A/N: Hello! Bit of fluffiness here... based on a prompt from "Rounds of Kink," but this is completely PG-rated. Let me know what you think, loves!
Prompt: Garcia convinces Spencer to participate in a charity auction. He is very surprised by the bidding frenzy over him. When some anonymous phone bidder wins him, he wonders who it is.
Penelope Garcia leaned against the door frame of the break room. She was watching Spencer Reid fill his coffee mug with acrid BAU brew. He poured in a generous amount of powdered creamer-it formed a little island on top of the liquid-then followed it with a heap of sugar directly from the container. He considered the effect, then added more sugar. Satisfied, he picked up a spoon and carefully stirred it all together. He took a sip, frowned, then added more sugar.
Garcia was momentarily transfixed. His hands... She shook her head. If you looked past the goofy haircut, the granddad's closet wardrobe, and the awkward social skills, the young profiler was... hot. She knew he didn't think so. She knew he had a sense of inferiority where romance was concerned, and she thought his self-image must be a part of it. She'd tried to tease him into realizing how gorgeous he really was, but there were layers and layers of harsh life experiences to blast through before she could even begin to reach him.
Dr. Reid needed a jumpstart. Garcia had just the thing.
"Oh, hi, Garcia. What's up?"
"Um... I was hoping you could do me a favor."
"I will if I can-what is it?"
"Well, you know I'm active in that victim's support network, right?"
"It's grown a lot. We need a bigger space, and we're setting up a real office, but we're a little short, financially-speaking-"
"Oh, sure, I can throw in a few bucks." Reid reached for his wallet.
"No, no-we're doing a fund-raiser, actually, and I was hoping you could help me... with it." Garcia suddenly felt her resolve falter. There was no way Reid would go for it, no way at all. But-
Reid frowned. "How?"
"Uh-well, we're going to have an auction."
"Oh. You need donations? I've got some books I could contribute, and I have a brand-new sweater my mother sent me that doesn't fit, which I lost the receipt for-oh, and I have a gift card to Steak-n-Ale that I'm never going to use-"
Garcia put a hand on his arm. "Um, no, Spencer-it's not that kind of auction."
"We're going to auction off-men. Law-enforcement personnel, to be exact."
"Yeah... So far, we have four beat cops, three detectives, a sheriff, a constable, and I said I'd bring in an FBI guy. So, see? You have to do it."
Garcia smiled hopefully. Reid stared at her as if she'd suggested he hop on a shuttle to the moon so he could bring her back a nice rock. Then, he shook his head.
"I... don't think so. Sorry. I've got to get to work now-"
"Aw, come on, Spencer! Please! You've got to help me!"
"Garcia, that's crazy! There's no way-I mean, how humiliating would that be? You know no one would bid on me!"
Garcia broke into a deep grin. "Now, that's where you're wrong, my babe. You, with a few minor tweaks, will be a most studly offering that will bring in lots of dough. Have no doubt about that!"
"Garcia, this is insane. There's no way I'm going to-why don't you make Morgan do it?"
"I'd love to, but he's going out of town this weekend."
"Well, Rossi, then."
Garcia made a dismissive sound. "He's a little... mature for this sort of thing."
Reid pursed his lips. "Hotch?" He regretted the suggestion as soon as it came out of his mouth.
Garcia shook her head sadly. "I don't think he's ready for something like this, yet. Haley's only been gone a few months, and-"
"I know, I know, I'm sorry I even said it."
Garcia took Reid's face in her hands and made him look down into her eyes. "Come on, boy genius. Take a chance, do something just for fun for a change. You'll have dozens of women bidding on you, going crazy over you-wouldn't that be a trip? You'll have a great time, you'll get a date out of the deal, and you'll be doing something nice for charity. How can you say no?"
"Like this: N-O, no. Now, I've got a lot of work to do. I'm sorry, Pen, I'm just not going to participate in such a-barbaric ritual. It's creepy." He gave her a reproving glare and strode off.
Garcia watched him leave. She chewed her lip thoughtfully, then went off to work a little behind-the-scenes magic.
The next evening, Hotch hurried out of his office, car keys in hand. He was eager to get home to his son, but the sight of Reid preparing to leave stopped him. The young profiler had seemed a bit off all day, and it worried him to see Reid listlessly sling his bag over his shoulder and head slowly toward the door with his head down.
Reid turned, surprised. He smiled wanly. "Oh, hey. Didn't hear you come up."
"You seem upset. Are you all right?"
"Oh... yeah. I'm fine. I just-I got myself into a stupid situation, that's all." He shrugged and turned back toward the door.
Hotch frowned. "What happened?"
Reid turned to face him. He might as well tell him-Hotch could probably use a laugh. "Garcia's victims' support group is having a charity auction, and I got tricked into being one of the items."
Relieved that it was nothing serious, Hotch suppressed a grin. "You're going to be auctioned off? Like a prize calf?"
"Apparently." Reid sighed.
"How were you tricked?"
"At lunch yesterday, I got suckered into playing a couple of hands of poker with Prentiss. Clearly, she and Garcia are in cahoots. Oh, and you should know one of your agents plays cards with a marked deck. Doesn't seem very ethical to me." Reid gave a bitter huff of disgust.
Hotch actually laughed out loud. "Cheer up. It sounds like it might be fun."
"Oh, come on. Who knows, you might meet the girl of your dreams."
Reid gave him a doleful look. "You and I have talked about that."
"Yes, and I thought the jury was still out on... your orientation."
"Yeah... But, it's a moot point anyway, because no one's going to bid on me in the first place." The boy swiped a hand over his eyes. He could see himself, standing on the stage, crickets chirping in the background.
"Nonsense. I have it on good authority that you're, uh-'hot.'"
Reid's mouth twisted into a dismissive sneer. "Did Garcia tell you that?"
"I overheard her and JJ talking. JJ agreed."
"There were some qualifiers-something about hair gel came up, but..." Hotch shrugged, still amused.
"Well, so-let's say someone does bid on me, that's even worse! I don't want to go on a date with a stranger."
"It's one evening, Reid, not an arranged marriage."
"Good point. Thanks, I'll try to keep that in mind." Reid slowly broke into a smile. "But, you're right, I'll get through it somehow. Okay. Have a good evening-I'll see you tomorrow." He raised a hand in farewell, walked to the exit and left.
Hotch watched him disappear through the door and brushed aside a wistful feeling. He glanced down at the keys in his hand and reminded himself that Jack was waiting for him at home. He briskly strode off to his car, unable to quell the thought that, in his opinion, Spencer Reid looked just fine, exactly the way he was.
Two days later, Reid stood backstage at the auction, in a line behind a beefy cop, a broad-shouldered police constable, and a muscle-bound SWAT team member. He rolled his eyes in aggravation, berating himself yet again for getting into this, and mentally raking Garcia over the coals for her crafty sneakiness. How could he be so stupid? How could he have allowed himself to-
It was the cop's turn.
The women in the audience were going nuts. The level of joyous hysteria was reaching a fever-pitch and the money was flowing freely. The cop was quickly dispatched to an elderly lady for $500.
The SWAT guy shook his head. "Oh, man, I hope whoever gets me is under sixty."
"Yeah, the dames with all the cash have been over fifty, so far. There's a chapter of the Red Hat society out there, ugh." The man shivered in distaste. Reid sighed. He was sure no one would bid on him; Garcia and Prentiss had spent the better part of an hour assembling an outfit for him, taming his shaggy locks into something resembling a hairstyle, and advising him on proper presentation, but...
"Stand up straight. No, straighter, quit slumping," Garcia ordered.
Prentiss waved a finger in disagreement. "No, no, a little slouch is sexy..."
"Not in my book! Now, let's see you walk. Oh, God. Not like that! Jeeze, Spencer, you're not facing the firing squad, hold your head up..."
And, so on. Now, he was too terrified to remember anything they had told him and was just focused on making his way forward without falling over his own feet.
The constable's high bidder was pushing eighty.
The SWAT guy went to a woman older than his mother, yet still young enough to subdue him if he tried to run.
The attractive young woman who was moderating the event smiled at Reid. "Your turn, Agent Reid. Go get 'em!"
"Uh..." Reid's brain had lost communication with his feet. He didn't move.
The girl pursed her lips. "Penelope said this would happen. She told me to tell you that if you don't go out there, she will, um-'mess you up,' was the term, I believe."
Reid swallowed, hard. "Oh." He looked at the girl. She gave him an encouraging smile, and a tiny shove forward. Before Reid knew it, he was walking out onto the stage, headed toward the auctioneer.
"And, now we have FBI Agent Spencer Reid. He's 6'1" and a strapping 120 pounds of pure-muscle? Uh, sure... And, ladies-he's a doctor! Bidding starts at two hundred dollars, what am I bid?"
The hoots and catcalls stilled, and for a moment the room was all but silent. Then, Reid heard an elderly female voice say, "Skinny one, isn't he?" Then, her equally senior friend answered, "Yeah-but, cute. I wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers, would you? Two hundred, here!"
Suddenly, the bidding went crazy, and rapidly climbed to seven hundred dollars. The auctioneer's tongue rolled fluidly, and numbers tumbled from his lips.
There was a brief pause in the frenzy, then a shrill female voice at the back shouted, "Nine hundred dollars!" Reid couldn't see past the first few rows, and he shielded his eyes, trying to identify the bidder. He was rapidly becoming panicked. For nine hundred bucks, some lady was going to expect a lot from him...
"I have nine hundred dollars! Do I hear nine-fifty? Ladies? Nine-hundred, going once-"
There was a dull roar as women anxiously checked their funds, and a lot of them shook their heads sorrowfully.
"Going twice!" The auctioneer scanned the room. He held his gavel up high above his head. "Going-Going-"
Suddenly, the girl from backstage came running out, a cell phone at her ear.
"Wait! Hold on, we have a phone bid!"
The auctioneer lowered the gavel and gave her a questioning look. The girl listened carefully, then grinned, pleased. "One thousand dollars!"
"Ladies, we have one thousand dollars! Going once! Going twice!" There was a breathtaking moment of total silence, then the gavel came down. "Gone! For one thousand dollars!" A hubbub of disappointment rolled through the crowd, then coalesced into a rousing round of applause; the auctioneer shook Reid's hand, then the girl gave him a hug and gently led him backstage.
He realized he was shaking, but he began to feel a little better once he was in a dressing room, away from the stage lights.
"You ok, Dr. Reid?" the girl asked.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm ok."
"Would you like a drink of water?" She filled a cup with water from the dispenser and handed it to Spencer, and he drank it down.
Garcia ran into the room. "Oh, Spencer-you were so great! You looked totally hot, those women were losing their minds! God, I can't believe it-a thousand dollars! That's more than anybody else has gone for, it's amazing!"
The two women began chatting animatedly, and Reid stood quietly with a dazed expression on his face. Suddenly, he looked from the girl to Garcia, and back again.
"Hey-who won me?" he asked plaintively.
"I don't know-it was an anonymous bidder. You won't know who it is until your date tomorrow night." The girl shrugged apologetically.
"Don't worry, baby. I'll drop you off, and I'll be with you when you meet her. You might want to take your gun with you, though-those women were chomping at the bit to get their hands on you!"
There was a knock at the door and the girl went to answer it. She spoke with someone for a moment, then turned back to Garcia and Reid. "Well, Dr. Reid, it's over-we made a ton of money, and you went for the most! Congratulations!" She patted him on the shoulder and handed him a small envelope. "Here's the address where your date will meet you. Seven o'clock-don't be late!" She gave him a happy grin, then left the room.
Reid frowned. "Garcia-I'm worried. I don't really have a lot of experience with women, and I-"
"It'll be fine. Trust me. You'll have a wonderful time! And, Prentiss and I will give you a ton of tips for a first date, and-"
"Garcia, this is going to be the only date!"
"Well, you know what I mean."
She gazed proudly at him and gave him a quick hug. "Come on, Spence, admit it-didn't it feel great, knowing that an entire roomful of women were willing to pay money just to spend an evening with you?"
"I felt like raw meat in a shark tank! What is wrong with this country that so many women would find this sort of thing entertaining? I-"
"Hey, don't do the wacky I'm-a-genius-I-over-analyze-everything routine. You're a good-looking, sexy young man, and any woman would be lucky to have a date with you. Get it?" She stared into his eyes, and after a moment, he nodded hopelessly.
"Then, let's get out of here. You need a good night's sleep-don't want you nodding off before your date does tomorrow night!"
"Garcia..." Reid moaned pathetically, and Garcia hustled him to the car, then dropped him off at his house for a nice, quiet night of fretting.
Reid tightened his tie. Garcia loosened it.
"Relax, boy genius. You're going to have a blast."
"I seriously doubt that."
"Assuming my date is under the age of ninety, I won't have anything to say to her. I'll spend the whole evening sweating."
"Don't be so negative."
"If she's over ninety, I'll spend the whole evening going over stroke and hip fracture statistics among the nonagenarian population for the last ten years."
"You keep up with that? Of course you do, you're Reid..."
"Either way, I'm not going to have a good time."
"Oh, yes, you will, trust me."
"Garcia-I..." The boy had a distinctly stressed expression on his face.
"This whole thing has brought up a lot of issues for me. One in particular."
"Great. What is it?"
Reid sighed. "I'm not entirely sure... that I'm straight."
Garcia gave his tie a yank and pulled his face down to her level. "Look, kiddo. All I'm asking for is for one evening. I don't care if you've got a thing for gazelles, you can reassess your sexual orientation later-for right now, smile, okay? Everything's going to be fine. Now, put on your jacket and let's get moving. I'm not going to let you be late."
"Oo, and don't call me ma'am!"
With that, Garcia grabbed his arm and led him out to her car. They got in and drove off to meet Reid's date.
The pair entered the restaurant. It was a lovely old, established Italian restaurant, with checkered tablecloths and candles stuck in wine bottles. It smelled wonderfully of garlic and bread baking, but Reid had no appetite. He nervously glanced around.
"Where is she?" he hissed at Garcia.
"I don't know! Maybe she's late."
"Good. Forfeit! Let's get out of here."
"Uh-uh. The rules say she has until 7:30 before you can leave, and it's only 7:05. Now, chill, Junior. She'll show up. She's into this for a thousand bucks, you can bet she'll be here."
They stood by the entrance, Garcia surveying the sidewalk through the window, Reid fidgeting more and more nervously as the seconds ticked by. Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to find Hotch standing before him, a small grin on his face.
"Hotch! What are you doing here?" Reid asked, bewildered.
"Hey, boss! Did you come to protect our little genius from the bad lady with lots of money?"
"No, Garcia. I've come to claim my prize." Hotch held up an auction ticket.
Hotch and Reid stared at each other. Shocked, Garcia looked from one to the other, and slowly shook her head.
"Oh... boy. Well-looks like you've got everything under control. As for me-leaving now! Have a nice evening." Recovered, she gave a much-too-big smile and quickly ducked out. Neither man noticed.
A hostess came up to greet them. "May I show you to a table, now?"
"Yes, please." Hotch slipped an arm around Reid's waist and only then did he notice that the older man held a rose in his hand. He gave it to Reid and guided him along behind the hostess to their seats.
Once they got settled, Reid looked into Hotch's eyes.
"Hotch-I don't understand."
"I'm not sure I do, either. All I know is that, ever since Haley died, I've been struggling. Not just with the loss, but with myself. So many things have been shoved aside all these years, and they've slowly been coming to the surface. My feelings for you have been-difficult to ignore. But, I'm damn good at it. I would probably have gone along another two or three, or more, years, never allowing myself to face the facts." He smiled, and put one hand on Reid's. "The fact is... I'm attracted to you, Spencer. And, when I thought of you being auctioned off to some strange woman, I just-" Hotch broke into wry laughter. "I just thought, well-this would be a good opportunity to throw everything on the table. I figured, if you had no interest in pursuing this, at least you'd appreciate not having to go through an evening with a stranger. And... the possibility that you might reciprocate my feelings... that was too tantalizing to ignore."
Reid had been studying Hotch's face. His expression still held traces of amusement, but mostly, there was a look of peace. Reid understood that it had taken a lot of courage for Hotch to make it to this point. He smiled.
"You know, we could have had this conversation for a lot less than a thousand dollars."
"I realize that. There's just something about putting a lot of money into something... it forces a commitment. And, I guess I needed that. Otherwise, I'd have probably stayed home and watched college football, alone, again."
Reid breathed in the scent of the rose. A waitress came to take their drink order. After she left, Reid gazed into Hotch's eyes and said, "Yes."
Hotch looked mildly surprised. "Yes? Yes, what?"
"Yes, I share your attraction. Yes, I reciprocate your feelings. And, yes, I'm interested in pursuing this. And... the verdict is in. The girl of my dreams is definitely... not a girl." He gave Hotch a sheepish grin and shrugged.
"You just now decided that?"
"No, no. Actually, I decided that a long time ago. I'm just... pretty good at ignoring facts, too, sometimes. The horror of this auction really forced me to take a look at myself."
"Sounds like you need to tell Garcia 'thank you.'" Hotch's eyes were twinkling.
Reid laughed. "Maybe so. I guess... I'll know in the morning." For a moment, the rest of Hotch's world fell away, and all he knew was that the young man across the table wanted him.
Suddenly, a thousand dollars seemed like an excellent deal.
The waitress brought their drinks and began going over the nightly specials with them. Neither Reid nor Hotch bothered to listen.
They both knew exactly what they wanted.