Part Five

Did You Know . . .

It was a spring evening a month or so after Reid's viewing of the tapes. He was sitting in the easy chair, one stockinged foot outstretched on the footstool, the other braced against it, knee up, supporting the book who's pages he was turning, reading as he did so.

The weather was unusually mild, and the front door was open, allowing the soft breeze into the apartment. Gideon was at the stove, stirring a simmering sauce on the stove. The soft air, full of the smell of newly mown grass and flowers beginning to blossom, was slowly being overpowered by the smell of cinnamon from the baking rolls in the oven.

Spencer was relaxed. It was such a difference from the files full of brutal crimes that he'd spent the day looking at and he was enjoying it.

"I spent the afternoon at the park yesterday," Gideon offered, seeing Spencer put aside his book and sniff the smells of good cooking appreciatively. "The song birds were beginning to show up. I'm going to have to take my bird book out tomorrow."

Reid got up from the chair, and stretched. "Did you know that the song birds of Virginia . . ."

Gideon gave a small smile, listening with one ear and genuine interest at the stream of facts running through Spencer's mind and out of his mouth. It had taken awhile for Reid to get back to the stage where he was comfortable verbalizing his rambles again.

Hotch had been incredibly relieved when he'd heard the Reid was back to his normal stream-of-consciousness style of conversation with Gideon. He still wasn't there yet with the BAU team, but was getting there. Aaron had told Jason that they were almost back to normal. Reid was still quiet, but was clearly trusting much more and not so defensive. They could tease him gently, and he'd smile, taking it in the spirit offered. But they weren't top profilers for nothing. He was included in all of their plans, whisked along on evening outings for drinks, but not pushed for more than he could give. Hotch confined that when they finally got a rambling 'Do you know . . . ' from him, he would know they were back to normal. And it was close, both older men sensed it. The trust was getting rebuilt, with a much more solid foundation.

A meow at the screen door diverted Reid, and he padded over on his stocking feet to let Cat in, still telling Jason obscure facts about the songbirds. The cat purred around his ankles, tail up as Reid let him in. Spencer smiled and picked him up, laying him across his shoulders in the feline's favorite spot, for all the world like a cat fur collar.

Reid padded into the kitchen, winding up his dissertation on song birds, and leaned over the stove. Both cat and young man sniffed appreciatively.

Jason glared at the cat. "Only Spencer is getting fed from this pan." He pointed his spoon meaningfully at the cat.

For his part, the cat flattened his ears and glared back, then purposefully kneaded Spencer's shoulder and purred loudly.

Reid laughed, filched a lettuce leaf from the cutting board and started munching. "So what did you do today?"

"Wandered around the Smithsonian," Gideon said absently, looking again at his sauce, and deciding it needed some more rosemary.

"Really? Alone?" Spencer was surprised. The older man usually waited until Reid could go with him on outings. "You should have waited until Saturday; I'd have gone with you."

"You weren't invited. I was with a lady friend," Jason said, looking at him with a little smile. He did love this kid.

"Seriously? Who is she?" Reid perked up. This was interesting. A few months prior, he would have felt this as a cause for rejection, but now, secure in his place in Jason's heart, he was fascinated.

Gideon hid a smile. Spencer had always shown a child's open curiosity about such things; it was part of his appeal. How he'd kept that level of innocence with his lack of childhood and what he did for a living was unreal. It was worth protecting. Ignoring his question, knowing it would just inflame Spencer's curiosity, he purposely changed the subject.

"But I'm glad you mentioned Saturday, because I was going to ask you a favor."

Reid sighed, and glared at the older man. He knew he was being redirected. But that was okay. He was a pretty good interrogator now, and he knew when to pick his battles. He'd get what he wanted. But for now, he'd play. "For what?"

"I need you to help me find an apartment."

Spencer's brow furrowed. "Why?"

"I thought you were tired of tripping over me," Gideon said, raising an eyebrow. Hiding a smile, he added, "Besides it difficult to entertain a lady with you around all of the time."

Spencer's interest piqued again. "Who is she?"

"I'm thinking a place within a few blocks of here."

"Is she pretty?"

"Someplace within walking distance so I can come over and cook for you, since you can't seem to manage regular meals on your own."

"Where did you meet her?"

"And someplace near enough that I can come keep your behavior in check as needed."

Spencer stopped mid sentence and glared at him, brilliant color flooding his cheeks as it did any time Gideon came even close to hinting at the method of discipline he'd threatened the young man with.

Gideon smiled slightly and turned back to stirring the sauce, ignoring the reaction. Williams Reid may be Spencer's biological father, but Jason was fine filling in on the actual parenting role. And if he had to use some unusual methods, that was okay, Spencer was an unusual young man. He'd had no childhood to speak of, and was clearly going through some of the teenage rebellion stage, much to Aaron Hotchner's dismay. It would probably grow worse the more confident the young man grew in the unconditional love he felt from those around him. But that was okay as well. Together he and the BAU team would get this kid raised.

Although the bulk fell to him, Jason was content. In the last month, Spencer's peace of mind and his attitude had improved dramatically. A little structure had helped immensely. Gideon had only had to apply a quick, hard, hand to backside once more, and that more as a warning more than anything; Spencer was a quick learner. If the discipline was of a childish nature, then so was some of Spencer's behavior. But they were getting there, and Jason was in for the long haul. And for the first time in his life, it was clear that Spencer truly convinced of that. Jason was looking forward to watching him blossom.

Smiling, he stirred his sauce, feeling that the future looked bright.