Disclaimer; I do not own Criminal Minds and no profit is made in any way from this story. It is written for fun and to practice the craft of writing only.
Some language and adult situations within this chapter.
Chapter Twenty Eight
It was late but Reid was too agitated to sleep after Strauss had visited with him. He wanted to get out of bed and pace, well, his version of pacing that he sometimes would do back in his office on campus when he was thinking through one of Jason's "hypothetical" problems. But he couldn't even make his body work enough to get out of bed and this wasn't a hypothetical problem. The whole of him, body and mind, hurt from thinking. Screwing up his eyes he pressed his head back into the pillows and wished he had kept himself safe and had never allowed himself to be hooked by Jason Gideon and the BAU. But it wasn't Jason or his job at the BAU that had stirred up his safe life, it was Emily and her passion and sex and the temptation of a different life and Morgan and the others and their easy friendship and support that had dropped into his dried up existence and spread hope like a lake. He swallowed hard as tears started to snake from his eyes into his hairline.
'Are you in pain?'
He opened his eyes to find a nurse looking down at him.
'I can get you something if you need it.' She said.
He shook his head. 'No...thank you.' He swallowed hard. 'The pain's no worse.' He said.
'Worried about the procedure tomorrow?' She asked.
"I'm worried about how it will feel when I say I'm not having it. I'm worried about how it will feel to let go of everything I almost had." he thought.
When he didn't answer, but a further cascade of tears slid to his pillow, she dug into her scrubs and pulled out an MP3 player.
'You want to borrow this?' She said. 'I have just the playlist to help you relax and sleep.'
Spencer nodded dumbly and she fitted the buds into his ears and thumbed the dial, allowing a relaxing melody to sing though the headphones.
'Thank you.' He said.
'Repay me by getting some sleep. You'll need all you can get for tomorrow.' She smiled and left the room.
Spencer stared at the ceiling and clutched the MP3 to his chest. He couldn't go through with the procedure. He couldn't take that charity from Rossi and allow the whole teams interference in his life. He and he alone looked after himself and he couldn't change that now. Closing his eyes he allowed the music to wash over him and against all odds exhaustion pulled him toward sleep.
Emily's fingers clutched at the smooth back of the dining chair, the polished surface sliding under her finger tips. The curve of the wood met the warmth of Spencer's strong shoulders and her hand gripped the top of his arm as he pushed into her.
'This is wrong,' she thought absently. The night he fucked her in the chair, in front of the picture window, she had her back to his chest when she seated herself in his lap, but now they were face to face, his breath ghosting her cheek, fingers tangling her hair, pulling her closer for a deep kiss.
His hands moved from her hair and down her bare back to rest on her hips.
'I'm naked.' She said.
'You are.' Spencer agreed, smiling against her mouth.
'You're not.' She said.
He bit her lip playfully and she gasped. 'You must really like me in this shirt.' He said.
She did. He was wearing her favourite, his blue dress shirt and dark suit pants. The top buttons of his shirt were open revealing a hint of pale skin, his tie, still on, was tugged loosely to the side and the bite of his open zipper against her inner thighs told her he hadn't even bothered to push his pants down before entering her.
'I'm the wrong way around.' She gasped. 'We didn't do it like this.'
He didn't answer. Instead he sucked her tongue into his mouth and grasped her hips as he rose fluidly from the chair without unseating her from her place on his cock. She wrapped her legs around his waist and gasped, her arms clasped around his neck, her mouth still filled with his tongue.
The cold dining room wall meeting her back made her cry out, her arms loosened from around his neck and flailed, palms flattened against the wall. Her nails scraped at the paintwork as he pulled away from her tongue and pressed his mouth against the junction of her neck and shoulder. He sucked hard and jostled her slightly to get his hands beneath her ass. His fingers kneaded her flesh and he groaned as he started to thrust into her, slowly at first until his hips gained momentum and he was powerfully fucking her against the wall, her legs locked around his waist. Her shoulders thumped rhythmically against the wall and she allowed her head to fall forward onto his shoulder, her teeth grazing his skin as she stifled a moan. 'We should be quieter' she gasped. 'My neighbours will wonder what all the banging is.'
'But you don't want me to stop.' Spencer breathed, his words even, as though he was hardly exerting himself at all. 'You want me to hold you like this. For all your bravado Special Agent Emily Prentiss, you want me to be the one in control, you want me to take charge.' He smiled as he bumped her against the wall, his rhythm building.
Louder and more persistent as he worked against her, louder and deeper and ...'Oh' she gasped, she was going to...
Just a few more moments, just a couple more deep strokes from him and she was...'Oh god, Spencer, please.'
'Unfortunately this one's all down to you.' He laughed.
'What?' She gasped.
Thump, knock, knock, knock.
Emily shot upright in her bed, her heart pounding and a familiar sweet tension deep in her groin. Someone was at the door and their persistent knocking had woken her.
It took her a moment to orient herself to the fact that she was alone and Spencer was not here and was not holding her against the dining room wall making her sweat and moan. Taking a steadying breath she grabbed her robe from the foot of the bed and fought her way over the pillows she had hugged throughout the night, pillows that smelled of Spencer in a bed that still smelled of sex.
Pushing a tangle of sweaty hair out of her face and hastily fastening her robe she raced to the door.
'Morgan?' She pulled the door wide and gestured for him to come in. 'What are you doing here at,' she glanced at the clock on the wall, 'six thirty?'
'I thought you might want to get to the hospital extra early. Give yourself a chance to have more than a flying visit with pretty boy before they take him down to surgery.' Morgan said. 'But if you're planning on sleeping in I can come back later?' He teased.
Emily's eyes swam with tears as she threw one arm around his neck in an awkward embrace. 'Stay right there mister. I will be showered and dressed in fifteen minutes.' She said as she turned and flew down the hallway.
David Rossi wasn't one for sleeping in, even when he had a beautiful woman in his bed and less so when he didn't.
Sometimes he annoyed himself with his almost pathological need to get up and start the day, especially when the cases were hard and the nights long and all he wanted to do when he finally had a few days off was sleep and sleep hard. Instead 6am usually found him in his study with a cup of good coffee and either his latest book notes or a stack of his cold cases that he'd illegally copied and taken home. Maybe one day, when all the cases were solved and there were no more stories to tell, maybe then he'd sleep in he thought before shaking his head and laughing at himself for being an old fool.
Today he was showered, dressed and breakfasted all by 7am and had been in his car heading for Glenwood Cemetery by 7.30.
He knew the way to his son's grave with his eyes closed and found himself smiling slightly when he saw the neatly tied small bunch of white daisies laid on top of the simple stone. He'd reached out and brushed the petals, his fingers dipping down and stroking the cool white marble gently. 'Caroline.' She'd been here recently. He closed his eyes, inhaled the fresh morning air and let his hand fall from the stone. After a few moments immersed in the tranquillity of the place he opened his eyes, pulled a single flower stem from the bunch that his ex wife had left for their child and headed back to his car.
It was nearing 8.30 when he arrived at the clinic, definitely too early to get a face full of a very pissed off Derek Morgan.
Rossi knew without doubt that Morgan was using every inch of his self control not to bodily shove him into the wall.
'What are you playing at Rossi?' He demanded. 'Why do Prentiss and I have Reid ripping us a new one this morning and why is he saying he's not having the surgery if it's charity?' Morgan ran his hand over his head and stepped back to thump the wall behind him. 'What the hell were you thinking? And Hotch, not to mention Garcia, I mean, seriously you got Garcia in on this too!'
'It was nothing to do with Aaron or Penelope, Derek. It was my call.'
'Your call? He's not your son Rossi, his life choices aren't something you get to make a call on! Do you know that right now he's asking Emily to arrange a transfer to the closest hospital that takes his HMO so he can have that goddamn useless patch up work done.' Morgan snapped.
Rossi shook his head. 'She's not gonna let him?' He said.
'Yes she is, Rossi, because she respects him and as much as she knows what she wants this is about what he wants, it's about how he's a grown man and should be afforded control over his own life and how his friends should recognise and honour that!' Morgan yelled.
'Hey...what's with all the angst?' Garcia's voice came from the hallway.
'Baby girl, you know how much I love you right?' Morgan said, his eyes never leaving Rossi.
'To the moon and back?' She wavered.
'Damn straight girl, but I'm a little angry with you right now for letting yourself get brow beat by Rossi and Hotch yesterday, so if we could have a little distance for a few ok?'
'Derek...'Garcia started. 'David Rossi I told you this was a bad idea but would you listen! Derek, is he really mad?' She asked.
Morgan looked at them both and shook his head, his shoulders slumping. 'He doesn't want the surgery. I'm gonna go see how he and Emily are doing and you two, I think you should go home.'
He had almost reached the door when Rossi landed his hand heavily on his shoulder.
'This is bullshit Derek!' Rossi growled. '"Respect that he's an adult and stand by as he makes a huge mistake because we're friends?" We're not friends Derek, what we go through, what we see together, what we are to each other is family and you're right, he's not my son but hell if I'm not gonna go in there and smack some sense into him just like my old man woulda' done to me.'
Emily slid out of the door and straight into Rossi.
'I am sorry, Princess, but only because he found out before it was done and I won't apologise. To either of you.' He said stubbornly, before she could speak first.
She smiled weakly. 'I wouldn't expect you to Rossi, but maybe you could have just tried talking to him first though.' She sighed.
'He would never have agreed.' Rossi said simply.
'I know.' She nodded and tried but failed to tuck her hair behind her ears.
'You look tired.' He said as he re-tucked the strand of hair for her.
'Stupid dreams waking me up.' She said. 'Really stupid.' She shook her head and swallowed down a fresh batch of tears.
'Let me talk with him Emily. Let's see if we can make those dreams less stupid. Please.' Rossi asked.
Emily nodded and stepped away from the door and away from the room.
Reid felt like he'd run a marathon and it was still before nine am. He had launched into Emily and Morgan as soon as they had arrived in his room only to find they were as in the dark as he was. Something in their shocked faces has lifted the pressure in his chest a little as it dawned on him that they hadn't been the engineers of the deception.
He'd been ready to argue all his reasons for turning down Rossi's charity but they'd died on his tongue when Emily and Morgan both said that he should choose whatever he wanted to do and that they would stand by him.
He'd taken a deep breath and held Emily's gaze when he asked her to cancel the surgery and get him transferred. In that second he saw right through her to the disappointment that filled her chest so full that she faltered when she tried to take her next breath and the tears that brimmed her lower lids only to be determinedly blinked back. His own chest felt as though it would crack when she took his hand firmly and asked him which hospital he wanted to go to. In that moment, when she handed control back to him, he loved her more than ever, and hated himself. Why couldn't he just accept help, if not for himself then for her?
The door whooshed open and he prepared himself for Dr Giordano, but when he opened his eyes he found himself staring at a grim faced David Rossi.
Rossi ignored Reid's frown and pulled up a chair, doing nothing to quiet the obnoxious squeak it made against the linoleum flooring. 'So,' he said, 'how are we gonna do this? Am I gonna have to spend the next half hour convincing you of why you should take what I can give you while you try to convince me otherwise?'
Reid swallowed and narrowed his eyes. 'You had no right to lie to me, I trusted you, all of you.'
'Yes you did, when you fitted yourself into this team you trusted us all, the same way Morgan does and JJ, even Hotch. You trusted us to have your back. That's all we were doing kid, having your back.'
'I'm not a kid David and having my back isn't lying to me!' Reid grimaced in pain as his leg jerked reflexively. 'You have no idea how hard I've had to fight to keep everything under my control and you have no idea why it's important to me, you've never had to go up against what I've had to.' He snapped.
'You're right Spencer, I have no idea about what you've been through or how high the stakes were when you were a child or why you felt as though you had to take charge so young, but I do know about now, right now, about the life you are going to throw away for nothing!'
'It's not nothing!' Reid said, tears threatening to start again. 'It's about living on my own terms David, a concept that you have no idea about because you've always had control, you never have to cede it to anyone and I have. Every time I get sick and I have to give myself over to doctors and hospitals, strangers helping me move, use the bathroom, dress and...and...you couldn't begin to understand.'
'So take charge Dr Reid! Take this one, small helping hand and be in control the rest of your life! Take control and choose a future, choose an amazing woman, a great job, kids and not to spend life after thirty in a fucking wheelchair!' Rossi stood up so quickly the chair beneath him fell to the floor with a clatter. Breathing heavily he strode over to the window and leaned his head against it, watching the early morning traffic below start to build.
'I can't. I could never pay you back.' Reid whispered, his voice cracking.
Rossi whirled back from the window, reached into his jacket pocket and dragged his wallet free. 'I don't care!' He yelled. 'How much of this do you think I have? Millions, I have millions of these stupid green pieces of paper and very little else, my son, my own son...no amount of money could have saved him Spencer so for Christ's sake just let me help someone else's son, let me help you!'
The room was silent apart from Rossi's laboured breathing and Reids' own trembling breath. He'd never seen Rossi so passionate, so vehement. He tried to keep a defiant expression on his face but the pain and fatigue and Rossi's emotional state made it impossible and his chin trembled as the other man stared at him, dollar bills crumpled in his hand. As he watched Reid's chin tremble he deflated and dropped the bills on Reid's bed.
'I would like to think that if my son had lived someone would have helped him if he had needed it and I wasn't around.' He righted the chair and sat back down. 'Please Spencer, let me help, let me spend my money on something other than works of art and Italian leather shoes.' He pleaded.
Reid closed his eyes and took a steadying breath. 'How will I pay you back.' He whispered.
'You can owe me.' Rossi smiled in triumph.
'We all good?' Dr Giordano said as he strode into the room. 'The atmosphere in here suggests otherwise.' He quipped as he scanned Reid's chart. 'Problems?' He asked.
Emily, who was sat by Reid holding his hand shook her head.
'Just nerves.' Morgan said.
'I told him, no need to be nervous.' Rossi said.
Dr Giordano hooked the chart back onto the foot of Reids' bed and looked at his patient. He looked exhausted. 'Ok, without the gallery throwing their two cents in, Spencer is everything ok, you still want to go ahead today?'
Reid glanced at Rossi as he squeezed Emily's hand. 'Yes.' He said firmly. 'I want to go ahead.'
Dr Giordano smiled. 'Great. So what I'll do is start by making a small incision just above your hip so I can harvest the bone graft material from your pelvis. Once I have that secured I'll make a further incision in your side to access the damaged lower vertebrae. I'll clean out the deteriorated bone fragments; pack the graft material between the vertebrae and then work on fixing the screws. We'll be done in four hours tops and all you need to do for me is sleep, ok?' He smiled at Reid who looked a little pale. 'This will make a significant improvement to your life Dr Reid, I'm sure of it. I'll see you in there.' He smiled and left the room.
Spencer looked at the fingers entwined with his and then back up to the clock on the wall facing the bed.
'It's nearly time.' He said, clenching Emily's fingers harder.
'It is.' She said calmly.
'You should go home and get some sleep during the procedure, you really don't need to stay.'
'Don't make me slap you.' Emily smiled as she leaned forward and hugged him. 'I will be here, during and after and nothing you can say will make me leave.' She whispered in his ear.
He hugged her back and she felt his breathing hitch.
'Thank you.' She said.
'For doing this, for giving everything we want to have a chance. I know it's scary for you.'
'I yelled at you, earlier, you and Morgan. You shouldn't be thanking me.' He said as he pulled back and caressed the side of her face. 'Will you tell him I'm sorry?'
Emily smiled. 'Tell him yourself mister, you're the one that tore him a new one as soon as he walked in and he's a bear when he's unjustly accused. You can straighten that mess out yourself.'
Spencer smiled, momentarily distracted from his situation. 'I'm so afraid Emily.' He said finally.
'Dr Giordano is one of the best, the surgery will go just fine.' Emily said.
'And afterwards?' He said.
'The PT? I'll help, and Morgan said...' Emily started but was cut off by Spencer shaking his head.
'I've been this way for so long, I'm scared about how I'll feel, how things might be when I'm...different. I'm sorry, I'm not making sense, I can't articulate what I mean.' He laughed. 'I have entire dictionaries inside my head and I can't articulate a simple emotion.'
Emily pulled his hand into hers again. 'That's because emotions aren't simple, fear isn't simple, you know that. Whatever the future brings, however this turns out we will face it together.' She pressed her lips to his fingers and smiled.
The door swung open and a nurse and two orderlies walked in. 'It's time.' The nurse said with a smile.
'Four hours on a beach goes by like that.' Garcia snapped her fingers and sighed. 'Four hours in the mall and I don't even notice it but as soon as you set foot in a hospital waiting room four hours is an eternity.' She complained.
Morgan stretched himself out on the ugly Naugahyde couch. 'I'll bet Reid would have a theory on it.' He yawned.
'Or a rebuttal.' Hotch said.
'Definitely a rebuttal.' JJ said into her tea cup.
'You ok Princess?' Rossi asked Emily as she stared out of the window. 'Hmm?' She replied absently.
'I asked if you were ok.' He replied gently. 'You could go get some sleep you know. We'll stay here. You look tired.'
Emily shook her head. 'I'm ok, I was just thinking.'
'What about?' Rossi pressed.
She shook her head. 'Just...I...I don't know.'
Rossi rubbed her shoulder and guided her back to the enclave of couches the team had sequestered. 'Talk to us.'
She scrubbed at her face and sighed. 'I was thinking about all the things I want and I was wondering if this time I'll get them, I was thinking about a friend of mine, she's...she's going to have a baby and when I see the expression on her face as she talks about this...life ...this potential growing inside of her, I know that I want that, I want a family and a life outside of work and I want it with Spencer.'
'And this is the first step bella, this is the first step.' Rossi said.
'Rossi's right.' Morgan agreed, 'although you might want to let Reid get back on his feet before you try to get him off them again.' He quipped.
Emily felt the smile break her face and a small break from the tension in her body relax her as she laughed. 'Thanks Morgan, I'll try to bear that in mind.' She said.
Dr Giordano made some additional notes to Reids' chart as the nursing staff fitted the new brace around his lower back and dressed him in a fresh gown. He passed the chart to the recovery room nurse and lowered the lights situated above the bed.
'He's doing well.' The nurse commented.
'Yes he is.' Giordano smiled as he pulled off his surgical cap and tossed it into the trash. 'Monitor him hourly and call me if anything changes, oh and Ellen, I know you don't like it but I'm going to send his partner back for a quick visit.'
Ellen rolled her eyes and sighed.
'I know, I know, it's against procedure. Think yourself lucky it'll only be the one. I'll have to fight back five others wanting to come through.' He laughed as he made his way to the waiting area.
Emily was on her feet as soon as the doors to the surgical unit opened.
'How is he?' She asked as the rest of the team rose.
'He's doing well.' Dr Giordano said. 'He came through the procedure nicely and the graft and fusion went without any complications. I'm very pleased with the outcome.' He smiled and patted Emily's arm. 'You can come back for a short while but the rest of you will have to wait until tomorrow to see him. He's sleeping now and I'd expect him to sleep on and off for the rest of the day.'
The entire team let out a breath that they hadn't realised they had been holding since the surgeon had walked in and the tension that had built up over the four hours spent in the waiting area evaporated instantly.
'Thank you.' Morgan said as he held his hand out to the doctor.
'It's a pleasure.'
As the team erupted into smiles and hugs Rossi walked over to his old friend and smiled. 'You did a very good thing here today little Frankie, your momma would be proud.'
Dr Giordano smiled as he watched the relieved team. 'And this good deed repays that favour you did for me in full Davey?'
'Oh, I think it gets you a lot closer Frankie, a lot closer.' Rossi smiled.
'Closer! I'm never gonna repay this am I, and now you have another member of the Friends Who Owe David Rossi Club. How are you gonna make Dr Reid pay you back, huh?'
'Oh, I don't know yet. I'm sure something will come up.' He said easily.
Frankie clapped him on the shoulder and gave him a warm smile. 'You're a good man David Rossi, a good man.'
'Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm an angel.' Rossi laughed.
The lights were low. He wanted to open his eyes but they were too heavy and the delicious floating sensation was too comforting to push past. Instead he just lay still. He knew he was in hospital and he knew he'd had surgery. He'd heard the nurse telling him moments before.
He felt anxious and had tried to pry his eyes open until he felt a cool hand brush his forehead and a familiar tickle of long hair as someone leaned over him and pressed a gentle kiss to his forehead.
'I love you Spencer, I love you so much.'
She was there. He'd had the surgery and she was there for him, waiting for him to wake up, just as she said she would be. He smiled and let himself sleep.