people should smile more ();
Criminal Minds | series: a question of coffee:
pre Spencer Reid/Sean Hotchner, (Aaron Hotchner);
Set at the beginning of 1.16 ‘The Tribe’.
a/n: AU, in that I’m wilfully ignoring the fact that Reid was present when the girls were ogling Hotch’s brother at the beginning of this episode! As far as this story is concerned, this is how Spencer Reid met Sean Hotchner! XD
Sean smacked his palm against the elevator call button, wincing slightly at the jolting sting that raced up his arm with the action. He cursed inwardly, both at himself and his mightier-than-thou brother. God, it was just like Aaron to get under his skin every time they saw or spoke to each other! His brother seemed completely incapable of accepting any decision Sean made for himself, not unless it was something first decided by Aaron and then later agreed upon by him.
He wasn’t looking for Aaron’s approval, he wasn’t even here to get Aaron’s support. He knew his ditching law for culinary was never going to be something Aaron approved of, but he’d hoped at least that Aaron would give him a chance to explain, and in return trust Sean enough to make his own decisions… his own mistakes even, if that’s truly what Aaron thought this was.
He hit out at the call button again, frustrated. He knew coming to see Aaron was a bad idea, but once again he’d managed to convince himself that his opinion of his brother was distorted, exaggerated even, that Aaron wasn’t nearly as much of an asshole as he remembered.
Sean clenched his fingers around the chinbar of his motorcycle helmet, watching in relief as the elevator finally reached his floor, its doors binging slowly open. He pushed his way through them before they’d even fully opened and found himself bodily colliding with someone trying to exit the elevator at the same time.
Sean lurched forward as the slighter man he’d bumped into stumbled backwards, the coffee in his hand exploding all over himself.
“Oh shit, I’m sorry! Are you okay?” Sean stared, horrified, at the young man before him. His beige shirt now sopping and stained a blotchy brown with coffee, the cup of which he still held in his now-shaking hand.
“I’m okay,” he said, after a moments hesitation, as if he’d actually taken the time to assess the question before answering. He looked up from the unfortunate state of his clothing and dragged his eyes warily over Sean as if expecting him to launch himself at him again.
Sean winced. “I really am sorry. I shouldn’t have-,” he trailed off, waving his free hand as if it would explain everything.
The young man nodded, not speaking for a moment before gesturing himself towards the doors behind Sean. “I should-,” he started, making as if to side-step his way out of the elevator when just at that moment the doors slid closed.
“Oh no,” he breathed, reaching out for the open door button, jabbing his finger against it a few times to no avail. The elevator lurched then, taking them down.
Sean saw the stricken look that passed over his face.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” he felt obliged to ask, wondering if he’d burned himself with the coffee or something.
“I… um, I was already late for work,” came the stuttered reply as he ducked his head once more, long fingers pulling nervously at his wet shirt.
“You work for the BAU?” Sean asked, curious.
The young man looked up, wary even as he nodded his answer.
“With Aaron Hotchner?” he pressed and tried not to smile as wariness turned to suspicion. Even so, he got another nod as his answer.
“In that case I think I can help you out,” Sean offered, grinning somewhat depreciatively. “Just tell him that his disappointment of a brother collided in the elevator with you. He’s pissed enough with me already that he’ll let it slide.”
The young man blinked at him, startled. “You’re-?”
“Sean Hotchner,” he said, smiling more genuinely now as he stretched out his free hand.
“Oh, I don’t-,” he started, lifting his hand up and waggling his fingers in a half wave, grimacing when Sean reached out and took his hand anyway, their fingers curling together in a hold that lingered well past propriety.
“And you are?” Sean prompted when the young man appeared to be caught too off-guard to answer.
“Um, Reid. Spencer Reid. Doctor Reid, actually but- um…” he stumbled over his words, shyly ducking his head even as he kept his eyes trained on Sean.
Sean couldn’t help but keep smiling under the innocent scrutiny. “It’s nice to meet you Reid, Spencer Reid.”
Spencer smiled awkwardly and carefully extracted his hand. “Sorry my-,” he started, wiping his fingers ineffectually against his pants, “-hand’s a bit sticky.”
“Since that’s my fault I’ll be sure not to complain.” He smiled again, shrugging casually. Spencer gave him another wary look, his eyes dragging over Sean’s face and Sean wondered if it was all the smiling that was putting him off. He knew that although he favoured his mother in colouring, he was facially similar to his brother. But where Aaron had never learned to smile, Sean had learned to smile enough for the both of them.
The elevator reached the ground floor in a matter of minutes and before Sean really thought about it, he’d reached out to Spencer, his hand curling casually around his elbow as he led them both out onto the main floor. He felt Spencer tense at the contact but he didn’t pull away and Sean belatedly realised how weird it was for him to just reach out to someone who was little more than a complete stranger.
He let go just as quickly as he’d reached out and tried not to look too guilty at the way Spencer curled his arms around himself, that wary look back on his face.
“Listen, I do feel bad about ruining your shirt-,” he started.
“It’s fine really,” Spencer blurted, stepping back. “I’ve got a spare one upstairs.”
“Oh, good. Well, let me make it up to you?” he offered.
But Spencer was already shaking his head. “No, that’s okay,” he said, shooting his eyes to the elevator and back.
“At least let me buy you another coffee?” he tried.
“You don’t have to-,”
“Honestly, it’s no hassle.”
Spencer frowned at him, lifting his free hand to tuck a stray strand of hair behind his ear.
“Really, I insist.”
“You’re not going to let me go without accepting are you?”
Sean winced then, tensing. “I’m being too pushy, aren’t I? Sorry. Aaron was always better at diplomacy than I. I’m more of a barge in and hope for the best kind of guy.”
He didn’t know why it was so important to make it up to this guy. Anyone else and he was sure he’d have just apologised and left them to it. There was just something really intriguing about Spencer though, maybe the way he held himself, the way he spoke, even the way he was too polite to just tell Sean to bugger off and leave him alone already.
Spencer shot him a look he couldn’t quite decipher but his mouth curled just slightly in amusement.
“What? What was that look for?” Sean asked, smiling back and feeling himself relax just a bit.
Spencer smiled a little more, shaking his head. “I’m…” he shot one more look towards the elevator before turning his gaze back towards Sean. “I really need to get to work, but if it matters that much to you, you can owe me a coffee?” He dragged out the last few words as if asking a question a he wasn’t sure he’d like the answer too.
“Yeah?” Sean asked, grinning.
“Um. Yeah.” Spencer agreed, just a tad awkwardly.
“Okay, well… let me give you my number-,” and in another show of pushiness, Sean found himself grabbing a pen out of Spencer’s own shirt pocket and reaching for the hand not still holding onto his abused coffee-cup, and scrawling his number across Spencer’s palm.
He took it as a good sign that Spencer only shook his head a little at him as he casually slipped the pen back into Spencer’s shirt pocket.
“You’d better call me,” Sean said, only half joking, watching as Spencer carefully curled his fingers over his palm.
“And if I don’t?” Spencer asked, his head half-ducked. Sean idly wondered if he really was that shy or if the way he looked up at you through his lashes was a deliberate ploy.
“I’d have to call my brother,” Sean said, exaggerating a grimace, “and I really hate having to call my brother.”
Spencer dropped his eyes, trying to hide his smile as he nodded once before looking up and meeting Sean’s gaze.
“I’ll call,” he promised.