Title: Abstract Brilliance

Rating: G

Summary: Reid has a broken wrist.

Feedback: Will earn you some of Garcia's chocolate fudge cookies.

Archive: Absolutely, just lemme know.

Disclaimer: I don't own Criminal Minds, sadly.

Warnings: Very slight "Fisher King" spoilers.

Author's note: I know the timeline isn't quite right, because if it's after "Fisher King", they'd be worried about Elle, not making fun of her. Still, the plotbunny bit, and it had to be written!

Reid's cast was annoying. It wasn't itchy, like everyone said it would be, it was just so . . . there. It made a dull clunking noise whenever it came into contact with anything, which served as a constant, unwelcome reminder of his clumsiness. And it was so conspicuously white, regardless of whatever shirtsleeve he attempted to cover it with. It had only been six days since he'd slipped on the icy steps to his apartment building, and he was already counting the days until it could be removed.

He was back at work on light duties, Hotch had agreed to that at least. But the cast slowed his typing, and its unfamiliarity frequently caught his eye and distracted him.
"You should go home. Take a few more days," Gideon suggested at he passed Reid's desk. "Just till you get more used to it."
"No, it's okay," Reid mumbled, frowning at the muffled pain as he flexed his fingers. "It's not the had I write with. Besides, if I go home I'll just get. . . "
"Bored? Frustrated? Both?" Gideon's eyes twinkled as he smiled. "Okay. You take it easy though."

Take it easy, sure. Like he had a choice. Reid turned as a soft beep sounded from his computer - he had an instant message. He clicked the window open.

Techqueen: Heard you were back 2day. Feeling better?:)

Garcia. He smiled and typed his reply.

SpencerReid: Yes, thankyou for asking. How are you?

The computer beeped again.

Techqueen: My usual stunning self. When u get a minute, come c me - cookies & art!

This made very litle sense to Reid, but as he was getting nowhere with his typing, he decided to take a break. Curiosity getting the better of him, he headed for Garcia's office. The door was open and dozens of screens glowed from inside. Most showed official documents of some kind - court transcripts, criminal records and parole histories. One showed a tetris game, the neon coloured, geometric shapes flashing brightly. Garcia sat in front of another screen, typing rapidly, a plate of fudge cookies on the desk beside her. Reid knocked softly on the doorframe. "You told me to come and see you?" Garcia spun round in her chair.

"Oh, hey! Didn't expect you so soon. Come on in." Reid entered, serreptitiously attempting to hide his injured wrist. Garcia wasn't fooled.
"C'mon, lemme see it," she demanded. Reid held out his arm, and Garcia examined the cast which had been signed by most of the team. Names, signatures, and get-well wishes were scattered over the plaster in blue and black ink. Garcia rolled her eyes. "God, they're all so boring! You know, I could liven this up for you."
"That's okay, you don't have to -" Garcia pushed him into a chair.
"Sit, shut up, and eat some cookies while I work my magic. Now," she said, rummaging in one of her desk drawers, "let's see what I've got here . . . "
She pulled out a handful of stickers and began to sort throught them. "I think this one should go next to Elle's name, don't you?" A small black and white illustration of and angry looking girl with her arms folded defiantly proclaimed 'Bad Mood: Make Emily's Day'. "Elle's a no-nonsense kind of gal; I think it suits her."
"I'm not sure - what if she sees it and thinks I'm mocking her?" Reid asked. Garcia grinned mischievously.
"Being mocked might be good for her, you know, lighten her up a little." Spencer smiled and shook his head. Garcia and Elle had never really seen eye to eye - Elle was indeed very serious most of the time, and didn't seem to enjoy Garcia's lighthearted sense of fun as much as the others did.

He watched as Garcia stuck the scowling Emily next to Elle's name and began attaching tiny red, silver and blue stars around Hotch's neat signature.
"Because he's Captain America, right?" he asked.
"A-plus! I see my abstract brilliance isn't totally lost on you. Now for Gideon. . . " Garcia's fingers tapped the cast uncertainly. "Oh, who knows. I'm still not sure what to make of him," she said as she passed over the printed note. "JJ on the other hand. . . " Garcia located JJ's signature and placed some blue and purple butterfly stickers beside it. "I remember you told me she likes them," she said softly.

Reid bit his lip as he remembered that conversation. He hadn't seen his mother since he'd had the cast on. He'd told himself it was to avoid worrying her, but it was also (he winced with guilt as he admitted it to himself) that he hadn't wanted to tell the story over and over again. She was sure to forget the first time he explained it to her, and he didn't want to have to repeat the embarrassing anecdote. Everyone else knew how uncoordinated he was - like a clumsy puppy whose legs were too big for it. He didn't want his mother to know too.
He looked at Garcia, who added a final butterfly and sat back to survey her work. She hadn't asked why his Mom's signature didn't appear on the cast, and he was grateful for that.

"Hmmm, Derek Morgan. . . " Garcia murmured thoughtfully, perusing more of the stickers. She chose a design of a dopey-eyed Labrador with a huge bone in its mouth and affixed it beside Morgan's cheery message.
"Is that because he's a dog?" Reid asked, thinking back to his talk with Morgan. Garcia laughed merrily at his awkward attempt at street speak.
"Oh Reid, that expression was definitely not coined with your vernacular in mind! No, I thought it could represent Clooney. Besides, I'm running out of stickers." She picked up another sheet. "Or how about I add some of these?" She stuck several shiny pink, silver-lined hearts on. "Because he's so sweet." Reid coughed and swallowed his mouthful of cookie.
"Well, you may think so, but what's he going to say if he sees me wearing hearts around his name? He'll pummel me into the ground!" Garcia grinned again.
"Nah, he'd be flattered. Let him wonder, it'll boost his ego." She opened the drawer again and took out a dozen or so coloured pens. "And now for the final embellishments."
Reid protested weakly, but Garcia ignored him and thrust a pen under his nose. "You can still use your other hand, right?" He nodded and she handed him a file. "Okay then - do profiler stuff to that. I'll let you know when I'm finished."

Reid went to work on the case report, making notes and underlining sentences. When he looked up twenty minutes later, bright pictures filled the formerly empty spaces between the signatures and stickers. Suns and moons. A line of goldfish surrounded by rainbow-coloured bubbles. A sly black cat eyeing them hungrily. Cross-eyed black skulls. A pair of scissors with green and pink handles. A fluorescent purple car with glittered windows. Garcia's name was squeezed in between the cat and a train whose carriages trailed in a circle, a looped signature on the part that crossed his thumb.
"Okay. . . " she said, putting the finishing touches on an intricate picture of a robot. "You. . . are. . . done!" Garcia smiled brightly. The cast was more noticeable than before, but it was somehow less awkward with its warm, friendly colours. Reid smiled at Garcia.
"Thankyou, it looks great. I won't even mind wearing it now." She winked at him and held out the plate of cookies.
"Good. Now you can do me a favour - save me from myself and take the rest of these!" Reid laughed and took the last four cookies.
"Okay. And thanks again." Garcia waved, but she was already at her computer, staring intently at the monitor in front of her. Reid wandered back upstairs to the break room and leaned against the bench, examining his cast. He was chuckling at a picture of Kyle from Southpark when Morgan came in.
"Hey man, how's the wrist?" Reid held up his arm to show Morgan the drawings.
"Garcia," he explained. Morgan grinned over the rim of his coffee cup.
"I figured."

So there it is, my first CM fic. There's many more to come (23 in fact!), so please let me know what you think of this so I can improve my writing.