A/N- This is a story I started about two years ago, and have finally got around to finishing it. Yes, I actually wrote a Criminal Minds fic that's not to do with Revelations. It's not my favourite thing that I have ever posted, but I don't think it's too bad. As is often the case with things I write I wrote it about two characters and have pretty much neglected everyone else. So while the team is in this story technically, they don't really do or say much. The whole thing is really to do with Hotch and Reid. As I was writing I noticed that some of it seemed to start sounding like I was writing a slash fic, which was not my intention at all, so I have gone through it and removed some big chunks and tried to rewrite a bit so it doesn't feel too disconnected. Hopefully it does not seem too odd. Please be aware that I have virtually no medical knowledge, so I have kinda skirted around medical jargon. Hopefully nothing is too inaccurate. I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer- I do not own Criminal Minds and I am not making any money from playing with its characters. Titles are not a strong point of mine, so the name of the fic is taken from a song by Hidden in Plain View.
The Innocent Ones
Reid splashed some water on his face from the sink as he stood in the small bathroom of the jet. He grimaced as a jolt of turbulence jarred his sore ribs. He had insisted he had acquired no injuries from his time with Cyrus largely because he didn't want to worry Emily, or indeed any of the other members of the team, but he had to admit to himself that his ribs and stomach were getting quite sore. Being struck multiple times with the butt of a riffle had been bad enough, but he had also fallen during the explosion and that had caused even more pain. It hadn't been so bad at first, but now the adrenaline from the whole ordeal was wearing off he was looking forward to getting home and having a bath to soak his sore muscles then go to bed. He was beginning to think that he may even take some Tylenol despite the fact he usually avoided taking even over the counter drugs.
He grimaced again as another jolt of turbulence rocked him and rubbed at his sore stomach and chest through his shirt. Each breath sent a stab of pain through him and he couldn't breathe as deeply as he would have liked.
Reid let his shirt fall back into place and used a paper towel to dry his face. He took as deep a breath as he was able and steadied himself, and went back out. He was glad to see that Emily had moved from her position of sitting across from him to lie down on the couch. It meant that no one would be in his eye line and he wouldn't have to guard his facial expressions so much. He picked up his book and opened it, but found it difficult to focus. Within minutes he had let the book fall back to the table, and he leaned back and fell asleep.
"Reid, wake up."
Reid slowly woke from the comfort of sleep, a stab of pain shooting through his midsection as a none too gentle hand shook his shoulder. He groaned and opened his eyes to see Morgan leaning over him.
"Come on, kid, you fell asleep on the jet. We landed," Morgan smirked a little at the dazed, confused look on Reid's face. It wasn't often the young genius wore that expression.
It took a moment for Reid to gather himself. "I'm up, I'm coming," Reid mumbled, reaching for his bag and sliding his book into it. By the time he stood he was the only one left on the plane. He shifted his bag to his shoulder and slowly made his way to the exit. He didn't hurt quite as much any longer, but he felt stiff and incredibly tired. He wished he could draw a deeper breath, but his lungs would not allow it.
It took Reid far longer than usual to make his way off the plane and by the time he reached the pavement the rest of the team were halfway to the vehicles. He tried to make himself hurry so they wouldn't have to wait for him, but the world seemed to sway, making it difficult for him to walk. There was an odd pressure in his chest, and it made him cough. Vaguely he was aware of a metallic taste in his mouth, but he wasn't greatly concerned. He just wanted to get home and get some sleep in his bed. Just before he fell to the pavement he had a passing thought that perhaps he was hurt worse than he had realized.
Hotch was the first to reach the SUV. He turned to ask Morgan if he planned to drive but the words died on his lips as his eyes fell on Reid, who had come to a standstill on the middle of the tarmac, swaying unsteadily.
"Reid?" he called, and the rest of the team turned just in time to see their youngest member lose his battle to stay standing and fall heavily to his hands and knees. Hotch was running for Reid before any of the others had processed what had just happened enough to move, but by the time he had reached the young man's side he could hear the rest of the them running not far behind.
"Reid?" Hotch put a hand on each of Reid's shoulders and eased him back a little so he could look at his face.
Reid was paler than usual and even the dark circles that were always under his eyes were more apparent. His skin was covered with a light sheen of sweat and he was breathing shallowly.
"Reid, are you alright? What happened?" Hotch had to work to keep the edge of panic out of his voice. He had been so relieved when after everything he had seen both Emily and Reid, looking a bit ragged, but more or less alright, certainly walking under their own power. The fear he had felt during the time they had been held hostage dissipated incredibly quickly, but now it was back in full force.
Reid's eyes seemed to have a hard time focusing, scanning back and forth across Hotch's face as if he couldn't quite process what was in front of him. His head slowly turned to Morgan who had dropped to a knee at his side, but still he seemed to not fully comprehend what was in front of him.
"JJ, call an ambulance," Hotch said without looking back. He had heard the rest of the team come up behind him and knew she would be there. He didn't bother to listen to her make the call, instead focusing his attention on the dazed young man. "Reid, can you tell me if you're hurt?" he spoke slowly, enunciating carefully, and somewhere in his mind he knew that if Reid were feeling alright he would be embarrassed at having been spoken to in such a way.
Reid did not appear embarrassed, but leaned forward and coughed weakly, his body seeming to almost convulse with pain from doing so. He lost his balance, even being on his knees, and would have fallen completely if Morgan had not caught him and positioned himself behind him, holding the young man semi-upright.
Reid shook his head slowly as if to clear it, and tried to focus his gaze on Hotch. "Don't feel good," he mumbled, his eyes starting to slide closed.
"Reid, stay awake," Hotch said firmly, and Reid's eyes opened again, but didn't really look at the man in front of him. "Reid, what doesn't feel good? Are you sick?"
Reid didn't answer, but his hand drifted up to his chest. Hotch hesitated, then lifted the shirt up. He heard both Emily and JJ gasp behind him as the bruises were exposed on the young man's torso. Hotch glanced at Morgan, who looked as though he wanted to hit something.
"Reid, how did this happen?" Hotch asked, pleased he was able to keep his voice more or less steady.
Reid glances down and his eyes widened as he saw the bruises with his own eyes. "Wow," he said softly, and though he looked shocked he spoke without much inflection. "Didn't know… Thought I was just sore." He seemed unable to tear his eyes away from the marks covering him.
"Reid, look at me," Hotch said firmly, and waited for Reid's eyes to slowly drift up and meet his. "How did it happen?"
Reid didn't answer for a moment, seeming to try to process the question. Hotch was about to repeat himself when Reid finally spoke. "Got hit, with the butt of a gun. Twice?" his brow furrowed in confusion. "Then I fell. In the explosion."
"And the EMTs cleared you?" Hotch struggled to keep the edge of anger out of his voice. There was no cause to be alarming Reid at the moment, but if those EMTs had cleared Reid in this condition he was going to have their heads.
Again, Reid was slow in responding, but he finally shook his head. "Didn't see the EMTs. Felt okay until the plane."
Now Hotch was not angry at the EMTs, but at Reid. The kid could recite the handbook if required. He knew protocol. He knew he had to at the very least see a paramedic if he had been hit at all, no matter if he thought it was serious or not.
"Damn it, Reid," Morgan muttered, his words echoing Hotch's thoughts. "Next time see the damn EMTs."
"Sorry," Reid mumbled, and had the sense to look embarrassed. He coughed again and this time gaged a little. Any irritation Hotch had felt dissipated immediately when he saw the younger man's lips tinged with blood.
JJ saw the blood and Hotch's panic "Ambulance is on the way, just a few more minutes," she said, he voice soothing, though Hotch knew on the inside she was panicking just as much as he was.
"Don' wanna go to the hospital," Reid said, his voice slurred.
"Sorry, pretty boy, but you have to," Morgan said from his position behind Reid where he still held the younger man upright. "I know you don't like hospitals, but you're gonna have to deal with it this time."
Hotch hadn't known about Reid's aversion to hospitals, but wasn't surprised that Morgan did. Out of the team members he was the one who knew Reid the best.
Reid sighed softly and coughed again, pain twisting his features as he did so. Hoch felt himself grimace in sympathy. "Just hold on, Reid. I know it hurts, but you'll be okay soon. The paramedics will give you something to help with the pain when they get here."
As soon as he said it, he saw Morgan shake his head and glare at him from behind Reid while at the same time Reid became much more alert, struggling to sit up more, his dark eyes going wide with alarm. "No," he said firmly. "Don't-… They can't…" flustered he trailed off and twisted around to give a pleading look to Morgan.
"I got you, kid," Morgan said gently. "We won't let them give you any narcotics."
Reid sighed in relief and relaxed. His burst of energy was short lived and he no longer seemed capable of holding himself up at all, relying entirely on Morgan to keep him from slumping onto the pavement.
"Reid, you have to stay awake for a little bit longer, alright?" Hotch said, annoyed with himself when he heard the panicked edge to his voice.
"I'm awake," Reid mumbled, his eyes starting to slide closed.
"No, come on, kid," Morgan said, his alarmed eyes meeting Hotch's. "Keep your eyes open. Talk to us. Give us some statistics or something."
"Okay," Reid said softly before closing his eyes all the way and going completely limp.
"Reid! Reid, open your eyes!" Hotch shouted at him, hoping his loud voice would at least cause the young genius to stir, but it did not have the desired effect. He reached his hand out and cursed at himself quietly when he saw that his hand was trembling. He pressed his shaking fingers to Reid's carotid artery and sighed in relief when he found the pulse a little fast and weak, but steady and definitely there. "He's alright, he just passed out," he said reassuringly, but whether he was reassuring himself or the rest of the team he wasn't positive. "Keep him upright," he said to Morgan. "He seemed like he was having trouble breathing."
In the distance he heard the wail of an ambulance siren, and felt a small amount of relief. He was had convinced himself that as soon as he had medical attention Reid would be fine, even though he knew that things didn't always work out like that. It wasn't so long ago that he had managed to get Kate to a hospital and she had died right on the operating table, surrounded by medical professionals.
As soon as the EMTs arrived everything seemed to happen incredibly fast. They checked Reid over and had him on a backboard within minutes of pulling up. Then they were putting Reid in the ambulance and saying that only one of the team could ride along, the rest would have to follow. Hotch immediately climbed in, ignoring Morgan's protests that he should be the one to go with Reid.
The ride in the ambulance was fast too. Hotch remembered to inform the EMTs not to give Reid any form of narcotic, but doubted that they would have anyway. No reason to give painkillers to someone who was already unconscious. Hotch was unable to follow the medical jargon the EMTs threw back and forth between each other. He watched them put an IV line in and an oxygen mask on the young man's face. Words like "broken ribs," "punctured lung," and "possible internal bleeding" bounced around between them.
Hotch knew Reid was the youngest of the team and he never really forgot it. It was hard to when he managed to look even younger than his 26 years. Add to that his child-like enthusiasm and the innocence he somehow managed to keep intact after all the years on the job when the rest of them had turned so jaded. But watching Reid lie on the stretcher, his perpetually pale skin almost as white as the sheet he lay on, Hotch thought, not for the first time, that Reid was just too young for this job. While it was true that the resident genius was integral to the team and had been for years, he was still, for all intents and purposes, just a kid. Despite the fact he had needed to grow up much too fast, not only because of his intellect, but because of his father leaving, and having to care for his mentally ill mother by himself, Reid really was just a kid. Maybe it was because of all he had been through growing up Reid was a little emotionally stunted. Hotch wasn't blind to that. Nor was he blind to the fact that Reid probably had undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome. All of those things together did make Reid something of 'the baby' of the team, and Reid knew it. And that was probably why he hadn't told the others he was hurt. He didn't like to be infantilized or coddled, and so when he had thought that his injuries were nothing serious he had not brought it to the attention of the team in an attempt to avoid their worry. Because, yes, they did all worry about Reid.
Hotch knew all those thoughts were ridiculous. Reid had been hurt on the job before, and it could very well happen again. He had been shot at, held hostage, kidnapped, and tortured in his 4 years working for the FBI, and he had shown time and time again that he was capable of handling himself in such situations. Hotch even knew that if it had not been for Reid secretly feeding intel while gaining Cyrus' trust, the whole incident would have gone a very different way. Reid was good at the job.
Hotch was drawn from his thoughts as the ambulance came to a stop in front of the hospital. He followed Reid's stretcher into the hospital as far as they would let him, and then was pointed to a sitting area he could wait at while Reid was assessed. Before being led away he repeated to the doctor that under no circumstances was Reid to be given any form of narcotic. He then settled into an uncomfortable plastic chair and waited.
It was only a matter of minutes before the rest of the team arrived. Hotch suspected that they had drove with the sirens on, which was frowned upon unless it was an actual emergency, but Hotch figured this was close enough so he let it slide.
They waited for several hours with no update, in spite of each one of them taking a turn flashing their badge to various nurses demanding information. Garcia arrived 20 minutes after the rest of them and they all sat in silence, waiting.
It was close to 2am when a doctor finally appeared. "Spencer Reid?" he asked, and the whole team stood up and approached. The doctor raised his eyebrows quizzically. "Are you… family?"
"Yes," Morgan ground out, "How is he?"
"I can only give out information to family members," the doctor said slowly.
"We all work for the FBI, and so does Reid," Morgan's voice had a dangerous edge to it. "That makes us family. How. Is. He?"
The doctor hesitated for only another few seconds before speaking. "We had to do surgery. He has several broken ribs, and one punctured his lung. We were concerned about other internal bleeding but there doesn't seem to be any. He's in recovery right now, and will be moved to the third floor in a few hours. He'll be on oxygen for the next 48 hours in addition to IV fluids, and as we were informed that he is not be given any narcotics he will be on a prescription NSAID for a while, but barring and complications like infection I don't see why he wouldn't be able to go home in a few days."
There was a collective sigh of relief amongst the group. "Can we see him?" JJ asked.
"Not at the moment. He's still out for the sedatives anyway. I suggest that you all go home and get some rest, and after he is moved to the third floor in the morning you can see him during visiting hours."
"We'll wait here," Hotch said immediately, echoing the thoughts of the whole team.
Hotch sat in a chair next to Reid's hospital bed. It was 10am and the others, with the exception of Morgan, had finally gone home after much persuasion after they each got a chance to check in on Reid, though he was still yet to wake up. Morgan had made a trip down to the cafeteria to get some coffee for both himself and Hotch. Hotch had tried to get Morgan to go home as well, but the other man had flat-out refused.
Hotch watched the sleeping man lying in the uncomfortable-looking hospital bed. Much of Reid's face was obscured by an oxygen mask, though the doctor said that since his oxygen sats were good it could be replaced by a nasal cannula after he regained consciousness. Hotch was glad to see some colour back in Reid's face. He had looked to be at death's door when in the ambulance, but now looked much better.
Hotch sat up and leaned on the bed as he saw Reid start to stir. His eyes, still closed his hand drifted up to the mask covering his mouth, and Hotch caught his arm before he could pull it off. Reid's brow furrowed at the sudden inability to move his arm, and Hotch felt himself smile at the way Reid managed to look so confused with his eyes still closed.
"Reid, you're in the hospital, you've got an oxygen mask on, and you need to leave it there, okay?" Hotch said patiently as Reid tried to reach for the mask again, still to be foiled in his attempt by Hotch's hand on his arm.
Slowly Reid opened his eyes and looked around the room, his gaze landing on Hotch after a moment. He continued looking confused for a few seconds, but quickly seemed to assess what was going on. Hotch had to suppress a laugh at the fact that Reid looked embarrassed about the whole situation. "Hi, Hotch," Reid rasped out sheepishly.
Hotch gave Reid his patented stare down. "Do you have any idea how much you scared all of us?"
Reid dropped his gaze to the blanket. "I'm sorry."
"There's a reason we have rules. You know the handbook better than anyone. You know if you take a hit at all that you need to get checked out by a paramedic. This whole thing got a lot worse than it would have been because you flew with a punctured lung." Hotch struggled to stay firm in his resolve to chew Reid out. Reid was always the hardest to reprimand due to his non-confrontational and apologetic nature.
"I'm so sorry, Hotch," Reid's voice was raspy and he was obviously in pain. "I really thought I was okay. I didn't want anybody worrying about me over a few bruises when Emily was…" Reid trailed off and glanced apologetically at Hotch.
Hotch sighed and rubbed his face. It was impossible to be mad at Reid. "It was more than a few bruises. Next time say something, okay?"
"I will," Reid nodded quickly, eager to diffuse any tension, then winced when the movement jarred his sore ribs. "I promise, it won't happen again."
Hotch sighed again, but allowed himself a small smile. "We're all glad you're okay." He paused and turned serious again. "I know that you've spent most of your life without anyone to really look out for you. But that's not the case now. This team is a family, and when something is wrong you need to let us know." He ignored the slightly bemused look that flickered over Reid's face. Hotch was also someone who hid things that hurt him, and they both knew the irony in the statement he was making.
Morgan suddenly appeared in the doorway, a grin quickly spreading across his face. "Hey pretty boy. Thought you were gonna sleep all day."
Reid's smile was visible through his oxygen mask. "I'm in a hospital. It's a fair guess that I'm supposed to be resting," he said.
"Lazy, that's all I'm saying," Morgan shot back, taking a seat on the other side of Reid's bed.
"You're not gonna steal all my jello again, are you? When I was in the hospital in Georgia you ate all my jello."
"That's why I was impatient for you to wake up. I'm waiting for them to start bringing you jello."
Hotch shook his head and laughed quietly at the brotherly banter. Things were already getting back to normal.
e/n- I'm not terribly happy with the ending to this, but after three rewrites this is still the best I could come up with. I'm gonna go ahead and call it complete, but I do have some ideas for another part that would be after Reid is out of the hospital and would have more to do with Emily and Reid. I'm gonna try to write it, but if it doesn't seem to be working I will not be posting it. If I do post, it will be as a second chapter to this story as opposed to a sequel. Emily is not someone I write well for though, so don't be too hopeful.