Title: A Coffee Cup Romance
By: Modern Physics
Note: Not all facts if any are true to the show.
Summary: Certain objects bring certain people together. A DVD, a favorite book... but a coffee cup?
A hand ran along the surface of an unknown object. It pricked at the unwelcome sensation of chipped ceramic. It found its way around a familiar handle which was worn near the spot it joined its base. The object, of course, was Spencer Reid's favourite coffee mug. One could argue that it was, however, more than a coffee cup. Well, no… two could argue its rightful owner and a blonde that was making her way through stacks of paperwork. He picked up this priceless artefact, this curious specimen. He was almost afraid to drink out of it now, knowing that he could break it, wondering if the temperature of the coffee being poured into it would somehow damage the mug even more. More often than not, he preferred running the mug through his hands while coffee sat untouched in a Styrofoam cup on his desk. Spencer Reid was a unique individual.
Three weeks ago he sat in the same desk he was sitting in now, reading over a case that now had been resolved, mug filled to the brim with his fancy flavoured coffee. It sat there sending unreadable smoke signals into a hopeless atmosphere of harried workers and unmistakable tension. She walked over and mindlessly dropped a file folder of pictures onto his desk and into the aromatic coffee. He tried to escape but it was too late. It scalded his arm and her leg. Both cried in agony and she dropped the remaining file folders to the floor, joining the spilt coffee in a messy union.
'I am so sorry, Reid. I didn't see that there and I can't believe…,'
'It's okay JJ. Really, it's okay.'
He picked up some napkins he had handy in his desk drawer and attempted to clean up some of the mess. He'd worry about the 3rd degree burns on his arm later, he thought. JJ also picked up some paper towel off of the counter in the break room and frantically began wiping up the coffee and blotting it off of some folders.
'Did it hit you too?'
Reid said as he examined the damp spot near her knee, soaking through her beige dress pants.
'Yeah, it's fine though. You can hardly tell. Matches the shade or something.'
She made a weak attempt to brush the whole thing off.
'No, no its not. Did I burn you?'
'Don't you mean, didn't I burn myself? I DID drop the files onto YOUR desk.'
He laughed to himself at this remark.
'Well, regardless of whose fault it is, I think you should make sure you're not burnt. That was some pretty hot coffee.'
'And how do you suppose we figure that out?'
'Well I could explain to you in a scientific fashion the ways in which we could determine if you were in fact harmed by the descent of a boiling liquid, but since we don't have all day, and I doubt you'd like to hear my methods anyway, I'll suggest the simple route.'
He stopped and struggled to catch his breath. She chuckled and nodded, silently willing him to go on.
'Umm… lift your pant leg up.'
Blurted JJ. Her eyes went wide in surprise. Reid looked flustered by her response.
'Okay, okay. I guess chivalry really is dead.'
She tugged at the cuff of her pants, trying to roll it up as she went but it proved to be more difficult than she had thought. She had just picked these up from the dry cleaners last night and they were rather stiff.
'Here, let me help.'
Before she could utter a cry of protest, proclaiming that she was, in fact, a big girl and didn't need help rolling up her pants to show a doctor her booboo, his hands were on hers and she didn't seem to mind so much anymore.
Inch by inch the beige material receded up her calf, being pushed by two pairs of hands until finally it revealed a patch of angry red skin just above her knee.
Reid looked at the burn and shook his head.
'What's the diagnosis, doc?'
JJ asked playfully.
'Am I gonna make it?'
'Yes, I believe you will. But not without some polysporin or something.'
Reid stared intently at her burn, caring etched onto his features. She was gracious that he did care so much. …maybe a little more than he should. But what did it matter to her? She'd be lying if she said she didn't enjoy the… attention? She pushed all those thoughts out of her head.
'Thanks, Doctor Reid. How much do I owe you?'
JJ smirked as she rolled her pant leg back down. Reid was brandishing the chipped mug in both hands, looking thoughtfully at the floor. He was thinking of something, she could tell. You could always tell when Spencer Reid was thinking about something because he went completely still and silent and looked very intently at a stationary object. This time it was the white flecked tile below his right foot.
'How about another coffee?'
He looked up at her and grinned.
'You know, since you decided to burn yourself with my first cup.'
JJ smirked and punched him playfully in the arm.
'Break's in 5 minutes. Let me go get some ploysporin and I'll meet you back here.'
With that, she turned on her heel and headed for the first aid kit located in an office down the hall. Reid was staring off after her, completely unaware that he was wearing the spot on the handle of his mug thin.
The sun was losing in an ongoing battle with the clouds that had circled around it, every once in a while popping out, seeming victorious before being stunned back into remission. This made for an interesting light show across the walls inside FBI Headquarters in Quantico, Virginia. The week before had been dreadful; relentless rain every night drenching the entire city. At least now things looked like they could take a turn for the better.
Spencer Reid was sitting in his desk mulling a case over and eating a bagel. It was a bit burnt around the edges because he liked them that way, which wouldn't be surprising if you knew him at all. It was late August and this was usually their busiest time. With so many foreign families on vacation there were lots of accidents and before any officers checked it out, the FBI were getting makeshift cases dropped off at their doorstep. It was the end of summer and people got lazy, including the police. Reid couldn't blame them though. He always considered himself a bit lazy too. He never once owned a pet; they were too much work. And besides, with a job like his, when would he have time to care for one? He also spent most of his free time (which wasn't much) sitting at home watching specials on the History channel or popping in an old movie. Yes, he thought, as he threw the remains of his burnt bagel into the trash, I am quite lazy.
After brushing the crumbs off of his freshly pressed pants he stood up and headed into the break-room to get a much-needed cup of coffee. He drank so much of the stuff he figured it'd be easier just to inject it into his veins. He laughed at the thought as he pushed open the creaky door with his shoulder, cradling plates and utensils in his arms.
The room was empty save for a warm coffeepot and a humming refrigerator. Reid made his way over to the cupboard to fetch his prized possession: his coffee cup. No, it wasn't a cheap white stoneware cup he used every day and decided to tack on his name onto. It was a special one he brought in from home. Everything seemed to taste better out of that cup. It was worn; chipped and faded. But this didn't seem to matter to him… not today.
Smiling slightly he reached for the tarnished cupboard handle and pulled it open making it creak quietly. However, the cup wasn't there. Nor was it on any other shelf in any other cupboard in the entire break-room. This sent Reid on a hunt for his apparently ill-fated coffee cup around the office. He pushed his way through the swinging break-room doors and into the main office area. Everyone else, save for a pretty blonde, was on their break. He didn't want to annoy her with a stupid question. He didn't need to seem even more childish than he actually was around her. He weighed the pros and cons in his head though before he finally walked briskly over to her desk. This was, in fact, a matter of life and death to Spencer Reid.
Her desk and area was particularly tidy, every paper was stacked neatly and put in an order only known to its owner. He felt like he was a hurricane bustling into a tidy port. Some things were more important, he thought. Like the fate of his coffee cup.
"JJ, have you seen my…"
"Your coffee cup?"
She replied so fast it caught him off guard.
"…yeah. How did you know?"
She chuckled to herself as she put a stack of papers down and looked up at him.
"There's nothing in this entire office you care enough to ask about its whereabouts.'
That wasn't entirely true, he thought. He recalled asking Morgan last week where JJ was when she was only fifteen minutes late for work.
"Am I that bad?"
Reid asked sheepishly, avoiding her gaze.
"I think so, Spence. The first step is admitting you have a problem though. It's okay.'
She playfully patted him on the back.
"Funny, Jennifer. Really astounding. But in all seriousness, have you seen it around?"
The corners of her mouth curled upward and her eyes seemed to sparkle.
"No, why would I want your chipped mug?"
She spun around in her desk so she didn't have to face him. She was turning red. This was too easy, she thought. He was so gullible.
"That's exactly what I thought but figured I'd ask anyway."
He got up and walked away, not before thanking her and complimenting her on her organizational skills.
She smiled to herself as she saw him pour coffee into a plain white mug out of the break-room cupboard. Me: 1, Reid: 0 she thought.
The day progressed rather slowly after Reid's brief encounter with JJ. He couldn't stop worrying about the cup. No one would steal it. Everyone knew how much he loved it. Morgan maybe, as a joke. But it wasn't even a funny joke, he thought to himself. Little did he know the culprit was sitting across from him, crossing her legs and typing something up on her laptop.
By the time 4:30 rolled around he had given up searching. He decided he must have brought it home accidentally and would find it sitting alone in his dishwasher. While he was waiting for his computer to shut down he threw his bag over his shoulder and checked the time on his Blackberry. Reid was just about to leave for the day when JJ came strolling over to his desk. She sat on the edge, dangerously close to him. However, she didn't seem aware of that at the moment. She was trying to hide something behind her back.
Her voice was serious and casual at the same time.
'I know you were looking for that stupid cup all day and you made me feel bad, so…'
She looked down at the floor, avoiding his gaze.
'Wait… you mean, you took it?'
Reid was confused. Despite having an above normal IQ he didn't have much common sense.
JJ snorted and pushed her hair behind her ear.
'You're a damn good profiler Reid, but you suck at body language.'
She was biting her tongue and staring at the wall opposite them.
If he was any good at body language he would be able to tell that she was undoubtedly flirting with him. But since he wasn't, he continued on.
'What were you doing with MY coffee cup, JJ?'
At this she produced the prized coffee cup from behind her back. It wasn't just a cup anymore though; it was now home to a small flower. Or, several small flowers at that.
"What… what's this?" Reid stammered.
JJ placed the makeshift flower pot down on his desk.
"I know how you're always afraid to drink out of it so I figured you could keep it on your desk like this…"
He was a little disappointed. This was true, however. He stared at the flowers perched on his desk and smiled.
"Thanks. They're… nice."
She returned the smile and walked back over to her desk to clean things up before she left. That's when he noticed a few of the same flowers sitting on her desk.
Reid was indeed lazy. He never thought he'd be able to care for a plant in a million years… but he'd make an effort with this one, he thought as he pushed the coffee cup into a sliver of sunlight that was now shining full force through the blinds.
An angry alarm clock was buzzing on a cluttered bedside table. A red hot sun was trying to force its way into a room that didn't welcome it. A mobile phone was vibrating in circles on a polished wood floor. Why, of all days, did these things have to happen on Spencer Reid's day off?
With a mouth full of foul words he arose from his bed. It was old; undoubtedly the same one he had since he was fifteen. It was outfitted with Star Wars sheets and a pillow in the shape of a moon. He glanced at it before throwing a navy blanket back over his bed and stumbling back out into his apartment. It wasn't big, but it was what he wanted. Small kitchen, average size living room, big bathroom, and a small bedroom. This was all he really needed. The color scheme throughout the apartment was well chosen as well. Burgundy and gold lined the walls while black leather furniture garnished the rooms. A few paintings hung in the halls, but other than that the apartment had an unpolished look about it. It definitely reflected the owner's personality.
The mobile had stopped ringing just as he went to pick it up. Looking at the call display he noticed it was work. Why couldn't they leave him alone for just one day? Lots of people he knew took days off of work here and there. But he couldn't, his job was too demanding. The FBI was always calling on genius Dr. Reid to crack the case, he muttered to himself as he called back.
Sure enough Hotch watched him to come in and look something over. 'Just for a moment,' he added. 'I know this is your day off.' Reid agreed and grumbled as he slammed the phone down on the table in his kitchen. He wasn't even washed or dressed… wait a minute, he thought, what time was it anyway? It was one in the afternoon. He couldn't believe it. He was so worn out from so many sleepless night spent working that he had managed to sleep fourteen hours today. Spencer Reid had never slept in this late in his life. He quickly got a shower, ate a pop tart, and got dressed. In his usual fashion he wore a striped button-up shirt, a black sweater-vest and grey pants, complete with two odd socks. JJ always said he dressed like an old man instead of a 20-something year old and that made him smile. He was just putting on his messenger bag and his glasses when the damn phone rang again. If that's work again, he thought, I'm gonna… but he lost all train of thought when he looked at the caller I.D.
It was JJ.
Hesitantly, he picked up.
'Wake up, sleepyhead.'
He yawned involuntarily.
'It's not like you didn't need the sleep anyway, right?'
'Right,' Reid mumbled. 'Look, if it's about Hotch wanting me to come in right away I had to…'
'No, it's not that. Actually he decided to let you have your day off after all.'
So maybe there is a God, he thought silently to himself.
'Did you crack the case then?'
He asked, sounding amused.
'Nope. He decided to send me over with some things. It should only take a minute. That is, if you don't mind?'
All thought left his mind. For once in his life he couldn't think of something to say.
'No, no I don't mind. No, not at all. Sure. Right.'
His voice was higher than normal, and at this JJ laughed.
And with that she hung up.
Everything was swirling around in his head right now. Work, JJ, a case, JJ, his apartment, work, JJ, his day off, JJ. Work was only a ten minute drive away from here so he decided to rush around and try to tidy up a bit, shoving half eaten bowls of cereal into the garbage, putting boxes of Kraft Dinner back into their rightful places, and sweeping the floors after rearranging the cushions on his couch. He immediately scolded himself. She's not going to care about your apartment, he thought. She's here to discuss a case. Just a case. Nothing else. This more so than anything else, saddened him. Regardless of what he just said to convince him that this was a casual visit, he couldn't help but look in the mirror and fix his hair, glasses, and straighten his tie.
A few minutes later the doorbell rang. It was kind of loud and really startling, which caused Reid to stumble off of the arm of his chair onto the floor. He quickly brushed himself off and answered the door. There she stood, holding three separate manila folders stuffed with facts, pictures, and police reports. In his head, however, he envisioned her carrying take-out and a movie. He shook his head to clear this thought.
She smirked and tried to look around his lanky frame into his apartment.
She shuffled the folders around in her arms.
'Umm, are you gonna let me in or do you want to discuss the case out here in the hallway? I mean I'd have no problem but I'm pretty sure it'd be a breach of the oath of secrecy we took when we joined the FBI…'
Reid laughed and ushered her in.
'Yeah, sorry, just… I'm still kind of tired. And don't mind the mess.'
He led her into the living room and took a seat opposite her, the leather squeaking with every move.
He looked at her for a fraction of a second longer than he should have. He thought she noticed this too.
'Want some, uh, coffee or something?'
Reid spluttered, apparently very flustered. JJ, however, managed to keep her cool, which right now he was very envious of.
'Yeah, sure. That'd be great actually.'
He stood up awkwardly and headed into the kitchen, worrying that she knew how he felt about her. This was a professional relationship… that's all. Why should he convince himself otherwise?
As he walked over to the cupboard to get the coffee pot he admired the flowers which were now in full bloom by his sink. After remarks made by Morgan and Garcia, he decided to relocate the flowers JJ had given him. He smiled as he did every time he passed by them.
Apparently still in a daze, he managed to drop the opened canister of coffee all over the floor.
Swear words littered the kitchen as he looked around for a broom, trying unsuccessfully to keep quiet.
'Its okay, I've got it under…'
He started to shout to a JJ that apparently wasn't in the living room anymore.
She was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, a mischievous look in her eyes.
'Sorry to startle you. I just…'
But before he could explain himself fully, her lips were on his and he dropped the empty canister to the floor.
Every nerve ending in his brain was firing off. He wasn't aware of anything except for her face only mere inches, no, centimetres, away from his. He couldn't react; he simply stood there letting her kiss him with an intensity that matched her personality. It was mind blowing, he thought. Yes, that's exactly what it was. Suddenly, and without warning, she reached for his collar and pulled him closer. Dangerously closer. The few centimetres of distance that was between them had vanished and Reid was still in utter shock. He wanted to kiss back and oh he wanted to do so much more but for some reason couldn't. It's not like he planned to act this way. In fact he had many dreams like this… and he definitely was not just a bystander in his dreams. He was usually the instigator, not JJ. He didn't think she had any feelings whatsoever for him, but apparently he was wrong, which was very unusual since he was Spencer Reid.
She reached for his face, pulling it impossibly closer to hers, kissing him with such intensity he thought that if she wasn't holding him so tight he'd surely fall down. He still couldn't process this scene completely. She came over to discuss the case, right? Or was this some joke that she was in on with Morgan? Some cruel joke… no. She wouldn't go this far. He just had to accept the fact that she felt the same way about him as he did about her.
She stood up on her tiptoes and whispered something in his ear making the hair on the back of his neck stand up.
'Are you sure you're really awake? It doesn't seem like it.'
That was all he needed. Some indication that this was real, this wasn't a daydream. JJ really was standing in his kitchen kissing him, ignoring work and ignoring the fact that they worked together.
For once in his life Reid abandoned all logic as he placed his hands on either side of her face, lifting it upwards, trying to match the intensity of his kisses to hers. He thought, however, that it would be impossible.
Out of the corner of his eye he could see her smirk, obviously satisfied that he was responding now. Suddenly she flung her arms around his waist and pushed him closer towards her. This caught him off guard as she knew it would. 'You have no idea,' she breathed. 'No idea.'
'Um, actually I think I do,' he said, his hands still framing either side of her face.
'I like you and you like me. Obviously there's gotta be something chemical involved.'
She loved him and he loved her. This was the most obvious statement since the world was discovered to be round.
'Exactly,' she hissed, standing up on her tiptoes trying to reach him. 'That's exactly what I was thinking.'
'And you don't think this is, weird, you know?'
Reid managed to get out between sloppy kisses.
'What? Me standing in your kitchen kissing you or the fact that we kind of more than like each other?'
JJ asked sceptically as she wrapped her arms tighter around his waist.
'Well, both when you put it that way. But… I don't even care.'
'Good,' she breathed. 'That's the answer I was looking for.'
With that she returned to her full intensity, as did he. Neither of them were thinking of anything except for the other and how exceptionally right this felt.
She reached for his tie and led him out of his kitchen back into the living room. He was reminded of Lila and their whirlwind romance last year... but this was different. Not just a chemical relationship, he thought. This was the real deal. This was everything. And with that he pushed her up against the hallway wall, trying to get closer to her than physically possible, taking her face in his hands again.
'This isn't just a… one time thing, is it?'
'Because then that wouldn't be fair, would it?'
She smirked, the mischievous look returning.
'Fair… you think I'm fair?'
'Well no, not really. But I do think you're insanely infatuated with me… enough to make this more than a one time occurrence, don't you think?'
'Then why are you asking the question if you know the answer?'
He thought about that for a moment.
'Because that, unfortunately, is my job.'
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