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Once Upon a Target

Summary (cause it got cut off):  A young Aaron Hotchner gets a summer job and has an odd encounter.
Authors note: OKAY This takes a bit of an explanation, I work in a Target Cafe. SO I wrote this......on the back of receipts. Yes. I did. xD SO HERE IT IS!


It was summer, and Aaron Hotchner was wondering why on earth he'd agreed to take a summer job at his Aunts in Las Vegas. It had seemed like a good idea when his mother and Aunt proposed the plan; he'd go to Aunt Caroline's house for the summer and get a job. She had a small apartment over her garage he could stay in, so it'd be closer to living on his own...in the “real world”. It had sounded awesome, he'd never gotten a chance to spend much time on the west coast; living in Virginia could do that. So the idea had been to see more of the country and take a step even closer to being “independent”.


This is how a 20 year old Aaron Hotchner found himself standing behind the counter of the cafe at their local Target. He was alone, bored, his feet hurt, and he still had 4 hours of his shift left. He'd lost count of the times he's thought, “Minimum Wage, so isn't worth this.” But he needed the money to pay the “rent” to his aunt; also Haley was coming for a week and Aaron wanted to be able to afford to have fun on his week off. So he was in no position to complain really.


The thing about the Target Cafe was that no one actually bought anything, with the exception of a fountain drink every now and then. Which meant Aaron's job was mainly cleaning, re-cleaning, randomly taking the temperature of things, and cleaning again. It was tedious, redundant, and the thought of 4 more hours spent doing this was torture.


As he took the temperature of yet another hotdog and recorded it he glanced up to check on the tables, and realized they weren't all empty any longer. The was a small boy sitting at one of the tables that had been barren before; he had chestnut hair and very large brown eyes. But what really stood out to Aaron was the expression on his face. The boy couldn't be more than 7, yet his expression was so seriousl and resigned it more resembled something Aaron's late step-father would wear instead of his 10 year old brother Sean. Aaron shook his head; it wasn't unusual for parents to park their children in the cafe while they shopped, so really Aaron just hoped the boy didn't make trouble like some of the hooligans did.


So Aaron cleaned, sold a few drinks and cleaned some more and before he knew it, it had been 2 hours. Aaron looked up again and was perplexed to find the boy still sitting there alone, it looked like he hadn't moved at all. The boy hadn't made any trouble at all, but at the same time there was no sign of an adult to claim him. Aaron blinked for a few minutes before making a conscious choice to walk over, the boy glanced up at him blankly as Aaron crouched beside his chair. Aaron tried to smile. “Hey, is your Mom or Dad on their way? Did they say what time they'd come by to get you?”


The boy just gazed at him for a moment, before sighing in a way that made a small part of Aaron's heart sink. “She's probably forgotten me again.”


“So you don't think she's coming?” Aaron knew he probably looked stupid, blinking at the boy but he didn't care.


The boy sighed and shook his head in an almost apologetic way, “Probably not.”


This of course lead to Aaron having to call his LOD (Leader on Duty; they got very upset if you called them managers for some odd reason that Aaron couldn't understand), which lead to the Executive Leader (That'd be Store Manager to non-Target lingo speakers) being called. Suddenly Aaron found himself standing in the middle of a bustling, frustrated adults. And Aaron found himself growing a bit protective of his small companion, and he laid a hand on the boys shoulder.


The boy looked up at him, and Aaron bent down “Hey, guy do you know your address or phone number?”


The boy nodded solemnly and proceeded to tell them all his address and number, the Executive manager beamed at Aaron, “Good job! We'll have his parents on the phone right away. You keep an eye on him here.” And once again they were left alone in the barren cafe.


He turned back to the boy with a smile, “So I never actually got your name.”


The boy blinked up at him in that serious way that Aaron still found increasingly odd, “I'm Spencer Reid.”


“Well Spencer Reid, I'm Aaron Hotchner.” Aaron smiled down at him, “You want a hotdog and an icee?”


He proceeded to ignore the meek protests the young boy gave, as he set about making the boy a hotdog and an icee then paid with the $5 in his pocket. Finally Aaron sat down next to Spencer and watched him eat in that same quiet, serious way. He started to wonder if the boy could smile and decided to challenge himself to make it happen.


Aaron proceeded to tell the boy every single funny story he could think of, well the ones that were appropriate at least. It took longer than he'd expected, but finally the boy gave him a small almost shy smile and then an all out grin and then before Aaron was really aware of it they were both laughing. And that's how the next 2 hours were passed, every once in a while Aaron would have to pop up to serve someone who wanted pop-corn or a soda or a hotdog. But he was focused on Spencer and making sure that expression didn't return.


Aaron was almost surprised when his LOD showed up to inform him that his shift was over, and that she'd take over watching the boy. He swallowed thickly at the thought of leaving the boy behind, and the almost sorrowful look that crossed the boys face didn't help. It wasn't long before the familiar tinge of resignation began to spread across the young face and Aaron made up his mind. He clocked out and emptied his locker before returning to the cafe, and taking his seat again. He smiled up at his LOD who had a soft smile on her face as well, “I'll hang out with him until his parents show, it's no trouble.”


If you're sure you don't mind, Aaron?”


He nodded and she nodded before turning to leave. Spencer was still gazing at him in abject shock, Aaron smiled and bumped his shoulder against the boy. “You aren't going to get rid of me that easily.”


Suddenly Spencer was beaming up at him again and Aaron knew it'd be worth it. An immeasurable amount of time pasted with them just sitting, Aaron listening to Spencer talk about his books and the things he'd apparently learned recently. Aaron was shocked by how intelligent he was for someone so young, but he found the enthusiasm refreshing and was genuinely enjoying himself. Which was why when a slender, harried looking man rushed over to them he was fairly shocked to realize just how long had passed.


They watched as the LOD lead him away to “discuss” the “incident” in private. Aaron held back a wince as the now familiar resignation crossed the boys face again, he felt himself sigh. “So Spencer, does this happen often?”


The boy sighed in return, “Not too often, but this isn't the first time.”


Aaron winced, “Maybe it wont happen again.”


It will.” Spencer sounded resigned, “But next time I probably wont be as lucky. Normally I just sit there with nothing to do.”


Aaron thought for a moment, “Well why don't you just bring a long a backpack from now on, with a few books in it. Just in case?”


Spencer thought for a moment before smiling again, “I will; Thank you.”


Aaron smiled and ruffled his hair softly, “It's the least I can do.”


He watched the tall man and Spencer walk away and he was again left alone in the cafe. He sighed and gathered his things to leave wishing he could do more for the small boy. Aaron didn't see Spencer or his father again that summer, but he often wondered about the solemn boy over the following years.


Years later n Spencer's first day at the BAU, the younger man showed up and it took Aaron less than 10 minutes to figure out who he was. He didn't say anything, he just smiled and shook his head at the way life worked at times.


3 years later Aaron was laying in bed looking down at the man who'd put his heart back together after Haley had torn it apart. He let a hand stroke the soft cheek and smiled softly thinking of the small boy he'd once met, wondering if Spencer remembered that day. And if he did, did he realize it had been Aaron? But Aaron never asked.


It was months later, and they were having a fight and Spencer had stormed ou of the apartment for and Hotch was sure he wasn't coming back. But it didn't take moments for Spencer to come bursting back into the living room. Aaron looked up in shock, “I thought.....”


Spencer sneered, “You aren't getting rid of me that easily.”


Aaron fought the smile that threatened and he folded Spencer into his arms, it didn't matter if Spencer remembered (although after that comment he was fairly sure his partner did) because in it's own odd way life had a way of throwing them together. And Aaron wasn't going to question that.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 1st, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
Jun. 1st, 2010 01:44 am (UTC)
You work at target, we share the same career path AND you could make me a killer prezel WITH cheese!! I love you, bb :)
Jun. 1st, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
Yes. I can. You'd be surprised just how simple the pretzel is tbh. and the cheese is just.......cheese. *blink* LUNCH TODAY: Cinnamon/Sugar Pretzel. No lie. True Story. Also the pretzel is the most forgotten food item, people just walk away without it. And I'm left standing there with a Pretzel I'm not allowed to eat. It's mean that's what that is.

x_X I love my job. ^___^ <3 You too!
Jun. 1st, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
This is actually pretty adorable. And sweet. And a little bit wonderful. Excellent!
Jun. 1st, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Thank you! =D
Jun. 1st, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
Super cute. And the added bonus that I am also a fellow target team member, though be it the other end of the store (at least at my location).
Jun. 2nd, 2010 04:09 am (UTC)
lol, target employees. *sigh* We live the good life yo. =3 Thanks for the comment.
Jun. 1st, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
I have envisioned this scenario (that they'd met long before the BAU) several times but totally forgot about it until I saw your post, so this is a real treat. It's entirely plausible, and you wrote it so perfectly (and sweet) (despite a few typos).

Thank you! Fluff is my morning coffee.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
agh, typos. =3 It's nice to know you enjoyed it despite them!! =D Thank you~!
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
Jun. 1st, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)
OH... hugs. Charming and so... just the both of them really. Hotch all Hotch-like and Reid all Reid-like and, honestly, arguments are where the really weird things come out. Cheers!
Jun. 1st, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
Nicely done. I thought I'd given up reading H/R. this taught me never to say never.
Jun. 1st, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
That was so great! I loved it!
Jun. 1st, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
Ewwwwww. :P I also work at Target. Gross. But hey, all that sitting around, he should have been panning or topping or making tomorrow's sandwiches/salads/pasta!!! >:O lolz. Or doing the 5 billion dishes that accumulate throughout the day... And haha about taking everything's temperature. I just love shoving a thermometer up the butt of a hotdog every couple of hours. :P But now I refuse to get hotdogs from there, after having to clean the grill and seeing how nasty it is. It also smells terrible. It's really gross.

Anyway, this was pretty cute. ;) It might be cuter tomorrow, when I don't have to work and haven't had a terrible day at the place in question. :P But I love how you wrote this on receipts. :P I write down so crap of receipts. :) It's better than standing around vegetating when I'm cashiering. lolz.
Jun. 1st, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
I was in a Target today considering if I should work there. So when this popped up I was like "OH well I have to read it now. It's like destiny."

I can never walk into a Target without grinning like a madwoman ever again. :D
Jun. 1st, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
i just got off from my shift at Target. i totally got a drink and brownie from the target cafe. this was a nice treat after a long day of working for not enough compensation. thanks.
Jun. 1st, 2010 11:53 am (UTC)
Cute. That's all I can say.
Jun. 1st, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
That was so, so cute! The image of young Aaron keeping little Spencer company and little Spencer just adoring him for it is totally sweet.
Jun. 1st, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC)
That was cute, fluffy, endearing, adorable...right on Target, in fact!
Jun. 1st, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
So cute. Oh, and I find it strange how many of us commenters work at Target.
Jun. 1st, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
LOL i can totally see this happening! Great work!
Jun. 1st, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)

This was...beautiful and cute. :D
Jun. 3rd, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
I loved seeing the receipts!

Leader on Duty and Executive Leader sounds like something the "Dear Leader" (Kim Jong-il of North Korea) would make up.

I'm glad that Hotch and Reid can keep you company at work.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
Loved it! You could use a lil' proof-reading but otherwise it's excellent! I had to chuckle at the material that's clearly from you experiences :3 Oh jobs. (Although honestly, I think I'd take just about anything right now... being a grad student without a job sucks!) Very sweet. I also love that you wrote the story on receipts. ;)
Jun. 11th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
Love this and I only spotted two typo's,, which are so overshadowed by the overall Wow of the story. Please give us more soon.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )