Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds or NCIS or any of their characters. I do however own this story, I wrote it and I do NOT give permission for anyone to post it anywhere else. If you want to share it post a link.
Six months after Reid left the BAU a deeply tanned, tall slim man in tight jeans, boots and a trendy black leather jacket over a skin tight white t-shirt displaying an impressive amount of muscle for one so thin, walked tiredly into the bull pen and up to Hotch's office without saying anything to anyone. His short sun streaked blonde hair falling in what looked like artful disarray over the right side of his beautiful face.
"Who was that?" Ashley asked admiring the man's lean form and tight butt.
"Who?" Emily said, coming out of the kitchen and just catching a glimpse of back of the man Ashley was looking at as he entered Hotch's office.
"The guy in Hotch's office," Ashley said.
"I don't know, I didn't get enough of a look to recognise him, what did he say?" Emily asked.
"He didn't say anything, he just walked straight up and looked into Hotch's office, tapped on the doorframe, grinned, then went in and shut the door. Do you think he could be a new addition to the team?" Ashley asked eagerly.
"We don't have a vacancy on the team" Morgan growled.
"You will when I go back to the academy next month," Ashley reminded him. "Maybe Hotch wants to orient someone to the team before I go."
"What's going on?" JJ said as she came delivering files.
"Do you know who's visiting Hotch?" Ashley asked.
"Hotch has a visitor?" JJ asked surprised, looking up at the closed blinds of Hotch's office.
"Yeah tall lean, blonde," Ashley said.
"Not to mention Ashley's definition of Hot," Emily said teasingly.
"He looked like he could be a fashion model, and he knew his way up to Hotch's office without asking," Ashley said frowning at Emily.
JJ shrugged, "Sounds a bit like it could be Sean," she said thoughtfully.
"Sean?" Ashley asked. "Who's Sean?"
"Sean Hotchner, Hotch's brother," JJ said.
"I didn't know Hotch had a brother" Morgan said.
"Well, I'm not sure if he's a brother or half-brother but he's about ten years younger than Hotch and they've never been close" JJ said. "I've never met him but Hotch described him as being blonde and inheriting all the better features from the Hotchners. Given that Hotch himself is quite good looking, I imagine Sean must be gorgeous. From his picture in Hotch's wedding photos he was a very good looking teenager."
"Hmm" Emily agreed. "I can't picture a young, blond, smiley Hotch." Privately she thought a lot of Hotch's sex appeal came from his dark broody alpha persona, a soft pretty blond version wouldn't interest her.
"He didn't look at all like Hotch I think it could be a new agent," Ashley said hopefully. She didn't think she could make a pass at her boss' brother even if she managed to catch him on his way out.
"Isn't he coming back?" Morgan demanded of JJ.
"Who?" Ashley asked, confused, but JJ automatically knew who Morgan was talking about and frowned.
"He hasn't spoken about it to me either way," JJ replied.
"Morgan's right we don't need a new agent, we need Reid back," Emily said.
"You're saying you'd rather have Dr Geeky Brain rather than Mr Gorgeous?" Ashley asked surprised, gesturing at Hotch's office. She'd heard all of them mention a time or two that they could use Dr Reid's help with solving a case or working the geographic profile, but she didn't think from their behaviour that they seriously missed him or expected him to come back to the team.
"Don't call him that!" Emily snapped. They'd all become quite protective of Reid's reputation and image due to the guilt they felt when they realised how much they'd hurt him.
"Reid is one of us, he belongs here, and he's one of the best profilers I've ever met," Morgan said angrily. "I can't think of a single case that wouldn't probably have been solved quicker with his help."
Ashley stepped back slightly surprised by Morgan's reaction, every time the genius' name had come up in the last six months Morgan had seemed angry at Dr Reid. Now he was demanding the genius returned.
In the meantime, Hotch looked up and greeted the man Agent Seaver called 'Mr Gorgeous' with a smile.
"Reid, please tell me you're here to tell me you're coming back" he greeted.
Spencer looked unsure. "Seger will be back in a few weeks but Jack Garrett said he'd have a pretty good chance of keeping me if I wanted to stay. I'm here to find out if I still have a place on the team before I make my decision."
"Spencer, please, we need you, our average length of time to solve a case has blown out nearly an extra forty hours, and there's almost always at least one more death in that extra time, your contribution to our team has been sorely missed by us all," Hotch almost begged. "Cooper and Moffat would both happily make room for you on their teams if you'd prefer it, or the three of us would be prepared to shuffle all the teams to give you the team mates of your choosing, if that's what it would take to have you return to the BAU."
"The teams would resent being chopped and changed like that," Spencer objected.
"Do you honestly think you can come back and work with the team as is?" Hotch asked.
"Yes, I think so," Spencer said nodding. "JJ and I are okay now. I've started having dinner with them one night each time I'm in town to spend time with Henry. Emily apologised and was incredibly helpful when I rang her in the middle of the night asking for background information on the embassy staff in Bahrain, in spite of the fact we both know how much she hates been woken up. We've talked a couple of time since and I'm sure we can work together. Garcia's also done me a couple of favours over the last six months, she seems to realise that she needs to keep to professional boundaries. And I'm no longer afraid to stand up for myself and tell them to pull their heads in when they're out of line."
"And Morgan?" Hotch asked. Derek Morgan had been extremely pissed off when Reid accepted the secondment to the IRT, and even more angry when he found out that Reid had approached Garrett asking for the position. Hotch knew that Morgan had thought of Spencer Reid as his little brother, but didn't realise he often took what he thought of as brotherly teasing too far and that as the only child of two very dysfunctional parents Reid was frequently confused and sometimes hurt by his actions.
"I don't know Hotch, we haven't spoken since I left the BAU," Spencer said quietly. "But if I come back I'm not taking any of his shit, or doing any of his work for him."
"Spencer, I don't expect you to accept anyone slipping you extra work," Hotch said seriously before grinning maliciously. "Unless of course you want to, When I found out what they were doing when you were injured, I told them that if you were doing their work you'd be collecting that percentage of their pay. It took some arguing but HR has finally approved it. Just make note of how many files you complete for each person each week."
Spencer smirked back. "How did you convince them of that?" he asked.
"Well I started with the argument that no matter where you're situated in the Bureau, you do more than twice as much work on consults and cold cases as anyone else in addition to the work you do for other agencies, and the work that the rest of the team gave you instead of doing it themselves, so if you left they'd have to replace you with at least three agents, then I pointed out that all the other agencies pay you by the case so you'd actually earn more money if you quit working full time for the FBI and agreed to consult for us as you do for the other agencies. Then I mentioned that one of your reasons for leaving the BAU was that the other agents were expecting you to do their work for them and they should be penalised for not doing their own work. HR and I worked out what percentage of time we normally spend in the office on paperwork and how much each level of Agent would normally achieve in that time. We've set the pay grading so that most of our agents won't notice much alteration in their pay if they complete the work allocated to them. It's only fair that the new system will mean a pay raise for you even if you don't accept extra files slipped to you by the team because you are allocated twice as many consults as anyone else and you have the added opportunity to earn a bonus at their expense if they try to take advantage of you.
Spencer laughed, "I can't say I will take on much of their work, I'm studying and I have more of a social life than I used to have."
Hotch smiled, "I'm glad to hear it. Do I need to threaten Garcia to stay out of your business again?"
"No, we're at the stage of meeting each other's friends and family, I'm taking her home to meet Mom next weekend, most of my friends know about her," Spencer said cheerfully. "She came to the zoo with me to meet you last weekend before we found out you were called away."
Hotch smiled, pleased that Spencer had included him in the friends he wanted his girlfriend to meet.
"We will have to try again next time we both have a day off."
"I've got Saturday off unless we get called away. JJ and Will have plans with Henry but we could meet up with you and Jack somewhere," Spencer offered.
"There's a new exhibit that Jack's been wanting to see. I think he's been waiting for you to accompany us so you can answer all his questions about it," Hotch said smiling amusedly.
"The new personal jet propulsion exhibit at the Smithsonian?" Spencer asked enthusiastically. "The one where..."
He stopped himself. "I'll wait and tell you when Jack's with us so you don't have to listen to me twice. My friend Tim wants to see that exhibit, he's something of a fanatic when it comes to jetpacks. Do you mind if he joins us, if he's not working a case?"
Hotch smiled sadly. He was pleased that Spencer seemed to have more of a social awareness now but saddened how it came about.
"Your friend is welcome and Jack and I will look forward to hearing what you've got to tell us," he said. He was eager to meet this new friend, Spencer had talked about a couple of times.
Spencer grinned, "Then let's hope none of us get a case."
"It will be easier to catch up like this when you're back on my team," Hotch said.
"If you still want to hang out with me in your time off after being in each other's pockets in the field," Spencer said.
"Jack and I will want to hang out with our friend Spencer no matter how much time I've spent working with Dr Reid," Hotch said confidently.
"You really want to go back to the BAU? I thought you were happy with your new team?" Tony asked when Spencer bought it up that night.
"I am happy with the team but often the work we do is pretty ordinary other than it being in a foreign country. I'd get more stimulation from the BAU cases, and I cant help but think it's a better fit for my skills," Spencer replied.
"Okay I accept that, what about the offer to join one of the other teams? Do you really want to go back to the team you left?" Tony asked.
Spencer sighed, "I can't explain it, I would feel like I was betraying Hotch if I joined Cooper's or Moffatt's team. And their teams already work quite well together and think of me as being a part of Hotch's team, they'd resent me if one of them was transferred to Hotch's team to make space for me. I'd feel like an outsider. Besides, they don't need me like Hotch does."
"Hotch's team only need you because they got used to depending on you, and haven't adapted to your absence," Tony retorted.
Spencer didn't reply, busying himself with his food.
"Obviously you've subconsciously made up your mind what you want Spence, but make sure you're doing this because it's right for you," Tony admitted defeat.
"I feel that I need to give them one more chance, they were my family" Spencer said.
"If you do go back you need to remember that you're not that lonely naive kid they can take advantage of anymore, and the option to leave again or swap BAU teams if you can't work with Hotch's team," Tony said. "You have a life outside work now, and your girlfriend will be happy you won't be away for so long at a time."
Spencer grinned at that. Thinking about his girlfriend. He'd finally got to know a woman he felt comfortable with. She'd actually been one of the guest lecturers in one of the undergraduate classes on foreign literature that he hadn't been able to resist enrolling in. She'd been impressed that he'd been able to discuss everything about her subject from the controversies in the translations, to the influence the culture and other literature of that nation might have had on the authors.
As his lecturer she had been warned in advance of his work hours so she hasn't been too upset with him when he'd had to reschedule their first date. She'd been less understanding the second time but had been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt when he'd come to class straight off the plane from Peru, clearly exhausted and not really dressed for the current weather. Since then she'd learnt more about what Spencer actually did and tried hard not to resent him for his absences though Spencer had to postpone dates on a fairly regular basis. Still when he talked to her about the changes returning to the BAU would cause to his schedule she'd been in favour even though he'd warned her that it would probably mean more last minute cancellations and middle of a date call outs. as the BAU cases tended to all be urgent. She liked the idea of him being in the country and in more similar time zones so she didn't have to stress about what time it would be when she called him.
"I've made my decision, I'm going back to the BAU" he told Tony.
Tony clapped him on the shoulder supportively. "I expected you would, but you have an opportunity here, Spence. Let them see the new you, the one that demands respect. Keep the people that haven't apologised at arm's length if you must but remember the strength of a team is often its teamwork. Don't go back unless you're sure you can work with these Agents on your terms."
"There's something else I wanted to talk to you about," Spencer said. "The fact that me being on the international response team increased the solve rate. There is a fairly good chance that Garrett is going to be assigned another agent. You'd be great at this job and you're 'footloose and fancy free', I think you'd enjoy it. Would you like me to let Garrett know you'd be interested in the job, put in a good word for you? You might not get the position of course since you only speak one other language."
"I would love it, but I can't leave Tim alone on the team with Gibbs, he still hasn't forgiven us for not trusting him over Ziva," Tony said. "It's like trying to work with a grizzly bear."
"Monty said Tim has skills, there'd be a place for him in the Bureau if he wanted it," Spencer said.
"Yeah but Tim was brought up to be something like third or fourth generation Navy, his father was incredibly disappointed when he didn't join the Navy too. For him working at NCIS is more than being a federal agent, he's serving the Navy the best way he can while still being the person he wants to be. I don't know that he'd leave," Tony said.
"I still think someone should make the offer. I can see how much working with Gibbs is stressing out both of you, Tim's lost at least twenty pounds in the last four months, he needs to know he has the choice to leave without giving up being an agent. Maybe if Gibbs knew you both had positions to go to and were considering it because of his behaviour, then maybe he would reconsider his support of Ziva and his punishing you for exposing the problem," Spencer said.
"You don't know Gibbs, you heard about what happened when we tried to tell him our concerns, we had valid reasons to be concerned about not just procedural issues but our own safety, and he wouldn't listen. I even gave him an ultimatum and he just dug his heels in further," Tony said chuckling ruefully. "He still hasn't admitted that we were right about Ziva."
"Tim's smart enough to see all this, will your new director transfer him if he asks?" Spencer said.
"He might but any lateral transfer off the MCRT will be seen by everyone as a demotion and he's really not ready for a SFA position. The only transfer that won't harm his career is an agent afloat posting because everyone has to do one sooner or later to advance but with his seasickness Tim wouldn't survive six months at sea," Tony said sighing.
"Do you think he knows that you're staying mainly to protect him?" Spencer asked.
"I'll be sorry to see you go Reid. You realise that you've improved our average time it takes to solve a case by just over twenty four hours. That means I have either spent an extra thirteen whole days at home with my wife or we saved one more group of people because you were on the team," Garrett said.
"Wow, that's great, but the solve time on my old team had increased by nearly forty hours, and they investigate more serial killers who will keep killing until caught," Spencer said. "I can save more lives by returning to the BAU."
"That's quite a blow out in their results. You could ask for almost anything you want," Monty said.
Spencer smiled slightly sadly. "They've already been more than generous but what I really want, management can't give me," he said quietly. His new team had become good friends despite Spencer's original reluctance to trust any of them personally but he still missed the feeling of family and belonging he thought he'd had with his old team before he'd been shot.
Garrett laid a supportive hand on Spencer's shoulder and squeezed lightly. Please be aware that we would welcome you back to work on our team at any time, and that not working with us doesn't mean you're leaving behind our friendship. We want to hear from you when we're both in town and your welcome to team dinners anytime you can make it.
"I would recommend Tony for your team if you have an extra vacancy, he's not a profiler but he is fairly astute when it comes to understanding people and their motivations and he's one hell of an investigator. He speaks Italian and a smattering of Spanish but he's smart enough to pick up the basics of another language fairly easily." Spencer said.
"He's ready to leave NCIS?" Garrett asked.
"Yeah he is, has been for a while so long as Tim leaves too, he's not willing to leave his probie to face Gibbs without backup," Tony replied.
"A true team player, and what do you have in mind for McGee?" Garrett asked, amused at Spencer trying to problem solve his friends' lives.
"I don't know. He could walk into a job in cyber or white collar, but they're not what he's interested in. He doesn't want to be tech support, he wants to be a field agent though Gibbs is holding him back a bit because he's the only computer savvy member of the team. He's a navy brat so he speaks a couple of other languages, Spanish, Greek and Japanese predominantly which would make him perfect for an overseas posting either with NCIS or elsewhere. I think I could convince the NSA to want him. If he stays where he is I'm going to try to talk him into doing some profiling courses, he has the brains he's just never been given that sort of experience. He'll never be a great profiler but he's smart enough to realise that from the onset, and it would certainly help his interrogating skills, he's never going to be the type of interrogator that scares suspects into confessing their crimes."
"It sounds like he could be a good fit for my team with a bit more experience. Why do you think he'd never be a great profiler?" Jack asked curiously.
"It can only be taught to a certain extent. Most profilers grow up profiling naturally just to survive their environments. Tim McGee grew up in a loving stable home, sure his Dad was strict and he moved around a lot but always with the support of his family, and that drove him inward to hobbies and activities that didn't require a stable group of friends rather than learning how to profile kids and make friends more easily.
Garrett and the team laughed. "One day you are going to make a great unit or section chief," he said.
The team laughed again at the face Spencer pulled at that idea. Garrett allowed him to brush it off but he wouldn't mind betting it was part of the brass' motives in letting accept the secondment, to experience working with a different team. Or in letting him risk himself in the field at all. With his speed of working, Spencer could probably achieve more by staying at Quantico and working with all three BAU teams by phone than accompanying a single team into the field.
A/N: Thank you to knuckles 8, Firesong23, delia cerrano, julschristine975, brighteyes343, Rori Potter, ahowell1993, Criminal Minds Queen, tlcroft, Guest, turbomagnus, Rainbow2007, DS2010, Village-Mystic, Guest, erik (Guest), serenityselena and all those who followed and favourited for your support.