Warnings: Slash, which means guy on guy, you don't like, don't read. Domestic abuse and violence.
Pairings: Reid/OC (briefly), Reid/Morgan
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Romance
Summary: It started with a knock and it ended with a gunshot.
Author's Notes: Wow. Just … wow. The response to the first chapter has made me feel all sorts of guilty for this taking so long. Hope you all enjoy it. And those of you waiting for Craig to get his … well, just wait. *evil grin*. Seriously, you guys are amazing. Hope I can live up to your praise.
Derek Morgan sighed loudly as he fidgeted on his couch restlessly, an opened beer dripping with condensation sitting untouched in front of him. He logically knew that there were a dozen things he could be doing – chores, paperwork, he could hit up a bar or go to the gym – but he found he had absolutely no desire to do any of those things at the moment.
He also didn't feel like sitting in his apartment alone, wasting his time thinking about a man that he had obviously missed his chance with. But as he sipped his beer he supposed that was what he had resigned himself to do for the night because all he could think about was the blush and smile that had crept onto Reid's face when Prentiss had asked about his date, and how much Morgan hated that that smile hadn't been for him. He had always told himself that he would have more time to tell Reid how he felt, to build up the courage to come clean, but now his time had run out. Reid was seeing someone and Derek had missed his chance. Well, at least he still had beer.
As Derek contemplated flipping on the television to distract him from picturing what Reid was doing on his 'date', Clooney jumped up onto the couch with a rather pleading look in his eyes.
"I suppose I can add 'walk Clooney' to the list of things I should get off this couch and do, huh?" he muttered to the dog as he scratched him behind the ear. Clooney looked content for a moment before his head perked up and he started to growl. Morgan frowned, "Hey, no need to get pushy about it."
Ignoring his master's remark Clooney jumped off the couch and started barking at the front door. The dog was Morgan's own personal alarm system, he barked whenever anyone came up his front steps, whether they were friendly or not. With a sigh Morgan pushed himself off the couch to see who was at the door.
"Okay Clooney I got it. Go, corner!" he ordered the dog, who immediately stopped barking and perched himself in his bed in the corner.
"Don't be another Jehovah's Witness," Derek pleaded as he pushed open a slit in his curtains to peer outside. As he looked out his forehead creased with confusion as he could just make out a familiar lanky form standing on his porch, with slouched shoulders and too long hair falling in his face.
"What the hell …?" Morgan muttered, quickly unbolting his front door. As he pulled it open the porch was revealed to be empty as his 'visitor' was quickly rushing back down the front steps.
"Reid!" he called out stopping the younger man in his tracks near the bottom step. "What the hell man?"
When Reid didn't turn around, didn't do anything except stand stock still holding the railing in a death grip, Morgan walked out onto the porch. The porch lights were off and Reid wasn't facing him but he could tell the genius was breathing heavily and … shaking?
Something dark twisted inside Derek's gut and he took another step closer.
"Reid? Are you okay?"
Reid shook his head. When he finally spoke his voice was small and tired.
"I forgot about Clooney."
He was still standing on the bottom step, clearly poised to run, so Derek continued to approach slowly, and asked, "What?"
"I … I don't think I was even going to knock. I think I just wanted to … be here, for awhile. My whole plan was to just stand on your porch." Reid's tone indicated he knew how ridiculous that sounded and he shook his head as though angry with himself. "I forgot Clooney would hear me. I'm sorry. I should go."
Reid's tone had sped up and he tried to run away but Morgan was close now and managed to snag his wrist.
"Reid wait …!"
"No!" Reid yelled, pulling his arm back with such intensity that Morgan released the genius immediately. This did more harm than good though as Reid stumbled from his own momentum and ended up sprawled on the hard concrete, hissing in pain as his burnt hand tried to brace his fall. "Ah!"
"Reid! Dammit. Are you okay?" Morgan asked, crouching down and placing a gentle hand on Reid's shoulder, careful not to startle him again. "You have to talk to me man, what's going on? You're scaring me. What happened on your … oh my god."
Just as Derek asked his last question Reid lifted his head and faced him for the first time since he got there. The lighting was dim but Derek's trained eye easily caught sight of the blue and black bruises forming around Reid's face, marring and swelling those perfect eyes that were red from tears that had barely dried.
Something cold and hard churned in Derek's stomach as his gaze traveled down and he also saw the bandaged hand that Reid was cradling against his chest and he was left to imagine what other injuries were hidden underneath his clothes.
"Reid what happened to you?" Derek asked.
"It's nothing, don't worry about it," Reid mumbled, sitting up straighter as he tilted his head to make his hair fall over the worst of it. Seeing the genius trying to cover up what had happened only served to fuel the fire lighting in Derek's stomach though.
"Reid, who did this to you?"
Derek tried to be gentle and calm, he really did, but the anger rolling around him after seeing Reid like this was screaming to be let loose and he needed to know who that anger was going to be targeted at.
But Reid was shaking his head again, staring at the ground.
"You don't know?" Derek asked to clarify.
Reid shook his head again.
"I know. I'm just not going to tell you."
"What? Reid, why?" Derek pushed, his anger still simmering through his honest concern and hating that Reid flinched at his tone.
"Because you'll go after him," Reid replied as if that explained everything.
"Damn right I'll go after him. He's gonna be breathing through a tube when I'm done with him," Derek promised but this just caused Reid to laugh sadly.
"That's why I can't tell you. I appreciate the sentiment, I really do, but … I know exactly what would happen and what you would do and … it's not worth risking your job over," Reid told him, still sitting on the ground curled in on himself. "It's done. Just let it go."
Derek finally managed to tame his anger after hearing the defeated tone of Reid's voice. Placing a gentle hand on Reid's uninjured cheek he turned him around to face him.
"Reid," he said, waiting for the younger man to look him in the eye before he stated emphatically. "You're worth it."
Still trembling, Reid obviously did not know how to respond to such honest sentiment and shook his head and looked down, as though denying the beautiful accusation. Derek sighed, realizing he had pushed the genius into silence.
"Okay, I'll drop it, for now."
"Thank you," Reid whispered, still clearly shaken by Morgan's honest proclamation.
When it was obvious that Reid wasn't going to say anything else Morgan sighed.
"Hey, why did you come here if you didn't want my help?"
Reid shrugged, "I didn't feel safe at my place alone. Would … would you mind if I slept on your couch?"
"Yes, I would," Morgan answered seriously, then smiled at Reid's surprised expression. "Especially considering I've got a perfectly good guestroom. Come on. Let's get you inside."
Morgan's heart broke at the smile of pure relief that passed over Reid's face. Taking Reid's uninjured hand he helped him stand up then carefully watched him walk up the stairs.
"Are you hurt anywhere else?" he asked in case the younger man was just good at hiding it.
"No," Reid shook his head. "I'm fine. Thanks. I'm … I'm tired."
"Yeah, I bet. Come on." Derek held open the door and ushered Reid inside. Clooney appeared almost instantly, tail wagging happily as he recognized Reid and then barked for attention. Reid jumped back at the sound, even though he knew the dog was friendly and Morgan shushed him immediately.
"Hey, corner. No barking," Derek ordered.
"It's okay, I know he's just excited. I guess I'm just a little jumpy," Reid explained.
"He shouldn't be barking anyway. Why don't you go sit on the couch, I'll get you some ice for that eye," Derek offered.
Nodding his head Reid shuffled awkwardly into the living room and perched on the edge of the couch cushion as his mind raced trying to figure out rationally why out of all the places he could have gone, he had chosen Derek's house.
When Morgan walked back in he was holding an icepack and a small first aid kit.
"Here, hold that to your eye before you swell up so bad that I can't call you 'pretty boy' anymore," Derek joked softly as he handed Reid the ice pack and laid out the first aid kit.
"Thanks," Reid mumbled, gingerly placing the cold compress against his eye. It stung at first but then he sighed as the ice quickly started to numb the pain radiating through his skull.
"Yeah, I thought that would help." Derek tapped his fingers anxiously on the table for a second before clearing his throat to swallow his anger. "What happened to your hand?"
Reid looked at the bandaged appendage like he almost wasn't sure.
"Oh, I uh burnt it on the stove."
Derek raised an eyebrow to indicate he didn't quite believe that simple explanation, to which Reid shrugged, "Well, it was burnt on a stove."
Plucking gauze and Neosporin out of his kit Derek shook his head.
"You have to tell me what happened Reid," he announced suddenly, mind made up with this newest piece of information.
"Derek, I told you, I'm not going to let you …"
"Fine, don't tell me his name, but you're going to tell me what happened, all of it, and then we're going to figure out together how we're going to handle this," Derek said firmly with no room for arguments.
Looking down at the floor Reid sighed, realizing he really should have expected this from Morgan, but he nodded nonetheless.
"All right. Good. Now let me look at this hand and tell me everything," Derek instructed as he waited for Reid to extend his arm so he could unwrap the hastily-made bandage that Reid had put there.
Reid couldn't help but flinch as Morgan started to pull back the fabric.
"Sorry," Morgan replied automatically.
"No … you … thank you," Reid mumbled, almost embarrassed by how grateful he felt. "Um … it was your phone call."
"What?" Derek asked.
Reid cleared his throat, "What started the fight. When you called me earlier tonight, he heard your voice on the other end. I told him before that I always shared a room with 'Morgan' when I was out of town – apparently he assumed you were a woman."
"Well I don't get accused of that very often," Derek commented darkly, trying to concentrate on his task even as he felt his pulse quickening with each strip of burnt, red flesh that was revealed on Reid's hand. "And then?"
"Um, he accused me of lying to him, on purpose. I hadn't realized he thought you were a woman so I apologized. He said it was fine, but then he grabbed my phone and pulled up a picture of you. The fact that you're a fairly attractive man set him off even worse," Reid was moving through the story at a fairly rapid pace, his mind distancing itself from the emotion now that he was physically away from his apartment.
"We uh … fought for a minute, he was convinced I'd been lying to him about other things too," Reid continued vaguely, not willing to repeat the insults Craig had thrown at him. "Some things were said that I wasn't about to take so I told him to get out."
Good boy, Morgan thought to himself, even though he knew this story wasn't going to end happily.
"He just kept yelling at me though. I told him to leave again and I tried to take my phone back and …"
Derek waited for Reid to continue but the genius just shrugged like that explained it all.
"What happened next?" Derek pushed.
"I'm not sure," he replied slowly, licking his lips as he thought over his words carefully.
"Reid," Derek repeated firmly, squeezing the small wrist he was holding reassuringly.
Reid sighed and looked at the floor, exhausted by the truth Morgan was making him relive.
"He told me to get away from him and … he hit me," he whispered. "Just out of nowhere. I was flying across the room and …" Clearing his throat he indicated his hand, "I fell into the kitchen and my hand landed on the stove. I fell to the floor and then …"
Reid's voice hitched badly, his eyes watering as he looked up at the ceiling to compose himself. Derek's stomach clenched, expecting to hear something truly terrible had happened next.
"And then he apologized," Reid announced softly, voice low and confused.
"What?" Derek asked looking deep into Reid's watery, lost eyes.
"He apologized. He looked so frantic and he said he was sorry and he wrapped up my hand and he tried to help and … I don't know. I came at him to take my phone back, it really wasn't all his fault!"
"Reid," Derek stopped him right there by putting a hand on Reid's cheek, leaving his thumb to cover the genius's mouth. "This is not okay. None of this. There is no excuse for this."
Derek's voice was firm and reassuring, which helped to clear away some of the confusion from Reid's eyes.
"I know, I know," he agreed, looking down. "He was just trying to manipulate me, I know that, logically, somehow I knew that. That's why I told him to leave. Again. He argued at first but I reminded him how many cops I knew and … and he left."
"Just like that?" Morgan questioned, the action not fitting the personality of the man Reid had just described to him.
"Well, he threw a pot of spaghetti sauce at my wall, but then he left," Reid finished. His voice started to drift off at the end and he turned to stare at the wall, leading Derek to think Reid might be getting lost in thought, but before he could try to snap him out of it Reid shook his head and tried to gesture with the hand Derek was wrapping in gauze.
"How could I have been so stupid? I mean, I'm a profiler, that's my job, and I'm supposedly good at it, and I get tangled up in a textbook abusive relationship. Looking back, I don't know how I missed the obvious signs of jealousy and narcissism, tying self worth to possessions, physical stature, social status, all the signs were there I just … I missed it somehow. I don't know what's wrong with me," he finished quietly.
"Hey, there's nothing wrong with you. You were in a new relationship, it's exciting, it's supposed to be. You did what everyone does, you were so worried about your own flaws you weren't looking for his. This isn't your fault Reid. You did the smart thing, you got out of there and you told someone, and this guy's gonna pay for what he did," Derek promised.
"No," Reid repeated again though, shaking his head.
"Reid, this guy attacked you. You're going to tell me who he is and I'm going to arrest him for assault."
"It's not that simple. I came at him for the phone, it's my word against his. Please, I … I don't want to talk about it anymore. It's over, he's gone. I just want to forget and get some sleep. Please."
Derek wanted to push the subject but he was a slave to those pleading eyes, especially when combined with the genius's utterly defeated posture.
"All right," Derek sighed reluctantly as he taped the gauze in place on Reid's hand. "It is late. But we're going to talk in the morning, okay? That's not a threat, it's a promise. Bathroom's at the end of the hall if you need it. I'll go get you something to wear to bed."
"Thanks Morgan. I really appreciate … everything," Reid stuttered out awkwardly as he stood up. "If you still have it, your brown shirt with the purple circular patterns would probably fit me best. But, you know, anything's fine."
"I just mean, it's the smallest t-shirt that I know you own. It seems to be even tighter on you every time you wear it actually, so either you're shrinking it in the wash or your muscles are actually trying to burst through and escape from it."
"It's not that tight."
"It's fairly tight," Reid disagreed, gingerly removing the icepack from his eye.
"All right, whatever. I'll see if I can find it," Derek promised with a laugh of disbelief.
"Thank you. I'll just …" Reid motioned towards the bathroom and shut the door behind him, leaving Derek alone to shake his head and sort through his drawers to find Reid something to wear. The shirt Reid had suggested was at the bottom of his t-shirt drawer – Derek had noticed it was getting a little tight, even for a guy used to wearing muscle shirts, but he smiled at the idea that Reid had noticed too. That smile disappeared instantly when his mind was assaulted with an image of Reid's bruised face and he felt his anger boiling all over again. He would have to get the kid to talk to him, somehow, and if that didn't work he'd have Garcia track down the bastard somehow so Derek could proceed to feed him his teeth one by one.
Grabbing a pair of shorts to go with the shirt, Derek took a breath to compose himself and moved back down the hall. Reid hadn't come out of the bathroom yet so he laid the clothes out on the guest bed.
"Reid!" he called out softly, knocking on the door. "I have to let Clooney out. I left you some clothes in the guest room."
"Oh uh … thanks," Reid answered a second later, voice hitched as he cleared his throat. Derek sighed quietly, knowing the sound of choked off tears when he heard it; oh yeah, there was going to be a long talk in their future. For now he decided to let Reid have his illusion of being fine, at least until he found the walking dead man who had done this to him.
Going back out to the living room he let Clooney out into the yard to do his business before bed. When he heard the bathroom door open down the hall he decided to brush his teeth now that Reid was done.
Down the hall Reid was getting dressed for bed with the door slightly ajar and just as Morgan picked up his toothbrush he heard his friend grunt with pain.
"Uh Reid? You all right?" Morgan asked worriedly as he poked his head in to see Reid standing in the middle of the room cringing as he gripped the collar of his shirt with his one good hand.
"I uh … I think maybe I hit my ribs too," Reid replied softly, seemingly favoring his right side as he let the sweater he was wearing fall back down around his neck. It seemed that with only one good hand and a sore side he was finding it hard to pull it off over his head without hurting himself. Seeing this, Morgan stepped into the room to help.
"Here, lift up your arms," Morgan instructed, as he took hold of the hem of the shirt.
"I got it," Reid assured him quickly, suddenly self conscious about the older man's proximity. Morgan was so close he could smell him, feel the warmth of his hands on his torso, and at the moment he was in no shape to try to examine exactly why that excited him.
"Just lift up your arms," Morgan demanded with exaggerated exasperation, as if he was trying to undress a six-year old. Reid did as instructed and Morgan gently pulled the shirt off over his head.
Now Reid was shirtless, Morgan was in his personal space, both were breathing just a little too hard, and neither one was backing down. Morgan closed his eyes and breathed deeply, enjoying the smell of Reid, the feel of him so close and subconsciously leaned forward, wanting more.
When Morgan's eyes opened he looked at Reid's bare chest. There were a few bruises threatening to diminish the beauty of Reid's body but they were completely unsuccessful. Morgan was taken aback by the perfection but as his gaze moved up he saw the bruises on Reid's face again and suddenly he knew this was not his moment. Reid was vulnerable and scared and this was not the time to burden the younger man with his feelings.
Upon realizing this Morgan quickly cleared his throat and backed away.
"Um, I think you got it from here. I'll … I'll let you get some sleep. Night Reid."
The genius was suddenly looking at the floor as Morgan shuffled out of the room.
"G'night," he mumbled to Morgan's back before sinking onto the bed and cradling his head in an agony that had nothing to do with his black eye.
Once in the hallway Morgan sighed and started to head for his bedroom, flustered, then remembered Clooney and changed directions to go let the dog back in. On the way back down the hall he crept silently past the guestroom and proceeded to lay in his own bed, mind racing and eyelids showing no interest in closing any time soon.
Twenty feet away across the hall, Reid was in a similar position.
For several hours both men laid in their beds, wide awake, alone and thinking about the other.
Hope that wasn't too boring for any of you. I love hurt, yet strong, Reid and hope you guys do too. Next time we'll see what happens with Craig. Grrr.