Morgan had thought of this as a date idea for him and Reid years ago, in the nights when he'd let himself entertain the ideas of ifs and whens. It needed a little tweaking now, but he'd excitedly put it together, and now he just had to hope they wouldn't get called into work.

"You told me to wear something warm I wouldn't mind getting dirty, and a change of clothes," Reid said as he set his bag down on the sofa and bent down to give Clooney a fuss. "I'm slightly worried, but I'm wearing two sweaters."

"Don't fear," Morgan chuckled, extending his hand. "Come with me." He led him to the garage, the dog following in their wake. "Sorry boy," he told him, as he kept him from entering with them. "You stay in the nice warm house, go watch TV."

When he'd shut the door and turned to Reid, the man was smiling coyly. "You leave the TV on for him when you go out, too?"

"Sometimes," he shrugged. "If I'm feeling guilty. He needs enrichment. He likes the nature channel."

"What are we getting up to?" Reid asked, looking over an assortment of tubs and packets surrounding a worktable and two chairs, two pairs of safety goggles on the surface.

"You were a smart kid," Morgan mused, "you ever make things explode?"

"A few times," he said. "Are we making explosives?"

"Just some small ones," he grinned.

"Have you done this before?" Reid asked, but he was already taking up a seat and looking over the components.

"Uh-huh. Also, bomb squad, remember?"

"Yes," he nodded.

"Fire extinguisher is there," Morgan pointed it out, "just in case."

"There were over nine thousand firework-related injuries in the USA last year," Reid supplied.

"We'll be careful," Morgan said, sitting down opposite him. "If I'm honest, I already did the most dangerous bit, which was making the stars."


"Yeah," Morgan said, picking up an empty casing. "The type we're gonna make, aerial fireworks, have two main explosive components: the lifting charge, which is part of what we're gonna do," he explained, indicating one end of the shell, "and the explosive that gives the effect, the sparks, the colour. I went ahead and made those because they take a couple of days to dry. I made a few different ones."

"Okay," Reid said as he put on his goggle, looking eager. "Show me how you do it?"

Reid was a fast learner. He already knew the basic chemistry, even if he hadn't constructed fireworks before. Morgan might not be as bookish as Reid was, but it was nice to do something where their knowledge was a good match, and Morgan's upper hand at practical experience meant he got to pass on knowledge and skill. Reid had never been ashamed to not know something, only eager to learn.

"So which one's red?" He asked a while later, looking over the collection of small grey cubes.

"These," Morgan said, pushing a small tray across. "They crackle, too, should be yellowish sparks."

"So, lithium?" Reid said, picking one up for inspection with a gloved hand.

"Lithium, strontium, and sodium compounds for the sparks."

"Where'd you learn all this?" Reid asked.

"High school chemistry," Morgan laughed.

"I mean the practical application. I doubt your high school chemistry teacher taught you to make fireworks."

"Nah, it was in bomb squad. We learned to make them for practical explosive demonstrations," Morgan explained. "You know, being able to identify bomb components by sight, smell, even the nature of explosion. 'Cause we didn't just deal with bomb disarming. We got called in to explosion sites to investigate. We were always busy on the fourth of July, you gotta be able to tell fireworks from bombs."

"I could make a bomb," Reid mused.

"I bet," Morgan chuckled. "Let's stick to fireworks, okay? Like I showed you..."

A few hours later, they were stood out in the garden in their coats, and gloves, the dog fed and shut in the house with the television to distract him.

"He doesn't mind the bangs when he's inside," Morgan said as he carried the box of their homemade fireworks to the middle of the garden, Reid falling into step beside him. He set the box down, and pointed further down into the dark. "I've got buckets of sand down there we can stick them in. And a torch somewhere, wanna see what we're doing-" Reid handed over the flashlight, grinning at him in the dim light from the kitchen window.

"There we go. You wanna go first or shall I?"

"You go," Reid said, waving his hand at him.

"Okay, but I'm gonna light one of yours," he pointed the flashlight at the box, and picked out one of the rockets Reid had constructed. Further down the garden were three buckets full of sand, and he stabbed the stick of Reid's rocket into it, twisting it until it was steady in place. He held the flashlight with one hand as he lit the long fuse with a lighter in the other, then turned on his heel and jogged the distance back to Reid.

"I always go for longer fuses so I don't get my ass singed. Or I'm all about the anticipation, whatever sounds better."

Reid's laugh was interrupted by the squeal of the rocket launching into the air with a tail of white sparks, exploding with a bang high above them in a cloud of red sparks. Silver burst through the colour next, twinkling and falling slowly downwards, fading into the blackness of the sky.

"Wow!" Reid said. "That was the aluminium?"

"Yeah," Morgan grinned. "That was a good one. Your turn."

Reid took the flashlight and picked out a firework from the box, heading towards the launch site further along the garden as Morgan watched. Less than a minute later he'd strode back, in time for another firework to launch and explode with a pop and a dozen green balls thrust out from the centre.

"That was quieter than I thought," Reid observed. "Impressive, though."

"Those are better in a volley of several. Really nice-looking display."

They continued in the same fashion, taking turns to choose a firework they'd create and light it, then moved back to watch and comment; they talked about the composition, sharing their knowledge of the compounds, and commenting on the way they exploded. Bright white sparks that crackled in the sky, to another cloud of red with silver sparkles, and one that exploded with the green and red tails jittering randomly away from the centre. Fantastic showers of golden sparks high in the sky, and glorious red that fell down so far it looked like a magical rain.

"That was amazing," Reid said after they'd set off the last one, a huge explosion of random colour and shape made from the last of all the explosive components. "This was the idea you'd had planned for so long?"

"Yeah," Morgan said, slipping his hand around Reid's waist. "I thought you might like it."

"I did, I loved it. I love you."

"I love you, too."

"I want to move in," Reid said, turning on the spot so they were facing each other, hands on Morgan's coat torso.

"You do?" Morgan asked, the words catching a little in his throat.

"If the offer still stands. I want to be here with you all the time."

"Of course it does. I want you here."

"Good," Reid said, pulling Morgan close to kiss him. "Think I'll stay forever."


The team had made it to Morgan's house for a big Mexican takeout after a long week at work. There were still boxes spread around, work having got in the way of unpacking, but they made do. As Reid helped himself to another enchilada, one ear on the conversation Garcia and Rossi were having about the merits of Twitter, he thought about this gathering as the marking of an occasion; Morgan was starting fresh, after so long in a place that had become poisoned by what had happened to him there. He'd invited the team back into his life again, after so long of having to shut them out. This was healing; Morgan was at ease and laughing on the couch with Hotch, and starting to truly look like the man he'd been before the abuse.

"Spence," JJ said, burrito in hand paused halfway to her mouth from the armchair she was sat in. "Is this your chair?"

"Huh?" he sounded distractedly, dragging his eyes away from the couch.

"This is your chair, isn't it? From your apartment."

"Oh," a few more sets of eyes had looked over now, disrupting the murmurs of conversation. "Yeah. I live here now."

"Since when?" Prentiss asked, coming in from the kitchen with a fresh bottle of wine.

"I moved in last week. A good number of these boxes are mine."

"We're together," Morgan piped up. "We were going to say something tonight, but looks like JJ's master detective skills beat us to it."

There was laugher, and Reid met Morgan's gaze. One smiled, and the other returned it. Morgan turned back to Hotch, who Reid was thankful to see smiled warmly. Co-workers dating wasn't against FBI regulations when there wasn't a superior-subordinate dynamic in place, so they didn't have to worry about that, but Hotch's approval was still important.

When he looked around to find Prentiss, she was missing. He wandered through into the kitchen and found her leaning against a counter, dimly lit by only the light over the stove that had been left on. He set his plate down on the kitchen island as he made his way around to her.


She didn't answer right away, glass of wine in one hand, the other half covering her eyes as she sobbed gently.

"Sorry," she sniffed, wiping at her shining eyes and meeting his. "I'm okay. It's the wine."

"Did we upset you?" he asked softly, but confused. Of all the team he expected Prentiss to be the most supportive, maybe tied with Garcia in enthusiasm.

"No, Reid, the opposite. You idiots finally got it together," she smiled as fresh tears rolled over her cheeks. "I thought you'd be clueless forever. And then with what Morgan went through, I thought that was it. You've both keep living in this weird bubble of thinking your feeling were unrequited, while we looked on without being able to do anything."

"You knew how we felt about each other?"

"I'd been with the team a week before I was utterly convinced," she gave a little laugh. "We didn't want to gossip about it, but more than once we've joked with Garcia about setting you guys up, you know, like some wacky sitcom situation to get you two to realise you're being useless." She sniffed, and then dissolved into fresh sobs, covering her face with her hand.

"I'm sorry, wine makes me cry, and I am so, so relieved for you. For you both."

"Thanks," he said, touched, if a little embarrassed for her. She'd probably swear him to secrecy over this when she was sober. She reached for his shoulder, squeezing a little hard.

"I'm so happy for you," she insisted. "You deserve this, you deserve to be okay. Morgan deserves someone who is never going to hurt him, and I know you won't. And he won''t hurt you. This is love, right? Not just dating?"

"Yeah," he reassured. "We love each other. We're doing things conventional to a 'dating' relationship status, because it's so recent. But we know what we want, and we're serious about being together. I don't want to waste any more time."

"Good. Don't. You two get on and love each other," she insisted, pushing him away, shooing him. "Go on. I'll be in when I've got a hold of myself."

The bottom floor of the house was very open plan, spaces separated by large arches rather than doors, so he could see the gathered guests in the lounge as she stepped back into the dining room. He picked up a fresh plate to get more food, not wanting to backtrack into the kitchen to retrieve the one he'd set down and disturb Prentiss as she composed herself.

"We ordered too much, even for seven of us," Morgan mused, sidling up beside him and beginning to spoon rice onto his plate. "Guess we're having cold takeout for lunch tomorrow."

"There's the fundamental difference between you and me," Reid said as he chase the last meatball around a tray with his fork, "you try and order just enough to feed people, I always order more than needed for the expressed purpose of having cold leftovers the next day."

"You like a cold burrito?" Morgan asked, wrinkling his nose exaggeratedly. "It's been a long time since you've been a student, baby boy."

"Trust me, okay? I'll bring you around to my way of thinking."

"I don't mind trying new things," Morgan said, leaning in to kiss the side of Reid's face.

"You glad we told them?"

"Yeah. It's nice to be 'out'. Speaking of which, can we talk about something? There's something-"

Morgan was interrupted as Garcia announced they were about to break out a game of Trivial Pursuit, a bottle of wine in her hand.

"What is it?" Reid asked, curious as to what Morgan wanted to talk about.

"It can wait, I think we're being summoned," he chuckled. "I'm never going to lose another game, with you on my team."

"Who says we're automatically on the same team?" Reid teased as they went to join the others, Prentiss now present and smiling without tears this time.


Reid had not done a lot of making out in his teenage years, but he had consumed a lot of pop culture, so he knew that the frequent makeout sessions he and Morgan kept having on the couch could be compared to certain tropes. He enjoyed them immensely, especially as they got more familiar with each other's techniques, and effortlessly constructed new joint ones the more time they spent together.

They were sprawled across the couch, Reid on top of Morgan, four hands roaming as they kissed deeply. Reid had worried at first about crowding Morgan's personal space, or putting his weight on him and causing him to panic, but they communicated what they liked, and each of their confidence had grown.

He could feel Morgan's erection against him, he was hard too, and it felt so good when they rubbed against each other, devouring each other in a kiss. But in the back of his mind he knew he had to stop and check in, knew if he didn't things could go badly wrong. Morgan had already told him he didn't want to have sex, that he wanted to want to but wasn't ready, and Reid understood. The last thing he wanted was to do anything Morgan wasn't completely okay with. Gently, and a little reluctantly, he stopped pushing against Morgan, and dragged his lips away.

"Do you want this?" he asked. "This is further than we've gone before." Morgan, who was breathless under him, nodded.

"Yeah. Do you?"

"Uh huh," Reid sounded. "You want to keep going?"

"Yeah," Morgan said, and he leaned up to kiss him. As worried as Reid was that Morgan might not want this, he had to trust when the man said he did. He had to trust that Morgan would tell him if he didn't want to do something.

Morgan's hand slipped up his thigh and onto his backside, using the leverage to bring their groins together harder, Reid pressing down and Morgan upwards, angling themselves both into each other for stimulation. He groaned, pressing his forehead against Morgan's, who pulled his pelvis down closer and push his own up to meet it.

Part of him wanted to slow down so they could peel off their clothes and touch each other's skin, but he couldn't jeopardise this. Morgan was still sleeping in long sleeves and hiding his body most of the time, which Reid thought was residual trauma from so long hiding the evidence of his abuse. The time would potentially come for that, and Reid could wait. This was exciting for what it was, too; the rush of desire that left them frotting against each other needily, too wrapped up to take a moment and undress. He was close already, knew he could last out if he tried, but his body ached to be pushed past the tipping point.

With the hand that wasn't gripping Reid's backside, Morgan snaked it up inside Reid's bracing arm to slip around his neck, pulling him into line for a kiss. The ever-present gentleness of Morgan meant the kiss was soft even in its need, the hand on his neck bracing and reassuring.

"I'm not gonna last," he murmured. "But don't stop, I'm sorry."

"Don't apologise," Reid said as he ground his hips downward, sliding his clothed erection against Morgan's. "I'm close too."

He kissed along Morgan's jaw, and the man moved to catch their mouths together. He wanted to see Morgan's face when he came, but if Morgan wanted to kiss as they rutted closed and closer to climax, that could happen another day.

"Spencer," he groaned, pulling him close by the neck, foreheads pressed together again. "Oh god, pretty boy, I'm gonna-"

"Derek-" he keened as his lover spasmed against him, gripping him tighter and moaning as if the orgasm was a complete surprise to him. He imagined countless times how Morgan would sound in that moment, and now they were here, together, and Morgan was muttering his name as he body shook with sensation, and it was too much for Reid. He ground down hard, pushing himself beyond the point of no return, his cum hot and sticky in the confines of his underwear, body pressed flush to Morgan's. He groaned, forehead slipping away from the others and instead pressing into the crook of Morgan's neck, gasping as his hips jutted wildly.

He kissed Morgan's neck in the aftermath, making his slow way up along to his jaw and eventually his mouth. The man's eyes were lidded he breathing deep, and he was smiling.

"Was that okay?" Reid asked gently.

"Yeah," he smile spread into a grin. "More than okay."

Reid smiled too, and let Morgan pull him close, resting his head beside the other's as their bodies thrummed with residual sensation. They'd have to move soon and clean themselves up, but they were unwilling to part so soon, savouring the intimacy.


Morgan had become quite accustomed to his therapist's office, and the service he offered. Things were going well, he was down to one session a week. He felt it was enough, but that he still benefited from it. It had been hard enough to admit he needed help and then to accept it, now he was determined not to give it up too soon just because he was feeling better.

The same was true of the antidepressants he was taking. He felt good and was at a better place in his life, and the medication was part of the reason. He was still having nightmares and problems with anxiety and panic, but they felt increasingly manageable. It was a long forgotten sensation to be so in control.

"We had sex," Morgan said, after they'd touched on a few other topics during the session.

"You did?"

"Yeah, Sunday night," Morgan nodded. "Well, we were making out and we ended up dry humping. But Spencer calls it sex; he refers to it as 'when we had sex on the couch'. And I like that I guess? I like that he considers any kind of sexual thing we do to be sex, that it doesn't have to be, y'know, penetrative to count? Which makes sense, doesn't it? Or else you're saying anyone who doesn't want to or can't isn't having real sex. Like lesbians. Well, lesbians who have vaginas, I mean. And dudes with vaginas of course.. you know what I mean, right?" He knew he was rambling, but he'd been doing a lot of thinking about sexuality, especially his own since that night on the couch, and it was all eager to be expressed in the first therapy session since it had been discovered.

"I understand," Velasco assured him. "How was it? I mean, were you happy with the circumstances? How did you feel afterwards?"

"It was good," Morgan assured. He was used to Velasco asking him quite personal questions, comfortable now that the therapist didn't expect him to divulge anything too intimate, but to discuss his feelings surrounding personal issues. "It didn't cost me anything."

"What do you mean?"

"Spencer didn't hold me feeling good to ransom. He checked in, made sure I was okay, and I knew that me, and me feeling good was the most important thing. I know that shouldn't be notable, but it is to me. We were lying there on the couch, we'd just came in our pants like horny teenagers, and I didn't feel ashamed. He didn't make me feel ashamed, like James would have."

"I'm very glad to hear that."

"I think I'm getting better," Morgan nodded.

"I think you're doing really well," Velasco said carefully, "but I don't think you should measure your recovery by the milestones you make in your sex life."

"Why not?"

"Because I have seen focus on what you can and can't do sexually as a measure for recovery hurt people. I don't believe that achieving a 'normal' sex life should be a goal for most people's recovery."

"But I want that, I want a normal sex life. It makes sense that that's a goal for rape recovery."

"I think that's what a lot of victims think, and are told. But that means that those victims who can't achieve a 'normal' sex life feel like they are failing to recover, regardless of the other steps they've made."

"Yeah," Morgan nodded. "Okay. I get that. If things hadn't suddenly seemed to click into place, I'd still be one of those people, I get it. But it's important to me."

"I do understand that," Velasco said patiently. "And I'm not saying you shouldn't consider progress in sexual intimacy with Spencer to be a sign of you recovering. All I mean is that if or when it doesn't go well – if you can't perform, or you have anxiety, are triggered into flashbacks to the sexual violence you've faced, or otherwise feel you're having 'problems' sexually, that you don't consider that 'failing'. You have come such a long way, Derek. Slow progress, or no progress in one facet of your life doesn't mean you're not recovering. But I do appreciate that really the only one who can define success for you, is you. If sex is part of that, then I will try to give you the support you need to achieve those goals in a healthy way."

"I don't really have any goals right now," Morgan said. "I thought I'd lost my sex drive, but it looks like it's still there. I don't want to rush, I just want to see how things go. Spencer is better than I could have imagined. We've talked about this stuff, and he basically said he'd want to be with me even if the only thing we ever do is kiss."

"If Reid were the one who didn't want to have sex, would you still want to be with him?"

"Yeah, of course. I know I shouldn't be shocked that the way he feels doesn't rely on whether we have sex, but I still am. I still feel like I don't- don't deserve this happiness."

"You do."

"Yeah, I keep reminding myself that," Morgan gave a little shrug of a laugh. "Sort of along the same lines," he started, shifting in his seat, "I've been thinking a lot about what else I deserve, and I've been thinking about pressing charges against James."

"You have?"

"The cops still haven't picked him up yet on the breaking and entering charge, but he's dangerous. I don't want him out there. But things have just got back to normal at work, and with Spencer, and I don't want to mess it all up. But having it hanging over me is almost as bad."

"It's a big decision."

"There's so much physical evidence, it's not getting a conviction that worries me," Morgan admitted. "It's having to recount the worst night of my life again, and again."

"That's to be expected," he nodded. "You've talked about that night in varying detail with me, do you think that's helped at all?"

"It'll be different to you," Morgan sighed. "You listen, and you're not trying to find out if I'm lying. You give me the benefit of believing I've come to therapy to tell the truth, not spin a story." He rested his arms on his knees, looking at his therapist levelly. "I was a cop; I never worked sex crimes, but I was involved in a few cases, and I was in that culture. I know how shitty cops are to rape victims. The system as a whole, and the individuals in it. The reality is, that if that last time hadn't been so brutal, he could easily walk. I know there's enough to convict, but it doesn't mean the cops are going to give a shit. It's so much macho culture, so much homophobic bullshit."

Velasco didn't say anything, but his expression was open and interested, and Morgan fully believed it was genuine.

"And that doesn't even start on what it'll be like if I deal with a mostly white force. Cops love their 'black on black crime'. Even if they're sympathetic, I get to play the poor Good Black with the nice new white boyfriend, and James is the savage, as if the fact he's a scumbag is down to his blackness and not that the vast majority of partner violence and rape is intra-racial. I don't wanna go around feeling like I have to defend my fucking rapist because white people are ignorant."

"It's difficult when the only systems we can get justice in are flawed," Velasco nodded, looking sympathetic.

"Did you ever get justice?" Morgan asked, even though he knew it wasn't his place. "You don't have to answer that."

"Not through the legal system," Velasco said levelly. "But I've followed many cases that have been pursued. I've testified in a few."

"As what?"

"An expert witness on male-on-male sexual violence."

"As prosecution?" Morgan asked warily.

"Yes. There are lots of false assumptions that rape victims face, and some that are specific to male victims."

"Did it help? You testifying?"

"Overall, I'd say it did."

"Do you think I should find an expert witness like that, if I have to go to court?" Morgan asked, worrying his bottom lip with his teeth. "I know it can't be you."

"It depends. If you only report the last incident, the physical evidence and testimony should be substantial enough. But if you were to try to bring up charges for the earlier assaults and rapes, that's when expert witnesses become valuable. Because when people stay in sexually violent relationships, it's easy to cast doubt on the legitimacy of their claims. It's not fair, but most people run on the notion of 'if it was that bad, why did they stay'?"

"But if it goes to trial, I could talk about those things, even if I'm not trying to get charges for all the incidents, right?" He knew the law, but talking about his own circumstance was making him unsure.

"Your lawyer would ask you about your relationship with James. This of course, is if it goes to trial, and he doesn't just plead guilty."

"He wouldn't. He's so confident, he'd think he can get out of it even with all that evidence."

"He'll have a lawyer seriously suggesting him to plead out," Velasco pointed out. "Not even the most outrageous claims he tries can explain the extent of the attack and the injuries you sustained. He almost killed you."

"I'm so scared if I press charges he'll get away with it," he admitted. "I don't know what I'd do if did. Or I do, I know what I'd be at risk of doing, and I don't wanna be in that place again. I don't want a gun under my chin thinking it's the best choice I've got."

"Do you think if by some very unlikely chance, a trial did go badly, you'd be in that bad a place again?"

"I don't know. I don't wanna find out. But I want justice, and I know I have to risk that to get it."


"You know how I wanted to talk about something last week, when the team was here?" Morgan asked, standing in the doorway to their bedroom. Reid was perched on the end of the bed, brushing his lengthening hair. It was getting so long he'd started tying it in a loose ponytail to sleep some nights.


"I think I made a mistake," Morgan said, leaning on the door frame.

"A mistake?"

"Coming out as gay."

"What do you-" The shock was clear on Reid's face, mouth forming words that didn't come, eyes falling away from his, and it was heartbreaking.

"No, no, not like that," Morgan assured quickly. "This is not a mistake, we're not a mistake." He quickly crossed over to sit next to Reid on the bed.

"I've been thinking a lot about when I used to sleep with women. I was interested in women, I liked women. I don't think I was using them to stop myself thinking about liking guys, not most of the time. I have been genuinely attracted to women, right?" he knew he was rambling, but he had to get it out. "Then there was James, and I got wrapped up in discovering that part of me that liked guys. Hell, maybe even preferring guys. Preferring you, really. But that doesn't make all those feelings and interactions with women mean less. I think maybe I'm bisexual?"

Reid let out a long breath he seemed to have been holding, shoulders relaxing.

"I was worried what you were gonna say for a bit there," he admitted, taking Morgan's hand and bringing it up to his lips to kiss his knuckles. "I think defining yourself how you're comfortable doing so is important."

"Does it even matter, if we're together?"

"Of course it does," Reid assure him. "Being in love with you doesn't make me, or either of us, less bisexual. Personally, I prefer the term pansexual for myself, it was a better fit for me when I was exploring my identity. But the point is, I'm not going to love you any less for you exploring how you define your attraction."

"I've got to come out again to my mom," he groaned.

"There's no rush," Reid assured. "And I'm sure she'll understand. And you didn't come out specifically to the team, did you? We came out as being together, we didn't detail the labels we use."

"Guess not," he breathed a sigh of relief. "Okay, that was easier than I thought."

"This shouldn't be hard," Reid assured him, reaching out a hand to cup his cheek and pull him in and kiss the opposite one. "I love you, no matter what."

"Love you too," he said softly.

"You ready to turn in?" he asked as he pulled his hair back and tied it up.

"Yeah," Morgan nodded, and they both stood up. "But can I sleep in my boxers? Is that okay?"

He'd felt weird sleeping in sweatpants and long sleeves for so long; at first he had needed it to feel safe, then he'd been ashamed to let Reid see his body, and now that was exactly what he wanted; for Reid to see him.

"Sure," Reid said gently.

"I want you to see me," he admitted.

"Okay," Reid said.

He worried the hem of his shirt, then took a breath and lifted it over his head, pulling it off. He watched Reid's eyes rake over his chest, taking in his body; the last time he'd seen it, it would have been marred by ugly bruising.

"Do you want to see me, too?" he asked. Morgan nodded, and watched as Reid pulled off his too-large t-shirt, revealing the bare expanse of his thin chest.

At the same time they wriggled out of their sweatpants, leaving them as puddles on the bedroom floor to be cleaned up in the morning, standing in the lamp-lit bedroom in their respective underwear; Morgan in fitted black briefs, Reid in some kind of comic-print y-fronts and mismatched socks.

"Whose that, then?" Morgan couldn't help asking of his underwear, daring to reach out and brush Reid's bare waist.

"It's Doctor Who!" he said, a little exasperatedly. "Garcia bought me these, you made a big fuss when I opened them in the office!"

"Oh yeah," he chuckled. Reid smiled indulgently, and jerked his head towards the bed. "Ready?"

They climbed into bed and Morgan laid on his back, Reid turned off the lamp and then curled around his side, arm across his chest, snuggling the covers around them.

"I used to sleep naked most of the time," Morgan admitted.

"Me too," Reid agreed, "except the socks." He ran one of his sock-covered feet over Morgan's. "It's winter, I can't sleep with cold feet, and I don't radiate as much body heat as you do."

"That's for sure, your hands are cold," he said.


"It's okay," Morgan murmured, lifting his own and putting it over Reid's on his chest. "I'll keep you warm."

Reid hummed happily. "This okay? This pace of things?"

"Yeah, Spencer," Morgan said, stroking his hand along Reid's back. "Wanted to get naked with you. Nearly naked. You know what I mean, I wanted to be like this with you."

Morgan hadn't slept as well as he had been doing with Reid in the same bed for a long time. He didn't feel bad for needing the other man's presence, for relying on it, because as far as he was concerned he wanted to share a bed with him for the rest of his life. As he drifted off he thought about it, ten years from now, wrapped around Reid and listening to his breathing change as he fell into sleep, knowing his mind was slowing down its constant whirring, that he offered just as relaxing an environment to Reid as the man did to him. He wanted that forever.

Morgan was woken by a harsh sound what would turn out to be several hours later, bleary-eyed and confused. Reid was still snuggling against him, but roused too by the noise, and there was a heaviness on his legs. It took him a few seconds to realise it was Clooney, who had come in at some point and decided to sleep with them. The dog had raised his head at the sound too, and through the dark Morgan wondered if he was as confused as them.

It was his phone, but it wasn't the ringtone he'd assigned to the BAU, so they weren't being called in. He disentangled himself from Reid, who made an annoyed sound, and scrabbled around on the bedside table for his phone, jabbing groggily at the button to answer.


"Is this Derek Morgan?"

"Yeah," he said shortly, rubbing his face. If this wasn't important, he was going to flip out.

"This is officer Olivia Collins of the Maryland State Police," the voice said, "do you own a property on Maple Street, Silver Spring, Montgomery?"

"Yeah," he said, trying to sit up, dislodging Clooney who simply moved over and planted himself on Reid. "I recently moved out, I'm renting it out."

"There's been a fire at your property."

Morgan felt his heart rate jump. He'd rented the old house out to a young couple, two women with a five year old son and three cats. He was intending to sell it to another landlord, but he'd been taking his time making sure he was selling it to someone who would honour the rental agreement he'd set out with the new occupants. "A fire? Are the Turners alright? The family that live there?"

Reid had sat up, and turned on the lamp, making them both squint against the sudden flood of light.

"They're fine, they weren't home at the time of the fire."

"How bad is it?"

"The fire damage is extensive."

"They had cats," he said. Seeing a happy family move into the house where something awful had happened had been a huge positive step, and now he could feel his anxiety rising. "Are they okay?"

"Oh," the officer said, making a thoughtful sound. "I think I saw someone with a cat carrier. Give me a minute and I can try and find out for you?"


He kept listening, could hear muffled voices he couldn't understand. He glanced at Reid, who was looking worried and stroking Clooney behind the ears.

"Hello?" the officer said a minute or so later.


"I think the cats were out at the time." Morgan nodded to himself, remembering now that when he'd shown them around the house they'd asked if it would be okay to install a cat door. "Two of them are accounted for, and a neighbour spotted the other heading off earlier."

"Do you know what happened?"

"They're still putting out the fire, but arson is suspected. The family are new to the area, they don't really know anyone here, so there's little reason to suspect anyone was targeting them."

"Except that they're lesbians and sometimes that's enough to make people a target," he said, his throat tight.

"We are considering that possibility. Would you be able to come to the Silver Springs Police department to help us by answering some questions?"


"No, you can come in the morning."

"Yeah, okay."

"If you give your details to the front desk, they'll be able to help you. I might be there, depending what time you come in. I'm sorry that this has happened to you, Mr. Morgan."

"Thanks, officer. Bye."

He ended the call, dropping his hands heavily into his lap. There was a twisting, unpleasant feeling in his gut, and he could feel it becoming harder to breathe. Rationally, he knew he was about to go headlong into a panic attack, but there was nothing he could do to stop it as his brain whirred and the room seemed to close in on him. He couldn't breathe.

"Derek?" Reid said, sounding far away.

"It was arson," he said, voice shuddering. He tried to take long breaths, but they hurt his chest and he clutched at it, franticly pushing the covers away, desperate to get away from the suddenly confining space.

"Derek," Reid said again, louder but still far away as he gasped for breath and he knew, he knew.

"It was James. I know it was James."