Warnings: I don't have the best grammar and all mistakes are mine.

Summary: Set during SWAK and in the middle of season 1 of Criminal Minds. Spencer Reid gets a phone call during an investigation in Ohio and has to choose between a probably dying cousin and the BAU.

When Spencer had first gotten the call, he thought it was a joke. Heck, he hoped it was a joke. His first cousin on his mother's side, his favorite cousin, was in Bethesda Naval Hospital, apparently dying of pneumonic plague.

It was such a weird word to say; the plague. Tony DiNozzo was dying of the plague – the doctor had said that less than a 30% chance of survival was usually equivalent to death – and just…just why?

Reid means; why his cousin, why did it have to happen and why now?

Because right now, Morgan was asking him what's the matter, pretty boy, from the other side of the table with raised, compassionate eyebrows, and from his left, Hotch was staring down at him with an annoyed look and emotionless brown eyes, and he was pretty sure that the medium sized sheriff with a large beer gut behind him was wondering about what kind of characters they allowed into the FBI.

Reid's long, almost chestnut brown, but at the same time just plain brown hair was in his face, covering his almost tearful eyes. His head was angled down towards his fallen cell that lay on the dirty, barely-even-white tiled floor of the large conference styled room. He had heard a loud crack when the black, flipped open object fell; hopefully the screen wasn't broken. And it was a lucky thing he was sitting, really, because otherwise, he'd most likely be on the hard, dirty ground next to the phone.

But that didn't really matter in the long run, because Tony, the eleven years his senior, his inappropriate, yet hilarious older cousin who was always there when Reid needed him Tony, was in the hospital. Dying.


Just the thought made Reid shiver, because he was unable to think of life without Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. The man who was the most self-aware, most caring, most helpful person Reid had ever known. Tony would help anyone, maybe even his worst enemy. As children, Tony was always there for him, helping him with bullies and other nightmares that haunted Reid.

That's just who Tony was; the protector, the friend, the one who cared.

After Aunt Clara, Tony's mother, had died, the older man had spent more time in two places that wasn't his own house: boarding school and Reid's mother's house. During the school year, whatever brake Tony had, he was at his Aunt Diana and cousin Spencer's house. It was the same during the summer for Tony.

Rousing him from his thoughts, Morgan was now standing over Reid and shaking his shoulder. He looked up to see the darker man's worried eyes before he jumped out of his chair. The chair fell onto it's back.

"I have to go back to D.C.," he said in a hurry to Morgan, before turning to Hotch, "tell Gideon for me."

"I don't think-"

Was all he listened to before he started to walk to the old wooden door that was the only thing stopping Reid from seeing his cousin. His left hand was on the cool metal of the doorknob when Hotch called out to him.

"You walk out that door, you're walking out the FBI," he said in a cold, dominate tone that was his voice.

"Bullshit," Morgan swore before he could.

"I-ah…my cousin," Reid stuttered and turned to look at Hotch. Seconds passed as he stared into Hotch's eyes. They were cold and hard, and he knew the older man had meant every word he had just said. Then, Reid surprised himself. Looking between his dark skinned friend, his angry boss who just didn't know - didn't understand his cousin was dying, and the annoyed sheriff, Reid snapped – as much as a normally mild tempered genius could, anyways.

He dug around in his khaki pants for what he was looking for, and finally, he found it. It was a small, wallet-like object, and he threw it at Hotch, who barely had time to catch it before Reid practically ran out of the building, leaving his cracked flip phone forgotten on the ground near the fallen chair.

Back in the small room, Morgan glared at Hotch, because in the older white man's hands were Spencer Reid's FBI badge and ID.

It took Reid nearly six hours to get back to Washington via bus. Though the team went to Ohio by plane, he had quit and left in a hurry. He sorta walked and kinda ran about two miles until he reached the bus garage the team had driven past nearly two days ago, when they had first gotten to the Buckeye State to investigate a string of seemingly random murders.

At the bus garage, he bought a ticket for the next bus to Washington, covered in sweat and head laced with pain from a headache. An overwhelming fear of not making it back to Washington D.C. in time to see Tony again had taken over Reid, casing his hands to shake as he gave the woman money for his ticket.

The knitted tan sweater and white button up shirt he wore were wrinkled and pulled up along his arms as high as they went.

He had barely made it on the bus before it left.

It took another hour before he made it to Bethesda Naval Hospital, and an additional half an hour while working on three pages of Tony's medical history and other miscellaneous paper work, several minutes of talking to a doctor with the same name as a famous actor, and two minutes of stalling before he saw his cousin.

Tony DiNozzo, ex-football star, skirt chaser extraordinaire, and practically the best cousin he had ever known, was unlike Spencer Reid had ever seen.

As he stood there in the doorway to a large room with glass walls and two depressingly blue lights on over the only two occupied bed in the room – one to a woman he had never met, and the other to his overly pale, almost blue toned cousin – Reid sighed.

He walked towards his barely conscious cousin, ignoring the curious look of the now sitting woman on the other side of the room. Subconsciously, he tugged on the medical mask that covered both his nose and mouth. Reid grabbed a chair and quietly dragged it next to Tony's bed. He was angled so he could keep an eye on the both hospital patients.

Tony must have a fever, he noted, as he took his cousin's warm hand into his own. There was an oxygen tube around the older man's ears that lead into his nose, helping Tony breath, and next to the bed, was an IV leading into Tony's arm.

"Spence," the hospital ridden man breathed breathlessly nearly five minutes later.

"Hey, Ton. You're looking good."

Tony gave a small, whimper like chuckle that was no louder than a whisper. It turned into a deep, hacking cough. Blood stained his blue colored lips.

Reid was horrified and frozen in shock, but the woman on the other side of the room was prepared. She walked over in button down pajamas and had a handkerchief in her hand. She wiped the blood off of Tony's lips before Reid could say anything.

From the other side of the bed, she said simply, sadly, "I'm Kate."

"I'm Dr. Spencer Reid – Tony's cousin."

Tony was back in the state of conscious and unconsciousness. Kate, with her shoulder length brown hair and kind smile, seemed like a nice woman. She looked truly devastated as she watched his cousin cough more blood.

He knew how she felt.

Hours passed, and the doctor with the famous name and a pretty nurse had been in and out every ten minutes, taking blood samples and listening to Tony's lungs, and Reid learned that the hospital bound Kate is the same Kate that Tony talked about in the emails they send each other. Agent Kate, it turns out, doesn't have the plague. She was just there helping Tony survive.

The two don't talk much after that. Reid is tired, but he doesn't fall asleep. He just sits there in the uncomfortable chair, Tony's hand in his own, across from Kate who had not long ago pulled up a chair and wiped off Tony's lip every time he coughed up blood, which was now about every few minutes.

Not even an hour ago, the doctor had switched Tony's nasal tubes with an oxygen mask as the older man had progressively gotten worse as the time passed.

Every now and then, Tony would open up his dull and glazed over green eyes, and for once in Tony DiNozzo's life, his hair was a mess. Reid was almost tempted to take a picture of it, to show him when he got better.

But then, he remembered, Tony wasn't getting better. Every minute that passed was another minute that Tony struggled for his breath. He was coughing blood more and more, and the nurse and doctor were coming in and out of the room more often.

Throughout it all, however, only one thing in the room remained the same as it was when Reid had first walked through the hospital bedroom door; the blue lights. They made Tony look even more oxygen deprived than he was. Everything other than the lights have changed; his cousin's condition, Kate's previously dry eyes, and Reid's mindset.

It was no coincidence that by the end of the next hour, Reid hated the color blue.

Not even a minute ago had Tony entered another coughing fit. He was sitting up for this one, his lips becoming as blue as a corpse. Blood was, once again, around his lips and in his oxygen mask. Kate couldn't handle this, he realized as Tony leaned on him, too weak to sit up on his own anymore. She ran out of the room with tears in her eyes.

Reid didn't watch where she went as he lowered Tony back into his bed. He was too distracted.

The bad kind of distracted. The kind that got people killed in the field. But luckily, this wasn't the field. This was his cousin's hospital room, and, he thought, this was it.

The final moment.

The last moment where Tony drawled a shaky, almost nonexistent breath.

And, oh my, Reid thought, he just couldn't handle this. His breathing came fast, while Tony's was slow and painful.

And suddenly, there was a man with salt and pepper hair in the room. He wore no medical mask, and had a no nonsense military swagger. Reid could only assume that this man was Gibbs, because he calmed Tony down, told Tony he wasn't dying, and actually proved that he was Gibbs when he gave Tony what his cousin called a "Gibbs slap." A moment later, he gave Tony, oddly enough, a cell phone.

When he left, the man didn't even look towards Reid.

Reid turned back to Tony and couldn't help but shake his head. Only moments had passed since the man called Gibbs had left, and already, he could see the difference in his cousin's health. His breathing was steadier and calm and just holy...shit.

Tony was alright.

He was going to be alright and live and just - just wow. Who knew one man could change so much.

Then, Reid gave a hysterical laugh of relief, because Tony was going to live and even though he was jobless, it didn't matter, because his cousin had just survived the plague.

Nearly a day later, Reid awoke abruptly. It had been a good night, then day, then night again since he had found out his cousin would be okay, and he was still just so happy. Which didn't explain why he had woken up so suddenly.

He was in a bed next to Tony, so close he could actually hear the almost even, not exactly deep breathing of his sleeping cousin, and something else.


And they were getting closer.

Rushing into a sitting position, tossing the blanket to the side of him, and throwing his legs over the edge of the hospital bed, he was surprised to come face to face to Hotch.

Hotch wasn't as emotionless as always, so Reid simply guessed it was too early in the morning. His eyes said what he probably wouldn't say out loud. They said; I didn't know. They said; I'm sorry. They said; we all missed you. The man threw the familiar black wallet-like object and a new flip phone onto his lap and said, "I'll see you next Monday. Tell your cousin to feel better soon."

Hotch was gone so fast, Reid later thought it was a dream.

Wondering to himself, he was curious of to how Hotch had found him. But then, he figured, it didn't matter, because there was an entire week from next Monday and now, and Reid began planning on how he could start taking care of his currently feeling better, sleeping cousin.

Feedback is nice! I would really like to know what you liked, didn't like, or any mistakes that are in the story.

Hope you enjoyed the story.