"C'mon, Reid. Please?"
"I thought you were going to have Garcia do it?"
"I was going to, but Garcia has the flu, she's gonna be laid up all weekend. Please Reid, I need this, and no one else can do it for me."
"What about JJ?"
"She's going to East Alleghany to visit her folks."
"Going to New York, where she will not be visiting her folks."
"Has a family, and Haley doesn't love me that much."
"Haley likes you."
"She likes me fine, but she doesn't love me, especially not enough for last minute favors."
"Well, what about that girl in accounting, the one that likes you. Corie?"
"Corie is allergic to dogs. Reid, man, you know I wouldn't be asking you if you weren't the last resort. This is the first four day weekend we've had in almost a year, I got a sweet deal on a hotel room in Orlando, and I do not want to give up four days of sun and fun because no one can watch Clooney."
"Well…" He was breaking Reid down, Morgan could feel it. The kid was a pushover, especially when it came to favors.
"All you have to do is stay at my house for the next few days, let him out to go to the bathroom every so often, feed him twice a day, and take him for a walk a few times. In the meantime, I have a fully stocked fridge, big screen TV, and queen sized bed with your name on it. Please." It was a good deal.
"I don't know, Morgan," Reid said, gently biting down on his bottom lip, "I've never been dog-sitting before."
"It's easy, Reid."
"But what about the Reid-effect?"
"Oh, come on, Reid, you don't really… wait, how do you know about the Reid-effect?"
"You know how I fall asleep in the jet on the way home from cases?"
"Well, you should really wait until I'm fully asleep before you start talking about me."
"I figured you would let me know if you were still awake," Morgan said.
"And miss out on hearing what you say about me when I'm not around? Not a chance."
"Oh, you little," Morgan shook his head, mentally vowing, as he often did, never to trust Reid again, "Don't change the subject. Clooney'll love you, he's a good dog. Please?"
"Well," Reid's resolve was crumbling, Morgan just needed one good bargaining chip to seal the deal. And he had just the thing in mind.
"I got a new espresso machine," Reid's head snapped up; Morgan knew his coffee machine was a piece of junk.
"Can I put as much sugar as I want in it?"
"Reid, you do this for me, and I'll buy you your own bag."
Morgan knew Reid was only mulling it over to make him squirm.
"Alright, Reid, here you go," Morgan handed Reid the key to his house. His bags were already packed into the car, Reid had been introduced to Clooney with minimal incident – the dog had tried to jump up on him, which caused the young genius to jump about four feet in the air, but he had recovered fairly quickly – and the plane wasn't scheduled to take off for another few hours, "Oh, one last thing. Clooney has these jumbo dog treats on the top shelf of the pantry. He's going to try and beg one off of you, but the vet's worried about caloric intake or something like that, so Clooney's on a diet. No treats for another month or so."
"Okay," Reid said, nodding. "Have a good vacation."
"Thanks, man. I'll see you in four days."
The last view Morgan got of Reid was seeing the kid walk into his house and close the door. He drove off lighthearted, not thinking that it could be the last time he saw the kid alive.
The sound of his phone woke Morgan in the middle of the night. He rolled over and looked at his bedside clock. Two in the morning. It was a bit earlier than he was usually asleep, but Morgan was planning on catching a plane back to Quantico tomorrow morning.
For a moment, Morgan paused to smile to himself. The last three days had been amazing, to say the least. Warm sun, hot clubs, and beautiful women could do a lot for a guy's morale… the demanding chime of his phone interrupted him.
"Morgan." He answered shortly.
"Morgan, who did you have dog sit in place of me?" Garcia's woke sounded wet and stuffy, which Morgan assumed was because of the flu. He grinned.
"What, no baby? No sugar? No Chocolate God of Thunder? What's up, Mama, are you sick?"
"Derek, who did you have dog sit in place of me?" Morgan was instantly at attention. Garcia never called him, 'Derek', and she certainly never used that tone when she talked to him. Something was wrong.
"Reid, why?" He asked.
"Oh, no," Garcia moaned. The wet, stuffy sound was tears, Morgan realized, though it was hard to register over the sound of his own blood rushing in his ears.
"Why? Garcia, what happened? Is Reid okay?"
"I don't know, Morgan. I was just watching the news and I saw your house…"
"Garcia, what happened?" Morgan tried not to sound too harsh, tried not to think about what could have happened to Reid.
"Morgan, your house burned down," Garcia whispered, "It caught fire in the middle of the night, all they said was that someone was taken to the hospital."
"Did they say what condition he was in?" Morgan asked. In a way, he was oddly relieved. Hospitals meant hurt, not dead. If Reid was taken to the hospital, it meant he was still alive.
"I don't know," Garcia said, "I'm trying to hack into the hospital database, but it's hard to get in. You need to get home, Derek."
"I'm calling to transfer my plane tickets right now."
It was the longest plane ride Morgan had ever been through. The whole time, all he could think about was Reid. Reid hadn't even wanted to watch Clooney; he had pressured him into it. If the kid was hurt badly, Morgan knew he'd never forgive himself.
All and all, it was a panicked man who ran through the doors of St. John General Hospital. Gideon was sitting in the lobby, waiting for him.
"Morgan," He said, rising to his feet, "Garcia told me your plane was coming in."
"How is he?" Morgan asked, his voice rising.
"Calm down, Morgan," Hotch said, coming up next to him, "He's alright. We can take you to him, but you need to be calm. Reid needs his rest."
"Alright," Morgan said, struggling to gain control of himself.
The first thing to greet him when he reached the door of Reid's hospital room was Clooney. The golden retriever jumped on him, followed by JJ.
"I got Clooney from your landlord on the way over. Elle is still in New York; Garcia called her and told her about what happened. She'll be in tonight to visit Reid."
"How is he?" Morgan asked again, walking around JJ to see his young friend.
The frightened part of him was expecting burns at the very least, but Reid looked undamaged. He was lying in bed, sheets drawn up to his chin, which made him look like a child, but also hid from Morgan any injuries he may have sustained.
"Shhhh, my Chocolate God of Thunder. Don't want to wake up the invalid," Garcia grinned from her place next to Reid's bed. Perky pet names. Morgan relaxed and walked over, taking the free seat next to Reid.
"He's fine," Gideon said, "The doctors are keeping him overnight for observation, but the only real concern is smoke inhalation. There doesn't seem to be any lasting damage to his lungs, so he should be able to go home tomorrow."
Reid shifted, his hand slipping from under the covers. Morgan grabbed it and placed it back onto the bed, "What happened?"
"I can answer that," JJ said, coming up next to Morgan and placing her own hand on his shoulder, "Apparently, Clooney woke Reid up when he realized the house was burning. Reid crawled across the floor to the front door, but passed out from the smoke before he got the door all the way open. Clooney dragged him the rest of the way out the door and onto the street."
"Reid's very lucky," Hotch added, "If it hadn't have been for Clooney, he wouldn't have made it."
Morgan was thinking about that when the rest of the team left. Elle had arrived later that night, but was only able to stay for a few minutes before the nurse shooed them all out. Since Morgan didn't have a house at the moment, he choose to sleep in a cot next to Reid's bed, ignoring repeated offers from the rest of the team that he stay with them. Reid had woken briefly during the visit, but was now unconscious again.
Clooney, for his part, was nuzzling against Morgan, seeking praise for what he had done. Praise Morgan was more than willing to give you.
"I tell you, Clooney," Morgan said, looking down at the dog and then to his still living friend, "I don't care what the vet said. When we get home, I'm buying you a whole bag of dog treats."