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“I’ll give you a ride home, Reid,” Hotch offered as they stepped off the jet into torrential rain.


“Oh no, Hotch. That’s okay. You don’t have to. I’m in the complete opposite direction to you.”


“Not anymore,” Hotch muttered cryptically and strode in the direction of his SUV. Reid felt he had no choice but to follow doggedly at his boss’ heels, waving goodbye to the rest of the team as they all rushed to their cars.


Hotch cranked up the heat once they were in the car to combat Reid’s shivering despite his thick pea coat and the younger man held his hands out to the warm air gratefully. “So, did you and Hayley move?” Spencer asked once his teeth were no longer chattering. He looked over to see Hotch grasping the steering wheel in a white knuckled grip.


“No,” Hotch answered shortly.


“Oh.” Spencer bit his lip and looked out the window. “Sorry.”


“No, I’m sorry, Reid. I didn’t mean to snap.” Hotch drove for a few moments longer before he stopped at a red light and let out a sigh, his head falling forward for a moment before he glanced over at Reid. His hair was damp and plastered to his forehead making him look younger, somewhat vulnerable. He swallowed heavily before murmuring, “Hayley has decided that she wants a divorce. She asked me to leave.”


“Oh,” Spencer said again and bit back another sorry. “That’s bad?” He hated the querying tone but he wasn’t really sure what adjective to apply to his superior’s divorce. Confusing feelings for said superior aside, what did you say to someone who was getting divorced? Condolences? Commiserations? Maybe felicitations sometimes but probably not with the look on Hotch’s face.


Hotch released a harsh chuckle. “Well, it’s certainly not good.”


“So where are you staying?”


“I’m at the Holiday Inn for now. I haven’t really had time to look for an apartment.”


“You’re living at a hotel?” Reid felt slightly incredulous. Hotch couldn’t be living at a hotel. He almost enquired about family but then he remembered that hard look in Hotch’s eye when he was interviewing Perotta and the strained relations when Sean had stopped by at the office. Family probably wasn’t an option. The words tumbled out before he thought them through: “But that must be crazy expensive! Not to mention we have to stay in hotels on cases. I wouldn’t want to call one home too.”


“Neither would I, Reid, but it beats sleeping in my office.” Hotch said tersely and Spencer winced as he realised how tactless he had been. They lapsed into an uncomfortable silence until Hotch pulled up outside Reid’s place. “Well, this is you.”


Spencer looked out of the window at his apartment building. It wasn’t the most beautiful or modern block but the post-Civil War brick rowhouse was quirky and inviting. There were lights shining in some of the windows and he knew that when he stepped through his front door he was entirely in his space, with his things. He knew that he was home. He bit his lip again at the thought of Hotch going back to his anonymous hotel room tonight to probably order room service and be alone with his thoughts. “Come up for dinner,” Spencer offered, hoping that he wouldn’t be rejected.


“Reid, it’s okay. Really.”


“Yup, it is. You can park next to my Amazon. The apartment comes with two spots since it’s a two bedroom.”


“Reid –“


“Just park the car and let me order take-away, Hotch. It’s easier than arguing with me.”


Hotch stared at his subordinate for a moment before shifting the car back into drive and sliding into the parking spot. Spencer led the way to the door, jiggled his key in the lock and shouldered the heavy door that let him into the narrow communal staircase. Hotch followed him up the spiral stairs to the third floor. Spencer could see him looking around with interest and he bit back the hesitation he felt on letting Hotch see where he lived. He couldn’t help but worry that Hotch might think less of him when he saw the barely controlled chaos that was Spencer Reid’s living space and the sparse fridge which didn’t exactly scream adult. Still, he unlocked the door and flicked on the light in the narrow hallway before toeing off his shoes. Hotch did the same and Spencer glanced down at Hotch’s conservative black socks that went perfectly with his charcoal grey suit. Spencer’s own socks were a clashing lime green stripy thing with a plain red one. He curled his toes in embarrassment but Hotch’s eyes were focused on the pictures that lined his hallway.


“Did you draw these?” Hotch asked.


“Some of them. That one’s from Lila Archer.”


“The girl who kissed you in the pool?”


“Hmm,” Spencer agreed moving towards the kitchen and his take-out menus. “She started getting into painting as a way to deal with having been stalked. She said it helped with her fear and anger. What do you want to eat?”


“I don’t mind.”




“Great.” Hotch appeared in the doorway to the kitchen and looked around at the old Formica cupboards, the tattered linoleum, the incongruously expensive espresso machine, before taking the menu Reid handed him.


“It’s not much,” Reid muttered nervously, wrapping his arms around his waist.


“I don’t know. It looks like they’ve got a good selection. Hmm, I think I’ll take the Lamb Biryani.”


“I mean my apartment.” Hotch looked up to see Reid nibbling on his bottom lip. “My mom’s care isn’t cheap but I liked the building and it had all these bookshelves so I thought –“


“Reid, stop. I wasn’t judging your apartment and even if I was I would think it was nice. It suits you. And anyway, I’m living at the Holiday Inn right now. I really can’t talk.”


“But that’s only temporary.”


“I know. It’s just – never mind. Let’s order.”


“Sure, umm the Biryani’s pretty spicy.”




Spencer smiled at him. “We could watch a movie if you wanted.”


“Sounds good. You know you don’t have to do this though. I’m alright on my own.”


“Humour me, Hotch.” Reid reached for his phone and placed their order as Hotch wandered into the living room and threw himself onto the sofa.


As Reid hung up he heard Hotch shout through into the kitchen, “Your sofa is really comfy.”


“Um, thanks? Reid appeared in the doorway to see Hotch with his head lolling back on the headrest, exposing the long line of his throat. “Can I get you a drink?” Hotch’s eyes opened as he took in Reid upside-down.


“Sure. What do you have?”


“Water. Coffee. Beer,” Reid looked over his shoulder as if a wider drinks selection might suddenly appear.


“I’ll take a beer, thanks.” Reid nodded and grabbed two bottles from the fridge, twisting off the caps. The lack of seating meant that he had to settle on the sofa next to Hotch who nodded his appreciation at the beer. Reid flicked on the television before going over to his DVD shelves.


“What kind of movies do you like?”


“Whatever you like. It’s been so long since I watched a movie that didn’t feature dancing animals.”


“So, no Dances with Wolves,” Reid murmured and was delighted to hear Hotch chuckle behind him. “How about The Dark Knight?”


“Sure. We can profile Heath Ledger’s Joker.” Reid grinned over his shoulder as he set everything up. Hotch looked absolutely serious but there was a light dancing in his eyes that beckoned Reid back to settle next to his boss on the sofa. About half an hour into the movie the doorbell rang and he went to get the food from the familiar delivery guy. Setting the bag on the coffee table, he went to his kitchen and pulled out a couple of mismatched plates and cutlery. He’d noticed that Hotch had finished his beer so he grabbed another one from the fridge before returning to the living room where Hotch had started opening up the cartons and spreading them over the table.


“This is really good,” Hotch spoke as he swallowed another mouthful. They were both eating like starving men, which they were after a hectic case that hadn’t allowed much time to take breaks.


“My knowledge of take-out is beyond compare,” Spencer preened.


“Reid, your knowledge of most things is beyond compare,” Hotch replied not missing a beat.


Reid snorted and they continued to inhale their food as the movie played in the background. Only when they’d finished and settled back onto Reid’s admittedly very comfy sofa did Hotch suddenly break the silence.


“I just have no will to look for a place to stay,” Hotch confided as he drained his second beer. “There doesn’t seem to be a point. I don’t know. I mean, I got married really young. I’ve been with Haley my entire adult life. I’m not used to being on my own.”


“I’m used to it,” Reid shrugged, tucking his feet underneath him so that he could face Hotch, the movie forgotten in the background. “I’ve pretty much been on my own since I was a kid and I can tell you this: it sucks.”


Hotch grunted his agreement. “It’s so quiet when I get back to the hotel room. It makes my ears ring.”


“You know?” Spencer started and then stopped himself. He picked at the label on his empty bottle, wishing he hadn’t started that sentence and hoping Hotch would drop it. Of all the terrible ideas he’d had in his life, this may have been the worst.


“Know what?” Of course, Hotch wouldn’t drop it. “What, Reid?”


“I have a spare room,” the words tumbled out in a rush and he could hear them echo as Hotch stared at him. On screen, the hospital exploded.


“Are you offering me a place to stay?”


“It could be temporary. You know, just until you find somewhere you like. You can’t keep living at the Holiday Inn.”


“Reid, I don’t know what to say. It’s a very generous offer.”


“Not really,” Reid shrugged. “Apparently, neither of us likes being alone.”


“I’d have to pay you for the room,” Hotch muttered, clearly seriously considering this. It made Spencer’s heart leap in his chest.


“You don’t.”


“No, I won’t take advantage of you. Are you really serious?” Hotch’s eyes met Spencer’s and there was such a depth of hope in them that Reid found himself reaching forward and clasping his boss’ shoulder before he’d even thought it through.


“Of course.”


“Well, then. I accept. Thank you, Spencer.”


“Alright, well. Do you want to see what’ll be your room? There’s a bed and small closet there but not much else. You may want to rethink your agreement when you see it.”


“I doubt it.” Hotch stood and Spencer led him down the short hallway.


“So, that’s my room.” Spencer opened the door on his bedroom and then quickly shut it again when he realised that he hadn’t made his bed and his clothes were scattered all over the floor. “Um, I would say that it’s usually tidier than that but you’re going to be living here so you’d quickly learn I was lying. I’ll try to keep my mess out of the kitchen and living room. Um, anyway, this is the bathroom.” Spencer opened a second door onto a small room with a shower, sink, toilet and small vanity. Hotch nodded his agreement that that was indeed the bathroom. “And this will be your room.” Spencer opened the final door and flicked on the light. It was about the same size as his room but looked bigger without the chaos of clothes and books. “It’s a new mattress, never used, and I can get you more hangers.” Hotch stood in the centre of the room and smiled at Reid.


“Thank you, Spencer.”


“Oh, um, no problem. So do you want to stay here tonight? You could go pick up your stuff at the hotel after work tomorrow, if you want. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve got enough clothes in your go-bag.”


“That works for me. I’ll just run down to the car and get it.”


“Okay, I’ll get some sheets and make your bed.”


“Spencer, do you know how to make a bed?” Hotch asked, his tone serious but when Spencer looked up the corner of his mouth was quirking into a grin.


“Go get your bag, Hotch.” Spencer huffed.


“You could call me, Aaron, you know. Since we’ll be living together.”


“Oh. Yeah. I’ll work on that.” Hotch left the room and Spencer sat down heavily on the bed. Hotch’s bed. Aaron’s bed. He could feel himself flushing bright red. This was a terrible idea. Still, he walked to the linen closet near the front door and pulled out some sheets. This wasn’t about him and what he may or may not fantasise about. Hotch needed a place to stay and he could offer that. That was all that mattered.




Spencer dragged himself out of bed the next morning, dressing haphazardly and wandering into the kitchen, flicking on the coffee maker before it registered that Hotch was standing looking into his fridge in dismay.


“Morning,” Spencer attempted, his voice rough and scratchy. Hotch looked so put together, his hair still slightly damp but his suit was pressed perfection.


“Morning,” he responded warmly before his brow creased. “Spencer, there is nothing to eat in your fridge or your cupboards.”


“I thought there was a bag of peanut butter cups in there,” Reid asked looking genuinely perplexed before he started prepping the coffee for the espresso machine, remembering that he should probably make a cup for Hotch too.


“I mean for breakfast. What do you usually have?”


“Coffee,” Reid muttered, positioning the cups and starting the water.


“To eat?”


“Coffee,” Reid repeated slowly gesturing at the machine before reaching past Hotch for the milk, sniffing it suspiciously.


“Seriously?” Hotch looked bewildered. “Well, we’ll stop and pick something up on the way and we can go food shopping on the way home before I drop by the hotel to check out. We can take my car.”


“We’re carpooling?” Spencer felt liked he’d missed something. He usually just took the subway.


“It makes sense if we’re going to be living together.” Hotch took the cup that Spencer pressed into his hands and watched as the younger man heaped sugar into his cup.


“I guess so,” Reid smiled shyly before losing himself in his first cup of coffee.


Ten minutes later and they were at the drive-thru of a near-by McDonalds. “You know I think this might be worse than coffee for breakfast,” Reid muttered.


“I usually run in the morning, so I can justify the odd McMuffin to myself,” Hotch replied, inching forward.


“What time do you even get up?” Reid looked over at Hotch in shock.


“Five. Why? Were you running late this morning?”


“No. I get up at seven.”


“But don’t you need to leave the house at seven twenty if you’re getting the subway.”




“Oh. Oh, so that’s why – “




“Never mind.”


“No, seriously, Hotch. What?


The older man blushed slightly but Reid could tell he was trying to hide a grin. “That’s why your hair looks like that.”


“Like what?” Reid flipped down the visor to look in the mirror at his hair and finger-combed it a little.


“Like you just rolled out of bed.” Spencer glared at his boss who coughed to hide his obvious chuckle.




Driving home from work a week later, Spencer lifted his eyes from his book and blinked owlishly. They shouldn’t be home yet. “Where are we?” He glanced at the packed lot and groaned, “Aaron, you are kidding me. You’re obsessed!” Aaron rolled his eyes and stepped out the car. Spencer had no choice but to follow him. “We were here last week.”


“Yes, people do, generally, go food shopping once a week.”


“That’s insane. That is a ridiculous amount of food.”


Aaron grabbed a shopping cart and started down the first aisle. “Honestly, Spencer, did you only eat take-out before I moved in? Do you even know how to cook?”


“Of course, I know how to cook. I have a PhD in Chemistry.”


“Alright, so you can make dinner tonight. Want do you want?”


Spencer sighed and stared around at the towering walls of food with a lost expression on his face. Suddenly, he lit up. “Ooh, Lucky Charms are on sale.”


“Sugar is not a major food group,” Aaron groaned and pulled Reid in the direction of the vegetables. “How about we make pasta? Dave will be proud.”


“With mushrooms and cream?” Spencer asked hopefully.


“Sure, why not? We should make up a rota for when we’re home. I’m happy to do most of the cooking but you’ve got to make a few meals. And we’re only ordering in once a week.” Spencer sighed again but followed at Hotch’s heels as he filled their cart with whatever was apparently deemed healthy food. Dragging Spencer away from a display of Oreos, Aaron chuckled: “You’re worse than a child.”


“When are you seeing Jack?” Spencer asked absentmindedly.


Hotch flinched, feeling the unintended sting, “I’ll see him on Saturday, as long as we don’t have a case.”


“Oh, cool. I’ll go to the library or something.”


“You don’t have to leave your home. I wouldn’t bring him around anyway, I know you don’t like kids.”


Spencer stopped short so that Aaron had to back-track a couple of steps to see the wounded look on his face. “You really think that?” Spencer asked, his voice small. Aaron wasn’t sure what to reply. “I know you think the whole ‘Reid Effect’ thing is funny and I know where it came from but none of you have ever really asked.”


“I’m sorry, Spencer. I didn’t think. I shouldn’t have joked about the Reid Effect. Sometimes I think I can be a bit of a bully, just like JJ said.”


“When did JJ say that?”


Aaron stopped, his eyes wide and blinded with the vision of Spencer dying over a small computer screen. “It doesn’t matter. She was right. Why don’t you like kids?”


“I do like kids. That’s the annoying thing. Okay, I didn’t exactly get along with my peer group but I’m not too bad with kids now. I mean, I don’t get the baby thing. People are always going on about how cute they are but they really are squished, wrinkly, kinda ugly things. But that’s not the point. Kids are fine. I think it all started with Morgan. He asked me if I wanted kids a few months after I started at the BAU. I said no and you all took it that I don’t like kids. I do. It’s just – “ Spencer took a deep breath. “Schizophrenia is genetic. I’m not going to play a game of Russian roulette with my progeny’s mental health.” Spencer studied his shoes while Aaron took a moment to gather his thought.


“I really am sorry, Spencer,” he said quietly, feeling totally inadequate in this moment.


Spencer just shrugged. “You can bring Jack to the apartment anytime you want.”


“Thank you. I’ll bring him over about ten on Saturday. You can meet him again. I promise he is no longer bald or wrinkly.” Aaron grinned and Spencer smiled back.


“We should probably get some Oreos, you know, since Jack is coming over,” Spencer added after a pause.


“Sure then I can watch you both bounce off the walls through your sugar high.” Still, he threw a couple of bags of cookies into the cart before heading to the checkout. Once they’d finished loading the boot and Hotch was seated behind the wheel of the car, he turned to Spencer. “You know, I get it. The reason why you don’t want to have kids of your own. Why do you think I waited so long before having children? I’d been with Haley since we were kids ourselves but I was so afraid that I’d turn out like my father that I kept finding reasons to put it off. My father was – never mind. In the end, I guess Jack was a bit of a last ditch attempt so save our marriage and that really wasn’t fair on him. Still, I don’t regret it for one moment. Jack is – Jack is the one thing that I am truly and unashamedly proud of. You’d be a great father, Spencer. So if, one way or another, you ever get a chance to be a father to a child don’t be afraid because you’ll be as brilliant as you are at everything else you do.”


Spencer swallowed heavily and stared at his fingers as they danced across his messenger bag. “Thank you, Aaron,” he finally mumbled and Aaron nodded once before backing out of the parking lot and taking them home.



“What is the meaning of this, Boy Wonder?” Garcia screeched at him as he stepped into her lair in answer to her summons. He quickly wracked his brain, searching for some explanation as to what he’d done wrong.


“Umm?” was all he came up with. Garcia frowned at him before grabbing his arm and pulling him over to squint at her computer screen. There was a copy of Hotch’s change of address form on-screen. “Oh.”


“Oh? You are shacking up with our fearless leader and all you can say is oh?”


Spencer felt himself turning bright red. “We are not shacking up!” he glanced anxiously in the direction of the closed door.


“You are blushing!” Garcia crowed. “Someone’s getting it on with the boss!”


“Garcia. Stop.” Spencer’s voice turned sharp and he could see his friend’s face fall at his harsh tone but this needed to be nipped in the bud right now. “You are not to breathe a word of this to anyone, not even Morgan, but Hotch was living at the Holiday Inn after Haley kicked him out.” Garcia made a small pained noise of sympathy. “I was in position to offer him a place to stay. That’s all. Hotch is a good man and he was in a bad place. I don’t want you or anyone else to think that I did it with ulterior motives.”


“Oh, honey, of course not. I wouldn’t think that. You’re right. Hotch is a good man but so are you. You, Spencer Reid, are of kind and generous heart.”


“Thank you. So, um, yes. Hotch and I are roommates. I guess.”


“So, how long has he been staying with you?”


“Just over a month.”


“Well, that is lovely. This Momma Bear will sleep better at night knowing that you two are looking after each other and if it did turn to more –“


“Penelope! Please!”


“Okay, okay, but stranger things have happened.”


Spencer made his escape from Garcia and strode straight into Hotch’s office. He closed the door behind him and smiled at the quizzical look on Aaron’s face. “So, um, I just escaped Garcia. She found your change of address form.”




“Well, I was thinking we should maybe tell the team, you know, just because.”


“Alright,” Hotch seemed confused as to why this was a team matter but Spencer knew he’d be the one dealing with the fallout and accusations if this was kept a secret. He could just picture the glee on JJ and Emily’s faces at the thought of him and Hotch as a couple. Yes, this needed to be clarified right now. “I’ll tell them at the ten o’clock briefing.”


“Good. Ok. Bye.”


“Spencer, I’m doing laundry tonight so give me your sheets when we get home,” Aaron called after him just as Spencer opened the door to Rossi who grinned like the cat who’d got the canary. Yes, Spencer thought ruefully, the team needed to know yesterday.


“Before we begin,” Hotch spoke as he strode through the door into the conference room where the team was gathered at the round table, “a small personal matter that I don’t believe affects the team but should be shared anyway in the interests of transparency.” Hotch took a deep breath and visibly straightened his shoulders. “Haley and I are going through a divorce and, in the interim, Reid has offered me a place to stay.” The only ones who didn’t look shocked were Garcia and Rossi, clearly Aaron had already explained the laundry comment to his friend. The rest of the team was looking at him with a mixture of sympathy and surprise. “So, that’s the end of the matter.”


“Woah, woah, woah,” Morgan broke in. “You are Reid are roommates now?”


“Yes, Morgan.” Hotch nodded and opened his mouth to move on to more serious matters.


“Wait, you know what this means?” Hotch looked slightly confused and shook his head as Morgan leaned back in his chair with a broad grin.


“You guys totally need to have a party, like a housewarming.”


“It’s not a new house,” Reid quickly clarified. “We’re in my apartment. You’ve been there.”


Morgan just waved off this objection and was quickly backed up by Emily, JJ and Garcia.


“Alright then it’s settled,” Rossi confirmed, sitting back in his chair with a satisfied grin. “Team party at Reid and Hotch’s on Friday.”


“This Friday?” Spencer squeaked, he looked over at Aaron in panic but the older man just looked back at him with wide eyes. This was clearly out of their control.


“Wait, can we make it next Friday? Will and I have plans,” JJ added and Spencer breathed a sigh of relief. At least it gave them more time.


“Next Friday it is,” Rossi nodded and they finally began the briefing.




“Seriously, Hotch. No. This is not okay.” Reid stormed out the bathroom to confront the confused looking man eating granola in the kitchen. “And it has gone on long enough.”


“What’d I do?” Hotch swallowed and looked at the toothpaste tube that Reid was brandishing at him.


“Toothpaste should be squeezed from the bottom of the tube. Not the middle.”


“What does it matter? You can squeeze it up later.”


“That is totally illogical.” Hotch just shrugged. “Fine. We cannot share toothpaste.”


“But we use the same brand. Now you’re the one being illogical. How will we tell them apart?”


“I’ll think of something,” Reid narrowed his eyes at his boss, pretty sure that there was amusement lurking in those beautiful brown eyes but Hotch gave nothing away and Reid was left no choice but to stalk back into the bathroom.


That night, Reid was sprawled on the couch reading Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle when he heard a startled laugh from the bathroom. Hotch wandered out holding the toothpaste.


“Seriously, Spencer, where did you get Superman stickers?”


“I had them lying around,” Spencer mumbled. “And that’s my toothpaste. S for Spencer.”


“Super-Spencer?” Hotch chuckled and Reid glared at him over his glasses.


“Sorry, I see you’re wearing your disguise at the moment,” Hotch gestured to the glasses. “Can I get a sticker for my toothpaste? Do you have Captain America?”


“Of course not!” Spencer exclaimed. “He’s Marvel, Aaron. You can be Batman. It suits you.”




“Sure, he never smiles, either.”


“I smile!” Hotch protested. “I have dimples.” He turned a blindingly open, strikingly dimpled smile on Spencer who worked to ignore the warm tightening feeling in his lower belly.


“I don’t know,” he mumbled, hoping his voice sounded normal, “Morgan calls you Agent No Smile.”


Hotch muttered something under his breath that sounded suspiciously like ‘insubordination’ before wandering back into the bathroom. Before the door closed, Spencer heard him growl in a gruff voice: “I’m Batman.”




Between cases and a particularly vicious bout of the flu, it ended up being over a month before the party finally happened. For Spencer, it felt like a welcome stay of execution. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the team; they were his family but sometimes family was a bit much, especially when they were all in his house at once.


“Relax, Spencer. How bad can it be?” Aaron asked again as Spencer jumped at the sound of the doorbell.


“They’re here,” Spencer just whispered back, staring fearfully at the hallway.


“You know that line is a lot scarier when it’s delivered by a cute blonde child,” Aaron answered over his shoulder.


“What?” Spencer peeked around the corner of the entrance to the living room.


“We are watching Poltergeist once everyone’s gone,” Aaron promised and opened the door to greet Rossi and Emily.


“Aaron! Already making plans for our departure! I’m hurt. And to think we brought gifts,” Rossi pressed a bottle of wine and one of Scotch into each of Aaron’s hands.


“Good evening, sir,” Prentiss greeted him.


“Just Hotch tonight, or Aaron,” Aaron smiled at her and she smiled back before moving past him to hand her own bottle of wine and bag of Spencer’s favourite coffee to Spencer, who was dodging out of Rossi’s enthusiastic embrace.


Garcia and Morgan arrived next. Garcia bearing candles while Morgan brought two six packs of beer and an amused grin from the moment he stepped through the door and saw Spencer’s sneakers next to Aaron’s perfectly aligned wingtips. JJ arrived last moaning about Henry’s hatred of bedtime and why didn’t she have one of those kids who loved to sleep. Despite Spencer’s dire predictions, it turned out to be a relaxed evening with good friends, good food (Aaron had allowed Spencer to order take out after admitting that cooking for seven in his tiny kitchen would have been annoying), and plentiful alcohol.


“Aaron?” Rossi stepped out of the bathroom, drying his hands. “Why do you have superhero stickers on your toothpaste?”


Spencer blushed as Morgan burst out laughing and Garcia leapt up because she had to ‘go see’. “Well, Dave, I have learnt that I don’t know how to squeeze toothpaste out of the tube so I’m not allowed to share.” Morgan’s laugh grew impossibly larger until he was leaning on his knees gasping for breath as Emily and JJ joined in.


“What? He squeezes it from the middle of the tube!” Spencer protested, crossing his arms and slouching on the sofa. Aaron perched on the arm next to him and patted his arm.


“Ooh,” Emily stopped laughing and started nodding her agreement with Spencer, “that is not cool.”


“My junior G-man speaks the truth,” Garcia declared. “So let me guess, Hotch is Batman.”


“I’m Batman,” Hotch growled in confirmation.


“He practises that in the mirror,” Spencer exclaimed gleefully and was delighted to see Hotch redden in return. Morgan was still struggling to catch his breath but started giggling again, this time joined by Rossi who slapped his friend on that back.


“Oh man,” Morgan gasped, “I never thought you two living together would be so entertaining. You should get a film crew in here. It would make a great sitcom.”


“Ooh! I would definitely watch that!” Garcia squealed, bouncing on her towering sparkly heels.


“We’ll keep it in mind in case we decide to leave the bureau,” Aaron drawled.


Spencer snorted, “Speak for yourself. If I left I’d have an alphabet soup of agencies knocking on the door to recruit me.” The team looked over at him in surprise.


Aaron shrugged, “He’s not kidding. Honestly, he gets several offers a week in the mail. Our mailbox is a who’s who of the top universities and organisations.”


“Well, good thing you’re here, Aaron. Make sure the kid doesn’t get any ideas about going anywhere,” Rossi grinned at them.


“It’s true. If I went to the NSA, who would cook for me and do my laundry.”


“Seriously, Hotch? No one does my laundry for me,” Morgan groused.


“I don’t do all the cooking and laundry.”


“He does. He’s very particular about laundry. He has a system.”


“Says the man who sticker-coded our toothpaste.”


“Oh my gosh,” JJ grinned, “you’re like an old married couple. It’s adorable.”


Spencer and Aaron frowned at her but the rest of the team was nodding their agreement.


“Well, I’ve been adorable for years now,” Spencer whispered to Aaron, “you’ll get used to it.”


“I thought I was intimidating,” Aaron grumbled.


“Sure you are, Batman.” Aaron swatted at Spencer who danced out of reach in the direction of the wine.


“See, that wasn’t so bad,” Aaron stated as they finally closed the door behind Rossi.


“No, it wasn’t. I know they mean well and they care about me, about both of us.” Aaron nodded his agreement. “But they are all so loud.”


“True but we don’t like being alone.”


“I’m not alone anymore,” Spencer murmured, wine loosening his tongue and flushing his cheeks, “you’re here.”


“I am,” Aaron agreed with a soft smile. The moment stretched and twisted until Aaron stepped back into the living room. “Are you tired or are you up for a horror movie?”


“Always,” Spencer let out a long breath. “You also brought your Netflix account.”


“I knew there was a reason you were keeping me around,” Aaron grumbled as he queued up Poltergeist.




“Aaron? Are you nearly done in there? I really need to use the bathroom.”


“Just come in.” Spencer hesitated outside the door for a moment but the pressing need of his bladder, not helped by the running water of Hotch’s shower, convinced him to push open the door and step into the steamy room. He quickly made his way over to the toilet, eyes averted from the opaque shower door that he knew wouldn’t entirely conceal Aaron’s naked body. He sighed with relief when he finally was able to tug down his zipper and pee. Seriously, Aaron had been showering for over half an hour since they’d got home from work and Spencer had drunk two cups of coffee in that time. He’d been beyond desperate. He was washing his hands at the sink when the shower turned off.


“Hey, could you hand me my towel?” Aaron asked, one hand reaching out from between the glass doors. Spencer handed it over but his flight from the room was arrested when Aaron emerged from the shower, slinging the towel around his waist. His hair was spiky and damp, his muscles slick and toned. Spencer couldn’t stop himself from watching a water droplet slide between Aaron’s pectoral muscle and over defined abs before getting lost in the trail of dark hair that disappeared beneath the fluffy whiteness of the towel. “God, my shoulder is killing me,” Aaron mumbled, reaching up with a wince to try and massage the aching muscle.


“Hmm?” Spencer queried indistinctly, it probably wasn’t normal to find the thick dark hair of Aaron’s underarm so inviting.


“Morgan threw me when we were sparring and I screwed up my shoulder. I was hoping the steam would help.”


“Ah, oh, yeah. It didn’t?” Spencer forced himself to focus as he took in the lines of pain on Hotch’s face when he attempted to rotate his shoulder.


“A bit, maybe.”


“Well, maybe I can help you. I mean, I am the expert at getting thrown by Morgan. Stand in front of me and turn around.”


Aaron looked at him curiously but did as he was told. As gently as he could, Spencer took Aaron’s arm in his hand and bent it backwards until Hotch’s hand was between his shoulder blades. “Jesus, Spencer,” Aaron winced. “Are you arresting me?”


“What? No. This will hurt at first but it gives me better access to your muscles. It would be easier if you were lying down,” Spencer trailed off, the image of straddling Hotch on his bed vivid in his mind, “but this is fine,” he added quickly. Slowly he massaged the abused muscle, trying to reach beneath the shoulder blade. Hotch winced at first but gradually relaxed under Reid’s ministrations.


“Wow, we’ve been living together for six months now. You should’ve told me that massages were included in the rental agreement.”


“We don’t have a rental agreement,” Spencer deadpanned.


“Ah yes. You’re still fine with me being here, right?”


“Yes, of course. You’re good company and a good cook.”


“Yeah,” Aaron groaned before moaning as Spencer managed to loosen the tight muscle. “Right there. That’s really good.”


Spencer could feel himself flushing as Aaron continued to release a stream of whimpers and moans that he knew would be the soundtrack to his dreams tonight. Eventually, he released Hotch’s arm and the older man slumped back into him slightly before straightening and turning.


“Thank you,” he whispered, standing far closer to Spencer than he usually did. The air of the bathroom was still permeated by wisps of steam and Spencer was sure that his hair had doubled in volume.


“No problem. Really, I know what it’s like when Morgan gets a bit rough. I’m his project. Apparently I just need to learn to use my ‘wiry strength’ more effectively and the place to learn that seems to be flat on my back on a mat.”


Aaron ran one hand up Spencer’s arm, grasping his bicep. “You are deceptively strong,” he murmured, his voice low and intimate, sending shivers of electricity through Spencer’s body. If it was anyone else, Spencer would have been sure that he was flirting but this was Hotch. Hotch was strong and handsome, kind and surprisingly funny, recently divorced and, most importantly, straight. Hotch could have anyone he desired. There was no reason that he would desire Spencer Reid.


Spencer attempted to laugh it off. “He wants to make me the BAU’s secret weapon.”


“You already are,” Hotch stated, looking straight into Spencer’s eyes. Spencer could lean forwards slightly. He could close the distance between them and press his lips to Aaron’s.


Spencer smiled and stepped away from Hotch towards the door. “Let me know if your shoulder bothers you again,” he said before fleeing to his bedroom and firmly shutting the door.




“God, I am so glad to be home,” Aaron groaned, dropping his go-bag as he collapsed on the sofa.


Spencer hummed his agreement and flopped into the seat next to him. “I feel like I haven’t showered in weeks,” Spencer mumbled, stretching his back until his spine popped. “Abductions are always the worst. A time limit and no guarantee of a good outcome.”


“It’s not just that. Any moment we do get to sleep I’m stuck in a room with Rossi who snores louder than the jet’s engines.”


Spencer snorted out a laugh, “You’d rather be with, Morgan?”


“Hell, no. When you used to room with Gideon I was stuck with Morgan. I caught myself humming 50 Cent lyrics too many times.”


Spencer had flinched at the reference to his still AWOL mentor but the image of Aaron bopping his head to rap music was just too good and it startled a belly laugh out of him. “Wow, Garcia would pay good money to get a video of you dancing to Candy Shop.”


“The fact that you can name a 50 Cent song shows me that Morgan’s taste in music hasn’t improved. So no. I would definitely not prefer to room with him.”


“It’s the fact that he plays it at five in the morning as he does push ups on the floor. At least you’re up then. I want to still be asleep.”


“Well, if you were in with Dave then you wouldn’t get any sleep at all. I have seriously considered smothering him with a pillow but I know you’d all catch me.”


Spencer waved his hand, “Exigent circumstances. It would be surely be ruled a permissible homicide.”


“And I thought I was the lawyer here,” Aaron smiled over at Spencer who rolled his head to smile back. “I’m glad I ended up here and didn’t have to go beg for a room in Rossi’s mansion. Though, living with him probably would have motivated me to find a place of my own. I’m just too comfortable here. You might never get rid of me.”


“Really, it’s no big deal. Anyway, doesn’t my mess bother you?”


“Not really. It’s not like you’re dirty, just messy. I don’t really mind picking up after you a bit.”


“Oh, well, that’s good.” Spencer fell silent, enjoying the feeling of being home. It was a case that would be called a win but it had still been an emotionally and mentally draining three days. It was comforting to sprawl on his sofa, listen to the old pipes creaking, and feel the comfortable warmth of Aaron at his side.


“We are being so stupid,” Spencer jumped slightly, brought out of his reverie by Aaron’s large hand landing heavily on his thigh. “Or I am.” Aaron patted his thigh and when Spencer looked up there was an inexplicable warmth in Aaron’s eyes.


“Wait? Why are you stupid? I’m definitely not stupid. I have lots of papers to prove it.”


“Thanks. You know, I did fast track my way through college,” Aaron folded his arms over his chest and Spencer mourned the loss of his hand on his thigh.


“I did know that,” Spencer replied honestly.


“What I meant was that there is no reason for us to room with Rossi and Morgan.”


“The Bureau is now going to pay for individual rooms?”


“Not likely but we could room together. Let Morgan and Rossi deal with each other. We like living together so there’s no reason we shouldn't room together.”


“Don’t you want a break from me?” Spencer blurted out.


“No. Do you want one from me?”


“No. Not at all.”


“Well, that’s settled then. I’ll room us together from now on. Do you want to shower first?”


“No, you go.” Aaron stood from the sofa and shouldered his go bag again before picking up Spencer’s as well.


“Everything in here for the laundry?”


Spencer nodded absentmindedly. Rooming with Aaron would definitely be an improvement. His mind spiralled off into fantasies of there being a mistake at check-in and them being faced with sharing a double bed. Maybe Aaron had forgotten to pack his pyjamas. The shower started and Spencer risked reaching down to rearrange himself before firmly pushing those thoughts from his mind.




“Spencer!” Aaron practically shouted as he seemed to fall through the door. Spencer shot up from where he had been reading The End of Mr. Y on the sofa in time to see Aaron stagger into the living room. “Are you asleep?”


“No.” Spencer felt very confused. “But why would you shout my name to find that out? Wouldn’t that just wake me if I was?”


“I didn’t shout,” Aaron pouted and managed to manoeuvre himself around the furniture until he could fall back onto the couch. “Come sit with me.” He patted the seat next to him and looked up at Spencer with a hazy smile.


Spencer took in the sight of his clearly intoxicated friend. His hair was mussed and his tie loosened, exposing the inviting dip of his throat. He huffed in exasperation and perched on the seat as far away as he could. “Rossi made you go out with him again.”


Hotch hummed his agreement and slung his arm around Reid’s shoulder, pulling him in closer. “He’s looking for wife number four and thinks I need to look for wife number two.”


“Oh,” Spencer’s stomach clenched painfully. It would be agonizingly awkward if Hotch started bringing women home. Hopefully, he’d move out before that happened.


“Your hair smells really nice,” Aaron murmured and Spencer realised that Hotch had man-handled him until he was reclining against his boss’ chest with Hotch’s nose buried in his hair.


“What are you doing, Aaron?” Spencer asked suddenly tense.


Aaron must have picked up on the stiffness of his body. “Sorry,” he mumbled and pulled his arm away from where it had been wrapped around Spencer’s chest. Spencer sat up instantly but couldn’t bring himself to walk away when Aaron watched him with a slightly pained look in his eye.


“So, um, did you meet anyone?” Spencer shifted awkwardly.


“I wasn’t looking,” Aaron responded sadly.


“Oh, well, that makes sense. I mean it hasn’t been that long.”


“No, I suppose not.” Aaron seemed so despondent and Spencer didn’t know exactly what he’d done wrong. He knew Aaron was a far more tactile person than he was but he didn’t usually snuggle. Perhaps he had hurt Aaron’s feelings by rejecting the embrace but he was worried he would give something away. And, anyway, friends didn’t usually snuggle like that, did they? Spencer took a deep breath and wrapped an arm around Aaron’s shoulders. The older man instantly melted into his side with a happy sigh. Spencer decided to indulge his curiosity and bent to rub his cheek against Aaron’s soft dark hair.


“Does my hair smell nice?” Aaron mumbled against Reid’s shoulder.


Spencer sniffed and coughed. “At the moment it mainly smells of cigarettes.”


“Oh,” Aaron sounded disappointed again.


“I’m sure it usually does,” Spencer assured him, “I could smell it again tomorrow and tell you.”


“Okay,” Aaron agreed happily and Spencer was sure that the conversation was rapidly veering off into the bizarre. “I like you, Spencer.” Aaron suddenly pulled back to stare into Spencer’s eyes. “Do you like me?”


Spencer nodded slowly but Aaron didn’t seem satisfied. “Do you like-like me?” he stressed the first like as if that gave it some deeper important meaning.


“Yes,” Spencer whispered, hoping that Aaron wouldn’t remember this conversation in the morning.


“Me too,” Aaron agreed and his eyes flicked to Spencer’s lips. “When I’m sober, I’m going to kiss you.”


“You’re going to kiss me?” Spencer’s voice squeaked horribly.


“Yup but if I do it now, you’ll think it’s ‘cause I’m drunk.”


“And it’s not?”


“No, I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time, Spencer, and you want to kiss me too. So tomorrow I’m going to kiss you. Good night.” Aaron lurched up from the sofa and Spencer heard Aaron’s bedroom door shut from where he sat frozen on the couch.




By the morning, Spencer had managed to calm himself enough to realize that the likelihood of Aaron’s words being true was very slim. That didn’t mean that he didn’t jump a mile into the air when he heard Aaron knock on his bedroom door.


“Come in,” Spencer was pleased that he sounded so nonchalant. It was a feat after not having slept all night in nervous anticipation of kissing his boss.


The door creaked open and Aaron entered clearly fresh from the shower with his T-shirt still clinging to his damp body. He held out a cup of coffee with a slightly anxious look on his face. Spencer tried a smile but felt that it fell flat and instead simply gestured for Aaron to sit on the bed. He did, crossing one leg over the other and Spencer stared at his long, elegant feet, the way his toes curled slightly. Slowly he raised his gaze to meet Aaron’s, who smiled at him.


“I wanted to apologize for last night,” Aaron began.


“That really isn’t necessary.”


“I think it is. I was very drunk and I said things that I probably shouldn’t have. I don’t want you to assume –“


“I don’t. Really, Aaron. It’s fine.”


“Can you let me finish?” Spencer pursed his lips and looked into his coffee. “I phrased the things I said badly and assumed things about you without asking, which isn’t okay. I mean, I think that you – no. Let me start again. Spencer, may I kiss you?”


Spencer’s head snapped up, his mouth falling open in shock: “May you what?”


“Kiss you. I think I said that I was just going to and that’s not right. I meant to ask and be far more suave about it when I did but then I got drunk.”




“Not a good word?”


“Morgan’s suave.”


“No, not like Morgan then. I wanted it to be romantic, you know, nice.”


“You wanted to seduce me?” A smile started to play around the corner of Spencer’s lips.


“You’re making me sound lecherous now.” Aaron huffed in frustration. “And you’re laughing at me.”


“I’m sorry. I’m a little giddy right now.”


“So you are interested?”


“Very. So very very interested. God, yes.”


“Oh, good. That’s good. May I kiss you?”


“Sure.” Spencer twisted and placed his coffee on his bedside table before turning back to Aaron. The older man reached one hand forward, cupping Spencer’s jaw and running his thumb over his cheekbone. He leaned in but stopped and stared into Spencer’s eyes.


“I’ve been imagining doing this for months.” Aaron’s eyes were radiating warmth and affection, it took Spencer’s breath away, made all words catch in his throat. Aaron leaned in a little more until his lips just brushed Spencer’s, a feather-light contact that made Spencer whimper slightly, before Aaron pressed forward again, his lips a solid firm pressure against Spencer’s. Spencer hummed his approval and he felt Aaron’s lips quirk in a small smile before the older man tilted his head and traced the seam of Spencer’s lips with his tongue. Spencer moaned and parted his lips, tongue darting out to draw Aaron’s back with it. Aaron groaned and fisted both hands in Spencer’s hair, pushing him backwards until he was sprawled on the bed with the comforting weight of Aaron’s body pressing him into the mattress. Spencer hooked one leg up behind Aaron’s thighs and aligned their groins undulating his hips and pulling away from the kiss with a gasp as he felt Aaron’s erection press against his own. Aaron groaned again, his own hips snapping forward until he pushed himself up on his elbows and looked down into Spencer’s blown pupils.


“Is this okay?” Aaron’s voice was a low rumble that reverberated through Spencer’s chest.


“God, yes. This is so much more than okay.” Spencer looped his arms around Aaron’s back to hold him in place, one straying under the hem of his T-shirt to stroke the smooth skin beneath.


Aaron shuddered under the gentle touch before resuming the rhythmic movement of his hips. “I just, God Spencer, I thought we’d take it slow. Get to know each other.”


“Aaron, I’ve worked with you for five years. We’ve lived together for eight months. I know you.”


“I guess so,” Aaron bent down and grazed his teeth over the taut muscles of Spencer’s throat. Spencer whined and arched his neck to give Aaron more room to work. “God, I want you so much.”


“You have me. Any way you want. Really. All yours,” Spencer was babbling as Aaron kissed and nipped at his neck, behind his ear, licking the shell before blowing cool air over the overheated skin.


“Yes, mine,” Aaron’s voice was a low growl and then suddenly his weight was gone. Spencer opened his eyes to see Aaron stripping off his T-shirt. He sat up, intending to strip himself but his fingers found their way to Hotch’s stomach, stroking that line of hair. Aaron kneeled back onto the bed and Spencer hooked one finger into the belt loop of his jeans until Aaron stopped him with a gentle hand. “I, um,” Spencer looked up to see a blush highlighting Aaron’s cheek, “I should tell you that I’ve never actually done this, anything, with another man.”


“That’s fine. We’ll only do whatever you’re comfortable with.” Spencer let go of Aaron’s jeans in favour of stripping off his own T-shirt. He looked up to see Aaron devouring his body with his gaze and had to fight the urge to hide under the covers. Compared to Aaron’s perfect musculature, he didn’t think he had much to offer but the look in his friend’s eyes seemed to suggest otherwise. “Lay down on the bed.” Aaron scrambled into position and pillowed his head on his hands, looking up as Spencer hung over him. “You’re perfect,” Spencer whispered, he let one hand trail down Aaron’s chest, his thumb grazing a nipple and pulling a choked off moan from Aaron’s throat. “You like that?”


“Yes,” Aaron groaned as Spencer toyed with his nipple before lowering his head to suck gently. “Harder,” Aaron whispered and Spencer caught the bud between his teeth and pulled. Aaron’s arched his back, rising off the bed.


Spencer’s hand continued its path down Aaron’s stomach, petting the soft line of hair before settling on the waistband of Aaron’s jeans. “Would you mind – may I suck your cock?” Spencer asked raising his head to look into Aaron’s startled eyes.


“If you want to. Do you?”


“So very much.”


“Oh, um, then yes. Sure. I mean, I’d like that too.” Spencer grinned at Aaron’s being reduced to monosyllables with a single question. Popping the line of buttons, he was surprised by Aaron’s lack of underwear.


“How often do you go commando?” He looked up but Aaron was resolutely staring at the ceiling.


“Just at home, usually. I wasn't expecting anything, honestly. I just don’t really like the feeling of boxers.”


“That is interesting. Just at home? Never at work?”


“Sometimes at work,” Aaron whispered. Spencer swallowed heavily at the thought of Aaron naked beneath his well-pressed suits. He shifted and pushed Aaron’s jeans down his legs until his friend was naked beneath him. Aaron propped himself up on his elbows and looked down as Spencer ran one hand up his considerable length, teasing the wet head with his thumb. Spencer glanced up again and grinned before following the movement of his hand with his tongue. Aaron groaned and fell back onto the bed. Spencer traced the vein with his tongue, wetting Aaron’s entire length before pulling the head into his mouth and sucking gently. One of Aaron’s hands tentatively found its way into Spencer’s hair, before tracing the line of his jaw. As Aaron traced his cheek, Spencer angled his head so that Aaron’s cock was pressing against his inner cheek. Aaron groaned again as he felt the bulge before Spencer concentrated once again on slowly bobbing his head. Aaron tasted sharp and fresh, a mix of clean soap and the musky smell of his body. Spencer swallowed so that he could bury his noise in Aaron’s pubic hair, chasing that warm, masculine scent. Aaron’s hips jerked reflexively and Spencer choked slightly, pulling back with saliva dripping down his chin. “Sorry,” Aaron whispered but Spencer just plunged back in, steadying Aaron’s body with one arm draped across his hips while the other reached up to roll Aaron’s balls. Aaron’s whole body was shaking as Spencer’s throat muscles massaged his length and his fingers pulled at his sack.


Spencer pulled off with an obscene pop. “Are you close?”


“So close,” Aaron groaned. “I’m sorry, it’s been a really long time since I’ve been with someone.”


“I know. We live and work together,” Spencer chuckled, still tugging at Aaron’s balls, watching as Aaron’s hips made little unconscious thrusting movements.


“Longer. God, much longer. Things weren’t great, you know, at the end. Oh God, I can’t talk while you’re doing that.” Spencer understood but now wasn’t the time to concentrate on Aaron’s failed marriage.


“So don’t talk.” He stated before sucking on the head again. He focused his motions on the end of Aaron’s dick and his balls until he felt Aaron go rigid beneath him and his balls drew up tight. Aaron’s hand tightened reflexively in Spencer’s hair as he shot hot streams of cum down his throat. Spencer sucked and licked him clean before slithering up his body. Aaron’s face was lax, his eyes closed and a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips.


“I’m sorry, I should have warned you,” Aaron mumbled.


“Not necessary.” Aaron pulled Spencer down into a kiss, his eyes still closed but a grin now spread across his face. Spencer tried not to draw attention to it, but his cock was still hard and aching against the furrow of Aaron’s hip.


“What would you like?” Aaron asked as he pulled back from his kiss, one thumb tracing Spencer’s swollen lips.


“Anything,” Spencer replied honestly.


“I don’t know if I’m quite ready for, uh, penetration,” Aaron muttered, bright red again. “I want to. Maybe next time?”


Spencer’s heart fluttered at the thought that there would be a next time. He hadn’t really been sure or thinking about it at all. “Sure. Would you just touch me? Honestly, it won’t take much.” Spencer shimmied out of his flannel pyjama bottoms, grabbed some lube from his bedside table, and laid down on top of Aaron again.


Aaron slicked up his hand and reached between their bodies to coat Spencer’s cock. “You feel so different from me,” he murmured, looking down at his hand wrapped around Spencer’s cock, “you feel good.”


“Thanks,” Spencer panted. “You don’t know how many times I’ve imagined this. Your hands are obscene.”


Aaron grinned and tightened his grip, rolling them so that he was looking down at Spencer. Spencer’s hair was haloed on the pillow, his eyes squeezed shut. One leg was bent and he was thrusting into Aaron’s fist. “Obscene?”


“Yes, so large. Long fingers. I’d sit and think about how they’d feel wrapped around my cock. How they’d feel inside me.”


“You want that now?” Spencer’s eyes opened and he scanned Aaron’s face for a moment.


“Please,” he gasped. Aaron grabbed the lube and slicked up one long finger. He reached down to circle Spencer hole before pushing the tip in. Spencer keened and arched his back, exposing his long neck so Aaron leaned down and grazed his teeth up to Spencer’s ear before pushing his finger in a little more. Aaron might not have done this before but he seemed to know what he was looking for. As Aaron’s finger brushed against Spencer’s prostate, he let out a broken moan of pleasure. Aaron shifted back onto his knees so that he could continue fingering Spencer as he once again took his dick in hand. Spencer let his eyes slide closed as he surrendered himself to feeling Aaron’s hands inside and out, his whole body shaking with the stimulation until all too soon he was gasping and coming over Aaron’s fist and his own belly.


Aaron grabbed his T-shirt from the floor and wiped Spencer down before flopping on the bed next to him. Spencer smiled softly with closed eyes, ready to finally sleep. “So this might be an ever greater benefit than your Netflix account and your cooking skills combined,” Spencer muttered as Aaron spooned against his back.


“That’s high praise,” Aaron chuckled.




Aaron groaned in frustration as a pile of files slid off the coffee table onto the floor. “I need an office,” he grumbled as he started setting them right.


Spencer froze in the doorway of the kitchen. Aaron’s lips appeared to still be moving so Spencer nodded his head slowly and made what he hoped were appropriate noises of agreement while his internal reality disintegrated into despair because, well, that was that then. This was coming to an end. He hadn’t really expected that they’d stay together forever but secretly he’d hoped. Now Aaron was going to move out. He was right. The apartment was too small. No room for an office. Spencer guessed that their relationship would end too. Well, it would no longer be as convenient and Spencer had always suspected that proximity was a major motivating factor in Aaron’s affections for him. Still, he’d hoped.


“Spencer did you hear me?”


“Yes. I, uh, you’re right. You do need an office.”


“So who’s moving their things?” Spencer’s eyes got very wide. Aaron wanted him to move out. But this was his apartment. He liked it here. “Spencer?” Aaron was suddenly very close, his face filling Spencer’s vision. “What’s wrong?”


“I, um, I thought you’d be the one to move out. But I will if you want. I mean –“


“Spencer? What are you talking about?”


“You need an office. There’s no room here so I figured you’d move out.”


“Spencer, this is a two bedroom apartment. We share a bed every night. I thought we could just make it more official. You know, one bedroom. Our bedroom. We could sell the other bed and make the room into an office.”


“Official? Our?” Spencer sat down heavily on the couch.


“I was maybe presuming too much,” Spencer looked up. Aaron looked nervous. Spencer would even describe the expression on his face as veering on blind panic. “I mean, I thought that this was more than just sex to you. I mean, it’s a risky relationship. I didn’t think you would enter it with short-term goals in mind but perhaps that was foolish and I do have a tendency to fall fast and hard. I’m sorry. We should just forget this conversation and go back to how things were before. Can we do that?”


“You’re very controlling,” Spencer said, twisting his fingers because that wasn’t what he’d really meant to say at all but it was true.


Aaron winced, “I know.”


“I mean, since you’ve moved in here, you’ve changed the way I eat, the way the furniture is arranged, when I do laundry. It seems like the only time I get to be in control is when we’re in bed.”


“I’m sorry,” Aaron murmured, his face pale and drawn.


“I like it,” Spencer shrugged and Aaron looked over at him sharply. “What? I do. I’m eating better. My stuff is more organised. I don’t really mind that at all and the benefits far outweigh the negatives. I mean, I really like taking you apart in bed and the way you just lie back and take it. I really really like that.”


“Oh well,” Aaron offered, “you’re welcome?”


“So, yes. I like your idea of making the second bedroom into an office. I’d prefer moving your stuff into my room. I’m more attached to my bed. We can sell the other one”


“Ok. Right, good.” Aaron collapsed onto the sofa next to Spencer. “I thought we were breaking up for a moment.”


“I wasn’t ever sure we were dating,” Spencer replied.


“We’ve been sleeping together for four months.”


“Sex doesn’t necessarily imply an emotional attachment.”


“It does for me. I love you.” Spencer froze staring at Aaron in wide eyed shock. “I loved you before I even kissed you for the first time.”


“Oh. I, um –“


“It’s okay. You don’t have to say it. I mean I wasn’t really planning on saying it right now.”


“I mean really care about you and long term would be wonderful. I mean, I guess forever would be good,” Spencer added quietly.


“Okay, forever it is,” Aaron replied with another one of those smiles that twisted Spencer’s stomach up in knots and reminded him of how far they’d come. Now he could lean over and press a kiss to those grinning lips and so he did.