Disclaimer: I own nothing Criminal Minds related and the base of this story belongs to RoseLaurel.
So, while I know that I'm not the best at replying to reviews in general, for some reason, I can't seem to reply to any review at all. FF isn't letting me and I have absolutely no idea why. So I'm really sorry to anyone that may have asked a question or something and I wasn't able to reply. I'm trying to figure it out and will hopefully be able to reply in the near future. x.x
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Once the two males had ceased their conversation, Reid decided that there really was no need for him to actually alert them that he was awake. After all, if he was awake then he would no longer have an excuse to stay where he was and really, Reid was perfectly content now that he wasn't being discussed.
Reid couldn't ever really remember having been held like this. Couldn't really remember anyone willingly inducing physical contact in such a manner.
And for Hotch to do it so blatantly in front of the team? As if it didn't bother him in the least, as if he didn't care what the team thought. As if he wasn't… ashamed that there might be just a little bit more between the two of them.
The thought startled Reid more than it should have, however.
A little more? With Hotch?
Was he alright with that? He must have been; after all, there he was, laying against Hotch with the hope that he wouldn't have to move any time in the near future, hoping that Morgan would mind his own business and just let them be.
"How long do you play on pretending to be asleep?" Hotch murmured ever so softly against Reid's ear and Reid resisted the urge to smile, despite his somewhat uncomfortable train of thought. He was caught apparently.
"How long have you known?" was the very soft response, Reid not exactly knowing how close his teammates were but not quite wanting them to overhear.
"Halfway through my conversation with Morgan," Hotch replied easily and Reid felt him shift in such a manner that suggested he gave a one-sided shrug. "But that doesn't mean that what I said was only for your benefit. I would have said those things regardless."
But here Reid sensed just the slightest hint of doubt in Hotch's voice, and he wasn't quite sure just what that meant. He opened his eyes to look up at the older male but Hotch was looking everywhere but Reid. Reid swallowed.
"Is everything alright?" Reid asked softly, treading softly.
Before either of them could say anymore, however, there was a rather amused, "Are the cutbacks really so bad that we can't afford pillows anymore and so our unit chief has to fill in?" Prentiss chimed from her chair where she had been sleeping only moments before. Now her slightly groggy eyes rested on where Reid and Hotch sat, amusement dancing across her face. "Well alright, I'm next. This chair is killing my neck. Scoot on over Reid."
There was some amused snickering from Rossi and JJ and even Hotch cracked a smile though Reid couldn't help but note that Morgan didn't seem all that pleased by the seemingly harmless comment. Hotch either didn't notice or didn't care because he replied a light, "Sorry, but Reid has me checked out for the remainder of the flight. It's a health hazard to share pillows, you understand."
Prentiss laughed before she looked over towards Morgan. Noting his pointed look out one of the windows, she nudged him with her foot, exclaiming, "I guess I'll just have to settle for Garcia's Chocolate Adonis for my budget cut replacement pillow, eh?" Instead Morgan's scowl deepened, his jaw muscles tightening. Sensing the dangerous territory, Prentiss quickly began to backtrack, changing the subject instead to trivial matters such as weather and the like.
Becoming increasingly uncomfortable with Morgan's blatant disdain and the sideways looks he would throw Hotch, Reid moved to sit up, deciding that it just wasn't worth it. Reid apologetically offered Hotch his jacket back that he had been using as a blanket and placed a healthy distance between the two of them, and though Reid noted the hard lines on Hotch's face through the process, the older profiler said nothing.
Needless to say, the rest of the flight was rather… uncomfortable. Both physically as the couch paled in comparison to the comfort of Hotch and well, tension-wise because the atmosphere only seemed to become more and more hostile. Neither alpha male said anything but neither of them were bothering to hide their annoyance.
When the plane finally landed, Reid wasn't the only member of the team that launched to their feet and immediately began gathering their stuff. But as Reid made his way out onto the tarmac, he direly wished that he had simply stayed in the plane forever, perhaps locked himself in the bathroom or something, because both Morgan and Hotch stood there waiting though with a good few feet in between them as if the other carried an infectious disease. Lovely. Reid had never wished that he hadn't taken the subway more in his life.
Stepping down, Reid hesitated for a moment. Neither male said anything but it was clear that they were both waiting for him to make a choice. He would have preferred to go with Hotch, he really would have, but as he looked at Morgan, Reid knew that his friend was in pain, knew that Morgan was struggling. To go with Hotch… It would be entirely selfish. Morgan needed him.
Reid swallowed before flashing their unit chief a smile. "I'll see you tomorrow Hotch. Bright and early."
And the choice was made, just like that.
And though Hotch's composure never wavered for even a moment, Reid instantly regretted his decision. Hotch merely gave him a simple nod, picked up his own Go Bag, and turned around, walking away. Without a word.
Reid couldn't tear his eyes away from the retreating figure, not until he felt a hand on his shoulder. Finally he turned towards Morgan who smiled at him. "Come on, Pretty Boy. Let's get you home."
Reid forced himself to offer a grin as well, giving the older male a nod of confirmation. Morgan promptly picked up both of their bags without thought, turning and moving in an opposing direction from Hotch. Reid gave his unit chief's back one more glance before hurriedly following after Morgan, easily falling into a step next to the male.
The ride was uneventful to say the least, the two FBI agents allowing meaningless small talk to pass between them, neither finding that they minded it all that much. But as Morgan pulled up to Reid's loft, the younger male offered, "Do you want to come in? I could make us something to eat." It was only a pretense, of course; they had both known from the moment that Reid had said good bye to Hotch that Morgan would come over. After all, neither had broached the pending discussions they wished to have.
So it really came as no surprise when Morgan replied without even the faintest hesitation, "Sounds good," and undid his seatbelt. Once again grabbing Reid's Go Bag, he followed the younger male up to his apartment.
It wasn't until Reid stood in front of his stove cooking eggs and bacon, however, that Morgan drew a, "So, you and Hotch…"
And there was a good long silence that passed before Reid finally cleared his throat and asked, "What about Hotch and myself?" And Reid busied himself with flipping the bacon, refusing to meet the other's gaze.
"Reid. He was practically holding you on top of him on the plane."
Reid's brows instantly shot up and this time he did turn to look at Morgan, surprising written across his face. "That's not quite what happened."
"That's sure what it looked like."
"Morgan, if that's what you saw then you have severe interpersonal relationship issues that need to be immediately addressed because I think the generally used term would be cud—"
"Don't give me that shit Reid! He was holding onto you like you were some sort possession!"
"His arm was laying around my waist! Where else would it go comfortably while we were in that position, pray tell?"
"He was forcing—"
And here Reid faltered as it clicked into place.
It seemed obvious really, but for some reason, it had completely eluded Reid before that moment.
Two males. A severe age gap. A possible abuse of power and trust.
It didn't take a genius to put it together that Morgan's past was blurring together with the present situation. He wasn't seeing Reid; he was seeing himself.
"Derek," Reid stated softly, cutting off the older male midsentence. "This is Hotch we're talking about. He would never… he would never hurt me."
"How do you know that?" Morgan demanded. "You can't know that! Sometimes it's the people closest to us that would hurt us the most. Sometimes, it's the people we think that would never do anything to us, that would never," and Derek was choking on his words in a manner that Reid had very rarely witnessed before.
And Reid didn't quite know what to say. Slowly the younger male took a few steps closer to Morgan and pulled the older male into a tight hug. Morgan flinched and for a moment Reid was sure that the other was going to push him away. Instead, though it took a few moments, Morgan gently wrapped his arms around Reid, returning the hug if only a bit hesitantly.
"I trust him," Reid stated softly. "I trust him, Derek. More than anything."
And Morgan's grip tightened ever so slightly as if to shield Reid. "Why? Why would you trust him? He's never done anything—"
"That's just it in a way. He's never done anything but be there. He's never done anything but just exist. He's never done anything more than just be himself and that… that's what means the most to me. It's silly but we go to lunch and he lets me ramble, he lets me be myself. I feel… at ease. I can't explain it, but I've always just felt… comfortable around him. And he does stupid things like that god awful apology jar and sending me to bed, and you know what? I enjoy every minute of it. I enjoy knowing that… he cares. And I feel like that it wouldn't matter what I did, no matter what, he'd be there for me."
Reid shook his head, laughing softly at how absolutely ridiculous it was, at how he couldn't even think of the words to formulate a proper explanation to Morgan about just how he felt. He wasn't even quite sure what he felt. He just knew that he liked it. He knew that he wanted to keep it.
And above all else, he knew that he needed Hotch to know that as well.
Morgan pulled back and Reid couldn't quite place the mixed expression on his face but as he started a soft, "Morgan," the other male promptly exclaimed, "The eggs are burning."
And sure enough, as Reid turned back to the stove, they were.
That evening, long after Morgan had departed for home claiming that he probably needed to feed Clooney, Reid found himself on the doorstep of one Aaron Hotchner. It wasn't by any means a decent hour as it had taken Reid a good amount of time to muster up the courage to come in the first place, and he wasn't sure what he was going to say or do but… he had to do something. He knocked tentatively on the door and immediately realized that he probably should have called first considering that the first words out of Hotch's mouth after he opened the door was a spiteful, partially slurred, "What the fuck do you want?"