First of all: this will be Slash! Just so you know.
Second: this was supposed to be a one shot. But it became longer and longer and longer and I thought 'No. No, please. I wouldn't want to read that in one go, either.' So, here it is. A one shot divided into three parts.
Hope you'll enjoy!
You open your eyes and your vision is kind of blurry.
That is the first thing you notice while you are wondering what it was that disturbed your slumber. Maybe it was the way you slept – you are lying face down on the concrete floor, your hands tied together on your back and your feet, as it seems, tied together as well. Your blood doesn't circulate the way it should and you can feel your fingertips and toes getting numb. Or maybe you are woken up by your own too heavy breathing, the too still air filling you lungs. Or maybe it was just the fact that you shouldn't be sleeping at all in the first place. Great, just friggin' great.
There is not much you can make out of your surroundings. You can barely lift your head, barely move. The light is a dirty orange, too dim to actually recognize anything, really, and could be used in every bad horror movie you have seen over the past few years. The room itself is empty – except for one certain boy genius lying next to you.
Of course. Of course it has to be Reid who is stuck here with you. Who else?
You blink a few times. The room is somewhat hot, the air is heavy and dry and your eyes are dry, too. Your breathing is a bit shallow. Like you, Reid is lying on his stomach, face turned to your direction, hands and feet tied up. Breathing a bit too fast but sleeping nonetheless, it seems.
"Reid," you want to say but your voice won't work. You have to clear your throat. "Reid," you try again, "Reid." But nothing is happening. Groaning, you close your eyes. "C'mon, Pretty Boy, don't make me do this alone."
You shift a little, leaning closer in his direction. "Reid!", you hiss, as loud as you dare to, and this time it apparently works.
His expression changes, from not quite peacefully sleeping to unwillingly waking up. His eyelids flutter open and in a matter of seconds he is alerted. He jerks his head and tries to orientate, his breathing instantly speeds up even more. Finally you can catch his gaze as his eyes find your face and he calms down a bit. He just has to see you and relaxes – that has always made you a little… well, proud.
"Where are we?" Reid's voice sounds hoarse and he swallows hard.
Once more you try to take a look around. Failing. "Dunno," you answer. "Some kinda basement, I think." Just like in all these incredibly bad horror movies. Your tongue reminds you of a dead rat. "God, I feel like I licked the Sahara for a week or somethin'," you mumble and Reid nods slightly, averting his eyes. "You remember what happened?"
A bitter smile tugs on the corners of Reid's mouth as he rolls a bit on the side, still facing you. "He got us", he says, almost a whisper and his smile gets more evident, bitterer and something you cannot put your finger on. "How could we have been so stupid to actually let him get us?"
"Hey now, Kid, don't go there," you say in an attempt to ease the growing nervousness in both you and Reid. This attitude won't do you any good, you know that and you know, too, that he is right, even though he doesn't say it – he doesn't need to. You have worked together for years and come to know each other better than most. You know it but, "It was a mistake. It happens. Just let us – "
"This wasn't supposed to happen", he cuts you off, looking too calm for sounding as shaken up as he does. "We aren't allowed to make mistakes like that. Mistakes like that can turn out to be the last mistake you are ever able to make when they lead to situations like this – "
"I get it. Reid." It's your turn to cut him off so you just do it. "We have to find a way out of here, not to think about how we could've prevented this." You want to free your hands but whatever holds them in place doesn't loose a bit. Must be some sort of cable ties. What a cliché. Where is the creativity in that? Is that really the best your Unsub could come up with? You move your arms a bit, a lot, but all you get in return are burning and stinging wrists.
"Stop it," Reid orders somewhere next to you. He is breathing kind of hard even though he doesn't move. "You're bleeding already, Morgan."
And that you can feel. "Thanks for the advice, Kid," you mutter. "Wait, I think I have a jackknife with me, just…" You cannot reach it and you know it before you even try. Still, you try it anyway, annoyed by the constant repetition of trying and failing.
"I don't believe that you're still having it by now," Reid comments. Most of the time you are pretty satisfied with Reid being a smartass around you, because it means he has enough trust and confidence in both you and himself to actually do so. But right now it seems like a good way to piss you off even more.
"You mind helping me out here a little?," you ask, looking expectantly at him.
He looks right back at you, incredulously for just a moment. Then FBI-training, being a profiler and the mere survival instinct kick in and he starts to move. He attempts to roll back fully on his stomach and suddenly stops, swallowing a yelp as his knee hits the ground too abruptly.
"What?," you ask. "What's wrong? You hurt somewhere?"
"Think I busted my knee again," he answers through gritted teeth and closes his eyes, squeezing them shut.
You mimic his movement, closing your eyes. "Dammit," you hiss. The urge to hit something rises in your chest and your body jolts involuntarily, stopped by your ties. You know damn well how hard it was for Reid to be on crutches, not just because his self-consciousness but also because of all the inconvenience. It wasn't always nice to watch, even though you somehow developed a strange liking for the cane afterwards.
"Doesn't matter," Reid mumbles, taking a deep shuddering breath. "Other than my knee, I guess I'm fine." He exhales slowly and nods to himself, before he continues to turn over to his belly. He represses another yelp and instead makes a muffled noise, much like a painful groan.
Yet he keeps turning, and once on his stomach he rolls over to his other side. Now his back is facing you and carefully he moves closer, inch by inch. He is a genius after all, of course he would figure out what you have in mind without you explaining every detail to him. When he lies right in front of you and his hair almost tickles your nose, you can barely bite back a laugh. How ironic. There he is, kissable near to you – and you are not in any position to enjoy it.
"Which pocket?," he asks shortly.
You cannot answer right away, because… well, in fact, you don't really know. You don't feel your knife, to be honest. But the strange thing is that you are not not feeling it, either.
In the end you look everywhere. Or Reid does, anyway. He shoves one of his tied hands in your front pockets, muttering something under his breath about you wearing too tight jeans and them being too inconvenient for situations like this one in particular.
"At least, I look good in them, don't I?", you reply to lighten the mood but not sure if it works. Turning so that you are back to back, you adjust your bodies to one another, before he shoves his hand in your back pockets as well.
"Doesn't change the facts," he says.
But it's what he doesn't say that catches you a little off guard, and for the briefest instant, while your back touches his back, you indulge in the fact that he didn't deny your words. Not because it boosts your ego that he thinks you are good looking but because… actually, you are not sure. Just because. His fingers on your thighs and on your ass send a tingle to your spine. But his hand remains empty, and it is all the more reason to get a grip, Derek!
"Nothing," Reid says unnecessarily, sounding something in the lines of tired, breathless and disappointed. "I don't want to say I told you so but I told you so. We don't have our guns or our phones or badges or even our belts. Did you really think he would have let you keep your knife?"
Maybe you didn't. Maybe you just hoped for it, for a little unlikely miracle. But Reid's words do make sense, unfortunately, and so you decide to let it go. You turn back around to face him again and he moves a little away from you, still with his back towards you. His wrists look like your wrists feel – sore, with cuts and bruises and more blood and dirt than you would like.
Eventually he rolls back to his other side, not without moaning again in pain. When you both are face to face to each other he is panting a bit. But not the pleasurable kind of panting.
"We have to get out of here," you say, more to yourself than actually addressing Reid. You have to get him out of here. That might not be the fairest way to approach this situation, because you know that Reid can stand his ground, he has proven that lots and lots of times. But it is just what you do – kicking down doors, tackling Unsubs, keeping him safe. Though, obviously, you don't always succeed. But that doesn't change a thing – keeping him safe is keeping you sane.
The funny thing is it works for Reid in the exact same way for everybody on the team and especially when it comes to a certain Derek Morgan.
The room doesn't have any windows or ventilation shafts. There are no pipes, no kind of outflows in the ground, nothing. Just four walls, a floor, a ceiling and a light bulb hanging down from that ceiling. That's it. The only way in and out of that goddamn hole is a massive steel door which opens inwards and doesn't have a doorhandle on your side. It completes the image of a crappy horror movie so perfectly that it's not even funny anymore.
"Don't do that," Reid suddenly warns and you lift your eyes up to his face. He inhales somewhat fast but steady through the nose and seems very serious.
"What?," you ask, genuinely curious.
"Don't even think about it," he says sternly and doesn't even give you the time to get completely confused. "There is no way you could kick that door down in your current state. It is highly doubtful whether you could do it under normal circumstances, without being tied up, physically exhausted and probably considerably dehydrated. Right now, it's completely impossible and could be dangerous in too many ways. So don't."
Sometimes it is scary how Reid seems to read your thoughts faster than you are able to come up with them.
"So what?," you contradict. "We'll just lay here and see what happens next? Pretty Boy, we gotta do somethin'."
"And what can you do?," Reid asks. "What can you possibly do other than waste breath and energy for nothing? You would just hurt yourself."
You let his words sink in for a moment. And you find you cannot argue with him about that. You cannot kick down steel doors, not like that, and it would probably only lead unwanted attention to you. The longer your Unsub does not notice that you are back to consciousness, the better.
With a sigh you let you body go lax and try to catch your breath. This is harder than it is supposed to be, considering the fact that you didn't do much to be so out of breath. And Reid is short of breath just like you as you glance over at him. He didn't struggle quite as much as you did against the ties but he is in pain because of his knee. But even with being in pain because of a bullet wound still healing and the room being entirely too hot and everything just being wrong, it is still too much.
"What's he doin' to us?," you ask, because it is the only explanation – even though it doesn't explain anything at all.
But Reid, being the genius he undoubtedly is, has it figured out already. His whole demeanour screams that he has already given in to the inevitable. "Think about the profile," he answers simply. He wants you to figure it out on your own. Maybe because he wants you to come to another conclusion and prove him wrong. As if. But still.
So you do it. You think about the profile. What did the profile say? The Unsub is male, white, in his mid to late thirties. Nothing special, doesn't stand out of the crowd. Blends in completely. Even if he tries, it would probably be hard for him to attract any attention. Physically not enough strength or maybe he is too inhibited or not willing to kill somebody violently.
The victims. Always two at a time. Always a couple. Or more precisely, always two people who could have been a couple, if one of them would have had the guts to speak up and say something. Which they didn't. For what you know, that is the only thing the victims have in common. Only the two victims who died together had known each other. That is the only connection. They had tried to suffocate their feelings for one another, and for that the Unsub let them suffoc–
You refuse to think that last thought to its end. You refuse to acknowledge the facts, the too hot room, the too heavy air and the feeling of not being able to get enough oxygen into your system, for what they are.
"No," you say once more, this time more determinedly. "No no no. He wouldn't do that. We don't fit the victimology, he wouldn't do that to us, that doesn't make sense!"
"It does, considering the fact that we aren't set up like all the others," Reid says, more like thinking aloud. Set up like the others, for dinner, for bedtime, for something that makes a couple a couple.
"How does that make any sense?," you want to know, your voice slightly high-pitched in your anger and helplessness.
"Because he doesn't care, Morgan!"
The words hang between you, almost tangible for a second. Not because they are unkind or Reid raised his voice to get them out. It's because they are true. While all the other victims were set up in some romantic or otherwise couple-ish way, you two are thrown away like garbage. Carelessly. You two needed to be out of the way. Now you are out of the way. The rest doesn't matter.
You close your eyes, exhaling slowly, as realization dawns in. You screwed up. Big time. The last thing you remember is calling Hotch and telling him that you and Reid arrived at the house of Ralph Barnes, your potential Unsub. While Hotch was urging you to wait for back up, Reid touched your arm and pointed to one of the windows and a movement behind the curtains. You didn't even need words, you both acted right away. There wasn't time enough for explaining to Hotch what was going on. You hung up and went to do what you do best – kicking down front doors. Then both you and Reid entered the house with your guns drawn and at the ready and everything after that is blurry.
Now you are here, with Reid of all people. Somehow, that only makes it worse. And yeah, Reid is probably right, as always – you were just plain stupid. And you cannot breath.
"So what do we do now?," you ask. You are pretty sure you could come up with some kind of solution yourself, but asking Reid seems to be more appropriate.
"We wait," Reid states matter-of-factly. "We stay calm, try to breathe evenly and hold on as long as possible."
"Evenly," you repeat quietly, already feeling that this will be pretty hard to do.
"Yeah." Reid takes a deep breath. "As if you would be meditating. Did you never learn how to meditate in one of your self-defence or martial arts courses?"
"No," you answer, your voice raspy. Leaning forward you lie half on your stomach again, glancing up to Reid. "There we just learn and teach how to be perfectly bad-ass and awesome. You'd know this if you'd get you skinny white ass down there occasionally."
That earns you an short and breathlessly soft laugh, but it doesn't light up this hole long enough for your taste. Still, you take what you can get.
"So." Yeah, what now, Derek? "What do you think? How long do we have?" How long, before there won't be enough oxygen for the both of you to keep breathing, keep holding on.
Reid looks downright irritated by that. "I-I don't know," he mumbles. "I mean, it depends on how long we've already been here and how good the air circulation was before us being here and how much we can slow down our breathing but I… I'm not sure." And with that, his irritation seems strangely understandable.
You nod once and your gaze drifts away from his face to settle down somewhere on the floor between the both of you. A heartbeat later you notice a faint movement from Reid and your eyes find him again in an instant. He shifts a little, before lying completely still. His eyelids are closed and his breathing is everything but even.
"Don't black out on me now, Kid," you say, more a plea than an order, more concerned than anything else.
"'m not gonna black out," Reid mumbles and rubs his cheek on his shoulder, blinking a few times. "My eyes are dry. Contacts are hurting."
Right. That is probably the most harmless thing that can happen to you and him down here. Nevertheless you feel bad for the Kid, but it's not like you would say that out loud. You never do. You feel sweaty and dirty and you goddamn hate it to be that helpless. "You think it's better we stop talking and shut up?," you ask. "You know, for conserving air and breath and stuff?"
You are not sure whether what you see on his face is actually a tiny smile or not. "Maybe," he whispers.
With another nod you shift to find a somewhat comfortable position, taking in some deep breaths with the intention to slow down afterwards. Soon enough you have to admit that this is not an easy task.
Your pulse is pounding in your ears and it becomes louder and louder with every passing heartbeat. And the beating of your heart doesn't feel all that good. It is too forced and doesn't lighten the pressure on your chest. Every breath taken is meant to be the last one that goes so deep, but somehow you cannot bring yourself to reduce your speed.
It is almost scary.
Every time you inhale a part of you fears it could be the last time that you are able to do so. If you cut it out now, maybe the next time you want to try it you no longer will be able to do so.
Your head starts spinning and you close your eyes to stop the world from doing that as well. You can hear your blood rushing through your veins and the numbness in your fingertips is spreading out. Your knees are getting weak, although you don't use them, you feel sick, you feel dizzy, you feel like you could hear everything even though you don't hear anything.
You have to keep breathing, keep breathing, not so fast, not enough, slow down, keep breathing, breathing, breathe.
There is a faint rustling and then there is Reid calling your name. "Morgan!"
Your eyes fly open and for a dozen deafening heartbeats your vision consists of blinding white and pitch black swirls dancing around each other and nothing else. When they are gone it doesn't get any brighter, because something is awkwardly and very uncomfortably beside you, almost hovering over you. Someone. Reid.
Just a minute ago he was lying more than an arm's length away and now, in a split second, he is right in front of you, pressing his shoulder against your mouth so that you have no other choice than to breathe into his sweater vest, into him.
"Breathe," he says then and it sounds almost stupid, because really? What else did you do since you've noticed you can not do so in the long run? You obey nevertheless, feeling his chest rise and fall against you and trying to match his rhythm.
"That's it. In and out, just like that," he soothes and his hair tickles your forehead. Your throat, your lungs, even your chest hurts, burning like fire, and you realize just how fast you must have been panting. But Reid is here, he is calming you down, and you wonder just what you would do without the FBI's very own boy genius here to look out for you.
"Listen," he urges, "you must not lose your head. I know it's a stressful situation and I'm not saying I do any better than you do but we must pull ourselves together. I need you to get through this with me. So no more hyperventilating, okay?"
Amazing, isn't it? How you don't even bother to pretend to be embarrassed by all that? By you freaking out and him calming you down again?
You feel the fabric under you lips getting warm and you can easily imagine how hot his skin under all these layers most likely is by now. You are panting open-mouthed against it as you try to regain your composure again, but you are not embarrassed. Not much, at least.
Because this is Reid.
Reid who would never judge you, never betray you and who would never think less of you or make you feel like you should think less of you. It's Reid whom you trust completely and who has proven over and over to put just as much confidence in you in return. It's Reid. That is all that matters. That is what makes all the difference.
As okay as you can possibly be in a room with not enough oxygen to get by, so you nod. He pulls away and you lick your lips. It is not helping much – it is too dry, it is too hot, it is just too wrong in every way imaginable.
Reid's clothes rustle and he is breathing through his nose, forced and slowly and entirely too heavy. He is facing you, looking at you, so close that you could easily grab him and pull him even closer – if you could grab him in the first place, that is.
"Sorry," you say, meaning sorry for the way I acted just now.
"I'm sorry," he says in the same second and it almost cross-fades your apology.
"What?" You know the Kid has his own speed of thinking, he jumps to conclusions his own way and sometimes no one is able to see the dots until he explains it. Most of the time it does make sense afterwards. But sometimes not so much. "What the hell are you sorry for?"
Yeah, that's what you thought. But being silent is not one of Reid's many fortes, it never was, so you are not all that surprised when he answers after a moment.
"It's just… you… I'm sorry that you're stuck here with me," he says, averting his eyes yet again, blinking, thinking. "I mean I know that I'm considered to be a… a magnet for misfortune, so to say. And even though things like misfortune, luck and bad luck don't exist, I know that I maybe tend to be somehow more susceptible to attract some kind of danger rather than the average human being and I just – "
"Reid," you interrupt his starting rant, waiting for him to lift his eyes to your face again. "First off, you are not responsible for that, you hear me? I was okay with how things were handled and the outcome would've been the same anyways and – "
"Anyway," he corrects you automatically.
"Either way," you nearly snarl because this is not the point here. The point is that, "This is not your fault, Pretty Boy." Because really, it's not. Reid might be the one who entered the house first and you the one who followed suit. Still, that doesn't mean it would have changed a thing if the roles were vice versa. This is not the result of a mistake he made or you made. It is the result of both your stupidity not to wait for back up.
"What's second?," he asks after a while.
You frown. "What d'you mean?"
"You said 'first off'," he explains patiently. "Therefore a 'second off' has to follow. Otherwise it would be pointless to start with a first altogether."
A smile ghosts over your features, easily elicited by Reid and his need for correctness. It feels deliciously normal. The knowledge that it is not normal, by far, makes your lips getting somewhat thin. "Second off," you answer, hesitating just the briefest moment, "I'd rather be here wi… where I can keep an eye on you."
Reid blinks. Once. Twice.
"You…," he starts but doesn't continue. You have made the resident genius seemingly speechless, not for the first time in your life but it is still a rare sight – and a sight you could be pretty damn smug about. "That is preposterous," he finally manages to get out. "Tha-that's… that, that… that's insane! You would rather be here and baby-sit me than what? Being up there and safe for instance?"
You wouldn't call this baby-sitting Reid but, "Yeah," pretty much so.
He looks absolutely bewildered by that. "Morgan," he says slowly as if telling you there won't be any more doors to kick in. "You do realise that the chances of us getting out of here alive are vanishingly low, don't you?"
"Reid, nobody's dying here today, you get that?," you say promptly, because that is what you believe. What you have to believe for preventing to start hyperventilating all over again. "Hotch knows where we headed, and by now he will know something's up. They're looking for us and Garcia's doing her cyber stuff, checking phone signals and all that, okay? They will find us. Barnes' as good as finished, it's just a matter of time before they find us." And they will find you. They always did. They have to.
"I hope we have that much time," Reid mumbles barely audible. He looks down, then looks right back at you, his eyes huge and innocent and pained. "I never wanted for you to die like that."
And this could have sounded very creepy coming from any other person. Or directed at any other person.
But considering that this is you and this is Reid… it doesn't. It might be a bit strange to say stuff like that but the meaning behind it is so much more profound. You get it instantly and it kind of breaks your heart a little. Because this is Reid and he is a genius. He knows what he is talking about, he knows how it feels to suffocate and he knows how it feels to die.
"Reid, listen to me," you say urgently, holding his gaze. "Nobody's going to die. Especially not me. I'm not leaving, not now, not ever. You're stuck with me, Pretty Boy, so get over it."
You wanted to educe a smile from him but it is not working. He is just looking at you, remembering you of what he looked like back then when he slammed that damn glass door shut in your face, locking himself up in a lab with a deadly amount of anthrax.
"I'm sorry," he says quietly, just like he did then, and you can not come up with something to reply to that.
Is it just you or are there really some similarities between now and then? Running into a house and nearly getting killed for it, suffocating, losing him, regretting it, regretting that you never… did what you wanted to do. Well, it probably is just you.
But at least now you are on the same side of the glass door as him.
Well, that was the first part. There is more to come. But what do you think about it? What did and didn't you like? Please be nice and let me know.
See you in a few days! (Hopefully.)