"What the hell is this?"
"It's tea," Reid answered promptly. "Camellia sinensis. It has a number of health benefits, and it's also considered by many to be a comfort food." He was halfway smiling in that sweet, hopeful way of his, and if Morgan were in the mood to be cheered up by anything, that would have done the trick.
"I know what tea is, Reid," Morgan growled. "What are you doing here?"
Reid shifted his weight from one foot to the other nervously. "I came to see if you wanted to talk."
"Well, I don't. Night." Morgan moved to shut the door, but Reid threw out a hand to stop it from closing entirely.
"Wait – just let me in, okay? We don't have to talk. It'll be like I'm not even there. Please."
Morgan was a heartbeat away from saying that in that case, it didn't really matter if Reid just left. The only reason he hadn't slammed the door was because he was afraid Reid would try to stop him again and get his fingers broken – but then Reid bit his lip and raised his eyebrows, and damn it, his eyes were begging. Reid should not be allowed to make that face; it gave him far too much power over Morgan. He wondered if Reid knew that or not. If he did, and he used it anyway, there would be stern words said at some time – but not right now.
Morgan sighed and opened the door just wide enough for Reid to slide through. He shut it slowly, taking a moment to compose himself and his thoughts, and turned around to find his uninvited guest surveying the bland hotel room. Feeling Morgan's eyes on him, Reid stopped his inspection of the wallpaper and started inspecting Morgan, as though he were surprised to see Morgan and wanted to figure out how he'd gotten there.
"Here," he said belatedly, holding out the forgotten tea.
Morgan shot the tea a look that it probably didn't deserve. "Keep it," he said, leaning against the wall and crossing his arms.
"I got it for you," Reid insisted.
"I don't want it."
"Well, I can't drink it." At Morgan's look, he explained, "I got it for you, it doesn't have any sugar in it." And he looked so lost, holding the unwanted cup of tea, and so baffled at the thought of what he would do with an unsweetened drink, that Morgan figured he could let the kid have a small victory.
"Hand it over," he said, barely suppressing an eye roll. Reid grinned like he'd won the lottery and gave him the tea. Morgan sipped it as he watched Reid go to sit on the table against the opposite wall.
The tea was actually pretty good, but all he really wanted was some space to fume and some privacy to lick his wounds. Reid wasn't going to give him that luxury, and while he didn't say a word, just sat on the table dangling his legs, he couldn't keep his promise not to be a bother. Morgan was hyperaware of Reid's gaze on him, the slight movement of his fingers drumming along the side of table, even the sound of his breathing. He knew that wasn't exactly Reid's fault, but he wasn't feeling generous.
"I don't need a babysitter, Reid," he snapped.
"I don't remember saying that you did."
"You didn't need to say it. It's why you came over here."
Reid bit his lip like he was trying to buy himself time to think about something. "I just wanted to see for myself that you were okay."
"The genius Dr. Reid wants to check that I'm not going to do something stupid?"
The snide tone in Morgan's voice must have hurt, but Reid kept his gaze up and his own voice steady. "Are you?" he asked.
"How the hell can you ask me that?"
"Because if you're blaming yourself, that would definitely qualify as 'something stupid.'"
"I thought you said you weren't going to lecture me."
"You started it." Reid sounded far more mature saying that than anyone had any right to. "I was just sitting here. You started talking, and you also let me in, which I think points to a desire on your part to talk about things." He paused for a minute before blurting out, "Please."
"There's nothing to talk about."
"It's not easy empathizing with the victims," Reid said softly. "You can't undo their pain, but you caught the guy."
"Drop it, kid."
The warning in his voice could not possibly have been any clearer, but Reid didn't let that stop him. "What happened to them...it's not your fault, any more than Carl Buford – "
"God dammit, Reid, I don't want to hear it!"
"It's the truth."
Yelling wasn't getting the message across, and Morgan's control over his temper, which had been slipping since they'd started this case four days ago, was just about gone. He slammed his fist into the wall a few inches away from Reid's head, ignoring the way he flinched, and leaned close to him. "I said I don't want to hear it."
They were too close. In his current state, Morgan was more likely to hit Reid than kiss him, but either was possible. He was going to do something he shouldn't, either way – and then he saw the look on Reid's face and felt like he'd been splashed with ice-cold water.
He backed off, but adrenaline and rage were still coursing through him strongly, and he thought it best that Reid left before he made things worse. "Just go."
Reid wasn't going to argue with him, not this time. He slid off the table and around Morgan, not looking at him until he'd reached the door. Then, he glanced over his shoulder. "I'm sorry I bothered you," he whispered. "I really wish there was some way I could help." Then he was gone.
Morgan paced the room for a minute, until the urge to break something had ebbed enough that he knew he wouldn't smash the window or the bathroom mirror. He threw himself on the bed and stared up at the ceiling and remembered the look on Reid's face when he'd left.
Morgan wished that Reid had been angry with him. If he were, Morgan could go over to his room and they could yell at each other and everything would be okay again. Morgan wanted to yell at someone, but the team didn't deserve it, and the person who did was locked up. He knew he was going to have to say something to Reid at some point, but until he knew he could do it without messing things up any more than he had, he was going to stay right where he was.
That was the plan, at least, but his patience wore out before his temper – lying on the bed got boring really quickly. He got back up and left the room before he had really calmed down and knocked on Reid's door, a little more loudly than he meant to.
It was taking Reid a long time to answer, and Morgan started to wonder what he would do if Reid didn't want to talk to him. What if it was already too late? Maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to throw Reid out; he hadn't wanted to hurt the kid, sure, but he might have done so anyway.
He still hadn't answered, and Morgan knocked again to distract himself from his own unease. It was only when Reid finally opened the door, looking wary and withdrawn, that Morgan realized he had no idea what he was going to say. The silence was excruciatingly tense, though, and provoked Morgan into saying the first thing he could think of.
"He was only ten, Reid."
Reid's expression softened. "I know."
"If I'd gotten there five minutes earlier, he would still be alive."
"And if you'd gotten there five minutes later, his killer would have gotten away."
"And that makes a difference."
It stung to see that look in Reid's eyes, sad and sympathetic and all too understanding about things that needed to be spoken to be believed. Rather than answering aloud, he opened the door a bit wider – wide enough that Morgan could enter, and after a moment's consideration, he did.
The room was filled with expectation, but Morgan had no idea what to do. He was still pissed off and hurt and he still didn't want to talk about it, but as long as he was here he might as well say something.
"I was sure it wasn't him."
Reid shrugged unhelpfully. "The profile was wrong. It happens, and that doesn't make it any easier or any better, but...it happens."
"My profile, Reid," Morgan snapped.
"Our profile," Reid corrected him. "You came up with a lot of it, but we agreed. If we thought you were wrong, we would have told you."
"I can still formulate a damn profile."
"I didn't say you couldn't!"
Whoa. He'd made Reid raise his voice, which happened just often enough that it still managed to catch him off-guard every time. Now that Reid was actually angry with him, though, Morgan felt his own anger dissipating, leaving behind the uncomfortable taste of guilt. "Kid, I didn't mean to," he started.
"It's okay," Reid interrupted hurriedly, and Morgan stopped him with a wave of his hand.
"No, it's not." Morgan felt silly, standing in the middle of the room and getting that mulish look from Reid. He walked over to the bed and sat down, hoping it would ease the situation somewhat, and Reid slowly followed to sit in the nearby chair. "Look, I made a mistake, and that sucks, but it doesn't give me the right to take it out on you. Or anyone else," because now Morgan was remembering the other confrontations of the day, with Hotch, and Emily, and Garcia, and it sunk in that he'd just got started with his awkward apologies. He wasn't looking forward to tomorrow.
At least this conversation was starting to get better. Reid leaned forward slightly to say, "Morgan...Even if you make a mistake, I'll still support you."
He hadn't really expected that, and some of his surprise must have shown on his face because Reid looked away, down at the ground, and said pointedly, "You're not the only one who wants to be more than human, you know."
Morgan really had missed a lot today, and he berated himself before asking what he should have asked much earlier. "Are you okay?"
"I'll be fine," Reid assured him, looking grim enough that he believed him.
Morgan looked away from the chair, up – and that was kind of funny. Here he was, content to simply lie on the bed and just stare up at the ceiling, which he'd found intolerable five minutes ago. Reid's bed must be more comfortable than his was.
He kept his thoughts to himself for a long time, but eventually, out of curiosity, looked over at Reid. He hadn't moved since he'd sat down; Morgan suspected that Reid was worrying about him, but even if he had just lost his temper, he didn't think he was so interesting a subject as to keep the genius preoccupied.
Strangely enough, Reid had the ghost of a smile on his face, and he wasn't looking at Morgan; he was staring at the wall with a slightly unfocused look in his eyes.
"What are you thinking about?"
Reid blinked a few times, as though waking up. "Hm? Oh. I was just remembering – reciting – The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
"It passes the time," Reid blushed faintly. "And humor is a proven stress-reliever."
"Why do you even buy books?" Morgan asked incredulously. "Wouldn't it just be cheaper to flip through them once and store them up there?" He tapped his temple to emphasize his point.
Reid answered without thinking, "I like having something tangible I can keep around."
Morgan's eyebrows shot straight up. He was not going to touch that one, even if Reid had poked his nose into Morgan's business first.
Seeing Morgan's expression, Reid reevaluated his choice of words and found it far more revealing than he'd intended. Clearing his throat and hoping to move things along before Morgan drew any more attention to that fact, he continued, "Reading from a book is – it has a different feel to it, as opposed to just remembering something."
Morgan just laughed. "Kid, you are one of a kind." He didn't need to look to know that Reid was rolling his eyes. In fact, he couldn't quite make himself look even if he wanted to, because he'd shut his eyes for a moment too long. It really had been a long day, and this bed really was comfortable; JJ did a good job booking rooms for them, really, and how much of that was because the government was picking up the tab and how much of it was some skill of JJ's, and maybe he should enlist her aid planning his next vacation, whenever he would have time to actually go on vacation, and, and...
"Are you falling asleep?" Reid demanded indignantly.
"No," Morgan lied shamelessly.
"Yes, you are! You can't fall asleep, this is my room."
Morgan threw an arm over his face, hoping it muffled his voice enough that his protest of "I'm tired" didn't sound so much like whining.
Reid was less than impressed. "So? Where am I going to sleep?"
The immediate answer was that they could share, but if Morgan was seriously considering saying that out loud, it was time to go. "Fine," he grumbled, rolling out of bed, "If you're going to make a big deal out of it..."
Apparently he was. "Go. Good night."
"Yeah, good night."