Garcia uses the term first.
She’s on the phone, talking through information so fast that even Reid can barely keep up, bouncing off of Morgan in the same way she always does.
“You on your own?” she asks, the sound of rapid tapping coming down the line. Morgan grins at Spencer.
“Nah, I’m here with Reid.” A delighted laugh echoes out of the phone’s tinny speakers.
“Well look at that, I got me a profiler sandwich! Hey genius, solve that case and get home soon! Kiss kiss!”
“Yeah, whatever, baby, we’ll do our best.” Morgan is still chuckling when he snaps the phone closed. “Man, that girl is the best. Reid, you remember those numbers?”
“I remember everything, Morgan, I have an eidetic memory,” Spencer replies waspishly, but they’re back on the case, and it slips away for the time.
It comes back to him on the plane home. He’s sitting on the couch beside Morgan, JJ curled up on the far end, Elle and Hotch at opposite ends of the other. Gideon is asleep, but none of the others are. It’s probably the best time to ask what Garcia was talking about.
“What’s a… ‘profiler sandwich’?”
The reaction is instantaneous. Hotch snorts, a distinctly inelegant sound at odds with his appearance, while Morgan, JJ and Elle all laugh at once. Spencer doesn’t mind. They’re not laughing at him; clearly, whatever ‘profiler sandwich’ is, it’s funny.
“I’d forgotten Garcia said that,” Morgan says dryly. “Can’t believe you’ve been at the BAU this long and never heard it. It’s this old legend…” Morgan trails off, but the wicked spark in his eye suggests he’s nowhere close to finished. “That back in the day when it was still the BSU that the team was, uh – really close.” The eyebrow waggle that accompanies the statement still doesn’t illuminate to Spencer what he means.
“Well, of course they’d have to be, to function effectively as a team.” Elle covers her mouth to hide a smile, Hotch is shaking his head. Even JJ seems to get the joke. Spencer folds his arms over his chest. “What?”
“Really close,” Morgan stresses, and when Spencer still blinks owlishly at him, sighs, and leans in. “As in, together.”
Morgan makes an obscene gesture. “Together-together.”
“Oh. You’re implying they had a communal sexual relationship.” Morgan rolls his eyes.
“Yeah, if that’s the way you want to put it. It’s just a rumour. But I gotta tell you, man, back in the day the first BAU team were –” He whistles.
“Pretty hot,” JJ supplies, when Spencer looks at her for translation. “Sexy 70s icons. Gideon even had this wicked moustache.”
Spencer hadn’t even thought of the implications, that of course Gideon would have been part of the team then.
“It never happened,” Gideon interrupts, his tone forbidding, and Spencer swivels to eye the back of his mentor’s head. Gideon sits at the table, his hands steepled, his back to the team. Spencer would love to see his expression. They’d all thought Gideon was asleep, otherwise the conversation wouldn’t have gotten so… dirty. “There’s no truth to it. We were professionals.”
“So you say,” Morgan says, apparently unfazed by Gideon’s reply, or the fact that he is unexpectedly conscious. “But the legend persists.”
“Former Agent Ryan does have a certain salty charm, even now,” Elle reflects idly. JJ nods.
Spencer is still processing the information. “Wouldn’t that be more like… profiler salad?” he suggests, trying to understand. “A sandwich implies only three were involved. If they were all in together, wouldn’t salad be the appropriate euphemism?”
Gideon makes an odd noise, almost like he’s choking. Hotch is smiling, that crooked little grin he gets when he really can’t keep his somber agent face on, and is no longer bothering to feign interest in his files. “All I can tell you is that there was definitely no ‘profiler salad’ happening by the time I joined the team,” he announces blithely.
“Maybe they just didn’t invite you,” Spencer says before he can think better of it, and that’s enough to set them off again.
Eventually they manage to get control of themselves. Morgan wipes his eyes, still snickering. Spencer eyes JJ and Elle, who can’t seem to contain their giggling. “Imagine baby agent Hotch pouting because he’s not invited to the team orgy,” Morgan gasps out.
“Hilarious,” Hotch snips at him, but the smile is still there.
Gideon turns around this time. His expression is like thunder. It’s enough to quell the laughter. “There was no team orgy,” he pronounces, as if the words taste like acid in his mouth. “I’m surprised at your immaturity. Or have you forgotten that we’ve just come from a case?”
Surprisingly, it’s Hotch who comes to their defense. “Come on, Jason,” he cajoles, and Spencer idly watches his face. It’s unfair that such a pretty mouth be wasted on a criminal profiler. But then, Spencer’s here to appreciate it, so maybe it isn’t wasted. “They’re just blowing off a little steam. You know that rumour has been kicking about for years.”
Gideon grunts and turns back around, obviously not assuaged but apparently unwilling to continue the conversation. For a long moment, there is dead silence on the plane.
Morgan smirks and beckons Spencer closer to him on the couch. Obligingly, Spencer leans in.
“There’s a man who needs a team orgy if ever I’ve seen one,” Morgan whispers, his breath hot on Spencer’s ear.
And Spencer can’t help it; he giggles.
Gideon’s head swings around one final, fatal time. He pins Spencer with his gaze, and it’s all Spencer can do to just meet his eyes, like a terrified deer caught in the headlights. For one awful moment, Spencer is genuinely afraid. He sometimes forgets that Gideon is as dangerous as the monsters he has put behind bars.
Gideon shakes his head, and finally cracks a wry smile. It lights up his face, and the tension bleeds out of the room. “It was Rossi’s fault,” he mutters, but loud enough that everyone can hear it, so that must mean everything is okay again. “Always stood too close to me to display his dominance.”
Hotch snorts again. “I’d forgotten he did that,” he reminisces fondly. “And Ryan would get in between you both trying to break it up. No wonder everyone thought something was going on. I can picture Katie telling you to get a room and get over it.”
“I’m sure she wanted to,” Gideon chuckles, and gets up from his chair. Spencer tries not to hold his breath as his mentor takes a seat between Elle and Hotch, his posture relaxing, slouching into the couch. “You know, this one time we were out in Michigan, working this case –”
The story, as it turns out, isn’t about a team orgy.
Spencer enjoys it just the same.