Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to Criminal Minds or its characters. This is fiction pure and simple.
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The Lost and the Broken
Morgan glanced over at Max as he chatted with Garcia. Their ride over had been made in complete silence and he was relieved that his friend was acting relatively normal – normal for him. He could hear them laughing, heads bent forward close to the computer screen as she ran an illegal search through the Ramrod's security network. It had taken some doing to find out what bar Max had ended up at seeing as he'd blind drunk. Since Ramrod was the hottest gay bar in town, it made sense that he wound up there.
"There she is." Max yelled pointing out the tall slim 'lady' in a black leather cat suit.
"Are you sure that's a guy?" Garcia scrutinized the smooth unlined crotch area for the telltale bump. "Is he a magician?"
"Oh believe me it's there." Max grinned naughtily nudging her.
Garcia exploded into peals of laughter. "How is this the first time we are meeting in person?" She threw Morgan a mock glare. "He's so fun."
"He's a hoot and a half." Morgan returned sardonically.
"Okay" She mumbled turning back to her screen and running the face recognition software.
Morgan paced as she worked. He wanted to go home to Reid. Knowing he'd killed the mood in the room only made him want to escape faster.
"Found him." Garcia crowed, pulling up Charles Thorn's drivers license. "No criminal record. Hey, what do you know he works at the DMV? That is the bizarro topping on this zaniest of sundaes. Get it. Sundae because today is Sunday." She giggled at the odd joke, choking down her laughter when it fell flat. The two protagonists ignored her too busy glaring at each other.
She tapped Max. "I'll just send the address to your phone." Amazed by how incredibly his face changed, softened from a hard mask into McHottie as he heaped her with effusive praise, kissing her on both cheeks as he made to leave.
Morgan took a deep breath mentally preparing for round two. Another couple of tense hours in the SUV was exactly what he needed. Yippee!
He paused in his tracks when Max's words stopped him. "I can handle it on my own."
Morgan exploded. "You dragged me out of my house and NOW you don't need me anymore. You know, this is typical. Typical. You breeze in and screw everything up…" Years of pent up rage battered repeatedly at his self-control throwing him back into the past, old issues rearing up faster than he could suppress. "All I asked you for a conversation to see if we could be anything. A simple conversation. Do you know what it took for me to open myself up to you like that?"
"I am not a complete idiot, Derek. I know what I lost."
"You left a puppy on my doorstep. A puppy not a note because that would be too normal." Mirthless laughter spilled out of him. "Then you took off for Palm Beach or Venice Beach with some girl with a guy's name. Now it is guys in girls clothing." He pointed at the computer screen on which Charles' photo was still prominently displayed. "You were right earlier. We were broken together…I am finally healing. It is slow and painful but Reid's getting me there. You are still a mess. So whatever you're after – NO!"
Morgan stood in the middle of the room, chest heaving, blood racing, and the silence was heavy after all the yelling.
Max's eyes glittered with unshed tears as he hang back, shoulders hunched like he'd taken a few rounds. "I am sorry I run from you. I regret it everyday." He shuffled forward collapsing onto Garcia's couch both of them blind to her presence as she hovered rapt in the background.
Morgan sat beside him already regretting the impulse to bare it all.
"You know why I'm such a mess all the time?" Max groaned. "No matter how badly I screwed up you were always there. You'd yell and lecture me for hours but you showed up. You are the first person in my life that did. No matter how fast or how far I ran, knowing you were here, waiting, brought me comfort. Then the way you talked about your 'boy'…it scared me and I completely lost it. I thought…God I don't know what I thought. That he was temporary. Seeing you together last night finally drove it home. You should have seen your face… I have made out with strangers right in front of you and you've never been as mad as you were just because some 'roided up gym rat was touching him."
His hand grabbed Morgan's and laced their fingers together. "Just because I reacted badly doesn't mean I don't want you to be happy. I do. More than anything. Maybe someday it will happen for me too. With Charlotte."
"You mean Charles."
"Oh right. It's daytime." He smirked then squeezed Morgan's hand. "I can take care of myself. I always could but I miss my friend. I get that our relationship has to evolve. Besides at the rate you're going, you are going to need a best man and no one looks better in an ascot than I do."
"We are not wearing ascots."
"That's what you think."
"Go home Dere." He kissed him and headed out the door. "I'll be fine. Thanks Penelope."
Morgan got up, the solid concrete feeling like the only steady ground he'd been on since dawn. Garcia looked like she'd been run over by a truck. Ah! The Max Effect! He rubbed at his lips, the softness lingering as he said goodbye. Stunned he realized that part of the reason he was so insanely jealous when Reid even looked at someone else was because Max had left him without a backward glance. He constantly worried that Reid would do the same.
"Are you okay?" Garcia made a face then hugged him. The hair piled on top of her head tickled his nose.
"I need to go home." He smiled. " I need Reid."
Reid tossed the ball again watching Clooney tear after it. This is what he'd been reduced to: bribing his dog into loving him again. He crumpled up the empty dog biscuit wrapper dropping it to the step beside him and tucked his cold hands into the pockets of his fleece-lined jacket. The tips of his ears were numb but standing outside pretending to do something was better than sitting inside in the warm empty house while Morgan ran around town with his 'friend'.
"Clooney" He yelled when the dog began to dig in a corner of the yard. Great, even the pooch had abandoned him. He stepped off the steps to go after him when the buzzing of his phone distracted him.
In his eagerness he yanked it out without checking the caller ID and pressed it to his ear. "Morgan. When are you coming home?" He whined.
He felt foolish at the dark chuckle he got in response. The enemy. "What do you want?"
"About what?" Reid spat out over the quickening of his pulse. Max brought out the worst in him. He'd gotten so used to being in love and loved the thought that this irreverent jerk could take it away from him made his blood boil. Resentment and jealousy spewed out of him. "You can't have him. Morgan is mine." He sounded like a petulant four year old.
"We got off on the wrong foot. That was my fault – mostly."
"Mostly…" Reid spluttered.
"I'm trying to say that I am sorry. Next time we meet up hopefully things won't be so awkward between us."
Cursing his ingrained good manners, Reid agreed. "So you're leaving? He asked hopefully with great cheer.
Reid wondered if it was possible for someone to hear you do a happy dance over the phone and he was mid jig when Max's tone changed. Since they'd met he'd snarky and rude. The earnestness in his voice was new and demanded an audience.
"Listen I know that it's not my place anymore and I don't want to step on any toes but I have known Derek for over fifteen years I can tell when he's hurting. He won't talk to me maybe – now that he's yours - you can get him to open up."
Reid barely noticed as Clooney dropped the ball at his feet, nosing him for attention. He knew Morgan was going through something; he was quieter a lot more withdrawn, sleeping even less than he had before James.
"You take care of him, okay?" Max continued. "And if you need anything, anything at all you call me."
The wet ball flew across the yard, slobber sticking to his hand like the unpleasant realization did to his heart. "You love him."
"He loves you." Max sidestepped the revelation. "Don't fuck it up and when it comes up just remember that you are pro ascots."
"Pro what?" He asked dazed. The dial tone echoed in his ear, Max leaving just as suddenly as he'd arrived.
Reid stood still at the bottom of the porch struggling with his thoughts. Despite the chill in the air there was no frost on the ground. The two massive trees bordering the property had lost their leaves and through the thick branches he could make out the Tillman's dark roof and behind that the blue of feisty widow Forbes' house. To the right he could hear the manic screaming of the eight year old Kaye twins and future unsubs, Eric and Ethan. This was his home. He loved it but how much was he willing to sacrifice to keep it?
He leaned back as strong arms wrapped around his waist. "What are you doing out here?" Morgan rumbled pressing soft kisses up his neck. "You're cold."
Reid spun round. With Morgan a step above him he buried his face in his neck embracing him back.
"I'm sorry I took so long." Morgan said stroking his hair. "Max can be…impossible."
"It's ok, he's your friend and he needed you. I should get to know him better." He colored as Morgan pushed him back with a skeptical look.
"Is the cold making you lose IQ points? Are you planning some diabolical prank to get back at me?"
"Now who's thinking too much?" Reid shoved him playfully then kissed him as Morgan hands snaked under his jacket stroking his skin, warming him inside and out.