AN- This thought just kept staying with me, and I couldn't ignore it any longer. But for all of the times Reid gets injured, we don't (generally) see much of the aftermath. I'm talking about Hotch's kicks, Anthrax, getting shot in the leg, his time with Hankel (which I'll get into one day when I can do it justice), his guilt when Cyrus beats up Prentiss when she covers for him, his headaches around the time of Corazon, maybe nightmares, etc. Jeez poor Reid. Anyway, each chapter will be unrelated. Enjoy!



"Hotch, you kick like a nine-year old girl."

They had uncomfortably laughed it off: Hotch had left. Reid had pocketed the gun and given the whistle back to Morgan with a plastered smile.

Why did pretending always hurt so much?

He'd skirted around the medic's questions, showing her only the gash on his cheek where Dowd's gun had been brought down over his head. And it had nothing to do with the pain or the nausea or the ache in his ribs that he'd been so desperate to hide.

The subway ride home took close to two hours, what with the transfers and the man who had jumped in front of the train halfway through. It hadn't been announced, but Reid could almost feel it. They were still cleaning it up when he got to his front door, fumbling and shaking around the keys until he managed to get the door open. His apartment was dark and cool, and he didn't bother to turn on the lights; he sank down into the couch with a whimper, his breathing unsteady and his hands pressed to his stomach. He tried to lie down, but his ribs screamed out in such protest that he just couldn't.

And there came that pitching fit of nausea again, and he swallowed hard to keep himself from reeling, from running to the bathroom. Gently, his long fingers pressed at each rib, and he ignored his own cries and sickness and counted instead.

At his guess, three of them were cracked, and two were broken. He choked out a sigh, and instantly was annoyed with himself as the pain flared. He cursed. It shouldn't hurt this much. Not this much. Hotch hadn't kicked him that hard. He coughed harshly, and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He wished he could do something for the ribs, but they would heal on their own, in time. And the team had a week's holiday now, after this case. Hopefully, by the end of the week, he would be almost better.

He was surprised when his cell phone lit up and vibrated across the coffee table. Wincing, he leaned forward and picked it up.

"Hey Spence."

"JJ. What's up?" God, talking hurt. Just trying to pretend he was breathing normally was taxing enough.

"Not so much. I called because I just finished that book you loaned me, Remembrance of Things Past?"

"Oh yeah." He was itching to talk to her for years about that book, how his mom used to read it to him in her bed when he was very little, but every word just kept on hurting the pit of his chest. He knew she could tell. There was a pause.

"I liked it. Not to say I read every word, but you know how I can get distracted." She waited, and her tone changed after a minute passed. "Spence, what's wrong? Why aren't you talking to me?"

"N-nothing's wrong, JJ. I'm just tired."


"I promise."

"I'm coming over." He could hear her moving around on the other end. The clink of keys.

"No." It was flat.

"I know something's bothering you, and I'm going to help. I'm not just going to sit here and let you pretend that nothing's wrong. Get real, Reid." She hung up and he groaned. How long did he have, twenty minutes? Not long enough for his ribs to heal.

She wouldn't tell Hotch, would she? He already knew she would find out. He'd hidden it all the way home, and his acting had run dry, and either way, she could always see right through him.

I can say the UnSub did it.

No, she knows that you only told the medic about your cheek.

But maybe I didn't tell the medic about my ribs.

And why wouldn't you?

Because I was embarrassed?

It doesn't make sense.


He'd nursed two shots of whiskey before the doorbell rang. He hoped that the alcohol could combat even a little bit of the pain- a present from Rossi, it had sat dusty since last Christmas. He would have taken a painkiller instead, but he never seemed to have any left in the apartment. He got too many migraines; he was scared he'd be immune to aspirin in mere days if he had them in the house. Either way, he preferred to exercise the migraines out with equations and pure thinking.

Reid opened the door slowly, with his arm as low at his side as it could possibly be, to make closing the door less painful. "Hey." He gave her a small smile, but his eyes were tired.

Hi." She looked like she was about to go give him a hug, but the angles of his body left her standing there awkwardly, feeling that the action wouldn't be received. "Can I come in…?"

He nodded jerkily, and shut the door carefully behind her. "Do you want anything to drink?" Ugh. Just speaking that sentence, and his skin was crawling.

"No, I'm fine. Come sit." She'd already taken a seat on his couch, and she was patting the spot next to her. He sat down slowly, and he could feel her eyes on him, probing. Her hand flew up, and he grimaced, but it just landed gently on the cut on his cheek.

"Does it still hurt?" she asked. "It doesn't look great."

"Hey, thanks," he snorted.

"Spence, stop it. You're not being yourself. You have to talk to me."

"Yeah? I have to talk to you, JJ? Yeah, and why is that exactly?"

"Because I know you're hurting, and-,"

"JJ, I can take care of myself!" he yelled, frustrated. She fell silent. His fit of rage now gone as suddenly as it had come, Reid felt the effects. His entire chest was crushing into his lungs, and it was hard to concentrate, hard to breathe. His yelling had jarred something inside, and he couldn't hold it any longer.

"Spence? Tell me."

He shook his head wildly, afraid to speak and injure himself anymore. He began to cough again, more viciously than he had before, a hacking cough and he felt JJ's hand on his upper back, soothing him, but he was hardly aware of it. He couldn't feel much besides the awful burning pain, and the coughing finally ceased, but when he moved his hand away from his mouth, it was sticky and red.


He could do little but stare at the blood in his hand.

"Spence, I'm going to drive you to the hospital, okay?"

The blood in his hand.

AN- Came out a little more intense than I expected, but that can't really be so bad. Now I'll go on record saying that I doubt the kicking could break ribs, but I don't know things like that. At such close range, with a gun strapped to Hotch's ankle, maybe it could. Sake of fanfiction and all that. There'll be another oneshot soon under this fic, look out for it!