Wow, I've actually updated! I feel so bad but I was really stuck and I can only write something if I'm in the mood. So I've been writing lots of random one shots and parts of the sequel so those should be updated pretty quickly. I've even made a new year's resolution to update faster. Anyway I hope you enjoy this seeing as you've been waiting so long! Idril xxx
It felt strange having a briefing on the jet after so long, but it also felt incredibly right, there was something comfortingly familiar about Hotch splitting up the jobs. It was going to take time to get back into it the swing of things; I kept day dreaming, thinking about home. I felt incredibly claustrophobic on the plane with my so called friends who all seemed to have got over the fact that our nearest and dearest had lied to us.
"Good to have the old team back together again." Morgan commentated as he playfully punched my shoulder. "I've missed you, pretty boy. We've had to call Garcia every time we need to know something you would know; she's never used google so much in her life!"
"Yeah, I've missed the team too." Most of you, I silently qualified.
"Bet you're missing your girl, I thought you might get too used to it, not want to come back." There seemed to be genuine concern in his face and I shrugged, not wanting to admit how close I'd come to not coming back. I heard Hotch announce that I was going out with JJ on the road. She turned to give me a sickly sweet smile but I turned back to Morgan and asked him how his Mom was; he gave me an odd stare, obviously noticing the tension between us, but he quickly rattled off a half-hearted answer about their last phone call.
When we landed JJ headed for the nearest SUV with me trailing behind her wishing I was with Morgan or Hotch… even Prentiss just not her. She smiled as I got in the car and began talking about Henry; it was a smart move I was hardly going to be rude about him, all I could do was snap that we should be focusing on the case. Her talk about Henry had hit a raw nerve as I thought about my own baby. I couldn't blame her for that insensibility, she didn't know, but it didn't make it any easier.
I stared at the clock in the dashboard; Marley would be picking Jack up from school now, then they might go to the park or maybe to the shops. Jack wasn't a fan of shopping although I completely understood, shopping with Marley could be a nightmare; even food shopping would take the girl hours as she investigated each different brand even though she did the weekly shop every week. When the three of us were together I used to take Jack out, once I even took him to the air and space museum, which he said was his best trip out ever. And while he said that the week after when Jess took him to Laser-quest with his cousin, I still knew he'd enjoyed himself.
How are you? I miss you both so much. Hopefully I'll be home soon. Love you xxx I fired off a text quickly, knowing that she was alright would make it easier to concentrate on the task at hand.
We miss you too. Come home soon; Jack has a science project, you know I can't do science! Love you so much! Xxx Her fast reply made me smile but also worry, hoping she wasn't missing me too much. I wondered what Jack would do for his science project, whether he'd make the standard volcano or something more obscure. Probably something obscure if Marley had anything to do with it; many of the parents at Jack's school detested the odd family with the haughty FBI agent who disappeared for months on end, the quiet studious boy and the young Nanny, so any chance where they could prove their worth, they took it. I still laughed whenever I thought of the look on some of the most stuck up parents when Jack triumphed in the school wide Spelling Bee, as he was cheered on by the bizarre family that we'd created.
"Here we go." JJ muttered as she parked near the abduction site. I shoved my phone in my pocket before leaving the car and walking down the road towards the first abduction site. JJ was mumbling about the case but I wasn't really listening to her; her voice was grating on me already. I was sure Hotch had pushed us together on purpose so we'd be forced to sort things out. He should have realised that the only reason Marley had forgiven him was because of the baby; Christ knows what would have happened otherwise. She probably would have moved out.
"So Beth got off the bus here and headed north-west towards class." I mused as we headed towards the bus stop. It was incredible how normal some abduction sites looked, there were dozens of people milling around the streets not aware that they were standing where some poor girl had last been seen. Any of them could be next.
"It's amazing how no one witnessed her abduction." JJ mused but I refused to be dragged into a discussion with her.
"Well Emily was buried six feet under and wound up in Paris so I guess anything is possible."
"So that is what this is about." Well what did she expect? That we were all going to just accept the lies and deceit? Unable to formulate an appropriate public response I made some quip about the case, hoping she'd drop it. Of course she wouldn't.
"Spence if you want to talk about this…" Yes I did, but not to her.
"Maybe he tried another tactic. Maybe he was like," wow you're really pretty you should be a model"" I powered on. I wasn't going to get into it. Not here. Not now.
"I'll take that as a no." She muttered quietly. Yes, please do. Please stop pretending we're friends when you obviously think nothing of me. Speaking to you nearly cost me my relationship, and all for what? She was alive the whole time you bitch! I seethed internally but said nothing, just suggesting heading to the dump site. It would give us something to do; I had to get away from here. Away from her.
The car ride was another silent affair; I stared out the window and wondered what Jack was doing now. I missed them, and being back on a case wasn't like I remembered. It was fraught with awkward tension and an unpleasant atmosphere. Maybe I would reconsider my future with the bureau after all.
"How's Marley? I overheard Morgan on the phone the other day and it sounded like she was ill." JJ smiled cautiously over at me while I fumed silently.
"Ask Aaron?" I suggested bitterly. She sighed before refocusing her attention on the road. We said nothing for the rest of the trip.
"I get it, okay? You're disappointed with the way we handled Emily." JJ challenged as she followed me doggedly into the conference room.
"Listen, I have a lot going on, alright?" I grabbed a random file off the glass conference table for something to do with my shaking hands. I didn't want to discuss this. Not here when we were in the middle of a case and people's lives were at stake. I kept my eyes down, reading the name on the file "Andrew Lord." Christ, it wasn't even for our case but I didn't care. I focused on the black printed letters, the scratchy cheap card that the folder was made from. Anything so I didn't have to face what was coming next.
"You know what I think it is?" She growled angrily as she strategically placed herself between me and the door. There really was no escape.
"What?" I finally asked. Fine, I'd hear her out. Maybe it would help; Aaron and Marley had made peace with each other after all.
"You're mad that Hotch and I controlled our micro expressions at the hospital and you weren't able to detect our deception." I stared at her open mouthed for a second, trying to get my head around what she'd just said. She came out with garbage like that and Hotch still thought she was one of the best rookie profilers he'd ever seen.
"You think this is about my profiling skills? Jennifer, listen: the only reason you were able to manage my perceptions is because I trusted you! I came to your house for ten weeks in a row, crying over losing a friend, and not once did you have the decency to tell me the truth." Did she really think my anger was because my ego had taken a knock? At least Hotch knew what he'd done wrong he came begging for forgiveness. He'd known he'd betrayed their trust; he'd let Jack down and broken Marley's heart. Jennifer, Jennifer didn't understand even the most basic part of the whole mess. I'd trusted her, trusted her with my life, and like almost everyone else in my life she'd let me down.
"I couldn't." She whimpered, realisation obviously dawning on her.
"You couldn't, or you wouldn't?" She'd known how close to the edge I was, how disillusioned I was with life. Would it have really hurt to tell me the truth? It wasn't like I was going to scream it from the rooftops, was it?
"No, I couldn't!"
"What if I had started taking dilaudid again? Would you have let me?"
"You didn't." She quickly evaded the question, obviously not wanting to ask the question of herself either. I wondered what she would have done. What would Hotch have done, come to think of it, if Marley had rung him up in tears after she'd found me off my head on the stuff. It was best not to dwell on it. I knew the answer wouldn't be what I wanted to hear.
"Yeah, but I thought about it." I answered bitterly. I turned angrily away and headed for the door. Still clutching the useless file as if my life depended on it.
"Spence!" She cried desperately and I turned to see her eyes brimming with tears. "I'm sorry!"
"It's too late!" The realisation dawned on me even as I fled out of the building; it was too little, too late.
It was dark on the plane ride home and I had curled up away from the rest of the team. I'd forgotten how hard it was dealing with the horror we saw on a daily basis on these cases. That poor girl. The broken look in her eyes when we'd found her reminded me of Marley just before she'd tried to kill herself. I hoped Tammy could deal with it better.
I heard someone moving towards me and looked up in time to see Prentiss moving to sit opposite me. It was still strange seeing her here, looking so alive. There had been a time when I would have done anything to have her with us again. And even now, with everything that had happened, I was glad she was alive.
"So the surgeon believes he can restore feeling to Tammy's hands."
"Good, we got there in time." I nodded, glad that Tammy's life wouldn't be completely ruined by what her Uncle had done to her.
"Mr Bradstone wants to see the tape."
"People have an innate need to witness things in order to believe them."
"That explains why I'm going to Rossi's. I want to see if he can actually cook. You coming?" I paused for a second, I wasn't sure. Part of me just wanted to spend whatever time I could with Marls but at the same time I wanted to make an effort, to try and become a part of the team again.
"I'm not sure I can make it."
"Look Reid I know you're mad at us. I understand that. Listen, you mourned the loss of a friend. I mourned the loss of six. This whole thing gave me an ulcer; please don't give me another. Will you go?" She pleaded and I paused, unsure what to do.
"I think you should go, Spence." Marley kissed my temple and wrapped her arms around my neck.
"Hotch is out, so I have you two all to myself. Why would I want to go out?" I shrugged and turned in her arms so that I could kiss her properly. I'd missed the two of them over the few days and was glad Aaron would be out so I could spend some quality time with them. Aaron had left twenty minutes ago after pleading with me to go "for the sake of the team." I'd played the "Marley needs someone to stay with her" card which Marley wasn't particularly happy about but it was true; I knew Jess had been stopping by while we'd been away but it would be nice for her to have me for the whole night.
"Because it might be a nice night. You might enjoy yourself, please go. Aaron and I worked things out, maybe you and JJ can." She gave me a small smile before placing a kiss on my nose. "Everyone does stupid things and makes mistakes, sometimes we have to work it out."
"I know," I grumbled. "It just makes you question what you know about people."
"Do you want to hear a story my Dad once told me?" Marley asked as she drew patterns across my palms, making me twitch as she hit my ticklish point. "Two friends were walking in a desert and had an argument when one of them slapped the other. The one who was slapped wrote in the sand "today my best friend slapped me in the face." They carried on walking and eventually came across an oasis where they decided to take a bath, and the one who got slapped started to drown but his friend saved his life. Once he recovered he carved into a stone "today my best friend saved my life." When his friend asked why he replied "when someone hurts us we should write it in the sand where the winds of forgiveness can erase the pain. But when someone shows us kindness we should engrave it so it can never be erased." Do you get where I'm going with this?"
"Why would you bother carving something in a dessert? Why are they in a desert anyway?" She burst out laughing and rolled her eyes.
"It's a story."
"A parable." I corrected. "It has a message; we should forgive out friends and remember all the kind things they do."
"I'm just saying that people do things they shouldn't, and if they're really sorry then sometimes you have to be the better person and forgive them."
"I need to work things out in my own mind."
"Spence, you're not going to work anything out sat here. Please go!" She pushed me playfully before bringing me back in for a kiss. "Now."
"When did you become so wise?" She grinned and kissed me again. "You'll make a great Mom one day."
"Maybe." She whispered quietly, her eyes suddenly gleaming in the half light of the living room. I cursed under my breath at the insensitivity. How could they call me a genius?
"Marls we will have a baby, they didn't say we couldn't." I whispered quietly as tried not to think of the numerous talks we'd had with specialists before we'd left the hospital.
"No, they said it wouldn't be easy. That our chances were slimmer, a hell of a lot slimmer." A single tear slipped down her cheek and it broke my heart.
"Hey, hey, come on darling. This is you, you've fought of grizzly bears before now. We will have a baby. Now, let's find something good to watch."
"No! You are going! Now." She took on the Hotchner-stare and I knew I was fighting a losing battle. I was going to Rossi's whether I wanted to or not.
It was Morgan who opened the door to me and he grinned happily at me; obviously when Hotch had turned up alone he'd assumed that I'd bailed out of our "reconciliation evening." I followed Morgan through the house, always in awe of Rossi's mansion. I loved his house, it had a library and everything, but I always wondered if he ever felt lonely in it. Even my tiny apartment could feel too big when I was alone in it.
"Hey guys." I smiled awkwardly as I walked into Rossi's bright clean kitchen. But Hotch's face lit up when he saw I'd turned up and even JJ gave me a sheepish smile although she promptly turned back to watch Rossi's demonstration. Emily passed me a glass of red wine from beside her; she'd known I'd turn up. Damn profilers.
It was several hours later, after we'd all cooked, or attempted to at the very least, and I'd headed outside to call Marley only to be told to "put the damn phone down and enjoy myself." I sighed as I leant against the cool white wash brickwork of Rossi's wall; things still felt awkward between the team. There was an atmosphere, an air of uncertainty which had never been there before. I guessed it would take some time before we were all completely comfortable with one another again.
"How did yours taste? It looked better than Garcia's at any rate." JJ joked quietly as she opened Rossi's sliding door.
"I blame Morgan, he was distracting her." I agreed, smiling slightly as I remembered Rossi's outrage when Garcia's pan nearly caught fire.
"Oh Spence, I'm so sorry. I screwed up but you're one of my best friends and you're Henry's Godfather. I don't want to lose you from my life. Please, I'll do anything Spence." She bit her lip as tears gleamed in her eyes, much like they had in Marley's earlier.
"I shouldn't have shouted at you earlier." I whispered quietly.
"No, I understand why. I really am sorry. Are… are we okay?"
"No." I answered honestly, and felt a spasm of guilt when her face fell. That spasm told me everything else that I needed to know. "But we will be."