Despite Morgan's doubts, the world actually did go back to normal following the Reynolds case. For once, Strauss kept her promise, and sent the other teams traipsing around the country after serial killers and let them rest. It had been three weeks of safe, peaceful paperwork at the office.
But that did have its drawbacks.
"Morgan, my office, please," Hotch said. The 'please' was a nice touch, but Hotch said it with the same tone as he usually said 'now'.
Morgan had one blissful moment of confusion before he looked at the clock. "Crap."
The team was watching him with juvenile glee, the way they usually did when this kind of thing happened. He slouched past Elle's desk only to hear her sing, "Somebody's in trouble.
"Shut up," Derek grouched.
It was funny; usually Morgan complained about the distance from his desk to Hotch's office. Now he was wishing the contractor had put in a few extra stairs.
"Morgan, you're late," Hotch said, skipping the pleasantries as he glared at Morgan from behind his desk, "Again."
"Only by five minutes."
"Last time it was ten." Hotch wasn't cutting him any slack.
"I'm improving?" Morgan tried. He kind of knew it was a lost cause anyway. "Oh, come on Hotch, it's not like we're doing anything anyway. It's waiting until Reid's done at noon and then watching him do magic tricks all day."
"Be that as it may, I expect you to be on time for work," Hotch said sternly. "How about this, Morgan – if you show up half an hour early for work tomorrow, I'll let this go."
"Half an hour?" Morgan whined. The look on Hotch's face told him arguing would be detrimental to his career. "Okay, fine. Looks like I'll have to ask Reid for another favor."
"Aw, Morgan, you were late for work again?" Reid said.
Morgan blinked, "You didn't notice?"
"I was working on paperwork," Reid said, as if that explained everything.
"Reid, man, you do know that you're the only one who actually… never mind." Morgan shook his head. "The point is, I need you to walk Clooney for me before work. There's a kennel for him by the BAU, I've been meaning to try it out for a while. Take him there and I'll pick him up at the end of the day."
"Okay," Reid said.
"Okay? You mean you're not gonna argue with me on this?" Morgan said.
Reid shrugged, "Clooney saved my life. And if it means I actually get to see you when I walk into work for a change, it's worth it."
Morgan was at work half an hour early. And, more because Hotch was still glaring at him from his office than anything, Morgan actually did some work. He managed to get through two files – and was very proud of himself for the accomplishment, at that – when the rest of the team showed up.
With one glaring exception.
"Where's Reid?" JJ asked, looking around the bullpen.
Morgan looked up at Reid's desk; the kid wasn't sitting there as he usually was. JJ checked the break room, Elle even went out to check the parking lot.
"There's no sign of him," Elle said, flipping back down at her desk. But Morgan wasn't looking at her. He was looking at the clock.
"5… 4… 3… 2... 1…. YES!" Morgan boomed, pumping his fist at the air. The rest of the team stared at him.
"… I'm probably going to regret asking this, but… why?" Elle asked.
Morgan was beaming from ear to ear, "As of ten seconds ago, Dr. Spencer Reid is officially late to work. He's never gonna live this down; all those times he's lectured me about being late to work…"
"He's only ten seconds late, Morgan," JJ said.
"Hey, it may be a small victory, but it's all I have," Morgan defended.
The minutes ticked by; Morgan watching the clock with increasing glee, the others with worry.
"It's been fifteen minutes; Reid's never this late. Do you think we should look for him?" JJ asked.
"He's with Clooney," Morgan said nonchalantly, "How much trouble can he get into?"
At that moment, Reid walked through the door.
"I stand corrected," Morgan said.
Reid looked awful. His hair was sticking up in all directions, his clothes were rumpled, his tie hanging dangerously askew. There was a hole in his pants the size of a baseball, and cuts and scrapes seemed to cover every inch of his lanky body.
"Oh, my gosh, Reid! Are you okay?" JJ asked.
But Reid wasn't looking at her. He was glaring at Morgan.
"You. Are. Dead." He grumbled.
Morgan seemed unconcerned.
And You. Are. Late." He said.
Reid let out a strangled yell and lunged at him, barely being held back by Elle and JJ. Hotch was down the stairs in an instant, glaring furiously.
"What is going on?" He asked, "And Reid, its fifteen minutes past the time you were supposed to be here. What happened to you?"
Reid pointed at Morgan's face. "His dog, that's what!"
"What?" Morgan sat straight up in his chair, "Don't drag Clooney into this!"
"Don't drag Clooney into this? Clooney dragged me into this!" Reid yelled.
"Alright, Reid, take a deep breath," Elle said, "Just calmly tell us what happened."
"Alright. I picked up Clooney about an hour ago from Morgan's house and started walking toward here. I calculated my pace and figured I would get to work five minutes early. At first everything went well…" Reid paused to glare at Morgan again.
"Then what happened?" Hotch pressed.
"All of the sudden, Clooney started growling at everyone who came within five feet of me. He tried to pick fights with the other dogs, their owners… I had to spend twenty minutes holding him back from the other people on the street. It was humiliating. Then, when I finally think he's calming down, he drags me into traffic! I almost got ran over by a car! Then he starts barking like crazy, and when I finally get to the other side, he wags his tail and stares at me like I'm supposed to be praising him! And it's all Morgan's fault."
"Wait a second! How is this my fault? I reward Clooney when he saves you, not... oh…" And Derek Morgan burst into laughter.
"What is going on?" Hotch asked.
"You're happy that he tried to kill me?" Reid asked.
"No, not at all. I just realized why Clooney did it though. I give Clooney a dog treat every time he saves Reid's life, right? Well, he's been on a diet and Reid hasn't been in danger because we haven't had a case… so he created the danger himself. Clooney tried to kill Reid for dog treats."
There was silence as the team let it sink in.
"That's kind of brilliant," Elle said.
"Morgan, do us all a favor and keep your dog away from Reid," Hotch sighed, heading back up the stairs.
Morgan started laughing again, "That's what she said."
This time, no one tried to hold Reid back.