A/N: Gosh, you guys! (beams) You have no idea how loved you've made the two former pieces of this trilogy feel. You've boosted my inspiration and made my love for writing 'CM'-fics rise to a level I can't even describe. So THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart! (grins from ear to ear and hugs again)
As for this part…
A BRIEF ADDITIONAL SUMMARY: Three years have passed, and Spencer and Derek are starting the live of a couple. The weight of Spencer's past is just beginning to shift when the past comes flooding right back in. Will the couple survive this one more test and keep their family together?
WARNINGS: SLASH, some language, mild… amour…. And hey, that's it! (grins)
DISCLAIMER: (sighs, nearly sobs) No matter how hard I keep wishing and hoping, I doubt they'll ever call me and ask me to become one of the creators of 'CM'. So, I still own nothing but my lovely dreams. (pouts)
Awkay, because I have a feeling that you'd like to get going already… Let's rock! (takes a deep breath) I truly hope you'll enjoy the ride!
Sweet Life of Mine
CHAPTER 1 – My Life After You
/ For reasons Spencer Reid still couldn't quite figure out Penelope Garcia wanted to arrange a huge party for Jayson and Abigail when they hit the grand age of six months. At first he tried to decline politely – after all he'd never been a party-person – but when he noticed how excited Joey seemed about the whole idea he just didn't have the heart to trash her joy.
Their family had been through a hell. Perhaps they deserved this relief.
The party turned out to be a much better idea than he'd known to expect. After the rollercoaster of the past months with raising baby-twins and still mourning Joey it felt good to have other adults aside Derek Morgan near him. The entire team joined in, bringing a mountain of gifts. And the twins enjoyed the attention, clearly having taken after Shawn on that field. Abigail giggled loudly whenever anyone did anything even remotely amusing in her sight, and succeeded in wrapping absolutely everyone around her little finger. And this time Jayson didn't puke on Aaron Hotchner when the man dared to hold him for the first time after their quite disastrous first meeting.
It wasn't until Penelope appeared to the kitchen when Spencer was taking a glass of water and he saw the look on her face he realized what day it was. His heart made a painful jump, and he grit his teeth tightly.
"I know… it's been a year, sweetie. Which is why I brought you something. Or actually it's for the twins, but…" Finally managing to pause her rambling Penelope pulled in a deep breath before offering something towards him. A scrapbook. "I… tried to find as many pictures as I could. He always hated cameras as much as you do, so it wasn't easy, but…" She trailed off, as though not really knowing what to say.
Spencer's hands shook as he opened the book. The flood of emotions that washed over him was so overwhelming that for a moment he was sure his knees wouldn't support his weight.
As it turned out Penelope had been belittling her accomplishment, for the thick book was full of pictures. Some of them he hadn't even known of. There were pictures of him and Shawn together – including one precious snapshot from the time when they'd just been starting as couple, where he was sleeping in the older man's arms on Penelope's couch. Spencer remembered that day well. It was only a couple of days before Christmas when Penelope had invited them for a visit. As it turned out the day had stretched so late that they hadn't wanted to drive back the same day, especially with the snowstorm that was picking up. Penelope must've taken the picture without them noticing. Another picture that nearly made his heart burst was from Joey's second birthday. Shawn and he hadn't wanted a traditional birthday-snapshot, so they'd allowed a very eager Penelope to take care of the arrangements. In the end the woman had dragged them outside when there was tons of snow and inhumanly cold, and taken them to one of the most beautiful places Spencer had ever seen. There was a campfire in the middle of a forest-opening, where snow was falling softly. The sight was exactly like inside one of those glass-made snowballs Spencer had always adored for some reason. That night their family of three sat in the freezing weather for almost half an hour – and still they all smiled in the picture.
So many memories that'd never fade…
Spencer focused on breathing although it felt ridiculously hard. And slowly yet surely the storm inside him began to change.
He didn't think he'd ever stop missing Shawn, but these pictures… With them a part of his husband would always be there with him, and their children; he felt Shawn in every single one of those photos. This was the closest to each other they'd get, and that was something he'd have to live with. He'd have to live, because he was sure that was what Shawn would've wanted. As it was he had to live for both of them, to create memories for both their worth and still cherish the precious soul he'd lost. He loved Shawn enough to do that. And he owed them both that he listened to his heart.
"Sweetie, you're shaking." Penelope's voice was soft and full of concern. "Are you okay?"
Spencer's eyes felt moist but he didn't think there were any tears in them as he looked at Penelope. He was dimly aware that there was a smile on his face. "Thank you", was all he managed to squeeze through his throat.
Penelope responded with smiling despite the tears in her eyes and gave him a huge, nearly crushing hug. "'Sorry", she half-chuckled, half-sobbed. "These baby-parties always get me emotional."
Spencer managed to chuckle a little.
They both jumped slightly when Derek's voice startled them. "What's… going on here?"
Spencer was relieved Penelope chose to speak so he didn't have to, wiping her eyes. "I… just gave the boywonder here a little present." She took a breath. "I've gotta go and fix my mascara. You two, play nice."
The two of them barely noticed her leaving, because their minds were completely elsewhere. Eventually Derek broke the silence. "What's going on?"
Miraculously managing to gather himself Spencer lifted his gaze to meet the other man's eyes. He licked his lips, falling to a nervous habit he'd thought was behind him. "I… know I've kept you hanging, and I hate myself for that. But, I just… I'm still trying to figure out what to do, how I feel and what I want. And… And it'd be unfair to…" With that he trailed off, because the look in Derek's eyes wiped absolutely everything else away. And from that moment on he no longer had any questions.
Spencer's buzzing head registered that his heart was beating far faster than any doctor would've considered healthy, and the heat on his cheeks must've been humiliatingly visible. But at the moment he just couldn't bring himself to care. Because just then Derek's lips met his, and he registered nothing else.
(None of them noticed how Penelope stopped by the doorway and grinned radiantly when seeing them. As fast as she'd showed up she left, but not without stealing a snapshot of the kissing couple with her cell phone's camera.)
Since that night Derek never slept in the house's guest room again. /
Spencer opened his eyes. It was one of the most simple functions of a human body, yet he had to blink twice with surprise. Something he couldn't quite name shifted in his stomach, and his eyes came close to watering.
Tonight, it seemed, he'd reached a new milestone. It was the first time he hadn't had a single dream of Shawn. And he had no idea how to feel about it.
It was like he'd reached the final phase of letting go, of moving on.
He jumped a little and unleashed a tiny, rather embarrassing sound when the body lay next to his moved and a strong dark arm wrapped around him. "'Morning", a sleepy, extremely familiar voice murmured in near-whisper.
Spencer couldn't resist the temptation to smile as he turned so that he could see Derek's face. "'Morning", he responded, and couldn't keep himself from wincing as mild ache shot through him when he moved the wrong way.
Derek grinned toothily. "So you're still feeling last night, huh?"
Spencer's eyes narrowed, but the glare in them was only half-hearted. "I'm not letting you do that to me in two months." He poked the dark-skinned man's forehead gently with one finger. "And if you don't wipe off that smirk, you'll spend the next couple of weeks on a couch."
Derek dared to smirk while stealing a chaste kiss from him. The man's hand brushed his once again long-grown hair stunningly gently, making his whole body respond with appreciation. "Tough words from someone who'll be walking with a limp all day."
Spencer opened his mouth, but his comeback was interrupted when there was a small, chaste knock before the room's door opened. In a moment the twins jumped into the bed. Spencer's heart shifted as he looked at them, momentarily sinking into his thoughts.
The twins had his hair and a lot of his facial features, but their eyes and about a million other things were deffinitely from Shawn. They looked so much like their other parent that sometimes it was almost hard to watch. He didn't dare to even think how Derek felt when looking at them and seeing his late husband in their eyes.
Fortunately Spencer's dangerous thoughts became halted soon, for the twins were talking so that it was hard to stay on track where one sentence ended and other began.
"Pa-Derek, stupid Jay keeps breaking my toys!" Abigail accused with a pout that looked heartwarmingly adorable on her pretty face.
Jayson huffed, folding his arms. "I 'ust wanna see how they work, daddy. It's not my fault they b'eak down when I look inside."
Abigail made a insulted noise, glaring at her twin. "Break your own toys."
Jayson shrugged. "They'e not inte'estin'", the boy defended himself with such sincerity that it almost made the adults laugh.
Spencer couldn't help smiling a bit while interrupting the argument. Sometimes he wasn't sure if it was a blessing or a curse that all his three children seemed to have inherited his IQ and memory. "Stop it, both of you. Jay, stop breaking your sister's toys – we'll go and buy you something you find interesting when Derek and I have woken up a little." He gave his nearly crying younger daughter a look of sympathy. "I'll see what I can do about your toys later, 'k?" Over time past year or two – since Jayson became old and curious enough to start dismantling things while trying to figure out how they worked – he'd become quite an expert on fixing toys.
Abigail nodded, valiantly controlling herself. "'K, daddy."
It was around then Joey appeared to the room's doorway. She gave her younger siblings a displeased look. "I should've known you'd run off here!" She gave the two adults a apologetic grin. "'Sorry. It's impossible to keep an eye on those two."
Spencer blinked once, then smiled, yet again surprised by how much the girl had grown up since Shawn's death. Too much, almost. "It's okay, Jo." He gave the three children a look. "You know… It's Saturday, and since Derek and I both have a day off we could have something special for breakfast. How does waffles sound?"
The twins gave nearly ear-splitting exclaims of joy while Joey's eyes shone with delight.
Stiffling a yawn Spencer went on. "Why don't you three go and gather the ingredients? I'll be right downstairs."
The children disappeared in a flash. As soon as they'd left Derek planted a kiss to the most sensitive spot on his neck, making him shiver. "Have I ever told you that you're a fantastic dad?" the older man purred.
Spencer shrugged, feeling heat on his cheeks. "I'm trying the best I can." He groaned when feeling Derek's eager hands wandering around his half-bare body. How the heck the man knew every single one of his sensitive spots was beyond him. He slapped the man's hand away although it was the last thing he wanted to do. "Don't even think about it this soon after last night, Morgan. Besides we have to feed the kids before they tear each other apart."
"Tease", Derek accused in a very annoyed, almost sulking tone while he climbed out of the bed and walked the best as he could to where the rest of his clothes had formed a pile in one corner. Even after such a long time Spencer blushed when feeling Derek's hungry eyes examining and memorising every little detail of his half-naked body while he bent down.
After getting dressed Spencer gave in under the spur of the moment and made his way to Derek, giving the man a kiss that left absolutely nothing to be questioned. Derek made a low sound in the back of his throat and licked the brunet's lips briefly once the kiss ended. They both smiled while Spencer left the room to head for bathroom, rolling his eyes when Derek's hand brushed his behind.
Spencer must've been in the shower for less than four minutes, letting the nearly ice-cold water wash over him, when he heard the room's door open. He didn't bother opening his eyes because he recognized the steps approaching the shower better than well. In a moment the water's coldness became forgotten when warm arms wrapped around him and almost hot, demanding lips seemed to be everywhere on his naked skin.
"Are you still sure you want to make me wait?" Derek's husky voice asked in a whisper, the warm breath tickling his ear.
The kids could wait for another fifteen minutes, Spencer's rapidly heating up body decided.
Seventeen minutes later a clearly flushfaced Spencer was just knotting the rope of his dressing gown while walking down the stairs with Derek behind him when the doorbell chimed, barely loudly enough to be heard through the noises coming from the kitchen.
Spencer blinked once and glanced towards the nearest clock. It was only eight thirty. Who could it be so early?
"Are we expecting someone?" Derek inquired.
Spencer frowned, shaking his head. "I don't think so."
Curious, Spencer walked to the door with Derek following only a step behind, then opened the door – and froze. All his breath got caught in his throat, and the color that'd been on his face disappeared in a blink.
Behind the door stood a approximately fifty-eight years old woman with clearly dyed ginger red hair and nearly black eyes that appeared exhausted. Right next to her but pointedly not touching her stood a man of the same age with rapidly graying black hair and bluish-gray eyes. Judging by their clothing they were wealthy, but their postures spoke loudly of insecurity and nervousness. They both eyed Derek warily, almost with distaste; clearly they'd expected Spencer to be alone, or at least only with the children.
Spencer had only seen these people in pictures, but nonetheless recognized them immediately. And at the moment he regretted dearly ever opening the door.
The woman cleared her throat and ran a hand through her hair. "I'm… sorry we're disturbing you this early. We're…"
Spencer interrupted her with a nod. "I know who you are." His voice sounded unfamiliar. "You're Emma and Kenneth Ramos." Shawn's parents, was something he just couldn't say out loud. He couldn't speak Shawn's name around these people after the things he'd heard.
The man swallowed loudly and hesitated for a long moment before talking. "I… We're sorry, that it's taken us this long to visit, but now that Shawn…" The man blinked rapidly, possibly fighting tears. "A month or so ago we… We heard that Shawn became a father – that he had twins. That's why we're here."
The woman's – Emma's – eyes were full of despair while she looked at him. "I know what you must think of us, but… His children are our only grandchildren." She took a deep breath, blinking rapidly. "So, please… Could we see them, at least just once?"
Spencer felt Derek stiffen behind him. To him, on the other hand, everything tilted for the longest time.
Spencer mused that perhaps it makes sense that time stops when past collides with the present.
TBC, or does it?
A/N: See, no life-threatening cliffies? (grins) Mah, I'm turning into a softy. Oh well…
BUT, more importantly… How was the chapter – good, luke warm, horrible, trash-worthy? PLEASE, leave a review and let me know! I'm always a bit insecure about sending a new chapter, so hearing from you would mean A LOT to me.
GAH, it's getting late and I've got a ton of stuff to do. (winces) Thank you so much for reading this! And who knows, maybe I'll see ya guys again soon…?