At long last the final chapter is here.
The team finally gathered at the hospital several hours after Reid had left in the ambulance. It had taken the bureau crime scene techs a substantial amount of time to document and sample the massive amounts of blood throughout the house and the agents were only just given clearance to leave the scene. They met JJ and Rossi in the hallway outside of Reid's room.
"What did the doctor say?" Hotch demanded.
"He's got a stab wound to the right shoulder which they stitched up and a bite wound on his neck," JJ informed them. "The doctor also had to replace his casts; one of them was broken and both of them were soaked through with blood."
"But he's going to be okay?" Morgan clarified.
"Dr. Greenberg says he should make a full recovery," JJ reassured.
Morgan muttered a relieved "halleluiah."
"Can we see him?" Garcia asked, seeming almost desperate to see that Reid was okay with her own eyes.
"He hasn't woken up since they put him under to fix his shoulder, but yeah, you can see him," JJ ushered them into Reid's room. He still looked pale, but he looked a hell of a lot better than he had at the house. All of the blood had been scrubbed away and he looked to be sleeping peacefully.
"He hasn't woken up at all?" inquired Emily.
"Not yet," said Rossi "but the doctor says he should be coming out of it soon."
They settled in around their youngest member, taking turns talking to him and encouraging him to wake up from his drug induced slumber. After nearly an hour had gone by, Reid began to stir. His head began to roll weakly on his pillow and the hands that JJ and Morgan held tightened around their fingers. Garcia was brushing her fingers through his freshly washed hair when his eyes peaked open.
"'cia?" he slurred with a raspy whisper.
"The one and only, baby cakes." She took up a cup of water with a straw and held it to his lips. He took a few sips and it helped diffuse the metallic taste of blood in his mouth.
He looked around at the agents surrounding him. "Hey guys," he said weakly with the smallest of smiles.
"How're you feeling, kid?" Asked Morgan.
"Okay," Reid answered honestly. He sent a pointed look to the morphine drip. "A little high."
Morgan's face broke into a grin, relieved beyond words that Reid was still, well, Reid. "I'll talk to the doctor about switching you over to codeine."
"Thanks," Reid said as he nestled back against the pillows. He eyed the intense expression that Hotch had fixed on him. "We're going to have to talk aren't we?"
Hotch nodded slowly. "We will. But it can wait until you're feeling more lucid."
Reid's gaze fell to his lap and he nodded his head. "Yes, sir." He then gave Morgan a timid glance, "sorry about your house."
Morgan smiled again. "Don't worry about it, kid. I'm just glad that you're okay."
Reid nodded again before smothering a great yawn. "Looks like pretty boy needs some more beauty sleep" Garcia cooed.
Reid looked like he was about to protest when Morgan interrupted him. "Get some sleep, Reid. We'll be here when you wake up."
The genius gave them a smile that was half amused at how much like a child the team treated him and half grateful that they would be there to chase the nightmares away. His eyes quickly drooped shut and he was out again in minutes.
The team took up chairs that they had stolen from about the hospital and settled in for the remainder of the night, relief finally washing over them in waves of bliss to see their nemesis on a slab in the morgue and their youngest member finally on the mend. They knew that the recovery process was far from over and that there would be many long weeks and months of nightmares, NA meetings and frustration, but after having almost lost their beloved genius, these trials seemed almost more of a reward than a burden.
Eight and a half hours later, Reid woke to see sunshine beaming in through the industrial drapes at his window. He saw Morgan sitting down by the foot of the bed reading a sports magazine.
"Hey," he called. His voice was much clearer than it had been the night before.
"Hey, pretty boy. How're you feeling?"
"Better," Reid said honestly after a brief appraisal. His shoulder, leg and ribs hurt more than they had upon his last waking but a quick glance told him that that was because he was off of the morphine and on a milder non opiate pain reliever. His stomach growled. "Hungry" he amended.
Morgan chuckled, "I'm not surprised. Good thing it's almost lunch time."
Hotch came in then, stashing his cell phone back into the pocket of his suit jacket. "Hey, how are you feeling?"
"I'm good," Reid answered again and attempted to sit up in his bed, finding that the sling around his arm made moving around more difficult than he'd anticipated. Morgan came to his rescue and pushed the button that raised the bed until his was in a reasonable sitting position.
Just then a pretty young nurse came in with a tray of food. "Hello, Dr. Reid. Are you feeling hungry today?"
"Starved," Reid proclaimed, blushing slightly when she leaned over him to grab the rolling tray on the other side of the bed, putting her well developed breasts at his eye level. Morgan caught sight of the tint in his cheeks and was somewhat less than successfully suppressing a fit of giggles.
"Alright then, my name is Sarah. Just let me know if you need anything else" she said with a smile after the tray had been arranged.
"Thank you," Reid said quickly as Morgan opened his mouth, no doubt to make a lewd remark at the genius's expense. Sarah left to finish her rounds.
They all turned their attention to the tray of questionable hospital food. "What is it?" Hotch asked with a slight frown at the tray.
"Don't care," Reid answered as he hungrily dug a fork into the mass and shoveled it into his mouth. "I think it's macaroni and cheese" he said after swallowing the bite, then took another. "It's not half bad."
"If you say so, kid" Morgan looked dubious.
Reid continued to eat his mystery meal until he'd nearly cleaned his plate before moving on to the serving of lime jello which he enjoyed thoroughly in spite of Hotch and Morgan's light teasing. When he was finally finished he set down his fork and pushed the rolling tray aside. "So you wanted to talk."
The mood in the room immediately darkened; Morgan shared a brief glance with Hotch. "We need to know what happened last night" Hotch said softly.
Reid bowed his head and allowed his hair to fall forward to obscure his face before nodding.
"Just take your time, Reid" Morgan instructed as he took one of the boy's small hands in his and gave it a squeeze. "We're right here."
"There's no rush" Hotch assured.
"Guys, I'm fine," Reid insisted. He took a deep breath before starting. "I was asleep in my bed, and when I woke up he was standing over me with a knife to my face. He made a small cut right here," he pointed to the band-aid at the base of his neck "then sat down on the bed and sucked on the wound."
Morgan's hand tightened on Reid's slightly as he fought to keep his anger at the deceased party in check.
"Then he… he started kissing my neck, and- and then he bit me." He made a gesture to the right side of his neck where a white bandage was taped to his skin. "I forced myself not to fight him" He explained. "It would only make him tie me up faster and I had a theory that if I just let him have what he wanted, he'd get excited enough to make a mistake." He raised nervous eyes to Morgan's, looking for disapproval on the darker man's face. Morgan gave his hand another squeeze and sent him a reassuring smile.
"Well, uh… It worked" Reid continued. "He set his knife down on the nightstand and turned to get something from his pocket, so I hit him with my cast really hard above his temple" he raised his casted right arm. "Then I grabbed for the knife and stabbed him in the thigh.
"He fell onto the floor and I think he was screaming, so I got out of the room as fast as I could and collapsed in the hallway. I, uh… did some quick profiling and determined that your spare gun was probably in the master bedroom," he sent Morgan an apologetic glance. "Sorry."
"Don't worry about it, Kid. I'll give you a pass this time."
"Right. So I got into the master bedroom and managed to close and lock the door before I heard him calling to me through out the house. I'd pushed the first two digits of the combination on the gun safe when he kicked the bedroom door down."
"Wait, how did you guess my combination?" Morgan asked.
"It's your mother's birthday," said Hotch mildly. Morgan stared at the unit chief, eyes wide.
"Am I that predictable?"
"Only to trained profilers that know you well," Hotch assured before turning back to Reid. "You were saying?"
"Um, right. Walker kicked the door down and I saw that there was blood all over him and the knife was in his hand. I figured that I must have hit the femoral artery when I stabbed him and he began to exsanguinate when he pulled it out. Did you know that 43 percent of all stabbing victims are-"
"Focus Reid," Hotch interrupted him.
"Sorry," He apologized before continuing. "He was on top of me before I could blink and he stabbed me with the bloody knife. I- I think I kicked him off me and he landed on the floor a few feet away. I pushed the last digit of the combination into the safe and pulled out your Beretta. Walker had gotten to his feet and was just raising the knife to stab me again when I shot him.
"Nothing happened at first and I was afraid that I'd missed or something," Reid admitted "but then he dropped the knife and there was suddenly blood everywhere and I had to move out of the way so that he wouldn't fall on me. I got up and made it as far as the kitchen before you guys got there." Reid's delicate frame seemed to have lost some tension after having released the burden of his story. He raised his eyes to look at his colleagues; they stared back at him, their expressions shocked and more than a little guilty.
Hotch broke the silence first. "I'm proud of you, Reid. You handled yourself exceptionally well, and I'm sorry we weren't there for you."
That seemed to break the levee that had been only just barely been reigning in Morgan's guilt. "God, Reid, I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have left you." He got angry with himself. "I can't believe I fell for his ruse and left you and Garcia!"
"Its okay, Morgan. You didn't know." Reid attempted to pacify the steaming giant. "And besides I'm an FBI agent too, you know. I can take care of myself."
"You shouldn't have to while you're injured." Hotch's eyes betrayed a similar guilt and self loathing to Morgan's.
Reid sighed. "Guys, I'm fine. None of this was your fault."
"You know that none of this was your fault either right?" Morgan looked him dead in the eye and Reid flinched and looked away. "Reid, look at me. What's eating you?"
"It's just…" Reid began in a small voice, his eyes looking down at his fidgeting hands. "He chose me… He raped me… I just feel so… I don't know."
"Reid, what you're feeling is completely normal" Hotch reassured. "You feel emasculated and you're blaming yourself. But you know just as well as I do that what he did has nothing to do with your masculinity and that you have no culpability here."
"I went through the same thing with Carl Buford," Morgan admitted. "But you have to accept that you're not the one at fault and move on, otherwise you're giving him power over you."
Reid nodded as he swallowed thickly and blinked back tears. "You guys shouldn't blame yourselves either."
"Alright, kid" Morgan smiled.
There was a minute comfortable silence before Reid became curious. "How's the case going anyways?"
"Well considering that Walker's dead, pretty well." Morgan said lightly.
"Seth Walker was smart enough to know that he'd eventually get caught, so he set aside cash, fake IDs and detailed instructions on how to duplicate his crimes for his brother. We think that Seth Walker probably planned this whole ordeal as revenge once he figured out we were onto him two years ago" Hotch explained. "Gregory used Seth's car as a decoy to lure us away from you."
"And we fell for it" Morgan said darkly. "He's been moving around under several false identities, but Garcia traced them all down so that we could see where he's been. It looks like he's been stalking us for a while."
"Wow," Reid said finally. "I didn't think we were that interesting."
"Evidently, the Walker's did" Hotch deadpanned.
"I sure as hell feel better knowing that they're both doornails" said Morgan as he leaned back in his seat.
"No kidding," smirked Reid. He only just now felt like he was able to breathe.
Dr. Greenberg discharged Reid the next morning and Morgan took Reid home to his freshly cleaned apartment. Moving around was still very difficult with both the leg cast and the sling so Morgan vowed to stay for the next two weeks until his house was no longer considered a crime scene and was cleaned and repaired. The team stopped by often, usually bringing take-out for dinner, and they all relished in being united again.
Reid was healing steadily and his appetite remained high as his thin body fought to reverse the malnutrition he'd suffered and mend his many injuries. Morgan noticed that he still had dark bags under his eyes but didn't find out why until after a week of staying with him.
He'd woken up from a nightmare of helplessness and a pale bloody body writhing in pain and shot up with a start only to tumble off of Reid's couch onto the hard wood floors with a thud. He shook himself awake and disentangled himself from the blankets. He groaned when he caught sight of the clock that told him it was 2:30 in the morning.
Deciding to take a trip to the bathroom before attempting to sleep again, Morgan padded across the apartment in silent bare feet but stopped abruptly when he noticed that Reid's bedroom light was on. He pushed the door open and found the genius sprawled across the bed, methodically making his way through a giant stack of books. He looked up, eyes wide at being caught.
"Reid," he sat on the edge of the bed, making the precarious stack of books wobble. "Why aren't you sleeping? Is it nightmares?"
Reid shook his head, looking up at him and Morgan couldn't help but turn to putty under the glistening wide eyed gaze. "I just… every time I go to sleep I'm afraid he's going to be standing over me when I wake up" he admitted.
"Aw, pretty boy" Morgan rubbed a hand over the stubble forming on his head. "You can't think like that. Walker's dead, you killed him yourself."
"I know, I just can't get it out of my head."
Morgan looked at him appraisingly for a moment before making a decision. "Come on," he prompted and stood with a hand out to help Reid off of the bed.
Reid looked at him in confusion for a second before accepting his hand and allowing himself to be pulled to his feet and helped out to the living room and dumped onto the sofa. Morgan went into the kitchen and came back with pop corn and left over pizza from that night's dinner with the team.
Reid accepted a slice gratefully, he seemed to always be hungry lately, and smiled when Morgan turned on the TV and the Star Trek theme song began playing. They only made it through one episode and a quarter of the way through the next one before they were both asleep on the couch, shoulder to shoulder, heads lolling, and nightmare free.
They stayed that way until Garcia let herself in the next morning with breakfast. She spied her two sleeping agents and quickly dug out a digital camera from her purse and snapped a half a dozen photos before heading into the kitchen with the bags of breakfast. The smell of maple syrup swiftly roused the two and they joined her at the kitchen table. Soon the entire team had arrived and they sat around Reid's slightly cramped table over a feast of pancakes.
"Awwww, lookit how cute they are," Emily and JJ cooed at Garcia's camera. Rossi chuckled as he looked over at the picture displayed on the screen.
"What is going on over there," Morgan demanded around a mouth full of pancakes. Garcia held her camera out for the other side of the table to see and Reid nearly choked on his milk. Hotch broke out laughing. "Aw, Damnit, woman!" Morgan groaned. "You'd better not post that on the internet."
"What makes you think I all ready haven't?" Morgan and Reid's jaws dropped. "Just kidding, my lovelies. I'll only print out a few dozen copies and pass them around Quantico."
"Sounds like a plan," Morgan grinned at the she-devil.
"So, Reid," Emily called after suppressing another fit of giggles. "When does the doctor think you'll be able to come back?"
Reid tore his attention away from the incriminating photo. "He says that I should be able to return to light duty in another two weeks and then to field work after I get the cast off my leg in two months."
"Looks like you're gonna be doing everyone's paper work for a while" Morgan joked.
"Looks like," Reid agreed.
"You can hang out with me!" Garcia bounced excitedly. Reid's eyes widened at the thought. It wasn't that he didn't love Garcia, because he did, but the thought of being her gimpy techno cabana boy for two months was enough to strike fear in his soul. Morgan laughed at his expression.
Hotch leaned back in his chair, his stomach full of pancakes, his ears full of laughter and his heart filled with peace. Everything was going to be all right. Reid was recovering and the team was healing, knitting them into an even closer family than they'd been before. He closed his eyes and let the soothing warmth wash over him.
I want to thank my reviewers for the amazing amount of feedback I got for this story. You guys are awesome!
Thanks to insanepersonishappy for the pancake suggestion. I couldn't resist!
I'm not going to do a sequel for this story, but I am planning a short addendum. It will be morgan/reid slash, so if that doesn't float your boat or you think that it might ruin this story for you, I totally understand. But for those of you that think this story could have used a little romance and some smut then this'll be something for you to check out.
Until next time,