Morgan groaned and dropped his head into his hands. He had just spent the last two hours and forty-five minutes working on three and a half consults and his head was aching.
Two had been from small towns that had little or no experience with murders. They weren't serial murders but the officers just didn't know enough about murder investigations in general to know what to do. The third was from a suburb near Annapolis who had a problem with a serial killer but it was a simple enough case. It was only a matter of setting a simple trap at the next town meeting, where all the previous victims had been last seen. The fourth was a little trickier. Two families were dead and the husbands missing in Tallahassee, Florida a month apart. It could be a serial but it could also just be two men who murdered their families and ran.
The tall, mocha skinned man pushed back from the kitchen table, unplugged his laptop, and went into the living room.
On the couch lay a dozing Reid. The TV was on quietly but Reid was slouched against the armrest, his eyes closed and his mouth hanging open just a bit.
As quietly as he could, Morgan put his laptop away. However, as silent as the older man tried to be, he still managed to wake his younger friend up.
Reid sat straight up like a shot, breathing like he had just run a race. His eyes were alert and darted around quickly, looking for a non-existent attacker.
"Relax, man," Morgan said in what he hoped was a calming voice as he crouched down into a nonthreatening posture. "You're fine, Reid. It's just you and me and my lazy lump of a dog."
The poor, terrified man set his gaze on Morgan and blinked several times.
"You ok, Reid?" the concerned man asked his friend in a tone similar to one you would use with an injured or scared animal.
Reid blinked a few more times and shook his head to clear it of the last vestiges of the horrifying images that had come to mind when he abruptly woke.
"You ok, kid?" Morgan repeated gently.
"Yeah, fine," Reid mumbled with another shake of his head.
"Bad dream?" he inquired.
"Can't remember," Reid brushed the question off.
"I was thinking about grilling out tonight," Morgan commented as he flopped down in the arm chair next to the couch. "I got a steak the other day. Figured we could cut that in half, make some vegetables and potatoes, have some beer."
"Sounds good," Reid agreed without much enthusiasm.
There was a pause before the skinny brunette asked, "Do you mind if I use your computer some time later?"
"Sure, man," his friend nodded. "Mind if I ask why?"
"I need to figure out how I'm going to go get my mom," he answered. "I can't fly since I had surgery and she wouldn't fly anyway. I was going to look up how much a bus or train ticket would cost."
"Why not drive?" Morgan wondered aloud.
"Uh, I have a broken leg…" Reid gave his friend a look. "I can't drive."
"Duh, Pretty Boy," he chuckled. "I'll be doing to driving. You will be sitting there, keeping me company."
"You don't have to come with me," Reid said as he quirked his eyebrow in confusion. "It's not your responsibility."
"Never said it was," Morgan replied, "but I'm still not taking no for an answer. A bus or train ticket is gonna run you at least a couple hundred each way on such short notice for such a long distance. It'll be cheaper to drive plus you'll be able to take more of your mom's stuff back with us."
"I can't ask you to drive 2,443 miles from here to my mother just so I won't have to spend as much money," the very independent man argued.
"You didn't ask," was all Morgan had to say. "We can leave on Friday. I'll get a map off the internet later."
"I've always taken care of my mom by myself. I don't need anybody's help," Reid snapped finally.
"Look, Kid," Morgan huffed in frustration. "I get that you're used to doing stuff on your own because you didn't have anyone else to help you but you do now, ok? How do you think that you are going to get around on a train or a bus when you can barely walk right now? How are you going to carry your suitcase or your mom's stuff?"
Reid was silent. Every single thing Morgan said was true. He never accepted help easily. When his dad left, it became clear that he could only rely on himself for anything. Over the years, he had slowly become a bit more accepting of help but it was still hard. All of the help he needed now, though, was very hard for him to feel ok with and now he needed an even bigger thing done for him.
"See, you couldn't," the nearly middle aged man pointed out when his friend didn't answer. "Come on man, I don't mind helping you out. I've always wanted to do a cross-country trip, anyway."
"It's not going to be a normal trip," Reid pointed out. "You are going to have to put up with the ramblings of a paranoid schizophrenic who probably won't trust you because you work for the government."
"I can deal with that, man," Garcia's chocolate Adonis brushed off. "And I'm used to rambling. I'm friends with you."
He finished off the comment with a cheeky grin, hoping that it would get his friend to smile just a bit but it was in vain. Reid just looked down at his feet, not saying a word.
"It was a joke, man," Morgan explained, ticked off with himself for hurting his friend's feelings. "I wish I knew half the stuff that you've managed to fit into your head."
"Yeah, I know," Reid said. "It's just…I don't like being compared to my mother. I love her but..."
"I didn't mean that I thought that you act like you are schizophrenic, Reid," Morgan told his friend. "You just tend to ramble sometimes and when you said ramblings…"
"Don't worry about it, Morgan," the pale skinned brunette reiterated. "I know you didn't mean anything by it."
There was silence for a moment before Reid changed the subject, very ready to get his mind off of the sad reality of his potential to develop schizophrenia.
"You said something about grilling?"