Haley was shocked when she saw the man peak around the corner into the room. She tried not to react and was dumbfounded when Foyet didn’t notice him at all. It took a few minutes of him watching her and her trying not to make it seem like she was watching him for her to realize who he was. He looked so different. Doctor Spencer Reid. She’d not actually seen him in something like two years.
Doctor Reid took aim with his gun and she remembered when Aaron had come home from a case and told her of how Doctor Reid had failed his firearms qualification and then turned around and shot an UnSub between the eyes. Aaron had said he’d been terrified and that was how he looked now. He looked so nervous that anymore stimulation and she figured he’d be in a ball on the floor.
The first shot had her screaming and dropping the phone, even though she’d watched him pull the trigger. The phone shattered when it hit the floor. The second and third shots were just as loud but Haley was already so scared that no noise came out of her mouth.
“Doctor Reid?” Haley asked, taking in how he moved across the room, kicking the gun away from the dead body as if he could come back and use it. His own gun was placed on the table with the toy soldiers and then he was helping her to sit down on the couch. She was in shock, she knew it but she couldn’t do a thing except what he directed her to do.
He was gone from the room seconds later. She had no clue what he was doing. She only stared at the dead man. The thumping of his feet on the stairs told her that he was going up the stairs. Jack. She needed to get to Jack. She tried to stand up but her legs wouldn’t hold her and then she was falling back down onto the couch.
Long minutes later, the thumps again but now the thumps were louder sounding and slower. He rounded the corner with Jack in his arms. Jack had his arms wrapped around Doctor Reid’s neck, holding him tight. He passed Jack over and the boy clung to her. She was breathing again. She had her boy in her arms, holding him tight. Too tight like the hug she had given him when she thought it would be her last. There was emotion on Doctor’s Reid’s face but she couldn’t name it.
The squeal of tires and brakes told her that someone had arrived on the scene. Doctor Reid wasn’t moving. She looked over towards the door and saw that there was a cane lying on the floor. She looked back at his face and she saw the pain there. He’d been shot in the knee, she remembered, she’d overheard the team taking about it at the hospital. At the same time that Aaron had been stabbed by Foyet, he’d been shot saving a man. She hadn’t known that it had been that bad.
The door flung open and then Aaron was charging in, clearing the hall before he turned in. Stopping at the sight of Doctor Reid standing there. He shifted over a step and then Haley had a view of Aaron that wasn’t blocked. The relief on Aaron’s face was so visible that Haley finally started to cry. She’d almost died.
“Reid?” Aaron’s voice was calm as he moved over to where Haley was holding Jack on the couch. He dropped down with them and held them close. Haley buried her face in his neck. He pulled her close and held her.
“I jarred my knee on the stairs. I’m fine.”
“Thank you,” Aaron’s voice was soft and Haley didn’t know why. She didn’t understand the words that followed after. She let herself drift; safe in the arms of the man she’d loved most of her life. There would be time later to figure out what they were saying but right now she felt safe, for the first time in a long while and it had come at the hands of a man who she had sworn would never make it on Aaron’s team.
Haley remembered meeting him the first time, just after Gideon had brought him onto the team. It was just after the case with an UnSub who had gone into a coma. He’d been shaken up by the case but he’d gone out to the local bar with the rest of the team. Haley had gone as well to give JJ someone to talk to that wasn’t male. He’d been so distant at the time but he got on well with JJ and the three of them had spent time talking. He’d been so innocent back then. He still looked innocent but she knew that he wasn’t. She knew the cases that had taken that away from him.
Another piece of his innocence was lying with the dead man in the middle of what had been her living room. He’d killed before, she knew that but it wasn’t often. It was always in a moment though where it was his life or theirs, this time it was her life that had been in the balance, her life and Jack’s. She’d have to find a way to make him understand that she was forever grateful.
There was always a moment of clarity when something life changing happened. Watching Doctor Reid carry her son, unharmed and alive, into the living room had been that moment. It didn’t settle in for days though. Staying with Aaron at his apartment while the house was being cleared meant that she had a lot of time to herself.
Just listening in while Doctor Reid gave his team the description of what happened, she knew that he hadn’t been listening in when she had called Aaron. He hadn’t known that Aaron had told Jack to work the case. How had he known where Jack was hiding? Haley didn’t even know about what working the case meant. How had he?
The entire team was on stand down as the death of Foyet was investigated. Haley didn’t understand that. Doctor Reid had saved the life of her and her son. The man he had killed had murdered so many, had almost killed Aaron. Everyone on the team called Aaron but not Doctor Reid. She knew that he hadn’t been taken into custody but he was on a paid suspension while the shooting was investigated. Aaron had gone in and given his statement the day after the shooting. Her’s had been taken the day of the shooting. She’d told the truth. There was nothing to hide. Doctor Reid had saved her life and the life of her son.
Aaron had Jack out shopping while Haley relaxed. It had been four days since the shooting. Grabbing her phone, Haley called Aaron only to hear his phone ring in the kitchen. He and Jack had been so excited to go get groceries for dinner that he’d left his phone.
Seeing a missed text, Haley opened it. It was from someone named Merton. She had never heard of someone named T. Merton.
See you this weekend. I have it off. Love you.
Haley stared at the message in shock. She hadn’t known that Aaron had moved on but then she’d been gone for months. She wanted to hate this T. Merton person but she couldn’t. She had left Aaron. She had no right to hate this woman. Obviously whoever it was, she was okay with Haley staying with him. Or he hadn’t told her which she hoped wasn’t the case.
Noting the time, she knew she had at least half an hour before Aaron and Jack came back. She opened his messaging app and started to scroll through. She found what she was looking for but it wasn’t sent by Aaron.
Invite Haley to stay with you.
Whoever his girlfriend was, she was really trusting. She had told Aaron to have her stay. Aaron had said it wasn’t needed, that he would put them up in a hotel, but Merton had messaged and said that it would be better for Jack to be with both of his parents. Aaron hadn’t said anything back until later that night telling Merton that Haley and Jack were settled in and that he missed her.
Haley closed the app and set the phone down. Whoever this T. Merton person was, she was perfect for Aaron. She obviously understood his job and pushed him to take in his ex-wife during a trying time.
Another message dinged and Haley looked at it.
Are you mad at me for not calling?
Haley looked away from the phone. All the messages never used names. Aaron never called her by her first name and she never called him Aaron in the texts. It wasn’t odd but she remembered that Aaron had used her name in texts. Grabbing the phone back up, she went through the texts. She had spent too much time around him not to pick up some profiling bits. She looked at every single text over the past month. The ones older than that had been cleared off. It was a secret.
The phone vibrated again. This time it was from David Rossi.
Family dinner, my house tomorrow. Jack and Haley are expected to come. Will and Henry will be there.
Haley set the phone down where she had got it and then moved back to the living room. She was going to watch him for the next while, to see if she could figure it all out.
Haley kept an eye on Aaron as much as she could. She had learned that the ring tone of the text was a song from Star Wars. It played a small section of it every time that the phone alerted Aaron to a text from T. Merton. At one point Aaron left the phone on the table beside where he was sitting while taking Jack to the bathroom. She leaned over when it sounded.
Dave is drinking more than normal.
That meant that whoever it was, was here. No one on his team was named T. Merton. It was an alias. Haley knew that JJ was with Will and she knew that Aaron would never get into a relationship with someone who was with another person. That left Emily Prentiss and Penelope Garcia; neither option was a fit for Aaron. She watched for an hour while the rest of the team arrived, trying to see which woman it was.
Dinner was a fun time. The team all talked and included Haley into the conversation as much as possible. It was just like old times when she had gone to meals with the team. It was like the divorce never happened. The team wasn’t upset with her, they never had been. Haley was sitting next to Jack with Doctor Reid on her other side. He had been the last to the table.
“More wine?” Haley asked as she tipped the bottle over his glass. Doctor Reid placed his palm over the glass.
“No. I can’t drink alcohol while on my pain meds for my knee.”
“Aaron told me you were shot protecting a victim but he didn’t tell me much. How are you doing?.”
“I am doing pretty well. Taking longer than I hoped but I am onto a cane now and that means I can go into the field. Rossi has a bottle of nonalcoholic wine for me. I’ll refill in a few. Thank you.” Conversation with Prentiss to his right pulled him from her but several minutes later he did get up to grab a bottle of wine in the kitchen. His phone vibrated and Haley was shocked. She knew from what Aaron had told her over the years that he hated technology. He didn’t have a home computer and no email account other than his work one. That he texted with someone was a shock. She just had to look.
It was a text from a S. G. Rogers. Haley figured it was a friend but the content told her otherwise. She had never been so snoopy in her life but when the name flashed at the top of the screen, she had to read.
I forgot to tell you how sexy you look tonight. And Dave is happy, that’s why he’s drinking too much. He’s happy to have the case closed and you cleared.
Haley leaned back as Doctor Reid sat down again. She was shocked.
After dinner, Doctor Reid took his phone off of vibrate and she heard as the theme for Captain America played when he got a text. He would reply and then seconds later, Aaron’s phone would go off.
The pieces fell together quickly. Doctor Reid had known where Jack was hiding. He was the only team member not to call because he was texting Aaron all the time. The secret names on the personal phone meant that Aaron was hiding it. She knew that Aaron had been called Captain America before and using it as a cover was easy. It hadn’t taken her long to figure out what S.G. Rogers was Captain America’s real name. She had no clue who T. Merton was.
Jack was the final piece. As soon as Doctor Reid settled down in large overstuffed chair with his leg up, Henry and Jack both settled into his lap. Henry she understood, Doctor Reid was his godfather. Jack was a surprise. Haley smiled as she watched Jack and Henry talking to Doctor Reid as he described something to him.
JJ and Emily pulled her into the kitchen, leaving Doctor Reid in the living room alone with the kids. Half an hour later, she moved back into the living room but stopped as she rounded the corner. The living room was empty except for Aaron and Doctor Reid. Aaron was sitting on the arm of the chair. Doctor Reid had his head tilted up to look Aaron in the face. Aaron’s hand was on the other man’s shoulder. It wouldn’t have seemed out of place except for the fact that Aaron’s thumb was rubbing at his collarbone. A scream from outside turned Haley’s attention to the two boys chasing each other. When she turned back, Aaron was sitting on the couch and Morgan was in the room.
Doctor Reid showed up on Saturday morning at ten. Haley opened the door and smiled. Doctor Reid didn’t show a single emotion other than happiness as she stepped back to let him into the room.
“Spencer!” Jack yelled. He ran up to Doctor Reid but stopped before actually touching him. He waited for Doctor Reid to bend down, sticking his injured leg out and hugging Jack. “Are we going to the aquarium?”
“You have such a good memory,” Doctor Reid said as he ruffled Jack’s hair. Jack took off at a run to the back of the apartment.
“Aaron’s getting dressed. What are you three getting into today?”
“Actually, Hotch was hoping you would come with us. Before…” Doctor Reid trailed off and looked at a spot in the room. Haley followed it and she figured that was where Aaron had been attacked. “I used to come by on some Saturday mornings and take Jack and Hotch out to some of the interesting educational things in the area. Before the attack, we were supposed to go to the aquarium.”
“No, you three used to do it together. I’ll visit some friends.”
“Are you sure?” Doctor Reid asked, turning his eyes to her. She watched as the eyes moved over her face and then her body. He was profiling her. She should have been upset but given everything that had happened and what she knew now, she couldn’t be mad.
“I never thought about what would happen when Aaron moved on.” Haley let her eyes move away from his face and move to where the two men in her life were. “I guess I never thought that he would.”
“Miss Brooks?” Doctor Reid sounded completely confused.
“I think that we should call each other by our first names, don’t you? With everything that’s happened. You saved my life and the life of my son.”
“Haley, I am not sure what you mean.”
“Aaron is happy. He’s smiling and laughing and I know what he looks like when he’s in love.”
“I…” Spencer looked like he wanted to be anywhere but where he was. He shifted but shifted back when he put his full weight on his bad leg. “I still don’t understand.”
“You play dumb well, Spencer.” Haley leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Keep him happy. He needs happiness in his life.”
“I…” Spencer turned his head away but she could see the blush creeping up his face. Jack ran back into the room with a small backpack over his shoulder that he handed to Spencer before he ran back yelling for his father.
“Jack loves you. I don’t know how I never noticed but Jack talks about the team all the time. Going to educational things with you wasn’t something that I even blinked an eye at.”
“We never…not while…” Spencer stopped and swallowed. A look of relief passed over his face and Haley turned to see Aaron entering the room. He was dressed in a pair of jeans as well as a pullover. A small look of lust came over Spencer’s face but was hidden again seconds later.
She was right.
Coming back to Aaron’s apartment late that night, Haley let herself in. She stopped dead in the doorway at the sight of Aaron, asleep on the couch, his head tilted back in a way that would give him a sore neck. Spencer was stretched across the couch with his legs propped up on the arm at the other end. His head was in Aaron’s lap and Aaron’s hand was twined with his hair like he had been playing with the strands. Jack was asleep on top of Spencer with Spencer’s arm holding him close.
There was seeing with the eyes and seeing with the heart. Haley was happy if Aaron had found what made him happy. Grabbing the blanket on the back of the couch, Haley covered up Jack and Spencer and shifted a pillow to prop Aaron’s head better. Aaron opened his eyes.
“Shush,” Haley said as she leaned over and kissed Aaron’s forehead and then Jack’s. She brushed a lock of hair of Spencer’s eyes.
“What’s Jack doing out here?” Aaron asked as he eyes looked over the two sleeping forms on the couch.
“I don’t know but there is no getting him away from Spencer, not without waking them both up. Sleep Aaron. I’ll lock down the apartment and set the alarm. Spencer looks comfortable, don’t disturb him.”
Haley shifted the coffee table out of the way and pulled over an ottoman to set Aaron’s legs on. He shifted slightly and relaxed back. He had to be tired because he wasn’t trying to hide or give an excuse.
“You are taking this better than I thought you would be,” Aaron whispered as he finally settled.
“You had to move on. I never thought it would be another man but he makes you happy and Jack loves him. He’s stable; he’s been with the BAU for years. He works the same job and won’t get like I was. It’s the best situation. We’ll talk more in the morning. I’m tired and you were asleep.”
Aaron nodded and closed his eyes; his hand had never left Spencer’s head. Snapping a picture before turning off the light, Haley saved the image. She’d send it to Aaron in the morning.
Happiness was something that she needed to find now. Aaron had moved on and she was happy for him. Aaron wasn’t going to lose his family over this. She would keep his secret from her family and from the FBI. She wasn’t going to rock his life again. He’d had enough of that over the years.