Title: Thunder Rating: T Pairing: Derek Morgan/Spencer Reid (friendship only) Summary: Luck never seemed to be on Derek Morgan's side.
New York City was the city that never sleeps, and that was a fact. Though Derek Morgan was walking in the bad part of town in the middle of a thunder storm at 1 am, there were still plenty of cars littering the streets. Though he had to admit that half of them were police cruisers, the other half were workaholics attempting to go the long way home to avoid talking to their gold digging wives.
Morgan palmed the gun resting inside the small pocket in the front of his hoodie, trying to decipher the best place to hit without pulling the attention of the local authorities. There had been a couple gas stations about three blocks back that he had passed earlier, but they didn't fit the criteria. He needed money and lots of it if he wanted to be able to pay his rent and afford to feed his seven year old daughter, Penelope. His bastard landlord Steve had raised the rent again.
Derek hadn't always been searching the streets for money; he actually grew up in a good home. His mama raised him right, all up until she died anyway, and his father had been a model police officer of Chicago until that shooting when Morgan was twenty. Being an only child, that had left him alone in the world. The feeling of emptiness and isolation didn't sit well with Derek, but he chased them away with his many various hook-ups. All through college he was known as the party guy, which consisted of partying until he passed out and barely passing all of his classes. The only thing supporting him was his rising football career, and that had been killed when he busted up his knee. Then, to make matters worse, his latest one-night-stand Marissa found out she was pregnant. She didn't even want the baby, but felt obligated to tell him, which he is forever grateful for. He convinced her against abortion, taking full custody of the child so she wouldn't have anything to do with the baby. That was what landed Morgan in New York City, a single father, without a job.
The thunder boomed around him, making him jump slightly as he continued to prowl through the neighborhood. He was entering the industrial part of town, smiling to himself as the traffic began to thin out. Though this section of the city held abandoned warehouses and crack houses, there was a grocery store a couple blocks west, and a gas station 2 blocks to the north. Figuring that the gas station was closer and would be the only thing open for miles, Morgan set his sights north.
Rain was pelting his face sharply as in came down diagonally into his face. Derek pulled up his hood, wiping the water on his face with the back of his sleeve, though it didn't help much. His clothes were slowly becoming saturated and the cold was starting to nip at his arms and legs.
This corner was usually a wild zoo of prostitutes, but apparently they had taken the night off for the big storm. This much rain would make their pounds of makeup run anyway. Morgan had walked this path thousands of times when he used to work at a sports equipment factory, but that was before he got fired. He glared up at the building or his previous employment, having the urge to shoot the Out of Business sign that was displayed in the main office window.
The gas station was in sight now, the dirty yellow 24 hour sign flickering slightly. As Morgan approached he could feel the adrenaline starting to run through his body. Gripping the gun in a death grip, he crossed the empty parking lot, bracing himself. He said a silent prayer in his head as he neared the door, begging god to forgive him for what he was about to do.
A small ding emitted from the bell above the door as Derek pushed it open. It was a small place, only two aisles and a beer section.
Morgan slowly made his way over to the counter, trying not to stare at the young woman behind it. He didn't like to know who he was hurting, knowing it would only haunt his nightmares later. He took a deep breath, attempting to settle his nerves, and grabbed the gun in his pocket for reassurance.
"Can I help you?" Her voice was cheerful, despite the late hour, and Derek couldn't help but look up. The first thing he noticed was her bright red hair, but before long his gaze fell to her nametag. Morgan was a masochist, mostly because he knew that he would always remember all of his victim's names.
But, as the name on the small plastic pin registered in his mind, he knew that he couldn't do this. Penelope, his little girl. He tried to tell himself that this wasn't her, and he needed the money if he wanted to support her, but he couldn't buy it. All he could see behind that counter was his daughter when she grew up, working the late night shift at a new job. No matter how much he needed that money in the register, it wasn't going to happen.
"Sir?" The young woman's voice quivered as she realized what was about to happen. Morgan sighed, releasing his death grip on the gun to reach into his pocket and pull out three crinkled bills. He threw them on the counter, feigning interest in the lottery tickets.
"Two of the SuperBalls Jackpot." He muttered, pushing down his soaked hood with his hand. The woman smiled at his, slightly less frightened as she reached down beneath the counter and pulled forward the tickets. Ripping them off the roll, she quickly put them in Derek's waiting palm and collected his money. Giving him the appropriate change, the cashier gave him an enthusiastic wave as he trudged back toward the door to rejoin the thunder.
Morgan yelled angrily once he was a decent distance from the gas station, not believing that he had been so taken over by his emotions. Did he want to survive? Did he want his daughter to survive? Derek had the sudden urge to punch something –or someone –but thought better of it. He kicked a nearby puddle, only managing to drench his left shoe.
Now, instead of being poor, Derek Morgan was wet, grumpy, and poor. As if the universe were laughing at him, his house was located on the other side of town. Meaning, if he wanted to get home tonight he would have to stumble through this insane thunder shower.
Morgan turned his head as he heard a car approaching from behind. It was basic survival skills on the street not to turn your back to anything that might be considered a threat. It was an older vehicle, obviously not in the best of shape by the way the paint was peeling and the engine was making funny noises that Derek could hear over the rattle of the thunder. The driver's seat window rolled down, and a man stuck his head out.
"Excuse me, sir. Do you need a ride?" Morgan blinked, slowly approaching the open window. The man was white, skinnier than a pipe cleaner and wearing the nerdiest glasses Derek had ever seen.
"Are you serious?" Morgan had the strangest urge to laugh in the man's face and continue walking. What was this dude thinking? You don't just go around picking up random strangers at one in the morning, especially down in this neighborhood.
"Of course I'm serious, I would want to be walking in this weather either." The young man gave him a smile before gesturing for him to hop in. Derek sighed, looking up and down the street out of habit before walking around to the other side of the car and getting in. he winced as his clothes squished and released water into this man's seat. He tried to send the kid an apologetic glance, but he was already distracted by putting the car in first gear and continuing down the road.
"So, where do you live? I'm Spencer by the way." The young man asked cheerfully. Morgan kept staring out the window, a plan forming in his mind as he answered.
"On the other side of town. Do you know where Rino's Pizzeria is?" Spencer nodded his head mutely, putting on his blinker as he turned to the left. They were silent for a couple minutes, leaving Derek to his thoughts. What the hell was he doing? He didn't just get in cars with random strangers, even if the kid didn't look like he could break a tooth pick in half. The streets were a dangerous place, you always had to be on watch for any possible risk.
Thinking back to the gas station failure, Morgan realized that he still didn't have enough money to pay the rent. He subtly looked over to Spencer, thoughts racing through his head a mile a minute.
Derek's mind was made up. The gas station might have been a dead end, but this kid could spare a few bucks. He was wearing a watch that Morgan could probably pawn for a hundred, and there was a chain around his neck that he could sell at the old jewelry store around the block from his house. Derek gripped the gun in his hoodie once more. All he had to do was wait for the kid to be a couple blocks from his house before making his escape.
"Hey kid," Morgan broke the silence, seeming to have just remembered something. "Not to be rude, but what is a guy like you doing out on the streets at a time like this?" instead of being offended like Derek had figured he would, Spencer began to laugh.
"I volunteer down at the children's wing of the hospital every Monday and Thursday, ever since my godson got admitted there. Most of kids are still afraid of the thunder, so I stayed until they all fell asleep. How about you?" Morgan frowned, feeling his conscience creeping up on him. Out of all the selfish, snooty, horrible people in this city, why did he have to get the one guy that seemed nice? After all, he picked up a brother on the street during a thunderstorm. Back in Chicago, this guy would have been dead after a day.
"Just picking up some lottery tickets." Derek mumbled gruffly, pulling the two colorful tickets out of his pocket to show the younger man. Spencer's eyebrows rose in silent question, but he chose not to comment on how Morgan had walked all the way across town to pick up the lotto.
"You like those things? I just can't stand the thought of paying money when the odds are so against me. No offense to you, of course. Actually…" the kid trailed off, stopping at the red light in front of them before turning around and fishing for something in the back seat. Eventually, at least five minutes after the light turned green and late night taxis were honking their horns behind them, Spencer came back up into a sitting position and started driving again.
"Do you want this? My dad gave it to me for my birthday, but I haven't scratched it yet. It's not expired, and they say that the jackpot is up to 3 million by now." And then he held out the small ticket for Morgan to take. Derek couldn't believe this guy. He wanted to yell at him that he wasn't a charity case, that he didn't need his damn help and hop out of the car, but he knew he needed money. So, instead of arguing and being insulted, he only hesitated for a second more before grabbing the Megabucks ticket out of Spencer's skinny hand.
"Thanks." The rest of the ride was silent. Morgan was fighting with himself the whole way, trying to punch his conscience in the gut and rationalize. Though Spencer was probably one of the only selfless people left in the world, Derek needed money. He didn't want Social Services to take his daughter away, where she would grow up in a foster home without her parents. He couldn't let that happen to his angel just because he couldn't man up.
Finally, Morgan started recognizing his surroundings; they were approaching his neighborhood. The internal battle grew stronger as the gun began to feel slippery from the sweat on his palms. He tried to imagine what Spencer would do if he pulled the gun. Would he scream? Or would he just smile and cheerfully hand over all of his belongings and wallet. The answer made Derek even more conflicted.
"Well, here we are." Spencer said happily, pulling the car into park on the curb of Rino's Pizzeria. Morgan wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand that wasn't holding the gun and looked over at the man beside him. He sighed; realizing which side of his mental debate hand won and slowly pulled his other hand out of his pocket.
It was all Derek could say before he burst into uncontrollable tears in the stranger's car. He stepped back out into the storm just as lightning illuminated the sky, followed by a loud clap of thunder rolling through the streets. The cold temperature made the sweat covering his body chill, making him start to shiver slightly as he walked around back the pizza place toward his small apartment.
Derek was a failure. A failure at life and a failure as a father. What was he going to do now? The new rent was due by the end of the week and he had absolutely no income. How was he going to pay Penelope's sitter for the night? How was he going to fill the already too bare shelves in his pantry?
Feeling overwhelmed, Derek threw himself down on the steps leading up to his run-down apartment. He sat there for an unmeasured amount of time, simply staring up at the sky as the rain fell down around him.
Once he was soaked to the bone, Morgan slowly pulled the tickets out of his pocket and fished around in his other for a loose penny. Scraping off the two SuperBalls Jackpot tickets first, he frowned at the two dollars and fifty cents he had won.
He almost threw the Megabucks in the trash, feeling ridiculous for even believing that a lottery tickets were the answers to all of his problems. Sighing, he slowly scraped away the three boxes. There, staring up at him, were three Aces.
"Oh my god, I won!"
My inspiration for this came from the episode A Real Rain where Morgan says, "Well, he got picked up in the pouring rain by a New York cabbie, so we definitely know he's not a brother." Though mine's kinda backwards, seeing that Reid actually picked him up and he wasn't a cabbie… but you got the right idea.