Strauss and Strength
Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal minds.
'Some People care too much, I think it's called love'~ Winnie the Pooh
Emily had told the team that she would drive Reid home after his last chemo and stay with him. She pulled up to the front of the clinic where she saw him sitting alone on the concrete steps. He didn't see her at first. She took a moment to study him as he sat there. His posture was stooped like an old mans and he wore an stoney unreadible expression on his face. When he looked up and saw her, his entire visage changed immediately. He waved and gave her a weary smile as he got up and slowly made his way to her car.
"Draw the short straw again ?" he quipped as he got into the seat beside her.
"No silly, I wanted the afternoon off and I know Rossi left some fine expensive Scotch at your place," she teased.
He started to smile, but something else seemed to overwhelm him. He laid his head back against the headrest, he gave a small cough and wrinkled his nose.
"What's wrong?" she asked, concerned.
Reid shook his head. "I can smell pizza or something, don't worry about it,"
Emily silently cursed herself. She forgot how sensitive he had become to odors. She remembered not to wear cologne but forgot about the take-out pizza that was in her car the other day.
"Sorry Reid, are you going to throw up. do you need to get out of the car?" she asked worriedly
"No, no lets go home, I'll make it." He tried to smile at her in an effort to show her he was okay.
Emily rolled the windows down and they made it back to his apartment just in time for him to race to the bathrroom and throw up. She felt guilty; usually he lasted a lot longer before he began to feel sick.
He emerged from the bathrooom pale, sweaty and a trifle embarrassed looking.
"I think I need to lie down early today " he told her.
"Sure, I'll help you." Emily guided him into the bedroom and helped him off with his clothes til he clad was in nothing but a pair of baggy boxer shorts.
"You want a t-shirt?" she asked.
Reid nodded. He had stopped being shy about being unclothed a long time ago. A year ago, the old Spencer would have been mortified to have Emily see him in notrhing but his underware and there was no way would he have allowed her to help him dress. Cancer had done away with his modesty. He and Emily had an unspoken agreement between them. They were not agents Reid and Prentiss when they were in his apartment, they were Emily and Spencer.
She pulled a soft t-shirt over his head and gently pushed him down on the mattress. She stroked the hair out of his face.
"Did you take your anti emetics?" she asked. Spencer mumbled a yes.
Emily pulled a light blanket up to his chest "Good, maybe when your're feeling better, we can watch a DVD or I can heat you up some soup, ok?"
"Kay, " he answered in a small voice. He curled up on his side and closed his eyes.
She quietly walked to the living room. She scanned his bookcase; he had a massive selection of books to read. She pulled what she thought would be light reading and settled herself on his sofa. It was so quiet and comfortable that she barely made it past the second chapter before she was sound asleep.
The book Emily had been reading slipped from her hands and fell to the floor. The sudden movement and noise woke her up. She blinked and looked around the living room. The lights were on and clock on the wall told her it was 2:30 in the morning. She couldn't believe she had slept that long. Suddenly it occurred to her that Reid had not woken her up. Usually the sound of him getting up or even the retching sounds from the bathroom would rouse her instantly from the deepest sleep. She hurried to his bedroom; the lights were on but Reid's bed was empty.
"Reid, Spencer, where are you?".The bathroom was dark and the door was partially closed. She flicked the switch on, there on the floor lay Reid. He was curled up on his side and appeared to be fast asleep. Emily knelt beside him and gently shook his shoulder.
"Reid, wake up, why are you sleeping on the floor?"
He awoke and lifted his head. She could see dried tears on his face and knew it was because of the effort of vomiting.
"I was sick so many times it was easier to sleep here, plus the tile is nice and cool," he explained.
" Honey, I could have gotten you a bucket and put it beside your bed," she told him.
"That's gross," he said wrinkling his nose.
"Ok handsome, I'm putting you back in bed with a pail on the side, gross or not,"
Spencer let Emily help him supplied him with a fresh t-shirt and a glass of water to sip on. He groggily fell back against the pillows. Emily went into the living room, changed into a pair of pyjamas she kept in her go bag and returned to Spencer's room. She climbed into bed beside him. He opened his eyes and smiled gratefully at her. It was another one of their unspoken agreements. When he was having a really bad night she stayed in the same bed. He seemed to sleep better when she was there. They lay facing each other; his eyes were dark and worried.
"The chemo is going out with a bang this time." he said " It hasn't made me feel this ill in a long time,"
"It's the last one Reid, it's almost over," she said.
He turned over on his back and looked up at the ceiling ,"Yes, one way or the other it's almost over." speaking more to himself than to her.
She reached out and put her hand on his chest. "You'll feel better in the morning, Let's get some sleep,"
Reid nodded in agreement and both profilers turned over on their sides away from each other like they were trying to keep some sort of respectful distance. However once they were asleep, their bodies needing warmth and comfort seemed to find each other in the darkness. Emily woke up a few hours later with Spencer's back pressed up against her chest and her knees tucked into the back of his. One of her arms was wrapped around his waist while he held onto her hand.
It was still dark outside, not time to get up, she closed her eyes and went back to sleep, perfectly content.
Emily had told Spencer that he would be feeling better in the morning. Unfortunately, he felt worse. He wasn't throwing up as much due to the anti emetics but he woke up that morning with fever and chills and she could tell by the way he grimaced that he was in pain.
"Just a little achy," he told her when he saw her apprehension. She managed to get him to drink some gingerale and was relieved when it didn't come back up. He stayed in bed and dozed on and off.
At 3:00 oclock in the afternoon Rossi showed up at the door holding a thermos full of what he called his 'famous homemade chicken soup'.
"This soup has been passed down through generations of Rossi's " He began but stopped when he saw the look on Prentiss's face.
"Hey, what's wrong?" She looked frightened and he didn't like it. "Emily?"
Emily shook her head and sat down on the sofa. "I'm sorry, he had a really bad night, he's so sick. He has a fever, he's in pain, he won't let me call his doctor. I don't know what to do for him..." She threw her hands in the air in frustration.
David sat down beside her and took her hand. "He'll get through this Emily. He hasn't come this far to get knocked out by one chemo treatment. Look, you are probably exhausted too. He had to delay this last chemo because he was getting treatment in the hospital. His immune system is just fighting extra hard. I'll make us a pot of coffee and when it's a bit later we'll switch to something stronger, alright ?" he said and winked at her.
Emily gave him a tired smile. "You know all of the right things to say agent Rossi,"
"That's not what my ex wives used to say."
Emily laughed and for the first time in the last 12 hours she felt some of the tension leave her body.
Rossi stayed and chatted with Emily til they heard Reid stirring in the other room. Prentiss was about to get up when Rossi motioned for her to stay put. He reheated his soup and went into Reid's bedroom. Spencer sitting up in bed looked surprised to see him.
"David, hi." he said weakly.
Rossi had to agree with Prentiss. He did look worse. His eyes were darker and more sunken than Rossi had ever seen them.
"I brought you some soup," Rossi said holding up the large steaming mug.
Reid winced, he couldn't believe Rossi was even suggesting food.
"Thanks but I'll have some later, I don't think I have the energy to eat." He was telling the truth, even lifting his arms seemed like a supreme effort.
Rossi scowled slightly and sat on the side of the bed.
"Reid, I don't think you understand, this just isn't any ordinary soup. This is my famous homemade chicken soup passed down through generations of Rossi's. No one says no to this soup." he explained. He placed a napkin on Reids lap.
"Rossi really I..."
"Do you think this is a easy recipe, no it takes hours to make, it has been simmered to perfection," David continued. He pulled a soup spoon out of his breast pocket.
Spencer realized he wasn't going to win this one.
"Alright, just a bit but you don't have to feed me I'm capable of...,'' Reid began.
Before he could finish his sentence Rossi was holding up the soup filled spoon and offering it to him. Spencer complied by taking a large mouthful.
"Resistence is futile," Rossi said with a grin.
Reid would have argued with him but the fact was the soup really was delicious. It tasted wonderful and he felt a warm glow spread through his body.
David continued to feed him until the mug was nearly empty.
"Reid laid his hand on his stomach and looked at Rossi in wonderment.
"I actually feel better, what's in that stuff,? he asked.
Rossi arched an eyebrow at him "That is an old family secret," he said setting the mug down.
Spencer leaned back against his headboard. He felt better but he still felt weak, Hopefully he didn't have to do this anymore. It was difficult to keep all the dark thoughts that swirled around in his mind at bay. He saw Rossi staring at him.
"What's going on up there? " David asked, noticing the sad expression on the young man's face.
"I'm thinking about all the things I've never done," He answered.
"All of us have things we've never done." said Rossi.
"I've never had sex," Reid stated.
Rossi looked at him blandly."I'm sorry Reid, but feeding you soup is as far as I'm willing to go."
Reid erupted into laughter, giving Rossi the result he wanted.
Prentiss entered the room surprised to see Reid giggling.
"Wow, that must be really good soup, may I have some?" she said. Rossi gave her a big smile.
"Emily, I don't have to go back into the BAU today. I have a collection of Marx Brothers films, how about get them and we'll have a marathon."
"I love the Marx brothers, Reid, have you seen their films?" Emily asked.
Reid shook his head no.
"See, there you go, something new for you," Rossi enthused.
Spencer began to laugh again. Emily just looked at the two men in puzzlement.
By the evening, Spencer managed to haul himself out of bed and onto the couch between Rossi and Prentiss. The movie marathon didn't last long as Reid fell asleep in the middle of "Horse feathers,"
The two older agents managed to get him back in bed and tucked in. When Reid mumbled "Are you coming to bed soon Emily?" it caused Rossi to raise his eyebrows a little but he said nothing, it was none of his business. He noticed a slight blush on Emily's face.
"Thank you for coming today," Emily said as she walked him to the door.
"Anytime," He told her.
They bade each other goodnight. Emily spent a little time straightening up the apartment, then changed for bed. She looked at Reid's still form. He seemed more restful tonight and his fever had broken. She got into bed beside him and instead of scooting away to the edge she took his hand in hers.
Goodnight Emily " He whispered.
Spencer was still queasy the next morning but not too ill to ask for Coffee. The two friends sat together in a comfortable silence having their first cup of the day when Emily's iphone went off. It was JJ sending a text.
"Damn!" Emily muttered.
"What's up," asked Reid.
"We have a case, I'm afraid I have to go now, JJ wants the team to meet on the jet." she looked at him apolegeticly.
"Emily, I'm much better now, go, Hotch needs you." he said.
"I'm getting Garcia to check in every day "
"I know, I will call her too. Rossi left his famous soup so I wont starve. I've done this before you know,"
Reid fixed his eyes on her. "Hotch needs you,"
She began to gather up her things She wanted to go to work but wanted to stay with Spencer at the same time. The feelings she was having were confusing. She thought it might better if she were away from him for a little while. He stood and she gave him a gentle hug and promised or rather threatened that Garcia would be checking in frequently.
His soft Hazel eyes gazed into hers "Thank you Emily, for everything,"
Her stomach did a flip "What's wrong with me" she thought.
It would be a long time before that question was answered. Emily left his apartment and headed off to the airport
For Reid the next few days were uneventful. He was starting to feel a little more like himself He threw up maybe once or twice a day but for the most part he felt better. He managed to shower and dress and forced himself to eat a little at each meal .Garcia called several times a day and he called her. The team were still in Nebraska hunting their unsub so the calls between them were few and far between.
It was nearly a week later when a persistant knocking on his door roused Reid. He had been relaxing on the couch reading and sipping tea. He slowly got up from the sofa when the rapping started again.
"Hold on, I'm coming," he said. He felt a little leery. The team was still away and he had only spoken to Garcia ten minutes ago. He felt slightly shocked when he peered through the peephole. He opened the door immediately.
"Dr Reid, said the cold familiar voice.
AN: Please read and review. I will do my best to get the next chapter up soon. Thank you for all your reviews last chapter.