Hold on folks, this is a long note today! First, Tonnie and I would like to announce that signups for Chit Chat on Author's Corner's January Challenge-The Happy New Year's Challenge are open thru December 30, 2010. Simply swing by the forum (you can link to it thru our profile pages) and sign up with the pairing you'd like to see written and three prompts associated with the holiday. On Jan 1, 2011, you'll be assigned a random pairing (not the one you usually write) and three prompts to write by January 30.
Second, I have a question for my readers. I truly enjoyed last night's CM episode, "What Happens at Home" and the introduction of the character Agent Ashley Seaver. I intend to do some stories with her character incorporated into a pairing and I'd like to know who you guys would like to see me pair her with. I know the obvious choice is Reid, but what about Hotch or Rossi. Anybody that knows my work knows I'm a sucker for older man/younger woman pairings. So, shoot me a pm or review and let me know what you think. I think the world of you guys and value your opinions!
Just a reminder, December 25th is right around the corner. Everyone that signed up for the CM Christmas Fic Exchange, please remember your stories. We want this to be a WONDERFUL gift experience for all involved. If you have any questions, feel free to pm either myself (ilovetvalot) or tonnie2001969.
In other forum news, please check out our newest discussion thread, "Serious vs. Light - Which gets the most response?" It is a discussion of serious vs. light stories and the response they get from readers. We also have new interviews with Clarebones and musicxlife4 up for your reading pleasure.
Also please check out the discussion thread entitled, "The Fine Line Between T and M ratings". There's a great ongoing discussion there, too.
Finally, if any of you have any idea for issues/activities that you'd like to see "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" forum tackle in the form of discussion threads and/or challenges, please let us know. We want to bring you all some really fun threads in the New Year!
As always, thank you to every reader, reviewer, and person that favorites or alerts one of our stories. Hearing from each of you means a great deal to each of us. We truly value your thoughts and opinions. Now, on with our story!
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
They both had walls to tear down.
One of them more than the other, it appeared. But, as always, he could work with that.
Watching as a laughing Dr. Spencer Reid answered his ringing cell phone amid the holiday hoopla that had seized the BAU's bullpen, the silent man watched as the young genius's whole demeanor changed instantaneously.
Gone was the laughing, smiling young man of mere seconds ago that had been care-freely pinning the red nose on the poster of Rudolph with Henry and Jack. In his stead now stood a shadow of the person he'd been minutes ago. The light had vacated his bright eyes and he moved with a new heaviness toward the door, the phone pressed to his ear.
He debated following him for a second. After all, everyone was entitled to their little moments of solitude, weren't they? Just because Reid was younger than he...hell, a lot younger by a lot of years...didn't mean that he didn't have a right to his privacy, did it?
And if the younger man's eyes had met his for even a moment as he passed him in the doorway, he might have honored that privacy. But Spencer had steadfastly avoided his questioning gaze as he'd brushed past...and that worried him more than he felt comfortable admitting.
This breaking down walls business was a real bitch, he thought grimly, slowly following the path Reid had taken down the hallway. Shaking his graying head as he deliberately lagged behind his new lover, David Rossi sighed. For his part, he still wasn't entirely sure how he'd drifted into this fledgling relationship. He'd always liked women. Sure, he'd been attracted to a few men through the years, but it had been no more than a passing yen...easily assuaged with a bed and a night covered in the forgiving ink of darkness.
But with Reid...it was different. Those feelings were amplified tenfold. Mere want had morphed into an overwhelming need. And after three months, those fires hadn't dimmed; they'd only burned brighter and hotter than any relationship Dave had ever had with a woman. It was disturbing, these new feelings. And he suspected that Reid was just as confused as he was.
They'd agreed that they'd simply enjoy the moment for what it was and avoid making any lasting decisions until they were certain what they were dealing with. But that didn't mean that he didn't worry. Especially when he saw those painful shadows reflecting in Reid's soft brown eyes. Whoever was talking on the other end of that phone had obviously upset his new lover.
And Dave wanted to know who it was….who had changed their perfect dynamic so easily.
He followed Spencer at a distance, keeping the younger man in his line of sight as Spencer walked toward the secluded park bordering the Federal Building. Smiling faintly, he wondered if Spencer was gravitating toward their own private spot consciously or unconsciously. He'd shown Reid the hidden bench in a copse of trees months ago, well before they'd began a relationship of any sort. Dave had sensed the younger man needed a place to retreat when the going inside the building got tough and he'd provided Spencer with one...a place where he could catch his breath after some of the horrible cases they saw on a regular basis...a place where he could let the tears flow and no one would be the wiser.
Well, except for him. But Spencer hadn't seemed to mind that small, but pertinent, fact. Then or now.
Moving carefully into the small copse of trees lest he startle the tense young man now sitting stiffly on the wooden bench overlooking a small stream, he called softly, "Hey? Feel like a little company?"
Surprised eyes lifted to meet his. "I didn't mean to startle you, Spencer," Dave said softly, moving smoothly toward the bench.
"I should have known you'd follow me." Reid shrugged as the words seemed to come tiredly off his tongue, turning his head back again toward the stream.
"I don't like seeing that look in your eyes, Spencer. Sue me," Dave remarked unapologetically, sliding into the seat beside the younger man. "But first, tell me what or who put it there," he ordered, his tone unyielding as Reid stiffened beside him.
A bracing breeze ruffled Reid's hair as he gnawed on his lower lip, uncertain how much to tell the older man sitting beside him. He and Rossi had developed a rule of sorts over the past several months they'd been seeing together. And rule one was that the conversation between them remained light and carefree, no deep subjects that could possibly tip the scales of their carefully balanced relationship. "It was nothing," Reid said evenly, shrugging noncommittally.
"That's a lie," Dave retorted bluntly, stuffing his hands deeply into his coat pockets in an effort to keep himself from touching the younger man. "I hate lies," he added unnecessarily.
"I know," Reid offered softly, dropping his gaze to the frozen ground in front of the bench. "But I don't think you'll enjoy the truth any better."
"Try me," Dave suggested, offering his lover a sidelong glance, well aware of the almost invisible line they were both so close to trampling.
"My father called," Reid replied, his voice husky as he continued staring at the brown patch of long dead grass below their feet.
Slowly nodding, Dave privately thought that announcement explained a lot. Reid's absentee father had long been a thorn in the brilliant man's ass and the root of many of his deep seated issues. The elder Reid's abandonment of his little boy almost twenty years ago had made a lasting impression, giving the other man trust issues that haunted him still today. "What did he have to say?" Dave asked casually, desperately trying to keep the edge from his voice as his hands tightened into fists inside his coat pockets.
"He wants to see me for Christmas...to bury the hatchet, so to speak," Reid replied hoarsely, blinking back tears. All his life, this was what he'd wanted...to reconnect with his father. And now that the moment was upon him, he felt like his life was skittering off the edge of a cliff. Believing in his father again would take courage he didn't know if he possessed. And he knew, opening this doorway could send him careening out of control again. And as a person that had already survived one downward spiral, he didn't know if he was strong enough to face another one.
"And what do you want, Spencer?" Dave asked quietly, extracting the hand nearest Reid and gently enfolding his chilled fingers.
"He thinks it's time we face our history and put our past to bed," Reid answered, his fingers clutching at Dave's warm hand.
"I'm not interest in what he thinks. I want to know how you feel," Dave replied evenly, smiling as Reid scooted closer as another cold wind whipped around them.
"It's funny...or rather ironic. I thought what he suggested was exactly what I wanted...right up until he made the offer. Now, I just don't know," Reid whispered as he shook his sandy blonde head. "There's so much bitterness and tragedy to our story. Dredging it up...reliving it..."
"Hey," Dave murmured calmly, hearing the slightly frantic note coloring Reid's words, "You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, Spencer."
"He said I owed it to him to let him try to explain his side of the story," Reid confessed, his voice cracking as he tried to hold back the emotion that was threatening to escape.
Lips tightening, Dave squeezed Reid's hand reassuringly. "Manipulation through guilt," he snorted. "Why am I not surprised?" he asked rhetorically. He should have gone with his gut instinct in Vegas and ripped off William Reid's head then. "Listen to me, Spencer," he ordered, extracting his hand to wrap it around Spencer's slim shoulders and tug him against his chest, "You don't owe anybody a damned thing you aren't willing to give them. Especially not a guy that walked out on you. If you want to do this, you've got the right to do it on your terms. But only if it's what you want."
"I don't want to give up my first Christmas with you," Reid confided, his voice small and forlorn as he leaned heavier against Dave's strong shoulder.
"And regardless of your decision, you won't. If you want to see your father, I'm more than willing to go with you. You don't have to face him alone, Spencer," Dave whispered, shocked how much he meant those very words. An hour ago, he would have shied away from a family encounter over the holidays. He would have said their relationship was way too new to include that kind of pressure. But sitting here beside the man he was learning to love, Dave knew he was more than willing to put his own insecurities aside and help Spencer face his demons.
"You'd do that for me?" Reid asked hesitantly, his eyes awed as they met Dave's.
"That and more," Dave assured his lover gently, brushing a lock of hair from his eyes. And as he spoke the words, Rossi realized how true they were. Smiling as Reid leaned against him, his face buried in the crook of his neck, he sighed.
Christmas must truly be a time filled with miracles, Dave thought whimsically. Because one had just occurred.
David Rossi had just learned how it felt to put someone he loved above himself. And remarkably, it wasn't nearly as painful as he'd assumed it would be.