This story was written for AhmoseInarus.
Moments Like This
Trudging in the door of the comfortable home he shared with his son and lover, Aaron Hotchner half-heartedly tossed his keys toward the polished entryway table that he and Dr. Spencer Reid had found at an estate sale a year ago. The piece showed its age, but Reid had insisted that the aged mahogany wood contained untold character, so, it had gone home with them. The keys made it to the surface, but hung haphazardly over the edge.
Eyeing them wearily, Aaron shrugged and muttered, "Close enough," before moving toward the living room. The utter silence that clung to their home assured him that he was alone. Quickly giving the powers that be a prayer of thanks, he took off his jacket and threw it over the back of the couch. Spencer would frown and mutter about that and hurriedly carry it to the coat rack in the corner if he'd been here, but luckily, for a few minutes at least, it was just him and his thoughts in the house.
Today had been what friends like David Rossi would define as a "true bitch with teeth," sucking the energy and strength from his body at warp speeds. From the early morning meeting he'd had with Strauss and her cronies regarding budget cuts the BAU potentially faced to his trek through the seedy underbelly of DC, hitting every Adult Toy store in a thirty mile radius for a potential witness to their most recent case, he'd faced one grueling challenge after another. And Derek Morgan's running commentary over the offered wares of every establishment they'd visited hadn't helped. The fact that the man possessed so much knowledge about dildos and vibrators was truly astounding. Evidently, Derek's secret talent was that of sex toy savant.
Some days, Aaron felt that he knew entirely too much information about his colleagues.
Reaching for the remote as he collapsed on the couch, he flipped on the television, prepared to tune out of reality for a few precious moments before his family burst through the doors. Attempting to release some of the tension in his body, Aaron leaned his head back against the cushions and exhaled a long breath as he focused on the Jeopardy game currently airing on the set.
"I'll take serial killers for $500, Alex," the contestant said eagerly.
"He made his name by binding, torturing and killing his victims," Alex Trebek prompted with his trademark resonant voice.
"Who is Ted Bundy?" the contestant returned rapidly, his tone conveying he was certain of his accuracy.
"Are you kidding me?" Hotch groaned, lifting his head and cracking one lid as Alex shook his head on the television. "How the hell do you miss the BTK killer?" Aaron asked in disgust before jabbing the button on the remote and muting the TV. He couldn't even escape the unsubs in the comfort of his own home.
He definitely needed to consider that vacation that Spencer was constantly harping about these days.
As if his thoughts had summoned him, Aaron heard the telltale scratch of a metal key in the lock. Turning his head, he smiled as Reid burst through the door in his typical way, his leather satchel slapping the table and rattling it, knocking the keys into the floor. Watching as Reid quickly bent and scooped up the keys, depositing them in the ceramic dish where they were supposed to go, Aaron grinned as the door closed.
"Well, hello," Aaron called out, earning a small shriek from the younger man as he caught him off guard.
Scowling as he recognized the familiar voice a second later, Reid huffed out an annoyed breath. "Aaron! How many times have I told you to announce yourself before you scare the wits out of me?"
"I thought I did." Aaron grinned, his eyes tracking the genius as he shrugged out of his own jacket and hung it and the satchel on the coat rack. "And you have wits to spare, so, I think we're safe."
Shaking his sandy colored head as he realized this wasn't an argument he'd ever win, Reid walked into the living room. Spotting Aaron's jacket draped over the couch, Reid rolled his eyes as he grabbed it and retraced his steps back to the coat rack, his steps accompanied by Aaron's chuckle. Turning sharply, he said, "Everything has a place and…"
"Everything in its place," Aaron mimicked dutifully, this routine between them feeling as comfortable as an old pair of faded jeans. "Yes, dear."
Unable to hold back his laughter, Spencer shook his head ruefully. "We've become an old married couple, haven't we? When did that happen?"
"About the time that you threatened to strangle me with my own dirty sock if I didn't learn to hit the hamper I was aiming for," Hotch returned dryly.
"I think you might be right," Spence agreed, moving toward the sofa. "Where's Jack?" he asked curiously, glancing at the wall clock. At six pm, it was an hour past time for his quasi son to be home.
"Boy Scouts, remember?" Hotch reminded his lover. "He won't be home until after nine."
"Oh, yes." Spencer nodded, instantly recalling the conversation from the previous nights. "He's learning how to tie knots tonight."
"Probably for our nooses," Hotch intoned as he grinned. "I think we each gave him the third degree."
"I didn't know the parent hosting it and neither did you. We're allowed to be protective," Spencer returned, patently unconcerned that the little boy had been plotting their demise.
Aaron felt Spencer's grip on his heart tighten just a bit at that pronouncement. There'd been a time when he'd worried what kind of parental figure Spencer would be. After all, he'd had anything but a typical childhood. But, instead of floundering, Reid had flourished and proven to him through his actions that his fears had been in vain. His own lack of a childhood had only illustrated what he shouldn't do….and given him a keen insight into what a good parent did do. "Yeah," Aaron said, reaching out to squeeze Spencer's hand, "We are allowed."