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Reid knew it was the furthest thing from a smart move. Or what was considered smart by him, anyways, since it tended to differ largely from what was defined as smart by others. But, for this point, he thought that everyone would have agreed that it wasn't smart at all.
"Really, honey, it was so sweet of Morgan to say it," Garcia gushed, her eyes soft and aglow with a light that Reid connected to those girls who chased after Morgan, wearing too tiny skirts and too much make-up. "Really, he said he loved me. He's never- he's never said that before."
Reid smiled at her, because she had just gotten shot, and let her continue, since she was in no mood to let it go. He didn't know what had made Morgan tell Garcia that he loved her, probably the thought of losing his best friend, but it had kept Garcia bubbly through the week.
He was seated on a table in her room, since there was no case right now, only paperwork that Reid himself had completed days ago. "Absolutely gorgeous, he is, I tell you Reid, it was almost, just almost, worth it," she looked up at him and Reid forced another smile at her.
"That's really, really sweet of him," he said, although the words sounded strained even to his own ears. Garcia didn't notice though, preoccupied with thoughts of Morgan and the words he'd said –how could three words have such a profound effect on a human being he didn't know—without really listening to Reid.
She continued for a while longer, Reid nodding where he was supposed to, smiling throughout the entire thing, and making soft noises as was called of him in his current role as friend, since Garcia was gushing about her best friend.
Rhodium, 102.90550 g of weight, 12.41g/cm3 of density, melting point of 2237K, boiling point of 3968K.
"Of course, I absolutely don't know what I'm going to do now, because you know that deserves something, right?" Reid made a sound and Garcia continued. "I don't know where to start, or what to do, because Derek deserves so much more-"
Palladium, 106.24g of weight, 12.023g/cm3 of density, melting point of 128.05K, boiling point of 3236K.
"So, I'm thinking, maybe we should try to have a huge party, except Morgan doesn't have that many friends outside of us, and it's not like he has the names of all the girls he knows with him or anything," Reid absent-mindedly nodded his head in agreement. "Exactly, so if we did, it would just be the team-"
Silver, 107.8682g of weight, 10.49g/cm3 of density, melting point of 1234.93K, boiling point of 2345K.
"Reid?" He looked up at the sound of his name. Garcia was looking at him curiously, a look he recognized as the one of his being ousted.
He blushed lightly, "Yes?"
"You haven't been listening to me," Garcia didn't sound accusing, more worried than anything. "What's wrong, honey?"
"Nothing, nothing's wrong, I'm perfectly fine," Reid said unconvincingly, smiling at the girl. She noticed the strain this time though.
"No, you can't lie to The All Knowing in the Office of All Knowing," she grinned, and Reid gave her an honest smile.
"Really, it's nothing, you shouldn't worry yourself, especially not now, you just got back, and everything's supposed to be light for you, you shouldn't be stressed. Did you know that 13.6% of all working individuals thought their job was very or extremely stressful? You could actually fall under that category since you'r-"
"Honey, you shouldn't try to distract me, it won't work as well as it does with Morgan, you know," she shook her head.
"Nothing, Garcia," Reid tried, shifting back as the woman rolled nearer, too near for his comfort, in that chair of hers.
Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others, Mark Twain. He sometimes thought that each person on the team was a genius.
Garcia definitely was.
"Come on, Spency," Reid's flow of thoughts stopped. Spency? "Tell me what you think, go on, I won't judge." Reid resisted the urge to snort, mainly because it wasn't etiquette befitting of him. Garcia would be the last person to judge anyone, both because she was too nice to and, well, she was too nice to.
"Nothing, Garcia," Reid insisted, his back hitting the wall with a hollow thud. It reminded Reid solemnly of warnings given before the apocalypse struck.
"Spency, Spency, Spency, didn't I tell you not to lie to me?" Garcia shook her head sadly. "Now, I'll have to figure it out, by myself," she said. Reid wondered which was worse, letting her guess or telling her the truth. "You like Morgan."
That was fast.
Something in Reid's expression must have shown his surprise –and embarrassment, and humiliation, and absolute jealousy— since Garcia proceeded to squeal. Although he refused to call it jealousy because it suggested that he actually liked Morgan, and he definitely did not.
Reid had watched reality shows with singers and dancers, all of whom had throngs of fans who screamed at the mere sight of them. He didn't understand the fascination –the Profiler in him did, but the person in him couldn't be bothered—and he never really liked the screaming. The pitch of Garcia's squealing only reminded him why he never watched the shows in question. Far too high, and far too loud.
Reid, slightly clumsily, lunged forward to cover her mouth, eyes shifting towards the door, which remained mercifully shut. "What are you doing?" he whispered, "Are you trying to get me fired?" Garcia's eyes widened, as though the possibility had only just occurred to her. "Now, do you promise to keep quiet if I remove my hand? And don't nod," he added quickly. "Just blink once." Garcia seemed confused at that instruction, but she blinked obediently. Reid was not keen on telling her that in the position he was in, even the slightest change in position of her head would have released his hold on her.
The yoga lessons paid off though, he thought, untangling himself. "Good, now stop squealing. You sound like a fan girl."
"You actually know what a fan girl is?" Garcia asked, voice low, accepting the fact that he was smart but not realizing that it spread beyond the books. "Anyways, you like Morgan? You have the hots for Derek? You totally die at the sight of the one and only Derek Morgan?" she said, voice growing slightly louder with each question, although she became quieter at the frantic motions Reid made with his hands.
"No, I don't," Reid protested, far too late for it to be considered effective in the least.
"Might have worked if you weren't red, Spency," Garcia grinned unapologetically.
"And why are you calling me Spency?" Reid asked, slightly frustrated, nicknames weren't his thing. He had survived too many years of 'Four-Eyes' and 'Faggot' and too many others to actually want one.
"Because, I can't call you Pretty Boy or Genius or your boyfriend," she stressed the word with relish, "Would get jealous."
"I don't have a boyfriend," Reid said automatically. "And I'm not gay."
Garcia ignored the second comment, which was a lie if there ever was one, to see to the first instead, "You will very soon, Morgan deserves you," she nodded. "I can tell, female intuition."
"Actually, it's said that men are more intuitive than women. In a study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire, 72% of men were able to-"
"Spency," Garcia interrupted loudly. "How are you going to get my Sugar Pie without listening to me?"
Reid blinked, not knowing what Garcia meant, and slightly unnerved at not knowing what Garcia meant, since it wasn't common for him not to know anything. "What?"
"Well, as lovely as you are, Spency, you're going to need a lot of work to get him," she patted his head in a motherly fashion. "Now, we'll need to do work, but don't you worry, we'll get you all fixed up and ready to go in no time." She patted his cheek then. "Of course, I'll have to do a bit of shopping, and when was the last time you cut your hair?" Reid self-consciously raised his hand to smooth down his hair, "And, those nails," she grabbed his hands. "You don't bite your fingernails do you?" She looked up at him suspiciously.
"No," Reid said, not sure why he was answering, but not willing to provoke Garcia, who was still formidable at her worst.
"Well, still have to get them done," she said, mumbling things to herself that Reid didn't think he wanted to hear.
"Right, Garcia," he tried to pull his hand away, but she was stronger than she seemed. He tugged at it harder, fell back slightly, and jumped off the desk, putting distance between them. "I don't think we're on the same page here," he said, raising his hands in surrender, "Maybe we should talk things through first."
"There's nothing to talk about Spency, I only need to make a list, give it a name, and things will be ready to go," she said, pumping her fist into the air victoriously.
"For what to be on the go?" Reid frowned.
Garcia mumbled to herself for a while longer. "12, 12 is a good number, lucky number," Reid heard her say.
"Actually, there isn't such a thing as a lucky number. Although, some people have such deep fear of some numbers considered unlucky. Like, there are people who are afraid of the number 13, it's called triskaidekaphobia, and-"
"I've got it!" Garcia announced, standing up abruptly. Reid took a few steps back cautiously.
"Got what?" he asked, frowning slightly.
"The 12 Steps To Attracting Angel Cheeks," she grinned. "Although, since we don't want everyone to hear it, we'll call it The 12 Steps To AA, or maybe just AA, in public."
Reid gave her two seconds, but she still didn't seem to understand. "You make me sound like an alcoholic," Reid said. "Really, AA? 12 Steps?"
Garcia frowned. "I didn't see that." Reid's brow rose. He didn't understand how anyone could miss that. "Well, we'll be quiet about it."
"Wait, but Garcia, I haven't even agreed to thi-"
Garcia promptly pushed Reid out of her office, closing the door behind her. She rubbed her hands together gleefully.
"Now, I just need to figure out the 12 steps."
Step One: Find A Common Interest
"Reid," Garcia said soothingly, since calm was not exactly what Reid was after Garcia had pulled him into her office earlier. "The first step is easy. Frighteningly simple, even you should be able to do it."
"I don't know, Garcia-"
"Spency!" Garcia said, rubbing his head soothingly. "Calm down."
Reid took deep breaths, in and out, trying to steady his heart rate.
"And don't recite the periodic table or whatever in your head, it's really weird," Garcia added. Reid wondered how she had gained the uncanny ability to read his mind. "Go on," she pulled him up with the pure energy in her, "You can do it Spency! After all, you've known the guy for years, and you only have to find one common interest."
Reid walked out, reciting the periodic table in his head again. He wasn't in Garcia's office anymore, so he didn't think her influence spread that far.
He stopped abruptly in his tracks at the sight of Morgan, lounging casually on his chair, talking to JJ and Emily. He couldn't hear what they were talking about, but from the excessive hand motions by JJ and the soft expression on her face, he guessed it was about Henry. He felt a surge of pride at the thought of his godson; he smiled, knowing he looked slightly goofy.
"Hey," he said, walking towards them.
"Pretty Boy," Morgan grinned, and JJ moved over so that he could sit next to her on the table. She smiled, enough of a greeting from her.
"Hey, Reid," Emily said, moving her chair away slightly.
"What are you guys doing?" he asked.
"Nothing," Morgan said. "So, why'd you go to Garcia and come back looking like you were reciting the periodic table in your head?"
Reid frowned, "Does everyone know I do that?"
"Yes," JJ grinned, nudging him teasingly.
"So," Morgan said, unwilling to be deterred –Reid, not affectionately, labeled him a stubborn mule in his mind—continued, "What went on in Garcia's?"
"Nothing," Reid said, and, seeing Morgan's disbelieving look. "Really, she badgered me some and then stopped."
Morgan snorted. "Garcia does not stop, she's Garcia," he stated, as though it explained everything. Strangely, it did.
"Well, I can be persuasive," Reid said, crossing his arms. "Even with Garcia."
"No one is that persuasive, I mean, I've tried," Morgan said.
"And you think I can't do it just because you failed?" Reid asked.
Reid tried not to roll his eyes, because it was childish. "Well, I could. So there." He almost failed at not sticking out his tongue, but a hand on his arm stopped him. JJ looked at him with obvious amusement, as though knowing what he wanted to do.
Emily laughed and rolled her chair away. "You guys are like kids."
"I am not," Reid frowned. "A child would-"
"Don't start," Morgan interjected before he could continue.
"I was only about to-"
"I don't think we need to know either way," Morgan said.
"And, if we do, Reid," JJ said, soothing the situation with the tact of a mother, "You'll be here to let us know." She smiled at him again, kindly this time, before walking towards her own room.
Leaving Reid and Morgan alone, Reid realized.
That fact infused an amount of tension –one-sided but still present— into the situation.
"So, kid," the word made Reid feel unreasonably angry, "What were you doing with Garcia?"
"Nothing," Reid snapped, although he regretted the tone when Morgan rolled back a little, his brow raised. "And don't call me kid."
"You are a kid, kid," Morgan grinned, but he let it slide. "Reid," he said, with such deliberation that Reid felt silly even pointing it out in the first place, which was probably what Morgan wanted him to feel. "What were you and Garcia up to?"
"Nothing," Reid said, tone neutral, although he could feel his cheeks heat.
"Yeah, right," Morgan said, and Reid didn't blame him for the disbelief.
"I swear nothing happened," Reid tried, this time adopting a neutral everything, schooling his body like he did in school.
Morgan looked at him strangely, but he acceded. "Fine, if you're sure, because Garcia's man doesn't need a genius hanging around to steal her," he said, teasing him.
Reid felt his throat choke. If that was what Morgan thought he was doing, failure was imminent.
"Actually," he heard himself say, "We are doing something. A project of sorts, and I've just thought of something." Reid fled from the scene, feeling like every guilty suspect they had ever caught.
He slammed the door behind him when he entered Garcia's office.
She caught him and dragged him to a seat, practically hopping with glee. "Well, did you find your common interest?"
"Yeah," Reid said weakly.
"Well? What is it? Don't keep me waiting," she was hopping now. It was that or Reid's vision was getting messed up. He liked to think it was the former.
"You," he answered.
Garcia stopped moving. "Me?"
"He thinks- he thinks," Reid coughed in an attempt to clear his throat, "That I like you."
"Me?" Garcia opened her mouth as though to start on a rant, then closed it. "And is the thought of liking me so repulsive to warrant this reaction?" She waved a hand at him.
"No," he was quick to assure her. "But, that means he still thinks I'm straight, and so is he, and now he probably hates me for liking you, and he's going to tell Kevin, then Kevin will hate me too, then he'll break up with you, and then you'll hate me, then-"
"Whoa, Reid, calm down," Garcia said, rubbing a hand along his arm. "Don't hyperventilate, and don't talk either."
Reid complied with the instructions.
"First, I am not a common interest, got it? So you have failed with the First Step. But, do not worry, there are 11 more, and you will do them well," she glared at him, "So you will accomplish your goal anyways."
"No buts, we will do this," Garcia said firmly, with enough conviction for the both of them. "And, while I figure out the Second Step, you keep on trying with the first. Me, I swear, you really are quite dumb for a genius."
"That's an inherent contradiction," Reid said quickly.
"Well, it's also a fact. But, we will get somewhere. Now, maybe he'll get jealous," Garcia said. Then she stopped, and thought, "That's it." She mumbled to herself a little longer, and if this was going to be a habit Reid thought it wise to warn her that she looked like a lunatic, nodding occasionally. "You can go," she waved at the door.
"But what about Morgan?"
Garcia smiled, "Don't worry about Morgan, I'll take care of him."
"Okay," Reid walked towards the door, opening it. He turned back at the last second and grinned, "Work some magic."
Step Two: Hold A Conversation For 5 Minutes
"Now, Spency, you've known Morgan for years, so this part should be no trouble," Garcia said soothingly.
"It doesn't matter how long you've known a person, actually. Two people can know each other for years without once speaking to each other," Reid said.
"But you've spoken to him too," Garcia said, "And that counts for something. And nothing you say is going to change my mind, so don't bother," she added the last part firmly, watching his mouth open. He shut it abruptly and nodded, deciding it would be wiser to listen to her.
"We have nothing in common," he pointed out.
"Which is why you should have found that something yesterday," Garcia reminded him sternly, more like a teacher than anything right now.
"Don't technically me boy, you are going to talk with Morgan for 5 whole minutes if it kills you, got it?" He nodded. "Good, now get your ass out of here."
Reid stood up and walked out.
Only when he was outside did he realize what a puppet he was becoming. But, in his defence, Garcia had that sort of an influence on people.
He saw Morgan taking a drink of coffee and took a deep breath. He was a genius, if he couldn't do this, no one could. Well, the pretty girls in the bars could, and the other members of the team could, and so could the families of the victims, and just about everyone else Morgan met. Reid faltered, but started at a slight poke at his back. He turned to see Garcia had followed him and was now sitting at his desk, nodding furiously, making shooing hand gestures and mouthing the word 'Go'.
No question what she wanted him to do.
"Morgan," he started.
Morgan turned to look at him and grinned, "Hey Reid. Want a cup?" he offered.
Reid started to shake his head but stopped himself, "Actually, yes, I would, thank you."
Morgan moved around, pouring the coffee, "Three sugars, right?"
"Right," he nodded.
"Here," he took the cup from Morgan's hand, and felt slight regret that their fingers didn't brush and create a burst of electricity like they did in the stories.
"Thanks," he said softly, sipping at the drink, almost feeling the strength in him at the drink. He leaned against the counter as casually as he could. "So," he started.
"So," Morgan said, leaning next to him.
There was a, too long, stretch of silence, now uncomfortable or uneasy, as they drank their coffee. Reid had no idea what to say.
"I'm not into Garcia," he said, the first thing he could think of.
Morgan paused, then nodded, "Okay. I didn't think you were."
Reid frowned, "But, yesterday, you said-"
"I was just teasing you, you wouldn't take another man's lady," Morgan said. "A Pretty Boy like you isn't Garcia's taste anyways."
"And you know her taste how?" he asked, sincerely curious about the mastermind behind the matchmaking.
"It's simple, you're a profiler, right?" Morgan said, "She likes her men with more meat than you."
Reid looked down at himself self-consciously. "I have enough meat," he said, with hints of protest.
Morgan laughed, "For a genius, you really need to know what enough meat is. You need to eat, boy. Get some food in your stomach instead of just this," he tapped the coffee.
"I like coffee," Reid said.
"Yeah, and I think your body would like real food," Morgan retorted.
"And I do eat food," Reid pointed out.
"Just not enough," Morgan said quickly.
Reid let out a soft laugh. "Are you ever going to let this go?"
"How are you going to pick up the girls if you're skinnier than all of them?" Morgan asked reasonably. "And don't give me stats on the weight of women, Reid, please."
"I wasn't going to," Reid lied.
Morgan stared at him with a raised brow.
"Well, maybe I was," he admitted, "But they are quite interesting, you know."
"Man, what you think is interesting and what really is interesting are two different things," Morgan said laughing, without any cruelty. "Some of the stuff, yeah, but the others, not so much."
Reid laughed. "What sort of stats are interesting to you?"
"The sort that get me 20 bucks on a bet on racing," Morgan said, not so subtly hinting.
Reid smiled. "The sort that lets me win every time, you mean."
Morgan's eyes widened. "Pretty Boy bets?"
"If I'm really bored," Reid shrugged. "I usually read, but the data involved in racing is actually fascinating. Did you know that the number of-" Reid stopped himself, then smiled. "Wait, that's boring right?"
Morgan punched him on the arm, lightly of course. "Man, you really have to give me those numbers some day."
"Maybe," Reid said, sipping at his coffee.
"Maybe not?" Morgan added.
"See, I never understood the inclusion of that. The word maybe already suggests a 50% probability, since it's either a 'Yes' or a 'No'. Now, by adding maybe not, it's like you're further reducing that possibility-"
"To 25%?" Morgan said. "I can do math too, you know," he said at Reid's expression. "Might not be a genius, but I'm not dumb either."
"Of course," Reid said, rushing, "I've never thought of you as dumb, or anyone here as dumb actually. You're all extremely proficient in your own distinct-"
"Reid," Morgan interrupted. "Chill."
Reid calmed. Funny how one word by Morgan could make him so calm but a rush of words by Garcia, or anyone really, didn't give that same effect.
"I know you like me," Morgan said, still using that patient tone. Reid froze at the words, but relaxed when Morgan continued, "I know you like everyone on the team. So don't worry."
"Yes, I wasn't exactly worried," Reid stuttered slightly, then stopped, blushing slightly. "Yes, well, I don't."
Morgan laughed loudly, "Genius, you think too much."
"Reid, Morgan," JJ called, walking into the meeting room.
Morgan gulped down the remainders of his coffee and walked ahead. When Reid didn't follow him, he turned back. "You coming?"
"Yeah, you go ahead," Reid said, and Morgan walked ahead.
Garcia pounced on him the moment he was gone. "That wasn't 5 minutes!"
"Garcia, we have a case-"
"It was 4 minutes and 53 seconds, which is close enough," Garcia continued.
"You were timing us?"
"And you got him to laugh, good. You go do your case, Spency, and we'll meet later." Garcia pushed him towards the stairs and Reid blinked and walked. He didn't think he would ever understand her; he wasn't sure he wanted to.
Step Three: Touch Him
The unsub had been caught, and Reid was walking into the BAU, groggy and in desperate need of coffee, when Garcia caught him.
"Spency," she shoved a cup of coffee into his hand before he could complain, "Come on." She pulled him along with her. "The third step is simple, you just have to touch him."
"Touch him?" Reid forced his feet to stop them both.
"Yes, touch hi-" Garcia looked at him, then she smirked. "Oh, Spency, get your mind out of the gutter."
"It wasn't in there!" Reid protested, but he knew he was turning red.
"By touching, you don't need to get that up close and personal –that's not until much later, don't worry—but just touch him. Put a hand on his shoulder or on his lap or something," Garcia suggested.
"I guess I can do that," Reid said slowly.
"That's my boy," Garcia patted him on the back. "Now, go on, do your thang."
Reid frowned. "Thang?"
"Just touch him, Spency," Garcia said, and she walked towards her own office, leaving him standing dumbly near Morgan's desk.
"Genius?" Morgan asked, looking at him curiously. "What are you doing?"
"Nothing," Reid answered, moving towards him. "You?"
"Just clearing up the paperwork," he pointed to the pile of papers on his desk. "Let me guess, you're already finished."
Reid managed to smile, "Yes, actually, I was bored a while back."
He laughed this time, "No racing. Just paperwork."
"That case today was a piece of work, right?" Morgan said, rubbing his head tiredly.
Reid nodded in agreement. "We caught him, though. That's good right," he said, slightly hesitant.
Morgan shrugged. "Maybe not good enough."
"We couldn't have done anything more," Reid frowned.
"If we'd worked faster, we could have saved that woman," Morgan said with obvious frustration.
"Or he might have killed her faster," Reid said.
Morgan shook his head, not answering.
"Don't blame yourself for this, you couldn't have changed a thing," Reid said with sudden insight. "No one could have. We tried our best, and we did our jobs. We caught the guy, and he won't be able to look at another woman again, much less kill one."
Morgan smiled weakly. "You our new psych?"
"I do have an undergraduate degree in psychology," Reid pointed out.
"Yeah, I forgot about that," Morgan smiled at him widely.
"Really? I thought I told you often enough," Reid said teasingly.
Morgan suddenly stopped, and looked carefully at Reid. Or, more specifically, what was in Reid's hand.
"That coffee?" Morgan asked, looking at the cup. Not looking , more like staring, fixating.
Reid bit his lip, then he held it out, "Do you want some?"
Morgan looked surprised, and Reid didn't blame him. He was known to be protective of his coffee. "Really?" he asked, looking at the coffee eagerly.
Reid thought about it carefully, but if he were ever going to please Garcia in the AA mission, he would have to make sacrifices. Even if it was coffee.
"Yeah, sure," he handed the cup to Morgan, who managed to have his fingers close on thin air, and Reid watched with wide eyes as it fell.
Onto Morgan's lap.
Reid was so attentive that his coffee –the last bit of coffee he could get now— was gone, never to return, that he didn't realize for minutes where it had actually landed.
"My coffee," he said with pure horror in his voice.
"My pants," Morgan said, with as much horror.
"My coffee," Reid said again, bemoaning its loss. "Gone."
"My pants," Morgan stressed, glaring at him. "Gone."
"Coffee," Reid said, glaring at the man. He crossed his arms in defiance. He had done nothing.
"Pants," Morgan said, glaring even harder. He didn't stand up though, since the coffee would spill over.
Reid stared at him for a while longer before he broke away, grabbing pieces of tissue paper. He passed a few to Morgan, and then knelt down, wiping up the floor. Morgan rubbed at his pants, the tissue becoming soaked within seconds.
"I can't believe you spilt coffee on my good pants, man," Morgan complained.
"Me?" Reid looked up at him. "You're the prat who spilled my coffee." He tried not to pout –a habit he had had until 12, at which point it had been beaten out of him—but he thought that he had failed. He ducked his face, cleaning the last traces of coffee from the floor.
He needed his coffee, and he didn't have any now.
He heard Morgan sigh. "Reid." He didn't respond. "Reid, come on, man." He was wiping at a clean floor. "I'm sorry about your coffee, okay?" Reid smiled, although he kept his face lowered towards the floor. "Could you please answer?" Reid tried not to laugh too obviously. "Reid."
Morgan pulled him up, and Reid started laughing.
"That wasn't funny, I got worried," Morgan frowned. Reid laughed harder. "Honest, Genius, you got me scared." Reid gripped his stomach and was bent over laughing, grateful that he was already kneeling on the floor. "Ass." Reid's laughs slowed to a stop.
"Oh, I can't believe you fell for that," Reid grinned.
"Whatever," Morgan couldn't hide his smile fully. "You ruined my pants, you know."
Reid used the last of the tissue to rub at the spot, which, in the brown, was already fading. "Hmm, is this polyester?"
"Yes," Morgan said in a tight voice. Reid looked up.
"Something wrong?" he asked innocently.
"No, nothing," Morgan said with a forced grin. "But you owe me new pants."
Reid rolled his eyes, rubbing at the stain a little longer before pulling himself to his feet. "It looks as good as new."
Morgan looked down at the spot that spread from mid-thigh to his knee. "If this is how you buy your clothes, no wonder you look so shabby all the time."
"I look fine," Reid said, looking at his clothes. They were clean and neat, and he needed nothing more.
"Yeah, you do, but you need better clothes," Morgan took Reid's hand and pulled himself to his feet. Reid was given seconds to appreciate the warm skin against his own before it was lost. "We'll get them some day."
Reid nodded dumbly as Morgan walked away. He felt hands pull him two seconds later.
"You were kneeling in front of him," Garcia said in a fierce whisper. "And you were rubbing his lap!" Reid blinked. "Spency, you're moving so fast, I'm so proud." Reid blinked. "Don't worry, the next step is just as easy, I swear." Reid moved.
"I touched him." Reid grinned giddily.
Step Four: Show Off Some Skin
"I don't think I can do that," Reid said as soon as Garcia revealed the next step.
"Oh, it's simple, Spency, don't worry. You can do it," Garcia said, his personal cheerleader. "And, for God's sake, your wrist is not skin, no matter what Memoirs Of A Geisha says."
"Actually, the definition of skin implies that ever-"
"No, Spency, this time, you are going to actually show some skin. You can take off your shirt. Or better, your pants," she giggled. "Maybe take a videotape of it too, so that, only to help you of course, I can watch it and figure you out."
"No way," Reid said.
"Worth a try," Garcia let it go –far too easily and Reid looked at her suspiciously—and continued, "You have taken off your shirt before him before, right?"
Reid frowned. "Erm- maybe, well, not really, no, I think-"
"Forget it, it doesn't really matter if you have before. Actually, it might be better if you haven't. The impact will be greater," she grinned. The elevator doors opened with a ping and Reid stepped out. "Good luck Spency."
Reid walked towards his desk and sat down, carefully considering this step.
He couldn't just take off his shirt, which would be considered weird, even for him. He needed a proper reason for this. But what reason he could have for removing his shirt during office hours he didn't know. Of course, it could get dirty, but there was no reason for Morgan to be there when he was changing it.
Reid shook his head.
He needed coffee to think properly.
He stood up, smiling at JJ, and walked towards the coffee machine, still mulling over the step in his mind.
That was exactly why he failed to notice that anyone was in front of him until he crashed into him.
He felt wetness seep through his sweater, hot and wet he realized, and tried not to yell. He fell onto the floor, hands already breaking his fall. He opened his eyes and looked up. With his luck, of course, it wasn't Morgan. It was the last person he should have crashed into.
"Hotch," he said, trying to smile, and he was quite sure he was failing.
Hotch seemed torn between anger, amusement and concern. The concern won out for a few moments, and Hotch pulled Reid up to his feet, looking down at his clothes apologetically. Reid saw the broken coffee cup in his hand at the same time. "I'm so sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going, so sorry," he fumbled, moving away. He tried not to wince as more of the liquid came into contact with his skin. Hotch did like his coffee piping hot.
"You okay?" Hotch asked, frowning, although Reid didn't know if it was a special display of concern or his normal frowning. He thought it was the former, since there was a spark of worry in his eyes. He tried to stifle his happiness that Hotch cared for him –it was important, but Hotch didn't need to know that.
"I just need to change," Reid reassured him, pulling his shirt away from him and letting it go, where it ballooned into another equally uncomfortable position.
"You sure?" Hotch asked, now smiling slightly. Reid thought he would appear comical, so he didn't mind.
"Yes, I should have a spare. I think. I hope." Reid frowned, it would be extremely unlucky if he didn't have a spare today of all days.
Hotch chuckled, "I think Morgan should be able to help you out. He's been bringing a lot of spares these days. Something about spilling coffee," he said, with a hint of a question in his tone.
"I spilt some the other day," Reid said guiltily. "Karma and all that. I'll just go get changed," he nodded, then headed towards the elevator.
He blew the hair off his face, cursing his luck.
The doors opened and he walked in, but was stopped by hands on his arms.
"Hey," Morgan said. "Where are yo-" Morgan took in his appearance. "What happened?"
"Coffee," Reid said glumly. "Hotch's."
Morgan laughed. "What goes around comes around."
"Of course, more commonly known as karma. It is used in practically all major religions, like Gautama Siddhartha Buddha used it to show to that our thoughts and actions determine the life we lead. 'The kind of seed sown will produce that kind of fruit. Those who do good will reap good results. Those who do evil will reap evil results. If you carefully plant a good seed, you will joyfully gather good fruit.' It was also used in the Hebrew Bible, Exodus, as an eye for an eye, a-"
Morgan interrupted. "Reid." He stopped. "I was thinking about Justin Timberlake, but whatever man."
Reid blushed lightly. "Actually, I was wondering, whether, because I just used my other shirt when it got blood on it and I haven't replaced it yet and-"
"You need to borrow a spare?" Morgan asked, and Reid nodded gratefully.
Morgan grinned. "I have a few, come on." He followed Reid to their lockers and pulled open his own, grabbing a spare shirt. He looked at it and held it up, then threw it to him. "Try this one."
Reid looked at it suspiciously. But, it looked clean, and that was a start.
He was about to change when he realized what he was doing. Completing the step. Possibly the first, and only, step he might complete successfully. He grinned in achievement but smothered it as Morgan looked over.
Then he blushed.
Thinking about acting out the step and actually doing it were two very different things. "Erm," he started, looking at Morgan. The man looked at him, then he smirked as he understood. He grinned and didn't change his position. Reid rolled his eyes and turned around, pulling off his sweater quickly. He folded it carefully and laid it on the wooden chair.
He took off his tie and placed it on the shirt. He unbuttoned his shirt, sighing appreciatively as cold air hit his hot skin. He took it off, folding it carefully, and placed it on the tie. Digging around in his locker, he pulled out a small towel and dried off the remnants of the coffee. Once sure that it was the cleanest he could hope to become, he folded it as well.
He looked at Morgan's shirt warily.
It was when he was about to pull it on when he felt a hand on his back. A decidedly warm and familiar hand.
Under other circumstances, Reid would have wondered if it was normal to be able to identify someone's hand. In that set of circumstances though, he was willing himself not to hyperventilate.
Morgan's fingers drew a pattern across his left side, from his neck to mid-back. The area seemed particularly sensitive, and Reid wondered why, when he remembered. He had been hit there. By what, he couldn't remember, although he remembered that he had fallen on whatever it was.
"What happened?" Morgan asked, voice low and dark.
"I fell," Reid said, grateful that his voice hadn't broken . "It's nothing."
The touch stretched across his back.
Definitely away from the bruise.
"Doesn't look like nothing," Morgan said. If Reid didn't know Morgan, he would have been afraid.
"I just fell," Reid repeated.
"Looks like someone hit you," he said, hand tracing a scar. Reid winced, he had forgotten about that particular hit. Some drunkard at a club Garcia had dragged him too had shoved him against a wall. He had escaped better off than the other man, but a hand left marks. Marks that Morgan would surely recognize.
Reid forced himself to turn around.
"It's nothing," he said.
Morgan's eyes were black, anger, Reid identified, and he hoped it wasn't with him. "You got hit."
"The guy was drunk," Reid protested. "He didn't know what he was doing."
"Reid, you got hit for God's sake!" Morgan's hand hit the metal lockers hard and loud, and Reid stumbled back. "Did you," Morgan forced himself to calm down, "Did you tell anyone?"
"No," Reid said softly. "I took care of it."
"I know, but what if it happens again? And if he brings friends along? Then what?" Morgan questioned, moving closer.
Reid moved back on instinct, memories of locker rooms and school flooding his mind. The only difference was that this was Morgan, and he trusted Morgan with his life. That difference was slowly blurring though.
"I'll take care of it," he said, voice lower, timid, and he hated that about himself.
"And if you can't?" Morgan asked in a voice icy and harsh and so completely unlike Morgan that Reid found himself cornered against the lockers.
"I can," Reid insisted.
"Oh?" Morgan looked at him with a smirk, deliberately placing his hands on either side of Reid. "How?"
Reid frowned. "What?"
"Now, get yourself out of this," Morgan said, looking at him calmly.
Reid shook his head. "No."
"Do it," Morgan said firmly.
"No, I won't hurt you," Reid stayed still.
"Do it," Morgan repeated.
"No," Reid said, looking at the other man firmly. "I'm not hurting you."
Morgan stared at him for a while longer –exchanging words that Reid would perhaps never understand but that convinced Morgan—and he moved away. Reid exhaled unconsciously.
"You tell me if that happens again," Morgan said.
"You tell me," Morgan said slowly, not leaving room for argument, "If anything like that happens again."
"Fine," Reid agreed reluctantly.
Morgan smiled. Reid rolled his eyes. Any tension that might have been in the situation disappeared with those actions. "You're really immature, you know that," Reid commented.
"Says the ass who didn't even tell his team that he got ambushed," Morgan said, sitting down.
"I wasn't ambushed, it was one guy," Reid said, "And I can take care of myself." He turned to Morgan, "I'm not a kid."
Morgan nodded, "I know. But you're still Reid."
Reid didn't see how that explained anything, but he decided not to argue. Be the bigger man, in some sense. He pulled on Morgan's shirt. Then he looked at himself in the mirror. The shirt was hanging off him, making him seem more child-like then ever. And it was short. He looked ridiculous. He felt ridiculous too.
Morgan laughed. "Maybe you should borrow one of Hotch's shirts."
"Maybe I should," Reid said, frowning at his reflection.
Hotch walked in, as though with some pre-recorded timing, and looked at Reid. He grinned, "I'll lend you one of mine."
"Thank you," Reid said, pulling off Morgan's shirt quickly. Hotch threw him a shirt, and Reid was going to put it on when Hotch stopped him.
"What happened to your back?" The man was definitely frowning more than usual.
Reid let out an exasperated sigh. "Ask Morgan."
"Drunk man. Reid's an idiot," Morgan said for an answer. Hotch seemed to accept it, but he didn't seem pleased. "I'll make him stop being an idiot." Hotch nodded.
Reid pulled on Hotch's shirt. It was also baggy. But, at least it wasn't short any more.
"Come on Pretty Boy," Morgan grinned. "Let's get you some coffee to drink."
Step Six: Have A Man To Man Talk
"Now, Spency," Garcia said with a smile. "Since you're such an angel, you finished Step 4 and Step 5, which was to have him touch you."
"I thought that was Step 3?" Reid asked with confusion.
"Nope, that was for you to touch him. This was for him to touch you without an invitation, which, according to your account, happened when he," she flipped through pages of a notepad, "touched your back and fingered your scars, showing extreme possessiveness and concern." She looked up, "Correct?"
"I don't think possessiveness is rig-"
"You don't know what you're talking about Spency, the Goddess is always correct," Garcia said, complimenting herself without a trace of humbleness. "So, we skip right ahead to Step 6, which is for you two to have a man-to-man discussion. About personal things. This is the part where you, Spency, have to open up," Garcia informed him.
"But, how will I-"
"And you don't have to worry about anything this time," Garcia continued, ignoring his attempts to speak. "I have set everything up. The team is going to go to a club tonight, and you will feign illness and have him drive you home."
"How will he-"
"Don't you worry about Morgan, he'll do as the plan says. Or, as I say anyways. You will talk to him in the car, understood? The club is a 16 minutes drive from your house," she said.
"You timed it?" Reid asked.
"Of course I did, I needed to be sure," she grinned. "Don't worry, everything will work just fine."
"When is it?" Reid looked at the clock, it was already after their hours.
"Now actually, come on, JJ will be driving us," she said, pulling him up and out.
Reid wondered how he got himself into messes like this.
"JJ's going to be there?" he asked.
Garcia looked at him, "I did say the team."
"Even Hotch and Rossi?"
Garcia shrugged, "I think Emily's bringing Rossi along, and Morgan will probably force Hotch. Build team spirit and all that."
"One would think that surviving life threatening situations on an almost day-to-day basis would build enough team spirit to last a lifetime," Reid said dryly.
"Such cynicalness in one so young," Garcia said.
"I don't think cynicalness is a word." Reid knew it wasn't actually, since he'd read the dictionary only a few days ago, but he didn't want to hurt Garcia.
"If it isn't, it should be. I made it up, don't forget," Garcia said, rushing along towards JJ's car. "JJ," she said loudly as a greeting, hugging the other woman. "Will taking care of Henry?" she asked.
"Hi Garcia, hi Reid, and yes, he has been kind enough to stay at home tonight," JJ said, smiling fondly. Reid climbed into the back seat and grinned at her.
"More active role of the male in the household, interesting" he commented.
JJ shot him an amused glance and started to drive, "Morgan said he's going to convince Hotch to come, I think he's going to play the divorce card."
"Again?" Reid asked. "Didn't you guys do that two weeks ago?"
"Yes," JJ grinned, "And it worked so well that we're going to try it again. And again, and again until the novelty wears off."
When they reached the club, Reid shook his head and thought that his team mates were really screwed up, if this was what they considered fun to do in their free time. The music was too loud –thumping and reverberating through his body— and the light was too bright –shining in his face brighter than the sun because everything else around him was pitch black— and too not him.
Garcia pulled him over, and he slipped into a seat, feeling bodies next to him but knowing who it was. The light shone and he got a flash of Morgan sitting next to him with Hotch next to him, and he felt Garcia sit on the other side of him, with JJ next to her.
"Where are Emily and Rossi?" he asked Morgan.
He felt slightly insulted when Morgan ignored him but realized why when Garcia had to scream the same question to be heard over the noise.
"On their way," Morgan shouted, leaning over him to get closer to Garcia, and Reid tried not to shudder.
He hoped he wasn't the only person in the group feeling so uncomfortable, but everyone seemed entirely at ease. Even Hotch, although the man probably used to frequent these areas with his wife. He squirmed slightly in his seat as Garcia got off her seat and walked towards the dance floor, followed closely by Morgan. Garcia was lost within seconds, dissolving into the crowd.
Reid saw Morgan the whole time though. He saw Morgan slide his body against some blonde-haired woman's, saw a brunette press herself against him on the other side. He watched as Morgan became hardly visible through the girls who flocked around him, attracted to him by some innate instinct that all women had.
He looked away. JJ was laughing, then she stood up, grabbing Hotch's hand and dragging him onto the floor. She held another hand out to him, but he shook his head.
1 sexual assault occurs every 127 seconds.
Just the thought of taking part in what those people called 'dancing' made him queasy.
He considered taking a drink, but decided against it. He knew the statistics were against him in places like this.
2.78 million men is the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault.
Of course, the possibility of it happening to him was high, he was a white male, in his twenties, physically appearing weak. Reid felt slightly ill. It was not the thought of danger, because that was often enough in his job, but he was not fond of clubs. He hadn't liked them as a child, and even now, he felt wary.
His illness did not need to be faked.
He looked around, feeling himself pale by the second, and searched the crowd for familiar faces. He had lost sight of Morgan a while back, and he thought he saw Hotch, but he couldn't be sure.
Ablutophobia, fear of washing or bathing.
He took deep breaths, exactly as his mother –someone who couldn't protect her son from the bullies, but tried to protect him from his mind—had taught him as a child.
Acarophobia, fear of itching or of the insects that cause itching.
He saw Garcia, a flash of blond and bubbly that appeared and disappeared too quickly. He waited for her to reappear, to call for her attention because he didn't want to be here anymore.
Acerophobia, fear of sourness.
JJ grinned at him, and he didn't have the heart to call for her on the one night she was allowed to be free of stress. That, and he knew she would offer to bring him home, and Garcia would kill him if he didn't follow through with the plan now.
Achluophobia, fear of darkness.
"Garcia," he called out her name as she neared again, and she smiled at him, but she was too distracted by the guy grinding himself against her to note the grey of his face, the length of his features. He stood up, getting ready to walk out on his own.
Acousticophobia, fear of noise.
Garcia would understand, he guessed. After all, he could hardly be blamed for his actions in a time like this, He was almost physically ill.
"Reid," he thought he heard someone say his name, but there was too much sound around him, too many people pressing against his body from all sides. He saw the door, and stumbled towards it. Someone grabbed his sweater, and he pushed the hand away.
"Reid." He was definitely hearing things, although he didn't know why he was hearing his own name. Another hand was grabbing at his shoulder, or maybe it was the same hand, he didn't know, and he pulled himself away roughly. "Reid." He didn't think he was hearing things anymore, and looked around. But the lights were too glaring, and he could hardly see the person next to him, so anyone further away had no chance of being seen.
He finally reached the door –and the bouncer stared at him with laughter in his eyes— and opened the door for him. The bouncer said something that he couldn't hear, and he stepped out into freedom.
"Reid," he turned around and felt his hand hit someone.
"Morgan?" he let his eyes get used to the new light.
"Yeah," Morgan was rubbing his arm.
"Sorry," Reid blushed.
"It's okay, but, what's wrong? I saw you get out of there, you looked pretty sick," Morgan walked closer, lying a hand against Reid's forehead. "No fever."
Reid felt himself blush harder, giving a remarkable resemblance to a fever, and he stammered out, "No, I just felt sick, all that noise and light and," he stopped.
"People?" Morgan filled in, and Reid nodded. "You came with JJ right?" Reid nodded again. "Come on, I'll drive you back to your place.
Reid shook his head, "No, you were having fun, you should go back in."
Morgan gave a half-smile, "Come on, man, you're fun too."
"There were girls there," Reid pointed out. "And they were all over you."
Morgan grinned, "True, but they'll always be there."
He slung an arm around Reid. "So will I."
"Maybe," Morgan shrugged. "But, I wasn't going to go anywhere after this anyways."
"No late nights for Morgan?" Reid said, surprising himself with the teasing tone in his voice.
He seemed to surprise Morgan too. "Well, well, Pretty Boy. I'm proud, but I didn't want to."
"Why?" Reid asked.
"Because I didn't feel like it," Morgan said, shrugging again. "Don't think I'm good enough company for one ride?"
"Of course not," Reid said, "You're fine company. And it's only a 16 minutes drive."
Morgan's brow rose, "How do you know- Actually, I'm not going to bother asking."
Morgan opened the door of the passenger seat and bowed comically, "Pretty Boy." Reid laughed and sat down, with Morgan closing the door behind him.
"How do we get to your place?" Morgan asked.
"It's one right, then you go on straight, then two lefts, the second then the third," Reid instructed.
Morgan revved up the engine and started driving, a steady motion, not the frantic rush that Reid became accustomed to during cases. "So," Morgan started, "You going to tell me why you left?"
Reid kept silent, then he sighed. "I don't like clubs."
"They can be scary," Morgan said, allowing him to use the excuse.
"It's not that," Reid admitted. "But, it's just," he wasn't sure how to describe it.
"Claustrophobic?" Morgan suggested.
"Not exactly, but yeah, that's part of it," Reid nodded.
"You visited one when you were a kid," Morgan said, more of a statement than a question. He was profiling Reid, he could tell. "Got something in your drink, you were given something to eat," he started. Reid nodded, the most he could do. "You don't remember what happened, but the whole school knew by the end of the day." Morgan turned at the right.
Reid exhaled silently.
"You were humiliated, too shy to get your revenge. Too reasonable," Morgan glanced at him with a smile, "Too Reid." Reid laughed softly at the phrase, 'too Reid' was right. "You didn't visit one after that until you came here. We forced you."
Reid nodded, then laughed again, "A true profiler."
Morgan didn't laugh. "I'm sorry." Reid looked down, and he spotted a hand creep onto his knee. He didn't move, didn't push it away, didn't object, didn't accept. He felt his entire body respond though, in slight shudder that he could only hope Morgan didn't feel.
After a few minutes, he commented, "Your hand is shaped funny."
Morgan laughed, then tightened his hold. "It is not."
"Yes, it is," Reid said. He took Morgan's hand, then put his own against it.
Dark against fair, large against small, Morgan against Reid.
"Tarzan," Morgan commented. Reid understood the reference after seconds, and smiled.
"Does that make you the ape-man?" Reid asked.
"Is it any better that you're Jane?" Morgan countered.
"Why do I have to be the girl?" Reid whined. "Couldn't you have chosen a nicer movie reference."
"Pretty Boy, Tarzan is one of the best movies ever," Morgan said, "And you fit Jane. Smart, pretty, learning to be ape-like, rebel-"
"Rebel?" Reid's brows rose of their own accord.
"Sure, you rebel against the system," Morgan told him.
"I didn't know that."
"Rebellers rarely do," Morgan informed him.
The car stopped abruptly, and Reid abruptly let go of Morgan's hand.
"Thanks for the ride," Reid said, smiling.
"No problem," Morgan grinned at him.
Reid watched the car until it disappeared before he entered his home.
Step Seven: Hug Him
"Spency! You've done so well!" Garcia hugged him. Reid accepted the hug but made no move to return it. He had yet to have his coffee.
"Thanks," he said monotonously. "Can I get my coffee now?"
"The next step is simple, you just have to hug him."
Reid's head fell against the table with a dull thud. "Hug?" he asked weakly, knowing that the response that he wanted he would not get.
"Yes, one little hug between Spency and Morgan," Garcia giggled at the thought.
"You're acting like a girl, Garcia," Reid moaned, his words still slightly stifled by the table.
"I am a girl," Garcia said, sounding appropriately offended.
"No, you're a woman. There's a difference between a woman and a girl –a woman acts with decorum that befits her, and a girl acts like, well, how you're acting right now." Reid looked up and shrugged.
Garcia looked less offended. "Well, it is fun to imagine. JJ and Emily agree, too."
"What do JJ and Emily have to do with it?" Reid frowned. "You didn't tell them did you?"
"No, but we ladies need something to fill up our days," she smirked.
"You think of gays?" Reid made a face.
"No, but you and Morgan are so cute together." Reid moved back before she could pinch his cheeks. "Anyways, you figure out how you're going to hug him, but you be sure that you actually do it."
Reid nodded. "Now, coffee?"
"Go on," she waved him towards the door.
Reid brightened and walked out quickly, moving towards the coffee machine. He was stopped in his tracks by a hand latching around his wrist. "Hey, Jane," Morgan grinned.
"Tarzan," Reid said, still wanting his coffee. Morgan, the angel, revealed a cup in his hand. "Thank you," he sighed, taking a long sip. He smiled, "Sprinkles and cream and sugar, not bad."
"I think the woman at the coffee shop fainted when I bought it," Morgan said. "So much sugar, Sweet boy too, aren't you. I think Jane likes sweet," he added.
Reid was too pleased with the coffee to retort. "Very sweet."
"You're going to get a tooth ache," Morgan said, turning a chair around and straddling it.
"At least I don't suffer from dentophobia," Reid laughed. Morgan showed no reaction. "Dentophobia is a fear of dentists," he explained. Morgan cracked a grin, although Ried didn't know if it was because of the joke or because Reid had to explain the reason.
"So, you going out with the team today?" Morgan asked, keeping his voice conversational.
"Where to?" Reid asked, just as casual.
"I think it's this small restaurant, a couple of blocks away," Morgan said, voice sharper now, eyes trained on him.
Reid met his eyes easily, "I guess I'm going."
"Good," Morgan said.
He smiled. "Yeah, it is pretty good."
"Guys, case," Emily said, and they both stood up and headed towards the room.
The case had three women murdered in their beds in Virginia, with small cuts covering each of their bodies, creating a pattern that Reid recognized as one of the Aryan race's symbols.
It was strange that hours later, when Reid was being held –in what was quickly becoming a familiar position— with a gun to his head and someone whispering into his ear, he thought of that restaurant. "You do have a pretty face," the man was saying, and Reid didn't flinch as a hand stroked his cheek.
His team was coming, he knew it.
They just needed time, and he needed to keep himself alive until they came, that much he knew for a fact.
He didn't know how he kept getting himself into these situations either. The building had been cleared, but the unsub had returned. It fit into the profile Reid had created during the past day, and he knew that the man was unstable, and that that instability made him more dangerous than most people.
Adams, John, from 1797 to 1801, second President of the US.
"You think they're going to help you?" The man was saying, the grip he had on his hair tightening painfully for seconds before loosening –a switch between pain and normalcy.
Adams, John Quincy, from 1825 to 1829, sixth President of the US.
"They're not you know, Doctor Reid," he said the name mockingly. "You don't fucking matter." The gun pressed harder into his neck.
Arthur, Chester Alan, from 1881 to 1885, twenty-first President of the US.
"They will be coming," he gasped out, "And you're going to be caught. Put the gun down, you can't escape."
Buchanan, James, from 1857 to 1861, fifteenth President of the US.
"They were screaming, you know, and they didn't stop." He felt something wet on his ear and couldn't hide his wince. "You don't scream much, do you?"
Bush, George, from 1989 to 1993, forty-first President of the US.
"Scream," the man ordered, the gun nudging his chin painfully.
Carter, Jimmy, from 1977 to 1981, thirty-ninth President of the US.
Reid let out a soft scream, too soft to be considered a scream. The man laughed and the gun was pressed harder against him. "Try harder, you got a girlfriend, no, you don't, you have a boyfriend back home who can make you scream?"
Cleveland, Grover, from 1885 to 1889, then 1893 to 1897, twenty-second and twenty-fourth President of the US.
"Scream, boy, scream!" He was screaming into his ear. Boy. Reid was reminded of Morgan. Where was Morgan, anyways? He should have been here, saving him. He let out a groan, but he didn't scream, maybe he couldn't scream, he thought.
Clinton, Bill, from 1993 to 2001, forty-second President of the US.
A knife cut his stomach, and he knew what would follow, the last pattern in the set, and he let out a soft scream. "Better," the man said, and he knew the man was smiling, he could feel it against his face. "Much better," he patted his hair down. "Now, try louder."
Coolidge, Calvin, from 1923 to 1929, thirtieth President of the US.
His shirt had already been pulled off, and there were more cuts being made across the side of his body. He let out short static sounds, but he left it at that, without giving the man anything more. He had profiled this man, he liked the sound of pain and fear, it would be like giving a gunman ammunition.
Eisenhower, Dwight D, from 1953 to 1961, thirty-fourth President of the US.
The Presidents were very useful in calming him down. "Scream louder," the man said, like it was a suggestion. Reid clamped his mouth shut, and the knife made more cuts, upwards, towards his back. The man was only causing superficial cuts for now, but he knew that they would become deeper as they continued –he had studied the other bodies for hours on end— he knew if it continued he would die.
Fillmore, Millard, from 1850 to 1853-
There was sound.
Reid's eyes snapped open and he looked towards the sound. He recognized the sounds of his team, they were distinctive, and he knew how they would be. Morgan would be leading, Hotch and Emily would be on either side of him, he would be signaling for them to enter, and any second now, they would open the do-
The door was slammed open. Morgan entered, gun before him, and he took in the sight before him.
Reid knew the second he took in the state Reid was in because his eyes darkened, and his posture changed to a more threatening one, and his entire body seemed to change. Not the Morgan he knew –and loved, although he refused to admit it—but a different Morgan.
"Carl Parker," Morgan said loudly, "This is the FBI, put down the gun."
The man grinned, and Reid felt a hand sliding down his chest, resting on his stomach, almost protectively.
It happened quickly, the moment the man moved, there was a sound that he knew was a gunshot, and then the man was on the floor, and Reid was still standing. He blinked, "You killed him."
Morgan walked towards him, "We have to get you out of here." Hotch was around him, and so was Emily, and he thought he saw Rossi.
But he definitely saw Morgan.
Reid smiled, and Morgan lifted him and was saying something, then Reid was being dropped off into pure white.
The next time he opened his eyes, he recognized the hospital, and he saw Morgan, sitting on one of the uncomfortable hospital chairs and grinning at him. "Hey, how're you feeling?" Morgan asked.
"Fine," Reid said, then he smiled at Morgan. "You carried me?"
Morgan laughed, "Yeah, and Pretty Boy, you aren't as skinny as you look."
Reid laughed, and sat up, "I told you I don't need more 'meat'."
"You got that right," Morgan leaned over and pulled up a few pillows, Reid smiling thankfully. A comfortable silence permeated the air, and Reid felt no need to break it.
"Thanks," he said after a while, since he hadn't.
"No problem, man," Morgan said. "Hey, you can get out of here if you want."
Reid got out of his bed and looked down at the thin hospital gown. "Do I have clothes?"
"I think they're there," Morgan pointed towards the shelves. Reid walked over and took out his clothes, then he frowned at them.
"They're torn. And bloody." He looked back at Morgan, "I can't wear these."
Morgan grinned, "I have spares, but do you really want to wear my clothes?"
"I think I have to," Reid frowned.
"Here," Morgan threw him a set of clothes. "Don't blame if you're too tiny for proper clothes." There was a knock on the door, and Hotch stepped in with a bag.
"You can have mine," he smiled at Reid. "You're feeling better, I hope."
"Yeah, thanks," Reid said, taking the bag gratefully. "These are going to be huge."
"They won't be short," Morgan said with a megawatt grin. "That's a plus, right?"
Reid laughed at that, "I guess it is." He looked around, "Where's the bathroom?"
"That door," Morgan pointed. Reid locked the door and took off his clothes, throwing them into the bag. He looked at himself in the mirror, turning slightly. His skin was scarred, shallow cuts, since the man had been stopped before anything else could happen, but they would last for days before fading completely. They covered his left side, and Reid twisted his head to see more on his back.
He didn't feel in pain, though.
He slipped on Hotch's clothes, and laughed at his reflection. The clothes hung off him, covering him completely, but they were still huge. He opened the door and stepped out, and any conversation that had been going on between Hotch and Morgan ceased. Hotch had the tact to hide his laughter, but Morgan had no such tact.
"Pretty Boy, you look like an idiot," Morgan said.
Reid sent a mock-glare in his direction.
"You look," Hotch covered his laugh with a cough, "Fine, Reid." He coughed –laughed— again. "Morgan will drive you home."
"Oh, that's okay, I can take the-"
"Shut up, Genius," Morgan said, slinging an arm around his shoulder. "I'm bringing you home. Feel lucky, most ladies don't get to enjoy this." Reid elbowed him in the stomach, not painfully.
"Thanks," he said sarcastically. Then he turned to beam at Hotch, "Thanks for the clothes, I'll return them once I wash them."
"Don't worry about it," Hotch said, walking out with them, "You have two days off, see you." Hotch walked off, and Reid turned to Morgan.
"Two days?" he was surprised.
Morgan shrugged, "Yeah, the whole team's got two days off." He stopped suddenly, and Reid turned to look at him.
Morgan moved forward, and for a few seconds Reid thought he was going to- Morgan's arms were around him, and Reid's hand moved on automaton to return the hug. He smelled Morgan –a heady scent that he recognized as a mixture of cologne and coffee and spice— and he felt his warmth –enveloping him like something tangible— and he could hear Morgan –soft puffs of breath near his ear— and then everything was gone.
Reid missed the contact immediately.
"What- what was that for?" he asked, stuttering slightly.
"Just," Morgan shrugged.
Reid thought it reason enough.
Step Eight: Go On Your First Dance
"Are you sure you're okay, Spency?" Garcia fussed over him.
"Yes, I swear, I'm perfectly fine," Reid said for the thousandth time.
"Well, if you're sure," Garcia, finally, sat down. "And you got him to hug you, I'm so proud of you, Spency!" she squealed.
"Thanks," Reid said.
"And the next step is simple," Garcia said, although she had considered all the other steps simple and he definitely hadn't found them anywhere near simple. "You have to go out to a club."
Reid groaned. "You can't be serious."
"Yes, and I have it all planned out." Garcia rolled towards a few bags on her table. Reid had noticed them earlier, although he had decided against commenting. "These will help."
"What are those?" Reid asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
"Clothes for you," Garcia informed him with a too happy grin. "It's going to be like the club we went to the other day." Reid blanched, "Don't worry, the whole team will be there. The only difference is that you have to participate this time."
"Participate?" Reid asked uneasily.
"Yes, dance, you've done that before, right?" Garcia asked.
Reid frowned, "I don't think I want to do this."
"You have danced right?" Garcia asked again, ignoring his comments. "It's simple," Garcia told him, pulling him up. "You just move with the music. Dance like everyone's a stranger." Reid squirmed and pulled away.
"Actually, since I would know the team, and you surely know someone who's in the club, then I would know everyone is at most six steps away from every person on Earth." Reid continued, warming to the lecture, "The theory, also known as the Human Web, started with the author Frigyes Karinthy, who published a volume of short stories called 'Everything is Different'. It suggests that despite the physical distances between individuals on the globe, the social distance has decreased because of the growing density of the human population. In 1961, Michael Gu-"
"Reid," Garcia stopped him. "It's just a saying. And," she continued before he could argue, "you are going to do it, so stop trying to argue your way out of it, you are definitely not going to win, so you should give up while you're ahead."
She pulled out the clothes, and Reid rolled the chair away.
"I'm not wearing those… things." He didn't know why anyone would even consider wearing them.
"Yes you are, Spency," Garcia said firmly. "Those," she glared at his clothes, although Reid didn't see what was wrong with them, "Are not going to help you in your mission."
Reid moved forward to cautiously touch them. "I really don't think that this is the best way to go about things."
Garcia rolled her eyes, "Trust me, Spency."
"Isn't he supposed to like me for who I am or something?" Reid tried.
"Of course," Garcia said with wide eyes. "This is just to show him that you're available."
"I still don't think-"
"Exactly, don't think, just act," Garcia said, dropping the clothes in his hands. "Now, hurry up, Hotch has offered to drive us over."
"Hotch is going to see me like this?" Reid asked miserably.
"Of course," Garcia stopped, then she giggled. "You never know, he could come in-"
"Don't even go there," Reid said, slightly pleading.
Garcia laughed, "Just go and change."
Reid threw her one last pitiful stare before he entered the bathroom. He took out the clothes again. "These look ridiculous," he murmured to himself.
He took off his pants first, since it seemed easier, and pulled on the jeans. They were uncomfortably tight. In fact, he guessed that he was getting the jeans lodged in areas where they were definitely not meant to be. They reminded him of his younger days; he didn't appreciate the reminder. They fit thought, long enough to cover his legs. And they covered him fully, which was an improvement over the tiny things people his age were fond of wearing normally.
He pulled off his shirt next, trying not to look down at himself. The skin was still red, but the medicine was working.
The shirt, he noticed, was bright. Annoyingly so. A bright blue –the blue part he appreciated, the bright part not so much. He held it up and looked at the words on it, Pretty Boy. How apt, he thought with a slightly sardonic smile. He pulled it on.
It was tight too, although not uncomfortably so. It stuck to his skin like his usual shirts didn't, but the material was comfortable, he didn't attempt to make a guess, since he had been commanded not to think.
"Spency," Garcia called outside the door. "Don't wear your glasses either."
Reid didn't even argue. The club, from what he remembered, was always either too bright or too dark, and he didn't want to see anyways.
He took another deep breath before he stepped out to meet Garcia.
She acted like a girl.
"Spency!" she screamed. "You look gorgeous." Reid blushed, girl or not, being complimented was still flattering. The yell attracted attention though, and JJ turned toward the corner. She stopped when she saw him, eyes widening comically.
"Reid?" she asked with pure disbelief. "Is that you?" He nodded. "Oh my god."
"I told you," Garcia turned to JJ. "He gets a 10, hands down."
JJ didn't even look at Garcia, eyes still taking him in, "Yeah, definitely."
"10 for what?" he frowned.
"If that's how you're going to the club," JJ started, "You'll have no problem at all."
"Problem with what?" Reid didn't like being confused, it was an eerie feeling.
"You won't have a problem with getting anyone you want," JJ said, finally looking straight in his eye. "You look hot," she settled on the word.
Reid blushed, and she whistled, laughing.
"Come on," Reid grabbed Garcia, who took his bags from him and threw them haphazardly into her office, "We have to reach Hotch."
"Stop," JJ said, fishing into her bag. "I'm getting a ride from Hotch too," she pulled out her phone. "But let me get a picture first. I really don't want to miss this." Reid blushed and continued to walk, but he turned at the flash and the distinct click of a picture taken. JJ smirked, "I didn't say I wanted a picture of your front."
"I'm your son's godfather," Reid exclaimed, affronted.
JJ laughed, "Don't worry, this will only fuel the fantasies of the un-married friends I have." She walked towards him and kissed him on the cheek –Reid took that it was a good thing that he didn't feel a thing; that he didn't even blush.
"Come on," Garcia pulled them both, "Hotch is waiting, you know."
Reid liked Hotch. He didn't show the slightest hint of surprise at his new outfit, although he did smile at Garcia when he thought Reid wasn't looking. "Thanks for the ride," he said, not that he wanted to go to the club, but manners had been ingrained in him.
"No problem," Hotch said, and that was the extent of any conversation either of them partook in for the entire journey. JJ and Garcia carried on a conversation without either of them, something about pants and a new guy in some movie. Reid tuned them out at the word 'vampire', nothing he was going to be interested in.
He didn't recognize the new club.
It was much like the other one, except it had a more steady supply of light, and they sat at the bar instead. Reid was glad that the people hadn't arrived yet –they had finished early for a change on that day. This was not how he had intended to spend his free time, but he didn't mind it.
Garcia and JJ carried on the conversation, but he didn't feel too out of place. A bartender passed him and Hotch a drink each, and he took a cautious sip. It was wine, he realized with surprise. He looked at Hotch, who smiled at him then leaned over. "You don't look like you want a drink," he said into Reid's ear. Reid nodded and smiled at him gratefully, he didn't want a drink.
"Morgan and Emily are coming over," Garcia yelled, and Reid looked over towards the door to see the pair heading towards them. Reid grinned, and they both stopped. They talked to each other for seconds, and then they walked closer, neither of them looking particularly pleased.
"Reid?" Morgan asked with a frown. "Are you drunk?"
"No," Reid answered truthfully. "It's only wine."
Morgan was still frowning. "Then why are you dressed like," he looked down at Reid's outfit, "That."
Reid shrugged, "Garcia."
Morgan and Emily relaxed at the name. "Oh."
They sat down on the other side of Hotch, and Reid allowed the music and chatter to surround him. Morgan was the first to be pulled away onto the dance floor, dragging Emily with him, and, surprisingly, Hotch followed.
"Emily," Garcia stood up to hug a pretty redhead.
Some part of Reid's mind noted that it was the most common name in the world.
"How are you?" Garcia asked, dragging a seat for her. Reid smiled at the newcomer, not completely at ease. JJ noticed, moving so that she sat next to him, a hand on his knee, stroking it soothingly.
"Totally fine," the girl said in a high-pitched voice, wearing a dress that was too low at the top and too high at the bottom. "Like, who's your friend?" She set her sights on Reid, and he felt like some sort of prey. A deer, and this girl was the lion.
"Dr. Reid," he almost answered, but JJ cut in with, "Spencer Reid."
"Spency," the girl –Emily, he told himself— giggled, and Reid wondered if all women who acted like girls shortened Spencer to Spency, or if it was just Garcia and her friends. "You want to dance?"
Reid opened his mouth to say, "No," very firmly, but Garcia interfered.
"Excuse me, could I talk to Spency for a moment," Garcia pulled him closer and whispered into his ear. "You have got to dance with this girl if you want to end up dancing with Morgan."
"But I don't want to dance with Morgan," Reid whispered back. "I don't want to dance at all actually. I don't get why I have to dance anyways."
Garcia whispered more furiously, "Spency, you have to get attention, and everyone knows that the best way to do that is to dance. You look like a slut all you have to do is dance like one."
"I don't want to look or dance like a slut," Reid whined. "I like me just being… me."
"I know, but don't worry, this is just to have him know that you're available, after that, you can be your normal self," Garcia assured him. "Don't worry, it's just for one night." Reid looked at her with disbelief. "One night," she repeated. He nodded reluctantly.
"Fine, but Garcia you owe me."
Garcia scoffed, "I'm letting you be with Angel Cheeks, you owe me."
Reid laughed and pulled back, and Emily grabbed him. "Come on, you are dancing with me tonight, darling." Reid smiled politely at her and allowed himself to be pulled on the dance floor.
It wasn't that difficult, the girl did the dancing and all he had to do was move with her. He had danced with his mother as a child, ballroom dancing when he had nothing to do on afternoons. This was similar, conforming his body to hers.
The girl seemed to think it was impressive though, if the sounds she was making were any indication. Her eyes glinted, and she twisted her body back, and Reid did the same out of instinct. He felt her back touch his chest, but she moved forward again, laughing. Reid laughed with her, not out of any humor, but because it was fun.
Emily could move, a fluidness that he tried to adopt. She yelled something, which he took as a sign of success.
He laughed as he felt someone press up against him and turned to see another girl, blonde this time, with a playful grin and kind eyes. "You up for the dance of your life, love?" she yelled. Reid nodded, and she twisted, pulling Reid with her. He felt the wind whip his hair before they reached equilibrium again, and he slid closer to her. Emily was still on his other side.
Reid had never done anything like this.
He had never done anything with the 'cool' kids, he had never danced in front of anyone, he had never done anything with absolute strangers. But it was strangely fun.
"Try doing this," the girl said, twisting her hips and grinding against him. He looked at it once, then nodded, imitating the movement. The girl laughed, "Not bad." Now this, she grinded against him again, but with another twist to her hips, a repetitive motion of right to left then twice right that he could copy with no problem. "This." She did a flurry of movements, her entire body at odds but moving in a harmony he didn't dare interfere with, but he could do it. That much he knew.
"What are you, some sort of a genius?" the girl asked.
"Yes," Reid answered, grinning at her.
"Izzy," she introduced herself. "Short for Isabelle."
93rd name in the US Popularity List of names.
"Re-" he stopped himself. "Spencer."
"Not bad, for a Spencer," Izzy said, still dancing with him.
Emily added behind him, "Looks like a first time dancer too."
"I am," Reid admitted.
A gaggle of girls joined them, all physically different in appearance, but the same in character. "That's Jazz, Gabby, Kelly, Nelly, Amy and Nina," Kelly introduced, pointing to each one in turn. "This is Spencer." Reid smiled at each of them, but Gabby was the first to grab him.
"You not dancing with me?" she asked rhetorically, pulling him towards her.
He felt like he was in the midst of some orgy.
Relief came in the form of a hand on his shoulder, an extremely insistent hand. "Ladies, let me borrow the Genius for a couple of minutes?" Morgan asked, smiling winningly. The girls giggled in unison, and Reid tried not to make his eye roll too obvious.
"You have to return him though, Morgan," Izzy warned. "This one's a keeper."
Morgan laughed, then pulled him towards the exit.
The difference between the inside and the outside of a club would never fail to astonish him, Reid thought. "Thanks," he smiled at Morgan.
"Man," Morgan started, not sounded too pleased, "Where'd you learn to dance like that?"
"Like what?" Reid frowned.
Morgan threw his hands into the air. "You know."
"I don't," Reid said matter-of-factly, "Or I wouldn't have asked."
"What you were doing there, with the clones," Morgan said.
"Oh," Reid grinned, "They just taught me that. It's pretty fun, actually. I wonder why I've never tried that before."
"Because you don't like clubs," Morgan reminded him, glaring.
Reid moved back and folded his arms. "Well, now I do. And why are you so angry with me? You're the one who keeps asking me to get some of the ladies, and I am."
"These girls are idiots," Morgan exclaimed.
"Like the girls you keep going out with then," Reid said, snapping at him.
His good mood had evaporated within seconds.
The two entered a glaring contest that neither would give up, and probably wouldn't have ever given up, had Garcia not thrown open the door.
"Sweetie Pie, you promised me a dance," she said happily. Then she noticed the tension of the situation. "What's wrong?"
Morgan glared at Reid before turning to Garcia with a forced smile. "Nothing. Come on, let's have that dance."
He dragged Garcia away, the girl throwing worried glances back at him, and the door closed with a resounding bang.
Reid stood where he was. The mission had gone wrong.
Step Nine: MAKE UP
"Spency," Garcia shook her head sadly. "Step 9 was supposed to be something else, but now I have to change the whole thing because you two had a lover's tiff before becoming lovers."
"We did not have a lovers tiff," Reid said icily. "And I am not apologizing. It was his fault in the first place."
"But he's a guy-"
"So am I."
"Well, he's a more thick-headed guy, and he's definitely not taking the first step. It's up to you to be the bigger man," Garcia said pleadingly. "AA cannot work if the second A refuses to talk to you."
"I don't want to talk to him."
Reid knew he was being childish, and that Hotch wouldn't take the silent treatment that they had had going on for much longer, but he had a right, and he would use it.
"Well," Garcia said slowly, walking towards the door. "I understand that. Wait a second."
She closed the door behind her. Reid sipped at his coffee, resolutely angry at the world.
He heard footsteps nearing the door, and voices, and turned away to look at Garcia's screen instead. She was running some files for another case, since they didn't have anything at the moment. He saw several sites and heard the door open. "Hey, Garcia, why do you need to know about the price of my house? It's not like I'm moving or anything."
Garcia didn't answer, and he turned around.
That was definitely not Garcia.
He stared at the man.
The door closed again, and he turned to stare at it, feeling his stomach drop with a sickening thud. They both heard Garcia yell, her voice muffled by the door, "I'm really sorry, but you guys need to work it out by yourself." Morgan growled and took a step towards the door, looking completely prepared to kick it open. "And, Morgan, I'm standing right in front of the door, so don't even think about busting it open."
Morgan turned back, glaring at Reid as though he was the cause for his anger.
Reid's brow rose, "I didn't do a thing."
Morgan didn't accept that as an answer. "Get her to open that door."
"You've been her friend longer," Reid pointed out. "And she likes you more."
"Not for the past couple of weeks, you two have been all buddy-buddy lately," Morgan said, sitting opposite him. Morgan's eyes didn't meet his.
"Yeah well," Reid rubbed the bridge of his nose. "That has more to do with you than you realize." He said it under his breath, though, since it wouldn't be wise for Morgan to hear the plan now, or anytime at that.
"Yeah," Morgan said.
The silence wasn't comfortable; it was far from it.
"Make up, already," Garcia shouted from the other side.
Reid wondered how many people were crowded outside the door. He didn't realize that he'd said it out loud until Morgan chuckled slightly. "I wonder how many people are placing bets on how long it takes for us to make up," Morgan said. "And don't give statistics, Reid," he added quickly.
"I wasn't going to," he lied.
Morgan grinned, "Yeah right."
Reid didn't answer.
"Reid," Morgan sighed. "Come on."
Reid still didn't answer.
"Are you that upset, dude?" Reid glared at him as an answer. "Listen, I'm sorry okay."
"For what?" Reid turned towards him stiffly. "Ruining the one fun night I've had in a really long time? Ruining my chances with those pretty girls? Annoying me? Making me upset? For what Morgan?" Reid kept his voice level. Letting it rise would give away too much about his feelings.
Not that he had any feelings beyond anger and frustration.
Morgan looked away, not meeting his gaze. "What happened? Did you become jealous that I was stealing some of your ladies?"
"No, of course not," Morgan looked straight at him for the first time.
"Then what? You thought I wasn't good enough for the likes of them?" he spat, standing up furiously.
Morgan shook his head, "No, never, Reid-"
Reid scoffed. "He uses my name at last. Well, don't, you don't deserve it." Reid turned away and sat down again.
The silence that followed was the only reason he heard Morgan murmur, "No, I sure as hell don't."
They heard people outside move around, gossiping amongst themselves what was happening in the room, whether they would forgive each other, whether they would come out unhurt.
Reid only hoped that Hotch wouldn't stumble onto the scene – he would be pissed, and Reid didn't want any part to play in pissing off Hotch. He didn't think the man would blame him, but he wouldn't be pleased that Reid was involved in it either, even if he was an innocent party.
He refused to acknowledge the fact that Morgan could be considered an innocent party as well.
"You going to say something?" Morgan asked softly.
Reid looked down. "There's nothing to say."
"Yes, there is." Reid felt a hand on his shoulder, and even if Morgan wasn't the only other person in the room, he would have known it was him. "Come on, look at me," Morgan asked, turning him around.
The chair turned under the slight pressure, but Reid kept his head lowered. He didn't want to look at Morgan now. Not while he was like this. Reid didn't know who the 'he' in that sentence referred to, though.
"Reid," the hand left his shoulder –Reid wanted it back, it belonged— and he felt it tipping up his head. "Look at me."
Reid looked at him, using the opportunity to study Morgan's features. He had the man's face memorized like a map–the dark tint of his skin, the white glint of his eyes, the smoothness of his cheeks, the sharpness of his nose, the fullness of his lips-
Reid looked away.
Morgan forced him to look again. Reid chuckled sardonically inwardly, he had stared at the other man too many times, sneaking glances in the middle of a case or when Morgan was asleep on the plane, and the one chance he was given to stare at him without question, he wasn't making use of it.
"Hey," Morgan said, still softly. Reid wondered if he was whispering because there were people listening in, or because the situation called for it. He considered that it was a combination of the two.
"Hey," Reid answered, although he hadn't been asked a question.
Morgan smiled softly. "You're a good man, Spencer Reid."
Reid knew he was blushing, he knew it and he hated it.
"You're a good man, so don't go doubting yourself about it," Morgan said, voice still quiet, but so full of confidence Reid thought he would crack.
He swallowed. "I know."
Morgan shook his head, "I don't think you do. We're profilers."
Reid almost laughed, for the first time their job as profilers seemed to be a downfall.
"You're an amazing person, and apparently a fucking hot dancer-" Reid's mind stopped working for a few seconds –was Morgan generally commenting that him dancing was hot to the women or did he mean that he found Reid hot when he was dancing?
"You're a genius, Reid," Morgan was saying when his brain started to function again, "You don't me telling you that you're great. Except you seem to." Morgan gave a small smile, "Definitely a smart idiot."
"Inherent contradiction, I know," Morgan said, sitting down again. "An oxymoron can be right."
"Yes, I know what an oxymoron is," Morgan said defensively.
"I wasn't questioning you," Reid said.
"You were thinking it." Reid didn't deny the fact. "You're too good for those girls."
"You're with them all the time," Reid pointed out.
Morgan laughed, "Yeah, but I'm not you. I'm Morgan. You're Spencer Reid, the genius."
"So they're good enough for you and not for me?" Reid asked, voice dripping with disbelief.
Reid looked at Morgan carefully.
"Why?" Reid asked.
Morgan frowned. "What?"
"Why?" Reid repeated the question calmly.
"What do you mean why?"
Reid shook his head, imitating Morgan's first motions. "You said that I'm an amazing person, but so are you."
"Don't even think that. Morgan, you're Morgan. You're the strongest guy in the team, and you're our only Specialist in obsessional crime. You're the guy who keeps saving me from all the rubbish that happens, and Garcia loves you more than anyone else, and Gideon thought of you as his right-hand man and you're the same thing to Hotch," Reid burst out.
He didn't understand how Morgan could think himself as anything less than what he was, and what he was was the closest to perfect a person could possibly get.
Reid had to force Morgan's head up this time.
"You're the only person I know who could suffer like you did and still become what you are," Reid tried to pour his sincerity into his voice, but he didn't think he was doing it too well. "Plus," he added lightly, "People love you, the ladies and the men."
Morgan chuckled. "The men?"
Reid blushed, but he forced himself to continue, "I'm not blind. I know that some of those people weren't girls in that club."
Morgan laughed, "What can I say, I'm irresistible."
Someone knocked on the door, Garcia, he recognized when she spoke. "Have you guys made up?"
Reid looked at Morgan shyly. "Erm- yes."
"That doesn't sound very certain," Garcia said.
"We definitely have, Princess," Morgan shouted.
"That's the way," Garcia said, and the door opened. She looked at the two of them. "My two favorite men, how sweet."
Step Ten: Bring Him Home
"You've done wonderfully, Spency," Garcia said once Morgan left the room.
"Yeah," Reid nodded, rubbing the back of his head.
"Now, you can do the next step super easily," Garcia said with a beam. "You have to bring him home."
"What?" Reid half-shouted, starting out of his seat.
Garcia smirked, "My, my, Spency, I didn't say you had to do anything." She waggled her finger, "Very naughty, but that's only later." She winked, and Reid sat down again. "You bring him home, and then do your thang." Reid winced at the use of the word, but didn't say anything otherwise.
"What sort of a thing?" Reid asked, not sure how this was supposed to go.
"Well," Garcia thought about it. "Step 11 is Cuddling With Him and Step 12 is Kissing Him, so maybe you can get started on those," she suggested.
"Cuddle?" Reid blanched. "I don't think I can cuddle."
"It's a very loose word, Spency, and it doesn't even have to be in bed. All you have to do is sit next to him with an arm around your shoulder or something," Garcia said encouragingly.
"I've sat next to him and done that before," Reid said, "So does that strike it out?"
Garcia shook her head, "You can't escape from it that easily. This has to be romantic, Spency," she rolled her eyes. "Have you never watched a movie?"
"I have," Reid brightened. "I was actually watching Star Trek the other day, it's interesting because I had just read a study on it by a-"
"Spency, I mean a romantic movie. Like a chick flick," Garcia prompted. Reid frowned, he didn't think he had.
"I don't think so."
"Well, you'll know it when you feel it," Garcia said. Then she stopped, "Well, I hope you will." She looked at him, "Please do or you won't be able to get anywhere."
Reid nodded. "I think I can." He remembered seeing JJ and Will, knew the mood that settled about them.
"I hope so, Spency," Garcia said worriedly. "But, anyways, Morgan will pop in, in a few minutes, so I'll tell him that I have a ride, and you don't, and I'll ask him to drive you. Well, I'm guessing that he'll offer, so you just accept either way. Remember to invite him in, understood?"
Reid nodded again, "I can do that," he said nervously.
"Good," Garcia said. Suddenly, she moved forward and hugged him. "Good luck, Reid, go get your man."
"Something I need to know?" a voice asked, and Garcia pulled away immediately.
"Hey Morgan," she said cheerfully. "Only that Spency's stealing me away from you," she said, then she added, "Or I'm stealing Spency away from you."
Morgan laughed, "Yeah, hurry up, you should be getting home and getting your sleep," he said.
"Oh," Garcia feigned slight shock, so well that Reid wouldn't have know that she was faking it if she hadn't told him a few moments ago, "I- I got a ride, already." She smiled apologetically, "Sorry, I forgot all about asking you."
"It's okay," Morgan shrugged. "Reid?"
Reid kept silent, but he spoke up when he felt a harsh jab at his back. "Y- Yeah, a ride would be nice."
"Come on," Morgan said, grinning. "See you, Baby-Cakes," he waved to Garcia. Reid followed Morgan out of the door, smiling faintly at Garcia before exiting. "So, second time I'm bringing you back home."
"If it's trouble you don't need to," Reid rushed out.
"No, it's fine," Morgan said, waving at the other members.
Reid slipped into the front seat of Morgan's car with some deliberation. He felt like he had reached the famed Point of No Return. It was, in some sense.
"You haven't changed house or anything, right?" Morgan asked.
"No, same house," Reid answered quickly.
"Listen, Reid, if you were serious about meeting those girls in that club, I have their numbers," Morgan said, steadfastly not looking at Reid.
"No, I wasn't, I definitely wasn't," Reid smiled. "They're not my type."
"And what is your type?" Morgan asked, giving an amused glance in his direction, "Short, white, and cute?"
Tall, dark, and handsome, his mind supplied. "Not them," he said, "Not them."
"Come on, man, details," Morgan said. "You've been with women before, right?"
"A few." The number was actually counted on one hand, but Reid wasn't about to admit that.
"And?" Morgan prompted.
"And what? And nothing. I'm kind of turned off women right now," Reid said wearily.
Morgan's brow rose, and Reid realized what his comment might sound like –the truth, but Morgan did not need to know that. "So you're turned on to men right now?"
Reid closed his eyes. "Would you detest me if I was?"
Morgan paused, "No, no I wouldn't."
He smiled. "I'm glad."
"How long have you –you know," Morgan was shrugging, Reid could picture it.
"A little while now," Reid said. "Not too long, don't feel bad."
"I don't," Morgan said automatically, although he didn't sound like he believed it. "You looking for anyone?"
Reid smiled, then hummed noncommittally.
"What's 'Hmm' supposed to mean?" Morgan frowned.
"You know," Reid grinned and looked at him. "I'm not going to tell you everything, you know."
Morgan relaxed. "Don't tell me then, I'll find out."
"I bet you will," Reid said, still grinning, almost wickedly.
"That a bet?" Morgan smirked. "Cause you know I'll win."
"I bet you will," Reid said slyly, not giving away any more information.
"Here we are," Morgan pulled up along Reid's house. "Pretty Boy, you can keep your secrets to yourself."
Reid gathered his courage, "Would you like to come in?" His muscles tensed as he waited for an answer.
Reid blinked in dumb surprise, that had been frighteningly easy.
He walked into his house, fumbling with the keys for several seconds, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He relaxed, opening the door to his home. Morgan followed, eyes flickering around curiously. "So this is what a genius' home looks like," Morgan murmured, and Reid laughed.
"Would you like a drink?" he asked politely.
"Yeah, surprise me," Morgan issued the challenge with a small smirk.
Reid walked into his kitchen, hands reaching out towards his coffee, but he stopped. He had watched a chick flick once, with Morgan ironically, and he knew they had wine at things like this. He opened his wine cupboard, filled with bottles that he didn't intend to drink, but collected anyways, and took one out at random. He took two glasses and walked back to the living room.
Morgan had made himself at home, reclined comfortably, flipping through the channels on his television.
"Here," he offered a glass, pouring the drink in.
"Wine?" Morgan was surprised, "Red wine, I'm impressed, Pretty Boy, didn't think you had it in you."
Reid stuck out his tongue, there was no need for maturity in his own home.
"You just ruined any respect I have for you, man," Morgan said, laughing with him. Reid sat next to him, making sure he kept a distance between them. He knew that any closer would make him seem too forward, and any further would make it seem like he wasn't interested.
Morgan didn't worry about forwardness.
Morgan scooted closer to him.
Morgan laid a hand over his shoulder.
Reid tried not to let out a squeal.
"So," Morgan started. Reid didn't continue –he just knew his voice would break. "What have you and the Princess been up to lately?"
Reid stammered, "Just- stuff, you know, stuff you don't care about."
"I care about you two," the hand tightened, "So I care about the stuff you'll are doing too by default."
"Lovely," Reid said, the first thing that came to his mind.
"Yeah," Morgan snickered. He nudged Reid, "Where'd you learn to dance like that?"
"I told you, those girls taught me," Reid said adamantly.
"Man, you don't learn to dance that fast-"
"I am a genius-"
"Even a genius has to practice or something," Morgan stared at him.
Reid broke, "When I was a kid, I used to dance with my mother. Nothing like that, just ballroom dancing and all that, but it's all the same." He shrugged, "You just move."
Morgan stared at him a little longer with a curious expression on his face, but he grinned seconds later. "I knew having a genius around would be good."
"Any old genius?" Reid asked, trying to keep his voice level but knowing it was growing lower.
"Nope, just you," Morgan said, almost casual if not for the slight tremor in his hand; a tremor that Reid felt because it was still lying on his shoulder.
He smiled happily, "Thank you."
Morgan laughed out loud, "If that's all it takes to make you happy, Pretty Boy, then whoever you get with is going to have one easy time pleasing you."
Reid smirked, "You never know."
"I want to," Morgan said, and then he paused, as if afraid that he was rushing into things.
"I'd like you to know," Reid said slowly, not looking at Morgan.
There was movement, and the hand left, and Reid tried not to sigh. Then it was back on his shoulder, and there was another on his knee. He would not squeak.
"One way to find out," Morgan grinned, he leaned forward, and Reid barely had time to close his eyes before Morgan was kissing him.
He felt on overdrive.
He could feel Morgan's lips, they were soft and tempting and parting open, then his tongue, swiping across his own thinner lips, asking for entry. Reid hardly hesitated before he opened his mouth, Morgan's tongue entering, exploring his mouth. Morgan tasted like the wine they'd just drank, like mint, and some other headiness that he couldn't identify because it was pure Morgan.
"Fuck Reid," Morgan murmured, and he moved, and Reid felt insistent hands pushing him back, then his back making contact with the couch, and it was a far more comfortable position so he didn't complain. He couldn't complain because Morgan's mouth was still moving over his, in his, and he didn't want to break away. He crept his hands up to Morgan's back, and one moving higher to the man's head, gripping at his neck.
Morgan's hands were everywhere at once, which wasn't physically possible, but it didn't really matter right now anyways. One was clenching his hair, then another was at his back, and yet another was running fingers along the patch of skin between his shirt and pants.
Wait, the hand at his hair was gone, as was the one at his back, and there were two hands on his skin, tugging up the shirt.
Reid stopped, breaking away from the kiss.
Morgan dropped his head on Reid's shoulder, and Reid was grateful that he wasn't the only one gasping.
"Sorry," Morgan murmured, "Too fast."
"No," Reid said quickly. "Just that, I really don't want to do it on my couch."
Morgan was off him, then Morgan pulled him up as well, and his mouth was back. Greedy, Reid thought, but he wasn't complaining. He walked backwards towards his room, feeling Morgan's mouth leave his own to move lower. There were licks being made across his skin, high on his neck, and small bites of Morgan's teeth. Too high for his shirt to cover, he pulled Morgan back up again.
He stopped walking and his hand moved around the wooden door, searching for the knob. Having found it, his hand opened the room door and he started walking again, back towards his bed.
Reid fell back on his bed heavily, looking up at Morgan.
"Pretty Boy," Morgan murmured, eyes looking up and down his body.
"Garcia'll be pleased," Reid said suddenly, then he laughed.
"Why?' Morgan asked, eyes twinkling with amusement.
"Because the plan worked," he grinned.
Reid smirked, "Operation Attracting Angel Cheeks, AA for short."
Morgan blinked in surprise for a few seconds, then he moved onto the bed, over Reid. "I'm honored."
"You should be, I had to go through 12 very hard steps," Reid said mock-haughtily.
"So much done for me?" Morgan nuzzled his neck. "Could've just asked."
Reid frowned, "You would've agreed?"
Morgan looked at him, "Yeah."
"Oh is right, come on," Morgan said, pulling him higher on the bed.
The door closed itself with a resounding thud.