Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds. No copyright infringement is intended.
Reid pushed himself to his kitchen table with the swivel chair from his desk. He hadn't yet figured out how to carry a plate and a cup of coffee while balancing himself on crutches. He'd never been the most agile person but now he felt downright inept. He finally reached the table maneuvering himself with his good leg and placed the lidded plate and cup on the table. He'd learned from the spills that he'd had, once almost burning himself with hot coffee, that his plate and cup needed lids to prevent accidents. He opened the bottle of Tylenol and swallowed a couple of tablets before he set about eating the frozen dinner he'd heated in the microwave. He was chewing on a piece of chicken when the doorbell rang. Who'd be coming to see him now, he wondered, not that a lot of people came to see him at any time. He grabbed his crutches that leant precariously against the table and headed for the door calling out, "Coming," as he went.
He looked through the peephole to see Garcia's bespecled face, her curly blond pigtails sitting up high on her head. What was she doing here, he wondered? He fiddled clumsily with the doorknob and finally got it open. "Hi Garcia," he said, "sorry it took so long. What are you doing here at this time of night?"
"Can I come in," she said quietly, "or is it too late?"
"Of course you can come in," Reid hobbled out of the way to allow her entrance to the apartment. "To what do I owe the pleasure."
"I came bearing gifts," she held up the bag she'd been carrying. She reached inside and pulled out a cookie tin. "Cookies," she said, "got milk?" She headed towards the kitchen, noticing the half eaten TV dinner on the table. "Oh, you were just eating. Do you want me to…?"
"No Garcia, it wasn't very appetizing anyway but it's the only thing I can handle at the moment."
"Then go sit and I'll get us each a glass of milk." She carried on looking through his cupboards for glasses while he went into the living room and sat on the couch. The Tylenol was starting to take the edge off the pain somewhat.
"Garcia, you didn't have to make me cookies," Reid told her as she came back with a plateful of the treats and two glasses of milk.
"Yes I did," she said quietly as she sat down beside him. "I wanted to."
"What's wrong?" he asked as he bit into a cookie that was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside oozing gooey chocolate chips.
"Nothing's wrong babycakes," the computer tech replied brightly.
He looked at the woman he loved like a big sister. Her usual joviality was missing. "Garcia, I'm a profiler and even if I wasn't, I can see you're not yourself. Also you could have given me these tomorrow at the office. You never come to my apartment."
She waited a few minutes looking at the floor and then finally looked into his eyes, " I really messed up on the case today. I didn't look into Call's medical records to find out he was in a psychotic break. Hotch was so mad. He's never spoken to me like that before."
He'd heard about the incident from Morgan. "Garcia," Reid paused for a moment, choosing his words carefully. "None of us can expect Hotch to be exactly the same…ever. PTSD changes you, I know. When I first came back after Georgia it was hard to look at crime scene photos because I knew how the victims felt right before they died because I thought I was about to die. Now Hotch knows that too. It also put his family in danger. I know how that feels too. I was worried about my mother when Randall Garner was out there. But in my case both Tobias Hankel and Randall Garner are dead; they're no threat to me but Foyet's still out there and he's still very much a threat to Hotch and his family."
"Then he has to deal with what Foyet did to him. It's not easy to just go back to the way things were after you've been captured and tortured by someone. Hotch is stronger than any man I know but he's not made of steel. There's the physical injury but there's also damage to the psyche that he may never fully recover from. You doubt yourself; you ask yourself, why wasn't I stronger, how did I let this man get the better of me, how did I let him use me as the victim of his sick torture. I'm not the same as I was before Tobias Hankel. Sure, I've recovered physically and I'm functioning well but deep inside, I'll never be the same as I was. Hotch might not blink on the outside but that doesn't mean he doesn't feel it on the inside."
"Babycakes, you're as sweet as you always were," Garcia grabbed his hand.
"Thanks Garcia but I'm still not the same. You guys had to put up with me behaving very badly for a while. We have to do the same thing with Hotch. I wouldn't worry about what he said to you. He didn't mean to hurt you he was just trying to deal."
Garcia considered his words for a few moments. "Thanks sweetcheeks, I needed to hear you say that." Garcia reached over and took a cookie, "Milk and cookies, the perfect comfort food."
Reid nodded, "Especially when it comes with a good friend. He bit into another cookie, "Hmm, maybe I'll have to get shot more often."