A/N: Hey all! Here's a little one-shot featuring JJ/Hotch, Reid, Jack and Henry. I asked for prompts for a JJ/Hotch fic and Classic Erynn provided me with: new baby, chem set, and time out. Thanks!
I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.
All In the Name of Science:
"Spence, what are you doing here?"
Reid frowned at the blonde, blue-eyed mother of three. She'd been smiling a moment ago, that is until she laid eyes on him. Now, she didn't look so happy to see him. What he did to deserve such a lukewarm greeting, he had no idea.
Maybe, it's your imagination… he thought to himself, nervously.
A big grin spread across his face as he noticed that she held her newest child, Jaden. The little girl was making little mewling sounds of displeasure and he wondered if he'd interrupted nap-time. She rocked her from side to side, still eyeing him with a less than friendly look.
Unsure of why he was receiving such a cold greeting, he went on warily, "Hi, JJ. I was in the neighborhood and I was wondering how Jack and Henry like the new chemistry and biology set I got them."
He'd bought the set just after Jaden had been brought home. He knew the baby girl would be getting a ton of attention and Reid had just wanted to give the boys something that would help them with the feeling of being left out.
To his surprise, JJ let out a loud harrumph sound and stormed away. Dumbstruck by her reaction, actually by everything that had occurred since the moment the door had been opened, he wasn't quick to react. Standing there stunned, he called out, unsurely, "JJ?"
She'd left him at the doorstep, but she hadn't necessarily told him to go away, nor had she slammed the door in his face. He still had no idea why he felt like she should have done all of the above, but he counted himself lucky that she hadn't. JJ's temper was fierce and he was glad he hadn't irked her to that level yet. Whatever he had done…
He entered the house, shutting the door behind him, deciding to see if he could find the angry blonde, or maybe Hotch, someone who could explain to him what was going on.
The first room he hit was the living room and that was where he found Hotch, now holding the tiny Jaden. Ok, where did JJ go?
"Reid, what are you doing here?" Hotch exclaimed, much like JJ had. But where JJ's tone had been cold, borderline hostile, Hotch looked downright anxious.
"Hey, Hotch. I came to see how Jack and Henry are coming along with the new chem set I got for them. You know the magnification on the microscope is just about as strong as a compound microscope you find in a high school science lab."
Hotch grimaced. "We know."
"You know?" Reid inquired, still curious as to why he was getting such strange reactions from his best friends.
"Reid, what did you tell the boys they could do with the microscope?" Hotch asked suspiciously.
What had he told them? He thought back hard. "I told them they could look at all kinds of things. Specifically, I gave them a list I found that I thought might be helpful."
"Uh huh… and do you remember what was on that list?" Hotch raised an eyebrow at him.
"Umm… let's see… I got the list from examiner . com. It's called: 50 things to look at under a microscope. Salt, sugar, sand… different colors of human hair… Things like that."
"Things like that, huh?" Hotch asked incredulously. "Reid, come with me. There's something you need to see."
Reid followed his boss out of their living room. They passed the kitchen where it seemed someone had been ready to start cleaning. All sorts of chemical cleaning products were sitting on the kitchen counters.
They went down the hall where Reid knew all the bedrooms were. They stopped in front of the first door and Hotch poked his head inside the open doorway.
"JJ," he said into the room.
Reid peeked over his shoulder to see it was the master bedroom and JJ was lounged back on her bed, resting. It wasn't even a week since she'd had Jaden and she was probably still recovering. She looked at Hotch, a stern look on her face, but once she caught a glimpse of Reid her expression turned hostile. He reeled back a bit, standing behind Hotch, totally using him as a shield.
"Can you take Jaden back?" he asked as he entered the room. "I'm going to show Reid 'The Zone.'"
"'The Zone?'" Reid echoed.
JJ frowned deeply. "You do that," she spoke tersely, every word felt like a shard of ice being pressed into his skin. "While you're at it, why don't you put him in timeout, too? Would serve him—"
With Jaden safely deposited in her mother's arms, Hotch hurried back towards him, quickly ushering him out of the way so he could shut the door. Nevertheless, Reid could still hear most of JJ's loud tirade.
"—right for what he's done! It's a biohazard! It's an… an everything hazard! It's like World War Three!"
Hotch gave him a sheepish look. "Uh… maybe we should keep moving."
The Unit Chief led the way down the hall. Reid stared at his back in bewilderment. Exactly what was a biohazard? What looked like a warzone? And why did JJ think it was all his fault?
They passed by two closed doors. He caught Hotch looking at each one in silent consternation. Reid knew them to be Jack and Henry's rooms. Were they in timeout? Why?
All he had were endless questions. He could sure use some answers right about now.
"Here we are," Hotch said; they'd suddenly stopped in front of a third bedroom. He reached for the doorknob, ready to give it a turn, but paused. Hotch looked at him over his shoulder. "Brace yourself," he felt the need to add.
What the heck?
The second Hotch opened the door, Reid's senses were bombarded. Smells, there were a lot of different smells, and not all were pleasant. Actually, half were plain disgusting. Scent wasn't the only sense being assaulted, though.
Reid stumbled in after Hotch, giving him a look. "What is—"
Hotch's attention was then grabbed by two moving bodies on one side of the room. "Jack? Henry? What are you doing in here?"
Reid turned his attention on the two grubby looking children huddled close to a desk, staring at something sitting on top.
This had been the study, Reid suddenly realized. He looked around the room to see that, yes, it contained a desk, a computer, and some bookshelves along the walls with books on them. But that wasn't all there was. The room seemed to be covered in a thick layer of dirt and other debris. There were bits of nature lying here and there: pine cones, leaves, grass and twigs. That seemed to be the tamer bits of nature lying around.
"Hotch…" he started slowly. "What happened in here?"
But his boss wasn't paying him any attention.
"Boys, your mother's going to kill me. You just had a bath. Didn't we tell you that you were not to come in here again until we cleaned it all up?" Hotch gently scolded.
Both Henry and Jack whirled around, turning their big innocent eyes on their father. "But… but daddy…" five year old Henry stuttered out, obviously distressed. "We couldn't… we needed to check on our experiment… like… like Dendel…"
"Dendel?" Hotch wondered.
Reid nearly groaned out loud. "I think he means Mendel. Gregor Mendel, he's said to be the father of genetics."
"Yeah! That's him. We were checking on our experiments. See," Jack said, holding out a clipboard with a chart on it. "We're recording our observations. We need to check them every half an hour to see if they changed."
Henry turned around and held out three test tubes with a solution that looked to be made of part mud, part water, and part… well something was moving in there. Hotch cringed slightly at his younger son.
"They didn't change," Henry said sadly.
Hotch seemed at a loss for words, he turned to Reid and gave him a look that said, 'See. See why my wife is about to chase you down with a mop.'
Yep, he could. This was definitely a disaster zone; a biohazard like JJ had dubbed it. And it looked like she was right about it being his fault too.
"Daddy," Henry piped up again, he was now at Hotch's side, muddy hands were pulling at his father's pant leg. "We gots Jaden a present. We were going to turn it blue, but it escaped. Can you help us find it?"
"It escaped?" Hotch recoiled in horror, though, he tried his hardest to cover his reaction. "Uh… Henry, what exactly escaped?"
"A giant frog!" Jack added, helpfully. "But it had a tail. Uncle Spence, can frogs have tails?"
"Uh…" Reid stuttered.
Hotch turned on him then, his eyes narrowed. "Fix this, now!" And he stormed out of the room, shutting the door behind him.
He eyed the closed door, at a loss. What was he supposed to do now?
Turning back around, he found both boys staring up at him with obvious trust and fondness.
Ok, he would fix this. They'd clean up. And he'd teach them all about safe laboratory practices—starting with: the study is not a science lab.
Reid took a couple steps into the dirty room; to his dismay the floor was carpeted. That was not helpful. "Boys, what were you guys trying to do?"
"You told us about that guy, Dendel," Jack explained. "He turned pink flowers into white ones. We were trying to do the same thing with the frog."
"It didn't work yet," Henry provided oh-so-helpfully. "Ninja escaped first."
"That's what we named him."
"Ok…" Reid drew out, taking a deep breath. "Here's what we're going to do, we'll find Ninja…" Determine, what it is, because frogs don't have tails… "Then, we'll transfer all you're equipment outside. I'm sure you'll both agree that there's more room to work out there, right?" He got two firm nods to that. "We'll finish up your experiments. And maybe I'll tell you about another famous scientist…" Maybe Newton, how much trouble could they get into with Newton? An image of Jack and Henry throwing apples at their parents' heads from their tree-house came to mind, just then. On second thought… "How does that sound?"
"Great, Uncle Spencer," they chimed together.
"Ok, Jack, you take that corner. And Henry, that corner is yours. I'll work over here, ok?"
Both boys started to get to work, gathering the debris off the ground and putting it into a bag he'd found. He went straight for the microscope to see how much damage had been done there. The glass slides were out of their package and he found slide after slide covered in mostly discernible substances, but a couple of slides had small globs of an amber colored waxy substance on them.
"Jack, can you come here for a second?" he called over, holding out the slide. "What is this?"
"Ear wax!" he announced proudly.
"Ear wax?" Reid paled. "Why do you have ear wax on a slide?"
"Cause the list said it was cool."
Hope you enjoyed. Let me know what you think. Thanks!