Teething Pain and Pep Talks

Pairing: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid

Characters: Spencer Reid, Aaron Hotchner, Henry LaMontagne

Word Count: 1574

Warnings: Angsty Schmoop, Non-Cannon Compliant: Criminal Minds, Established Relationship

Notes: This was a Christmas present for DarkJediQueen

Summary: Spencer volunteers to babysit for JJ and Will while they attend Will’s Christmas party. Henry is the only baby in the world who likes him. So, whatever could go wrong?

Spencer loved his Godson to death. He was maybe the only child that had ever been able to tolerate him for more than 30 seconds without screaming. Tonight, though, he seemed to be trying to make up for it in spades. JJ and Will were at Will’s Detectives’ Division Christmas party.  Not only had he volunteered to babysit, but he had them drop the little one off so that they could have all night to themselves. A gesture that, while noble, was proving to be foolhardy on his part.

JJ mentioned that Henry had been fussy, but he had assured her that he and Henry would figure it out. It was 11PM. Henry wouldn’t stop crying, and Spencer was getting desperate enough that his brain was screaming that he needed to call them.

“Oh Henry, why do you suddenly hate me?” Pacing past his phone, Spencer decided that there was one more option before he resorted to drastic measures. Hitting his favorites tab and selecting the right face, he was glad that he’d let Garcia set up favorites on his dialing screen. Bouncing the screaming baby, he resumed his pacing as he listened to the phone ring.

“Did you change your mind?” He heard along with a chuckle. He didn’t even waste time with the snark though. He was too panicked.

“Hotch! I broke Henry! He won’t stop screaming, and he has a rash on his face, and he’s drooling like Morgan when he’s staring at some chicks cleavage at a club! I don’t know what to do!  I’m a horrible Godfather! They’ll never let me babysit again. I’m the worst Godfather in history. How could anyone…”

“Spencer!” The genius not only stopped talking he stopped pacing as well much to Henry’s displeasure.

“I want you to sit on the couch with Henry laying across your lap on his back.Then look at his gums and see if you can see any teeth coming through. You may need to run a finger over them to tell.”

“Ok, ok.” Spencer sat as directed with Henry in the instructed position. Pulling a small thing of hand sanitizer out if his pocket, he covered his hands before looking in Henry’s mouth. When he didn’t see anything, he ran a finger over the gums as he was told.

“I don’t see anything, but they feel warm and maybe swollen at the front.”

“OK, deep breath, Spencer. I’m already in the car. I want you to soak a wash rag in some chamomile tea then put it in the freezer in a plastic bag. I’m going to stop at the drugstore on my way over. You didn’t break Henry. He’s teething. I’ll be there soon, and don’t think we aren’t talking about this when he’s calm, Dr. Reid.

“Rubbing your finger over the swollen area will help until I get there, or the cloth if it is cold enough.”

“Ok,” Spencer said standing and carrying Henry to the kitchen.

“I love you. Don’t spend the whole time beating yourself up either. I will see you soon.”

Spencer nodded and placed the phone down not speaking further. The guilt was too thick in his throat to allow him to speak.

Chewing on his bottom lip, he put Henry in the chair he had sitting on the table. Then after wiping angry and frustrated tears off of his own face, set about accomplishing the task that he’d been given. As much as possible while waiting for the water to boil, tea to seep, and wash cloth to soak, then freeze, he rubbed Henry’s gums. He was relieved when Hotch’s gum rubbing trick seemed to work and his Godson quieted.

He wished that he could comply with the last order, but even he couldn’t stop his mind. As much as he wished otherwise,he knew what failure felt like, and this was it.

By the time Hotch arrived, using his key and personal alarm code to get past the lock and security system, he found Spencer and Henry in the kitchen staring at each other with mirror images of misery on their faces. He could see that the ‘don’t beat yourself up’ order hadn’t taken. He hadn’t really expected it too, though, as much as he wished it was that easy to get Reid to stop hating himself for his self-perceived failures.

While Spencer may have developed a wealth of confidence regarding his professional  life and capabilities, the personal side of his life was a completely different story. They had been together for a little over a year. Their relationship evolved almost without their consent.

After Beth and he decided to end things, Aaron kept waiting to become lonely. The thing was that it was hard to be lonely when you almost constantly had your best friend with you. Dinners at new restaurants, museum exhibit openings, and even guest lectures at local universities filled up his time in between work and his visitation schedule with Jack.

By the time that they each realized what was happening between then, they were both too attached to back off. They’d immediately discussed the team and work. While they wanted to wait to tell anyone, they felt that coming clean with Cruz right away would be the best thing to do. Spencer also wanted to tell AD Evans, who was still his sponsor with Beltway Clean Cops.  Aaron wasn’t sure how, but once the decision was made between the two higher ups, the relationship had been sanctioned as long as Rossi took over all of Reid’s evaluations.

Dave had been curious as to the reason, but fortunately had been willing to go along with it without explanation. Aaron had no doubt the man had an idea, but they’d been friends long enough that he was keeping his mouth shut for the moment. As for the rest of the team, they hadthus far been keeping things between them.

While Aaron knew some wouldn’t be happy, namely one Penelope Garcia, their relationship was just that. Theirs. Aaron and Spencer both felt strongly that no one, not even the team, who was more family than anything, had a right to any information about their personal lives until they were ready. They both agreed that while they might be upset, keeping quiet was the best decision for them. In the end that was all that mattered.

Entering the kitchen, he placed a kiss on top of Spencer’s head as he passed. Then he quickly washed off the cold teething rings he’d purchased, cleaned the full sized carrots he’d purchased, and then moved to the table.

“The gum rubbing thing is helping,” Spencer admitted quietly.

Aaron smiled softly rubbing poor Henry’s tummy before putting a little aloe lotion on the rashes on his cheeks. Holding out the carrot, he smiled when the little boy started gumming at it, curling his toes with happiness as the pain subsided.

“When Jack was a baby, I walked in the door from a case to find Haley waiting with a suitcase and an angsty baby on her hip.  She announced she was going with her sister for the weekend to a craft festival, and that Jack had been fussy. It took three hours before I was in a complete panic because he wouldn’t stop crying.”

Aaron smiled at the memory and looked to see Spencer watching him. “Not knowing what to do, I packed him up sure that he was deathly ill, and rushed to the ER. Needless to say I was a little embarrassed to find out that he was only teething.”

When Spencer smiled slightly, Aaron reached out and covered the genius’ hand. “The point to the story is that upset babies can break the strongest of wills, especially when you have no experience with things so little and fragile. I love you. I will continue to love you. JJ and Will trust you with Henry, and nothing is going to change that. Also, despite what us panicky parental types think, kids are a lot more resilient than they seem. It’s ok to not know things.

“Despite what Morgan and some others think, I know you don’t always have all of the answers.  You are a lot better at this personal stuff than you give yourself credit for, and there isn’t anything, even screaming babies, that are going to break us.”

Reaching into his pocket, Aaron placed a picture of a house on the table between them. “Let’s buy a home. Let’s tell the team. Let’s make a room for our boys, Jack and Henry both. Let’s help each other be confident when we forget how. Let’s stop delaying our future. I want to tell the world that you’re mine.”

Leaning over the short distance between then, Hotch stopped when his lips were just barely an inch from Spencer’s. “Let’s buy a house.”

When the genius nodded, sniffling what Aaron hoped were happy tears, he finished the kiss.

“Merry Christmas, Dr. Reid. Thank you for loving me.”

“Thank you for not laughing at me when I panicked, and letting me not know everything,” Spencer said quietly. “And, I love you, too.”

On the table, Henry watched quietly gumming his carrot. Teething pain forgotten, he slowly, and finally drifted off to sleep. Smiling Aaron gave Spencer another kiss, then started listing the things he’d like in a home. The New Year was going to be wonderful. There was no doubts in his mind.

The End.


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