Wow… think I had a little trouble writing this chapter? I never intended to abandon this, other stuff just got in the way of my writing. All of you who have stuck with this and those of you who have just found it are awesome. It was going back through the reviews that got me serious about this story again. I promise I won't leave you all hanging for that long again.
Chapter 16: A Real Home
Even before I had gotten off of the plane I could see who had come to greet us, and I wasn't happy about it at all. There was one too many blond heads in the small group. The last thing Reid needed was her and one of her speeches.
I was the first to step off of the plane, and as Gideon followed behind me he leaned in and whispered, "What's she doing here?"
I just shook my head and made my way to the woman in question. I was wondering the same thing myself. "Director Strauss." I greeted her, extending my hand. She took it and gave me a quick nod before moving on to the man of the hour.
"Agent Reid." Strauss said, reaching her hand out to him just as I had done to her. I heard Gideon clear his throat quietly and it made me smirk. I know how much he wanted to correct her with a 'Doctor Reid'.
Reid barely shook her hand before pulling back to wrap his arms around his middle.
Strauss didn't seem to notice the younger man's anxiety. "I wanted to personally welcome you back and wish you the best in your recovery. If you need anything at all, please don't hesitate to ask. Now, how are you feeling?"
"Fine, thank you."
She was nodding before he had even finished, "That's good. We want you well again. And I want you to know that your position in the bureau is waiting for you when you've recovered."
Reid nodded as his eyes drifted to the ground.
I could have kicked her. Reid coming back to work was not something that I wanted to approach just yet. He needed time. That was my signal to step in, "Director, I'm sorry but it's been a long day and I'd really just like to get him settled."
"Of course. It was good to see you Agent Reid."
We exchanged nods and she left. Then we were all able to breath a sigh of relief. Like this reunion wasn't going to be awkward enough for him. Thankfully the three remaining agents were able to adjust to Reid's appearance without it being horribly obvious to the young man. Morgan had called the girls before we left, telling them to take it easy on him.
As Garcia came closer, I could only hope that they had taken the message to heart.
"How ya doin, dollface?" she asked quietly, a happy but somewhat subdued smile on her face. She had toned everything down for this meeting. I'd like to say I'm impressed, but it just feels like something is missing now. I am impressed, however, by the real smile that her presence has coaxed out of him.
"I'm good, Garcia. You?"
"I'm just peachy." She looked unsure for a moment and then, "Can I hug you?"
I cringed for a moment before I heard his soft laugh, "Yes."
Her arms are around him in a flash, but just tight enough for him to feel her. I can tell that he's uncomfortable, but he goes with it, bringing his arms up around her. She whispered something in his ear and he smiled again before they both pulled away. I know she didn't want to, but she stepped back to give the other two a turn.
J.J. stepped up next, smiling shyly at him. "It's good to have you back, Spence." She said before hugging him.
Reid looked even more uncomfortable and the embrace ended quickly. He tried to offer her a smile, but it didn't fool anyone.
Elle came last. She didn't hug him or speak any words. She just gave him a comforting look and a smile, which I think he appreciated more than Strauss' encouragement or our badly masked concern.
We exchanged pleasantries and updates as we walked to the car. Halfway most of our small group broke off to head back to the office. Reid and I spent the rest of the journey in silence. On the plane we told him that we thought he should stay with me for a while. Haley and Jack were staying with her ill mother so it would just be the two of us. He didn't even try to argue.
The silence continued for a majority of the car ride. I tried to make conversation, but Reid just wasn't interested. What I wouldn't give to hear him ramble on about some statistic. I hate this.
When we arrived I grabbed our bags and slowly headed for the front door. I knew he would need to take his time getting out of the car, and no matter how much I wanted to help, I knew that he wouldn't want me hovering. He'd been the center of attention enough for today.
He had caught up by the time I got the door unlocked and I waited for him to go in ahead of me. The house seemed almost foreign to me. It was cold, big, and empty. I wonder if Reid felt it too.
If he did, he didn't show it. He just looked around for a moment, before turning to me. "Your house is very nice," accompanied a small smile.
"Thank you." I couldn't help but smile too. With all that he went through, he was still trying.
"Let me show you around." I gave him a quick tour of the first floor before taking him to the guest bedroom upstairs. "My room is two doors down and the bathroom is right across the hall." I told him as I sat his bag down on the end of the bed. Morgan and Gideon picked up some more cloths and I've got an extra toothbrush for you. I was thinking we could go get some of your stuff in the morning or whenever you're feeling up to it."
"Your cloths and anything else you might want. It's in boxes but we can go through them… Is everything alright?"
"Yeah. I'm just going to lay down if that's ok." He said sitting on the bed. He looked pale. I think the gravity of everything that happened had started to catch up with him.
"Go ahead. Do you want anything to eat first?"
Reid shook his head no.
I wish Haley were here. She's much better at pushing food on people. "Well I'll be downstairs if you need anything."
He nodded and I started to leave. I turned back when he called out my name. He looked at me for a moment then said with a small smile, "Thank you."
I returned the look while trying to keep my emotions in check.
"It's good to have you home Spencer."