Title: Kansas City

Author: Kuria Dalmatia

Rating/Warnings: Spoilers for S4 "Conflicted". FROA, NC-17 (profanity, adult themes, mention of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual situations)

Characters/Pairing: Reid/Elle, Hotch

Summary: It was one thing to track down a friend in New Orleans; it was something else to show up unannounced at the doorstep of a former colleague.

ARCHIVING: my LJ... anyone else? Please ask first.

Feedback always welcome.

DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. Salut! I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying to get these images out of my head.

VERSION: April 2009, July 2009, September 2009. I have no idea where this came from.

TIMELINES: Season 4 Tag to "Conflicted". Companion Piece to "From Nine to One"

COMMENTS: This may be a bit OOC for both Reid and Elle, but I wanted to explore their relationship and push it just a bit. I don't think we've ever seen Reid actually having handcuffs; in "Sex, Birth, Death", he looks to Morgan for cuffs when he took in Nathan Harris. According to the e-CFD, armed agents flying commercial are required to have a pair of either handcuffs or flexicuffs.


Marilyn Monroe said, "Ever notice that 'what the hell' is always the right decision?"


The gate agent at the counter of United Airlines in Dulles Airport had obviously never issued a same-day ticket to an armed federal agent. She sputtered as she pointed to the sign that clearly indicated no firearms. Spencer Reid set his credentials, handcuffs, and American Express card on the counter and began reciting the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Chapter XII, Subchapter C, Part 1544 Subsection 219.

Spencer wasn't in the mood for this. The entire Adam/Amanda thing had put him on an edge he hadn't felt for months. He didn't need his sponsor to tell him that going to the bar with the team tonight was a much a better idea than what he was currently doing. Convincing himself that being in a different city meant that he wouldn't be as tempted because it wasn't as if he knew dealers in every city was stupid. His profession meant he knew exactly where to find whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

Thankfully, another United employee intervened and apologized to Spencer. Minutes later, his economy fare ticket to Kansas City was issued, complete with a wink from the new agent as she explained that "somehow" he had been upgraded to First Class on United Flight 7723. Spencer managed an appreciative smile as he thanked her and then answered yes to the question, "Have you completed the training program 'Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed'?"

He gathered the items off the counter and tried to smile again at the gate agent who issued his ticket; First Class did mean more leg room. He hoped it didn't look too much like a grimace.


It was one thing to track down Ethan in New Orleans; after all, Spencer had been there on a case. It was something else to take a plane Friday evening at 6:40 p.m. to Kansas City, Missouri and show up unannounced at the doorstep of a former colleague three and a half hours later.

As if Elle would even be home on a Friday night. She was smart and beautiful, and never had a shortage of suitors. Unlike Prentiss, Elle never scared them away after the first three minutes of a conversation.

Still, he was here and even if she wasn't home, that was okay. He'd find a nice hotel to check in to and spend the night watching infomercials if he couldn't sleep. He'd accomplished his goal of getting out, away. Someplace relatively unfamiliar. The team had worked a Housecleaner case here over two years ago, but as usual, the only sites they had really seen were the morgue, the police station, the Red Light District, and where the killings had taken place. Worse came to worse, he could call up Detective McGee for coffee. Maybe.

Spencer rang the doorbell to her townhome as he mentally ran through possible greetings. None of them sounded right. All of them sounded downright pathetic.

Which, he supposed, he was.

The door opened and Elle stood in the doorway, dressed in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. Her jaw was slack in disbelief. "Reid?"

"I was, ah, in the neighborhood?" he offered, knowing his voice rose in pitch on the last word and rocking back on his heels wasn't doing him any favors in the credibility department. He also knew that his hitch in tone was all Elle needed to figure out just why he was here. He could never really lie to those he considered friends; he just never volunteered the truth.

She pulled him forward into a hug. "Good to see you."


"Rental from the airport?" Elle asked as she handed him a glass of club soda with lime and nodded towards the keys on the coffee table.

"It was either a Humvee or a Mini-Cooper, and Morgan's voice in my head saying, 'A Mini-Cooper is a clown car.'"

She laughed as she sat next to him. "Which hotel are you at?"

"I, uh... Have any, ah, recommendations?"

She didn't miss a beat. "Casa Greenaway."

"Elle… I didn't—"

"Seriously." She grabbed his hand and squeezed. "And… I still owe you some Kansas City barbeque. Let's go."

"It's almost ten-thirty… okay nine-thirty because of the time zone change but…"

"You haven't had dinner. Don't lie. Now, come on."


It was different having someone lecture him on a subject's finer details. Then again, the origins of K.C. Masterpiece sauce or the evolution of beef barbeque had never really held any interest. Elle grinned as she gestured towards the bottle, to the partially-eaten half rack of ribs between them, and to the black and white photos on the wall of the restaurant. Spencer wondered if she was making this up on the fly, but decided he really didn't care.

Spencer knew his face was frozen in that "You think I'm hanging on every word you say but really I'm not" look he perfected back when he was a teenager. Eyebrows minutely raised. Head tilted slightly forward and chin a little up. Lips curved in the barest of encouraging smiles. He had no doubt that Elle knew he wasn't quite paying attention, but also thankful beyond words that she didn't force him to participate.

"You have sauce on your face," she said suddenly as she leaned forward, brandishing a Wet Nap.

Spencer stared at her for a good three seconds before realizing she was expecting him to lean forward and allow her wipe it off. He surprised himself by doing so, and was rewarded with a warm smile and another squeeze of his hand.

"Thanks," he said, knowing that he really didn't have to elaborate. She playfully cuffed him on the chin.

The waiter then dropped off the check at the table, telling them it was past closing and, after pointing to Spencer's credit card, they didn't accept American Express. Elle was faster with the cash than he was and soon, they were leaving the restaurant.

"Things close early around here," she said with a sigh.


Elle still couldn't make decent coffee. Spencer supposed she could have the most expensive coffee maker and premium blends but still turn out a brew that made Cop Shop Coffee seem gourmet. Regardless, Spencer accepted the mug with a grateful smile and was relieved when she didn't tease him about the amount of sugar he dumped in. They were on opposite ends of the small couch back at her place, a cushion separating them.

A quick glance around told him all he needed to know about her current life. She wasn't comfortable here. The space wasn't "lived in": no photos on the wall, no plants on the windowsill, and half-empty bookcases. Sure, there was a moratorium on inner-team profiling but...

"Sucks, doesn't it?" Elle asked as she followed his gaze. Softly, she added, "I have no idea what the hell I was thinking."

"You were suffering from seasonal affective disorder in Miami?" he ventured.

She thwacked him lightly on the arm. "Yeah. Right." She curled her legs under her and shifted closer to him. "But that doesn't explain why you're here."

"You owed me authentic Kansas City barbeque?"

Elle arched an eyebrow. "Cut the crap, Reid."

"I've missed that," he murmured, focusing on the mug he balanced on his knee.

"What? No one else in the BAU calls you on it when you try to bullshit?" she asked with a derisive snort.

"They, ah, usually let me... ramble," he replied. "You? You just…" He gestured with one hand, at a complete loss on how to explain it. What was he supposed to say? You wouldn't have let me 'figure it out on my own' after Georgia. Instead, he opted for, "Well… you're you."

"That a compliment?"

His lips curved to a smile as he met her gaze. "Most definitely."


It was a confession, Spencer supposed, that only a recovering addict who had worked in the BAU would understand. The guilt. The flashbacks. The anger. The admission that he always kept at least five hundred dollars cash on hand at his apartment wasn't because he couldn't always get to the ATM before wheels up. Oh. And that he still had a phone number programmed in to his personal cell that, despite all these months clean, he still hadn't erased.

Sometime during his explanation that it wasn't the whole "letting the team down because he failed to recognize the split-personalities sooner" that was bothering him, Elle had scooted next to him, pulled his arm around her, and leaned against him. He tensed at first but then relaxed.

This was Elle.

Softly, "Tobias saved my life. It was Charles and Raphael who... I always knew to whom I was talking to. I tried. I tried so hard, Elle. I told Tobias that if he helped me, we could escape. That my friends would help us. That we could... I could..." He focused on the edge of the table. "The man I shot was Charles, but the person who died was Tobias. It was Amanda who killed those people, not Adam." He shook his head. "Is that screwed up or what?"

When she didn't answer right away, he heaved out a sigh.

5"What could I do?" Spencer asked with exasperation. "Go to a meeting? Stand in front of the group and say, 'I started listing places where I could acquire Dilaudid, how much it would cost, and how much I could use because I had talked down a male UnSub with two personalities'? How there was a dominate female, Amanda, and submissive male, Adam, and Amanda had murdered four people? How Amanda had gained control of Adam's mind and wouldn't let him free, but I tried to reach Adam... and all I could think of is how I failed again?"

Elle pulled out of the embrace, grabbed his chin and forced him to look at her. "Listen to me, Spencer Reid," she demanded fiercely. "You're not Adam. You're not Tobias. So stop thinking that one of these days, you're going to turn in to them, damn it." She paused and then shook his chin a little. "And stop denying that you feel guilty about that whole 'letting the team down' crap, okay?"


There was part of Spencer's mind listing all the reasons that he shouldn't be doing this.

This was Greenaway. A former colleague. Someone who had shot and killed William Lee, although whether she had done it in self-defense or out of vengeance depended on who one spoke to. The type of fallen agent he was supposed to steer clear of if he ever wanted to climb the ranks in the Bureau. That whole, "guilt by association" thing.

Then again, it was Elle. A woman he'd worked beside for almost two years, but in the BAU, two years tended to translate as ten. A woman who knew more about his addiction than the entire BAU team combined. A woman who told him that getting out of his head for a few hours didn't have to require drugs or alcohol.

Of course, Spencer knew that.

He just wasn't expecting to be with Elle. He protested, "I didn't come here for..."

"Shut up, Reid," she told him and promptly kissed him hard, her fingers fiddling with his tie. She straddled him on the small couch and he automatically moved to accommodate her. He slid his arms around her waist, hands splayed against her back.

She tasted warm and spicy. Intense, of course. Because this was Elle.

She moved against him. He gasped.

It had been far too long since he'd had sex. He wasn't a virgin, no matter what people thought, and it hadn't been because Morgan had set him up with some "hunny".

He had been sixteen when had his first real kiss. Eighteen when he'd lost his virginity to a voluptuous Georgetown grad student. Nineteen when he'd given his first blowjob. Nineteen and a half when he had lost his "other" cherry. Twenty when he had topped for the first time. Twenty-one before he had sex with a woman again. Then there was Lila and Austin...

He preferred not to think about those he'd, ah, been with while high, even if one of the times had been with Ethan.

Elle pulled off her sweatshirt, revealing a modest cotton bra. Nothing fancy, which admittedly surprised Spencer. She plucked at his clothes and he reluctantly obliged by removing his sweater vest, tie, and dress shirt. He never liked being bared like this, so self-conscious of his body no matter what his lovers had said. This was, perhaps, the only situation where he preferred darkness.

She ran her nails along his chest. He reverently kissed her scar on her breastbone... the one she had because of him. He felt the guilt well up but then her bra fell away, Elle pushed her breast into his mouth and the guilt went back into hiding. Spencer teased her nipple with his tongue before lightly biting. She moaned, arching her back and pressing hard against his crotch.

"Spencer... Spence."

He alternated between her nipples as she clutched his hair with one hand and the other clawed in to his shoulder. She rocked in his lap. He groaned.

It really had been far too long.

"Take me to bed," Elle breathlessly ordered. She slid to her feet and favored him with a lusty look he knew would stick with him for a very long time. At least she wasn't expecting him to carry her anywhere, and once he stood, she hooked her fingers into his belt loops and tugged him flush against her. "I want the full Spencer Reid treatment."


Elle was vocal, but it wasn't in the fake porn star type of way. She let him know what worked and what didn't. She was encouraging. And when Spencer managed to hit the right combination of finger-lips-tongue-teeth while performing cunnilingus, she told him in no uncertain terms that if he dared to stop, she'd pull the Glock from her nightstand and shoot him.

He wanted to laugh, because most men would probably lose their erections right then and there.

Spencer was simply pleased that he... pleased her.

"Oh God, Spence!" Elle arched and shook, fingers tangled painfully in his hair as she came.

She tasted spicy and warm. Spencer eased her down after the orgasm, thrilled that she was still trembling as he withdrew.

"Did you know that it's illegal to have oral sex in Missouri?" he asked.

"What? Do you want me to arrest you? Why, Spencer Reid, I had no idea you were in to bondage," she shot back, breathless.

"I... ah... no. I'm not. In to that."

Elle just laughed and tugged on his shoulders until he was lying next to her. Her hand strayed down to his cock and then it was his turn to arch and pant. She kissed him, obviously not caring that his chin was wet from her. She rolled him on his back, straddled him again, and rooted through her nightstand.

"I am going to ride you like the Pony Express." She paused as she pulled out a condom. "And don't you dare start telling me about the history of it either." Elle tore open the packet, took the condom out, and rolled it down his aching dick. "Or I'll definitely shoot you."

He couldn't help but smile. Then, she positioned him and slowly slid down. Spencer let out a sound he was sure sounded like a howl. She was hot. She was tight.

She was Elle.


They were a mass of sweaty, panting flesh. Elle was curled against him, murmuring 'thank you' and how he needed to get to Kansas City more often.

"What? For a BAU booty call?" Spencer ventured and was surprised that she didn't thwack him. He was also surprised that he actually used the words 'booty call' in a sentence.

"You'd blow Morgan's mind if he knew," she chuckled. "Unless you prefer to blow Morgan."

It was supposed to be a joke; she had been the only one to really question him about his sexuality. However, Spencer knew about Carl Buford... The smile fell from his face. She wouldn't have made the joke if she had known; a tough as nails as Elle was, she would never make light of something like that. And as good as Elle was as a profiler, there was no way she could have guessed. Not with how well Morgan had hidden it from all of them. If she had been there, she would have probably wrestled the explanation out of Morgan within the first five minutes. He wondered if Morgan would have been as hostile or ashamed if it had been Elle confronting him instead of Hotch.

Elle's fingers pressed gently on his arm, a not so subtle order to explain.

"I'm not planning on telling anyone," Spencer replied quietly, then realized how it sounded. "It's not because I'm embarrassed... it's because this is none of their business." He rubbed his eyes. "Can we, ah... not talk about the team?"

"Tell me you can cook," she said instead, an unspoken apology conveyed by a kiss on his shoulder.

"Cooking is just chemistry with edible ingredients," he grinned.

She laughed again. "Good thing one of those PhD's is in chemistry, right?"


It was usually around four a.m., when Spencer would stumble to the toilet to relieve himself, that the reality of what happened the night before would hit. A foreign bathroom generally did that, even if it was a generic white painted room with white porcelain, white tub, and white tiles.

This time, it was no different.

Him. Elle.

A "what the fuck?" situation if there ever was. There was no blaming alcohol, drugs, near-death experiences or exhaustion. It had been mutual consent all the way.

And it had been good.

Really good.

As in, Spencer "wouldn't mind staying the weekend" good.

Even if it was with a former coworker who, by all rights, should hate his guts. He was the reason she wasn't in the BAU anymore. His letters to his mother had set the whole Fisher King into motion. While he knew blaming himself for an UnSub's behavior was irrational—Hotch had been very specific in telling him it wasn't his fault afterwards—Spencer couldn't help but feel that way.

Here Elle was, in Kansas City of all places, because...

A cold chill washed down his back. How could she even stand to be in the same room with him? Because they were fellow recovering addicts?

Yeah. Right.

He flushed the toilet and washed his hands, briefly debating on gathering his clothing and leaving so he wouldn't have to face her in the morning. Then, he realized that Elle would track him down and let him know in no uncertain terms how she felt about him running away. There were only a few things more terrifying than a totally pissed off Elle Greenaway.

He went back to the bedroom, sliding on his boxers before climbing back into bed. Elle sighed and rolled so that her back was flush against his front. She pulled his arm so that it curled around her.

"I'm glad you came back."

"You'd probably kick my ass if I didn't."

She snorted sleepily. "You promised me breakfast."

"Actually, I just said I could cook."

"Same difference. Now shut up and go back to sleep."


Truth be told, Spencer could cook even without proper ingredients. He enjoyed it, actually, but never had anyone to share his concoctions with. Cooking for one just plain sucked.

Rooting through the pantry and the fridge, he found a few cans of tuna and chicken, a few jars of tomato sauce, dried pasta, macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles, pancake mix... generic staples. The spices were pretty standard as well: basil, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg... Milk, orange juice, eggs, pickles, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, a few limes... generic perishable items. There were no personal ingredients, nothing that spoke of Elle.

Then, Spencer had realized that last night hadn't been just about him. Elle had (perhaps) needed the connection last night just as badly. The more he searched through drawers and cabinets (and automatically analyzed the contents), the more awkward he felt and the more worried he became.

"Dear God. You're not profiling my pantry, are you?"

He jumped, almost dropping the box of pancake mix as he turned. Elle was wearing sweatpants and a loose fitting t-shirt. Her hair was mussed and she covered her mouth as she yawned.

"I... ah..." Spencer stuttered and knew he was blushing bright red.

Her eyes narrowed as she wandered in to the small kitchen. She brushed past him, grabbed a mug from the cabinet and poured herself a cup of coffee. "So. Let's hear it."

"Elle... I... ah... no."

"Reid." She rolled her eyes as she took a sip. "You've seen me naked. I've seen you naked. We've had sex. C'mon."

"And... I... ah... would like to have sex again. With you. Today?" Wow. That sounded positively idiotic.

She snorted. "There's nothing you could tell me that's gonna surprise me."

"Then why do you want to hear it from me?"

She shrugged. "Confirmation, perhaps? See if I can profile myself?"

Spencer closed his eyes and shook his head. "You said it last night, that you didn't know what you where thinking." He refused to look up as he began making the pancake batter. "You believed that by moving to the Midwest, it would be easier to manage your addiction and that you could start fresh. The temptations would be less; Kansas City isn't know for its bustlingly nightlife. But once here... you realized that this wasn't working.

"The cases here aren't as challenging as they were in Miami or Quantico or Seattle, because you aren't assigned to the difficult ones. You feel that your talent is being wasted here. Your superiors tend to be misogynistic. It's why you haven't personalized anything in your home. You're trying to figure out where to go next. The lack of ethnic foods in your pantry and fridge indicate that either you can't find quality ingredients locally or that you've deliberately eschewed your Latina heritage in order to fit in." He paused. "I think it's the latter."

"Damn," Elle muttered.

He winced. "I'm sorry, Elle."

She waved her hand dismissively and the focused on the contents of the bowl. "So. What's for breakfast, doctor?"


The phone was ringing. Spencer and Elle had dozed off after post-lunch round of sex. They were tangled in the bed together, sheets sticking to awkward places. Spencer had never spent the entire afternoon in bed with a woman like this. He refused to think of his mother. Especially not in these circumstances.

Now, Elle slapped drowsily around him. Spencer fumbled drowsily around her. Both tried to locate their phones which, surprisingly, were set to the same ring tone.

They located their phones, kept dutifully on the nightstands just in case. They both mumbled their names:



Spencer said, "Hello?" not bothering to look at the caller ID. It took a few moments to realize that, thank God, it wasn't his.

"Greenaway," she repeated, followed by, "Hello? Hello? Jerk." She snapped the phone shut and tossed it back on the nightstand. "At least the sonofabitch could have the courtesy to say, 'Oops. Wrong number'."

"A woman barking out her last name can be kind of intimidating," Spencer replied as he fumbled for his glasses. They hadn't left bed since after lunch. It was now close to 6 p.m., his stomach growled and they seriously needed to consider dinner. There wasn't much left in Elle's fridge and Spencer did not want to work with the items in her pantry. They were too depressing.

"I bark?" Elle moved to be on top of him, long hair framing her face as she loomed over him.

He held up his hands in surrender. "Only when answering the phone."

She glowered at him and then grinned. "Chinese?"

"As long as I get a fork."

"Come on! After all these years, you still can't manage chopsticks?"

"You see them as eating utensils. I can't get past the whole fulcrum thing."

She slapped a hand across his mouth. "I don't even want to know, mister."


They had ended up at a steak place and annoyed the hell out of their waiter by taking too long to order appetizers, too long ordering their main meal, and then lingering over coffee. Elle was more interested in hearing about his life than hers, so he told her about Riley Jenkins and accusing his father of murder.

"Afterwards, they told me that I should forgive him," he said sullenly, still stung by how the team seemed to gloss over his father's abandonment. Well. Hotch hadn't. "My dad sent me a birthday card. First time in, what? He wants to visit."

"I'm the wrong person to ask about forgiveness, Spence," Elle replied sourly as she stirred her iced tea. "I haven't gotten to Number Nine yet."

He shook his head. Softly, "You're the only one I've made amends with."

She nodded. "I think that's the hardest one."

"Yeah." He grimaced and looked around. "You know? I've never told that to anyone. Even my sponsor."

It was her turn to look away. "I haven't been to a meeting in months. I just... I tried three or four. None of them felt right."

"Do you still have someone in Miami?"

"No." She shrugged. "I'm Miss Independent, remember?"

"You have me."

She reached out for his hand. He grasped hers, watching in fascination as her thumb swept across his knuckles. "I know." She didn't look at him as she asked, "Do you have any idea how much I hate this place?"

"I profiled your pantry, remember?" Spencer laughed darkly.

Elle squeezed his hand. "What time is your flight tomorrow?"

"Eight twenty-six."

Suddenly, she grinned wickedly and announced, "Plenty of time for me to fuck your brains out tonight."

His eyes widened and he quickly looked around. Their waiter had stopped two feet from their table, his mouth hanging open. Spencer hissed, "Elle!"

"We haven't done the Reverse Cowgirl yet. Wanna be my cowboy?"

Spencer pulled back his hand and tried to say something, but nothing came out. The waiter made a choking sound.

Elle smirked as she tossed a pile of cash on the table. "There's also this position I saw in a Ron Jeremy film. I think you'd like it."

"Who's Ron Jeremy?" Spencer managed to squeak out.

"Come back to my place, and you'll find out."


They ended up sitting in her bed and playing Uno until one a.m. Spencer was surprised, but not necessarily disappointed, that they didn't have sex. He wasn't about to admit that he was actually sore, which the first time that had ever happened. When they finally turned off the lights, save for the dimmed one in the hallway, she cuddled against him and fiddled with the buttons of his pajama top.

It was weird. Spencer knew he loved her, but it wasn't the all-consuming love he would have expected to feel for someone he wanted to... date. Marry. Spend the rest of his life with. He cared for her deeply, but also knew that there was no way an actual romantic relationship would ever work. He was still the prodigy of the BAU. She was still the black sheep. Sooner or later, she would resent it.

"What do you think about LA?" she asked suddenly, sounding a little lost. More than a little sad.

"You'd fit in better," he replied and then rattled off statistics on traffic jams, the cost of housing, and smog. He chewed his bottom lip briefly. "Actually, I think you'd do better in Vegas."

"Sin City?"

"Only for tourists."

"Hmmm... you sure this isn't a ploy for when you visit your mom, you can also make a booty call?"


She laughed. "I wouldn't mind doing this again. You know, that whole 'friends with benefits' type thing."


Elle suddenly sat up and turned on the bedside lamp. She stared at him, eyes wide. "This... you understand what this was... is... right?" She buried her face in her hands. "Oh God! I fucked this up, didn't I?"

"No!" he quickly assured her. "I just never... thought I'd be, well, lucky enough to. Well. You know." He gestured haphazardly. "This. I..."

"Shut up, Spencer."


She settled down next to him again, tugging until he was on his side facing her. "We're okay, then. Right?"



"I swear, Elle."

She let out a long sigh and then grinned impishly. "I should give you a hickey. Right..." she brushed a fingertip along the side of his neck, just below his left ear. "Here."

"Please, no hickeys. I'll never hear the end of it from Morgan or Prentiss," he groaned.

"C'mon, Spence. Just one."

"Absolutely not."

At six a.m., as he said his goodbyes to Elle, he impulsively gave in to her wish last night.

He'd always wanted a hickey.


It wasn't until after Spencer had boarded the plane Sunday morning that he checked his cell phone to see if he missed any calls. The weekend had been way too quiet, which was exactly what he had needed, of course, but still... it was usually a precursor to a hellish week. Something made him check the call log. It was then he saw that he had received one—and answered it—on Saturday afternoon at five forty-five.

Caller ID: Hotch.

Holy shit. Spencer and Elle used the same ring tones. She had thought she was answering hers while he had thought he had his.

Hotch had heard her declare, "Greenaway" and had then hung up.

Spencer wasn't sure if it had been out of disgust or discretion; there had been no mistaking the sleepiness in her voice and Hotch would immediately have guessed (correctly) why she had sounded so drowsy on a late Saturday afternoon.

His hand flew to his neck and he thumped his head against the seat. Idiot.

Thoughts chased after thoughts. Scenarios played out in Spencer's mind. Hotch mad. Hotch furious. Hotch lecturing about Bureau politics. Hotch telling him that he had slept with an agent who had killed a suspect in cold blood. Hotch cuffing him on the shoulder and saying congrats, which would never happen in a million years because Hotch wasn't like that.

It was the longest three and a half hour flight ever.

By the time Spencer arrived back to his apartment, he was a shaking mess. He had to call Hotch. There was no avoiding it. Spencer also knew that getting it over now would give him some time to settle down before going into the office on Monday. Facing the man would be worse, because then Spencer could see the disappointment that would certainly be in the man's eyes.

He stared at his phone for a good five minutes before finally (finally) selecting Hotch's number and hitting the "call" key.

"Hotchner." Answered on the second ring. Neutral as always.

"Ah. Hi. Ah. You, um, called?" Spencer cringed and then began pacing. Where had all his confidence from this weekend gone, when he had been bantering with Elle like he had sex with his former coworkers on a regular basis?

Hotch replied smoothly, evenly, "It wasn't important."

"I... ah..."

"It's none of my business," Hotch interrupted, tone somewhere between firm yet understanding.

"I wasn't ignoring my phone," Spencer told him.

"If it had been important, Spencer," Hotch's voice was now gentle, "I would have called back. Like I said, it's none of my business, but if you want to talk..."

"It's complicated."

"Most relationships are."

Spencer almost said that it wasn't a relationship the way Hotch had implied, but swallowed hard instead. He stopped pacing and looked down at the floor. "See you on Monday?" because he really didn't want to go into it.

"See you Monday," Hotch repeated, but didn't end the call.

Spencer let out a breath. Softly, "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

/***/ Finis /***/