Penelope Garcia flew down the hallway at Quantico in a complete panic. She had just got off of the phone with her boyfriend Kevin, and what he had told her, what she had just seen on her computer with her own eyes, resulted in wings on her feet and a massive lump in her throat. 'We have really done it this time' she thought as she finally reached the conference room. Opening the door, she hesitated for a moment before gathering her courage and entering.
Four pairs of eyes turned towards her. Derek Morgan, Emily Prentiss and Jennifer Jareau gave her questioning looks, as she tried to catch her breath from her run, while David Rossi, ever the gentlemen, stood up to offer her his seat which was closest to where she stood. Garcia could tell by their expressions that none of them knew what had happened yet; she didn't know if this was a good thing or not. It meant she would have to be the bearer of the terrible news, which was a role she was definitely not suited for. Before she had recovered her breathing enough to speak, to explain the disaster that had happened, Aaron Hotchner walked into the room. Garcia could tell instantly, by the stiff way he held his body and the thunderous look on his face, that Hotch definitely knew the bad news. "Oh God" she whispered, as he turned his dark eyes on her.
"Garcia?" Hotch uttered only the one word, as a question; but the expression on his face was so grim and foreboding, no other words were necessary. Garcia swallowed, knowing she was about to get herself and the three others in serious trouble; her only consolation was that Reid wasn't here to hear it, and maybe, possibly he would never find out. That improbability, nonetheless, propped up her confidence a bit, allowing her to speak.
"Hotch, I know it looks bad, really bad. But it wasn't supposed to happen. It really wasn't. We would never do anything like that to Reid, never, never in a million years." Garcia's face got redder as she spoke, as Hotch's silently stared at her. Rossi, who was totally clueless as to what was happening, looked at her with his eyebrows raised in question. The other three, who had some idea of what Garcia was talking about, glanced at her and each other, each feeling a little ashamed. But even they weren't aware of just how bad it actually was.
"It was just a joke, you know. Last week, when we stayed the extra night in Atlanta." Garcia threw appealing glances at the others, but no one was willing to jump into Hotch's hot seat; all three knew Hotch would soon be tearing strips off of their backs over the trick they had played on Reid. 'Where is Reid anyways' Morgan pondered, his mind not wanting to listen to Garcia explain what happened; it had seemed funny at the time, like most things do when the participants are drunk, but in the cold light of day it just would just sound mean and nasty.
"What exactly happened?" Hotch, his voice even, emotionless, stared at each agent in turn; the only one looking totally in the dark was Rossi, as he had expected, but the others all averted their eyes, their guilt written clearly in their faces.
"Well, sir, you probably remember that we all decided to go for a drink, to relax after we caught the Unsub." Garcia once again looked at the others, hoping someone would help her out, but again, they all kept quiet. Turning back to Hotch she continued, "And, then after you and Rossi left, we, uh, we decided to play a drinking game…" Garcia's voice faded away, as she saw the expression on Hotch's face. She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, but her vocal cords were paralyzed with regret, so she stayed silent.
Morgan finally took pity on her, swallowed his own regret over the incident, and spoke up, "Hotch, man, it was only a joke. No one got hurt, and as long as Reid never finds out, no harm no foul. We'll just get rid of it and no one will ever find out it happened." Morgan's optimism seeped out of his voice as he glanced between Garcia and Hotch. Feeling like a huge stone had settled on his chest, Morgan once again wondered where Reid was. He couldn't let his mind touch down on the thought that his 'baby brother' had found out what had happened; Morgan knew Reid would be beyond humiliated.
"Would someone like to tell me what we have going on here?" Rossi, who had not been involved, was still totally in the dark about what this 'terrible' thing was they had obviously done to Reid, and he was getting a bit pissed off. He too, cared for the young, insecure genius, and Rossi was only too aware of what can happen when a group starts playing drinking games. Rossi hoped that whatever had happened could be put right with some apologetic groveling from the team, and whatever Hotch had in mind. Rossi had known Hotch for years, so knew he would have thought of some suitable chastisement for them.
Prentiss, deciding she should speak up, as Garcia was still mute, spoke up next, "It was a joke Hotch. We all drank too much, spoke a little too freely about certain subjects, and made a very bad decision. Reid will understand if he finds out. After all, only the team knows about it."
Garcia finally found her voice again. Averting her face from Hotch's extremely angry eyes, she spoke in a voice that was barely above a whisper, "Reid does know." She swallowed hard, tears of shame starting to run down her cheeks, "And, others know too."
"Know what?" Rossi questioned, his voice slightly angry.
JJ was holding her hands to her eyes, trying to stem the tears that had surfaced. Morgan's face looked like thunder, as he slammed his fist onto the table, angry with himself for being involved in what happened. Prentiss started to speak, but one look at Hotch and she immediately changed her mind, her face flaming up tomato red.
"Well, Dave, it seems this trio of FBI agents, spent the evening getting themselves and their colleague, their vulnerable, insecure colleague drunk" Hotch's voice rose to emphasis the words vulnerable and insecure, causing Prentiss, Morgan, JJ and Garcia to shrink a little in their seats. "Then, it appears, they had the wonderful idea of filming this colleague as he went to bed." Rossi had an extremely bad feeling about where this was going, and looked at the others in utter surprise that they had done this to Reid, of all people.
"Yes, we did it. But we were all drunk, we didn't do it with malice." Morgan spoke up, his anger at himself coming through in his tone of voice. Turning towards Rossi he continued, "We had spent the evening talking about our sexual adventures when we were younger. Reid didn't contribute, obviously, since he went to college before puberty, but he was laughing along with us. So, we decided to use Garcia's flip phone to record Reid going to bed, hoping he would be thinking about the stories from earlier and would be horny enough to, you know, take care of himself." Even as he described the facts to Rossi in a flat, emotionless voice, Morgan felt his heart squeeze with shame and regret.
"And Reid did what you hoped he would." Rossi's voice too was flat, even though he felt like tearing into them. Rossi knew in his younger days he had done some pretty stupid things as well, so tried to keep his demeanor neutral.
Morgan decided he might as well continue and put it all out there on the table, he knew they were all in serious trouble, especially if Reid had indeed found out. "So, afterwards, we recorded stuff over it, like commentary…" Morgan's voice suddenly cut off as he vaguely remembered some of the things he and the others had said. He could almost feel tears come into his own eyes as he pictured Reid seeing and hearing the video they made while drunk. "But it was just a joke, no one was ever supposed to see it. How did Reid see it?"
Garcia tried to stifle a sob, and all eyes turned once again to her. "Kevin. He was downloading our vacation video onto his laptop, which was supposed to be the only thing recorded on the phone, and unknowingly downloaded Reid's video." Garcia stopped to wipe her cheeks again.
"Well, why did he show it to Reid?" Rossi asked. "He didn't." Garcia's voice was small and quiet, as the true enormity of what had happened seemed to squash her down. "He was using his laptop at the coffee shop yesterday, and it got hacked." Rossi took a moment to absorb this statement, and then raised his eyebrows at Garcia, willing her to continue. But Garcia had reached her limit, she covered her face with her hands and shook her head.
Hotch, his voice like ice, finished the explanation, "It seems that whoever hacked Kevin's computer decided to share his or her discovery, so has posted the video, with drunken commentary intact, on YouTube. And now a video of Reid masturbating..." Hotch didn't feel the need to use a 'nicer' word just to spare their feelings, "...along with some disgusting commentary by his trusted colleagues, is making the rounds on the Internet."
Morgan, Prentiss and JJ's jaws dropped at this last revelation. They had not known about the video getting on the Internet. The silence in the room was oppressive, like the air was pressing against everyone's chest. Only Garcia and JJ's sobs could be heard. Rossi could understand why Hotch looked ready to throttle the whole group. He felt absolutely terrible for Reid; imagine finding out you had a video, shot without your knowledge, of yourself involved in one of the most private acts, available for everyone to see. Rossi actually shuddered at the thought.
But Hotch wasn't finished. "Each of you can well imagine how Reid felt this morning, when he found out." Hotch let that thought sink into their minds for a minute, then continued in a tight, terrible voice, "When he came to my office earlier he was an emotional wreck."
Morgan could barely speak, the tears were thick in his throat at the thought of what Reid must be going through, "Where is he now?"
Hotch scanned each face before he sighed, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders, "I don't know. Reid came into my office this morning to hand in his gun and credentials. He's left the Bureau."