Title: This Feeling Won’t Go 9/9
Rating: FRM-P/GV (this chapter, series in all rated up to FRAO-P/SC/GV)
Pairing: Pre-Slash Morgan/Reid, current Reid/OC with het mentions of Hotch/JJ
Summary: The team is rescued by the National Guard, but it’s not a happy ending for everyone. Morgan reveals a secret. *CHARACTER DEATH*
Comments: Better than watching Reid suck on a lollipop (and that was pretty darned good)
SPOILERS: Mostly I take what happens on the show and twist it into how I WISH it would happen, much like Reid’s knee injury. So, spoilers I guess from all seasons, up to the most currently aired episode at the time of posting.
And the sky is full of dreams
But you don't know how to fly
I don't have a simple answer
But I know that I could answer
~This is Your Life, The Killers
Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights or trademarks to Criminal Minds, the FBI, CBS or any of the characters within. No infringements of these copyrights are intended. Any similarities between original characters therein are a coincidence. I make no profit from the following fictional story. (Fictional, maybe, but I swear this happened all in my head).
Hospital in Aspen, CO
Dr. Spencer Reid
I wake up coughing hard. I can’t catch my breath and for a moment I panic. Blinking several times, I see Morgan in the chair to my right, eating a Jello cup. I’m in the hospital. “Derek?”
He sees me and puts his snack cup down. “Hey there Reid, nice to see you awake.”
“Where are we?” I reach around for the button to move the bed into a sitting position, coughing again.
“Aspen. We got here this morning. After Rossi and I found you in the woods, we got back to the Cabin and Garcia had sent the National Guard after us.”
“Did I get shot?” My mind is swirling.
“No Reid, you didn’t. I did, JJ did, Prentiss got stabbed but you just got a little too cold.” He reaches for the phone.
“Wait, what? Prentiss got stabbed?” I feel panicky, unsure. Did they give me something? Another body-racking cough hits.
You just got a little too cold. Hypothermia. My whole body aches and even though they’ve put me under a heated blanket, I’m still feeling cold. I cough harshly, thinking about the potential for bronchitis or pneumonia from being in the snow all night. I press the button for the nurse, hoping that they will be able to tell me what I’ve been given. Don’t know why I care so much right now, considering.
“Hotch said the damage was pretty severe, but she just got out of surgery a couple hours ago.” Morgan says. I see the extent of his injuries. One arm is in a fiber-glass cast up to the elbow, his fingers still a little swollen. The other bicep is wrapped in a white bandage.
“What happened to your arm?” I point to the bandage.
“Grazing gunshot wound, and the fracture was fairly simple.” He looks at me very serious. “Reid, we still haven’t heard about Toby.”
I cough yet again. “What?”
Just then Hotch comes in, pushing JJ in a wheel chair. She’s wearing a sling and her shoulder is bandaged and she’s wearing a hospital gown, but she looks much better than the last time I saw her in that shed.
“Do you not remember?” Morgan asks. “Rossi and I took one of the unsub’s snowmobiles and went out to find you.”
“You should have seen how adamant he was,” JJ smiles at me. “He didn’t care that there was another unsub out there, he had to find you.”
“Mr. Reid?” A female nurse comes in.
“Doctor Reid,” I correct her. “Can I see my chart? I need to know what medications I’ve been given.”
“Don’t worry, your friends told us of your narcotics sensitivity.” She smiles. “Doctor, sorry. Would you like something to eat? Dinner was served a few hours ago but I can call the kitchen to bring you a meal.”
I shake my head in midst of another painful cough, but Morgan answers for me. “He’ll eat. Something hearty. And?” he shakes his Jello cup. “Can you hook me up sweetheart?”
JJ makes a gagging face at me from behind the nurse that I smile at. “I could manage that Agent Morgan. Doctor Reid, how does chicken noodle soup with a fruit bowl and toast sound?”
I shrug. “Thank you very much.”
Once the nurse leaves to fetch us our food, JJ starts giggling. “Ouch, Morgan it hurts to laugh but ‘sweetheart’?”
“Hey, it works. And now she’s going to be good to Spencer here and that’s what matters.” He clears his throat, not wanting to look at me.
“I’m going back to Prentiss, I should be there when she wakes up,” Hotch nods to both Morgan and I, giving JJ a kiss on the cheek before leaving.
Morgan turns back to me. “So Reid, what happened out there after we left the shed?”
I ball up one of my fists just a little, closing my eyes and trying to remember. It’s going to be hard, even for me, because I have to try to tell them only what really happened. Truth is, with everything going on I’m not sure. “Uhm, I ran with Toby, we got separated…” I could hear meowing and I had to follow the noise… “I hid behind a tree. I heard footsteps so I turned around.” Everything gets hazy. “It was the unsub, he tackled me to the ground. We fought…then I heard more footsteps and I thought it was another one but it was Toby. I dropped my gun in the struggle and the unsub picked it up…he shot Toby. I got a punch in, got the gun and shot him, I think, I don’t remember…I believe I’m suffering from traumatic or short-term amnesia,” I relax my body a bit, leaning into my bed. Brought on not only by hypothermia, but also abuse of morphine. A harsh cough hits, hurting my entire body. I feel it a bit hard to breathe and I know that I have a secondary problem from being in the cold.
“Hotch said local police will be here in the morning to take our statements,” JJ says. “Garcia should be here by then too.”
“Guys, uhm, maybe you should go wait for Prentiss to wake up. I’m just really, really tired and I want to go to sleep.” I look to Morgan. “Please?”
He nods. “Alright, sure,” he stands up. “JJ, I’ll take you to your room.”
“Spence, I’m in 356 if you want to talk. Just call me,” JJ smiles. “Bye.”
I press the nurse’s button as they leave the room. My whole body hurts from shivering back in the woods and my current coughing, my headache is increasing and I’m starting to feel anxious about Toby. If he dies, I don’t know how I’m going to handle it. What about Prentiss? I could have saved all of us if I wasn’t so busy with my hand in Toby’s pants. I would have heard the footsteps. I could have done something. We could have subdued the unsubs before Ranger Hamell died and we were all put in danger. Tango wouldn’t have died if I had just been the man I should have been. So many things have gone wrong because of me and I just can’t think about it right now.
When the nurse—a different nurse--arrives, she asks me what I need.
I ask her for something to help me sleep. And specifically non-narcotic. I can never make that mistake ever again.
I wake up to the sound of whispering around me. I keep my eyes closed in the hope that I can just fall right back asleep. It’s so much easier to forget what happened at Deep Lake without dreams. The nurse gave me something to help me sleep and it must have been powerful because the last thing I remember was the smell of chicken noodle soup.
“How are we going to tell him?” It’s Garcia’s voice. Must be the next day if she’s here.
“I’ll do it,” Morgan whispers.
“Are you sure?” that voice belongs to Hotch.
“Can I do it alone?” Morgan asks.
“We’ll go visit Prentiss,” JJ says. “Please call us if you need to.”
I hear footsteps leading out of the room and then the sound of a chair being scooted close to me. I know its Morgan. I know what he’s going to tell me. That Toby Bell didn’t make it. I keep my eyes closed, trying to not clue in that I’m actually awake. But when a painful cough hits I can’t hide it anymore. I open my eyes and look at Morgan.
“You heard us,” he says very quietly.
I start shaking, but I’m not sure if that’s because of Toby or because of the coughing. “Toby’s gone, isn’t he?”
Morgan nods, biting his lip. “I’m sorry Spencer.”
I bite my lip so hard I taste blood, fearful of the answer to my next question. “How’s Emily?”
“She’s doing okay. After she came out of surgery last night she struggled with her breathing because one of the stab wounds hit her lung. It collapsed three times, like it just doesn’t want to stay together, but I guess she’s doing much better.” He swallows. “They don’t know if she’ll be able to talk again.”
“He stabbed her in the throat and did extensive damage to her larynx and trachea. The speech pathologist says it’s possible, but until she heals he won’t know the extent of the damage.” He puts on a fake smile. “They gave her this machine to give her statement to the police, it sounds like a Speak & Spell. She’s already telling Hotch that she can still profile and if he doesn’t let her come back to the BAU she’ll make his life a living hell.”
“Sounds like Emily Prentiss to me.”
There’s a few minutes of heavy silence. Toby’s gone. I close my eyes and try to remember exactly what happened but all I can recall is the footsteps, seeing Toby in the snow, and then waking up here. “Morgan, did they find out who they were?”
“The National Guard is working with cops out of Glenwood Mills and New Castle, and this morning a bunch of FBI field agents from Quantico flew in. So far, they are still trying to identify the unsubs. But they found a cave that they were using to live in. Several stolen items, including the trophies from their victims. They can tell these guys had extensive wilderness training and survival knowledge…”
“Hey,” Garcia walks in with a laptop in her arms. “I’m sorry about Toby, Morgan told me that you two had become friends.”
I nod. “Good to see you, Penelope.”
“Oh, and Kevin is personally looking after, and falling head over heels with, Taffy and Sally.” She sits down. “We have ID’s on them. Do you want to know?”
Both Morgan and I answer in unison. “Yes.”
“The first one is Brian Cooper, age 26. Born and raised in Everett Washington. He was in college, pre-law, when he got arrested for a protest staged by ELF, the Earth Liberation Front. He dropped out soon after and was very active with ELF, evening leading several sit-ins. Check this out, Cooper was asked to leave ELF when he was accused of planting a pipe bomb that killed a security guard in Yellowstone National Park last year.”
“Which one was he?” Morgan asks.
“He’s the one…” Garcia swallows, “that Reid killed. Hotch suspects he was your dominant unsub. The second was Derrick Sands, age 30. He was born in San Diego, raised in Las Vegas. He went to UNLF for 4 years, another pre-law student, who did a lot of volunteer with non-violent environmental groups before joining ELF. That’s where he met Cooper, because shortly after Cooper severed ties with ELF and went off the grid, so did Sands. Uhm, he was the found shot in the back.”
“Our third?” I ask.
“29-year-old Kurtland Delmar. Raised in Reno, he met Sands at UNLV and was also, wanna guess?”
“Pre-law?” Morgan asks.
“Ding ding ding. He was never tied with ELF but he too went off the grid with Sands and Cooper. From what we know so far, Cooper is the one with the most camping and survival experience, and judging from the ME’s preliminary examination he had several defensive wounds on his torso.”
“He was the one who escalated to stabbing,” Morgan says. “Sounds like a dominant personality, bringing it other weaker personalities to help him exact his revenge. Three men, a lot of anger and nothing more to lose.”
“What’s even scarier is that Agent Harmond from the Denver field office found the connection between the victims,” Garcia brings up another page of notes on her laptop. “Once he knew that the unsubs were linked through environmental terrorism, he figured that the victims upset Cooper simply by being in the park. You were targeted because you found them when they attacked Sheriff Morder and Ranger Wilkinson.”
Just then a nurse and a doctor walk in. “Hello Dr. Reid, how are you feeling?”
“Physically I’m feeling much better, thank you.” I sit up. “This cough is rather painful though.”
“Considering your situation, you’re very lucky to be in such good shape.” He looks over the computer on the wall next to me, adding things to my chart. “I’m going to prescribe a rescue inhaler as well as a daily steroid inhaler for that cough. When you return home you should follow up with your doctor. It’s possible you could develop pneumonia if you don’t take care of yourself. Also, some over-the-counter anti-tussive will help with the cough. I’ll write up those scripts and sign your discharge papers. I understand you have a friend in the ICU, you’re free to visit once we get you signed out.” The nurse and doctor both smile and leave.
“Our things were destroyed in the fire, but I did step out earlier this morning with Rossi to buy you, JJ and Prentiss some clothes.” Morgan reaches for a bag on the floor. “No koi fish this time. Just a pair of jeans, flannel sleeping pants, a few t-shirts and a sweater. Oh, and socks and underwear—and don’t worry, I bought you two pair so you could mis-match them.”
“How about you go visit Prentiss, I’ll see you there soon.”
Once Morgan and Garcia leave, I change. Going into the small bathroom, I stare at myself in the mirror. The dark rings under my eyes are more pronounced than ever before. My skin is pale and my hair is matted around my head. I cough harshly, straighten myself up, and wait for the nurse to return with my discharge papers.
When she does, I sign the appropriate forms, confirm my federal employee medical insurance, and take the papers given to me. Once in the elevator, I press the button for the second floor—ICU—and look at my prescriptions. Albuterol, Flovent, and a note from the nurse.
Your friend told me the real reason why you refused pain medication. Midol will help with the muscle aches, I know it sounds strange but my brother swears it works. ~Helen.
I’m caught between a smile and that pull in my chest.
When I reach Prentiss’s room she’s surrounded. Hotch, Morgan, Rossi, JJ and Garcia are all there, Garcia solemnly giving Prentiss the same information that she gave me and Morgan earlier. I lean against the door frame, watching Morgan look at her. Watching the love in his eyes as one of his family lies injured in the bed before him. She looks rough, her neck covered in bandages, and there is a painful frown on her face. She sees me and her eyes light up, a small smile creeping onto her face. She motions for me to come to her, causing Garcia to stop.
I walk up to her and lean down, kissing her on the forehead. “I am so glad to see you Emily.”
She nods, tears in her eyes, and reaches for her notepad. I’m glad to see you too.
I sit in the chair Rossi vacated for me. “At least this is just temporary.”
She shrugs painfully. She points to Hotch.
Hotch turns to me. “She said earlier that if I don’t let her come back to the BAU that she’ll sic her mother on me.”
Prentiss scribbles on a piece of paper. Damn straight!!! I can still profile, but you’ll have to let Reid do all the talking.
“Not a problem,” I say with a small smile.
Prentiss scribbles some more. Everyone out! I need my sleep and so do you! Rossi needs a shower!
Rossi laughs. “Okay, okay, I can take a hint. But have the nurse call if you need anything.”
More scribbling. I can text you know.
“No cell phones in here,” he replies. “Alright kids, let’s go.”
Once in my hotel room, I go to the bathroom and run a hot shower. I take out my medications and set them on the counter as I undress. I climb into the hot shower and try to wash Deep Lake off of me. Try to wash Toby off of me. Try to wash the memories of what happened off of me. I hear Tango’s laugh in my head. I see the look on Morgan’s face when he showed up at my dorm in Las Vegas. I feel Toby’s lips against mine. I see Prentiss sitting in her hospital bed rendered mute. I see three men in black. I smell the smoke from the Molotov cocktails thrown into the cabin. I smell the blood from JJ’s gunshot wound. I feel Morgan’s shoulder under my hands when we reset his broken arm. I hear the desperation in Hotch’s voice and the fear in Toby’s as we get ready to leave the shed. I feel the coldness of the snow underneath me. I feel the needle injecting morphine into my arm in that cabin.
I get out of the shower, dry myself off, change into the new sleeping clothes Morgan picked out and crawl into my hotel bed. Wishing I wasn’t so alone and wishing I hadn’t made myself this way. Knowing why I had spent so much of my life keeping people at a distance. People like my mother, like Ethan, like Tango, like anyone.
Ten Days Later, Glenwood Springs Community Cemetery
Agent Derek Morgan
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
Josh Bell goes to the casket and hits the foot pedal, which begins to lower his brother Toby into the ground. He returns to his family, who begin to share hugs amongst them.
Toby Bell’s in the last of the funerals from the incident at Deep Lake. We were unable to attend Ranger October Wilkinson’s service, since it was held in her hometown back in Kansas. We’ve all stayed here in Colorado until this afternoon when we go home on the jet. None of us wanted to leave as long as Prentiss was in the hospital. Besides, we wanted to be present at all of these services.
Ranger Bell approaches us, nodding. “Thank you, agents, for coming. I appreciate it very much.”
“Of course,” Hotch shakes his hand. “We’re very sorry for your loss.”
“You know, I think Toby would be glad that at least this is all over,” he goes to Prentiss, who is in a wheel chair per doctor’s orders. “Good to see you out of the hospital, Agent Prentiss.”
She nods, not being able to speak yet.
After greeting and thanking JJ, Rossi, Garcia and me, he goes to Reid, who is standing to my right. “Dr. Reid, thank you for coming.”
“I’m sorry for your loss,” he says, shaking Ranger Bell’s hand. He’s not a hand-shaker.
“Toby thought a lot of you, it would mean a lot for you to be here.”
“From what little time I spent with him, I understand Toby was a loyal friend and loving brother. It was a privilege to get to know him, however brief the time.” Reid gives Ranger Bell a reassuring smile. He looks good in his new suit and washed wool winter jacket. We went shopping a few days ago back in Aspen for nice clothes to wear to these services, considering our go-bags were destroyed in the fire.
“Thank you, excuse me I have to speak with more guests. Agents.” Ranger Bell walks across the area to meet with more mourners.
“We should get on the road, the jet is taking off from Denver,” Hotch says quietly.
After a long, nearly silent ride, we are finally seated back on the plane. Seated next to Prentiss and across the table from Rossi and Reid, the plane takes off harshly, the minute turbulence making Prentiss gasp. I reach out to touch her hand and she squeezes it, thanking me with a smile. It breaks my heart that she’s in pain, that she might not be able to speak again. Reid keeps his eyes glued to the hands in his lap.
Before Toby’s service, we were briefed on the results of the Deep Lake investigation by the local police, military and agents from Quantico. We acted with reasonable force and tactics and the killing of the unsubs. Forensics supported our testimony. The team is to take a minimum of three weeks off, and then we are on consultation and research duty until Chief Strauss finds temporary replacement agents to work with us.
Once we are in the air, I see Prentiss typing furiously on her new laptop. She asked Garcia to pick one out for her a few days ago because she finds typing much faster than having to write everything down. While she’s typing away, I look up to Rossi. He saved my life, indeed probably saved all our lives. Sure, he’s sometimes an arrogant prick, but over the years I’ve grown to understand him. He’s also grown to understand how the BAU works now.
Reid’s chewing on his lip, so I bite mine. I normally would ask him what is wrong, but it’s obvious. I see his chest is heaving and a few seconds later he coughs harshly, reaching for his inhaler. Under normal circumstances, I’d make some crack about wearing it around his neck like a nerd. After two puffs and a few moments, he seems to be more comfortable. I can’t stand this silence any longer. “Hey, Hulk, how about some cards?”
“You complain that I win too much,” he says somberly.
“I don’t care, let’s just play a hand. Rossi, you in?”
He nods. “Sure, what are we playing?”
Prentiss pokes me, hard, giving me a look. “You want in?” She nods vigorously. “Okay, how about XXX?” I get up to find a deck of cards in the galley, where we usually keep them. When I return, Prentiss pokes me again, pushing her laptop towards me. Letting Rossi shuffle and deal, I begin to read.
Thanks for what you’ve done for me. I know everyone keeps stepping on eggshells around me, but you still give me a hard time and surprisingly that’s what I need right now. Speaking of need, Reid needs you too. I know we aren’t allowed to profile each other, but even before we got to Deep Lake things were getting strange between the two of you. You should really spend some of our time off making things right. He’s going to need you. That night at Deep Lake, Hotch and I walked in on Reid making out with Toby. Well, making out and them some (insert smile here!). Coming out was surprisingly difficult on him, then losing Tango and being violated by Richard Felix pretty much broke him. I know how much you love him, and even if something bad happened between you two, he loves you too. Of course, Garcia and JJ both have their opinions about the extent of said ‘love’, but all joking aside…
He lost his Incredible Hulk in the fire. Now he needs a new one. That’s you. Actually, it always has been, but he needs to be reminded.
I turn to Prentiss and lean in to give her a sweet kiss on the cheek. “I think you might just be my new baby girl.”
“HEY I HEARD THAT!” Garcia says from her spot near JJ.
I type a response back, in order to keep our ‘conversation’ private.
You’re welcome Em. I’ll give you a hard time anytime (man that sounds dirty, don’t tell Garcia). I had figured Reid and Toby were ‘hooking up’ that night when I saw how disheveled he was. You’re right about us growing distant. He’s pushed me away, and I also haven’t helped in that department. I’ll tell you a secret: I also pushed him away. I pushed him away because…I think…I think I’m in love with him. I figured for a long time it was safer for me to be at that distance, that we would never be ‘that way’ together, and what if I’m not gay? What if it’s just a simple case of transference? What if I’m bat-shit crazy? I don’t want to hurt him because I think I’m something that I might not be. I just need time to sort out how to deal with this intimate level of friendship without taking it beyond what it is. I’ve never had a friend like him before, and I don’t want to do it wrong.
But you’re right, I need to be there for him. If he’ll let me.
I hand her the laptop and pick up my hand, cursing Rossi for dealing shitty cards. After a few moments, Prentiss deletes the document, looks to me and makes the zipping motion across her lips, tossing the ‘key’ over her shoulder.
“You know Emily, that would mean more if you could actually talk,” I snicker, earning me a playful punch in the arm and then a kiss on the cheek.
(until the next sequel, that is)
*I’m thinking the next sequel will be a re-write of the Foyet/Reaper plot, but instead of going after Hotch, he makes Morgan his target? I’m toying with the idea of the case that will finally push those two together (and of course I could have done that by now but I love to torture you all). Must go back and re-watch episodes…