Reid/Morgan, friendship/pre-slash, what do you do when your philosophy assignment's due? "You could come to mine." Reid looked at Morgan as if he'd spoken a different language. One of the few he didn't know.
"Measure not the work until the day's out and the labor done." -Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
The young doctor rubbed at his tender temples, feeling the pounding that had taken up residence days ago steadily working its way to a painful crescendo. The bullpen was really not the ideal place to study something unrelated to the job but Spencer Reid's tranquilly silent apartment wasn't the peaceful retreat it usually was due to the construction work taking place across the street.
He had been so sure this would be the solution to his problem but after a day of countless agents busily flitting to and fro with their purposeful strides and wads of paperwork Reid wasn't so enthused by his terrific plan.
Not to mention the number of times one of them would 'accidentally' stub a toe or knock an elbow against his desk as they passed or stopped to chat. If he were a paranoid individual he might think some of them were doing it on purpose, but then he would probably also be convinced the entire world was against his attaining his third BA. And that would be ridiculous, wouldn't it?
No, this really wasn't the optimal solution.
But where else could he work with any degree of concentration? He needed a certain level of trust in his surroundings to immerse himself as thoroughly as he needed to in his material so he couldn't go just anywhere. He couldn't even go back to the local library because he needed to keep his phone handy on the off chance the team got called in for a case and the librarians there were thoroughly sick of him and his ringtone.
Scrubbing a hand through his hair, futilely trying to ease the tension that was still building in his head from stress, he was distracted – again – by a deep chuckle from behind before a steaming cup of coffee came to a gentle landing on his paper-strewn desk.
"So, what has Doctor Reid so twitchy today?"
Morgan's voice was heavy with amusement and Reid tried to lean away from the larger, stronger hand that ruffled his already ridiculous-looking hair. A day of pulling at it in frustration had left him looking rather like a hedgehog. Reid took his time in answering as he reached for the coffee, sighing as he tasted the sugary sweetness that meant the older agent had put the right number of spoonfuls in this time – Morgan had an annoying habit of leaving off the sugar in an attempt to wean him off of using 'half the canister'. Every time he'd laugh when Reid spat the bitterness back into his mug and had to go to the break room himself just to fix it.
Wheeling over the closest chair, Morgan flopped his large frame into it with careless grace, sipping at his own mug of coffee – no doubt horribly bitter – and surveying the young doctor who sighed and swept his eyes over the small amount of work he had achieved.
"What's up, kid?"
Reid rubbed at his temple again with one hand, the other protectively clutching his coffee to his chest.
"It's too loud here." He hadn't meant to sound so whiny. Morgan looked around at the slightly-more-frenetic-than-usual office and raised an eyebrow.
"It's not too bad; I think one of the departments must have an audit coming up or something."
"Mmm," Reid hummed into his mug, feeling his hair flop as he lowered his head. He missed Morgan's grin.
"What is it that needs so much focus? I've seen you think strategically in hostage situations – as a hostage – and read novels in ten minutes, while you're theorising on the author."
"I wouldn't call Ursula Kent's tendency towards existentialism in her theses a theory-"
"Okay genius, I meant that you aren't usually fazed by this," Morgan waved his hand in a circle, encompassing the buzzing noise and energy of the bullpen, "when you're trying to concentrate." Reid's shoulders slumped and concern washed across Morgan's face, soulful eyes trying to see through his younger friend. "What's up?"
"I..." He couldn't say it. Saying it would make it real and what would he be then? But a glance at Morgan and his serious expression told him that no matter how much the older agent might rib him at every opportunity; he might actually understand this and might, possibly, help. "I... I don't..." Reid gritted his teeth before sighing. "I don't get it."
Morgan looked confused until Reid gestured with his unoccupied hand at the papers on his desk, averting his eyes and taking a sip of coffee for something to do. He missed the gleam appear in Morgan's eye that would have told him he was wrong to think he wouldn't be teased for this, but he also missed the moment it disappeared as the older agent realised how much Reid was affected by his 'inadequacy'.
"What don't you get?" Morgan said after a moment in his most neutral, most 'big brotherly' voice, leaning forward to examine the writing and noticing but ignoring Reid's momentary look of gratitude that told him he was right to take this seriously.
The younger was almost taken aback by the idle curiosity in Morgan's tone, suddenly making him wonder if this was what it was like to have an older brother to help him with his homework. He'd met Morgan's sisters and knew how much they loved and valued their brother. Seeing this side of him made him understand why all over again. With a momentary half smile he turned back to his work, quickly regaining the sense of despondency the dreaded assignment was causing him.
"It's just that, well... it's not any one thing. With all of this," Reid waved his hand at his paper-strewn desk again, "there's no right answer. Or there's too many."
Morgan lifted the closest page and scanned it. "Is this for your Philosophy degree?"
Reid nodded miserably. "I think I could reason it out but I can't concentrate," he said, trying not to whine but unable to keep himself from glaring at the distracted agent who had just walked past his desk, muttering loudly to himself.
Morgan's lips twitched as he kept scanning the paragraph he was on. Reid leaned forward and pointed to a portion of it. "And see, that doesn't even make sense! It's not possible!" he exclaimed in frustration.
"That's 'cause it's a metaphor, kid," Morgan said, smile more pronounced now.
"Don't you usually study at home? I've never seen you studying here before and yet you keep coming back with new bits of paper."
"Construction work across the road. It's hard to focus around the jackhammers and chainsaws."
"A rotating blade on a- Ow!" Reid rubbed at his head where Morgan cuffed him.
"I know what a chainsaw is," Morgan said with a mock glare.
"It's too loud at home, I can't concentrate. I thought here would be the next best thing," Reid answered with a glare that was not a pout at the various agents swarming around the office.
Morgan fought not to laugh at his expression and considered. "There's really nowhere else you can think of?"
Reid shook his head miserably. "I suppose I could wait until everyone leaves and keep working then..." he mused.
"Or you could come to mine."
Reid looked at Morgan as if he'd spoken a different language. One of the few he didn't know.
"Don't look at me like that; I'll cook and you can get some stuff done. I'll keep Clooney away from you and everything."
Reid shook his bewilderedly. "Why..." he trailed off. Morgan shrugged.
"You need quiet, my place is quiet."
Reid kept looking at him oddly and Morgan furrowed his brows in consternation. "You don't have to-"
"No! I mean, that sounds really... thanks," Reid smiled unsurely. Morgan grinned back, aware of Reid's idiosyncrasies and the social awkwardness that their team was steadily working on.
"We'll go in ten?" Reid nodded, clearly thinking about something deeply. Morgan was smiling when he ruffled Reid's hair again to an indignant squawk and moved back to his desk to pack up.
In the time they'd known each other Reid had been to Morgan's place only a handful of times for football games and movie nights. Some of the team would get together to unwind and Morgan would order take out or make snacks and the beer was regularly topped up. Reid had yet to convince Morgan that beer wasn't his drink of choice.
Clooney barked when they came through the door, jumping up and licking manically at Morgan's hands in greeting before moving on to his guest, nearly bowling Reid over. "Hello to you too," he murmured to the dog, Morgan grinning as he overheard and moved through the living room into the kitchen.
"You can use the couch and coffee table if you like, or anywhere else you feel comfortable."
"Living room's fine. As long as... I'm not in your way, am I?" Reid played with the strap of his messenger bag nervously, momentarily distracted from large dog sniffing at his shoes.
Morgan rolled his eyes and clasped a hand firmly on the younger man's shoulder, dragging him into the room before applying pressure on his shoulders, "Sit your ass down," he said, a distinct note of fondness in his voice that Reid, of course, completely missed.
"As long as-"
"Reid!" Big eyes looked up at Morgan and he snapped his fingers in front of the kid's nose before pointing at the books visibly weighing down Reid's bag. "Work. No excuses."
Reid furrowed his eyebrows, unsurprisingly not understanding Morgan's impression of his own mama from when he'd been at school. "Why would I-"
"Uh uh, study."
Morgan walked away then, Clooney following, and Reid looked on bemusedly for a long moment before shaking his head and taking out his notes.
The apartment was quiet. There was the faint sound of cars and the wind in the trees and life moving onwards outside, and closer by there was the soft padding of feet on linoleum as Morgan ambled around the kitchen, four padded paws occasionally joining in as Clooney trailed after, but the room was essentially quiet and Reid was quickly and thoroughly immersed in centuries of philosophy. He didn't realise how much time had passed until something distracted him and he looked up to see it was getting darker outside and the room had dimmed. He'd been distracted by Morgan clicking on the lamps in the room.
Reid looked up at him and blinked owlishly before rubbing at his dry eyes with balled fists as they struggled to adjust to the light. He hadn't noticed the darkness creeping over the room but his eyes certainly had if the ache was anything to go by.
He watched curiously as Morgan placed a bowl on the coffee table in front of him with a dull thunk. At Reid's expression he simply stated, "Study food," before retreating to the kitchen.
Reid examined the various nibbles in the bowl with curiosity and started picking at them as he went back to reading and note-taking.
Morgan watched from the kitchen as Reid ate while he worked, unable to keep the smile off his face as he thought of how his mama would approve of his feeding up the skinny genius. Having met him a few years before, he knew she was convinced that he didn't eat nearly enough; Morgan would have to let her know he was working on it. He continued to make dinner for the two of them, stopping intermittently to watch his friend work. If the rate at which the blue pen moved in the kid's long-fingered hands was any indication his friend had finally found the stillness and quiet he needed.
Dinner was peaceful and, as they ate, they discussed the philosophers Reid was studying. The young genius only paused in his chattering to chew and swallow and Morgan took advantage of the short pauses to add his own opinions. He couldn't help the warmth and pride he felt every time Reid made a note after Morgan expressed a thought.
Afterwards Morgan was able, at Reid's insistence, to watch television while Reid continued studying. Everything was relaxed and easy and Morgan had to wonder if this could become a regular thing. He liked quiet nights at home but with only Clooney to keep him company there was a kind of tension when he spent evenings alone. It took a long time to stop examining shadows and mistrusting the silence. With Reid scanning pages, taking notes and mouthing pieces of information to himself, Morgan found he was able to relax faster and more completely than he usually could.
It was late when he eventually came back to himself, not realising until he opened his eyes that they had closed. He stretched his legs in front of him, narrowly missing Clooney's sprawled, snuffling form, and noticed the quiet, steady breathing on the couch from where he sat in his oversized armchair.
Reid was curled around his work in what looked to be an incredibly uncomfortable position; looking very much as if he had fallen asleep between blinks and entirely by accident. Morgan smiled, standing on creaky legs and stepping carefully over the pieces of paper that had fallen to the ground. Clooney was half sitting on a few and the giant mutt humphed irritably when Morgan tugged them out from under him. He placed a large hand on the dog's head and rubbed it soothingly.
"I know, but if you want notes on philosophy you'll have to take your own, boy. These are Spence's."
Morgan stood, straightening the papers he had and absently scanning them, smirking when he saw just how many notes Reid had scrawled over each page in ever-shrinking handwriting. Clearly he had been able to get some work done here after all. His smirk became a grin when he saw the word 'metaphor' beneath the paragraph he had been reading earlier that day; it was circled multiple times.
Morgan arranged them neatly on the coffee table, along with the pages he retrieved from around and beneath Reid. The younger man was deeply asleep and it made Morgan wonder if the construction Reid had mentioned had been keeping him awake as well. He didn't hesitate to lift Reid's legs onto the couch and arrange him more comfortably, pillowing his head with a cushion and grabbing a blanket from the linen closet in the hall to cover him up.
He spared a fond smile for the odd socks he could see peeking out from beneath the blanket – having not noticed earlier that Reid had absent-mindedly toed off his shoes beneath the coffee table – before he covered the genius' toes up with the blanket.
He scratched at Clooney's head again and couldn't help smiling at the sight his friend made. Just as he did on the jet before or after a case when Reid managed to sleep, Morgan marvelled at how unguarded his friend looked in slumber, how trusting. No barriers or defences, just Reid.
Morgan went to bed that night with a smile that wouldn't leave and when he woke it was to the smell of sweet coffee and a sleep-rumpled Reid curled up on his couch with his colourful socks tucked under him. Once again he pondered how to make this a regular arrangement.
There we go! A cute, sweet, simple oneshot that you can take any way you like, friend!fic, pre-slash; whatever you wish :)
For those who noticed, Ursula Kent is the author of Empty Planet – series 2, ep 8 – and Reid's 'theory' of her existentialism is something I wrote on the spot so may well be utterly wrong :D and I also realise Reid probably has no problem differentiating between real and metaphorical but I think if he were tired and cranky enough it might be something he would struggle with (and find horribly irritating when his favourite reading material is statistics... poor baby)
And Daily, they are likely to all be like this (I can't seem to write anything of much substance with these two :))
Thanks for reading!