Sorry it took so long!

The next time that Spencer woke up, the disorientation wasn't there as it had been the last time. His mind was prepared for what he would find when he opened his eyes. He knew he was in the hospital and he knew how he'd got there. This time he also knew to hold as still as possible so as not to aggravate any of his injuries. His mind felt much clearer; clear enough to register embarrassment at what had happened before. That registered even before he opened his eyes. When he did open them, he instantly saw that there was only one person in the room with him this time and he was beyond grateful to see that it wasn't a stranger—it was Morgan. The man was in a chair, legs stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankles, slumped down so that his head rested on the slightly high back of the chair. Without thought, Spencer opened his mouth, surprising himself when his voice actually worked. It was slurry, but it worked. "You're going to…hurt your n-neck like that."

Morgan's eyes shot open and almost instantly a smile spread over his face. "Well hey there, kid." Happiness and relief both were present in his voice. He slid up in his chair, turning to angle toward Spencer but not moving any closer. Inside, Spencer was absurdly grateful. Just the thought of someone coming that close to his bed, even Morgan, was enough to make his heart pound just a little. If he noticed it, Morgan didn't comment on it. Instead he kept smiling and rested his arms on his knees, leaning forward just slightly. "Glad to finally see those eyes open again. You had me worried for a bit."

"How long…was I out?" It was a little painful to speak and something in his mouth…but he managed.

"They kept you under for the first day." Morgan answered him. "Then it took you almost another full day to wake up on your own. Then…do you remember the last time you woke up?" He waited until Spencer nodded briefly before finishing. "That knocked you out for about a half a day. She said it wore off a while ago but that your body needed the rest."

The next question rose immediately and he had to ask. He had to know before he knew anything else. "Lucas? Is he okay?"

Morgan was quick to reassure him. "He's good, kid. His parents are here with him and he's doing a lot better. They're going to let him go home in the next day or so. He wants to come see you, first. Apparently he's been driving his parents crazy, wanting to come make sure you were okay."

Relief filled Spencer. He'd kept him safe. He'd kept Lucas safe. His eyes closed for a moment and he sighed a little. That sigh pushed against a slight tightness in his chest that was enough to grab his attention once more. Blinking his eyes open, he slowly turned his head to look at Morgan, wincing at the movement. "How bad is it?" Memories were pushing in at him, demanding to be seen, to be heard. He knew what kinds of injuries he'd have. He'd felt them all happening. But he needed to know how serious they were. How much damage had Elijah managed to do? He needed to focus on this, the here and now, or else his mind was going to drift back toward this all and he couldn't stand the memories right now. He just, he couldn't.

Pain flickered over Morgan's face. There was a look to his eyes, a kind of inner agony that made Spencer's heart ache. Morgan always took it so personally when something happened to Spencer, like he should've been able to single handedly protect the young man. This…this was something Morgan wouldn't have been able to protect him from, though. This was Spencer's own past, his own demons, coming back at him. Yet he knew trying to reassure the man would do nothing to take away that pain and guilt. Morgan would need time to work through it.

"I can get the doc for you, kid. She'll be able to explain it all better than I can." Morgan offered him. "She's a real nice lady."

"Why thank you, Agent Morgan." A woman's voice said at the same time that Spencer registered the sound of the door to his room opening.

Almost instant panic hit Spencer in the chest. His eyes widened and his body locked down even as his breathing sped up. His gaze flickered over and locked on the source of the voice. Not just one woman was coming into the room, but a second one as well was right beside her. The first woman came to his bed, moving right to the foot of it and grabbing his chart, checking something on there. Then she hooked it back on his bed and lifted her head to smile at him. She was friendly looking, but Spencer couldn't help but quiver as she stood there. She was too close. He didn't want her that close.

"It's very nice to see you awake, Dr. Reid." The woman folded her hands in front of her and smiled up at him. "I'm Dr. Carol and I've been the one taking care of you during your stay here. How're you feeling now? Are your pain levels comfortable?"

Once more, Spencer had that familiar sensation in his throat, the one that told him that no words would come. Still, he made himself try, knowing he had to. Yet the effort brought nothing. Not even a slurred sound slid past his lips. Just, silence. It was both frustrating and embarrassing. It had been so long since his problem had been this bad! Anymore it rarely, if ever, happened to him! Since this had come to light and this whole case had started, the selective mutism had seemed to come back with a vengeance, rising up when his anxiety levels were high, cutting off his words just a little. Then, then Elijah, and it was like suddenly he was back to where he started. Back to a time when he couldn't speak to much of anyone. But he'd spoken to Morgan! He'd been talking with Morgan right before the doctor had come in!

That's because you trust him a soft little voice whispered in Spencer's mind. His heart stuttered a little at the sound; that little voice sounded like his Sparrow. You talk to him because you trust him, like you talked to me because you trusted me. You don't know this doctor and you don't trust her, so your anxiety is up, and you're in a hospital, which makes you even more anxious. Of course your voice is 'turned off'. Don't be ashamed of that.

Even as he felt the sweetness of hearing Sparrow's voice reassuring him, Spencer stared at the woman in front of him and tried not to let himself be scared of her. He watched as she looked at him, obviously waiting for an answer that wasn't coming. Her smile never faded and, after a short pause, she continued talking as if it were perfectly normal that he hadn't answered her. "Well, if you start to hurt more, let us know and we'll adjust things to make you comfortable. Now, did I walk in as you were asking about your injuries?" She turned to look to Morgan, who nodded, and then she was looking back at Spencer.

Off to the side, the other woman was standing discreetly near the door, not coming in but not leaving, either. Spencer paid her only enough attention to notice that she was there. Otherwise, he stayed focused on Carol.

Carol shifted her weight and lifted her hands, resting them on the foot of the bed as she prepared to talk. She froze when she saw his feet jerk slightly, moving away from the closeness of her hands. She said nothing about that, however. She simply started in on her explanation. Spencer listened avidly as she went down the list of injuries for him. Though she was explaining it in simple terms, his brain filled in the gaps automatically, supplying him with the fancier terms and the random knowledge he carried about each bit. And as he did, he felt his shame grow more and more.

There would be more scars to add to his collection. He'd been scarred before; now…now he was really going to look like a freak. Twenty lacerations that required stitching? Shit. Just…shit. Not to mention the others that would lightly scar, or the…the brand. That made Spencer's stomach roll. He now carried two brands on his back, one on each side. He was truly marked property. Marked by the monsters of his childhood and by a monster that had come back to haunt his adulthood. Elijah had made sure that Spencer would never forget him with this.

The stitches in his lip he had already felt. The strangeness in his mouth at least had an explanation now. Three teeth missing on the bottom right and one on the top right. Plus, damage to those around them that came with the recommendation to see a dentist once his body was healed enough to handle it. Damage to his ribs, a sensation he was more familiar with than this woman seemed to realize. A punctured lung. Bruising to go with the cuts on his back, thighs, his hips. As she spoke that part, Spencer could hear the belt whistling through the air again. He could remember burying his head in the bed and trying not to scream, not to scare Lucas any more than he already was. His breathing hitched but he forced it under control just barely. If he panicked, they would stop and he didn't want her to stop. He needed to know how bad the damage was.

Then she told him about the break in his foot, the swelling in his knee that was already going down. Then…then she told him about his hand.

Pain and shame were slick in Spencer's stomach, his throat, making him feel nauseous. He'd known, ever since Elijah had kicked his hand he'd known that the damage was bad. Then pulling it out of the cuff had only worsened it. That had been something he'd accepted when he'd done it. But to hear it laid out this way, to have it confirmed, was almost more than he could bear to hear. She tried to soften the blow, telling him that he could have reconstructive surgery done to help him regain some use of his hand, he tried to hold on to that, but it wasn't much of a hope to hold on to. All he could think of were the repercussions from this. With as severe as his bones had been broken, some of them would never heal properly. He'd have to have the reconstructive surgery just to make sure that everything in his hand stayed attached to where it was supposed to be. Plus, they would repair any of the damage they could to nerves and muscles. Still, he would never get full use of his hand again. He would never be perfectly 'okay' anymore. No, he would be disabled. That's what this would be considered. A disability. What kind of agent would he manage to be now? He wouldn't even be able to properly shoot a gun now, would he? How could he with a damaged hand? They'd take him out of the field if they even let him keep his job at all. What use did the Bureau have with a damaged agent?

Horror gripped Spencer. Reality was slowly sinking in for him. Everything that he stood a chance at losing was suddenly becoming very clear to him and it was absolutely terrifying. He couldn't lose his job out of this! He couldn't! Some days, his job was the only thing that kept him going. It was the only thing in his life that felt good and right. Like it was what he was meant to be doing. A way to take the horror of his life and put it to good use. Knowing that he could use his mind, his experiences, his knowledge and use it to help others, to keep others from being hurt as he'd been hurt, it gave him a sense of strength and purpose. It was the one thing he had that was his, Spencer Reid's. And now…now Elijah had taken that from him. First his father had taken away Spencer's childhood. Now the son had taken away the rest of Spencer's life.

He didn't even realize the painful sounds he was making until Morgan's voice cut into his inner monologue and snapped him back to reality. "Reid, kid, come on now, listen to me, okay? Listen to my voice." Morgan was speaking in a low, even voice, his words warm and soft. "That's it, man. Pay attention to my voice and to what I'm saying to you. It's Morgan and I'm right here with you, okay? You're here with me." Of the people around him, Morgan was one of the few who had dealt with Spencer in a flashback before. He'd dealt with him when he'd had flashbacks after Georgia and he was using the same techniques now that he used then even though it wasn't quite the same. It had the same effect, though. Spencer clung to Morgan's voice and used the slow steadiness of it to match his breathing to until he'd managed to bring himself to some semblance of calm.

"I'm so sorry, Dr. Reid." Carol said once he was calm again and Morgan had gone quiet. "But I assure you, we'll do everything we can to help you get back into the best shape possible."

The best shape possible? What the hell did she know? On a wave of pain, Spencer closed his eyes, letting his head rest back against the bed. The pain wasn't purely physical; most if it was mental, emotional. How the hell was he supposed to do this? How was he supposed to live like this? How many times was he going to be knocked down to the ground? Not just knocked down, but have his face shoved into the dirt. How many times was he going to be expected to get back up and carry on? There was only so much one person could take. He'd taken being tortured for the first nine years of his life. He'd taken so much crap in school, in college, at the Bureau. He'd been kidnapped by an Unsub, shot in the leg, poisoned with anthrax. It was one pain after another after another after another, all culminating in this moment right here. In this final bit of hell. And the doctor spoke of putting him back into the best shape possible? It was too much. This was just too much.

"Listen." Morgan's voice said into the quiet room. "Why don't you guys give us a few minutes? You just dumped quite a lot on him that he needs to process. Give us some space."

"Of course." Carol murmured.

Another voice spoke up, though. This one had Spencer's eyes opening again and he was looking toward the woman that was still standing by the wall. "Actually," she said "I'd like to talk to Dr. Reid for a moment, if you wouldn't mind stepping out with Dr. Carol, Agent."

Fear widened Spencer's eyes and put a hitch in his breath. He didn't have to try to communicate anything, though. Morgan knew him well and he was already shaking his head before the woman was done talking. "You can talk to him in a bit and you won't be talking to him alone, not unless he says so. And right now, he's not going to be able to talk to you anyways." Rising, Morgan placed himself by Spencer's bed—he was kind enough not to say anything about the almost full body twitch Spencer gave at their close proximity and he didn't step back either—and he looked right at the woman with a firm gaze. "I'd assume you're the resident psychologist. If and when Reid's ready to talk and his voice works well enough to do it, we'll let you know. For now, we've got him. Now, please, give us a few minutes."

It was Carol who finally ushered the woman out the door. She'd been content to stay back and let the profiler and psychologist figure this out, knowing that this wasn't her area of expertise, until she saw Spencer's breathing get more labored and his heart rate rose. With his injuries, keeping him calm was one of her main priorities. "Now's not a good time." She told the other woman. "I'm sorry, but I can't have you agitating my patient, not with his condition. This needs to be rescheduled for another time." She was ushering the woman out as she was talking. Morgan gave her a grateful look right before the door shut. Then he turned his attention to his friend.

Once more Spencer had closed his eyes. While he may not react well to closeness, in his head he knew there was no danger from Morgan. He didn't need to watch him to maintain safety. Morgan would never hurt him and he'd fight anyone who would try. But Spencer couldn't bring himself to look at the man. Despite his protectiveness, Morgan had always insisted that Spencer was stronger than anyone gave him credit for. Now…now this was proof of Spencer's weakness. He wasn't strong and he wasn't ever going to be strong. If he'd had his voice, he would've told Morgan to leave him alone. To go away.

It must've been written on his face. Somehow, Morgan knew what he was thinking, because he suddenly said "I'm not going anywhere, kid."

Because it was Morgan, because he had to try, Spencer took a few careful breaths, opening his eyes to stare up at the ceiling as he practiced his breathing to slow his heart rate down. Morgan said nothing, only taking to his chair, waiting Spencer out. Eventually the young genius felt controlled enough to force a single word out. "Ggggggo….go-o."

If his strangled word worried Morgan, the man didn't show it. He just calmly repeated "I'm not going anywhere."

"Www…hy?" Spencer croaked out. The sound of his voice was almost painful. He took a shuddering breath and his eyes slid closed once more. "Uselllless." He breathed out.

"You are not useless, Spencer." Morgan argued. Oh, how he hated seeing this. Hated how broken Spencer looked right then, and not just physically. "You idiot. You'll never be useless. You're going to heal from this and things are going to end up fine."

But Spencer gently shook his head. His mouth seemed to quiver before he firmed it back up. "C-c-crip…pled."

"I wouldn't care if you spent the rest of your life stuck in a wheelchair, do you hear me? You are never going to be useless. Never. Not to me and not to any of the rest of us. " The strength of the emotion in Morgan's voice drew Spencer's gaze to him. He looked over to see an intense kind of look like he'd seen only once before on the man, back when he'd confronted Spencer about his addiction. Spencer found he couldn't look away as Morgan continued. "Things will work out. We're going to take care of you, pretty boy. And even if it doesn't seem like it right now, you are going to be okay, you hear me? Things may not seem like it but they are going to work out."

In that moment, Spencer looked every inch his age; even younger. Morgan found himself thinking just how young his friend looked He locked his eyes on Morgan and his mouth gave another little quiver. "You d-d-don't know thhhhh…at."

Morgan flashed him a cocky sort of grin. "Have I ever lied to you before? About anything?" He asked him plainly. "And don't give me facts about the improbability of a person predicting the future. Just answer me honestly. Have I ever lied to you? Have I ever been wrong about something important like this before?"

"No." Spencer whispered. The word was a little less shaky than his previous ones. Inside, he was aching, but oh, he wanted so badly to believe his friend. He wanted to believe him more than anything else in the world.

Smiling, Morgan nodded. "Then trust me now. Things will be okay. I know your big old brain and I know you're probably already thinking about work, so I'm going to tell you to not borrow trouble before we get there. Maybe there will be adjustments, but do you really think Hotch is going to let them just dump you, kid? Don't worry about that bridge until we get there. Now, I'm going to sneak into your bathroom so I don't get caught and send out a quick message to let the others know you're awake. For now, we're going to focus on the things we can do, Spence. Not the things we can't. One obstacle at a time, okay?"

"You don't have to stay."

With a shake of his head, Morgan rose from the bedside. "I've never once left you alone in a hospital when I've known you were in one. I'm not starting now."

As his friend moved to the bathroom, Spencer felt just a tiny kernel of hope in his chest. Not much, but it was there. Maybe, just maybe, he'd find a way to heal from this. Because this time, he wasn't alone. This time, he had a family he knew and loved and who knew and loved him to help him through this. Not that it would be easy. Oh, no. But that didn't mean he had to give up before he'd even started. In his mind, he heard Sparrow's voice once more, warm and full of love. You're one of the strongest people I know. You can do it, you hear me? I know you can.

And, though others may try to hurt me, I think I may have to end the story itself here. I think the healing and all that should be in the next story :/ I know, I know, sounds cruel of me. I'm not sure if this is right or not but it feels right at the moment. I think this part of the story has run its course. The rest shall appear in part two! Thank you all l for your support and reviews and I'm super glad you enjoyed what was written this so far. Until next time, people! And keep an eye out, in the next day or two I'll be putting up the winner of the poll! So if anyone hasn't got their vote in, do it fast, it'll be closing soon :)