Disclaimer: You already know I don't own it.
Note: Here it is! What you've all been waiting for! Again, I apologize for the cliffhanger, but I sort of couldn't resist. I've finally gotten a break from my evil teachers and have been able to finish the story! Hope you all like it!
Reid uncovered his eyes and stared at the sign in front of him. Garcia had taken him to a fair! A couple feet from the parking lot stood a daunting collection of brightly colored tents, flags, and various objects associated with the event. He had never been to a fair before, seeing how a mentally ill mother and no father couldn't possibly take him to one.
Feeling a little less scared, Reid gave Garcia a small smile. She had already begun to climb out of the car.
"Come on sweetie, you don't want to spend your time in the car, do ya?" Garcia was excited. From his expression, Reid had never been to a fair before, which she guessed as such. With his childhood, he most likely was never exposed to the nostalgic events that many hold dear. He was too busy caring for his poor mother and from what he shared with her, trying to find a cure for her.
Reid seemed a little more at ease than he did in the car, but Garcia noticed he still held back. She grinned because she knew Reid was mentally checking all that he knew about fairs to try to find out what to expect, but not all the facts on fairs in the world would prepare someone for what would happen. No experience was the same.
"Two tickets please," she announced to the teenager slouched over the ticket counter. He glanced over at them for a second, and then lazily said, "$6." He clearly didn't want to be there, especially with the charming, pink striped suit and hat. He must have only taken the job to pay for the mediocre expenses a teenager required, and maybe he didn't want the responsibility of a more demanding and less embarrassing job, so he ended up with this one. Garcia almost shook her head. Maybe all that working with profilers was starting to kick in.
As she handed over the money she noticed Reid starting to protest, then whipped around to face him.
"That's very considerate, but this is my treat to you. Anyways, I haven't been out for a while." Once the depressed teen handed over the tiny orange tickets, she grabbed Reid's shoulder and dragged him through the gate.
"We've got a lot to do, because there's a bunch for you to see."
Reid let her guide him to the large man collecting tickets at the gate entrance to the fair. He seemed to enjoy his job a lot more than the boy back there, and gave a warm smile to everyone that passed through as they dropped their ticket stubs into the small slit in the box in front of him.
"Enjoy your stay," he said warmly.
"Ooooo!" Garcia squealed. "Bumper cars! Have you ever been in a bumper car?"
Before Reid even had a chance to answer, he winced as she gripped his shoulder in the same exact spot as she did earlier and dragged him towards the ride.
The line wasn't very long, so their turn was next. Reid felt very sheepish, considering all the people in line other than him and Garcia and the parents, were at the most, 14 years younger than him. Plus, the cars looked to be extremely small, and he doubted whether or not he would fit in them.
Garcia glanced at him and frowned. "Reid, people never really stop being a kid. 'In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play'."
Reid concentrated for a split second before hastily answering, "Friedrich Nietzsche."
She grinned. "All right genius; you know the quote, now start applying it." At that point the line began to move and a female attendant with garb similar to the young teen at the ticket counter guided them through the minute lime green gate, her expression also matching the boy's.
"Please find a car, sit in it and buckle up, and then don't move until I say go," she said in a voice that was hearty, yet Reid could tell it was strained. She must have been working for a long duration of the day already, and he suspected that some of the previous riders had given her a hard time.
"I'll take this one," Garcia announced as she came upon a bright purple car that appeared to be an oversized computer mouse with a hole in the middle with a small means of seating. He himself chose the faded blue next to her.
It was quite an adventure for him to put his scrawny yet abnormally long legs in what tiny space was provided inside the computer mouse car, but he surprisingly accomplished it. As he focused his attention to the sparse controls available at his command, he felt a light tap on his shoulder.
"Buckle up please," the woman asked politely, a grin already tugging at her mouth.
Incredibly embarrassed, Reid complied while mumbling a brief apology. The attendant ambled over to the controls and pushed a button that turned the various traffic lights stationed around each corner of the track to green. Instantly Reid was bombarded by various jolts and bumps by Garcia's car, and a few of the kids here and there.
"Come on Reid!! Come and get me like a man!" Garcia yelled at him while speeding away as fast as the tiny contraption would take her. He immediately pushed on the gas pedal, not so much as to catch up with Garcia, but to avoid the other kids who were starting to make it a game to hit him as much as possible.
He awkwardly steered the tiny blue car after Garcia, and then made contact with the rear of the purple car, causing her to jolt forward. After the impact, Reid felt a strange, excited sensation. This feeling was usually caused by an adrenaline rush when he and the team were about to catch an unsub, or he was on the verge of a breakthrough with a case, but this time it was different; it was enjoyable. Reid didn't experience this feeling very often, in fact the only times he remembered perceiving this was when his friends surprised him with a birthday party, he asked JJ on a date to the Redskins' game, and when his mother acted almost normal and they were able to attend a movie or he listened in on one of her seminars.
However, the thrill was cut abruptly when Garcia whipped around and bumped into him. The seats of his car ironically didn't seem suited for comfort. Then the feeling surged through him again as he took off after Garcia and they laughed during their cat and mouse game they established.
Towards the end of the allotted time for the ride, Reid made an abrupt turn in an attempt to catch Garcia off guard, but due to his large size in comparison to the contraption that was built for children 1/3 his size, coupled with the fact that he was leaning too far to the left, the car fell over and Reid barely had time to catch himself with his hands as he toppled out halfway. He heard Garcia slam on the brakes of her car then practically tear the seatbelt off as she ran over to him.
"Reid!!!! Reid are you all right!" Perfect, just the thing to ruin the fun she had planned for herself and Reid. The last thing they both needed was a ride to the hospital for some broken bone or something. Besides, what would Gideon and Hotch say? Sure, Reid was the smarter one, but she was older and his supervisor in way; she was responsible for his well being.
To her surprise and relief, Reid pushed himself and the car off the ground and began laughing. It was one of the rare moments that he seemed to be genuinely happy and all the weight of his past was lifted off his face and looked to be an actual 24 year old enjoying himself.
Even if they went back now, Garcia would feel she had been successful.
"No Garcia, I'm all right. I've had worse," he announced in a cheery voice as he lifted himself out of the car. "A few scratches on my hands don't mean anything to me."
Garcia let out a considerable sigh and smiled back at him. Reid felt wonderful!!! Who knew that a simple fall and childish ride could be so enjoyable! He found himself not even caring about the many eyes that bore into his back which would ordinarily make him unbearably self-conscious and embarrassed.
"Come on sweetie, there's a whole lot more you need to see." Garcia helped himself untangle his legs from the inside of the tiny car, and then the female attendant let them out through another miniature lime green gate.
"Seems like you're a natural at bumper cars," Garcia gibed as she punched him playfully in the arm as they strolled through the crowd of people scrambling from one event to another. Reid just smiled and shook his head. He was about to ask her what else they would do when she held a finger up and commanded, "Wait right here, I'll be right back."
Puzzled, Reid could only stand and watch Garcia take off to his right. He hoped to discover where she was going, but was distracted by the sound of a little child's cry. He turned around and saw a little blonde girl and her mother a few feet from an ice cream stand, and on the ground next to the young girl was a fallen cone. She was pleading for her mother to buy her another one but the mother refused.
"Emma, I can't keep buying you treats if all you'll do is drop them!"
Spencer immediately ran over to the ice cream stand and purchased a chocolate chip ice cream cone (which he guessed was the flavor from the puddle of melted ice cream that lay on the ground) then kneeled down and gave it to the sniffling girl. The mother had been watching him the whole time and when she concluded the treat was safe for her daughter to eat, she nodded to Emma and gratefully mouthed a thank you to Reid.
Emma turned from her mother and looked at him inquiringly for a moment and then embraced him in only the way a child could. Reid was taken back for a second but then returned the hug. This was the reason he had such a soft spot for children. They, unlike some people he had the ill fortune to come in contact with, were eager to accept others and didn't seem to care whether or not you were popular or the best athlete or considered a geek or not.
"Thank you," she uttered in a sweet little voice, flashing him a warm smile that lit up her whole face. He returned the gesture by saying, "You're welcome," and then waved her goodbye as they walked away.
Reid was so deep in his drunken happiness that he didn't even notice Garcia come back. She had two large, pink clouds in her hands and thrust one at Reid. Unsure of what to do, Reid asked, "What is it?"
"Cotton candy silly! Ever had cotton candy before?" she asked in a mock incredulous voice. Reid knew she wasn't making fun of him, but he still felt somewhat ashamed.
"No. But did you know that it was originally called fairy floss? There is also an actual National Cotton Candy Day in America on December 7th, and it was introduced for the first time at Ringley Bros. Circus by Thomas Patton, but the invention of cotton candy is also credited to Josef Delarose Lascaux, John C. Wharton, and William Morrison."
Reid knew he probably shouldn't spout off random information like he usually did, with Garcia being so nice as to take him to the fair, but he felt like he had to make up for his shameful inexperience with the only thing he was good at. Truth was, it was the main reason he always said those things. To feel a little more at ease, Reid developed a habit of using his expansive knowledge as a means to fill in the hole of things he was unaccustomed to and had little experience in.
"Don't just stand there telling me the origins of it, just take a bite!" Garcia laughed.
"The whole thing?" Reid said amazed. "Do you know how much sugar is in this?"
Garcia shook her head. "No, but I'm sure you could tell me. Anyways, I've seen you put this much sugar in your coffee. Eat!" Then she chomped down on the top of her share, instructing him to do the same.
After a slight hesitation, Reid obediently took a small bite of the fluffy pink substance. He was amazed at how quickly it dissolved in his mouth, leaving behind a tantalizing taste of sugary sweetness.
"You like?" Reid only nodded as he enjoyed the delectable treat. Garcia chuckled. "Come on kiddo, we've got more games to play.
The game they participated in first was the Dunk Tank, and both he and Garcia were able to hit the target after a couple tries and they both cheered emphatically as the poor man fell into the chilling water.
The second game they tried was like a shooting range, only they had to hit the bull's eye target at least once to receive a prize. If they made the target all three tries, then they could choose one of the larger stuffed animals that were promptly displayed all around the booth.
Garcia went first, only hitting the target once and chose a pink, fluffy pen that she announced would be a beautiful addition to her computer sanctuary.
"Guess this shows why I never go on the raids with you guys," she joked.
Reid smiled and grasped the tiny plastic gun in his thin and bony hands, then held it up to his face. Hotch's voice echoed back to his mind from that long time ago when he had tried to help Reid pass his firearm test. " . . . three steps, focus on the front sight and not the target . . ." Reid focused. " . . . control trigger press . . . " He controlled it as best as he could considering it was a cheap, plastic imitation of a real gun. " . . . and follow through." That was the hardest one. He could never accurately follow through, because he always felt so self-conscious that he was so afraid of making a mistake and disappointing everyone that he over concentrated and didn't follow through.
However, when it was as important as saving all those hostages, and himself, he was able to do it. He knew that there was only one chance to disarming Phillip Dowd, and he couldn't miss. Plus, he was pretty angry about Dowd hurting him like that, and although he didn't mention it to Hotch, it did hurt when he kicked him. True, he really did kick like a nine year old girl, but that can still smart. But he didn't let Hotch know that; he felt bad enough already. There was no need to make him feel worse than he already did, and his idea was rather clever, to say the least.
Anyway, Reid did everything Hotch told him to do, and then fired three times. Each one hit the target. Garcia cheered and clapped him on his back, grinning manically.
"You never told me about your awesome shooting skills Reid! Wouldn't want to meet you on a raid. Looks like you could give Hotch a run for his money!"
The man at the booth gestured to stuffed animals on his shelf, looking slightly dejected. Reid pondered for a moment, and then pointed to the medium sized, fluffy, purple elephant. Once it was placed into his arms, he turned around to Garcia.
"Thank you for taking me to the fair," he said, feeling happy yet slightly embarrassed at the same time.
Garcia just gaped at it. She didn't expect Reid to give it to her! She just figured he might get it for JJ. He stood there, flashing such a sweet and innocent smile like a proud child who made something for his parents with the elephant stretched out in his hands. Reid looked so adorable and it just melted her heart.
"It's beautiful Reid," she finally forced out, giving him the biggest smile she could think of. To keep her image, she quickly said, "This is really sweet, but don't tell Morgan I said that, he might get jealous," she added in an undertone.
Reid gave her a genuine laugh again, which she hoped was starting to become a habit.
They then began going to as many games as they could, collecting various toys for their teammates, and a few for themselves. When it was all collected, Garcia told Reid to stand in line for the Fun House as she ran back to her car to dispose of all the prizes they had accumulated.
The Fun House was more fun than Reid initially thought, and he had even succeeded in scaring Garcia in the Hall of Mirrors. He could understand why Morgan enjoyed playing tricks on people every once and a while, it was incredibly entertaining!
To finish off the night Garcia insisted they ride the Ferris Wheel. Reid felt a little trepidation as they stood in line, and then once he and Garcia were strapped into the neon yellow chair, but once he experienced the view it all went away. Virginia was a spectacle to see at night, with all the city lights blaring through the dark cover of night. He had seen it time and time before on their various plane rides, but that view was obstructed by the width and length of the window. Up here, he could see for miles and look in ever direction he pleased. The stars were also amazing.
As they made their way back to the car, Reid gave Garcia an awkward yet meaningful hug.
"I had a wonderful time tonight," he began, "this was exactly what I needed."
Garcia looked up at him and smiled. "Me too Reid."
It really was exactly what he needed, because usually his nights were spent caved up in his house, without much to do because despite the massive accumulation of books in his house, it would take a short amount of time to read most of them, and the fact that he had read them already meant that they were engrained in his memory anyway. Countless nights he had sat there, contemplating calling Morgan or someone else on the team to go do something, but he was always afraid of interrupting their probably filled social calendar and didn't want to inconvenience them. However, maybe he would actually pick up the phone every now and again.
They made it back to headquarters as soon as everyone had finished their paperwork, and they eagerly accepted the gifts that they brought back. Morgan cracked up at the small nerf gun Reid had picked out for him and then proceeded to aim and shoot as many things as he could, Hotch thanked him for the stuffed bear they got for Jack, JJ hugged him when he presented the butterfly necklace he had found, Emily grinned and was a little surprised at the heart necklace Garcia presented her, and even Gideon couldn't suppress a tiny grin as they gave him a blue cap that said Baseball Fan.
Everyone listened intently as Reid excitedly described how their night went, and Garcia noticed Gideon staring at her, and once she looked at him he offered a slight nod that told her he approved and was his way of appreciation for what she had done for Reid. Ever since she messed up with the Fisher King, she had always been cautious around Gideon, because what he said really hurt, but now she knew she had gained his trust back.
"I think that after a long day, we should all go out to eat," Gideon announced, which was met with cheers from all around.
Well, there you have it. I hope that it meets your expectations, if not I apologize; I tried to make it the best I could. Thanks to all who reviewed and encouraged me to make it interesting!!!!!