"Sir? Are you alright?"
The voice woke him from his thoughts and quickly he turned away from the blackboard he had been staring at. "Uh... yes. No worries. Ah, Blenkinsop! Here to discuss your paper on Niels Bohr I assume?"
The young man with the curly black hair who stood in the doorframe nodded shyly. Charlie busied himself with searching his drawers for the student's paper, trying to take his mind off Spencer. Ever since they had arrived in Los Angeles a week ago he had been terribly absent-minded. There were moments, like just now, where he was in the middle of a thought process and suddenly he'd get distracted by thinking about his lover and he'd stand around, staring into space and doing absolutely nothing. It had even happened during a lecture once. Luckily the students had just assumed he was thinking about the subject he had explained. He knew he had to stop doing this but he couldn't. He didn't even want to make it stop.
Finally he found the paper he had been looking for. "So, there we go.", he said and laid it on the table and offered the student a seat.
When Charlie came home later that day he found Spencer sitting alone in the parlour, reading a book on pigment manufacture in medieval times. The moment the other saw Charlie enter he got up and came over for a hug. Charlie instantly saw that his whole demeanour was different than it had been in the last few days. There was still an air of sadness and melancholy about him but he seemed to be calmer and less harried than he had been ever since he had arrested his father.
Very gently he pulled away form the kiss in which his lover had engaged him. "What did you do today?", he asked. Something must have happened, he thought.
"Nothing fancy...", Spencer mumbled and kissed him again.
"Seriously though, what happened? You look like you feel a bit better."
"Oh, that.", he smiled at Charlie. "I talked to Derek over the phone."
"Ah." Charlie tried to ignore the little poisonous sting of jealousy in his heart. "About what?"
Spencer became serious again. "You know, when he was a child... he had been abused as well."
"Oh right!" He nodded, not able to hide his relief for a short moment.
Spencer pulled him closer again and leaned his forehead against Charlie's. "Oh darling! Are you honestly jealous of him?"
He blushed a little because Spencer had seen through him right away. "Yes.", he shyly admitted, "I'm sorry!"
"Don't be!" Charlie felt his boyfriend's hand stroke his hair, his fingers playfully entwine in his curls and he knew Spencer wasn't angry at him.
"It's just... I know he's important to you."
Spencer's right hand had wandered downwards and his thumb was gently stroking Charlie's neck. "Yes, he's my best friend after all."
"And you've known him for so long. And you see him all the time. And he's really handsome." Once he had expressed his fear the words seemed to spout out of his mouth.
Spencer shrugged and just said, "He's not you."
Charlie didn't answer, he just closed his eyes and smiled. His lover's warm thumb was still caressing the side of his neck. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to doubt you.", he whispered again.
His eyes fluttered open in surprise for a moment when he felt Spencer's lips on his. "It's OK. Really!", the other whispered back after a short moment, "I think I like it when you're jealous. It's is a sign that you love me."
Charlie drew back and raised an eyebrow in mock surprise.
His lover's chuckle sent a little shiver of happiness down his spine. "I can't really prove it but I can tell you the facts from which you can deduce that you mean so much more to me than he ever will! To begin with, I've worked with him for years and never has the thought that he's more than a friend crossed my mind. Not once. Secondly he keeps teasing me because I'm socially awkward. Everyone just sees me as 'the genius'. My friends like me but still, to them I'm not normal. You're the first person ever who makes me feel completely comfortable as who I am."
Charlie nodded. "I think I see."
"And then there's the fact that I'm incredibly attracted to you..." The words were barely audible and the last part of the sentence melted into another kiss, deep, slow and gentle.
Charlie felt his knees go weak. "Would you come to work with me tomorrow?", he whispered as they separated. "It might help to take your mind off things."
The other smiled at him. "I'd love to."
Charlie knew exactly that Spencer sucking his lower lip wouldn't help him focusing on his work but he found that he didn't care at all. He'd worry about that later. "Come on, let's get started with the dinner." He had promised his father that they'd prepare dinner for tonight.
Spencer nodded with a reassuring smile. "Sure."
In contrast to the other evenings today's dinner conversation was less forced than usual, mainly because Spencer was more at ease than before. Charlie was slightly worried when his father remarked on the changed mood because he didn't want his lover to be reminded of his past now he seemed to feel better about it. Spencer, however, didn't appear to be as bothered as Charlie had anticipated. "Yes, I think I have been a bit broody in the last few days.", Spencer told Alan with an slightly rueful smile, "I do apologise for that." After a moment of hesitation he added, "You see, I had to arrest my father on the suspicion of child murder. That was... pretty shocking to say the least." He sighed and avoided everyone's gaze by looking at his plate.
"Oh, I didn't knew! I'm sorry to hear that!", Charlie's father said and Don appeared to be just as taken aback.
Spencer looked up when he heard their words and seemed relieved. He cast his boyfriend a remorseful glance and Charlie understood that he didn't feel alright about not telling his lover's family the whole story. Charlie took his hand under the table and squeezed it to let him know he understood and had no bad feelings for him.
Spencer was quite fascinated by Charlie working. He knew he should be calculating determinants of several different matrixes instead but he found he couldn't take his eyes off of the young, mathematician who was standing in front of a dark green blackboard, just like when they had first met. Charlie was completely lost in thought, eyes either fixed on the white writing or darting across the surface to check other results. Sometimes he would stop for a few seconds, his left hand would delve into his curls and he would bite his lip, until he'd figured out how to work on and then he'd begin to scribble again, fast, faster than anyone Spencer had ever seen. Not one of his teachers at university had been that brilliant. He realised it was even a tad too fast for him. For once he didn't have to wait for the results but they were there before he'd thought of them.
It was then he started to regret not having chosen a career at university or at a research institute. He could have been working like this for all his life, too, surrounded by people who understood his passion for mathematics. He had considered it for a while but then Gideon's job offer had come in and it had sounded so very tempting, so very exciting. He'd thought it would be his chance to become an accepted member of society, maybe even a popular or admired one and weren't FBI agents always the cool ones in the movies?
Reality hadn't been quite like that. Not that he regretted getting the job though, he had found great friends through it and he liked the feeling that he was helping the world by finding the baddies. It was just that he realised at that very moment how much he'd missed working with numbers on such a high level...
"Honey, did you figure out the determinants?"
There was a slight hesitation before he heard Spencer answer, "Erm... Not all of them yet."
Charlie looked up in surprise and caught the other man blatantly staring at him. When their eyes met Spencer cleared his throat and looked at the sheet of paper in front of him. A slight blush was beginning to cover his cheeks. Charlie had to chuckle. He put the chalk on the rim of the blackboard and went to his desk where the other was sitting, now preoccupied with the equations on the sheet. He leaned against the table, and said with a warm smile, "Looks like I'm not the only one who keeps getting distracted."
Spencer looked at him again and smiled shyly. "I'm sorry! I was supposed to help and now you can't continue because of me..."
Charlie smirked. "It's okay, really. I don't mind being admired."
The young man sitting at the table couldn't help bursting into laughter. Once he had calmed down again he nodded and winked. "Actually you were quite right there."
Charlie's smile softened and he reached out to stroke his lover's cheek, an almost automatic gesture, for the need to touch him was always there, in every waken moment. Gently he weaved his fingers into the long brown hair. It reminded him of the many times he had done this little movement of the hand before, sometimes during sex when both their feelings for each other had been overruled by desire, and sometimes in perfectly innocent situations, like this one right now. For a moment he considered giving in to the temptation and kiss his lover but he knew exactly that the kiss would construct a bridge between the innocent and the erotic, a bridge that would appear all the more inviting the longer it would last.
Larry had once said that the math department was the least libidinous place on the whole campus. Charlie remembered how he had been confused by the fact that somebody would use the words 'campus' and 'libidinous' in the same sentence, and how he had wondered why the math department in particular was so un-libidinous. Why was it less libidinous than, for example, the physics department? He had been pretty sure that libidinousness was no variable ever considered in physics. In biology, maybe. But definitely not physics. And he was convinced that with Spencer in it, the math department had just gotten a ten out of ten in its libidinousness scale.
He was interrupted in his thoughts by his lover saying, "You know, I quite like this."
"You like what?", he asked.
"This, being at university with you, working with you."
"I thought you might.", Charlie said and smiled warmly.
After a little pause Spencer changed the subject, his expression becoming more earnest. "You know, I've been thinking about how our relationship. How we're going to do this in the future."
Charlie finally took his hand out of the other's hair, and sat on the table. He nodded and looked back at his boyfriend. "That's something we definitely need to talk about. I don't like this being a long distance relationship, I want to be able to see you more often."
"It's going to be difficult to see each other, with my job.", Spencer began, hesitantly, while dropping his gaze.
He nodded again. "I know."
His lover looked up at him, and Charlie could see that he was a little afraid of asking the next question. "Would you... would you like it if we lived together?"
He grinned. "Definitely!"
"Wouldn't you miss your family? You've never lived with anyone else than them."
"I can visit them."
Spencer smiled widely at him. "You're really considering it?"
"No," Charlie replied with a very serious expression, "I am not considering it. I am liking the thought of 'cohabiting' with you."
"That's great!", Spencer beamed at him, and took his hand in his. "I... I guess I could find a job over here."
Charlie smiled a little sadly. "There's only one Behaviour Analysis Unit though."
"You know, today I realised I really missed this kind of scientific work. I can't do anything like this at the FBI, not on this level. I could work at a university, do research or something similar."
"Wouldn't you miss your friends?"
Spencer averted his gaze. "I... Yes. But I can visit them."
"You know exactly how unpredictable their job is! No, I'm coming over to live with you, in your flat."
"But your job! You're a full professor here."
Charlie shrugged. "I'm sure the University of Washington or the University of Virginia would like me to work for them."
"It's not the same though... and what about Larry?" Charlie had introduced his boyfriend to his best friend Professor Larry Fleinhardt this very morning.
He smiled as his lover repeated the same arguments he himself had used before. "His job is far more foreseeable than the ones of your friends. Visiting him will be easier for me."
Spencer was absentmindedly looking at Charlie's shirt buttons, gazing into abstraction, and obviously giving the idea some thought. Finally he looked up at his lover. "Would you really do this?"
"But... what if you move in with me and you don't like it?"
"I will like it. And if I don't, we can always find another solution."
After two seconds, Spencer nodded. "Okay then."
They exchanged a loving smile.
~ The End ~
AN: SORRY, I have let you wait quite a bit, again! =( I've been really busy.
Also, I finally found some sort of ending. I hope you find it to your liking, although I myself am not entirely happy about it. Oh well.