Title: Family Dinner
Pairing: Reid/JJ & some Morgan/Garcia
Warnings: I wrote this story a long time ago…before the season finale of episode 1 and just haven't ever posted it here. I thought it seemed kind of in the spirit of holiday gatherings, so I thought I would share it, even though it is slightly OOC and out of date. I hope you enjoy!
Legal shit: I own nothing but my two very spoiled dogs, so unless you want to keep them in the life they've become accustomed to, don't sue me.
Summary: Story about the entire BAU team from the first season, was written prior to anything happening to Elle. Slightly OOC and out of date, but a good holiday peice I thought!
It was Friday, and the B.A.U. had been slow moving all week. They had consulted separately on several cases, but nothing worthy of the whole team, and everyone seemed anxious for the weekend, and whatever excitement Monday might bring. Though they were glad for the lull in criminal activity, they were also very bored. Morgan was complaining out loud that he knew they would get a call Saturday night as soon as he started to enjoy himself. Dr. Spencer Reid shrugged in response; it didn't matter much to him. On weekends when the team didn't have a case, Spencer sat in his house and read, played piano to himself, or cooked elaborate meals that eventually went to waste since he always ate alone.
Spencer liked to think that his house would surprise his teammates. They had all been amazed that he drove a very expensive and fast car. One he had won as part of a numbers contest on public radio, and otherwise would never have indulged in on his own, but one that he enjoyed none the less. His house was spacious, well decorated, and very lived in. He liked to think that if he ever invited his team over for a cheerful family style dinner they would all be amazed by how wonderful of a host he was, how delicious the food was, and how comfortable he could be in his skin.
Of course, he realized that they weren't his friends, they were his co-workers, and even if he did by some miracle have the courage to invite them all over, they would probably all find excuses not to come. Hotch had a family, Jason was anti-social, Morgan would probably have a hot date, Elle would think he was too weird, J.J. had to hate him after the football fiasco, and though Garcia would come because she was nice, she scared him more than he cared to admit. Still, they were the closest things to friends he had, and he connected with them more than he ever had with other people, so what was the harm of imagining them as more than coworkers?
In his daydream, Morgan was jealous of his television, which Spencer only ever watched the news on. Hotch and Haley were jealous of his yard, Jason was holding the baby while Elle cooed, they looked like a happy little family. He imagined Garcia and Morgan together…he always had. And then there was J.J. He imagined serving wine to J.J. and explaining what the name told them about its origin. In his dream he imagined himself telling her about the time he was taking a nap in a vineyard and a very angry Italian man chased him off his property with a hoe. He imagined she would laugh and maybe even touch his arm. He couldn't help but smile at the thought of her touching him.
Gideon stood by his desk watching him for a minute before deciding to interrupt his daydream. After all, he may have been figuring out a way to solve world hunger. "So, how are you spending this weekend Spencer?" he asked as he finally approached. "Oh," said Spencer, "I haven't given it much thought. I will probably just clean my house and catch up on some light reading, you?" Gideon paused for a moment to consider what Reid had just said. He wondered if Reid was lying to him on purpose, or if he just couldn't think of anything to say. He knew Spencer's house would be immaculate, always, and he knew that reading was something Spencer never needed to catch up on. More over, he knew that there was nothing Spencer Reid did that didn't involve much thought. He had watched him look from team member to team member pausing for only a moment as if reflecting on his lack of relationship with each. Spencer needed to know that his teammates were his peers, though physically older and intellectually younger. He decided it was time he showed Spencer that he had friends.
"I was thinking," he said loud enough for Morgan, Elle and J.J. who was hovering at Elle's desk to hear, "that we should maybe get the team together outside of the office." "Really?" Elle asked sincerely shocked by the suggestion. "Yes," he replied, "Really. It seems to me that the more we all get to know each other the more effective we can be at our work. Since Elle has joined the team, we have all been meshing better. I think, we should focus on improving this quality by getting to know each other on more than a professional level." "I agree," J.J. quickly added, always eager to be the social butterfly.
Spencer thought for a moment. This was no coincidence. He had known Gideon was watching him earlier, but chose not to point it out, because Gideon always had a purpose for his actions. Gideon must have seen him glancing around at his teammates. Sometimes, he worried Gideon could read his mind, and decided that just to be safe, he better spit out what he was thinking before Gideon called him on it. "Well," he managed to push out, "I was going to cook on Saturday, I could have everyone over to my house if you wanted, I mean, unless you had other plans or something…" he would have kept rambling except Morgan cut him off. "You have a house?" "Um, yes, I do." "You cook?" Elle asked. "Again, yes." "Wow," was all J.J. said, and it appeared her surprised sentiment was shared with everyone save Gideon who was beaming at him. "Shall I invite Hotch and Garcia then?" J.J. asked breaking the silence. "Yes," Spencer managed.
"What would you like us to bring?" Gideon asked thoughtfully. "I can take care of it. I will figure it out. It will be ok." Spencer began to panic. He hadn't thought this through. What could he cook that would impress them, what would he wear, he should have painted his downstairs bathroom a darker shade of blue, would the market he frequented have the right chicken cuts? "Ask Garcia to print up directions for everyone, and choose a time." Gideon assured him those were the only things he needed to worry about. "Right."
An hour later Hotch approached him decorative invitation in hand. "Should I bring my family, or no?" "Of course they are welcome," Spencer thought, "but I don't have anything appropriate for his age group." Hotch laughed, "Trust me, we can provide it. Having a baby means being able to transport your whole world in your S.U.V. Haley will be thrilled. What can we bring?" "Um, nothing. Well, I mean, bring your family." Hotch smiled, and decided pressing the point would only frazzle the young doctor further, so he made a mental note to have Haley pick up some wine. Later Morgan stopped by Reid's desk. "Ya know, I have a hot young honey on the line for Saturday night, and it is almost sad to me that I am more anxious to see your pad and taste your cooking then to get a little taste of her." Reid just shot him a look, and Morgan laughed while he walked back to his desk making a mental note to bring beer since Reid would not be likely to have any.
Spencer was busy considering his menu in his head as he walked to the elevator so he didn't see Garcia walking towards him. The two collided and both ended up on the floor. "Ouch," Garcia moaned, and Spencer quickly pulled himself off of her. "I am so sorry. I am so…" "That will teach me to walk with my mind on my blackberry," she joked. "Hey what should I bring tomorrow? Need me to come over early and help cook or anything?" "No. I will be fine, and you don't need to bring anything. You are going to come then?" he asked. "Yeah! Like I would miss an opportunity to see you in your natural environment? So excited about it! See you then Reid," and she coolly walked away, laughing to herself about the idea of Dr. Spencer Reid drunk on the wine she planned to bring.
Why did everyone keep asking what to bring? He had been to many dinners at colleagues homes when working on his Ph.D.'s and he and Gideon had shared several dinners at the office when he first started with the B.A.U. and he had never thought to ask if he should bring anything. Was there some code he was unaware of? 'This line of thought is not conducive; it only proves my lack of social understanding. This is a terrible, terrible idea.' Spencer thought to himself as he headed to his car.
At the market near his house Spencer ordered enough chicken to feed an army, unsure how much each person would eat, and the butcher who was always friendly couldn't help but ask. "Entertaining, doc?" "Yes, colleagues of mine from work." "Aw, the F.B.I. guys. Buy lots of wine. You official types seem to loosen up after a few glasses." Spencer considered this, and decided to buy twice as much wine as he had originally planned just to be on the safe side. He picked up all of the ingredients he needed, added another bottle of wine to the cart, decided to get a case of beer for Morgan, and was on his way home.
Once the groceries were put away, Spencer stood in his doorway trying to see his house as if for the first time. He rushed to straighten a book on a shelf, adjust the blinds so they were all perfectly in line, hid his mail basket. Spencer walked the hall and made sure there were plenty of clean linens in the bathroom in case of an accident, and made a note to search the house for anything Hotch's baby could put in his mouth. He walked upstairs and looked from his bedroom area to his office space. For once he wished there were doors. He had always relished in the open area, but now wished he could hide everything embarrassing in his room and lock the door. For a moment he considered calling everyone to cancel, but knew that Gideon would be disappointed, and that he could not handle.
Spencer fed his fish, and settled into his armchair to watch CNN. He walked through the steps for the cooking he would do the next day, twice, and walked the house again to make sure nothing was out of place. He decided he better wash his china, not that it wasn't clean, but because it might not shine. Then he realized he would have to find something to be a centerpiece, J.J. would appreciate that, and decided he would have to go buy flowers in the morning. Maybe, he would send them home with one of the women, knowing they would enjoy them more than he would. He suddenly feared someone might ask him to play piano and he decided he better brush up. He played beautifully, but worried he would stumble over a note and none of them would be impressed. He rehearsed a flawless concerto and worked out what he would say should they ask about his experience, where he learned, why he had never told them.
In the mirror while he brushed his teeth Spencer went over things to talk about. Ran conversations with each member of the team, his invited guests, and considered safe topics for each. Though he knew Gideon hadn't meant for them to talk about work, he knew they would, and he was glad with the realization that Haley being there might prevent too much of that talk. He knew the women would all socialize well, but what would he talk about with Morgan, Hotch and Gideon? The only thing they all had in common was knowing the worst of humanity, and that certainly wasn't appropriate dinner conversation. He decided to look online at men's magazines to find topics that might be appealing to Morgan and Hotch, knowing that Gideon wouldn't make him feel bad about anything they talked about.
Spencer lay in bed, sleepless. He was used to little or no sleep, tossing and turning to chase away bad dreams. Tonight, however, he lay perfectly still thinking about everything that could go wrong the next day. Eventually he drifted off to sleep and managed to dream about how well things would go. He imagined things that would come out of it: Morgan coming over to watch some sport on his TV and drinking beer with him, Hotch and Haley insisting he come to their son's little league games, Elle and Garcia laughing at his jokes instead of at him, Gideon being proud, and J.J….J.J. would decide he was everything she could ever have wanted in a man. She would fall in love with him and beg him to forsake all others.
Spencer's alarm awoke him at the most inopportune time, and he silently cursed morning. He got up, showered, decided to dress comfortably to cook, and headed downstairs to make coffee and started putting his plan into action. Soon Spencer was at a flower shop he passed everyday but had never had a reason to enter. He looked around at all the flowers and was overwhelmed. He decided to ask a young sales woman to help him. He told her he was hosting a professional dinner and needed flowers for the center of his table that would not obstruct anyone's view of each other, but might serve as a good conversation piece. He explained that his dining room was brown, and he planned on using red napkins. She was obviously amused by his details and she suggested orchids in a short glass bowl, perhaps floating on water. He agreed, paid and headed home satisfied with her arrangement.
Spencer set the table with his china, 9 seats, and left one space empty for the baby. His dining room table would comfortably seat 12, and he had never been sure why it was so appealing to him until now. Usually he sat alone at the head of the table and looked out at the emptiness. His dining room actually looked wonderful when used as it should be. He hoped Hotch would bring whatever the child would need to sit safely in a chair, and whatever utensils were appropriate. He had already resolved to puree some vegetables and maybe some chicken for the child, supposing it would be rude to assume they would bring it dinner. The flowers looked perfect in the center of the table, and he smiled when he realized at least J.J. would say so.
In the kitchen, he began to work his way backwards, starting with dessert and saving the salad for last so it would be fresh. The chicken was roasting, and the vegetables were chopped and ready to be steamed with fresh herbs. The dough for his rolls was rising, and his cheesecakes were cooling. He realized he was at a stopping point, checked the time, and seeing he had just under an hour before his guests started to arrive early, as he knew they all would, he decided to shower and get dressed. He decided on a black striped shirt and tan pants, and stopped in front of the mirror one last time before returning downstairs to give himself a pep talk. 'You can do this Spencer. This is going to be good.'
Once again, Spencer paced his entire house, attempting to assure the safety of Hotch's child, and discard anything that he didn't want to explain. He checked that his DVD's were all in alphabetical order, as well as his CD's, even though he knew they were, and put the sheet music he had used the night before away in his piano bench. He wouldn't need it, and would be embarrassed to use it if he did have to play for them tonight. He hoped his memory wouldn't fail him, as it did sometimes when he caught J.J. looking at him.
Checking his watch, he decided it was time to put the bread in the oven, and to top the cheesecakes. Methodically he rolled the dough and placed each set of three in a muffin pan. He checked the chicken, and added the vegetables to the steamer. He checked on the rice, and pulled the fruit mash he had prepared for the cheesecake out of the fridge. He worked quickly and quietly, humming along to Vivaldi playing softly through his entire house. He was busy working in the kitchen when he heard his doorbell ring, and his heart nearly jumped out of his throat in anticipation.
'Breathe.' Spencer reminded himself as he headed for the door. The video display showed J.J. waiting on the other side of his door. 'Why her? Why is she the one who comes first, how could this happen, I can't be alone with her.' She rang the bell again. Spencer took a deep breath and opened the door. When J.J. turned around, she instantly smiled. "Hi," Spencer squeaked. J.J. giggled and replied, "Well hello. Aren't you just deliciously domesticated?" It was at that moment Spencer realized he was still wearing an apron that was no doubt covered with flour. "The rolls…The ROLLS!" Spencer remembered and turned to run for the kitchen. "Thanks, I'll come in," J.J. mused and she shut the door behind her.
J.J. stood by the door for a moment, surprised. His house was much bigger and much nicer than she expected. His house was, surprising. She wandered around the corner and stumbled upon the dining room. The table was set with beautiful white china, on a brown table cloth with red napkins and the best looking floating orchid arrangement she had ever seen. J.J. ran her finger along the table cloth to confirm that it was silk, and laughed out loud at the lack of setting in one corner and assumed Spencer had no idea what arrangements to make for the baby.
When he walked into the dining room she was smiling and gently rubbing the table cloth. She was beautiful, and she looked pleased. He had removed his apron, and turned off the oven. She looked up and their eyes met. "Spenc, this is beautiful." "I am glad you approve, I wasn't sure if the table cloth, for the baby…" "Spenc, it's beautiful. You are…surprising." Spencer smiled a genuine smile that she had only seen a handful of times in the two years they had worked together.
Caught in the moment Spencer realized she was smiling at him, and that he had no idea how long he had been staring at her. "Um, can I get you a drink? I have merlot and white zinfandel, and Corona, and water and Pepsi and…" "White Zin would be great. Is there anything I can do to help you?" Spencer walked into the kitchen through the swinging doors and J.J. followed. "Wow, this all looks amazing, and smells wonderful. Where did you learn to cook?" "Um, my aunt. My family has always kind of looked at me like I am a freak of nature they didn't ask for and couldn't explain. My Aunt Gerri always wanted me to do 'normal' things, but I was more comfortable doing equations at her kitchen table than playing baseball with my cousins. So, I learned to cook among other things." "Well, I can't wait to see what other things," J.J. smiled at Spencer's blush while he handed her a glass of wine just as the doorbell rang.
As the team arrived, each was taken with Spencer's house. Each was offered, and accepted a drink, and most handed him either a bottle or two of wine, or in Morgan's case a box of beer, and each complimented Spencer on the way the dining room looked. Haley and Hotch arrived with their baby last. Spencer was beginning to worry they weren't coming. Garcia, Elle and J.J. immediately busied themselves with Haley and the baby, and Aaron, Derek, and Jason were left to check out Spencer's backyard and big screen while enjoying their beers. Spencer took in the view from the dining room of all of his colleagues. All of them were smiling and in happy conversation, and even in his own home, Spencer found himself looking in from the outside.
He stepped into the living room and said loud enough for everyone to hear, "Dinner is served." The two crowds separated by gender all turned and headed into the dining room where they found what looked like a feast laid out on the table. "Wow," Haley commented. "No wonder Aaron never comes home from work." They all laughed and were seated. Haley slid the baby's child seat into the empty chair and pulled a plastic dish set out of a bag. Spencer quickly brought her the pureed food he had prepared and she looked at him in awe. "I wasn't sure. I didn't use many spices, so it may be bland. It is carrots, and chicken." "Wow, you're gonna spoil my son too." Aaron smiled at Spencer and said "Thanks."
The team enjoyed easy conversation including funny stories from each of their pasts. Spencer proved to be an incredibly attentive host, refilling glasses and replacing beers before they were even empty, and offering seconds and thirds of each course. Everyone seemed impressed with the food; even Spencer made a mental note that it was more than satisfactory. Morgan was telling a funny story about a woman he had met who turned out to be a F.B.I. groupie. Everyone laughed except Spencer, he didn't understand the humor. After everyone was done eating, Spencer suggested that they head to the sitting room which doubled as his library for dessert and coffee.
J.J. and Garcia insisted on helping clear the food into the kitchen, and Spencer accepted after he led everyone else into the sitting room. Both women complimented him over and over about the food, while they sat it in the kitchen and Spencer dished out cheesecake and fresh fruit on to plates and put coffee, several flavored creams and sugar on a tray. The girls helped him bring all of it to the sitting room and passed it out to everyone. Again, Spencer handed Haley a bowl of cheesecake for the baby. Everyone was seated in a large circle through the room, and all of them seemed to be focusing on different things. Jason commented on the painting over the mantel, Morgan and Elle joked about all of the books that lined 3 of the walls, Haley was explaining to Aaron that this was almost the exact molding she wanted in their bathroom, and Garcia and J.J. started to whisper about the piano.
"Do you play Spencer?" "Um, it's mostly decorative." "No it isn't. Please play us something!" Spencer was more nervous than he expected to be and he headed to the piano shaking slightly which everyone noticed except the baby, who was happily chewing on his father's tie. Spencer played the concerto he had practiced the night before and a thousand nights before that perfectly. The entire team sat in awe, though none of them but Haley were particularly surprised that a man like Spencer Reid would have so many hidden talents.
Easy conversation continued, Spencer explained that his aunt had been a piano teacher, and everyone was content to not prod. Spencer headed to the kitchen to refill several drinks, the wine and beer truly was serving him well as a social lubricant. He wondered what he would do with all of the left over alcohol. He never drank, and had in truth held the same glass of wine all night, not that anyone noticed, and yet his kitchen now seemed stocked enough with alcohol to provide for a very rowdy F.B.I. Christmas party. While in the kitchen Haley walked in and asked if there was somewhere she could lay the baby down. He went upstairs in search of extra blankets and was surprised to find J.J. behind him when he turned from the hall closet.
"Sorry, I wasn't trying to be nosey; I just thought I might be able to get a tour of the rest of your house." "Oh, um, sure. There isn't much more to see. Up here is just my room, office and bathroom. Help yourself." J.J. smiled and walked down the short hallway which would open into the large upstairs room. Spencer ran the blanket down to Haley and then ran back upstairs to make sure J.J. wouldn't find anything horribly embarrassing. He found her looking over the half wall down onto the sitting room where everyone was sitting and talking.
He didn't say anything, but she could sense him and commented, "You really are surprising Spenc," she turned to face him, "Dinner was great, the music impressive, your house is…amazing. What else should I know about you? Any other hidden talents?" Spencer blushed, taken off guard by the sex oozing from her voice. 'What would Morgan say?' he wondered. "Not that I can reveal without higher security clearance," he joked. J.J. giggled, and walked by him towards his bedroom area. "So, did your aunt decorate too?"
Spencer laughed. "No, unfortunately I have to take credit for this. I just tried to pick art I thought seemed, conversational, and furniture that seemed measurement appropriate." J.J. laughed out loud this time. "Well, I suppose even the analytical mind gets lucky sometimes. I am very jealous of your house. I thought about buying, it's such a big commitment, it seems so…all grown up. I don't suppose that has ever been a problem for you though, has it?" "J.J. you are a successful, intelligent, beautiful woman with a promising career and a bright future. What is commitment if not acceptance of our own position in life?" J.J. was taken aback first by his compliments, then by his point. She gave him a slight smile and walked passed him and said, "So, you think I am beautiful, huh?" as she ran her hand across his arm. Spencer couldn't help but smile and made a mental note to himself that regardless of any other reviews; tonight had been a success if J.J. was happy. He took a moment and watched her join the rest of the team in the sitting room from the safety of upstairs.
***Next part of Family Dinner.
- Criminal Minds - home page
- New stories
- Other pairings
- Gen stories