|I'd Have Had To Miss The Dance
Author: Mystery Hunter PM
It had all come down to this: the tears, the flowers, Hotch and Rossi carrying the coffin. Spencer hated how they spoke about how he was. "I remember his smile, and how above everything he was a good person. He will remain in all the lives that he touchedRated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - S. Reid & D. Morgan - Words: 2,986 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 1 - Published: 09-05-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7357557
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Spencer tightened his tie with shaking fingers and swallowed as he watched himself in the mirror. His suit was pressed and clean, the exact opposite of the mess and turmoil in his head. He closed his eyes as he let a deep breath fill his lungs, helping him to breathe around the lump in his throat. He could hear Derek's voice floating into the room on the wind from outside and he nearly lost it. He gripped the edge of the dresser so hard his knuckles turned white as he forced back the inevitable tears. He counted to ten, as slow as he could, then counted again and again until he was able to stand back up and face himself in the mirror.
He wished he hadn't. There were dark circles under his eyes that were results of the past week's near sleepless nights and his hair was in need of a cut that he hadn't mustered the energy to go get. His face, along with the rest of his body, was more thin than usual and it made him look sicker than he felt.
With a shudder he turned away from himself, flattening out the pockets on his jacket. They were empty, which was unusual for him; typically they had a pen or two in them with some lint and a coffee shop receipt.
Coffee. That sounded good.
He made it a couple steps to the door before another whisper breezed in and he stopped, looking to the window with too much enthusiasm. He hurried over and looked out over the city. There were some balconies nearby, but Derek was obviously not on any of them. He bit his lip and stepped back, shutting the window and drawing the curtains as he did.
"I'm going crazy," he mumbled, putting a hand to his head. He paused for a moment before shaking his head. "No, not crazy. I'm just dehydrated, and I haven't eaten. That's it." He swallowed and only now realized that his mouth was dry. He nodded again, confirming his diagnosis to himself. "Dry mouth is a symptom of dehydration," he told himself. "and I'm anxious, which is another symptom. I'm hearing things that I want to…" He groaned and sat on the edge of the bed, his head resting in his hands. "Hold it together Spencer," he whispered to him. "You have to hold it together."
His cell phone rang and Spencer jumped to his feet, glad for the distraction. "Hello?" he answered.
"Hey Spence," JJ greeted.
Spencer sat back down, staring at a corner of the room. "Hi."
"We're downstairs," she told him. 'We' included her, Emily, and Garcia. "Hotch and Rossi are on their way."
"Alright." The word was forced. "I-I'll be right down."
"It'll be alright Spencer." That was Emily, who had apparently taken the phone from JJ. "We'll be there the whole way."
"Yeah," Spencer replied. "I-I mean, thanks guys. Really." He hung up and left the phone on his bed; no one who he wanted to speak to would be calling him today. He left his room and the door locked behind him as he headed down the hall, his hands in his pockets. He took the elevator to the lobby and took a moment to look around his temporary residence. The hotel had been his home for the past couple days since he had arrived in Chicago. He stared at the ground as he went up to JJ's car, pulling the door open. The three women inside gave him kind smiles as he slid into the back seat with Emily.
"How you doing Spence?" she asked softly.
He didn't reply, feeling that the question needed no verbal answer; it should have been obvious how he was doing. He knew that she was asking out of concern and courtesy but he didn't care, he wasn't in the mood for redundant questions.
The rest of the ride was quiet as the four of them were lost in their own thoughts. It was only when Spencer realized that he was hearing voices again did he speak up. "JJ? You wouldn't have any water by any chance would you?"
"By chance I do," she replied, passing him a bottle of water.
"Thanks." He emptied roughly half of it in a few seconds before pausing to breathe. "Wow," Garcia said. "Are you ok sweet cheeks?"
"Yeah, just a little dehydrated."
"You seem a little underfed too," Garcia commented. "JJ, let's stop somewhere for lunch-"
"No," Spencer cut in. "I'm fine. Let's just… Let's just keep going." He took another drink as JJ looked at him in the rearview mirror. "You sure Spence?" she confirmed. He nodded, swallowing his mouthful of water. "Keep going."
"Fine," Garcia said. "But we're feeding you afterwards."
Spencer didn't protest, knowing that there was no point and he was not in the mood to argue. His one thought though was if he'd be there to feed. He wanted out of Chicago the minute this was all over. The only thing was he didn't know where he wanted to go; he could not stand the thought of going back to Virginia with the BAU and his apartment. Maybe he could go somewhere else for a little while. Ask Hotch for a couple weeks leave and come back after, if he could stomach it. At the moment the thought made his heart ache and his lungs contract. He struggled for a moment to take a breath but once he got it everything shifted back to reality.
JJ pulled into the parking lot of the Rosehill Cemetery and Spencer nearly screamed at her to put her foot back on the gas and drive as far away as she could from the haunted grounds. He couldn't do that though; it may have been an option but not one that he could take and still have some dignity. So, with a lump in his throat and sorrow in his heart he got out of the car. He silently made his way down the pathway, following other dark clad mourners. Despite the open space he couldn't help but feel the way that someone with claustrophobia must feel upon stepping into a small elevator: scared with the sense of not enough oxygen and the terrible urge to get out.
Garcia caught him by the elbow and held him close to her side, for which he was thankful.
"It'll be ok baby," she told him. "He's not really gone."
"He's in the ground Garcia," he mumbled flatly.
"Don't go all depressed on me," Garcia said, gently pinching his arm. "He'll always be with us in spirit."
"Where do you think he's gone?" He looked at the tech-kitten with a blank expression. "Is there a heaven? Or is there just nothing?"
"What do you think?"
"I don't know. I want to believe that there's something beyond this, but scientifically-"
"Don't think scientifically, you won't find any answers there. What does this think?" She poked him in the chest, just over his deflated heart.
"What does my heart think?" he clarified. "Hearts can't think Garcia-"
"What did I just say?" Garcia told him. She poked his head this time. "Turn off your genius brain for a moment and just listen to this." She poked over his heart again and he sighed. He wished that he could turn off his brain, he wished that he didn't have to think about what really happened and just what others said, that Derek was in heaven or another similar happy place.
He closed his eyes, as though somehow that could help. After a few moments he opened his eyes and spoke. "I don't know," he whispered, tears pricking his eyes. "I don't know Garcia. All I can think about is that he's not here." She hugged him tightly and Spencer felt like she was holding him together, that if she let him go he'd fall to pieces at her feet. After a couple minutes she led him down the pathway to where a bunch of chairs were situated around an open grave. Spencer balked and stumbled back a step, shaking his head. "Garcia…" She grabbed his hand and squeezed, urging him on. It took a minute but he soon obliged and took his seat in the front row. Derek's family was already there and he exchanged tearful hugs with his mom and two sisters. They all sat back down and Spencer took Garcia's hand.
In a few more minutes everyone was seated and Derek's coffin was brought down the path carried by some old colleagues of his from when he worked in Chicago and Hotch and Rossi. As they came closer Spencer looked away, deep into the pit where the body would rest forever. Or not forever
Spencer ran his hands through his hair, bowing his head as dark thoughts began to converge on him. Thoughts of grave robbers and natural disasters that would destory this resting place. He tried to do what Garcia had been telling him over and over again for weeks since Derek's death: think happy thoughts.
So he thought happy thoughts. He remembered his husband's smile, his laugh, the way he smelt of coffee and shampoo. He remembered the first time they met and the first time they hung out after work. He remembered the nights Derek stayed up talking to him on the phone while Spencer was going through his drug problem. He remembered their first date…
He smiled at the memory. It had been nearly five years ago and they had just come back to Virginia after a weeklong case in California where a woman was killing all of her husband's mistresses after finding out about his cheating. She had killed six people by the time the BAU had arrested her in the home of her soon to be seventh victim. Upon returning home Derek had come up to Spencer while he had been finishing up his paperwork and had asked if he wanted to go to dinner. He didn't necessarily call it a date, but Spencer understood the implication once they had gotten to their destination after he had hesitantly agreed. The restaurant was a small, cozy, dimly lit establishment in a quiet section of town. Tonight, perhaps not as coincidentally as Spencer originally thought, was the night where the manager cleared the back seating area and turned it into a dance floor. The two agents had been halfway through their meal when Derek had asked Spencer to dance. Spencer hadn't replied automatically and Derek tried to brush the question away, tried to change the subject, but Spencer cut off his attempts and agreed. To this day Spencer thought that it was one of the wisest decisions in his life.
They had continued to go out and they managed to keep it from the others in the office for a couple months until Rossi, of all people, had run into them while they were out. Even after he found out, their relationship stayed under wraps and neither of them let it interfere with their job. Three years into them dating Derek proposed, going down on one knee in the restaurant where they had gone on their first date. He had rented the entire place for them and put their table in the middle of the room, which had been cleared for a dance floor.
Their wedding day was four months later and all their friends and Derek's family present; Spencer hadn't invited his mother to the wedding because he thought that the amount of people would possibly upset her. It might have been selfish, as he thought later on, but he didn't want anything to upset his perfect day. And it had been perfect. The ceremony had been simple and an old friend of Derek's had presided over it. The reception had been lots of fun with the most important people in their life there; Spencer had even seen Hotch smile. The honeymoon had been nice as well; they had gone up to a small rented cottage in Canada for a couple days. Both of them had been overjoyed that neither of their phones had rung during their time together.
Spencer stifled a sob and brought himself back to Earth, though he struggling against reality's pull. He couldn't believe that after everything he had ended up in this seat and Derek had ended up in the ground in front of him. A tear trailed down his cheek, followed by many others. Along with happy memories he remembered all the hesitations along the way. He remembered how he had paused before agreeing to the date, and especially to the dance, and he had had the urge to run at the proposal. He was going to say no to the date at first, he wasn't ready to come out yet; he was going to decline to the dance, knowing that he would probably end up stepping on Derek's feet; he was going to walk out the door of the restaurant at the proposal, scared of what would happen to him if Derek left. But he didn't. He said yes, he said yes, and he said I do.
And it had all come to this.
The tears flowed faster and he tried his hardest not to make too much noise. He squeezed Garcia's hand so tightly that he worried that he might be hurting her as he shook with silent tears. Someone was speaking and he knew that he should be listening, they were talking about his husband after all, but he didn't want to listen to people talk about how great he was. He was still great, he would still be remembered as a great person and a great cop and a great agent. Everyone was talking about how he used to be. Why couldn't they tell stories? That would be better than going on and on about what used to be.
Silence fell across the cemetery and Garcia shook his hand a little. He snapped back to reality and glanced around before meeting Garcia's gaze. "It's your turn to speak," she told him quietly. He blinked. His time to-
"Oh," he mumbled. "Yeah… Yeah." He stood up but didn't move anywhere. He didn't want to stand at the head of the coffin and think about how Derek used to be as he laid in a box before him. He was also worried that if he tried to walk he'd fall over.
"Derek Morgan was-" He stopped, mentally scolding himself. "Derek Morgan is a wonderful agent, a wonderful husband, and a wonderful friend, but above all things he is a wonderful person." He wiped his eyes with the tissue that Garcia pressed into his palm. Picking at the ball he continued. "I remember when I first met him. Most people would say that the first thing they noticed were his looks or his badge, but what I remember noticing the most is his smile. The minute he saw me he smiled and I knew that everything was going to be ok." His voice caught and he coughed, clasping his shaking hands in front of him. He glanced around as a breeze gently blew through the grass, picking up leaves and flower petals. A small smile met Spencer's lips. "I almost walked away from him, and I'm glad that I didn't. I couldn't have asked for a better person in my life. Derek Morgan touched many people, and a little piece of him remains with all of us." With a few small steps he tentatively walked over and gently touched the lid of the coffin. "Derek... you are forever with us…"
He took a hesitant step back and they started to lower the coffin into the ground. Spencer turned away, fresh tears brewing behind his eyes. Derek's sisters came over and hugged him, followed by his mother. They held their group hug for a moment before breaking away and promising to keep in touch. Garcia was at his side the second they left, taking his hand again. She didn't speak, but her presence was enough. With her comfort Spencer found himself able to sit back down and watch as the gravediggers shoveled the dirt into the hole. No, not the hole, Derek's room. The grave was now his room, and Spencer hoped that he liked the flowers that everyone had brought.
"Are you ready to go?" Garcia asked after a couple minutes. He nodded and they stood. "Did you see where Hotch went?" he asked.
"The rest of them are just leaving," she replied, gesturing over to where the rest of the BAU were starting up the path. "Why?"
Spencer wiped his eyes one more time, replying as a small smile touched his lips. "I wanted to ask if I could take a small vacation. There's a cottage I want to visit."
"Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance"
-'The Dance' by Garth Brooks
AN: This was written for the Endings, New Beginnings, and Starting Over challenge on Daisyangel's forum. I was assigned the song 'The Dance' by Garth Brooks.
I actually cried while writing Reid's speach, so I hope you enjoyed the story.