Suicide sometimes proceeds from cowardice, but not always; for cowardice sometimes prevents it; since as many live because they are afraid to die, as die because they are afraid to live.
-Charles Caleb Colton

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Chapter 15

The pain from the cut was making him weak. He really needed to do something to stop the bleeding, but he couldn't leave Hotch.

"Please wake up, Aaron," Reid pushed his hair off his face. He was shaking, knowing that this was all his stupid fault. If he hadn't been so self absorbed, so selfish, Aaron would not have fallen.

He held Aaron's hand to his forehead, rocking, whispering to him, pleading with him to wake up.

"It's ok, Spence. Let Morgan sit with him." Spencer looked up. He had not heard Morgan and Garcia come in.

Reid's eyes were huge, pleading.

"No! Let me stay with him!"

"It's all right, Spence," Garcia said, "Derek is with him."

Morgan was stooping next to Hotch, talking on his mobile.

"…one man down with a head injury, unconscious, another bleeding from an abdominal wound." He gave the address and broke the connection.

Garcia made Spencer sit on the hall floor. Reid was too upset to resist.

"It was m-my fault, Garcia. I p-pulled him down the stairs." He hung his head in misery. "He t-tried to stop me from…uh…"

"Just lay down, Spence." Reid lay down on his side, and allowed Garcia to inspect the wound.

"There is a piece of glass in it." She said. "Just don't move and stay like that until the ambulance gets here."

She looked around, puzzled. There was nothing broken, nothing to indicate where the glass had come from. She felt a surge of sadness as she looked down at Reid.
"I don't need an ambulance," said Reid, looking up at her.

"Yes you do!" Morgan said. "Just keep quiet and do as you are told!"

Morgan's stern words brought tears to Reid's eyes. "I'm s-so s-sorry."

Garcia ran to the kitchen and got a clean towel. She made a ring with it and held it to Reid's side. It wasn't bleeding so much now.

Reid was looking across to Aaron. "Is he ok?"

"I think he's coming round."

Aaron's eyes were fluttering open. He moved his hands to his face.

"Morgan?"

"I'm here, Hotch!"

"Yes, I know you are! I can see you!" He reached up and touched Derek's face. "I can see you!"

Aaron's face broke into a dazzling smile. He had a cut on his forehead, blood all over his face, and a nice bruise was beginning to show on his cheek.

But to Reid it was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen.

"You can see?" he said, his voice rising in pitch. "You're ok?"

He tried to get up, and Garcia pushed him down again.

"Don't you dare try to move, Spence. You have a nasty wound with glass in it. Stay right where you are."

Reid let himself be pushed back down. He had a happy smile on his face.

Hotch was ok!

He could see!

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Reid was lying on his side in a hospital cubicle. A three inch length of glass had been removed from his side, and he was now being stitched up by a nurse that wouldn't have looked out of place in a strongest man competition. It wasn't the gentlest stitching up procedure that he had ever experienced, but wryly he reckoned that he deserved it.

Any thoughts of self harm were gone out of his head. He glanced down at his forearms. How close he had been to finishing himself off. Aaron had saved him from that. Even though he was blind, he had stopped him. He felt tears gather in his eyes again.

"Sorry if this is hurting," the nurse said, voice like sandpaper. "Didn't mean to make you cry."

He was puzzled when Spencer Reid laughed.

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Aaron's x-ray showed no serious damage, just a cut, which a rather pretty nurse had stitched.

"I'll try not to hurt you." She smiled, holding his hair back off his forehead..

"You go ahead!" Aaron beamed at her. He wondered what Reid's nurse looked like. Probably some little cutie, making him all shy and stammery. His eyes twinkled at the thought. It would be good to actually see him again.

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Reid was sitting on the bed with his chest bare, a huge dressing on his side. When Hotch walked in un-aided, Spencer leaped off the bed, so excited, he didn't quite know what to do. His newly stitched wound sent a pain through him. He let out a yelp. Aaron put his arm out to steady him, but Reid was too thrilled to notice.

"You're ok? You don't need to stay in?"

Aaron smiled. "No, we're free to go." His smile faded slightly. "Are you all right though? How are you feeling?"

Spencer threw his arms around Aaron, and Aaron pulled Reid close.

"I feel great!" He pulled away and looked into Aaron's eyes. "I'm just so happy you can see!" Reid's face turned serious "Thank you for….well…you know…for stopping me."

Aaron's smile glowed. There wasn't really anything else to say.

They still had a way to go before they were fully recovered from their ordeal, but now they were both going in the right direction together, they would get there.

Aaron passed Spencer his shirt and cardie and helped him into them.

Reid took the watch out of his pocket and strapped it over his cuff. Hotch grinned. It used to annoy him, but now he couldn't understand why. It was just a Reidism, and Aaron had grown to appreciate him, even to find pleasure in those funny little ways!

Something new and special had grown between the two of them. Deeper than friendship, purer than love. Something unbreakable that a lifetime would not erode.

"Come on, Spencer, Morgan and Garcia are waiting for us outside."

Reid tucked his hair behind his ears.

Aaron put his arm round Reid's shoulder, and together they left the hospital into the waiting arms of their friends.