trying to slide under the table. “How about we just eat dinner?” Aaron said as calmly as he could.

“How about I just hide?” Spencer moaned as JJ gently patted his arm.

*****

Aaron found Spencer hiding in the kitchen, ostensibly planning to make coffee. He placed his hand on the small of Spencer’s back. “You all right?”

Spencer gave him a quick smile. “Yeah. I’m glad, truly, that there doesn’t seem to be any problems with them. I’m just used to keeping things to myself. I just haven’t felt so exposed since everyone learned about my mom’s condition.”

“Believe me, I understand. What were they saying to you while Rossi was lecturing me?”

“Oh, you know, they were teasing me and relishing whenever they made me blush, which was all the damn time. It’s not that I mind, not really. They’re never mean spirited. And we really couldn’t have hoped for a better reaction. It’s just…”

“Embarrassing?”

“A little. A bit overwhelming too. Don’t let Garcia get a picture of you, by the way. She’s threatening all sorts of things with Photoshop.”

Aaron blinked. “Good to know.”

“Rossi was lecturing you?” Spencer asked.

“Yes. I’m not entirely sure which one of us he was warning, but there were threats of cement shoes if someone gets hurt. I think he was trying to protect you.”

Spencer snorted. “Dave Rossi, my protector. Who would have thought?”

Aaron caressed his cheek. “You ready to come back inside?”

“Yeah, I just needed a few moments. Help me bring the coffee in.”

Aaron touched Spencer’s arm and then swallowed hard. “I hope this will make up for all the embarrassment.” Aaron smiled at Spencer’s curious look, leaned in, kissed his cheek, and then breathed, “I love you,” into Spencer’s ear.

Although he knew that Spencer knew how he felt, Aaron had never said the words before.

Spencer’s eyes widened and then his look went soft. “I—” he began, and then reached out and started kissing Aaron fiercely.

There was a squeak at the door. They broke apart to find Garcia standing there. “I knew it would be hot,” she declared excitedly. She headed back to the living room. “Hey guys, they’re making out in the kitchen.”

Spencer looked mortified. Their gazes met for a moment and then they both started to laugh.

Aaron picked up the tray with the coffee cups. “Let’s go.”

Spencer leaned into him and kissed him gently. “By the way, I love you too,” he said quietly with a shy smile.

Aaron’s breath caught.

Spencer picked up the coffee pot and headed back to the team.

***

The team was finally leaving for the night. Aaron suppressed his sigh of relief.

“This was fun,” Rossi said to Aaron as everyone was saying their goodbyes. “You should make dramatic announcements more often.”

“I’m hoping that it’s not a regular occurrence.”

“I take it that, since you’re such a rebel rule breaker now, you’ll be a little more relaxed about having to follow the rules.”

“Depends on the rule, Dave.”

“Fraternization rules seem out the window.”

Aaron gave him a steady look. “Well, JJ, Garcia, Reid, and I all appear to be spoken for at the moment. And I think that Morgan or Prentiss would kick your ass if you tried anything.”

Rossi laughed. “Morgan yes. Prentiss? Yeah, probably even more.”

Dave shook his hand, clasped Spencer’s shoulder, and made his way out.

Morgan and Garcia were talking to Spencer when Emily came up to Hotch. “You should ask him, you know.”

“Ask who what?” Aaron said, momentarily confused.

“Ask Reid to move in with you. Obviously you want to.”

“What? Whatever gave you that idea?”

“You moved into a new place that’s really a bit too big for you and Jack. You have a spare room that could be set up as an office, but is still empty as if waiting for someone else’s stuff.”

Aaron blinked. “Damn profilers.”

“Ask him.”

“What if he says no?”

“He might. You never know with Reid. But I still think you should ask him.”

“Ask me what?” Spencer said, joining the tail end of their conversation.

“Later,” Aaron said with a smile, avoiding the topic.

Emily said her goodbyes and left. Aaron and Spencer found themselves standing in the foyer of Aaron’s home, with blessed silence surrounding them. They both gave sighs of relief.

“That was better than I hoped,” Spencer said.

“Yes.”

“Still stressful though.”

Aaron gave a half laugh. “Definitely.”

“Let’s go to bed.”

“But the mess.”

“Leave it. We can clean up in the morning.”

Aaron looked into Spencer’s eyes and saw the simmering emotion there. Thoughts of messes faded to the background. He kissed him gently, which slowly transformed into passionate. “Bed it is then,” he agreed with a whisper.

*****

They lay on the bed, sweaty, sated, content, and entwined in each other. Happy, Aaron thought. He realized he was actually happy. Sometimes he thought he didn’t deserve such happiness, but he wasn’t stupid enough to push Spencer away.

“Oh, what did you want to ask me?” Spencer said, his voice still slightly breathless from the exertion. “Before, when you were talking to Emily.”

Aaron tensed. Spencer felt it. “Aaron?” he asked, his voice concerned.

Aaron took a deep breath. He figured that the day had, all in all, gone well so far. He had nothing to lose by just asking the question. “Will you move in with me?”

Spencer blinked. “What?”

“I know it’s a big decision and you don’t have to decide now. But I left the third bedroom empty so that you could set up an office or your own personal space in there. You’re welcome to use the den instead, but I figured you’d want someplace that you could close off and have as your own. You’re here a lot of the time anyway and it’s just that when we’re home, I’d like to spend as much time as possible with you.”

Spencer was just looking at him in astonishment.

“Of course,” Aaron continued, “I understand that you’re pretty used to being on your own and the thought of living with me and a five-year old might not be what you are really looking for. But just know that the offer is open at any time and—”

Spencer put his fingers over Aaron’s mouth. “Did you just ask me to move in with you?”

“Yes.”

“Really? You would want to live with me?”

“Yes.”

“It’s a big commitment. I’ve never done anything like this.”

“I know.”

“I’m terrified.”

“I understand.”

“I’ll do it.”

“I… really?” Aaron said with surprise.

Spencer smiled and kissed him gently. “I won’t let my fear stand in my way. Not this time. I’ve been terrified before, frequently, but I try hard to not let that stop me. I was terrified when I started college at 12. I was terrified when I went away to Cal Tech. I was terrified when I joined the FBI. Hell, I’m terrified most of the time when we put our Kevlar vests on. But, if something is worthwhile, I try to overcome my fear. And you, Aaron, are worthwhile. And I love you.”

Aaron found that he couldn’t speak. He pulled Spencer in for a tight hug. “Thank you,” he eventually croaked. “I love you too.”

Spencer kissed him again and laid his head on Aaron’s chest. “Besides, now that the team knows about us, I can make Morgan carry all the heavy stuff when I move.”

Aaron chuckled.

“Oh, and I’ll have Garcia take care of my address change,” Spencer continued. “She’ll make sure that no one ever realizes that we’re together.”

“She could do that.”

“Yep.”

Aaron smiled and kissed Spencer’s brow.

“Just wait until I tell my mom,” Spencer exclaimed. “She’s going to want to interrogate you the next time we’re in Vegas. I swear, she could teach interrogation techniques at the Academy.”

“Oh god,” Aaron groaned. “Really?”

“You sure you still want me?” Spencer asked with a joking tone, but Aaron could hear the true apprehension.

Aaron lifted Spencer’s head until he could meet his gaze and then cupped his face. “There’s no one I want more,” he replied seriously.

Spencer smiled a huge smile, his eyes glistening in happiness. Aaron returned that smile and then pulled him down for a kiss.

---------------------------------

Author's Note: This 'universe' continues in Baggage

As their relationship deepens, Spencer and Aaron begin to come to terms with issues from their pasts.
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August 2010

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