Title: …and a Haircut

Author: Kuria Dalmatia

Rating/Warnings: PG, FRT. Fluff ahoy! Spoilers for Season 5's "The Internet is Forever"

Characters/Pairing: Hotch/Reid, Jack

Summary: There were only a few things more terrifying than waking up to find a smiling 5-year old with a pair of scissors.

Word Count: ~1,430

ARCHIVING: my LJ and FFNet account... 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: May 2010. Because it's the first thing I thought of when I saw Reid's new 'do. And this has been languishing on my memory stick for a bit too long. Completed February 2011.

COMMENTS: Unbetaed. There's going to be someone who has either a) never cut his/her own hair or b) has never heard of, but where I'm from? Hell, it's practically a right of passage. And for those of you who never experienced the fun of Play-Doh and the Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop… kids, you really missed out.

***/***

"The essence of childhood, of course, is play…"– Bill Cosby

***/***

There were only a few things more terrifying than waking up to find a smiling 5-year old with a pair of scissors. As Spencer opened his eyes and Jack was rightthere, he couldn't think of any of them. Instead, he bolted upright in the bed and let out an embarrassing squeak as he did it, because despite two months of living with Aaron and Jack, he still wasn't used to rolling over in the morning and boom! There was Jack.

"Shh, Spencer!" Jack said, his 'whisper' the same volume as his 'inside' voice. "You'll wake Daddy!"

"Already awake," murmured Aaron, who rolled toward the two and flopped a hand on Spencer's thigh.

Spencer tried valiantly to slow his heart rate down and convince himself that Jack wasn't about to kill him. No. Jack was smiling brightly, holding a pair of scissors (and just where the hell did he get them?), and bouncing a little.

"Sorry," Spencer muttered and rubbed his eyes. No matter what Aaron said, he knew he sucked at the whole parenting thing but at least he was able to instantly recall the rules that Aaron had set forth in the apartment. He peered down at Jack, trying for stern but not knowing how successful he was. "You know that the scissors are supposed to remain on the table."

"Scissors?" Aaron echoed, sounding much more awake. However, Spencer kept his focus on Jack.

Jack looked at him so earnestly. "But I wanted to practice."

Spencer frowned, confused. "Practice?"

Suddenly, "Jack?" and Aaron's disapproving parental tone caused Spencer to look over his shoulder at his lover, who was staring intently at Jack. Spencer glanced back at Jack. The smile fell from the little boy's face. His eyes grew wide and wet, and his lower lip trembled.

If Spencer really thought about it, it was probably the same reaction most UnSub's had when facing down Hotch in interrogation mode.

Spencer wanted to say that he could handle it—he was the one who instituted the 'scissors at the table only rule'—but he could tell by Aaron's facial expression that there was clearly something else going on.

Aaron then ordered, "Explain."

Jack immediately dropped the scissors as huge tears rolled down his face. "I wanted to play barber shop." The boy's words were rushed, hushed. "But Spencer was asleep and you said that I wasn't supposed to wake Spencer unless it was important."

"Barber shop?" Spencer echoed, mystified until he looked behind him.

And saw a clump of hair on his pillow. He immediately reached up and touched the left side of his head… which was noticeably shorter. His eyes widened at the realization.

Aaron was quickly out of bed, pulling on sweatpants over his boxers, and telling Jack to go to his room.

Jack then faced Spencer, eyes full of tears and arms raised up.

Time seemed to slow at that moment, and Spencer knew that his loyalties were being tested right at that moment. It was like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" parenting-style: either allow Aaron to handle the situation or to have a talk with Jack himself.

"Can we, ah, have a moment?" he asked as he gestured to himself then Jack.

Aaron stared.

Spencer tacked on, "Please?"

Aaron's eyes narrowed. Jack clambered into bed and tackled Spencer with a hug followed by "I love you, Spencer."

The kid understood exactly how to work one parent against the other.

Aaron's expression suddenly went unreadable, which never a good thing especially at six in the morning. However, the older man gave a sharp nod and left the room, closing the door behind him.

"I'm sorry, Spencer," Jack said as tears soaked Spencer's sleep shirt.

It was the automatic response, Spencer supposed, of getting in to trouble. He tapped Jack's chin until the boy looked up at him. "Why did you cut my hair?"

The boy's lower lip trembled. "I wanted to play barber shop."

"But why didn't you wait until, ah, later? When I was, well, awake?"

"I wanted to practice so, I'd be really good." Jack wiped at his nose. "Daddy says you're good at everything. I wanted be good like you."

Spencer blinked. He took a deep breath. Well, that was interesting. "I'm not good at everything," he said, surprised at his own words. "I mean, there are things I don't know."

"Really?"

"Really. I've never played barber shop."

Jack's eyes widened. "Not even with Play-Doh? Nicholas has the Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop but it's smelly."

Although he knew what Play-Doh was, the rest was a complete mystery. Spencer shrugged his shoulders and repeated, "I've never played barbershop." He then tacked on, "We could have learned together."

Jack looked momentarily amazed but then he turned serious. "Are you mad?"

Spencer looked down at the pillow and realized he was madder at himself that he slept through a five-year-old lopping off locks of his hair more than anything else. The little boy gazed at him with tear-filled eyes.

"Cutting other people's hair without permission isn't nice," Spencer finally said, knowing a discourse on trichophilia would be completely lost on the child and he'd get the 'there are certain things a five-year-old doesn't need to know' speech from Aaron. "And you scared me when I woke up."

"I'm sorry, Spencer."

"I know." He then realized that this could have been, perhaps, a demand for attention. He sorted through the past few days and couldn't recall any behavior out of the ordinary. It had been slow around the BAU so they had more time with Jack; today, they were supposed to go to the park for a picnic. Spencer tilted his head slightly. "Is there anything you want to talk about?"

Jack shook his head and burrowed against him. "No."

"Are you mad that I spend time with your dad?"

"No! You do magic!" Jack exclaimed and clutched him harder. "You make Daddy smile. You play dinosaurs with me!"

It was the first time the boy had ever said something like that. It took a few moments for him to reply, "You and your dad make me happy."

"But Daddy's mad now. He's got his scowly face on."

"Well. Yeah. Like I said, cutting people's hair without their permission isn't nice," Spencer replied. "He wouldn't like it if I cut your hair without permission."

"I don't have any hair to cut. You do."

"That's not an excuse."

"I wanted to practice."

"Jack, we already discussed that," Spencer chided, surprising himself with his firm tone.

"I'm sorry, Spencer." Jack then pulled back, his eyes still wet and his nose runny.

Spencer reached over, grabbed a few Kleenexes from the nightstand, and gave them to Jack. The boy wasn't especially skilled at the whole nose-blowing thing, so Spencer had to swipe a few times to get all of the snot. Depositing the mess in the wastebasket beside the bed, Spencer mentally patted himself on the back for not been nearly as squeamish with snot has he had been two months ago.

"I accept your apology," Spencer told the boy.

"Am I gonna be punished?" Jack asked as more tears fell.

"Do you understand why what you did was wrong?"

"I took the scissors out when I wasn't supposed to."

"And?"

"I scared you."

"And?"

"I cut your hair without permission."

"That's right. Now, I want you to pick up the scissors and give them back to your dad so he can put them away. Tell him what we talked about, okay?"

Jack nodded miserably—Spencer supposed he would feel the same way having to face down Aaron with his 'scowly face' on—and clambered out of bed. He picked up the scissors and held them properly as he trudged out of the bedroom. Jack normally wasn't that dramatic, but this morning, facing down his father after doing something bad? Yeah. Jack made it seem like he was facing down a firing squad.

Once the boy left, Spencer let out a sigh and gathered his shorn hair. He tossed it in the trashcan, getting out of bed and walking over to the bathroom. There, in the mirror, he assessed the damage. A good three inches were gone from his left side.

Despite what people may have thought, Spencer didn't believe he was particularly vain about his hair. He wasn't sure why he had grown it out to begin with. But now…with his new life with Aaron and Jack…well, maybe it was time to change that too.

He laughed to himself. He was going to get to play barber shop today after all.

/***/ Finis /***/