Note: Another chapter from Derek's perspective because this conversation really needed to happen. Also, I've said this before but please remember I have zip, zero knowledge of the medical field so please don't hold inaccuracies against me...I'm in this for the emotional outcome only. If you notice a grammatical error, however, that's fair game :)
Derek didn't know how long he had been sitting in the hard plastic chair in the hospital waiting room, hunched over and staring out into space, when he felt a hand lightly squeeze his shoulder. Before he even looked up, he knew it was Garcia. When their eyes met he could see his grief reflected in her own, despite the small smile of assurance she struggled to give him.
She slipped into the seat next to him and began to rub small circles on his upper back. "What happened?" she asked softly.
Derek rubbed his hands over his face and took a deep breath. He wished he knew how to answer that question. "We were at Spencer's place," he finally answered. "We were in the kitchen…arguing. He just started screaming about his head and collapsed." His eyes were blurred by tears when he looked back to Garcia. "This was so much worse than when he was having those migraines he was trying to hide. I don't think I've ever seen someone in that much pain."
Garcia's face was all sympathy. "Were they able to tell you anything?"
Derek shook his head. Everything had happened so fast it all seemed like a blur. One minute they had been arguing and kissing—had that really happened?—in Spencer's kitchen, and now here he was sitting in a hospital waiting room wondering if his boy genius was going to be alright. "I should ask," he said. Why hadn't he been pestering everyone in sight to find out what was happening? Why was he just sitting here this whole time, like he was in shock?
Because you are in shock.
It was time to snap out of it. Spencer needed him. He started to stand, but a hand caught his wrist and he looked down to see Garcia's electric blue-tipped fingers wrapped around his arm. "Sit down," she said gently. "I brought JJ with me. She'll find out what's going on, okay?"
He looked over to the front desk where he saw a petite blonde in what looked to be a heated conversation with a rather distraught looking nurse. He sank back into his chair. "She's a little scary when she get's like this, isn't she?"
Garcia hummed in amusement. "You may all be my babies, but ever since Jayje had Henry she has put me to shame." She moved her hand down to Derek's and squeezed his fingers. "Don't you worry, she'll get answers for us."
Derek leaned forward with a sigh, rubbing his free hand over his forehead. "How did we get here?" he asked.
"To this hospital, or was that rhetorical?"
"I don't know…maybe both." He turned his head to look up at Garcia. "Not only could I not keep Spencer from getting hurt, now he won't even let me help him and he wants me out of his life."
Garcia blinked at him from behind her thick-rimmed glasses. "I can't believe that's true, sweetie."
"Well when I showed up at his place tonight he was all ready to kick me out. Acted like I had been smothering him or something."
Garcia just looked at him, her bright red lips pursed.
"Was this accusation unfounded?"
"I'm not the only over-protective one sitting in this waiting room, and I'm not talking about JJ either. You think maybe you're trying to overcompensate a bit for the fact that you feel so guilty about Spencer getting hurt, even though everyone you know has told you repeatedly that it wasn't your fault?"
He shrugged. "I can't help it. I still feel responsible."
"That's because you're a good person, and you care about him."
Derek swallowed hard. "I think it was my fault he collapsed too."
"No, I'm serious." He sat back up in his seat, turning fully to face her. "Just before he collapsed we were arguing, and not just about me moving out." She looked at him in confusion. "I…I told him that I had quit the BAU."
"So you're still sticking with that story, huh?"
"Well it's true and he was going to find out eventually."
"I'm not even going to tell you for the millionth time how completely idiotic I think you're being, but you could not have possibly thought that Spencer would support this decision."
"No…I didn't. I just…I didn't think he would take it this hard."
"Why wouldn't he when he sees his best friend hurting?"
"He's the one who was hurt."
Garcia rolled her eyes. "Morgan, you know I love you, but you are a complete moron."
"I'm going to tell you right here, right now, why you quit the BAU."
"I've already told you."
"No, you've given bullshit excuses." He started to speak but she pointed an electric blue fingernail at him to shut him up. "Do you feel responsible for Spencer getting hurt even though it wasn't your fault? Yes. Are you scared that you could let someone else down? Yes. But you also quit because you know how much being on that team means to Spencer, and you felt terrible keeping a job that he could no longer perform, one you were afraid he would follow you back to."
This time Derek didn't even bother to try to correct her, just opened his mouth and then closed it again. This woman needed to stop being right all the time. It was completely unnerving.
"Do you realize why that is so completely stupid?"
"For two very good reasons. One, you are making Spencer feel even worse about himself by giving up on something that he knows is so important to both of you. Two, and you need to listen very carefully to this, Spencer is going to come back to the BAU, and when he does he will expect you to be there."
"What? Garcia what are you talking about?"
"Oh my God, Derek." She took his face in her hands and leaned close to him. "I love you dearly but you can be really thick. Why in the world do you think Spencer would quit a job that means so much to him? Because he can't see anymore?"
"But he was yelling at me...telling me how unfair it was...that he would give anything to be back on the team..."
"Of course he would! And that's why he's doing everything in his power to get his life back to normal! He's working so hard to get back to the BAU, and at the same time you're turning your back on it. It's an insult to everything he has been going through. Yes, I know this whole situation has been completely devastating; there is no question about that. And yes, you have been absolutely wonderful to him this whole time, but why the hell would you assume that Spencer wouldn't do everything he possibly could to go back to his job?"
"Well…he was a field agent. I know it was important to him, getting to that point, and that's not something he can do if he can't see…"
"So you thought he was just going to give up?"
"With or without his eyesight, Spencer is an asset to our team. Whether or not he can carry a gun, we need him with us. Hotch knows that. You've been assuming, maybe even hoping this whole time that Spencer would pick another career path, and you wanted to make sure you weren't an every day reminder of what he used to be. You didn't even think that he had been planning to go back to work this whole time; that he was looking forward to it. And then you just throw your career away?"
Derek turned away. He couldn't look her in the eyes anymore. He sat there staring out at the white walls of the emergency room and blinked several times, the clarity slowly beginning to dawn. "Jesus...I am a moron…"
"Ding! Ding! Ding!"
He turned back to her and narrowed his eyes. "I love you but you can be annoyingly perceptive."
"Its part of my charm. Now instead of trying to push Spencer away from what he wants, and quitting your job and effectively making both of you miserable, why don't you help him by doing what you love and encouraging him to do the same? What he needs now more than anything is for you to help him build his confidence back up."
"You make it sound so easy."
"But now?" Derek demanded, gesturing toward the double doors at the end of the room that led to the hospital beyond. "What about now? I don't even know what's wrong with him this time!"
"So you find out, you help him through it, and you two go back to being as normal as you can possibly be."
"And if he doesn't get better this time?"
"Don't make me smack you. I love you too much. You know you can't think that way."
Derek put his head in his hands once more and let out a long sigh. "Why didn't you tell me all of this a long time ago?"
"I was hoping you would figure it out on your own," Garcia said dryly, "but I know when it's time for me to throw in the towel and step in."
"Well…thanks…" he said quietly. "You really know how to put all the cards out on the table."
"Just trying to help." She leaned over and kissed his cheek.
He smiled for the first time in a very long time. "Thanks, Pen. I think I'm finally starting to see everything clearly."
"Well…maybe not everything…"
"What is that supposed to mean?"
At that moment they both looked up to see JJ walking purposefully toward them. "Finally got some answers," she said.
Derek and Garcia both stood up to meet her. "Well?" Derek demanded. "What's going on?"
"Okay, first of all you need to take a deep breath before I tell you this, because the last report the nurse received is that Spencer is stable."
"Ok," Derek said. "That's good news. Now tell us the bad news."
JJ's lips quirked, as though she was trying to give a smile of reassurance but couldn't quite manage it. "It was a chronic subdural hematoma," she said quietly, her eyes on Derek's. "Likely from Spencer's head injury during the cave in, but it was so minor it was practically imperceptible. It has been gradually bleeding more and more over the past month or so…until finally…"
Derek looked away quickly, feeling as though he was going to be sick. "So this whole time…this whole time that he was home and we thought he was getting better..."
"He has been getting better," JJ assured him. "There was no way to know this was coming on. He may have been having headaches for weeks now but thought nothing of it because of his history with migraines."
"And he didn't tell me?"
"He probably just didn't want to worry you."
Derek looked back up, pinning her with his gaze. "Yeah, well, now I'm worried. So what are they doing about it?"
JJ reached down and took his hand. "They've drained the pressure…they're repairing the damage…it sounds like he's going to be out of surgery soon and they are very optimistic about his recovery."
Derek sighed. "Well that's good at least."
"Derek?" Garcia touched his arm. "I'll go get you a cup of coffee okay? You should be there when he wakes up. He'll want that."
Derek quirked a smile. "Even though before he collapsed he was ready to smack me?" Or kiss me into oblivion…
Garcia smiled. "Yes, even though." She pecked his cheek with another kiss. "He won't be mad at you when he wakes up. Trust me."
"With your track record, baby girl? It's impossible not to."