The Genius, the SEAL, and the Surfer

alex-oloughlin-emmy-02HAWAII FIVE-0




Fandoms: Criminal Minds and Hawaii 5-0
Characters: Spencer Reid, Steve McGarrett, Kono Kalakaua, Danny Williams, and Chin Ho Kelly
Relationship: Spencer Reid/Steve McGarrett/Kono Kalakaua, Steve McGarrett/Kono Kalakaua – Existing, Spencer Reid/Steve McGarrett – Past
Content: AU for Criminal Minds Season 12 and beyond, AU for H50, Angst, Threesome Relationship, Mention of Aaron Hotchner, Mention of Tony DiNozzo, London’s Calling Universe
Word Count: 4984
Notes: This story falls in the London’s Calling Universe but Tony doesn’t make an appearance. Because of that, I am not connecting the two stories yet and calling it a series. I haven’t actually seen the last season Criminal Minds, but from what I know of it, this story is not compliant with it other than Hotch and Jack did go into WitSec. I am also ignoring bits of H50 canon from the last two seasons at the moment. This story was written for the Forever Angst Rare Pairs challenge, which has a 5K word limit and requires a main pairing of 19 stories or less on AO3.

Summary: After Hotch goes into WitSec with Jack, Spencer has a meeting with AD Evans and realizes that he no longer enjoys his job. At his friend and sponsor’s urging, the genius leaves the BAU in search of a new path to happiness. When the Fates lead him to Hawaii and a past lover he never thought that he’d see again, Spencer has to decide if he’s brave enough to take another shot at happiness.

Spencer was standing on a beach in Hawaii with his shoes off so that he could curl his toes into the sand. He otherwise had on one of his normal going to work outfits. Logically, he knew that people didn’t dress like that at the beach. He had clothes that weren’t for work and wore them outside of the house. This though wasn’t one of those times.

This was him being completely outside of his comfort zone and needing his own personal armor. He knew people who used their suits as armor. Aaron and Tony DiNozzo, his good friend, both did so. He could always judge headspace by what they had on. Only, Aaron was in WitSec somewhere, and Tony was off in England with his son working a new position. Derek was off somewhere raising his family, and his mother had died a few years back from a bad bout with pneumonia.

He had been going thru the motions at work, but during a meeting with his sponsor, the AD asked him if he was still happy. When he said no he asked why he was still at the FBI. It wasn’t that Spencer hadn’t realized that he was miserable but…

He guessed that maybe he needed to hear someone else say that it was ok to be sad, and equally ok for him to move on. So, Monday morning, he’d carried his resignation into the AD’s office and called it a career. He stuck around long enough to meet with his team and tell them what he’d decided. The door had been left open for a return, but he couldn’t see that happening.

For once, he’d decided he was going to do something without analyzing it to death. Going home, he threw some clothes in a bag then headed to the airport, ending up on a flights to Honolulu, HI.

Several years back, Aaron had been meant to go to Pakistan for a classified mission. Because of personal issues though, he hadn’t gone, and Spencer went in his place. He certainly wasn’t their first choice, but in the end, he was glad that he’d gone.

At first, he felt like a fish out of water, but then he had a talk with Lt. Commander Steven McGarrett. The older man told him even if he wasn’t their first choice, they would never send someone unqualified on a highly sensitive mission if they didn’t believe that he was capable, and his team had Spencer’s back. It was the beginning of what turned out to be a rather unusual and highly rewarding relationship. Steve was definitely someone whom Spencer would not normally have thought to start up a friendship with, but the man had surprised him.

Once they got past the initial awkwardness, they ended up in a discussion about Star Trek, and when half an hour into the validity of the science, the SEAL was still listening. He even asked a few questions for clarification when Spencer paused instead of changing the subject on him like the team tended to do at work.

As he stood there focused on the past, he knew people were staring at him. Being gawked at because of his outfit though wasn’t something new, and quite frankly didn’t bother him. He dressed the way he wanted and didn’t care what others thought of it. What he didn’t want were interruptions to his solitude, and had Pandora on the Sam Smith channel with his ear buds in.

The beach wasn’t crowded yet, but there were enough people around that he wanted to make sure he wasn’t bothered. Unfortunately, that also meant that he couldn’t hear the people around him, and found himself tackled into the sand dazed and not sure what had happened.

“Shit! Are you ok…. Doc?”

Blinking as the world came into focus once more, Spencer found himself looking up into familiar hazel eyes. “Lt. Commander McGarrett! I found you!”

Steve chuckled and flashed a grin that made Spencer weak in the knees. “Technically, I think I found you, but I make it a rule never to argue semantics with a genius.”

“Since when?” A voice asked from behind Steve as the former SEAL helped up the genius. Spencer watched as Steve rolled his eyes, turning to look at a shorter blond headed man.

“You are no genius,” Steve snarked back, and Spencer tried to determine their dynamic.

“The Williams family is more of the street smarts type geniuses,” the blond insisted, and Spencer wanted to smile even though he wasn’t sure yet if they were serious or joking around. “Besides, I spend too much time trying to keep you from committing human rights violations to have time to increase my intelligence.”

Steve snorted as two others came up wet and carrying surfboards. “I didn’t know you in high school, Danno. What was your excuse then?”

The blond waved a hand in the air, and the male of the newcomers spoke up before the bickering could continue. “Don’t mind them. If they’re breathing, they’re arguing. I’m Detective Chin Ho Kelly, and this is my cousin Officer Kono Kalakaua. We’re a part of 5-0 with Steve and Danny the blond bickering with him.”

Spencer waved to the Detective as the Officer spoke up with a  twinkle in her eyes familiar from the years spent around Emily Prentiss. “Danno probably bickers in his sleep, but don’t let his grumpy exterior fool you. He has an extra squishy center that’s revealed the second someone mentions his children.”

“Gracie and Charlie are much smarter than I am, and I’m proud to say so. I will have you know that my Gracie is on the honor roll every semester. She would make the principal’s honor roll if the Williams family was better at math.”  The blond finally stepped around Lt Commander McGarrett pushing him aside. Spencer found himself intrigued again when Steve huffed with a twinkle of amusement obvious in his eyes.

“Detective Danny Williams. I am this insane person’s partner. It would make anyone cranky. He’s never met a regulation that he didn’t love breaking.”

Steve huffed, but Spencer’s eyes lit up as he quickly replied. “Before I was sent on assignment to work with Lt. Commander McGarrett’s unit I had very little experience working with the military. There is very definitely a different mindset between a military investigation and civilian police work. Generally speaking, there is less attention to what LEOs would view as regulation in a military investigation.

“Whereas, working a civilian criminal investigation requires more focus on policy and legal limitations. I would imagine that it would be difficult to transition from a military investigator to a civilian investigator without some formal training.”

“Except 5-0 has means and authority,” McGarrett pointed out making Spencer frown.

“That shouldn’t be used to violate laws and regulations. You may have more lax standards approved by a governing authority, you still have to get your case through a civilian judicial system that won’t care about your means and authority if it violates a someone’s basic civil rights.”

When Spencer stopped speaking, still frowning at the SEAL, both Danno and Chin looked somewhat smug and Officer Kalakaua appeared amused. Then, Danny came forward and put an arm around his shoulders steering him toward the parking lot. “I think you and I are going to be friends. Say, what’s your name, and are you really a genius?”

“Dr. Spencer Reid,” the former profiler informed allowing himself to be herded, “and I don’t really believe that intelligence can be quantified…”

Chin just grinned big as he slapped a confused looking Steve on the shoulder. “I think Danny’s made a new friend. This is going to be entertaining.”

Kono just shook her head at the two as she hurried off to catch up with Dr. Reid and Danny. She didn’t wanna miss a second of this.

Instead of being ushered to a vehicle as he’d expected, Spencer found himself at a food truck talking to a man who was very enthusiastic about shrimp. After agreeing to let Kamekona make him a tasting platter, Spencer found himself at a picnic table surrounded by his new friends. Turning his gaze back to the blond, the former BAU profiler decided to clarify his identity.

“Detective Williams,” Spencer began wishing he had coffee, but willing to sip on the pop instead, “do you know Tony DiNozzo?”

“Of course, I do!” Detective Williams confirmed happily waving his hands around. “Tony and I go way back! When he found out about his son TJ, we’ve been friends since we were kids. Wait! Are you that genius he’s always talking about?”

Spencer cocked his head to one side frowning seriously. “Since I’m not privy to your personal conversations, I have no way of knowing. I do know Tony. He’s a friend of mine, and we used to have dinner together regularly. In fact, I called him when I was at the airport, and he told me that I should look you up.”

Danno nodded smiling as Kamekona put a huge platter of shrimp on the table chatting with them before heading back to his customers. “He left me a voicemail to call him. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. He did mention someone was coming and might need to crash in my spare room. My house is your house. It doesn’t have direct access to the beach like the Super SEAL’s does, though.”

Spencer chewed on the shrimp in his mouth, which was as good as his new friends said it would be, and his forehead wrinkled at the thought of being directly on the beach. “I’m not much of a beach person. I would feel better staying with you if it won’t be an intrusion, Detective Williams.”

“Please,” the blond said finishing his own shrimp. “Call me Danny, or Danno if you really must. I do have Gracie and Charlie this weekend. Gracie’s nose will probably be stuck on her phone most of the time though, and Charlie may ask you to read to him.”

Spencer smiled shyly thinking about Henry and Michael. “I don’t mind reading to him. I have an eidetic memory, so I always have books in my head to recite. I do it quite a lot with my Godson Henry and his brother Michael.”

“How long are you gonna be with us, Doc?” Steve asked speaking for the first time since they sat down.

Spencer bit the inside of his cheek before answering. “I don’t know, Commander. I bought a one-way ticket.”

“Things ok, Doc?” Steve asked concerned, and Spencer couldn’t help the burst of warmth that filled his stomach at the question.

“I quit the FBI,” he admitted softly. “My best friend left to be with his family, and then my pseudo brother and mentor left also. I had other friends there, but it wasn’t the same. To be honest, I’m tired of watching the absolute worst of humanity on every case.”

“You worked with the BAU right?” Steve asked trying to make sure he remembered correctly, and Spencer nodded before answering.

“I was with them for about 13 years,” he confirmed shoving another shrimp into his mouth before continuing. “When I realized that I needed something new, I considered London to see Tony, but there wasn’t a flight right away. Then, when I saw the flight to Honolulu was leaving shortly, I decided it was fate and took a chance.”

Steve smiled softly and felt Kono’s hand touch his leg under the table. Looking at his girlfriend, he saw her encouraging smile and knew they’d have to have a talk soon. He’d been clear about his feelings for the genius when they got together, even though he didn’t ever expect to see the man again.

He Kono meant as much to him as the former profiler did, and didn’t know what he’d do if he had to choose between them. He just hoped that things would work out for the three of them. “I’m glad you did, Doc. If there is anything 5-0 can do for you, please let us know. You never know. Once you’re ready to think about working again, there may be a spot in paradise for you.”

When Spencer flashed him a happy smile, Steve squeezed Kono’s hand and prayed that things would work out.


Almost a month later, Spencer found himself standing in Steve’s back yard staring out at the ocean, listening to the sound of the waves mixed in with the clanking of dishes as his two hosts cleared the table the three of them had dinner at. As they worked, he was considering the proposition that he’d been offered.

When he’d found out that the SEAL he’d dreamed about had moved on to a relationship with the beautiful and exotic former surfing champion, Spencer had been unreasonably hurt and jealous. He knew that he had no right to be upset. It wasn’t like he and Steve had made any promises to each other when Spencer left Pakistan. Neither expected to see the other again.

Somehow though with the loss of his job and friendships that would never be the same again, his mind had latched onto Steve as a safe haven the second he’d seen Honolulu on the departures board. Then there was his insecurity that whispered he couldn’t compete with Kono.

Tonight, they told him that he didn’t have to compete with anything, and offered him not just Steve but Kono as well. It was all very confusing. He could imagine a million ways that it could go horribly wrong and his heart would be shattered. For the life of him, he just couldn’t imagine how there could be a happy ending. His life just didn’t work like that.

If Maeve’s death taught him nothing else, it was that. He found himself desperately wishing that either Tony or Aaron weren’t so very far out of his reach. He could really use their wisdom at the moment. Both men had a way of making him feel better without belittling his fears. It was a trust that allowed him to be more open with them than he could be with anyone else. “This was my idea, Dr. Reid.” He heard and turning found Kono standing behind him watching him with sad eyes.

Frowning, he tried to swallow the hurt that had ruled him since he found out about their relationship. He was ashamed to realize that he hadn’t always been nice to the woman. Sometimes he’d even been aware that he was being a brat but just couldn’t stop.

“I don’t understand why you’re being nice to me,” Spencer said quietly as he looked down at the grass. “I’ve behaved like a spoiled child since I found out about your relationship, and you didn’t do anything but fall in love.”

“I don’t think you’ve been a child,” Kono disagreed gently. “I think you’ve acted like a man who keeps losing things and people at every turn. Trust me, I know how alluring Steve is. Hell, even Danny is caught in his web to a degree. I think you’ve been hurt too many times, and it’s made you afraid to believe that there could be a happy ending.”

“I thought that I’d found one, you know?” Spencer commented ignoring Steve as he came up to stand behind Kono resting his arms on her shoulders looking concerned. “I mean…”

Spencer trailed off and turned around to look out at the ocean as he thought of Maeve. “She wasn’t Steve, but that was ok because I’d accepted I’d never really have him. Even though she wasn’t him, I loved her enough that I would have happily spent forever with her. Only then the world reminded me that I’m not allowed to be happy. Every time I am it has to come along and kick me in the nuts.”

Spencer stopped talking for a moment as the emotion clogged up his throat. Wrapping his arms around himself, he contemplated the waves in front of him for a long while before he continued. “My dad left. My mom gots schizophrenia. I got duct taped to a goal post because I’m too smart. I had to navigate college all by myself. Then, Gideon recruits me and I think just maybe I’m going to get to be happy only that didn’t work either.

“Gideon lost his mind. I got kidnapped by an unsub and ended up addicted to Dilaudid. Gideon left. Hotch almost leaves. His wife ends up murdered. Tony leaves for London. Maeve ends up murdered. Derek leaves for real. Hotch leaves for real, and now what? Life is going to just hand me happily ever after?”

Spencer snorted unhappily and shook his head. “History says no. So, I don’t know what to do, or who to believe, and I don’t know who I have left to trust or confide in because everyone I trust is out of my reach.”

Spencer would have given anything for assurances of a happily ever after from either of the people behind him. However, all he got was silence, and he couldn’t help but wonder if that didn’t say it all.

Taking a deep breath, he turned and thanked the two for dinner asking that he be given time to think about their offer to join their relationship. “As long as you need, Doc,” Steve promised sincerely, his feelings hidden behind a mask.

As he made his way back to Danny’s car, which the blond had loaned him for the evening, Spencer longed for answers and a future that didn’t hurt as much as his past had.

A few hours later, Spencer was sitting in Danny’s back yard with his knees drawn up to his chest staring at the night sky. He wished that he could be one of those people that believed all of life’s answers lived up there and wondered if life was any easier for them. Instead, he very firmly believed that there was no such thing as a higher being, and knew that he had only himself and the people around him to help him navigate life’s pitfalls.

Not for the first time that evening, he wished he could just pick up the phone and call Tony. He didn’t want to bother his friend with this though, and so his phone remained in his satchel in his room. Staring up at the twinkling sky, Spencer let out a deep sigh, and nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard a voice next to him.

“So, I take it the SEAL and the surfer finally dropped their bombshell on you, huh?”

After calming his racing heart, Spencer turned his head to see that Danny had settled in the chair next to him on the man’s back porch. “You knew?” He asked and Danny shrugged.

“I knew they were thinking about asking you to join their relationship,” Danny confirmed quietly.

“But you didn’t think it was a good idea?” Spencer guessed not knowing how he felt about that and was surprised at the response he got back.

“Not at all,” Danny denied, “just the opposite in fact.”

“I think it’s a wonderful idea. As much as I bitch about the risks that Steve takes with my life, I think that he and Kono would be great for you. I did, however, tell them that I thought you’d have a hard time with the idea and that they’d need to be patient with you. Any relationship is hard, let alone to be brought in as the third person to an existing relationship where the original couple seems as perfectly matched as Steve and Kono do. It would be hard for anyone let alone someone who has as many scars on his heart as you do. As the King of Worrying, I know someone who is going to be slow to trust when I see them, and you my friend are one of my fellow doubting brethren.”

“Why would they need me?” Spencer asked quietly. “They have a perfect relationship. Why would they want me and all the baggage that I would bring? I mean look at them. They’re both gorgeous and everyone’s idea of normal. I’m just a socially awkward geek who’s Karma’s favorite doormat.”

“Steve is only someone’s idea of normal if they don’t know him,” Danny argued huffing. “There is nothing normal about the man. Kono though I will agree is the perfect picture of perfection, and doesn’t deserve any of us. She, however, would kick us all in the balls if we ever suggested such a thing. So, it’s best we keep that idea to ourselves.”

Spencer let loose a burst of laughter knowing his friend was telling the truth. “Look, Doc, I know that I’m not Tony, but as a mutual friend of his, can I give you some advice here?”

Spencer nodded and turned in the chair to face the Detective so that he could see him better. “People like you and I could worry something like this until the end of time and never find enough reasons why we should. The problem with that is we just stay alone in the dark and miserable. People like Steve and Kono… they’re the ones who drag us out of there and into the light to remind us that sometimes you have to push past all the lessons life has taught us to take one more chance.

“I’m not going to tell you that living in this hellhole of sand and pineapples has made me the poster boy for optimism and rose-colored glasses because it hasn’t. But, being around these people has shown me that sometimes I have to just shove past how fucking scared I am all the fucking time and let other people convince me that it’s ok to take one more chance. I honestly believe, Doc, that if there was ever a time for you to try one more time for that shot at happiness and forever that this is it.”

Spencer didn’t realize that he’d been holding his breath until it came out in a rush leaving him light headed. Resting his forehead on his knees, he could pretend that the tears running down his face weren’t there as he grappled with what his host had just told him. Could he do it? Could he try one more time for that one tiny ray of light in the pitch black cave he’d been holed up in? Could he trust that it wasn’t just his imagination, like it had been every other time he’d reached for the light, and would just disappear when he reached out for it?

“What do you have to lose, Doc?” Danny asked carefully. “We both know that the dark will always be there waiting. It isn’t going anywhere.”

Snuffling, Spencer looked up to where Danny was sitting and hoped that it was dark enough to hide the tear trails on his face. Taking a deep shuddering breath, he finally nodded his acceptance and decided that he’d go to talk to the couple the next day. Danny stood and patted his shoulder, then from the sound of the screen door sliding on the track, he guessed the blond headed inside. He was thankful for that, as he could use the time alone to get himself back together.

Once more, he looked up at the night sky and let himself get lost in their twinkling depths letting his mind consider the possibilities of what if it didn’t all go bad.


Unfortunately, the next day the team caught a case that just wouldn’t end, and in fact, Spencer found himself lending them his profiling skills and mind to figure out what was going on. It wasn’t until Chin mentioned a few bits of native lore that kept popping into the Detective’s head, a night at a local library cramming every bit of information on the local culture, myths, and lore of Hawaii, and a couple hours spent staring at the information board he’d set up for the pieces of the puzzle to click into place.

After that, he found himself standing next to Jerry in the 5-0 headquarters watching the team rush off to catch the bad guy, and for the first time wished he had a more permanent spot with the team. He never thought he would miss the rush of the field, but oddly enough he did. Not knowing what more he could offer, he asked Jerry if the team had cold case files, and quickly lost himself in the smell of paperwork and the thrill of unsolved mysteries.

As it always happened when he was working, Spencer lost track of time, and probably would have spent all night there, if it wasn’t for the coffee that suddenly appeared underneath his nose. Following the cup upward as it was lifted, Spencer found himself smiling as Steve smirked down at him. “Coffee, Doc?” The SEAL asked and Spencer reached out and made grabby hands trying to get at his life’s sustenance.

“What are you doing?” He heard Kono ask while he drained half the cup he saw her move around Steve and then sink down to sit cross legged on the floor next to him.

“I was bored, so I asked Jerry to show me your cold case files,” Spencer explained motioning to the stacks. “The small pile there by Steve’s left foot are the ones where I saw obvious leads that should be investigated. The pile by your right knee there, Kono, are ones that reminded me of things from cases I’ve worked on at the BAU that I thought might help you out. Then the big one here in front of me are ones that I had questions on that I wanted clarified to see if I had any ideas or not. Anything that I didn’t see anything new or anything I could assist with I put back into their filing cabinets.”

“You did all this while we were gone?” Kono asked surprised, not used to Spencer’s genius yet, and the profiler found himself shrugging.

“I read fast,” he offered as explanation making Steve snort at the understatement.

“I really wish you’d consider a spot on the team, Doc,” Steve said moving to join them on the floor careful not to disturb any of the piles as Kono blinked at Spencer.

“I think we could really use your experience. You bring something to the team that we don’t have right now.”

Spencer peeked over to Kono who was nodding her agreement. Biting his lip, he made a note and put it in the file he’d been looking at, setting it in front of him as he considered whether this was the right time to follow Danny’s advice or not.

“Can I have both?” He finally asked playing with the cuffs of his pants not brave enough in the moment to look either of them in the eye.

“What do you mean?” Kono asked gently and Spencer chewed on the inside of his cheek for a few moments before answering.

“The spot on the team and a chance to be with you and Steve,” Spencer clarified. Deciding it was time to look up, he lifted his eyes and looked at them each before settling his eyes on Steve.

It wasn’t that he wasn’t open to a relationship with Kono, but Steve was, at least at the moment, the drawing point. Because of that, it was his opinion and reactions that meant the most to him. Fortunately, Steve’s expression appeared to be open to the emotions he was feeling.

“This case has made me realize how much I miss my job, and,” Spencer trailed off before taking a deep breath and rushing on, “and I’d like another shot at the light.”

“Maybe this time it won’t disappear,” he murmured quietly more afraid of the response to his question that he had been during any other point of his life. Maybe even when Tobias Hankel was threatening to kill him.

“You can,” Steve promised, and Spencer saw the surge of want and hope in the SEAL’s eyes. “We talked to the rest of the team before we approached you. They know that we wanted to bring you onto the team and that we also want you to be part of our relationship.”

Afraid to believe that Steve meant it, Spencer turned to look at Kono who nodded. The excitement and hope were as easy to read in her eyes as they were Steve’s. “I think Chin and Danny are excited to have someone else on the team who thinks following the rules is as important as they do.”

Steve snorted at that, and Spencer found himself smiling happily for the first time in weeks, maybe even months. Resisting the urge to launch into a rant on the importance if policy and procedure in civilian law enforcement, he found himself needing to make sure that they knew it wasn’t going to be all smooth sailing.

“I have baggage you know,” he pointed out. “I have a history of problems with drug addiction and would need to find a place to go to meetings. I get lost in my head and could ramble endlessly. I…”

“None of us are without baggage, Doc,” Steve interrupted carefully. “All we want is a chance. There isn’t anything you need to carry alone anymore.”

Eventually, Spencer nodded his agreement and found himself wrapped up in Kono’s arms as she squealed in his ear happily. Huffing, he allowed it thinking that if she ever met Garcia it would be dangerous. When Steve’s arms joined hers though, he let himself bask in his happiness and hoped that this time that ray of light wouldn’t disappear. Maybe finally he had found his way out of the dark.

The End

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