“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.” - Pauline R. Kezer
The first day Spencer woke up feeling a little nauseous he groaned into his pillow, knowing it was a harbinger of an oncoming migraine. His lover of eight years and his husband of three stretched out in the bed beside him, still mostly asleep but responding to the sound of mild distress by shaping his body to the curve of the pale man’s.
“Morning, honey,” Derek murmured.
“Morning,” Reid smiled, and relaxed back into the dark man’s heat. He knew when the migraine inevitably came the man would do everything he could to make it pass, such as massaging the muscles in his neck, which had proved effective on more than one occasion.
It was a Sunday, which meant they’d been able to sleep in late. There was no guarantee they wouldn’t be called into work, but there were many reasons that attributed to serial criminals being least active on Sundays. Reid was thankful for that, because Derek was kissing along his shoulder and up his neck, and little seemed better than intimacy in the warm June sunlight with the man he loved.
By the fourth consecutive day of Reid feeling a little ill in the morning, without any sickness actually occurring but also no migraine materialising, he was a little confused. If he was coming down with an out-of-season illness, it would have happened by now. Nausea was a symptom of a lot of conditions and problems, and Reid’s brain scrolled through them like a rolodex. He reached one, and his brain skipped like a needle on a record, and the heavy book he was holding tumbled out of his grasp onto his foot. He let out a yelp of pain and grabbed at his foot.
“Spencer?” Derek sounded, putting his head around the kitchen door. “You okay?” he took in the sight of the book splayed out on the floor and his lover clutching at his foot. “Oh,” He gave a teasing laugh. “Careful, sweets.”
Reid just smiled at him, shaking his head a little at the lack of sympathy for his pain.
“Love you,” Morgan offered as Reid picked the book back up.
“Love you to,” he returned, feeling a ripple of happiness flow through him, the same way it always did when the man told him he loved him.
For once Reid wasn’t secretly jealous that Morgan had old cop friends that occasionally stole him away for drinks of an evening. He had been avoiding looking at the small rectangular box he’d brought from the drug store earlier in the day and placed on the coffee table when Derek left, for about an hour and a half. He knew that the box was just cardboard, and it had no sentience, but he couldn’t shake the sense that the thing was staring at him. Finally he relented, snatching up the box and heading down the hall towards the downstairs bathroom.
He was reading the instructions on the box for the twenty fourth time – it only took him a few seconds each read-through – when he heard the bathroom door being pushed open. Before he could stop him Clooney had pushed his way in, and started walking in excited circles around his owner, looking up at him expectantly.
“This is not a toy,” Reid told the dog, who reacted to his voice by sitting still and gazing up, tongue pulled into his mouth in an obedient manner. Reid relented and reached down to fuss over the canine, rubbing along his head and behind his ears. He knew it was quite useless to attempt to extract the dog from the room; he was never aggressive to those introduced to him as friends, but he was huge and strong and if he didn’t want to leave, Reid wouldn’t be able to make him on his own. Clooney wasn’t quite as obedient to Reid’s commands as he was to Morgan’s, and the dog seemed to abuse this when the older agent wasn’t at home.
It would have felt weird urinating on a pregnancy test while the dog watched if Clooney didn’t have the habit of bothering people while they were on the toilet, or in the bath or the shower anyway, but Reid still gently shoved the dog’s snout away when he sniffed at the white stick balancing on the edge on the bath while Reid sat beside it, waiting.
If the nausea he was experiencing was NVP, or morning sickness, he had to be at least four weeks pregnant. Onset of NVP between four and six weeks was the most common, and Reid had no reason to believe his condition would be abnormal. As he ignored the pregnancy test resting beside him he wondered if it was a good idea to have took the test at all. He could wait a few more weeks to see, even if he was pregnant, whether the zygote was viable. Around a quarter of pregnancies ended naturally even before most people realised they were pregnant, and for confirmed pregnancies one in seven ended prematurely in natural abortion – miscarriage – before twenty four weeks.
His nausea could be completely unrelated to reproduction. It could be gastroenteritis, or food poisoning, or even something like diabetic ketoacidosis, meningitis, appendicitis, or cholecystitis. Some of those options were worse than pregnancy, but pregnancy wasn’t an easy condition; it involved a parasitic growth relying on the host for up to forty weeks, taking nutrition and changing the host’s body. Not to mention the risks involved; a pregnancy carried to term was statistically almost twenty times more dangerous than a medical abortion. He might not even pregnant.
Spencer picked up the test without looking at it, and Clooney’s ears pricked and he shuffled expectantly. He held the piece of white plastic and fiddled with the cap over the testing end, mentally preparing himself to look down. It was extremely unlikely that he’d be pregnant, considering he and Derek were on birth control and –
Two blue lines. Pregnant.
Reid checked the box again even though he’s memorised the text after reading it once, and it confirmed what two blue lines meant. Positive. Pregnant.
He might not be pregnant; he didn’t feel pregnant. He wasn’t sure what pregnancy was meant to feel like, but he didn’t feel anything, except for the nausea in the morning. A pregnancy test returning a false-positive wasn’t impossible; it could be caused by germ cell tumors, enterocystoplasties, and even gestational trophoblastic neoplasms. All of those were much less likely than the obvious, though.
It was entirely probable that he was pregnant.
Reid rubbed a hand over his face, and Clooney whined. He offered the hand and stroked the canine as he stared at the positive pregnancy test in his hand, wonderful just how much two little blue lines could change everything.
“Every beginning is a consequence - every beginning ends something.” - Paul Valery
“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” - Ellen Glasgow
Reid knew he should have told Morgan about taking the pregnancy test as soon as his husband had come home, but he didn’t. He did rationalise it thought; Derek was tipsy, and in no state to hear such things. There was also still the possibility that he wasn’t actually pregnant or that the pregnancy would abort naturally in the coming weeks.
Instead he took his slightly drunk husband to bed and curled up around his side. Morgan fell asleep almost as soon as he’d murmured a reminder that he loved him, but Reid couldn’t follow him. He absently stroked the smooth skin of the other’s chest as he started out into the dark, his brain whirring.
It wasn’t that Reid didn’t want to be a parent; they had both discussed starting a family, but the implication had been that they would adopt. Taking a child away from the possibility of the broken foster system was an idea both of them liked. Reid’s health hadn’t always been very good and they weren’t sure if a pregnancy would be a risk, he had worried about what genetics he might pass on, and neither had a strong desire to be pregnant. Morgan didn’t like the idea of being incapable or hindered at all from a very active and sometimes risky job, and while Reid shared some of that sentiment, mostly he was completely freaked out by the idea of having something growing in him and feeding on him. Just because a successful pregnancy resulted in a baby, that didn’t change the fact that a fetus had a lot in common with a tumour; they were both made of human cells, both growths that relied on their hosts to grow at the expense of said host; the only real difference was that a tumour was never considered a positive thing, and the reception to a growing fetus hinged on personal feelings, environment and circumstance.
Not only was there the fact that Reid had never planned to be pregnant, he also recalled just two weeks earlier when they had been enjoying Thai takeout on the couch with Garcia and a film; they had both answered her child-related line of questioning with insistence that they wanted to be parents in the future, but weren’t ready now.
He knew he had to talk to Morgan in the morning.
Two days after taking the first test, Spencer still hadn’t told Derek about it. It was Monday evening after a thankfully easy day at work, and Morgan had taken Clooney out for a walk. Reid was back in the bathroom with a second, purportedly more accurate test. He suspected it was merely more expensive and he’s fallen for a marketing ploy, but he couldn’t worry about that as he paced and waited the longest three minutes he’d known.
He didn’t want to be pregnant. The idea that he already had an embryo growing in his belly was freaking him out, and knowing neither of them was ready for a child was at the forefront of his mind. But he didn’t quite understand why he was worrying so much. They were both rational adults; Reid should have just told him straight away that he’d ended up pregnant, and they would both have agreed to terminate the pregnancy, delaying parenthood until they were ready to do it in the way they’d planned. Spencer knew neither of them had any reservations about elective pregnancy termination, abortion. It was a minor surgery that saved countless lives and enabled people autonomy over their body, and Reid had no moral qualms with it. It should be that simple. Derek would support that choice if he made it; he was entirely sure his husband would support that choice even if it had happened when they were ready to have a child. He could remember once on a case when Derek butted heads with someone they were questioning and essentially told him that getting someone pregnant didn’t give a person any say over the pregnant person’s choice to do what they wanted with it, considering they bore none of the physical burden of pregnancy and potential dangers of it. Morgan would support him, so why was he still hiding it from him?
When he looked, the digital bar on the test said ‘pregnant’.
He pressed his lips together firmly, and caught his reflection in the mirror; all angles and worry. There was none of that “glow” people talked about when someone was pregnant, nothing different about him he could detect. He let out a long breath through his nose, turning away from his image and gathering up testing kit. He hid it with the first one behind some large philosophy books on the top shelf of a bookcase; they wouldn’t be discovered there, and he didn’t dare put them in the trash in case Morgan saw them before he’d told him. Not that it mattered, because he was going to tell him as soon as he got in from walking the dog.
Spencer looked up from his spot on one sofa at the sound of his husband coming back through the door, listened to the sound of the dog’s dull claws on the wooden floor.
“You’re a pain in the ass, you know that?” Morgan said. “You’re a bad – hey!”
It was apparent Clooney had simple walked away as his master talked to him, padding through the hall into the living room and straight to Reid, seeking affection. Reid gave it absently, watching the door and waiting for Morgan to appear.
“Hey pretty boy,” He said, smiling at his partner. Reid smiled automatically, preparing his brain for what he needed to say.
“I’m kinda hungry,” Derek said. “I’m gonna make nachos, okay?”
“Okay.” He smiled and nodded, going back to his book. Clooney whined, and Reid looked at him. He put his head on Reid’s leg, looking up at him with big dark eyes. It was seriously odd behaviour; normally as soon as Clooney heard someone open the fridge he was off to investigate and see if he could con food or scraps from them. Spencer narrowed his eyes; there was no scientific evidence that pets could detect pregnancy, but there was a lot of compelling anecdotal evidence. Reid thought it was much more likely that animals were reacting to subtle behaviours and body language and later outright symptoms of pregnancy. With that in mind, however, Reid remembered the last time he’d taken Clooney for a walk around a week ago, the dog hadn’t pulled so hard at his leash and dragged his owner around like usual; Spencer had thought it was just that the dog had finally started to acknowledge the hierarchy of what was in his mind a pack. He remembered how eager Clooney had been when he’d taken the first test, sure the dog had probably picked up on his nervousness, but now wondering if he actually knew his human pack-mate was pregnant.
For no logical reason, Reid didn’t tell Morgan that night.
Reid woke suddenly to the realisation that Morgan’s cells were growing in him.
He glanced over at the sleeping form of his husband, soft curves of his face illuminated by the light creeping in from the street. He slowly turned onto his back as not to disturb the other man, gently removing the man’s hand from his hip. Beneath the sheets his hand crept over his collar and down his chest, brushing lightly over his skin. His fingertips barely traced over his stomach, and he was so naturally slender that it was slightly concave. He didn’t know how long it had been since conception, but if his guess was right the embryo growing in him was less than five millimetres long. That was miniscule when he considered it, even though so many biological processes happened on an even smaller scale. If he’d been pregnant more than four weeks, and he was relatively sure he had been, the trilaminar disk-shape of the embryo would have become cylindrical, and somites would be forming, which would eventually become a spinal cord and vertebrae if a pregnancy was allowed to develop.
He realised he was smiling and that did nothing but confuse him; if he tried he was sure he could convince himself he was smiling at the mere process of reciting a biological process in his head, but he wasn’t sure that was correct. He realised his fingertips were still on his bare belly and he moved them away, turning back onto his side and bringing his hands up close to his chest. It was just a cluster of human cells making up an embryo that wasn’t even the size of a grain of rice yet; he didn’t want it to develop further, and neither did his partner – so he was finding it hard to figure logical explanation for why he hadn’t talked to Derek yet. They didn’t keep secrets, they hadn’t for a long time. Absolute candid honesty meant sometimes they had to have emotional or difficult conversations, especially after cases that affected them, but it also meant they had overcome the job-related drive to profile each other. Spencer didn’t need to analyse the other’s mannerisms and behaviours like he still did even with his friends, because he was always aware that Derek told him every thought and feeling, as did Spencer. One biological process had come to pass and it had already changed his behaviour.
Spencer didn’t understand it, and so he couldn’t help feeling slightly resentful to the tiny developing organism in his womb as he closed his eyes and tried to sleep again.
“The wheel of change moves on, and those who were down go up and those who were up go down.” - Jawaharlal Nehru
“Growth is the only evidence of life.” - John Henry Newman
Four days after the second test, when Spencer had accepted he was indeed pregnant, he was still trying to work out why he hadn’t told his husband, instead of just telling him. The nights were the most confusing times; after Derek was asleep, more than once he found his fingers going to his stomach. It didn’t make much sense; he was having no physical symptoms of pregnancy besides the nausea which was so mild he hadn’t even vomited so far; an instinct to protect or hold his belly was illogical without physical swelling of his abdomen. But still, when his mind was distracted, he would come out of a thought and realise his fingers were turning small circles on his stomach.
Derek, of course, had noticed him not getting as much sleep as usual. Spencer had been able to pass it off as mild insomnia; plausible, because they both cycled through stages of it periodically. It seemed to be a side effect of their work, the information they dealt with every day.
The other man shifted in his sleep, just lucid enough to wrap his arm around his lover's middle. Reid quickly moved his hand away so the other wouldn’t notice it had been lingering there, and actively kept from tensing as Morgan’s warm fingers spread out across his flat stomach. That was often where his hand rested of a night, and even though it was such a small gesture it always made Spencer feel safe, but now the effect was magnified. He closed his eyes and settled back into the curve of his lover’s shape, trying to put out of his mind that he was keeping the information of his condition from him, that he was fearful of telling him for reason he didn’t understand. He hadn't even included this development in his letters to his mother.
It was not the first time Morgan had waited by an unconscious Spencer Reid’s hospital bedside. It was not the first time he had feared their job might cost the life of the man he loved. It was not the first time things had miraculously turned out much better than anticipated. Spencer was going to be fine.
That didn’t make replaying the memory of the day any easier for Derek. Going into a scene with guns raised, they hadn’t anticipated the second unsub hiding with a plank of wood he’d pried from a window of the old factory, and Derek hadn’t been quick enough to subdue him before he’d swung wildly at Reid, who was closest, and caught him at the back of his skull. There had been a loud crack and a pained yelp and Reid had gone down, unconscious before he hit the ground. Both unsubs had been subdued as Prentiss had pulled Reid out of there. Morgan had fought his first reaction to take him in his arms and run to safety with him, instead slamming the unsub to the ground and handcuffing him roughly, knowing that was actually the option more likely to protect his husband and his team from further attacks.
When he’d got out of the factory and shoved the unsub directly into the waiting custody of local police, Reid was conscious again and sitting at the back of an ambulance, with a paramedic examining the back of his head. He’d groggily insisted he was fine and tried to stand, only to promptly pass out again, this time with his husband there to catch him.
Two hours, a visit to the emergency room, lots of tests and a diagnosis of a mild concussion later, Reid had been told to rest until he was discharged. As soon as he’d laid down on the bed he’s fallen asleep. The team had checked in but Derek had insisted it was fine for them to go home; he’d managed to convince everyone to do so and then he waited, flicking through the small album of photos of them he kept on his phone.
A photo with the whole team at Seaver’s graduation, smiling around the newest addition to their team. A picture of them kissing at their wedding, in Vegas so Spencer’s mother could be at the ceremony. A candid portrait shot of Spencer in bed, stretched out like a sleepy cat in the morning light, eyes half-lidded as he grinned lazily at the camera, and only them knowing it was because they’d just made love. Derek and Penelope in a pose mocking the famous Titanic bow scene behind a railing at a theme park.
Happy memories he poured over as he reminded himself that despite how worried Spencer and hospitals made him, they were going to have plenty of time to make more memories. He was going to be fine.
Absently Derek lifted the medical chart from the container at the foot of the bed, flipping open the cover. None of the information was new; they knew everything about each other, medical history included. The doctor’s handwriting was awful though, he thought as he looked through the notes; dates and times, comments and abbreviations, results of the examination and blood tests, and –
50-52 days pregnant (7 weeks). [ATC/SO]
Reid couldn’t be pregnant. There was no way; they were both on hormonal birth control injections every three months. They had been for almost seven years since they’d decided they didn’t want to use condoms any more. Their birth control had a 99% success rate, and with both of them on it, it was almost impossible that they’d have this happen. Almost impossible. Almost.
Morgan closed the chart quickly, stuffing it back in its place at the end of the bed, and stared at the sleeping form of his husband.
Light and pain.
Spencer groaned, unable to understand why a migraine had manifested without any warning. There was always an aura of warning a few days before. The memory formed quickly in his consciousness; he remembered the scene, the unsubs, the splitting pain as the wood had connected with his head. The aftermath, the tests, the antiseptic smell of hospital. He pried his eyes open, raising a hand to rub over his face as he blinked his husband into focus. Derek was smiling reassuringly at him from a chair beside the bed.
“Hey pretty boy,” he said softly.
“Hey,” Spencer mirrored.
“How you feeling, b- how’s your head?” Morgan faltered. Somehow he couldn’t bring himself to call the man ‘baby’ right then.
“Sore," he said, pushing himself up. “Can we go home yet?”
“The doctor said he’d be back in a while. They’re just waiting for the results of your MRI. They don’t think there’ll be any issues,” Derek said. Reid nodded, rolling his shoulders forward. “Spencer.”
“Did you know you’re seven weeks pregnant?”
Reid blinked a few time, tongue coming out to wet his lower lip.
“Yes.” He admitted, his gaze falling from his partner’s.
“How long have you known?”
“But,” Derek shook his head slowly in disbelief. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I don’t know," Spencer muttered.
“Spencer, you-” Morgan shook his head to himself, “you said you didn’t ever want to be pregnant. Why didn’t you tell me when you suspected? Or when you found out? We could have... what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know,” he repeated, looking at his finger in his lap.
“Do you want to abort?” he asked evenly. “We both want to adopt. You want to.”
“I know. I do want to adopt,” Reid nodded.
“Then why did you wait so long to tell me? Were you even going to tell me?” Derek asked, trying to keep his voice even. “You know you wouldn’t have to have an abortion in secret. I’d be there for you. Why did you hide this?”
“I don’t know,” Reid repeated. “I don’t know, Derek!” he raised his gaze. “I think I... I know I said I didn’t want to carry a pregnancy. And I don’t. I mean – I’m freaking out at the thought that something is growing in me, but...”
“But what, honey?” Derek pressed.
“I think... I think I’m already forming emotional attachments to the embryo. There’s debate on paternal attachment, whether it’s learnt or instinctual, but there’s good evidence to suggest emotional attachments form during pregnancy in higher mammals as an incentive for a carrier to bear the burden of a pregnancy for so long. It’s not the longest mammal gestation; that’s the African elephant, with an average gestation period of 660 days, twenty two months, which...” he trailed off, noting the patient but distracted look on his lover’s face.
“Are you saying,” Derek said slowly “you want to keep it?”
“I know you said you’re not ready to be a parent,” Reid said, picking at his sleeve. “We can terminate the pregnancy, and put off parenthood until we’re ready.”
“Spencer,” Morgan furrowed his brow, “you said you were attached.”
“I know,” he nodded, “but it’s just an embryo, there are really no valid moral concerns about terminating this early, and an embryo at this stage hasn’t even begun developing a central nervous system or umbilical cord, and it’s less than twenty millimetres-”
“You’re talking about aborting-” Morgan tried, keeping his voice calm even though his confusion was palatable.
“It’s not aborting,” Reid corrected, “Abortion is a natural process, the word is incorrectly attributed to medical termination of pregnancy-”
“Reid,” Derek said firmly, “you’re talking about terminating a pregnancy you’re emotionally attached to, because I said I’m not ready?”
“Yes.” The man nodded.
“You’re-” Morgan almost said ‘crazy’, but he knew how much Reid detested words to do with non-neurotypicality being thrown around instead of used properly, and he stopped himself. “Forget what I said. Forget me not being ready.”
“Derek,” Reid said uneasily, big eyes wide and shining at him.
“If you want to do this, so do I. I don’t care how we have a child, I just want it to be a way we’re both happy,” he explained cautiously. “If you want to go through with this, I’ll be ready. We’ll be ready.”
Reid smiled softly at his husband. Derek pushed himself up out of the chair, but didn’t move forward.
“Spencer,” he prompted, “what do you want to do?”
“I want to incubate this embryo,” He said, gripping at his knee nervously, “so it can develop into a fetus, and eventually successfully give birth to a...” he trailed off, awkwardness creeping into his smile. Derek waited patiently, dark eyes still as they looked at him, face neutral. “Our offspring. A... a baby.”
“Our offspring.” Derek broke into a smile, a chuckle rising out of him. The declaration was so very Spencer, but definitely a confirmation. “Our baby, Spence.”
Finally he moved forward, and he realised the other man had been waiting for it, because as soon as he wrapped his arms around Spencer’s middle the lithe man clamped his hands around the older man’s chest, nuzzling into his shape. Derek kissed the top of his head, stroking along his back with the flat of his palm.
“I’m sorry,” Spencer said.
“For not telling you. I’m sorry. I felt- I didn’t understand.”
“It’s okay,” Morgan soothed. “We’ve both felt like that before; realised we wanted something we thought we never would.” He remembered how he’d felt when he first realised he was having feelings for Reid. “And you can still change your mind.”
“Really?” Reid asked, not pulling away.
“Of course. It’s your body. You shouldn’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”
“I want to,” Spencer whispered, closing his eyes and hugging the man he loved tighter.
“We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.” - Lynn Hall
“If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything.” - Win Borden
“I’m not going to freak out if you touch it,” Spencer said, looking at Morgan through his glasses over the top of his book. It was a lazy Sunday morning, and both of them were reading in the warm sunlight filtering into the room. Derek had been eyeing his naked torso for some time, looking at the tiny swell there. It was noticeable on his slim frame without clothes, but with them, not baggy but not tight, there was no sign of his pregnancy. Spencer knew Derek had been avoiding focusing on his belly and he had appreciated that while he adjusted to the decision to keep it, to the slight swell of his abdomen, but now he thought he was ready.
Spencer closed his book, putting it to the side and settling back against the pillows arranged against the headboard. Derek had already abandoned his, and was smiling a little nervously. Spencer nodded, and the other man stretched his fingers out to touch Spencer’s belly. The skin was warm, and as he added pressure he noticed the bump was firm. Slowly he spread his fingers out until his hand was splayed on the tiny bump of his husband’s belly, and he caught his eye and couldn’t stop the grin that spread across his features.
“Week nine,” he said, “what’s happening?”
“Well this week it officially became a fetus,” Reid said. “It’s around two inches long,” he couldn’t help but smile as he saw Morgan estimate the length between thumb and finger, “the ventral and dorsal pancreatic buds will have fused. The fetus’ eyelids have fused, and they won’t separate for around twenty weeks.” Morgan made an interested face, so Reid elaborated. “It’s to protect the eyes so they can develop. Did you know the eye only grows around six millimetres in diameter from infancy? Mammalian infants have large eyes comparative to their head size, it’s an evolutionary advantage for successful young raising. We have an innate propensity to react to those features with nurturing behaviours.”
“So babies are cute so we’ll want to look after them,” Morgan summarised. “Makes sense. What else?”
“The liver is beginning to produce red blood cells. The genitals, assuming they’re developing normally, are distinct now.”
“So it’s a boy or a girl now?”
“Actually, sex is determined at conception,” Spencer corrected. “Genetically. Although genitals don’t always develop in accordance to chromosomes, and gender identity is an entirely constructed concept, so-” Morgan looked suddenly worried, which made Spencer chuckle. He reached out and stroked the man’s cheek, feeling his husband’s hand subtly pressing his belly. “It’s statistically likely that our offspring will have normal sexual characteristics.”
“Okay,” He sounded, still a little unsure. He wriggled a bit, getting comfortable on his side, stroking his fingers over Reid’s bump. “Hey, if its only two inches long, how come you’re showing?”
“My uterus is starting to expand, and then there’s general bloating, water retention and gas.”
“I wasn’t going to say anything...” Derek teased, and Reid swatted his cheek playfully.
“It’s not that bad yet,” he huffed playfully.
“I don’t care how gassy you get.” Morgan lent in to kiss the tip of Reid’s nose. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” Reid put a quick kiss on Derek’s lips.
“But there’s only one of me,” he said, winking at his husband.
“We need to tell Hotch,” Derek said, holding Clooney’s lead in one hand and Spencer’s hand in the other. They were headed to meet Garcia for brunch, at which Spencer had already approved Morgan’s desire to tell their closest friend their news. The July weather was pleasant, and meant they were dressed accordingly; Morgan in knee-length grey cargo pants and a white t-shirt, with robust black flip-flop shoes and his favourite sunglasses, Reid in loose navy slacks and a loose-fitting white dress shirt that hid his very slight bump, sleeves rolled up and sunglasses on.
“I know,” Reid said, glad for a slight breeze to counter the warmth of the sunshine.
“As soon as Hotch knows, the rest of the team will find out,” Spencer pointed out.
“I know.” Morgan squeezed the other’s hand. “But I spent the entire time on that last case worrying that he was going to send you somewhere you’d have to put on your Kevlar and run about, or get beat up by an unsub as you tend to do.”
Spencer barged his husband with his shoulder firmly, feigning annoyance. Morgan tried to keep a straight face and failed.
“I’m not that bad.”
“You got clocked in the back of the head two weeks ago, remember?” Morgan reminded him, then, “Clooney!” the dog was pulling on the lead, trying to walk beside Spencer. “Will you take him?”
Reid took the leash in the hand that had been in his pocket, watching as Clooney calmed, falling into step beside Spencer and seeming to deliberately put himself between his master and anyone passing them on the street.
“He knows,” Morgan said, smiling. “Smart dog.”
“Actually, I don’t think him being able to perceive pregnancy in what he considers a pack member is rooted in intelligence,” Spencer said. “The perception of intelligence, really. It’s ridiculous to try to apply IQ measurements to canines, more ridiculous than applying IQ tests universally. There are clear cultural biases which give false indications of the range of results, and how this is applied to race, gender, and socio-economic groups.”
“So I guess he can just tell from hormones? Smell?”
“There’s no conclusive proof of that, but it seems likely. There’s also visual clues in body language and behaviour, things so miniscule humans don’t detect them. Even profilers.”
Garcia, already waiting at an outside table at the café, looked wonderful as she greeted them, wearing a cinched-in white, green and pink striped sundress that showed off her ample cleavage and reminded Spencer of watermelon, a green bolero jacket and a pair of strappy pink sandal heels.
“Good morning my doves!” she said happily, blonde ringlets bouncing around her head as she greeted them with kisses on the cheek. Clooney barked excitedly at her, and she didn’t forget him in her greeting. “Hello little puppy!” she cooed, bending down to stroke and fuss him.
They sat, Reid removing his sunglasses and hooking one long leg over the other, his hands curling over Morgan’s where it settled on his leg. He wasn’t a tactile person in the way Morgan was; Morgan touched people to assure them, to show his ease with them. It was important that he was, considering how easy it would have been for him to withdraw from contact after what had happened to him as a teen. Spencer, however, had never been someone who actively sought contact. He didn’t mind people he trusted initiating it, such as the team, but it never occurred to him to do so. Morgan was the exception; he loved to touch Morgan, loved it initiate it and maintain it and hated ending contact between them. It had taken some time at the start of their relationship for him to get comfortable doing so, while they were still worried about their growing feelings and the risk to their jobs; thankfully, things had turned out better than they could imagine.
“Coffee?” Garcia asked, glancing around for waiting staff.
“Yeah,” Morgan nodded, taking off his shades and hooking them onto the front of his t-shirt.
“Decaf,” Reid specified, and Penelope frowned.
“Decaf? Where’s my junior G, and what have you done with him?” she teased.
Spencer looked sideways at his husband, giving an almost unperceivable nod.
“Spence can only have one cup of regular coffee a day now,” Morgan said. Garcia’s face creased in concern.
“Why? You can’t be allergic to caffeine, can you?”
“Actually you can be. Caffeine allergy reactions can mimic symptoms of mental illness, and doctors have misdiagnosed-” he stopped, because Garcia still looked worried. “I’m not allergic to caffeine.”
“Then-” she looked Reid up and down, and then across to Morgan, who was smiling easily. They could both see her trying to wrack her brain for possible reasons not to drink coffee, looking less worried and more confused, until her face broke out in surprise.
“Reid, are you pregs?”
The grin that creased Morgan’s face was her answer, and as Spencer expected she would, she squealed.
“Oh my god!” she flapped her hands, grinning happily. “Oh my god! Congrats, my doves! Oh, my boys.” She gave them an adoring look. “I’m so happy for you! How far gone are you? How long have you known?”
“Almost ten weeks. I’ve known for about four weeks, and Derek since I was in the hospital, ” Reid said, smiling even though he didn’t know why Garcia’s reaction was making him feel proud; it wasn’t as if getting pregnant was an achievement that required any real skill.
“Have you been for a scan?”
“Not yet,” Morgan said. “We go at twelve weeks, right, baby boy?”
“Yeah,” Spencer said, stroking the knuckles of the dark hand on his leg.
The waiter came over and they ordered their drinks and food, and Garcia was too excited about the news she’d heard to notice the way the server’s eyes kept dropping to her cleavage. Or perhaps she did, because Morgan had to hide a chuckle when he noticed her pressing her arms together subtly, pushing her already ample chest up as she requested cream on her iced coffee drink.
“Does Hotch know?” she asked, turning back to them.
“Not yet,” Morgan shrugged. “We’ll tell him Monday, right?” Spencer nodded.
“If you could not say anything until then...” Reid started, but Garcia hushed him.
“Of course, silly,” she said. “I will say not a word until you give the green light. Then I’m going to get crazy busy preparing the world for that beautiful interracial mini badass genius.”
Both the men laughed, and Morgan leaned over to kiss Spencer’s cheek.
“You’re going to be such great parents,” Garcia cooed as she watched her friends exchanging a small smile in the sunlight.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
“The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.” - David Weinbaum
Derek’s hand stroked gently over Spencer’s exposed back as he leaned over the toilet and vomited. He pressed a soft kiss gently to the other’s shoulder, unable to stop a smile at the small whimper that reverberated from his husband.
“You okay, baby?”
“Vomiting during pregnancy is perfectly normal,” he said weakly, lifting his head a little.
“I didn’t ask if it was normal, I asked if you were okay,” Morgan said gently.
“I don’t like vomiting,” he admitted, his bottom lip sticking out a little in a pout.
“I’m sorry, pretty boy,” Derek sympathised, tracing his fingertips up the other man’s spine.
“You being sorry isn’t going to stop-” he heaved, dropping his head back down below the rim of the toilet, readjusting his grip and pressing back into the reassuring touch of Derek’s hand.
“Let it out, sweetie.”
“Some people don’t experience any pregnancy-related vomiting,” Spencer informed him wistfully.
“And you thought you’d get lucky?”
“Hoped,” he corrected.
“Sorry, baby. You sure you still want to do this?”
“Yes.” Reid said without looking up. It wasn’t the first time his husband had asked him that; Spencer knew it wasn’t because Derek was having second thoughts about being a parent, but because he needed Reid to remind him that he wanted it too, and he wasn’t agreeing the carry the pregnancy just to please him. “Hopefully the morning sickness won’t last beyond the fifth month; it’s normal for it to decrease dramatically by then.”
“Good,” Morgan said, stroking his fingers through the man’s hair. “Until then, I’ll be there with you every time you need to throw up.”
“You should go get ready.” Reid looked up, breathing deliberately as he continued to try to control the nausea. “We’ll be late if you wait for me.”
“Then we’ll be late,” Morgan said. “It’s my fault you’re puking, baby, I’m gonna sit here with you.”
“I guess we should tell Hotch today, anyway,” Reid murmured. They’d planned to tell him almost a week previously, the Monday after their Sunday brunch out when they’d told Garcia, but they’d had a busy week on a string of murders of teenage girls.
Spencer lifted his hand to flush the toilet, prompting Derek to get up and offer his hand to help aid his husband to his feat. He pulled him into his arms and the thinner man resisted a little, turning his head so Morgan’s kiss landed on his cheek.
“Babe,” Morgan chuckled.
“I’ve just vomited, Derek.”
“I care,” Spencer protested, extracting himself from Morgan’s grasp, turning towards the sink to brush his teeth. Morgan simply smiled to himself as he turned on the shower, stripping off his boxers and depositing them in the hamper and moving back behind Spencer to push his pyjama bottoms away from his hips as he still brushed his teeth. Reid cooperated, stepping out of them and smiling around his toothbrush at his husband, whose hands came around to frame Spencer’s small bump of a belly. It was still a tiny bump, not nearly visible under Spencer’s normal clothes, but when he was naked it was noticeable on his slender frame.
They were sure to be late to work, but it was impossible not to relax in the shower together, especially because it was one of their favourite places to kiss. Morgan also loved to wash his husband’s hair, which was a lot easier to do in the mornings when it was short and wouldn’t need too much time to dry, and was usually just left to dry naturally on their way to work, a hand raked through it every so often to stop it curling completely.
“The fetus can make a fist now,” Spencer said as Morgan lathered soap into his hair.
“It can?” Morgan grinned.
“And the buds of teeth are beginning to grow, even though it still won’t be over three inches long.”
“We get to see it next week,” Morgan said, unable to keep the excitement out of his voice.
“Do you want to find out the sex of the fetus?” Reid asked, leaning into the feeling of Morgan’s fingers against his scalp.
“Nah, I’d like the surprise,” he said, because he knew Spencer wouldn't want to know the sex either. He also knew for his husband it wasn’t about the surprise, it was because he had the statistics on miscarriage, stillbirth and complication committed to memory; if something went wrong – even though Morgan was sure it wouldn’t – knowing the sex would mean Spencer would likely develop stronger attachments to the fetus that would be harder to deal with if something went wrong. He was protecting himself, and Derek was fine with that.
Morgan had made peace with the likelihood that Spencer would probably not act like a “typical” pregnant person. He had known and loved the man for years, and knew they he would probably not call it a baby until it was born, would probably not be very tactile with his stomach, and would probably not talk to his growing belly. He hoped his husband would be tolerant of that from him, because he knew full well he was likely to be all those things as the pregnancy progressed. Spencer would probably have a strong aversion to letting anyone else touch his stomach, would probably not feel the need to display his belly, and he wasn’t even sure he’d want to actively pick out possible names. Morgan understood it was part of how Reid needed to behave to cope with the pregnancy and the risk he could not forget, and he didn’t begrudge him that, because he knew that when their child was born Reid would be a good father. All his worry would pass, and his statistics would begin to focus on attachment and development. He was good with children in his own charming awkward way, demonstrated with his godson Henry, and Morgan’s five nieces – Sarah’s two daughters and Desirée’s own three, who all loved their uncle Spencer because he was even more of a soft-touch than Morgan.
Their pregnancy experience was likely to be non-typical, but it would be uniquely theirs.
“You were late today,” Hotch said, looking up from his desk at Reid closing his office door behind him, “is everything okay?”
“Yes,” Reid said, crossing the space to take up the chair opposite his team leader, a clear indicator that he wished to talk. They’d offered a vague explanation of ‘car trouble’ to explain their twenty minute lateness to the team, but it had been obvious Hotch had doubted. Perhaps the rest of the team had doubted too and been less obvious about it, putting it down to something marriage-related. It had been years since Emily had deduced the signs that indicated the pair had had sex before work, so they were all likely to not ponder their uncharacteristic lateness, putting it down to mistiming.
Hotch put his pen down, folding his hands and looking expectantly at Reid.
“I was vomiting.” Reid admitted finally.
“Are you sick?” Hotch frowned.
“No.” Spencer shook his head, shrugged his shoulders and pulled his mouth into an awkward smile all at the same time. “I’m eleven weeks pregnant.”
“Oh.” Hotch looked surprised. Reid continued to smile awkwardly, fingering the ring on his hand. This wasn’t quite as nerve wracking as when they’d announced to Hotch they were getting married, and Hotch had to face the prospect of the first married couple on the BAU team in its history, and was nowhere near as frightening as their initial coming-out as a couple. Strauss had not approved, and it had taken the revelation that every member of the team had already worked out that they were involved, and their team dynamic had been unaffected for her not to pursue the issue.
“It will be best if I take you off advanced entry,” Hotch said. “A pregnancy doesn’t effected the job you do, but does mean I’d like to avoid sending you in with first responders. It’s ultimately your choice, however.”
“I’m just glad Morgan’s not the pregnant one,” Hotch offered. “Nobody would be able to convince him to take it easy.”
“It’s not his nature,” Reid said, returning Hotch’s slightly amused smile.
“Can you fly?”
“It’s almost certain that I’ll be fine to fly up to thirty-four weeks. We’ve got our first scan next week – Saturday, ten thirty -” he added, and watched as Hotch tapped something into his PDA. “But unless there are complications, flight shouldn’t be a problem.”
“You need to let me know if anything concerning your health or pregnancy changes, and we can accommodate that.”
“When do you plan to tell the team?”
“We’re not sure yet,” Reid said, “we thought we’d do it organically, let it come out as a natural progression.”
“You know they’re going to profile as soon as they notice when I keep you back, don’t you?” Hotch offered.
“Yeah,” Reid nodded. He knew the team would probably work it out soon enough, but the idea of a big public announcement was not one he favoured.
“Okay,” Hotch nodded. “Have you thought about paternity leave at all?”
“Not really.” Reid shook his head. “We weren’t expecting to have a child biologically, and not for a couple of years, but we both decided we wanted to go through with the circumstances we’ve got, and... not really.” He knew Hotch didn’t require a long explanation, but he couldn’t help himself.
“That’s fine,” Hotch said. “Just think about it, and let me know. The state mandates twelve weeks protected leave, but if you want longer,” Hotch looked just a little bit sad at the prospect, “we can discuss that. There will always be a job for you at the BAU as long as you can do it, Reid.”
Spencer nodded, rising from his chair. He turned to head out of Hotch’s office, glad to have that weight off his chest.
“Reid,” Hotch said before the other man could open the door, making Reid turn back to him, “congratulations.”
“Thanks, Hotch,” Reid smiled.
“He who chooses the beginning of the road chooses the place it leads to. It is the means that determines the end.” - Harry Emerson Fosdick
“Our ability to adapt is amazing. Our ability to change isn't quite as spectacular.” - Lisa Lutz
Morgan expected to come back from walking Clooney to find his husband reading, writing a paper on his laptop and watching television simultaneously as he had been when he left him. He released Clooney in the hall and the dog hurried through to find his other owner, claws skittering on the hardwood floor. It was becoming harder and harder for Morgan to take Clooney for walks, because the dog would sit by Reid and whine when Morgan got the leash. Thankfully Clooney's protectiveness was still in an entirely endearing phase, and he still smiled at the memory of the first time the dog had seen Spencer’s small bump and become overexcited instantly, attempting to snuggle up to Reid as he was hunched over the toilet with morning sickness.
What Morgan found instead, as he followed the dog through into the lounge, was Reid on his feet, pacing back and forth with his laptop balanced on his arm as he looked at the screen.
“Baby boy?” he sounded, stepping into Reid’s path. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t do multiples.” Spencer said, looking rather frightened as he looked up at Derek. He reached out and took the laptop from the man’s grasp, setting it down on the sofa. He let the man continue to pace, however, knowing that trying to still him physically would only make him more anxious.
“What do you mean, Spence?”
“Multiple births,” he said, rubbing his hands over his face. “I hadn’t even considered it. But I’m over thirty, which means I’m more likely to be gestating multiple fetuses. Twins account for around three percent of pregnancies in people over thirty. Fifty two percent of twin fetuses are born prematurely, and ninety one percent of triplets.” He looked helplessly at Derek, who let him continue, knowing that letting his anxiety out before he tried to reason with him was the best way to proceed. He hadn’t always been so patient. “Twins are at risk of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and incomplete separation resulting in conjoined births. Seventy percent of quadruplets survive, but the average gestation for them is only twenty eight weeks and over fifty percent suffer from some form of physical or mental disability. For triplets it’s still ten percent, and twins five, but that’s considerable. That’s if the fetuses even survive gestation. Therapeutic reductions aren’t offered for twin pregnancies, but there’re still so many risks for multiple birth, and I’d be at higher risk too with-” he breathed finally, having quotes statistics all in one breath.
“Spencer,” Morgan said slowly, recalling the TV listings he’d browsed earlier, “did you change over to that documentary on multiple births?”
“Yes.” He nodded. He blinked a few times at his partner, and then suddenly his shoulders slumped. It was a sign, and Morgan stepped forward, drawing his husband into his embrace. Even with his slightly swollen belly, he still fit perfectly into the curve of his shape.
“There are no twins in my family,” Morgan said soothingly. “And in yours?”
“Not that I know of.”
“And the rates of having multiples is genetically determined if you don’t count IVF, right?”
“That's mostly the case.”
“It’s really not likely you’re pregnant with more than one, silly boy. And, if you are carrying two, we can find out tomorrow at the scan, and you’re still well under the twenty three week limit for abortion.”
Spencer pulled back, pulling a rather confused face at Derek.
“I know you don’t have any moral objection to pregnancy termination,” he said, “and neither do I, but- Derek I don’t understand why you keep bringing it up. You- this isn't what I expected.”
“What do you mean?”
“I didn’t think you’d be this amicable to termination,” Spencer said, moving away and putting a few feet of distance between them. “I wasn’t surprised by it when you first found out, but after you said you wanted this pregnancy, I didn’t expect you to keep making a point of it.”
“I make a point of it,” Morgan said patiently, “because it’s your body, baby, and only you get to decide what to do with it. And yeah, I want this pregnancy. But I want you to want it too. I guess I’m just paranoid that you’re doing this because I want it, not because you want it too. I don’t want that, Spencer. You know there’s other ways we can do this I don’t want to bring a child, our child, into the world from you feeling obligated because I accidentally impregnated you.”
“I don’t feel obligated,” Spencer said. “I want to do this. I’m sorry I don’t act in a way that makes that obvious, but-”
“It’s not you,” Morgan nodded. “I know that. That’s why we talk, baby. Like this.”
“I do want this, Derek,” Reid repeated. “But I’m excited, and I’m worried, and I can’t help considering the reality of statistics.”
“I know, baby,” he smiled. “I love you, and that big brain of yours. I guess we’re both still adjusting.”
Clooney barked, wagging his tail and looking between them expectantly. Reid closed the distance between them, moulding into the curve of Morgan’s body again, smiling as his husband kissed his strong cheek.
For several weeks they had been deciding on an obstetrician to take them through the pregnancy. Morgan had bore witness to every time they called a potential doctor, and they consulted on speakerphone, that each time the medical professional on the other end used ‘baby’ or ‘child’ to refer to his pregnancy, Reid had attempted to hide a reaction that was somewhere between uncomfortable and annoyed. Morgan understood, even if it didn't bother him in the same way; Reid wanted an obstetrician that was going to be professional, and not attempt to personalise the pregnancy more than Reid was comfortable with. They’d finally found one who seemed professional, if a little clinical to Morgan’s ears, but Reid seemed happy.
Spencer shifted awkwardly as he pulled his shirt up around his chest, lying back on the examination couch. Derek, standing next to him, watched as his husband put his arms down by his side, and they both watched the sonographer prepare the machine and then lean towards Reid’s exposed stomach to squeeze a cold gel onto it. Reid breathed out slowly through his nose, watching her work.
“Are you ready?” she asked, and Spencer nodded. As she put the wand to his belly and pressed, running along the lower curve of his slight belly, Reid looked up at the ceiling. Morgan’s gaze moved between his husband’s face and the equipment screen, which was a jumble of white noise on black, indistinguishable as anything to him. The technician moved the wand around a little, and then nodded to herself.
“Here we are, we can see the fetus now,” she said. She waited patiently as Reid continued to look at the ceiling. Morgan didn't prompt him, simply waited, watching him fight down some emotion Derek couldn't place in the brief second it played out on his face.
Finally Reid looked at the screen, brow furrowing. Morgan couldn’t help but grin stupidly; he recognised the intrigue on Reid’s face, and he could clearly see the shape of the fetus, only recognising it for what it was thanks to the five copies of his niece’s sonograms his sisters had sent to him each time they were pregnant. The technician used her spare hand and selected a portion of the screen, magnifying the image.
The fetus on screen moved, clearly displaying limbs. Spencer knew it could move, but he didn’t expect it to look so active. He couldn’t feel it, and knew that he wouldn’t for some time, so it almost didn’t feel real to see it on screen.
“I have to check the heartbeat, are you ready?”
“Yeah,” Reid mouthed, barely any sound coming out as his mouth had suddenly become dry.
The technician pressed a button the keyboard, and suddenly a heartbeat sounded, faster than either man was anticipating. Spencer had known the thing growing in him would have a heartbeat, but hearing it was not something he had prepared to have an emotional response to; the thought that his body was sustaining another organism gave him a fuzzy feeling in his chest, similar to the feeling he got when he worked something out on a case, or every time he made Morgan smile.
“That looks good,” the technician said as she shut off the sound. “One hundred and seventy five beats per minute, that a good rate for a fetus. We’ll take a look at the size, check the fetus is normal.”
Morgan was a little surprised when he felt Reid reach for his hand, curling his long fingers around his. Spencer didn’t seek contact when he was nervous – he didn’t mind be reassured with it, but he didn’t initiate it. Derek knew it must mean that Spencer wasn’t as worried as he thought his was, because he held his hand easily and stroked his thumb against the other’s skin.
Sometime later the pair sat in their obstetrician’s office, watching her looking at a copy of their sonogram. Morgan was holding their own copy, a CD recording of the images including audio of the heartbeat, a set of digital images, and a glossy paper print out. Reid had not missed the way his husband’s thumb traced the shape of the fetus image, but it didn’t bother him like he imagined it would. Derek’s excitement was more obvious than his own, and it was endearing.
“The fetus looks healthy, and the development we expect to see at twelve weeks is there,” Doctor Chan said, putting the image down and smiling good-naturedly at the pair. “Now, they weighed you when you had your concussion a few weeks ago,” she continued, glancing at his medical records, “and you’ve gained two pounds since then. That’s good, although you are at the low end of healthy weight, although your medical records show that’s always been the case. Ideally I’d like for you to gain at least thirty pounds during your pregnancy, but if you have difficulty putting on weight, don’t let it stress you. I’ll send you away with some leaflets on nutrition during pregnancy, and as long as you’re meeting those requirements there shouldn’t be any problem if you can’t gain weight as fast as is ideal.”
“Okay.” Spencer nodded.
“Have you been experiencing nausea, vomiting?”
“A moderate amount, usually in the mornings. I’m just nauseous more often than I’m actually sick.”
“The morning is the most common time,” the doctor reassured, “although ‘morning sickness’ can be misleading because nausea from pregnancy can occur at any hour. Eating little and often between meals can help to stave off nausea. Any bleeding? Spotting?”
“No.” Reid shook his head. She pushed a stack of leaflets across the desk, and Reid took them.
“There’s information in those about pregnancy health, birth options – which I’d like you to think about before your next scan – what to expect during your pregnancy, pregnancy mental health, and, oh, information about being sexually active during pregnancy.”
Spencer could feel himself going pink and Derek looked at him sideways.
“Right. Oh. Er. Okay. So, ah, we’re okay to-” he said, although it was out of awkwardness more than anything else.
“Anal sex is perfectly safe during pregnancy, providing you take normal care and you’re not in a position that puts undue pressure on your stomach.”
Morgan was trying hard not to laugh; Reid had a lot of knowledge about sex he wasn’t embarrassed to talk about when it came up with friends or even strangers, until it related directly to him. Then he was consistently flush in the face.
“We’ll schedule your next scan for twenty weeks, in two months time.” She said, tapping a few keys on her computer. “Until then, eat well, take it easy, and enjoy the pregnancy. Do you have any questions?”
“Are you going to send copies to your family?” Reid asked, as he passed behind the sofa, catching sight of Morgan writing ‘little fetus, 12 weeks’ along with a smiley face on the back of a printed copy of their ultrasound intended for Garcia.
“Not yet,” Morgan sighed, pausing to watch Reid lower himself onto the sofa with a little more poise than usual, an academic paper in hand and his glasses perched on his nose. “I’m not gonna tell them yet. You know if I tell my sisters my mom will find out, and she’ll catch the next plane here if she doesn’t bully us into visiting. We’ll have to visit eventually, though.” He smiled to himself, easily able to imagine the excitement that the news would fill his mother’s house with. “You told your mom yet?” he added gently, reaching out to squeeze the man’s knee.
“Not yet.” Reid looked up from his paper. “I think I’ll include it in today’s letter.”
“We should go see her soon,” Morgan smiled. “We haven’t been since before Christmas.”
“She’s having less lucid episodes,” Spencer said. “And they’re likely to of only decreased in frequency since we last saw her.”
“We’ll go for a few days.” Derek said, inching along the sofa and shuffling under the other man’s legs, lifting them over his thighs to rest. “Then we’re more likely to get more time when she’s current. And she still enjoys your company, even when she doesn’t think she knows you.”
“Thank you.” He smiled warmly, wriggling himself a little so that he was laying more horizontally, his shirt bunching up a little around his middle. It was an open invitation, and his husband took it, sliding his hand under the fabric to smooth over his slight bump.
“Only one fetus,” he said.
“Which was the most statistically likely discovery of the scan,” Reid concurred, holding his paper aloft as he watched Derek smiling down at his belly. “You were right. I’m sorry I can’t help worrying.”
“I know that, baby,” Derek smiled up at him. “It’s you. You know too much for your own good sometimes, you worry a lot. But that’s okay-”
The sound of Morgan’s phone ringing cut him off, and his sighed as he fished it out of his pocket.
“That’s work.” Spencer recognised the ringtone, and pushed his glasses up his nose.
“Hey, Hotch,” Morgan said, shooting his husband a resigned smile, removing his hand from the other’s warm belly. “Yeah, we’ll be out of the house in five. Okay. Okay. C’ya soon.”
"It changes you for ever, but you are changing for ever anyway." - Margaret Mahy
“Bravery is not the absence of fear but the forging ahead despite being afraid.” - Robert Liparulo
“You’re pregnant,” Emily said. Reid looked up across the conference table, catching Morgan’s eye as he went.
“Yes,” he nodded. There was no point denying it now at sixteen weeks, when he thought the growth of his belly would soon be impossible to hide.
“Knew it,” Emily grinned, and beside her JJ smiled knowingly. “Rossi, you owe me a drink.”
“How did you know?” Spencer asked, knowing he was in the presence of profilers, but thought he’d done a good job keeping it quiet so far.
“You’ve been drinking decaf,” she said.
“You’ve worn bigger shirts the last few weeks,” JJ offered.
“Hotch has been keeping you behind,” Seaver said, smiling at the couple.
“Oh, and Morgan can’t keep his eyes off your belly,” Emily added.
“I knew you’d give us it away,” Reid feigned annoyance, narrowing his eyes at his husband.
Just then Garcia bustled in wearing a dress with a patchwork jigsaw pattern on it, smiling cheerfully at her team.
“What did I miss?” she asked, noticing the easy atmosphere.
“Reid’s pregnant,” JJ said.
“Finally it’s out,” Garcia said, handing off files to everyone.
“You knew?” Rossi piped up.
“Of course I did.” Penelope waved her hand dismissively, grinning as she took up her seat. “Can I take this moment to publicly congratulate you on your impending bad-ass genius baby?”
“Yeah, congratulations, Spence, Morgan.” JJ smiled warmly at them, and similar congratulations were offered. Below the table Morgan sought his hand and squeezed it gently.
“How far along are you?” Seaver asked, looking up from her file.
“Sixteen weeks," Reid said.
“Quite pregnant, then.” Rossi nodded.
At that moment Hotch came in, taking the electronic tablet Garcia held aloft for him.
“Sorry it’s early,” he said, casting his eyes around, “but this looks like a serious one. Everything okay?” he added, noticing the lingering looks in Reid’s direction.
“They know,” Morgan said.
“Alright,” their boss nodded as he sat down. “Congratulations, you two. JJ?”
Smiling and nodding at Garcia to get the images up on screen, she rose to talk them through the case.
Reid was sometimes weird about mirrors. Morgan had noticed it very early in their relationship, that if there was a mirror in the room in Spencer’s line of sight, if he was there too long he got skittish. He didn’t spend long looking in the mirror during his morning or evening routine, either. So it was a surprise for Derek to enter their bedroom and find Spencer naked, standing in front of the full length mirror on the inside of the wardrobe door.
“I look weird,” Spencer said, looking over his shoulder at his husband undressing.
“No you don’t,” Derek said gently.
“I do,” Reid assured. “Look at me. You can see my ribs,” he continued, turning to the side, “but I’ve got an extended stomach. I look like I’m suffering from malnutrition.”
“You’re not,” Derek pointed out, resting back on his elbows on the bed.
“I know I’m not, I’ve been eating at least five hundred extra calories than I usually would just to be safe, even though most recommendations say three hundred. My weight gain should be distributed across my body, but so far it’s concentrated on my stomach.”
“You’ve always been skinny, baby. You can’t force your body to work differently.”
“I know.” Reid’s hands ghosted over the sides of his slightly swollen belly, clearly still not comfortable with putting his hands there. “But my body isn’t the ideal host for incubating a fetus. Male-sexed bodies aren’t, from an evolutionary standpoint. The pelvis is too narrow. That’s why there are still so many complications from natural childbirth in male-sexed persons. Fifteen percent, sixty seven percent in areas of the world with less access to emergency medical services. That’s why caesarean birthing is considered standard for my sexual characteristics. No, my build certainly doesn’t lend itself to successful gestation.”
“I think you’re wrong,” Morgan said patiently. Spencer turned, looking unconvinced. “C’mere.”
He didn’t hesitate for long, closing the wardrobe door before he crossed the space to their bed, letting Derek guide him down against the pillows and soft sheets. Morgan’s slightly callous hand ran over the firm hill of Reid’s stomach, with his other arm supporting him next to his husband’s head.
“You’re into your second trimester, meaning what did you say it was? That three percent miscarriage rate is dropping every week. The scan said everything looked healthy, and the next one will too. You’re sleeping better, I’ve noticed, plus, pretty boy, you’re glowing.”
“I’m not glowing,” he said, “it’s just increased blood flow and oil secretion of the skin.”
“That’s what the pregnancy glow is, so you are glowing,” Morgan said, leaning down to kiss the man’s nose. “You really are beautiful right now, you know that?”
“You’re just reacting to my stomach because it’s an indicator of your virility,” Spencer said. “It’s a normal response in a pregnant animal’s mate.”
“There’s no ‘just’ about it, baby,” Derek assured. “Don’t discount it just because it’s instinct or something. You look healthy and beautiful, Spence. How are you feeling?”
“The nausea isn’t so bad in the mornings,” he said, watching his lover trace circles on his stomach. “My chest is tender, and a little swollen.” He propped at his chest with a finger. “And my nipples are getting darker.”
“All part of the package, sugar,” Morgan smiled, lowering his head to place several kisses on the man’s chest. “You wanna breastfeed?”
“If I can," Spencer said, lifting a hand to stroke over the back of Derek’s head. “Biological males have a pretty low success rate for long-term breast feeding, since they don’t receive the same oestrogen levels during puberty to develop their mammary tissue to the same degree as females. Although the pregnancy should provide enough growth to breastfeed, or at least express colostrum in the first week, which is the most important stage of breastfeeding since colostrum contains secretory immunoglobulin and other antibodies which help newborns develop, and protects against infection. After that there’s considerable debate on whether breast feeding is linked to higher intelligence.”
“No kid with your genes needs breast milk for smarts,” Derek pointed out. “They’re probably going to be smart no matter what. Just as long as they’re healthy. Or, not so much.” He added as an afterthought. “I’m gonna be ready for whatever pops out of you.”
“That’s good to know, because I wouldn’t be able to do this alone,” Spencer said, laughing an awkward laugh that his husband knew was slightly uneasy.
“You don’t have to go through anything alone, baby, you know that,” Morgan assured. “I’ll be here for you,” he stroked over the lower part of Reid’s swollen stomach, “and little fetus.”
“Little fetus?” Spencer echoed, genuine laughter colouring his voice this time.
“Yeah.” Derek grinned. He knew Spencer wasn’t entirely comfortable with it being referred to as a ‘baby’, and the smile his husband gave him told him that he appreciated Morgan’s effort.
The older man got out of bed briefly to pull the curtains to as Reid sorted the sheets, holding them up for Morgan to slip under in the now dim bedroom. Spencer hadn’t been the big spoon since Derek had found out about his pregnancy, but he didn’t mind, because the man fit so perfectly against his back, one arm up above their heads and the other spread protectively against his stomach. Reid still didn’t like the dark; it made him uneasy and sometimes panicky, but when he’d started sharing a bed with Morgan he’d found it wasn’t as bad. The curtains in their bedroom were thin enough to let the glow of the streetlight outside their house in, giving him just enough light to be able to sleep. He wriggled a little, fingertips glancing over the back of Morgan’s hand rested on his belly.
“I think I’ve been feeling it move,” he murmured.
“You have?” Derek’s fingers gripped a little tighter.
“You won’t be able to feel it for at least another six weeks,” he pointed out.
“I know that, we’ve got five nieces,” he huffed, turning his cheek against the back of Reid’s head. “How long have you been feeling movement?”
“Maybe a day or two,” Reid said. “I wasn’t sure if it was gas or another cause.”
“What does it feel like?”
“It’s sort of a flutter,” Spencer drummed his fingertips lightly and rapidly over the back of Derek’s hand. “It’s weird,” he exhaled slowly. “I don’t know, it-”
“Makes you realise it’s alive?” Morgan offered.
“I’ve always known it’s alive,” Reid said a little defensively. “Technically all cells are alive. A tumour is alive.”
“Makes it seem real?” he tried instead.
“I’ve never doubted the reality of being pregnant.”
“Look,” Derek said, grinning into the man’s neck, “is it a bad weird?”
“I don’t think so,” Spencer said, running his fingers up the other man’s arm below the sheets. “It doesn't feel bad, it’s sort of, well,” his voice got very quiet all of a sudden, merely more than a breathe, “nice.”
“Nice?” Morgan echoed, pulling Reid tighter to him and lifting his head to kiss the side of his husband’s face.
“It’s an interesting sensation, coupled with the physical reminder of the fetus I’m hosting. Movement is a good indicator of fetal health.”
Derek didn’t need Spencer to explain it further to him as he settled back behind him; he knew statistics could comfort him as much as worry him, and movement was a good sign. He was sure if Spencer hadn’t felt movement in the next few weeks he’d have began to worry. He ran his hand slowly up and down his lover’s thigh, kissing the back of his neck.
“I’m glad it’s a good weird,” he breathed. “Love you, Spence.”
“Love you, Derek,” the other replied, his fingers gently gripping Morgan’s wrist, moving his hand from his thigh to his belly. The older smiled to himself, cupping his big hand on the swell of the other’s stomach, holding out just a little hope, even though it was too early to do so, that maybe he’d feel something move against his palm.
“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” – Leo Tolstoy
Week seventeen brought the first time Reid’s pregnancy sickness made him have to excuse himself during the middle of delivering a profile and dash to the bathroom. He apologized to Hotch more than was necessary, and everyone else was sympathetic, while JJ had handed him a banana and said it would help. He’d been surprised, and then remembered they were rich in pyridoxine, which helped metabolise amino acids. Luckily that seemed to be the worst of it, and the sickness greatly reduced thereafter, whether the uptake of bananas in his diet was the cause wasn’t clear.
Week eighteen heralded a dramatic upward swing in Reid’s libido, and it seemed Morgan was only too happy to match it. His skin felt extra sensitive, it was easier than ever to get to orgasm, and several times he’d woken Derek up in the middle of the night just to turn accidental sleep-touching into deliberate sexual touching. That his husband seemed enamoured by his growing belly, but not to the point where it made him feel like he was a new fetish, also made their lovemaking fulfilling and exciting.
By week nineteen his craving for raspberry jam had become such that he’d just wander to the cupboard and take a spoonful of the stuff to indulge in without even bothering to spread it on bread. He’d gone off the strawberry pots of jello they usually bought, and they’d had to switch to the previously unfavoured green lime. There were also several nights where Morgan felt Reid get up and heard him go downstairs, and a quick sleepy kiss when he got back into bed revealed lips that tasted of chocolate, and he’d worked out in the morning that his husband sometimes got a craving for ice cream, and would just go eat a spoonful and then come back to bed.
At week twenty, Reid was agitated in the waiting room as they waited for their second sonogram. They were half way through the pregnancy, and Spencer’s belly had expanded considerably in the previous weeks. Morgan wasn’t sure what was contributing most to his husband’s agitation; his paranoia that the sonogram was going to reveal some manner of complication, or the comment they’d heard made of them as they crossed the hospital parking lot. Even with their jobs, they surrounded themselves with people they trusted, and sometimes it meant hostility to them came as a surprise. The woman who had tugged at her child’s arm to move him along faster, muttered ‘So wrong,’ and given them a wide birth reminded them both that to many so dogmatically inclined, Reid getting pregnant was one of ‘god’s mistakes’. Reid never normally had much response to stranger’s judgement, but Derek had felt the man’s grip go limp in his, and now he was rubbing his hands nervously over his face and fidgeting in his seat.
“Everything’s fine, baby,” Derek assured him.
“You can’t know that,” he mumbled.
“And it does you no good worrying that there might be something wrong.” It was chiding, but it was said kindly, a hand running down Reid’s thigh to squeeze his knee with the words. “You need to think positive.”
“That’s easy for you to say.”
“You think so, do you?” Morgan waited for Reid to meet his gaze. “Baby, I worry about the same things as you. I may not have an eidetic memory and remember everything I’ve ever read about pregnancy, but I know a lot about it, and the risks. But the odds are stacked in our favour, and I’ll tear myself up if I don’t block out the small percents and complications. I don’t want that to happen to you. I need you to try switching off that big old brain of yours sometimes. Not for me, but for you.”
“I’ll try,” Spencer offered with a smile. He was already trying, perhaps not as much as he could, but trying none the less.
The sonogram was normal, and their fetus – they declined the offer to determine its sex - was now bigger and more human-looking than alien, and as the technician pushed the wand over Spencer’s belly she was able to reveal said fetus sucking its thumb. Spencer blinked rather fast a few times and then launched into a ramble about the development of the innate sucking ability, but Derek wasn’t really listening, because he was watching the shadowy image of their child on screen sucking its thumb. For the first time since finding out Reid was pregnant Morgan wished the man was more socially average, wished that he could coax some normal response from him, even the cliché teary-eyed wonder of impending parenthood. Of course it didn’t come. Reid’s words had tapered off though, and he was watching the sonogram screen as the technician continued to check things.
Their obstetrician talked them through the sonogram, explaining that everything looked on track, and even though Reid wasn’t gaining as much weight as she’d wanted him to, it was still more than she’s actually expected. Things were routine until they got onto the subject of birth.
“Have you thought about birth options?” Dr Chan asked.
“We haven’t decided what we’re doing yet,” Spencer said. Derek consciously stopped himself from frowning, not wanting to give away his confusion as he glanced sideways at his husband. They hadn’t discussed birth options because Morgan didn’t think there was anything to discuss.
He didn’t bring it up until they’ve returned home though, and he was reluctant to because Reid was in a much better mood than a few hours previous. Morgan didn’t want to ruin that, but he had to ask.
“Baby boy,” he started, leaning against the wall separating the living room and kitchen and watching Spencer sorting through some papers, “is there any particular reason you didn’t tell the doctor you’re having a caesarean section?”
“Well, I’m not sure whether I want one yet,” he said, having paused but not looking around.
“Reid,” his surname, a sure sign of worry, “you know a caesarean is safer than natural birth for men. You were going on about the statistics a few weeks ago.”
“Then why would you even entertain the idea of that risk?” Reid still hadn’t looked around at him. “Is this about it being ‘natural’? I didn’t think you’d care whether it was considered natural or not.”
“I don’t.” Reid turned on the spot.
“I don’t get it, then,” Morgan said. He got the distinct feeling he should get it, when Reid’s face fell, his bottom lip sticking out just a little and his eyelids lowered, hands now crossed over his chest.
“If I give birth via caesarean section,” he murmured, “they have to give me narcotics.”
And Morgan realised what he had missed. He closed his eyes, a slow exhale twisting up out of his throat.
“I’m sorry baby,” he said, opening his eyes again. “I didn’t even think about that.”
“It’s a major surgery. I’d have to have narcotics, and I don’t want to be risking addiction at the same time I become a parent.”
“Spencer, I don’t want you to take narcotics if you don’t want to.” Morgan took several steps forward. “But I really don’t want you to risk a natural birth. It’s risky, and your pelvis is narrow, and if you don’t take painkillers you are going to be in so much pain.” He reached out, squeezing the man’s arm. “But I’ll be there, whatever you want. If you want a natural birth I will be there by your side, holding your hand and helping you recover. If you choose a caesarean, I’ll be there every second to make sure you don’t get hooked again if that’s what you need me to do.”
“Thank you,” Reid said, forcing out a smile. Morgan knew by now it wasn’t entirely genuine, but he also knew Reid didn’t think to purposefully make himself upset.
“C’mere,” he smiled, holding out his arm. His husband complied gladly, but hesitated pressing himself against the other, having to accommodate his belly in the process. He rested his chin on Morgan’s shoulder, glad when the man wrapped his arms around his back and held him close, making clear where his priority was despite his swollen belly pressed between them.
“Love you,” Reid murmured.
“Always,” Morgan added, placing a lingering kiss on the man’s strong cheek.
“Every habit he's ever had is still there in his body, lying dormant like flowers in the desert. Given the right conditions, all his old addictions would burst into full and luxuriant bloom.” - Margaret Atwood
“Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed.” - Irene Peter
When the BAU team happened to have a case in Nevada two weeks after their 20 week scan, Reid and Morgan stayed behind once it was concluded, both taking a long weekend to fly to Las Vegas to visit Reid’s mother. If any big cases came up they’d have to head to where they were needed, but they put the thought of that possibility aside. The little time they had meant it was impossible to avoid the first available slot to visit her – the evening they landed in Vegas - coinciding with a time when she didn’t recognise who Spencer was.
They sat with her none the less, and said they were waiting to talk to another patient and engaged her in conversation for almost two hours. They avoided mentioning their names so they didn’t confuse her, and she asked them about their life, and about Spencer’s pregnancy as most people would in casual conversation. Spencer was well-practiced at engaging her even when she didn’t recognise him, and masked any negative feeling when she began talking about her son who was “at college”. Eventually she got tired and agitated and they made their leave to return to the hotel. Reid was quiet the whole way back, and his pace quickened from the hotel lobby when two women clocked his belly and cooed in his direction.
Morgan opened their hotel door with the cardkey and Reid tried to slip through the gap, realised he wasn’t as thin as he once was, and had to wait for Morgan to push it open further. He was too distracted to notice Morgan smiling to himself as he closed the door behind them. Reid turned on the spot, fiddling with the strap of his bag as Morgan closed the distance between them.
“I’m sorry, baby,” Derek smiled kindly, putting his hands on Spencer’s shoulders. “I know it’s hard for you to see her like that.”
“Don’t,” Reid said, shrugging out of Morgan’s hold. The man seemed surprised, his hands lingering in front of him as Reid turned away.
“Baby?” he said carefully.
“Actually, you don’t know, do you?” he said shortly. “You haven’t even thought about it.”
Reid pulled his bag off her his head, throwing it with some force onto the bed. It bounced and fell off the side, but he ignored it on his way towards the hotel window, where he leant his forehead on the glass, noting he had to position his hips further back than he once would have to compensate for his belly. The glass was cool against his slightly damp forehead; it was still warm in Nevada in October, and just walking around hadn’t been as easy as it once was with the extra mass of his belly straining against his shirt. He only just fit into his clothes now, he knew he’d need to buy special paternity clothing soon, but for some reason the prospect sounded even worse than regular clothes shopping.
“I’m used to seeing her like that now,” Spencer sighed. There was a long pause as he gently rested his stomach against the wall below the window, a slight pressure on his expanse of stomach. “But what if I’ve passed that onto our fetus?”
“You’re past the typical age for a schizophrenic break,” Morgan said slowly.
“Even if I don’t have schizophrenia, it’s been documented to skip a generation,” Reid murmured. “And since I’m at twenty two weeks gestation, I doubt there’s time to seek elective termination, with the-”
“Reid!” Derek snapped, so suddenly Reid turned around to look at him curiously. “You said you wanted to do this!” Morgan looked horrified, and hurt, and it took Reid a moment to realise what had caused it. “You even told me to stop bringing up abortion because you wanted this, and then you just drop it out there again like this? You said you wanted this!”
“I do!” Spencer’s eyes widened. “But schizophrenia is-”
“I don’t care!” Derek shouted, holding up his hand. Spencer looked taken aback and fell silent, hands crossing around his chest. “I’ve been trying so hard to accommodate that you’re treating this pregnancy like a health issue that’s gonna be over in four months. And yeah, I guess technically it is, and you should get to go through it however you want. But it’s like you’re forgetting that at the end of that, we’re gonna have a baby. I don’t care about the schizophrenia, Spencer. If we have a kid who ends up having schizophrenia, then so what? We’ll still love them, and look after them. And if they turn out to be ill, we’ll apologize every damn day for passing that on. And if our kid is angry at us for that, then we’ll let them be. But I want this kid. I know you think of it as a fetus, and that’s fine, but it’s already our kid to me.”
“You have no idea what’s it like to spend your life wondering if you’re mentally ill.”
“You’re right, I don’t,” Morgan agreed.
“I don’t blame my mother,” he continued, “but we know the risk. I know. It’s not fair.”
“You remember when I found out you were pregnant?” Morgan said patiently. “At the hospital? The first thing you brought up was termination, because it was practical. Logical. I had to pry it out of you that you were emotionally attached. I think you’re doing the same thing now. You’re putting processes of rationality, the stuff you’re best at, before what you’re feeling because you’re not so sure about that. In an ideal world we’d be able to make sure our kid had zero risk of schizophrenia. But you’re pregnant, and you’re right, it’s too late to get an abortion. I don’t think you want one, Spencer, I really don’t. Because-”
“We promised not to profile each other,” Spencer said in a small panicked voice.
“Yeah, we did, when we were completely honest with each other.” Derek shifted his balance to his other leg, dropping his hip into place. “I’m not saying you've been lying, but you haven’t been talking to me about how you’re feeling like we promised we would. And I guess I haven’t either.”
“Go on then,” Reid nodded bitterly, lips tight, “profile me.”
Morgan took a long breath in through his nose, knowing this could end badly.
“I think you considered abortion in the early weeks, but I don’t think you've even considered it an elective possibly for months. I think you’d have brought it up earlier, brought up schizophrenia risk as reason, if you really wanted to. You’re bringing it up now because you think you should, that you should feel guilty for the genetic odds you’re passing on. You’re bringing it up now because you get to sooth your guilt by lamenting the culpability you have in the risk, but at the same time you know you won’t have to choose that, because it’s too late by law. You’re- you’re scared, Spencer. You’re empathising with your our unborn child. You feel guilty, and responsible, and you’re hormonal, and... you’re crying.”
He was, turning his face away and muscles stretching as he tried to keep the emotions from playing out across his features.
“Don’t,” Reid said, breath hitching as he pre-empted Morgan reaching for him. He hated that Morgan was right, and that he knew it. He hate that he knew he had avoided self-reflecting for months because he didn't know how to deal with the emotions being pregnant was causing him. He hated that he was crying; Derek hadn't seen him cry – tears from pain or laughter not withstanding – since their last big fight, and that was over two years ago. He sniffed and sidestepped Derek’s outstretched arm, wiping his eyes with the backs of his hands as he stepped around him.
“I need a shower.”
“We need to talk.”
“I think you've said enough," he snapped. His husband might be right, but it didn't make the truth any easier to deal with as he slammed the bathroom door, and didn't lock it – he’d ended the conversation, and he trusted Morgan to honour that and leave him alone.
He could feel the fetus moving as he undressed, sniffing back the tears that were still coming. He prodded his stomach with his thumb, as if that would still the thing, but of course it didn't. He wondered if the raised voiced had disturbed it, and was surprised by the sudden urge he had to comfort it. It was unnecessary, really – the fluid surrounding the fetus and his heartbeat should create regular patterns of sound, movement and sensation that would calm it. He knew it would be several weeks until the fetus had any chance of actually feeling such contact to his abdomen, around the same time movement would be detectable to others besides the host. That said, under the stream of water in the shower, Reid wasn’t sure that might not already be the case as his soapy hands glided across his swollen belly. Since first detecting movement weeks earlier, it had slowly become less general and more precise, and now Spencer was almost certain he could tell the difference between when the fetus was awake and moving actively, and when it was simply rolling and moving to get more comfortable in sleep or otherwise.
When he pressed down on the left of his belly, he felt movement on the left too. He drew his hand away quickly, and almost laughed that his reactionary thought to the fetus apparently responding to him was that he didn’t want to encourage it. He was five and a half months pregnant and he still hadn’t got used to the idea that there was something so substantial living in him, and hadn’t been able to dispel the fear that such massive changes to his body would be in vain. The risks were considerable enough that he hadn’t been able to move past them; every time the fetus didn’t move at the same times he’d been noticing, he panicked. Every time he got random pain, he panicked. Every time someone else saw his swollen stomach and their faces lit up with wonder he wanted to shy out of their sight, seething with jealousy that they got to react so without the accompanying fear and physical discomfort he had to deal with. He wanted to be like the people on the pregnancy pamphlets he’d read, or like the people whose experiences were in the books he’d read; relishing the ‘joys’ of pregnancy. Instead he felt paranoid and slow on his feet, increasingly huge and limited; he couldn’t sleep on his stomach, couldn’t drink regular coffee, couldn’t even sit and read for more than an hour without having to use the bathroom because his uterus was pressing against his bladder.
Spencer turned his face upwards and moved under the shower spray, hands running over his neck as the fetus continued to move, pressing what Reid assumed was a foot into his ribs, which was only just shy of painful. The movement was reassuring, so much so that Reid anticipated it, despite finding it weird to be hosting something that eventually would be a person. It was already alive, and already human, but if Reid hadn’t seen the sonogram images he might not even believe it was happening. The fetus was still moving when Reid was dry and naked, and went back through into the main room of their hotel.
Morgan wasn’t there.
He didn’t pause to wonder if it was strange that he suddenly felt naked and exposed only because Derek wasn’t there, and hurried over to his go-bag and picked out the sweats he wore in bed on cases. After a pause, he reached into Morgan’s go-bag and picked out one of the other man’s t-shirts too; a navy blue one, and slipped it on. It was loose on him, fitted just a little across the widest part of his stomach, not clingy like his own clothes which he had to concede were almost too small for his expanding belly. He perched on the edge of the bed and felt like crying again; Morgan only stormed off when he was at his angriest, when he feared saying something in a rage he’d regret. Spencer hadn’t even considered that his own handling of the pregnancy would have such an effect on his husband; part of him wanted to be angry himself, to fully commit to the idea that Morgan should simply adapt to how he wanted to handle it; a bigger part just wished he wasn’t worrying that the pregnancy wouldn’t remain viable, with the same intensity he used to worry about his mental health. For the first time in a long time, he wanted to be average.
When Derek let himself back into the hotel room not five minutes later, the first thing he saw was Reid sitting cross-legged near the pillows on the bed, wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand again.
“Baby boy,” he murmured, crossing over quickly and slipping out of his shoes and jacket, joining the other man on the bed. “I’m sorry,” he said, putting the plastic bag he’d been carrying down between his knees. “I thought I’d be back by the time you got out of the shower,” He offered as explanation, at the same time he offered his husband a pint carton of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream and a spoon.
Reid suddenly felt stupid; there was no tension in Morgan, no sign he’d stormed out at all, merely gone to fetch ice cream. He knew before the man spoke again that it was an apology of itself, so he opened the carton and dug his spoon in. Derek was doing the same with his own carton – toffee pecan – when he said something.
“I’m sorry I upset you, baby. I shouldn’t have ambushed you after we’d just seen your mom.”
It went quiet, but not awkward as they both tucked into their ice cream. Reid had been craving sweetness and cold in equal measure; the last time Garcia had bustled through the bullpen with an iced coffee in hand, Spencer had realised he was considering whether he could break into her office and steal it unnoticed.
“You’re right though,” Spencer said softly, spooning ice cream into his mouth. “I’m scared. I’m really scared.”
“What’s scaring you, baby?” he encouraged.
“I don’t think I’m experiencing normal levels of prenatal attachment. I can’t think of it as anything but a fetus; I’ve tried, tried to think about when it’s born, but I panic. First time parents usually experience higher level of prenatal attachment. High levels of prenatal attachment correlate to lower risk of child abuse in the future-”
“Spencer, you’re not gonna hurt our kid,” Morgan said seriously.
“Low prenatal attachment has been linked to poor parent-infant attachment, and post-partum depression.”
“Baby, I’m not trying to say you’re wrong about how you feel,” Derek said carefully, gesturing with a spoonful of ice cream, “but why do you think what you’re feeling is ‘low’? What do you think you should be feeling?”
“Physical stimulation,” he murmured, staring down into his carton, feeling a little pink colouring his cheeks. “Wanting to touch my stomach, talk to the fetus and stuff.”
“And you don’t feel like you want to do that.”
“I... no. I don’t know,” he whispered. “Sometimes it feels like I want to. But I... don’t. I stop myself. I don’t know why.”
Morgan’s shoulders shrugged in a silent laugh, and Reid looked hurt. A soothing hand came out to touch his arm, his husband’s dark eyes kind.
“Baby, I don’t think you’re as unattached as you think,” he said.
“What do you mean?”
“For maybe, four weeks,” Derek started, adjusting his hold on his carton, “you’ve been talking to yourself more. When you read, when you’re getting your logic on. When you’re reading you read passages aloud, and I’m not sure you even realise it. And that started when you were about seventeen weeks pregnant. When most of the science says prenatal hearing begins to develop. And I know you know that, genius, whether or not it was at the front of your mind.”
Spencer’s brow was creased, spoon lingering in his mouth.
“Where are your elbows, Spencer?”
“What?” Reid said, and instinctively pressed his elbowed inwards, and realised they were pressed against the side of his belly. He looked surprised to register his own body language, and immediately moved his arms.
“You touch your belly at night, too. I think you like the contact – I mean earlier at the window you were pressing your belly against the wall a little, and that’s not the first time I’ve noticed you do that. On tables, desks, walls, just resting your belly against them. And you don’t mind me touching it. Last week after we did it – Tuesday, I think – I had my hand on your stomach and I was half asleep. I felt my hand slip off, and then you put it back on your belly.”
“Wednesday,” Reid corrected, looking with interest at the contents of his ice cream carton.
“The point is, pretty boy,” Morgan carried on, extending his spoon and pressing Reid’s chin with the cold smooth underside, lifting his face and finding his line of sight, “just because you’re not feeling yourself up or wearing belly-shirts to show off your bump, doesn’t mean you’re not attaching. You gotta do this the way you think is best, baby. But I’ve known you a long time, I think long enough and intimately enough to say better than anyone else; you would feel better if you try switching off that big old brain of yours.”
“I know, bab,.” Morgan said. “Maybe we can think of stuff to help you switch off.”
“Like what?” Reid asked.
“Well,” Derek sat back against the pillows, and offered a spoonful of his ice cream to his husband. Reid leant forward a little and took it, humming a sound of approval. “When we get back home, we could decorate the nursery.”
“We don’t even know which room we’re going to put it in,” Spencer said, offering a taste of his own ice cream to Derek and trying to ignore the little flutter in the middle of his chest.
“The room next to ours,” he said, as if it was the most obvious answer in the world.
“We don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Morgan said, attempting to read his husband’s face.
“No, no,” he said quickly, “we should. I mean I do.”
“Okay,” Morgan beamed. “First chance we get, we’ll go to the hardware store and look at paint.”
“Did you know the practice of assigning colours to the gender of newborns began in the 1920s?” Spencer said, ease slipping back into his voice when he got onto ground he knew.
“Really, that recent?” Derek raised his eyebrows in mild interest.
“And actually until the 1940s pink was considered a colour for boys, and blue for girls. Pink was considered close to red, which was a masculine colour, and blue a delicate colour, associated with the Virgin Mary.”
“Pink and blue are boring,” Morgan said. “My bedroom was blue when I was a kid. Like, baby blue. My mom would never let me paint it navy like I wanted.”
“My room in the first house I lived in was tope,” Reid offered. “When we moved the walls were never repainted, so I was in a beige room. But it was bigger, I could get more book in there, so I was happy.”
“I bet,” Derek chuckled. “I can put up a bookshelf in the nursery, easy. And some shelves. And hey, maybe I’ll make the crib.”
“Really?” Reid said, mouth around another spoonful of ice cream.
“Yeah really. You don’t think I can?”
“I didn’t say that,” he teased. Leaning back on the pillows with his husband and peering into his carton, wondering if eating this much ice cream in one sitting was going to be something he ended up regretting.
“It’ll be the best damn nursery you’ve ever seen.” Derek nodded to himself. “Fancy crib, bookshelf full of books, big-ass chair-”
“Have you thought about this a lot?” Spencer said suddenly, avoiding eye contact.
“About the hypothetical of our child. Which, I suppose is less of a hypothetical now.”
“It’s-” he exhaled slowly through his nose, wondering if answering was going to completely ruin the light hearted mood they’d managed to create in the wake of their argument. “It’s not hypothetical to me, pretty boy. So yeah, I’ve thought about it a lot.”
“I haven’t,” Spencer admitted. “I mean, I have, before I was pregnant – especially when I’m with Henry, or Sarah and Desirée’s kids. But not since I found out. That’s weird, right? I guess I thought we’d adopt, so I’d have all the time it took to finalise an adoption to think about what it was going to be like with a child.”
“Oh please,” Derek laughed gently, “if we’d adopted you’d have been the same. Panicked, worried, full of statistics about adoption failures, afraid to hope in case something goes wrong, like you are now. I know you, pretty boy, and I know you’re gonna be an amazing father, however you handle the being pregnant part. And in the end, the parenthood is the bit that matters most, right?”
“I guess.” Reid couldn’t help but smile at the faith Morgan had in him.
“We’re gonna do okay, Spencer,” he said, nudging his elbow against the other man. “That much I can promise you.”
His mother beamed at him, standing up from her chair and taking his face in her hands, smoothing one over his hair.
“Derek,” she said warmly as she broke away from her son, and he greeted her with a kiss on each cheek, and offered her the flowers they had brought for her. “They’re lovely, thank you. Just look at you, Spencer. Sit, sit.”
They sat on the couch next to Diana’s chair as she put the flowers carefully on the coffee table in front of them, while Reid tried to get comfortable; folding one leg over the other was no longer ideal, and it had got to the point where having his hands in his lap meant essentially hugging his belly. He settled for putting one arm up on the side of the couch and the other braced against the top of his thigh.
“You’re glowing, Spencer," Diana cooed, looking proudly at her son. Derek put his hand on the other man’s knee, smiling at him when he briefly caught his eye. “How are you finding pregnancy?”
“It’s not what I was expecting,” Reid said diplomatically.
“I don’t think anyone is truly prepared for pregnancy,” she said kindly. Spencer smiled; hearing that from his mother was somehow more comforting than the times most other people had said it. “You’re still so thin, Spencer,” he looked pointedly at Morgan, “are you making sure he’s eating well?”
“I am,” Derek nodded.
“Are you taking folic acid?”
“Yes,” Spencer nodded too.
“And when did you start paternity leave?”
Morgan shifted a little in his seat; he never asked to read what Spencer wrote in his daily letters to his mother, so he didn’t realise he hadn’t told her he was still working. He had guessed that Reid’s mom didn’t know quite how dangerous his job could be, but he assumed she had a sense.
“I haven’t yet, mom,” he said calmly.
“Spencer,” she frowned, “I don’t like the thought of you doing that kind of work while you’re pregnant. This is your adventure, you don’t need to go out and find more.”
“I’m not in the field,” he reasoned.
“But you still carry a gun,” Diana said, slightly accusingly.
“It’s for protection, mom.”
“Don’t worry,” Morgan interjected, “I’ve been looking after him. He’d not doing anything dangerous.”
It was true; Reid didn’t feel too restricted working point from whatever police station they were centred at on cases.
“How long are you going to take off when the baby comes?” she pressed.
“I don’t know yet, mom. It’s too early to say.”
“Before you know it the baby will be born,” she said knowingly, “if you haven’t decided by then, I think you’ll know exactly what to do.”
Beside him, Morgan could feel Reid tensing as his mother asked a series of questions that were expected small talk about pregnancy, all of which Spencer had to answer with a negative.
“Have you furnished the baby’s room yet?”
“Did you buy a stroller?”
“No, not yet, mom.”
“What baby name have you considered?”
“We.. we haven’t talked about names yet, mom.”
Derek pulled at Reid’s wrist, getting his hand out from under his leg and linking their fingers together. He smiled reassuringly at his husband.
“We’re just starting to do all the planning, Diana,” he said evenly. “It’s been a bit of an adjustment, realising we’re going to have a kid.”
Diana nodded her understanding, continuing to nod as she reached behind her on her chair, finally stopping when she brought out what she had moved for. She held the folded fabric out to her son.
“I had a nurse help me collect this from my things in storage,” she explained as Spencer took it from her. Unfolding it, he discovered it was a blanket; pale green and yellow stripes of knitted lambs wool, extremely soft between his fingers. “I knitted that while I was pregnant with you,” she explained. “It was something I found helpful when I had difficult days off my medication. It was repetitive and therapeutic. You have to hand wash it, the wool is quite delicate. You had it in your crib until you moved to a bed, and- well,” she smiled, “I wanted you to have it.”
“Mom,” Spencer said, surprised to find his voice a little thick, “thank you.”
She reached out and took his hand, squeezing it and smiling kindly at him.
“I loved you from the moment I set eyes on you.”
“Not before?” Derek said. Two pairs of eyes slid to him; his husband’s were confused, his mother-in-law’s were too, and then she frowned.
“Well,” she sounded flustered, offended, but he didn’t apologize like he wanted to; he’d take her thinking less of him if he got the response he expected. “When my attachment to my child formed doesn’t make me a bad mother, I had a difficult pregnancy, and just because-”
“Mom,” Spencer said, holding up a calming hand and giving Derek a look that was halfway between thankful and annoyed, “mom. He’s not asking to call your maternal instincts into question, he’s asking on my behalf.”
“What do you mean?” she looked confused, rubbing her neck anxiously.
“I’ve just been worried,” Spencer said. “That I’m not forming prenatal attachments at the expected rate.”
“Oh, Spencer.” Relief relaxed her face, a gentle chiding glance spared for Derek, “Nobody expects anything of you Spencer, it’s none of their business. Some parents connect earlier than others, some need to hold their baby in their arms before it clicks. There’s isn’t a normal way you should be feeling. You’re going to be a great parent, Spencer, I can tell. A mother knows these things.”
Derek squeezed his husband’s hand for good measure, although he had a feeling his mother’s words were much more powerful at that moment.
“I can’t believe you sold me out to my mother,” Spencer said, pushing up the seat rest between their two seats on the plane and not sounding all that annoyed.
“Sorry baby, but I thought if anyone could help you realise you’re worrying too much it was her,” Derek said softly.
“If my spine didn’t feel like it’s going to snap any second, I’d be mad at you,” he teased, ignoring the occasional gaze at his belly from the young woman sharing their aisle.
“Your back hurts?” Morgan looked concerned.
“It’s not so bad sitting down.” Reid waved his hand dismissively. Morgan’s eyes lingered on him a while, before he leant forward to pull out the in-flight magazine. Reid’s hands absently pulled his cardigan down over his belly, straightening the buttons along the curve. He was probably going to have to concede defeat and let Garcia take him paternity clothes shopping.
“Green,” he said under his breath.
“What?” Derek looked around.
“Green.” Spencer said more surely, the nail of his thumb twitching back and forth over a tiny section of his stomach, as if he was scratching an itch. “We should paint the nursery green. It’s a colour without a strong gender bias, it’s been documented to be calming and it has associations with growth and restfulness.”
Morgan waited until his husband looked at him, big brown eyes below slightly raised eyebrows, apprehensive he was about to be dismissed. Derek’s mouth twitched into a smile.
“Green it is then.”
“When you moved, I felt squeezed with a wild infatuation and protectiveness. We are one. Nothing, not even death, can change that.” - Suzanne Finnamore
“But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?” - Albert Camus
“How was it?” Morgan asked, slipping onto the sofa next to his pregnant husband.
“Actually it wasn’t that bad.” He gestured at the shopping bags nearby. “Garcia did the hard work, I just had to say yes or no.”
“How much did you buy?” Derek lifted Spencer’s feet into his lap, pulling off his mismatched socks and setting them aside before he quickly got to work massaging the other’s feet.
“Ten shirts, four pairs of slacks, a waistcoat,” he listed, sighing contentedly, resting back into the sofa and unbuttoning the top of his trousers, which were too tight around his growing belly, “two cardigans, some socks-”
“Of course,” Morgan commented below his breath.
“-and two undershirts.”
“For after I give birth. They’re to stop looser clothing irritating my chest.”
“Good thinking.” Derek nodded, thumbing the arches of his husband’s feet. In the four days since they’d returned from Vegas, they’d done more to plan for the eventual birth than they had for five and a half months; Morgan had done one coat of light apple green paint in the nursery, they’d ordered a changing table and carpet for the room, and Reid had booked them into several antenatal classes. There were still times when Derek thought Spencer was uncomfortable about the whole thing, but he reasoned that it would be worse if they were underprepared.
“We need to set the alarm, since we’re going to that class before work tomorrow,” Reid said absently, wiggling his toes. “It might help-”
He was interrupted by the telephone ringing, and with an apologetic look Morgan extracted himself from under Reid’s feet.
“Hi mamma,” He heard from the kitchen. “Yeah, we’re fine. I know, we work.” Morgan came back in, tailed by Clooney and planted himself back on the sofa, smiling to himself as Reid braced a hand on the front of his belly as he pushed himself straighter. It was moved a second later, but Morgan had been noticing the touches more and more since he’d told his lover he knew he’d been unconsciously touching the growing proof of his pregnancy. “We’re both here, I’m gonna put you on speaker, okay?”
“Spencer?” Came the voice through the phone as Morgan set it on the coffee table.
“Hello Fran,” Reid’s fingers twitched against his thigh as though he’d thought to wave. “How are you?”
Clooney gave a little bark.
“Hi there Clooney!” she said. “I’m fine, dear. Derek I’m sorry I missed your call, and you know I love that you call so often, but you never do it at the same times, so I can’t always be home.”
“I know mamma, it’s okay.”
“Yes, but you told me to ring back, and usually you don’t leave a message, you just call again.” she sounded a little worried. “Is there something wrong?”
“No, everything’s fine.” He looked to Spencer, who nodded. He knew this conversation had been a long time coming, and he could only be grateful Morgan had delayed while he was a-typical about their situation. “Just that we have some news.”
“You’re coming to see me?” she asked hopefully.
“I think so,” Morgan went on, grinning, “but that’s not the news.”
He cast his eyes to Spencer again, who smiled at him, and when he noticed the man’s fingers gently drumming against the swell of his belly near his thigh he felt warmth rise in his chest.
“Mamma, Spencer’s pregnant.”
The sound Fran Morgan made down the phone was somewhere between a joyous yell, a surprised yelp, a sob and an animalistic fierce growl, and it left both men grinning.
“Oh my god! Derek! Spencer! I’m so happy for you!” she cooed. “Oh my god, my baby is having a baby! Oh wow! Has it sunk in yet? Are you still in shock?”
“Mom, wait, don’t be angry,” Morgan said calmly, “but we’ve known for a while.”
“Oh?” she didn’t quite manage to hide the note of disappointment in her voice. “How pregnant are you?”
“Twenty three weeks, Fran,” Spencer said.
“That’s-” a pause on the line, “that’s almost six months!”
“I’m sorry, mom, but we had to adjust.”
“You could have told your mom, Derek,” she chided. “You need your family at a big time like this, and Spencer doesn’t have a mom that can help him through a-sorry, Spencer. I don’t mean anything by it, I know if she could Diana would-”
“It’s fine,” Reid said kindly.
“So, anyway,” she went on, trying to cover the awkwardness, “when are you coming to see me?”
“We don’t know, mom, with work-”
“Come for Thanksgiving," she said. “That’s a month away, you can get two days off work for that, right?”
“We can,” Reid piped up, giving Morgan a significant look.
“Good! Sarah and Malcolm will bring the kids, Des and her girls, it’ll be a lovely family celebration. Speaking of your sisters, are you going to tell them?”
“I’ll call them after this,” Derek said.
“Good. Is he eating right? Are you eating right, Spencer?”
“Are you having cravings?”
“Ice cream, mostly,” Spencer said.
“Well you’ll have to let me know if there’s anything unusual you want a few days before you come. When I was pregnant with Derek I had such cravings for carrots, but I had to dip them in peanut butter. I’m surprised he didn’t come out orange.”
“Oh come on, as far as pregnancy stories go that is tame.”
“Yeah, well. We’re hungry here, so I’m gonna take the phone into the kitchen while I rustle up dinner.”
“Oh okay. Bye Spencer! Keep hydrated, keep rested, and I’ll see you soon!”
“Thank you Fran. Looking forward to Thanksgiving.”
“Give me a sec, mom,” Derek said, and hit the mute button as he scooped up the phone. “You are hungry, right?”
“Good. You relax, you’ve been on your feet too much today.”
He hadn’t been on his feet any longer than a day at work, but he just smiled as Morgan put a kiss on his forehead and headed into the kitchen where he could hear him resuming conversation with his mother. Telling Fran somehow felt like the last big step they had to take; everyone of note in their lives knew now, there was no hiding or denying what was impending. Of course there were also all the physical symptoms; a swollen abdomen, a sore chest, a uterus filling up space where his other organs usually were, making him need to pee more often and making breathing a little more laborious than usual. He was still worried about the risks of pregnancy, but he thought about them with a certain surrender now; all he could do was make sure he did everything he could to reduce his risks, and prepare to the almost entire inevitability of parenthood.
Derek didn’t think he’d ever seen Spencer so at ease with Clooney as he had been during his pregnancy. When the dog got overexcited Reid still sometimes got a little jumpy around him, but the canine had been considerably calmer in the past months. It had even reached the point when he’d rather sit by Spencer’s feet than follow Morgan out into the garden to play. He was still surprised when he crossed the living room to Spencer in his armchair, reading a book, and at three feet away was growled at.
“Hey!” he chided as Reid looked up from his book. He moved again and Clooney growled, again, sitting up in front of Reid’s feet. “What’s gotten into you, boy?” he said a disbelieving laugh, but when he tried to move around the side of the chair Clooney started to bark at him. “Clooney.” His tone had switched to firm, but Clooney continued to bark. When Morgan looked like he’d had quite enough dissent from his canine and lean down to shove him out of the way, he flinched when Clooney snapped at his hand. It was threatening more than outright aggression, but Morgan had never experienced it directed at him.
“Clooney,” Reid chose then to pipe up, his voice soft. The change was immediate; Clooney turned, ears up, tail wagging and focused on Spencer.
“What...” Morgan started, shaking his head in confusion. “When did you get all protective?”
Spencer got up, Clooney right by his heel as he moved to the sofa and resettled. The dog put his head in the man’s lap and snuffled his snout against the curve of his belly. Spencer met Derek’s eyes pointedly, and titled his head to the space next to him. As strange as he found having to almost ask permission to be close to his husband while Clooney was there, he joined him. Reid put his hand up, pushing the dog’s nose away further down his thigh, placating him with a scratch behind his ears.
“Is he challenging my status as top of the pack?” Morgan wondered aloud.
“I think he’s just being protective,” Reid said, noticing his husband’s curious eyes as he pulled his cardigan up to above the curve of his torso. “Our pack dynamic isn’t typical, anyway. I’m not sure if he sees me as the beta male or the alpha female.”
“Baby, what are you doing?” Derek asked as he watched Reid unbuttoning a few buttons at the bottom of his shirt, push his slacks - with their elasticised panel in the front to compensate for his growth – down under his stomach, and push his shirt aside to reveal the skin of his swollen belly. He reached out and took Morgan by the wrist, and pulled his hand against the exposed flesh.
“What are you-” And then he felt it; against his fingertips, a tiny little blip of pressure.
“Can you feel that?” Spencer asked.
“Yeah.” A smile pulled across his mouth as he moved his hand across the flesh, until he could feel the tiny movements against his palm. “My god, Spencer, I can feel it. Wow. How long have you-?”
“Wow.” Morgan shifted, lowering himself along the sofa so his face was closer to Reid’s belly too. He hesitated, lifting his eyes to meet his husbands, and was surprised when Reid smiled and there was no discomfort in the emotion. He rested his cheek against the soft curve as he followed the sensation of the movement with his hand.
“I know you’ve been waiting for this,” Spencer said knowingly, stroking his hand over the back of Derek’s head.
“Am I that obvious?”
“Yes and no.”
“Does it freak you out, feeling movement?”
“It did at first,” Reid said honestly. “But I’ve been experiencing movement for weeks now, I’m used to it.”
“Wow,” Morgan breathed. “It’s amazing.”
“Didn’t you ever feel Des or Sarah’s fetuses moving when we visited when they were pregnant?”
“We’re not very good at seeing each other as often as we talk to each other. We were never there when there was movement,” he reasoned. “So this is the first time I’ve felt a baby kick. Future baby. Fetus.”
“Derek,” Spencer breathed at his husband’s self-correction, knowing it was because of him.
“Our little fetus,” Derek settled on finally, a meeting of technical and affectionate, as his hand continued following the feeling of its movements pressing lightly against Spencer’s skin.
“I find it difficult to believe I’m going to keep getting bigger," Spencer commented idly, his own hand coming up beside Morgan’s and sweeping over the side of his belly.
“You’re not that big.” Derek put a soft kiss on the exposed flesh, a little disappointed when he moved his hand to find the movement again and it seemed to have stopped. “Has little fetus stopped moving?”
“No.” He brushed his thumb over the back of the man’s neck as he used his other hand to guide Morgan’s touch to where the fetus was still moving. “You should talk to it.”
“What?” Derek answered with the good sense not to sound as surprised as he felt.
“Audio stimulation in the womb is beneficial to the fetus,” Reid explained. “It acclimatises it to its future environment. So even Clooney barking probably won’t disturb it when it’s born, because it will have grown accustom to the sound in-utero. Also,” he paused, and Morgan suspected he was reaching the main point, “it has been shown to facilitate successful parental attachment.”
“Makes sense,” he said diplomatically. Reid just blinked down at him eyebrows twitching upwards. “What do I say?” Morgan chuckled.
“I don’t think it matters, it can’t understand,” Spencer said. “It’s just the sound of your voice that it’ll learn to recognise.”
“Okay. Hello little fetus,” he said, drumming his fingers against Reid’s stomach in greeting as both men got a little more comfortable with Morgan’s head against the pregnant swell. “You’re now twenty three weeks and two days old. That’s - erm, a lot of days old. One hundred and sixty three. Don’t worry, your other parent is much quicker at math.”
Reid knew that no matter what he did, how he handled the pregnancy, that Morgan was more emotionally invested every day and nothing he could do would be able to stop it. The prospect of something going wrong was still very real to him, and the reality that if it did he might very well lose his husband and his best friend to the grief weighed heavily on his mind. But listening to Derek talk nonsense to his belly about the day they’d had was captivating; he exuded a warm energy that Spencer recognised, an affection he witnessed with young victims, with his nieces, and even with adults when they needed that warmth.
“The dog is sat right here,” Derek continued talking to Spencer’s belly. “He’s protective of you. I think he thinks there are gonna be puppies soon, or something. It’s kind of sweet,” he reached out to scratch the top of the dog’s head, “but if he think he can usurp me as top dog he’s mistaken.”
Spencer gave a contented hum, feeling the sensation of movement slowly decreasing. He briefly wondered if Derek’s voice was sending the fetus to sleep.
The risks of pregnancy and childbirth may have been worrying him, but each passing day made him less worried about the part that came after, about the parenting. Morgan already loved what was growing in him, and he knew he would be a wonderful parent. He wasn’t as unattached as he’d believed, and wasn’t worried about his own ability to care and provide for a child.
He smiled and ran his hand over Morgan’s shoulder as his husband pressed his lips to Reid’s warm belly.
“Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don’t even remember leaving open.” - Rose Lane
A nightmare and a baby shower.
“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” - Whittney Young, Jr.
Nightmares were nothing new for either of them, and when they came they did what they could for the other. It had been a long time since Morgan had been jostled awake, and even longer since he’d heard Reid crying out.
“Derek! Help me Derek!”
“Spencer?” he murmured, pushing himself up. Beside him his husband was thrashing in his sleep, clutching at his belly.
“Derek! I’m bleeding, Derek, I’m bleeding! Derek!”
“Spencer!” He said firmly, holding the man’s shoulders.
The fight against the sudden hold roused him quickly, and he blinked himself out of sleep with a spluttered gasp. While one hand stayed gripping his stomach the other quickly moved lower, franticly feeling around the bed and the inside of his legs.
“You’re not bleeding Spencer, it was a dream,” he said firmly. Reid’s eyes focused on him, wide and scared, and after a moment of nervous flickering to read his features he relaxed. He sat up, Derek’s arms helping to guide him, and let out a long shuddering breath.
“Sorry,” he murmured, reaching for the bedside lamp.
“It’s okay, babe. We all have nightmares.”
“I know,” he muttered, pulling his hand back, where it went to his belly with the other. “I was bleeding. Placental abruption. Or miscarrying. Although at this point the fetus has limited viability, it technically wouldn’t be a miscarriage, but preterm labour.”
Morgan noticed the way Reid didn't seem conscious of his hands as he usually was; they were cradling his swollen stomach, wrapped around himself protectively.
“I was on the jet, and you weren't there.”
“Are you apologising for not being in my dream?” Reid gave a little laugh. Morgan smiled warmly, stroking his hand along his husband’s arm.
“Yeah. Don’t want to think I’m why you’re upset, even if it wasn’t really me. I’m gonna be there for you, Spencer.”
“I know.” He breathed. “I’m not anxious that you won’t be there when I give birth.”
“What are you anxious about?” he smoothed his hand down Reid’s back, gently kissing the side of his face.
“I think, that if something goes wrong it’ll irrecoverably damage our relationship. It feels like everything we’ve worked for hinges on this pregnancy being successful. Our relationship has always been so strong, but this is so big. We know how many relationships fail after the death of a child, and the numbers aren’t that much smaller for the loss of a late-term pregnancy.”
“Nothing is going to happen. You’ve been doing so well, baby,” Morgan murmured. “Your blood pressure is good, you’re gaining a little more weight now than we thought you would... you know how rare it is to lose a pregnancy this late without an underlying issue, and you don’t have any.”
“I know that. And I know it’s irrational for this to scare me, but it does.”
“And I’m not faulting you for that. I get scared too, you know. Sometimes, when my mind wanders to the ‘what ifs’. And I know how bad it could be. So I try not to think about it, because it’s not gonna happen.”
“When I’m scared I think in circles,” Reid sighed, finally letting go of his stomach to push himself off the bed. “I’ll be glad when I don’t need to pee every two hours.”
He was clutching his belly again when he returned to the bedroom, a slight grimace on his face.
“Spencer?” Morgan prompted.
“It’s awake.” He rejoined his husband on the bed, flicking off the lamp and settling down on his side. “I think my physical reaction to the nightmare woke it.” he said as Morgan’s hand stroked along the side of his belly, seeking the sensation of their fetus moving. When he found it he curled close, leaning in to kiss the tip of Reid’s nose.
“What does it feel like?”
“Sort of exactly what you’d imagine having something moving around in you would feel like.” He said. “It’s hard to explain. It’s been happening for weeks now, it feels normal.”
“I think it’s going back to sleep,” Morgan noted as he tried to follow the sensations pressing up against Reid’s belly, as they grew fainter.
“It’s big, Derek. Feels big.”
“And you’re only gonna get bigger,” he cooed. “Any day now, you’re gonna start waddling properly.”
“Aren’t I already? It feels like I am.”
“Not really. Your posture’s been better since you started getting big, though. Too much belly to hunch.”
“Great, pregnancy can do my body one favour while systematically ruining it.”
“Your body isn’t ruined,” Morgan murmured, as Reid turned over and pushed himself into his shape.
“It’s been months since I’ve been able to be the big spoon,” Reid sighed, “that’s not nice. And getting up from any remotely soft chair is becoming increasingly like getting up from a beanbag.”
“I know, it’s adorable.” Morgan grinned against the man’s ear. “And this is adorable.” He said as he traced his thumb around Reid’s slightly distended navel. “It’s gonna be a proper little button soon, when my sister see it they might die from the oestrogen rush.”
“I’m more worried about your mom.”
“She has five grandchildren already, but it’s pretty obvious she’s anticipating this one most, because she thought you the least likely to be a parent.”
“You been profiling my mother?” he asked, settling in against his husband.
“No. It’s pretty obvious. She might never let us come back home.”
Morgan laughed into the warmth of the other man’s flesh, closing his eyes as sleep threatened him, feeling the other’s body relax in preparation for unconsciousness.
He really had considered saying no to Garcia. He had known early on she’d want to throw a baby shower for him, and that he could accept, but when she said it was going to be on Halloween he’d almost turned her down. He loved Halloween, and he really didn’t want to be stuck inside doing ‘baby things’ on one of the best nights of the year. But when she’d shown him the invitations, which were more like mementos than actual functional invites since all the people invited were those they interacted with every day, he’d felt much better; they were pumpkin shaped, and inside they specified a dress code of black and orange.
When he’d realised the baby shower was going to be Halloween-themed, he’d wanted to help. Garcia had refused, saying the celebration was to treat him and so he didn’t get to plan it. So when the afternoon of the last day of October came, Garcia arrived in an orange dress with black thematic accessories (including a glittery spider in her hair), Kevin following in a pumpkin-patterned shirt. She set to work decorating the lounge and dining room in stylish, spooky fashion, bat, pumpkin and ghost motifs repeated throughout. Reid was not allowed to help, which was a common theme these days. She wouldn’t even let him help cook when she started baking, but she did send Kevin into the living room with a batter-covered spatula for him.
In the evening the team arrived in groups, first JJ and Hotch fresh from trick-or-treating with each of their children, she in an orange top under her black one, black leggings and buckled boots that Garcia almost looked she was ready to rip off her feet and and Hotch with an orange handkerchief poking out of the pocket of his shirt, the only hint of orange amongst the black. Prentiss arrived in an orange dress top and a high-waist black skirt, a nice bottle of wine and an apology for Reid since he couldn’t drink. The Monster Mash was playing quietly in the background as Reid had found himself confined to sitting again even though it felt like all he’d been allowed to do all day.
“What’s she cooking?” Prentiss asked, leaning her arm on the back of the sofa.
“I don’t think she’s cooking,” he said as he smoothed down his orange tie, “I think she’s delegated the hard work to Kevin and Derek.”
“Well, she does do all the legwork at the BAU,” Hotch reasoned.
“How are you doing, Spence?” JJ asked, nodding at his belly where his hand was rested on the top of the swell.
“Not freaking out?” she teased gently. “You freaked out when I was carrying Henry.”
“I’ve had a few months to get used to it.”
She raised her eyebrows and smiled as if she didn’t quite believe him, as Hotch appeared from the kitchen followed by the sound of Garcia shooing him. He raised his eyes at the rest of his team to knowing grins, making for an empty chair. He was just moving to sit down when the doorbell sounded and Reid braced himself to get up, but Hotch was quicker.
“I’ll go, Reid.” He said as Clooney barked from the kitchen, the sound of claws on hardwood as he hurried to the front door at the same time as Hotch.
“Nobody lets me do anything anymore,” he noted, not really upset.
“It gets like that,” JJ said.
“This is your evening though,” Prentiss reasoned. “Everyone wants to spoil you.”
Hotch returned a few moments later with Seaver behind him, dressed in black jeans and a black shirt, the block of colour broken by an orange belt. She petted Clooney with one hand while she held the wrapped gift she had in the other hand. Prentiss left the room and returned with another glass of wine, taking the gift and putting it with the others – despite Reid having insisted Garcia tell everyone it wasn’t necessary to buy them anything – and pressed the wine into Seaver’s hand. Reid didn’t miss the minuscule brush of fingers against fingers as she did. He wondered if it was intentional, and wondered how early those interactions between he and Morgan had been noticed by the team.
Rossi turned up fashionably late, wearing a peach shirt rather than orange but Garcia gave him a pass because the box he brought with him was big. With a jack-o-lantern centrepiece, the group settled in to the prepared meal, enjoying each other’s company on a rare evening without any interruption except for regular trick-or-treaters.
“Garcia,” Reid said absently, glancing around the table, “did you give me a bigger portion than everyone else?”
“You’re eating for two,” she cooed to a round of laughter.
“Actually a pregnant person only needs to consume three hundred to six hundred extra calories a day to sustain a healthy pregnancy.”
“Pssh.” She waved her fork at him. “Don’t argue, auntie Penelope is gonna make sure you and mini-genius get plenty of nutrition in the last leg of pregnancy.”
“Enjoy month six while you can,” JJ interjected, “it’s a welcome reprieve, everything seems to plateau and then month seven and bam! Weight gain and water retention, back pain and getting your organs kicked around.”
“That fills me with confidence,” Reid said dryly. Morgan grinned and reached out to stroke his arm affectionately.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” Hotch said. “Any time from now you can start leave, though.”
“I know,” he nodded, “I’d rather work as long as I can.”
“What, pull a JJ and almost give birth in my batcave?” Garcia teased.
“I can fly for nine more weeks, I won’t need to invade your batcave until the last month.”
“I can’t wait. It’ll be better than when you were on crutches.”
“Sadist,” Morgan commented.
“Tell me about it,” Kevin muttered from Garcia’s other side.
Reid double-tapping his fork on the edge of his plate was enough to draw the attention of the gathered profilers as he rocked a little and pressed him lips together. The sudden atmosphere of worry was tangible, and he actually laughed at the quick shift in tone.
“It’s just the fetus moving,” he waved his fork at them, quickly dismissing their worry. There were various coos and smiles, and Reid caught where Morgan was looking; below the top of the table where Reid’s hand had automatically abandoned his knife and moved to stroke soothingly over his bump.
Spencer wasn’t allowed to help clear up after dinner was long over and conversations had come to a natural end, so instead he took Seaver, JJ, Prentiss and Rossi upstairs to look at the nursery. There were still sheets on the floor and several cans of paint in the corner, but things were coming together.
“Ooh, green,” Prentiss said.
“Nice bookcase,” Rossi said sincerely, running a hand over the smooth light wood.
“Derek made it.”
“Before the crib?”
“Cribs are a little more complicated,” Reid reasoned, “but he’s getting to it. He wants to make a changing station himself too.”
“Not enough for him to make the baby, huh?” Prentiss chuckled.
“Well Spence is cooking it,” JJ grinned, “Morgan probably needs to feel like he’s being productive. Will was exactly the same. If we’d found a babysitter he’d have been able to compare notes. You okay?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah.” Reid smiled, realising he was frowning. He cleared his face, though not his thoughts as he considered he hadn’t considered whether there had been deeper reasoning for Morgan to want to produce handmade things for their child’s nursery.
“This is going to be nice,” Seaver commented, looking around the room absently, though he noticed the way her arms were tucked tightly around her, her half-glass of wine stuck out at an angle, and then nodding at the bare window overlooking the large back garden. “Blinds?”
“I think so.”
Garcia’s sing-song voice from downstairs called them back to the living room, where she was holding a stack of papers and all the people on cleaning-up duty where now sat around.
“Time for a game!” she grinned.
Reid caught Morgan’s eye and laughed; he’d known the evening had been too reserved for something Garcia had organised. Hotch started to move to give Reid somewhere to sit but Morgan had already reached out for Reid’s hand, gently tugging him to sit on his lap in the chair.
“Derek-” he chided gently, but Morgan merely grinned and leant up to kiss his jaw.
“Aww c’mon, we need the seats anyhow.”
Although they weren’t reserved about being affectionate socially, hand-holding and subtle kisses was usually all that happened, sitting in his husband’s lap wasn’t usual behaviour. But it was comfortable and the approving eyes he could feel on them felt good.
“Here,” Garcia started as she handed around the papers, “is a collage of baby photos. Everyone has five minutes to guess who’s who, then we’ll tot up the scores. Most correct answers get a prize!”
“Well this rigged,” Morgan commented, “I’m gonna be the only black baby on here.”
“Don’t doubt my genius,” she chided, “there’s a few celebrity babies in there for you to guess.”
Reid recognised Derek straight away, a bounce of afro hair and a toothy grin. He felt Morgan’s hand slow a little where it had been rubbing the side of his belly, and he knew it was because the uncropped versioned was a two year old Derek sitting in his father’s lap; a darker skinned spitting image of his son now.
“You were so cute.” Spencer whispered, hoping to soften the memory as everyone else studied their paper to the soft sound of The Time Warp playing in the background. The picture of Reid was much younger, but Derek subtly tapped it, indicating he recognised it. In the top right hand corner was a picture of a boxer puppy with its head cocked to the side, looking up at the camera. Reid grinned and looked up for Clooney, who was stretched out on Kevin and Seaver’s feet.
“Okay!” Garcia said eventually. “I trust you all to mark your own answers without cheating. Number one, cute little blonde in pigtails.”
“JJ,” Rossi said confidently.
“Nope.” JJ shook her head.
“I know,” Prentiss grinned. “Drew Barrymore.”
“Bingo!” Garcia chirped. “Anyone else get that one?”
There were a few agreements, Derek had spotted the celeb while Reid hadn’t. Everyone guessed Morgan’s picture, the smile really gave it away. Most guessed Michael Jackson and Prentiss with her mop of dark hair. Kevin complained that his was the only naked baby photo, standing in his father’s shoes and nothing else, holding a water hose in the summer sun. JJ and Hotch were the hardest to guess, both mistaken for celebrities many times over. In the end Prentiss had guessed the most correctly, and won the prize of liqueur chocolates and a squeaky bat key ring, and Garcia passed around ghost-shaped cookies for the effort.
“C’mon daddies,” Garcia said, “present time.”
“Okay,” Morgan said as he momentarily pulled Reid close to kiss the side of his face before he got up to give up the whole chair to Reid, perching on the arm beside him. Reid had never been to a baby shower but he knew opening the presents in company was customary, but it still felt weird. He’d never done the same at a childhood birthday party, in fact he’d only had two with other children as guests, at times he imagined when his mother could convince other mothers to get their children to come even if they weren’t friends with him.
JJ’s gift was practical, a travel bag with lots of pockets and sections for everything, stocked with diapers and bottles, rubber bottle nipples and wipes, practically everything that they could need for trips away from hope with an infant.
“Black,” she said, “so Morgan can still look manly carrying it around.”
Hotch gifted something also practical but Reid thought actually kind of sad, a book to record a baby’s first year. Briefly he wondered if Haley had kept such a record, and Hotch had looked through it over all the things he’d missed. Garcia and Kevin, though mostly Garcia nobody doubted, gifted an assortment of tiny baby clothing in lots of colours; one pieces and outfits, socks and booties and hats and gloves, a few of the pieces hand-knitted and one top with ‘I love my daddies’ across it.
Rossi had bought a bottle warmer, and from the way he did the standard explaining of the gift it was obvious he’d had help choosing it. Prentiss offered up a collection of large print books, things with sounds and fabrics and dangly things to stimulate a young mind as the story was read to them. Seaver had brought them bibs and bowls and spoons, three different sets in animal designs; a giraffe, a frog and a cat.
They were all welcome gifts, and they made Reid realise quite suddenly just how much preparing they had left to do. He wondered if their team could tell how hesitant they were, or more accurately, how hesitantly he was. He was sure if they were doing things at Morgan’s pace they’d be all prepared, the nursery done, stocked up on bottles and diapers. As everyone looked over and discussed the gift choices Reid flicked through one of the baby books, brain absorbing the story of the Happy Little Dog, he wondered if his reluctance to prepare would impact how well becoming a parent would go.
“Do you think I’m going to be a good parent?”
Morgan paused in the doorway, looking at Reid sat on the bed with Clooney between his knees, stroking the dog’s head absently. The guests were long gone, leaving a tired couple ready for bed.
“Baby, what spurred this?”
“Do you think I will be a good parent?” he repeated slower.
He crossed the room, climbing onto the bed next to his husband. He reached out to stroke the dog as he kissed Reid’s shoulder.
“I think you’re going to be a great father.”
“Really? Be honest. Are you worried you’ll have to support me to be a capable parent?”
“Where is this coming from, Spencer?”
“Nowhere.” He shrugged. “Not really.”
He looked too worried for Morgan to drop the subject, so he settled back to consider the other man.
“I don’t worry about that. Not for a second. I think you’ll be a good parent, I really do. And we’re doing this together, we’re not gonna always get it right, but we’ll be there for each other.”
“I’ve never even fed a baby with a bottle,” Reid said. “I fed a lamb a bottle at a farm once, I hesitate to assume they’re similar.”
“Probably not,” Morgan chuckled. “We’ve both got a lot to learn. Neither of us has changed a diaper, we’re both gonna have to learn that. We’ve got that prenatal class on Tuesday, that’s meant to help. We’re gonna be okay.”
“I hope we are,” he muttered.
“We are. I promise you, we are not gonna suck at being parents. I mean we look after each other pretty well.”
“Yeah, and you can be a pretty big baby some times,” Reid smirked.
“I’ll ignore that, seeing as how I can’t exactly wrestle you right now.”
Reid huffed a sound that was almost disappointed as Morgan moved in closer, slipping his arm back behind his lover and pulling him against him.
“We’ve got this, pretty boy.”
“Even if you know what's coming, you're never prepared for how it feels.” - Natalie Standiford
“All human plans are subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Universe.” – Arthur C. Clarke
Between a broken elevator and his refusal of Morgan’s offer to carry him up the stairs, Reid was breathless by the time they reached Fran’s apartment door. He didn’t get much time to recover, because as soon as the door was opened there was a flurry of activity; he was soon sat on the couch with Sarah and Desirée either side of him, and Fran pressing a plate of cookies into his hand. Five nieces fluttered around too, Sarah’s three; Tanya, Cameron, and Janelle, nine, seven and six respectively; and Desirée’s two; Veronica and Brianne, eight and four.
The youngest reached out a little hand towards Spencer stomach, and was swatted away gently by her mother.
“No baby, you gotta ask if you can touch his belly,” Des said, shooting an apologetic smile at Reid, who smiled and nodded slightly. “Go on,” Des prompted.
“Uncle Spencer,” Brianne said, looking up his face with large dark eyes, “can I touch your tummy?”
“Sure, Bri,” he said; Morgan’s family were very tactile, and had grown used to their affectionate touching, though he was glad of the apparent consideration that he might not be so comfortable having people interact with his pregnant body. Bri toddled forward and put her hand on the top of Spencer’s belly, giggling as she ran it in a large circle on the material of his shirt.
“You look silly,” she said.
“Yeah,” Bri said as if it was obvious, while her mother and aunt cringed slightly, “grandma said you’re so skinny you’d look huge with a baby in your tummy.”
“Did she?” Reid chuckled, glancing over his shoulder towards where he could see Fran fussing over Derek and Tanya helping to mix something in a bowl.
“She’s not wrong,” Sarah reasoned, “look at you, you’re huge. You sure you’re not having twins?”
“What is it, seven months now?”
“I’m twenty eight weeks pregnant.”
“You’re pretty big for seven months,” she smiled empathetically. “You did start off real skinny, I guess. Are you all set?”
“We’ve still got to finish the nursery, Derek’s got some photos of it on his phone. We’ve been trying to go to prenatal classes around work.”
“You’re still working?”
“Isn’t it dangerous?”
“Risks are minimised, I’m not a first responder and I don’t talk to suspects,” Reid reasoned.
“Are you gonna work right up?”
“Until I can’t fly, at least.”
“Girls,” Fran chided, handing Reid a mug of tea, “leave him be, he doesn’t need work-talk when he’s here to relax. Have you thought of names yet?”
Reid took a large bite of cookie to give himself some time; he’d have rather continued the conversation about work and paternity plans than discuss with his mother-in-law that they hadn’t even discussed naming her grandchild.
“We’re having some trouble coming up with names we like,” Morgan said diplomatically, and Reid tried to hide his thankful look.
“Well,” Fran pushed, “do you want something traditional, or something unique? Not too unique though I hope, some celebrities these days are naming their kids ridiculous things.”
“Momma, why don’t you wait and be surprised?” Morgan teased.
“Fine,” she huffed, but she smiled warmly at both of them.
Not being allowed to do anything was becoming a common occurrence for Reid, but with Sarah and Desiree’s kids about, there was plenty to keep him occupied. They all at some pointed wanted to touch his belly, and he was much more open to all the contact that he once would have been; trying to stop the Morgans from being tactile was a losing battle. Sarah’s boyfriend Mal turned up later with wine and his family’s signature jerk chicken dish, one more to add to the feast that had made the whole apartment smell delightful. If there was one thing that could be guaranteed from a visit to Derek’s family, was that Spencer would not go hungry for a single second. The pregnancy seemed to spur their joint obsession with feeding him, as he was firmly encouraged to try everything, and to have seconds and then thirds.
Reid had never really celebrated Thanksgiving at home, or at least he couldn’t remember one that wasn’t disrupted by his mother’s illness. He knew from the first Thanksgiving he’d spent there years earlier, that until Morgan’s father had died, they hadn’t celebrated either; Sam Morgan objected to the holiday on the grounds of it celebrating genocide of Native American people, and would bend any ear that would listen at that time of year. After his death, the Morgans had begun celebrating the memory of Sam’s objection; although the celebration had come to mirror regular Thanksgiving for other people, Reid’s recited knowledge of the history of the holiday, genocide and all, had gone down surprisingly well at the dinner table. Later Fran had told him that Sam would have loved him.
After dinner, barred from helping with the clean up, Janelle and Brianne wanted to play with their baby dolls, and Spencer got drawn in. He was told with a childish innocence that lacked patronisation, that he could use it as practice. He laughed and obliged as Bri handed her baby doll to him, and he tried to hold it properly. He’d had a very limited experience with holding infants; he’d held Henry a few times when he was younger, and they’d each been terrifying experiences. The teacher at the prenatal classes they’d been to hadn’t appeared to pass judgement on his lack of experience when they corrected how he was holding the fake baby.
Bri came over and peered at the doll, then up at Reid.
“Jake has to go to sleep,” she said matter-of-factly.
“He is sleeping, look,” Spencer said, indicating the doll’s eyes that had closed when it was laid on its back.
“No, you have to rock him, uncle Spencer.”
“Okay,” Reid rocked his arms slightly, “like this?”
“Yeah,” she grinned, patting the doll’s head and returning to where her cousin’s attention had been drawn to older fashion dolls. The hair was purple was it was textured a little like their hair, and he watched as they held the dolls between their knees and braided their hair.
“Hey,” Morgan murmured, leaning over the back of the sofa and kissing the top of Reid’s head. “Having fun?” he teased, catching sight of the doll.
“I’m the babysitter, I think.”
“Bri, you wanna come get Josh-”
“Jake,” Spencer corrected.
“Jake and put him to bed so your uncles can cuddle?”
She looked less than impressed by the idea of them cuddling, as much distain for them as any other adults doing ‘weird’ things like kissing, her nose wrinkled as she came over to get her doll.
“Scoot up pretty boy, I was serious about the cuddling.”
Reid obliged, letting Morgan slip in behind him and then letting himself be drawn back into his hold.
“I thought you were helping clean up?”
“They’re doing dessert now.”
“I don’t think I can eat any more.”
“Mom made cake, I think you’re gonna have to try.” Morgan put his hands on Reid’s belly, slipping two discreet fingers between the buttons of his shirt to touch his slightly protruding navel. Spencer smiled and leaned back into his husband’s chest, stroking the arm around the side of his belly.
“You okay?” Morgan said next to his ear.
“I’m fine,” he murmured. “Just full, and thinking.”
His gaze was drawn back to Janelle and Brianne, who were talking and still doing their doll’s hair, fingers braiding without having to concentrate at all.
The shirt Morgan had bought to sleep in was baggy on his larger frame, so on Reid who put it on at three in the morning when he couldn’t sleep it swamped him; it hung off one shoulder and over his belly, covering where he’d been unable to pull Morgan’s boxers – they’d been in easy reach - over the swell of his stomach. He’d been unable to settle his mind, despite how sated and comfortable he’d been full of food and limp from orgasm, so he left a sleeping Morgan in the guest bedroom and padded out into the apartment to the kitchen for a drink of water, where the running tap wouldn’t wake his husband.
When he heard footsteps several moments later, they were lighter than Morgan’s, and he looked up through the darkness to see the silhouette of Fran coming to join him in the kitchen.
“Hi Spencer,” she said softly, wrapping her dressing gown tighter around herself.
“Sorry, did we wake you?” He asked, realising at once the ‘we’ had an obvious implication of what he and her son had been doing just a few minutes before.
“It’s alright,” she smiled wryly, and Spencer blushed when she didn’t deny that she’d been woken by them. “Can’t sleep?”
“I’ve had relatively little trouble sleeping during pregnancy up until this point,” he said as he watched Fran turn on the thankfully dim kitchen light and start to root around in cupboards.
“I’ll make you a hot chocolate, the milk will help you sleep.”
“Actually sleep is triggered as a response to lowering body temperature, after a hot bath or drink.”
“Really? Well, maybe it’ll help.”
She ushered him to the kitchen table as the kettle boiled and he went without fuss, bracing a hand on his belly as he slipped into the seat. His stomach was heavy and the fetus was moving, not enough to be uncomfortable but enough that Reid stroked his stomach in an unconscious effort to sooth it.
“So,” Fran said softly as she slipped in next to him at the round table, putting a cup of hot chocolate in front of him, “what’s bothering you?”
“Nothing,” he said, not even having to meet her eyes to know she didn’t believe him.
“Come now, dear,” she chided gently, “you’d been a little distracted all day. I know we can be quite a handful when we’re all together, with the kids and everything.”
“It’s silly, really,” he said as he raised his mug, blowing cool air over the surface. Fran waited patiently, as the kitchen clock ticked away the minutes into the night. “Seeing the children interacting made me worry... I- I’m worried I won’t know how to do our child’s hair.” He felt a blush rising on his cheeks, and continued quickly. “I have no siblings, and although I used to maintain my mother’s hair when she wasn’t able to, the structure of white hair is different and having a mixed race child is going to mean dealing with hair I’m not used to, even Derek keeps his very short so I’ve never...”
“Spencer,” she was smiling kindly at him, pausing to take a sip of her drink, “I worried about exactly the same thing when I was pregnant with Sarah.”
“Of course. It’s such a simple thing, something people take for granted that it’s going to be simple for them. Sam’s family weren’t thrilled by our relationship, so I didn’t really have anyone to give me advice. They weren’t as bad as my parents, of course, but there was tension. Sam was risking everything to be with me, so there weren’t many family gatherings I was invited to where I could learn that kind of stuff. I’m pretty sure poor Sarah had some terrible hairstyles in her childhood because of me. Derek was easy, because he didn’t want braids or cornrows.”
“I’ve seen the afro toddler pictures,” Reid nodded fondly, grinning over his mug.
“We can help you, Spencer. Tanya wants her hair done when she comes over tomorrow, I’m sure Des will be more than happy to show you technique.”
“Derek can get some pointers too,” she said. “it’s probably something he hasn’t thought of, but wants to do too.”
They sat in the quiet for a few moments, drinking their hot chocolate.
“Derek’s worried about you,” she said finally.
“A little. He says you still haven’t decided whether you’re going to have a c-section or a natural birth, and that you’ve avoided the subject. I know I’m tattling on him telling you. And if you want me to butt my nose out, you can say so, dear.”
He smiled seriously considering a more polite way to extract himself from the conversation. Then he considered that if Morgan was worried enough to confide in his mother and not him, it was serious.
“A caesarean section is the safest option for males. Natural childbirth is associated with a considerable rate of complications even in developed countries.”
“But...” she prompted.
“At first my hesitation surrounded the medication I could expect to be prescribed from each. I didn’t want to take narcotics, but they’re standard practice.”
“You can request non-narcotics though, can’t you?” She asked, without seeking an explanation for his preference.
“Yes. I’m just.. scared,” he said into his mug.
“What’s scaring you?” Her voice was gently and motherly, and he had a brief pang of wishing his own mother was able to reassure him in the same way.
“I’m scared that we’ll plan this down to the last detail and then it won’t happen. That something will happen to the fetus. I suppose not dealing with things like birth options and names distances me from that possibility, even if it’s an extremely unlikely one. I’m being paranoid.”
“Maybe, but that’s normal, Spencer, I promise. When I was pregnant with Sarah, I was so excited, but so petrified something was going to happen. It was even worse with Des, I had some spotting during pregnancy and I called out the doctor at least five times in the last two months, terrified something was going wrong. The amount of times I woke Sam in the middle of the night telling him I thought something was wrong... it’s normal. It’s normal to be scared something you want so bad,” she paused a beat, “something you maybe didn’t realised you wanted so much, might fail.”
She reached across the table and took his hand, squeezing it and smiling at him.
“It’s going to be alright, Spencer. Give it everything you want to, but don’t push yourself too far. You’re not alone, it’s okay to be a little worried. Nobody’s totally prepared, either.”
He turned his hand a little and squeezed in return, stroking the side of his belly as the fetal movement dulled.
“Thank you, Fran.”
Reid was borrowing a couple of dollars from Morgan’s wallet at the airport to get them coffee when he noticed the crumbled bit of notebook paper stuffed in with them. He wouldn’t have looked except it almost fluttered to the floor and he caught it, and couldn’t help his curiosity. On the paper, in Morgan’s handwriting and blue ink were names; on the left hand side of the paper and each crossed through with single line were ‘Christopher’, ‘Andrew’ and ‘Elliot’; unmarked were ‘Robin’, ‘Lucas’, and at the top ‘Samuel’. Spencer recognised the name of Derek’s father, and it only took a glance for him to realise what the list was. He paid for their coffee (decaf for himself) and walked away from the kiosk, still intrigued by the list. On the right side there was ‘Olivia’, ‘Adrina’, ‘Marie’ and ‘Lorna’ all crossed out; ‘Ruby’, ‘Cora’, ‘Amelia’ and ‘Victoria’ were unmarked, and at the bottom of the list ‘Dianna’ had a question mark beside it.
Returning to the departure lounge, Morgan was still on the phone to Hotch, who was giving details on the case they’d been called away on in Florida. Reid handed him his coffee and sat beside him, resisting the urge to balance his drink on his belly as he got comfortable.
“Thanks, baby,” Morgan said as he hung up the phone, inspecting his coffee. “Hotch says there’s no point us flying out there, they’re gonna be done within a day.”
“Alright,” Reid sighed. After a few moments of drinking their coffee, Reid handed back Morgan’s wallet, with the piece of paper on top. Morgan looked surprised, but Reid smiled reassuringly. “Didn’t mean to spy.”
“Just doodles,” Morgan shrugged, folding the paper in half.
“Why didn’t you tell me you’d been thinking of names?”
“I... didn’t want to upset you. I know you’ve been uncomfortable dealing with certain things.”
“To be honest, I haven’t given much thought to names, primarily I think because until I got pregnant I thought we’d adopt, so wouldn’t have to name a child.”
“I get that.”
“If it’s male, we can name our child after your father.”
“Of course.” Reid smiled, rubbing a hand along his belly as the fetus moved. “Samuel means name of God.”
“Diana was a Roman Goddess of the hunt, she’s seen a revival in worship within neo-paganism-”
“I mean as a girl’s name.”
“Oh. Well, my mother isn’t dead, so memorialising her seems a little pre-emptive.”
“Maybe,” he said, pulling a face, and then, “stop.”
“Not you,” Reid sighed, drumming his fingers on his stomach. “The fetus is doing gymnastics on my spleen. And before you say so, I know that’s not physically possible, a fetus can’t actually do any damage to internal organs, although there are documented cases of constant fetal movement cracking the lowest ribs.”
“Hey, you’re incubating our fetus, you can complain about it all you like.”
Reid shifted about in discomfort, trying to sooth the fetus by rubbing circles on his belly. He could feel Morgan’s eyes on him, and eventually he reached across and took Morgan by the wrist, dragging his hand over to his stomach.
“Talk to it.”
“I don’t know if it’s because your voice is deeper, or it’s coincidence, but often when it’s awake, if you start talking it calms down.”
“It knows who daddy is,” he cooed, leaning over to put his face nearer to Reid’s belly. “Hello little fetus. You need to stop kicking daddy, okay? We’ve got a two hour flight, so there’s gonna be no chance for him to sit in weird positions to try and get you to stop kicking so hard.”
Morgan caught Reid’s eye as he grinned sheepishly, having been unaware that Morgan had noticed the behaviour.
“Do you think it’s overactive? It moves a lot.”
“There’s no correlation between excess fetal activity and seizures in infants,” Reid said, as much to reassure himself as Morgan. “A lack of movement is much more often a warning sign, and although the fetus is very active it’s still very a consistent pattern of movement. I find the movement reassuring, but it can be painful. Ugh, like now, it’s hitting under my rib.”
“C’mon b- fetus, calm down.”
“We can ask the doctor about it when I go next week,” Reid said. “And tell her we’ve finalised our birth plan.”
“We have?” Morgan straightened, hand still on his husband’s stomach.
“I’m going to have a caesarean section,” he nodded. “I know there’s an extended recovery time, and the involvement of painkillers, but I can request non-narcotics and the risk of complication from natural childbirth is too significant to ignore. Also, the idea of giving birth naturally is kind of terrifying even without the risks.”
“It is,” Morgan chuckled. “It’s gonna be okay though baby, I’ll look after you when you’re recovering.”
“I know,” Reid smiled, leaning in against Morgan’s shoulder as the other’s fingers drew circles on his belly.
“The future you have, tomorrow, won't be the same future you had, yesterday.” - Chuck Palahniuk
Morgan and Reid make a big decision, and Reid finds himself in a unique position to resolve a case.
“We pretend to be strong because we are weak.” - Paulo Coelho
Reid was not a morning person at the best of times, but with a huge belly, it wasn’t helping his resolve to get out of bed for work. He was usually forced to by the pressure on his bladder, and then would step sleepily into the shower. A few minutes later Morgan would join him, eager for the morning routine of getting to wash Reid’s pregnant body. It was an undertaking he had always liked, but the fascination with his belly was plain to see.
Clooney was laid on their still-warm vacated bed, looking at them through the open bathroom door and waiting patiently for someone to go downstairs and give him breakfast.
“I don’t want to turn out like Hotch.”
“What?” Reid asked, as he patted a towel against his damp but sore chest, taking care not to irritate his darkened nipples. Morgan was trimming his beard, and met Reid’s eyes in the mirror.
“I know he loves Jack, that he’d die for him. But he missed so much by trying to keep doing his job.”
“So you want to take another position?” Reid asked, leaning around Morgan to pick his watch up off the counter and check the time. “We talked about that defence training position, it has flexible hours and a four day week.”
“Actually, I don’t think I want another position.”
“Huh?” Reid looked out from under the towel he had just thrown over his head to dry his damp hair, the moisture and heat making it curl in a way he knew Morgan liked, just past his shoulders.
“At least not for... a couple of years.”
“Yeah. We’re financially stable even with both of us not working, to be honest. We’ve got savings, I have income from my renovation projects, which I could increase with the extra time I’d have. And I’d get to be a full-time parent.”
“You want that too, huh?”
“What?” It was Morgan’s turn to look confused, following Reid back into the bedroom so they could get dressed.
“I know I’ve previously expressed sentiment that I’d like to take a sabbatical, and return to the BAU sometime after our child is born, but the more I consider it the less appealing that option seems to me. I thought I’d have already left the FBI when we started the process of adoption, but since things have turned out differently and the expansion of our family was unplanned, my hypothetical plans have suddenly had to become real. I’ve got quite a few options for work in the future, including a return to the BAU. But I think I want to step down from my post at the BAU rather than take a leave of absence with the guarantee to return.”
“Do you think Hotch knows? That we both want to leave?”
“He’s probably planned for the eventuality,” Reid said as he did up his shirt buttons over his stomach. “I think most of the team has considered what would happen if we both moved on.”
“Moving on. Wow,” Morgan said as he tucked his t-shirt below his belt. “I always knew it was gonna happen, but it seems so strange to be actually talking about leaving the team.”
“It’s normal that something as considerable as impending parenthood would make us consider our career options.”
“It’s bigger than changing careers though.” They’d got downstairs and Reid was trying to find his other shoe. “They’re our family.”
“They’re still going to be our family,” Reid reasoned, “we’ll just have to make more of an effort to see them since we won’t be working together.”
All of a sudden Reid found himself swept up in Morgan’s arms, the man’s lips at his cheek and hands on the small of his back, bringing him close. Reid relaxed into the contact, seeking Morgan’s mouth for a kiss and felt him thrumming with anticipation.
“I’m so excited, pretty boy. Ten weeks. Ten weeks until we have a kid.”
Reid smiled against the man’s jaw, making no move to retreat from the hand that had unbuttoned the bottom of his shirt and slipped into his slacks, moving over the swell of his belly and under to palm him through his underwear.
“Derek,” Reid breathed, leaning back on the wall for support, “we should be getting breakfast.” It was a half-hearted sentiment, as he pushed his hips into the contact.
“We’ll get bagels on the way in,” Morgan muttered, slipping his hand below the man’s underwear too.
“Okay,” Reid grinned, finding no reason to argue as his body responded to the touch. Smiling in an intimate way that was reserved just for his lover, Morgan leant in to kiss his mouth again.
“We need a confession,” Hotch said as several members of the team watched him through the interrogation mirror.
Reid had known that the case had to do with schizophrenia, addiction or pregnancy by the way JJ looked at him when they prepared for the briefing. It turned out to be the latter; five new parents, all less than a week after giving birth, had been butchered in their own homes, and their babies taken. It had happened over a year, and between three states, and the dots hadn’t been connected until the last one. They’d been led back to David Collie; he had stalked, raped and impregnated multiple people, and when they gave birth, he killed them and took their children. They’d found what was clearly the stressor: his wife, pregnant by another man. Their profile led them to believe the children he’d taken were alive, but they didn’t know where. They needed a confession and a location.
“We profiled him as a loner. If he’s looking after them a secondary location, the longer we keep him the more at risk they are,” Prentiss said.
“Can’t we let him out and tail him so he’ll lead us to them?” The lead detective asked.
“It’s likely he’ll abandon them, and sacrifice the lives of those infants in order to start the process over again,” Hotch said.
“We have him on the rape of the three pregnant victims who came forward,” the detective offered.
“That doesn’t help us find the children.”
“Send me in,” Reid said, looking away from the suspect.
“Reid, he’s dangerous.”
“No to me,” he said evenly and surely. “We’ve seen that he eliminates the parent once the child is born, he’s never shown any violence towards them while they’re pregnant. If anything, he’s protective of them while they carry his fetus.”
“Reid, you’re not carrying his fetus,” Prentiss pointed out.
“We profiled that it’s extremely likely that he donated sperm before this became his method of procreating. I can fake parentage.”
Hotch and Prentiss shared a look, and the detective looked seriously uncomfortable. Reid stood firm; he had no desire to risk his own pregnancy, and he was sure the plan’s formulation was not born of a disregard for himself or his fetus on any level. Hotch didn’t look quite as sure.
“Let me,” Prentiss said. “I can fake it.”
“I doubt the detective has a pregnancy simulation suit,” Reid reasoned. “And even then, this guy watches pregnant people constantly. He’s been doing it for years. If he suspects it’s faked, he’ll shut down. Pregnancy causes actually physical changes, things you can’t replicate, especially not in five minutes.”
“Only one of the victims was male,” Prentiss pushed, “he’s got a type.”
“We’ve profiled that the criteria by which he selects his victims isn’t purely aesthetic. He wants the most viable choices to host his offspring. It’s a common belief that women get pregnant easier than men, even though the likelihood of pregnancy is actually the same, but males have a higher rate of spontaneous abortion within the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before someone even realises they are.”
“It’s still too much of a risk.” Hotch was looking hard at Reid, whose hands were raised and moving with the energy of his own plan.
“You can cuff him, and the table’s bolted down. Actually, cuffing him will give me an in to start a conversation.” When Hotch didn’t respond, Reid pressed. “If you even suspect I might be at risk, you can pull me straight out.”
“Okay Reid,” Hotch nodded, and turned to the detective. “Have your men cuff him.”
As a police officer went into the room to fix the suspect in cuffs on the opposite side of the table, Reid prepared himself. He lifted his shirt and turned down the waistband of his slacks, and re-buttoned his shirt so a tiny patch of skin was on show, looking absolutely accidental.
As Reid entered the interrogation room, David Collie’s eyes rakes over him, widening at the sight of his considerable pregnant belly, which Reid was holding with the hand that wasn’t grasping a file.
“Hello Mr Collie,” Reid said nicely. “I’m Doctor Spencer Reid.”
“Why am I cuffed?”
“What? Oh,” Reid smiled apologetically, easily falling to the character that would best interact with him. “That’s for my protection.”
“I’m not going to hurt you,” Collie said, looking hurt at the suggestion. “I’d never hurt a pregnant person.”
“I know that,” Reid said as he slipped into the chair opposite the man, huffing with the effort. He took a moment to breath and put the file down, smoothing down the front of his shirt over his belly, aware of the suspect’s eyes on every action.
“I didn’t do what I’m being accused of.”
“Well there are lots of coincidences we can’t ignore, Mr Collie,” Reid said, faking sounding a little disappointed. He shifted in his seat, rubbing a hand along the swell of his belly.
“How far along are you?”
“You’re still working?”
“Well, I need a little nest egg,” he cast his eyes briefly down to his stomach. “For when the baby is born.” He ignored his logical protests at the language used, knowing what would maintain the suspect’s interest most.
“Isn’t your husband providing for you? Your ...wife?”
“I’m not married. I don’t have a spouse.”
“You’re going to be a single parent.”
“Yeah.” Reid nodded, and then made himself look a little excited, leaning forward and meeting Collie’s eyes. “I got pregnant through anonymous sperm donation.” The suspect’s eyebrow quirked with interest. “When I was working at the Idaho office. And, well,” he lowered his voice a little, “I’ve got this friend, she’s really good with computers. I mean really good, illegal good. She had a look for me... found the records of the man who donated the sperm I got...”
“Yeah..” the suspect’s eyes were keen and interested, leaning forward in his chair, eyes going from Reid’s face to where his hands were bracing his pregnant belly.
“I mean,” he said carefully, “I’m not sure how many David Collies have donated sperm in Idaho in the last five years.”
“Maybe,” Reid grinned happily at the suspect.
“Why didn’t you track me down before now?”
“I’ve been trying. There was only so much I could ask my friend to do, I didn’t want to get her arrested.”
“And you’re excited,” Collie said. “About having a baby?”
“Of course!” Reid added an excited tittering laugh for good measure.
“None of the others got excited. Being chosen to have a baby is a gift, and they were all so ungrateful. One woman – she had an abortion. She was showing, and she killed my baby.”
Reid tried his best to look shocked and sympathetic, to keep the suspect involved.
“I looked after her. I looked after all of them,” Collie said, and Reid recalled the profile: leaving gifts for the women he’d raped as their pregnancies developed. “Now I can look after you.”
“How can you look after me?” Reid looked sad, almost pleading with the suspect. “Your house is all wrapped up in police tape. That’s no place for your child. And I don’t want to go back to my apartment, it’s just not suitable for a baby. Especially without you there.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got a place,” he said soothingly. “It’ll be perfect for the baby. Everything a child needs at that crucial stage. When I get out, I’ll take you there.”
“Good,” Reid nodded. “Except- never mind.”
“Well, I know they’re going to try and keep you here a lot longer.” Reid chose his words very carefully, crafting them to be what the suspect wanted to hear. “I’m not going to have anyone to look after me until then.” He kept his face in character, waiting for the man to take the bait.
“I can tell you where it is, and you can go along and get ready.”
“That’s a good idea,” Reid praised.
“But I don’t want them going and disturbing it.” Collie nodded his chin towards the interrogation room door.
“You could write the address down.”
“They’ll find it. They’ll make you give it them.” Collie said. He tilted his head, sighing happily and staring at Reid’s belly. “Let me whisper it to you.”
Reid knew that behind the mirror, the team would be discussing pulling him out. He didn’t think the man was capable of a big enough deception to hide any ill-intent, and the infant children he had hostage needed to be found. Slowly Reid pushed himself up, making it look a little more difficult than it actually was, making a show of bracing a hand on his belly as he got out of the chair. He shuffled around the table, and leant his head down to Collie’s level. When the man leaned in, his cuffed hands were just loose enough to come up and touch his protruding stomach. Reid fought the urge to jump back, and tried to push away the disgusted feeling of having someone like Collie touch his stomach. But he was so close.
“There’s an old house,” he whispered, “about thirty miles from mine, 67 Elmwood Heights. It’s perfect. You’ll love it.”
Reid pulled back, stepping away from the contact but smiling in the sweetest way he could muster.
“I’ll be waiting for you,” he said, lingering as he moved to leave, trying to make it seem as though he was reluctant to go, just in case the address he’d been given was wrong, and he had to go back in with him.
As the door clicked shut behind him, the first thing Reid saw was Morgan, who had evidently arrived sometime when he was in with the suspect. He was starring, his tongue pushed against the back of his bottom lip. Reid wanted to wilt under the gaze even though it wasn’t accusing or judgemental, but instead he looked to Hotch.
“He says there’s a house about thirty miles from his main property, 67 Elmwood Heights.”
“Call Garcia,” Hotch said, preparing to leave. “She’ll give us directions. Come on, Morgan, Prentiss.”
They left quickly, and Reid wondered how difficult it had been for Morgan to watch him interacting with the unsub, and was gripped by the sudden worry that his husband might be angry at his choice to use his pregnancy in interrogation like that.
An hour later five infants under a year old were found at the location. They were undernourished, hungry and filthy from being left alone, with rashes and colic and other ailments, but would probably recover fully.
“Hey,” Reid sounded, slipping onto the couch next to his husband with Clooney at his heel.
“You okay, pretty boy?” Morgan asked, sounding tired as he pulled his gaze away from the television.
Reid didn’t think there was a subtle way to start to conversation, so he just spoke to what was on his mind. “Are you angry at the decision I made today?”
“No.” Morgan shook his head. “You were amazing today, Spencer. You talked him down better than anyone thought we’d be able to. We saved those children. I just didn’t like when he touched you.”
“I didn’t like it either,” Reid said, his chest suddenly tightening as the feeling finally caught up with him; he felt vulnerable and ashamed, even knowing the results it had gained, at what position he’d put himself in with a killer. Morgan noticed, because he quickly found himself wrapped in the man’s arms, resting his head in the crook of the man’s neck.
“You did good, kid,” Morgan murmured, pressing his lips to his temple. Reid let himself relax into the hold; he knew now the nickname was usually utilised when Morgan wanted to tease about their age difference, or when he was feeling particularly protective, and Reid knew which one it was.
“I wish I hadn’t had to do it,” he confessed. “It felt wrong. I mean pretending the fetus’ other parent wasn’t you. I didn’t think it would feel so significant, but the whole time a small part of me wanted you to bust into the interrogation room and defend your unborn offspring.”
Derek chuckled, and Reid could feel his chest swell with pride. Clooney clambered up onto the couch with them, settling behind Reid’s legs.
“Collie didn’t see me, when I told him it was his fetus,” Reid elaborated. “He had the basic awareness of social skills to look at me when I was speaking, but beyond that he homed in on my stomach. And it wasn’t in the way you look at me. I’ve seen you, Derek, when you stare.” He grinned, and Morgan shifted a little.
“Don’t be. When you look at me I feel good. All of the little fears I had at the start seem so ridiculous; that you’d be physically repulsed by me, or the polar opposite, that you’d realise you only really found me attractive while I was pregnant. Collie looked at me like I was just an incubator. You look at me like-”
“Like I love you?” Morgan offered. “I love you so much, Spencer.” His hand found Reid’s belly, sneaking under his shirt so he could press his hand against Reid’s bare skin, stroking soothingly. “Because there’s no way you’re just a host for a fetus to me. I can’t act like there isn’t something about you being pregnant that really gets me going, but I can’t help feeling virile and fertile.”
Reid huffed a breath of a laugh, turning his face up. Morgan bumped their noses together.
“I love you,” Morgan repeated.
“I love you too.”
“I’m never gonna let anyone make you feel uncomfortable like that again.” He said. Even though it was a hopelessly optimistic promise, Reid smiled all the same.
“You can only take steps toward the future you want. It's not guaranteed to be there.” - Amanda Howells
The team have been placing bets, Reid meets with an old friend, and has an accident.
“When you hold a grudge, you want someone else’s sorrow to reflect your level of hurt but the two rarely meet.” - Steve Maraboli
At thirty one weeks pregnant, Reid had been through almost eight months of pregnancy, and was fast approaching a time when it would be inconceivable for him to work, so he was relishing every moment. Even though he was ready to move on, it didn’t mean he wasn’t going to miss the work he did at the BAU. The team had reacted to the news that both of them would be leaving much as expected; with bittersweet congratulations. The week before Christmas, everyone was piled under paperwork, in the hopes it would be done before their few scheduled days off for the holiday.
“You’ve got a pool going?” Reid asked, as Prentiss passed him a file.
“Yeah,” she shrugged.
“What are you betting on, exactly?”
“Sex,” JJ piped up, “whether you follow BAU tradition and have a boy, or the Morgan family’s tradition and have a girl.”
“I wouldn’t call the genetic probability of the sex of offspring ‘tradition’.”
“Whatever. Me, Prentiss and Garcia are in on a BAU boy, Rossi, Hotch, and Seaver say it’ll be a girl.”
“Nobody put their money on an intersex infant, then? Intersex conditions obvious enough to require the opinion of a specialist occur in up to one in two thousand births.”
“Really?” Garcia looked interested. “Dunno if those odds are high enough to put money on, though.”
“Well Rossi lost his money saying you’d have a natural birth,” JJ explained, and Rossi gave Reid a mock-annoyed look. “And the people who think you’ll drop before your delivery date have money on what day.”
“Am I exempt from this pool?”
“Yes!” Garcia said as if it was obvious. “What if you bet on a drop date and then eat a bunch of spicy foods to take all our money?”
“Labour is started when the fetus releases certain hormones, and although eating spicy food is a very common method of trying to induce labour, it’s not documented to be that effective.”
“Still,” Rossi shrugged.
“Have you heard about this?” Reid asked as Morgan came into the bullpen with a stack of files.
“The betting pool,” Prentiss grinned.
“Oh, yeah,” Morgan waved his hand dismissively. “I’m not allowed to bet, apparently.”
“Me either. I don’t think it’s fair you guys can make money from this while I swell like a balloon.”
“We bought you shower presents,” Garcia teased.
As the team chuckled, Morgan put his hands on Reid’s shoulders as leaned down to kiss the top of his head.
“You okay, sweetheart?” he murmured. Reid gave a contented hum in response, turning his face to rest his lips against Morgan’s fingers. He’d noticed the upswing in public affection that Morgan gave and that Reid found himself happy to receive and even initiate, and their team hadn’t made mention of. He relished Morgan’s increasingly tactile work conduct, from the little brushes of fingertips over his belly, hands on the small of his back when they were stood together, and chaste kisses when nobody was paying them much attention. But while his team had the good sense to ask before initiating any considerable contact – and Garcia did almost daily to have a feel of his belly – the increase in unwanted touching from strangers was something that had gone straight to the top if Reid’s problems with pregnancy. Everyone seemed to want to touch his belly, and a lot of people didn’t even seem to think they had to ask.
Presently Hotch passed through the bullpen, paying no mind to one of his agents hugging the other from behind, and called them into the round table room to start the case briefing.
Between socks, a laminated wood floor, and a centre of gravity he wasn’t used to, Reid knew it was going to happen. For a few seconds he felt like time slowed, and he calculated where he was going to land, and then it happened; feet jerked out from under him and he went down, he hit the floor hard, his back, shoulders and head in quick succession, and his body creased with pain. He whimpered, and pained tears that pricked at the corners of his eyes became something more very quickly, because as much as he knew that a fall was not actually as dramatic and risky to a pregnancy as television would have people believe, panic flared up immediately. Something like this couldn’t happen now, not when he’d come so far. The lights on the Christmas tree nearby splintered through his teary vision.
Clooney came rushing in to Reid’s sounds of distress, sniffing around and then trying to lick at the man’s face.
“Clooney,” he moaned as his back quaked with pain, and he clutched at his belly with one hand as the other tried to push the dog away from his face. “Get Derek,” he said, even though he knew the dog didn’t understand. “Fuck!” he gasped, the base of his spine where it had hit the floor spasming with pain.
Clooney hurried off whether on command or of his own initiative, and Reid could hear him barking out in the back garden, where Morgan was. He tried to roll onto his side to start getting up, but it hurt and he could feel his hot tears falling over his temple. As soon as he heard Morgan’s footsteps on the kitchen tile, he called out.
“Spencer?” He hurried through at the sound of Reid’s shout. “Spencer!” Reid was still, the pain easing as Morgan knelt down next to him, Clooney barking with panic at his heel.
“I fell,” he said.
“Should I call an ambulance?”
“No,” Reid groaned, breath hitching slightly. “I’m okay.”
“But you fell, you’re crying.”
“So I should call for-”
“Derek, I’m fine, just help me up.”
Morgan took hold of him, helping him to ease himself onto his side, onto his knees and then to his feet. He helped him over the couch and sat him down again, while Clooney jumped up and tried to lick at his face.
“Clooney!” Morgan pushed him away, as Reid wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand, the other stroking circles on his belly. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“You can call the doctor if you want,” Reid said calmly, even though his voice still shook a little, “but she’s only going to tell you that I need to watch for spot bleeding and irregular pain.”
“Are you bleeding?” Morgan asked, his phone in his hand.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure,” Reid said, starting to feel annoyed.
“You haven’t checked,” Morgan said, looking quite obviously downwards.
“Are you serious?”
“Spencer, you need to check. Spotting isn’t always enough that you can feel-”
“Derek,” he huffed. “I’m fine. The fetus doesn’t seem distressed.”
“You fell onto hard wood, Spencer.”
“Fine!” He snapped, flaring at Morgan with all the fierceness he could muster through the residual pain and worry. Morgan gave him the benefit of looking apologetic as Reid unceremoniously thrust his hand down the back of the loose pyjama pants he was wearing. He drew his hand out a few seconds later and offered it up for inspection, no blood in sight. Morgan noticeably relaxed, and Reid himself felt something loosen in his chest.
“I’m still going to call,” Morgan said, “just to see what she says.”
Reid signed and nodded, and started to slowly get to his feet.
“Where are you going?” Morgan asked, looking worried again.
“To wash my hands. I’ve just been touching my ass, and not in a fun sexy way.”
His tone wasn’t too annoyed, and Morgan offered him a small reassuring smile as he turned away to use his phone. Reid went through to the kitchen to wash his hands, and then braced his forearms on the sink, dipped his head and slowly exhaled through his nose. His back still throbbed with pain from the fall, and the last of his panic was leaving him. Despite knowing that a fall wasn’t actually that dangerous to a fetus after it was well cushioned at fourteen weeks, at this far along it could have triggered preterm labour. Trauma could also cause placental abruption, which could cause fetal distress and even death.
By the time he went back into the living room Morgan was off the phone, and looked up at the sound of his footfalls.
“She said that if you experience any spotting to take you in as an emergency patient. I’ll call Hotch, tell him you’re not coming in tomorrow.”
“Derek,” Reid said warningly, taking him by the wrist and dragging him onto the sofa with him. “You’re being overprotective. It’s not that endearing. I want to go to work; I haven’t got that long left.”
“Sorry,” Morgan murmured, cuddling up against Reid’s side and running his hand over his swollen belly. “The fall gave me a scare.”
“Me too,” Reid said honestly. He leaned into Morgan, smiling as his husband’s hand moved like he was searching for movement. “The fetus isn’t moving a lot right now, for once.”
Morgan’s hand continued to stroke his belly though, as Reid leaned in to seek out a kiss. Morgan hummed appreciatively, returning the kiss in kind. His hand made its way up Reid’s torso and the column of his neck to cradle his face.
“Early labour is not the kind of Christmas surprise we need. You sure you’re okay?” he said against the man’s lips, between little kisses.
“I promise. If I didn’t feel okay I’d tell you. I don’t want anything to go wrong either, Derek.”
“But it’s not going to, right? Like you said, a fall isn’t that dangerous.”
“C’mon,” Reid murmured, “you can give me a look over. Look after me like I know you want to.”
Reid knew that sex would ease their minds and comfort them both, but he still registered how tightly Morgan held him as he pulled him close for a kiss.
“Hello to you too,” Reid smiled at Ethan, but decided not to stand to greet him. His back and his legs hurt, even if he had driven to meet his old friend for lunch while he was in town. Ethan settled down in the seat opposite.
“It’s been a while, man,” he offered. “You really are big.”
“Pregnancy tends to do that.”
“How far gone are you?” Ethan asked, his brow furrowed as he peered at Reid’s stomach on the other side of the table, the sweater vest tight over the size of him.
“Thirty two weeks.”
“So you’re gonna be popping out a kid any time now.”
“In around two months,” Reid corrected. He noticed how intense Ethan’s gaze remained as they ordered coffee, and knew the man was studying him.
“You quit work yet?” Ethan asked, folding his arms on the table and huffing in a way that seemed like he was bored. “I mean you can’t go on being a super profiler when you’re the size of a house. Or a hippo.” Ethan gave an easy laugh, but it came just a second too late to flow right.
“I’m not set to leave for another month,” he explained. “Thirty six weeks is about the time most people go on leave, and I can’t fly after that.”
“Probably best. Your hormones probably don’t help your profiling.”
Reid frowned, but Ethan didn’t even seem to register his friend’s confusion, and then his focus switched to the server bringing them their coffees.
“Decaf, I guess?” Ethan said as Reid spooned three sugars into his.
“I can have one small cup of regular coffee a day, but excess caffeine can prove a risk to a fetus, and I like to ration my caffeine intake for soda, so I switched to decaf early in my pregnancy.”
“What are you doing after you drop the kid? Don’t tell me you’re gonna be a barefoot in the kitchen husband.” Ethan laughed again, and nothing about it felt good natured.
“Ethan, what’s your problem?”
“I don’t have a problem.”
“You’re being strange.”
“Oh, I’m being strange?”
“That’s rich, coming from you.”
“What? Why?” Reid asked.
“C’mon, Reid,” Ethan gave a huff of a laugh. “Look at you. You’re the size of a small planet.”
“What the hell, Ethan? You’re being like this because I’m fat?”
“I’m being like this because you’re pregnant. You! I mean how in the hell did you end up pregnant? When we were together you said you never wanted to have babies. You said you’d never get married, that it was a dead institution. You said all that even though you knew I wanted that with you, back when we were young and stupid. And look at you now, you got stupider; married and knocked up with a pumped-up jock’s spawn-”
“Don’t you dare drag Derek into whatever problem you’ve got, Ethan.”
“He is part of the problem, Reid. What has he turned you into? You’re Spencer Reid, genius, and you’re pregnant and quitting your dream job.”
“Dreams change,” Reid said.
“So what, now you’re dreaming of being a daddy? You? You can’t even shake people’s hands, Reid! How are you going to handle a clingy little baby? Kids cry when they see you. You can’t even call it a baby.”
“It’s not a baby, it’s a fetus.”
“It’s a fucking baby, Reid!”
“While it’s still in-utero it’s a fetus, Ethan! Or did you fail high school biology?”
“You can’t even call it a baby!” He repeated, as people started to cast side-glances at their slightly raised voices. “What the hell are you going to do once it arrives? What kind of parent are you going to be?”
“You don’t know me anymore Ethan,” Reid said, his voice a dangerous hiss. “You haven’t known me for years. I’m not the same person you knew. I’ve changed, grown. You should try it, instead of going on a tirade about my life choices. I am happy. So happy, Ethan. And excited! I’m excited to be a parent, I’m excited to start something new. You need to deal with that if you want anything to do with me in the future.”
Without looking away, Reid pushed himself up from the table, careful not to make any sound of effort. He put down a few dollars for his untouched coffee, and Ethan looked up at him with measured contempt.
“Call me when you’ve got over whatever this is.”
“Yeah,” Ethan’s lip curled in a little sneer, “and you call me when you realise what a big mistake you’ve made and you want to escape from your hum-drum life.”
“Spence?” Morgan asked, following the sound of keys being deposited loudly in the draw in the table in the hallway. “That was quick. How did lunch go?”
“It didn’t,” Reid murmured, meeting his husband’s eyes briefly. It was enough for Morgan to read him, and he surged forward and pulled Reid into an embrace. Reid buried his face in Morgan’s neck and let the built up frustration and anger manifest as tears. After a few moments Morgan led Reid into the living room and onto the sofa.
“What happened?” Morgan’s voice was gentle, and his hands stroked soothingly over his back and arm, letting him rest his head on his shoulder.
“He said some stuff,” he mumbled.
“He talked about when we were together, how I said I never wanted to have kids or get married. I got the impression he thought I was doing it all just to make you happy.”
“Doesn’t he know you asked me to marry you?” Morgan gave a soft laugh, and kissed the man’s forehead.
“He doesn’t know anything. He said he thought I was going to be a bad parent.”
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“What if he’s right? What if I’m not?”
“Baby, you know it’s going to be fine. You know you can look after kids; you were great with Henry when he was small. And we’re both going to be learning as we go along. You know this.”
“Yeah,” Reid huffed. “Ethan is meant to be my friend. I thought he’d be happy for me.” Fresh tears leaked out, and he was way past the point of drawing attention to his hormones each time he ended up crying, which was with a much higher frequency than pre-pregnancy. “I just wanted him to be happy for me. And he called you a pumped-up jock.”
“Well, he’s never been a fan of mine. I know he’s your friend, but if he can’t be happy for you then you don’t need him.”
“Do you think other people think that too? That I’m not going to be a good parent?”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s our child, all that matters is you and me.”
Reid took a long breath in through his nose, closed his eyes and exhaled. “I know.”
“Screw anyone who thinks we’re not going to be amazing. We’re leaving our jobs to give this kid the best start we can. The nursery is ready, we’ve got diapers and formula, we’ve been to classes.” He paused as he combed his fingers through his lover’s hair. “We even tried out that breast pump.”
“You mean you tried the breast pump.”
“Well you’re not meant to pump before you give birth, and we still had to figure out how it worked. Maybe we should buy a spare for our own adult-time use, it wasn’t that bad.”
Reid snorted with laughter, pushing playfully at Morgan’s chest. He drew back and Morgan framed his face with his hands, using his thumbs to wipe away the last of his husband’s tears. He gently pulled his face forward and kissed his forehead.
“We are going to be okay,” Morgan said gently. “You and me, pretty boy. Soon, you and me and a pretty baby.”
As Reid smiled at him and rested his forehead against his, he believed him completely.
“Before, I wanted to say: "I found love!" But now, I want to say: "I found a person. And he belongs to me and I belong to him.” - C. JoyBell C.
The team are on a case with a few similarities to another, which logically doesn't mean anything. Logic doesn't win the day.
This chapter has standalone warnings for violence, gore and injury.
“Others could be victim for each lesson we learned.” - Toba Beta
“Reid, are you coming along on this case?” Hotch asked, and everyone’s eyes seemed to be on him as they sat around the round table.
“Yes,” he said plainly, though he knew why Hotch was asking.
“You’re not too far along?” Rossi piped up.
“I’m at thirty five weeks. I’m cleaned to fly until thirty six, but that’s not actually a medical necessity, it’s more to do with avoiding a person going into labour on a domestic flight.”
Hotch’s eyes were still on him, as were Morgan’s, rather intensely. “Are you sure you don’t want to sit this one out here with Garcia, Reid?”
He glanced down at the files in front of him, and then he realised what it was about. An unsub with religious delusions, killing sinners in rural Kansas.
“Hankel isn’t the first person whose delusion revolves around punishing sinners,” he said evenly, “and he won’t be the last. I’ll be fine. This is probably going to be the last case I get to go on with the team. I’m not going to be in the field, anyway.”
Hotch nodded sympathetically, and Prentiss grinned at him from across the table. He knew none of them where in any hurry to see them both leave, and knowing that his friends felt that way was a bittersweet comfort.
Morgan hovered as they all left the room, putting a hand on his lover’s back as he got to his feet. He’d been much more protective since Reid’s fall, and Spencer couldn’t pretend he wasn’t glad for the extra attention; the fetus had shifted in the few days after the incident, and while Reid knew that the “drop” was a normal part of a pregnancy they’d been to see their doctor just in case. Things were fine, and the lowered weight meant breathing felt easier, but it put a lot of pressure on his pelvis, and he could no longer avoid that the easiest and most comfortable way to get around was very much like waddling. If he stood for too long everything ached worse though, and his ankles were swollen by lunchtime every day.
Nobody objected, and Hotch even cracked a little smile, while as they were discussing the profile on the jet Morgan pulled Reid’s legs up into his lap to massage his ankles to ease the pain. Reid fought the relieved sound from manifesting, instead focusing on contributing.
“So he’s not leaving bible verses or pages,” he said, holding up one of the crime scene photos, “he’s just writing verse references on the bodies. Why?”
“All these towns are small, close-knit,” JJ offered, “they’re probably pretty religious. Maybe he expects whoever sees the references to know them.”
“So he could be sending a message to someone specific,” Morgan said, as his thumbs presses soothingly on Reid’s skin. “Clergy, maybe?”
“Maybe,” Hotch said. “But the attacks are become more brutal, he’s taking more time to torture his victims. He started with a simple kill. A sloppy one, but there were no signs of torture on the first body.”
“But this last one,” Prentiss pulled a face at the photo she was looking at. “He clearly tortured him. There are seventeen non-fatal knife wounds, and signs of manual strangulation.”
“But the reference he left with the last victim was even that serious, was it?” Seaver asked.
“Proverbs 10:2;” Reid said, “treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.”
“He did all this to someone he thought was a thief?”
“Garcia checked the victim’s records, he has no criminal history.” Morgan looked up from where he was massaging Reid’s ankles.
“So we don’t know why he’s targeting them,” Rossi said. “This should be fun.”
The case ran long, with another death, and when the opportunity for Reid to leave the station to interview a witness with Seaver emerged he jumped at it. It could be the vital piece of the profile they were missing.
Reid and Seaver both expected the call, and gave each other a knowing look as Reid answered.
“Before you have a go-” he started.
“Spencer,” came Morgan’s voice on other end, “you’re meant to stay at the station. You’re in no shape to be in the field.”
Reid glanced over at Seaver, who was concentrating on driving. “I’m not really in the field.”
“Yes you are!”
“We’ve just spoken to a witness.”
Reid wasn’t stupid; he knew what Morgan was thinking about. Everyone had been thinking about the surface similarities to Hankel and Georgia, and when JJ and Reid had gone to interview a “witness” that had turned out to be the unsub.
“The unsub is male, the witness we talked to is a woman,” Reid explained calmly. “Hotch said it was fine.”
“Hotch!” Morgan sounded exasperated.
“Derek, I’ve been stuck in the station for four days,” Reid went on. “The sheriff’s wife has fed me more than your mother does. Besides, we think we know how the unsub is choosing his victims. The witness said that a man came to her door asking to if she had time to talk to him about God. She did, she said they talked for twenty minutes about their beliefs. When he left, he told her that her faith would be her salvation.”
“So you’re thinking he’s targeting people who don’t talk to him? Assuming that they’re not believers if they don’t talk?”
“And turning away from the Lord is a sin,” Reid finished.
“Yeah,” Morgan huffed, sounding defeated because Reid’s expedition had revealed results, “well, you better get your butt back to the station right away.”
“We’re on our way,” Reid rolled his eyes, but his was smiling at his husband’s protectiveness.
“Am I in trouble with Morgan for encouraging you?” Seaver asked as Reid closed his phone.
“Not if it helps catch the unsub.”
“We just have to find someone in rural Kansas going door-to-door peddling religion,” Seaver said. “Who’d have thought turning one of those people away would get you killed.”
“The unsub is delusional, there’s nothing rational to us about how he’s selecting his victims.”
“Speaking of religion, you want to be a good Samaritan?” Seaver nodded towards the windscreen, where up ahead Reid could see a car on the side of the road, its owner waving them down. “They probably just need us to call for a tow.”
“Sure,” Reid said, bracing a hand on his stomach as the fetus attempted to kick out his bladder.
“You may as well stay in the SUV,” Seaver said as pulled the car up twenty feet or so behind the other. “I’m just going to ask if he wants us to call someone. We can call the station, get them to call someone out.”
“Okay,” Reid said, and watched as she got out of the vehicle, hand grazing her weapon in readiness, just in case.
The fetus was doing a good impression of a break-dancer, the movements uncomfortable and awkward. Reid closed his eyes briefly against the pain, rubbing tight circles on his stomach in the hopes of easing the pain. It didn’t work, and he groaned low in his throat as he pried his eyes open.
In the near distance, Seaver had her gun levelled at the man by his car, who had a shotgun pointed at her in return.
“Shit!” Reid hissed, pulling out his phone again. He hit the speed dial and called Hotch, reeling off their location and asking for help. He reached for his own gun from the holster he’s switched to wearing under his jacket because he couldn’t wear a belt and let himself out of the car.
He approached carefully, trying to keep out of the man’s line of sight, but soon enough the man caught sight of him. The man reacted quickly, lunging forward and pressing the barrel of the shotgun right under Seaver’s chin.
“Surrender your weapon,” he barked at her, and she had no choice but to toss her weapon aside, out of both of their reach. His eyes turned next to Reid. “Drop your weapon or I will send this woman to hell.”
Reid dropped his gun too, calculating how long they had to live. They were twenty minutes away from the town, but even though the town was in the middle of nowhere and there was no traffic, Hotch and the team would be lucky to reach them in ten even at top speed.
The man body-checked him twice over once he had control of the situation, his eyes went wide, and Reid knew he was in trouble. Seaver glanced back, and she knew it too, her eyes pleading with him to retreat. He couldn’t, not with the barrel of the shotgun forcing Seaver to take several steps back, and a large blade he hadn’t seen before glinting at the man’s belt.
“A man who lies with another man will be damned,” the man began, fully focused on the pregnant man, and Reid recognised the bible passage immediately and what it meant; he was the unsub they were hunting. “He will be cursed with a demon in his belly.”
He and Seaver were about level now, a shotgun’s length away from the unsub, with it pressed to her chest. If he didn’t know her tell was her nostrils flaring, he wouldn’t have realised she was terrified. Reid realised he was clutching his belly as the man reached for his knife.
“You have sinned against the lord,” he said, “and you will be punished.”
“He’s not a sinner,” Seaver said, her voice surprisingly steady. Even as the unsub forced the barrel of the gun hard against her chest, she stepped slightly in front of Reid, blocking him. “I’m a sinner.”
That caught the unsub’s attention, and his gaze flickered back to her. Reid felt sick, so terrified he could feel himself shaking, could almost smell the dank earth of the grave around him or smell the fish innards burning.
“Confess,” the unsub hissed.
“I cheat on my husband,” Seaver blurted. “All the time. With any man who comes along.”
Reid knew she was just trying to deflect his focus, but all it gained her was a swift blow to the face with the handle of the shotgun.
“Whore!” he shouted as she went sprawling on the tarmac, bleeding. He rounded on Reid again, the knife glinting in the daylight. “Confess, sinner.”
“I’m not a sinner,” he said, the echo of that statement rattling around in his brain. He knew confessing wouldn’t save him, and he wouldn’t get far if he fled, and even if he did he’d be leaving Seaver at his mercy. The unsub grabbed him by the throat and kicked out at his shins, and Reid went down hard, his arms clutching his huge belly. He gasped in pain as he hit the floor and turned, trying to shield his stomach, but the unsub wrenched his shoulder around, pressing him hard into the tarmac, and lowered the blade down Reid’s body.
“The demon shall be cut from his flesh and dashed upon the ground, and the man should be stoned for his sin.”
“No!” Reid yelped as he realising what the unsub intended, and tried to kick out. The assailant had the advantage, and Reid was panicking. He was pinned under the man’s weight, spread out and helpless against being cut.
Suddenly the unsub’s attention was divided; Seaver had crawled over and grabbed him by the shirt, her face a bloody mess.
“Get off him!” she growled. “You don’t want him!”
With another yell of “whore!” he lunged at her, knife raised. Reid watched for a few seconds helplessly as Seaver put her arms up to defend herself, saw her flesh part under the blade. Reid scrambled onto his side, reaching to grab the knife-wielding arm and keep it from slicing the other agent again, clutching at the hand with both of his to try and draw it back. The unsub turned slightly, bearing his teeth in a sneer.
It happened suddenly; the unsub’s grip on the shotgun must have slackened, because Seaver wrenched it out of his grasp with a grunt, turned it about, shoved the barrel against the unsub’s torso and fired. The force of the shot sent him topping back, and Seaver yelled as the kickback caught her in the ribs. Reid moved quickly and took the knife out of the man’s grasp, throwing it away to the side of the road. The unsub lay dying, reciting the Lord’s Prayer to himself as he stared at the sky; he wasn’t getting up.
Reid took a few seconds to take stock of himself; the unsub hadn’t managed to cut him, and he only ached from the manhandling, then he rushed to help Seaver. The lacerations on her arms where she’d defended herself were deep and bleeding profusely, and Reid grabbed one and pushed it onto the ground, trying to stem the bleeding with pressure. One of her hands was cut badly, so he laced their fingers together and put pressure on that too, his large belly pressing down awkwardly on her.
“Your baby,” she gasped out. She was pale and going into shock, spitting out blood that he was sure was from her clearly broken nose.
“I’m fine,” he reassured. He registered a warmth spreading where their stomachs were mashed awkwardly together, and he knew he must have another injury on her torso. “Ashley, you need to breathe deeply, breathe, breathe,” he encouraged. She tried to comply, eyes wide with shock and fear and not looking away from him. He did her the courtesy of looking right back, panting but keeping his composure, trying to reassure her even as he felt her bleeding beneath him. Bleeding because she’d defended him, because he was heavily pregnant and vulnerable, and she was brave and bleeding out.
Reid gave a shuddered sigh of relief at the sound of sirens in the distance, coming closer, and realised he was crying.
“They’re here, Ashley,” he said.
He could hear the team, and soon they were upon them. Morgan reached out and yanked the tie from Reid’s neck, then took over one arm, tying it around to stem the bleeding. Prentiss had something too, and was tying it around Seaver’s hand. Reid pulled focus to the wound on her stomach, a stab wound rather than a slash like on her arms, and pulled of his sweatervest to use it to put pressure on the wound as he registered someone behind them calling for an helicopter evacuation.
“Ashley,” Prentiss said, leaning into the woman’s line of sight. “It’s okay, a helicopter’s on its way.”
“Spencer, are you hurt?” Morgan asked, trying to catch his eye.
“She’s lost a lot of blood,” Reid said sniffing back tears. “She’s going to bleed out when the helicopter crew move her, they’ll need to do an emergency blood transfusion-”
“Spencer,” Morgan pressed urgently. “Are you hurt?”
“No,” he shook his head. “We didn’t know it was the unsub. He was broken down, Seaver stepped out to call a tow for him. We couldn’t have seen this, this isn’t how he targets, not this open, we couldn’t have known.”
“I know,” Morgan reassured.
It felt like an age, but it was actually just seven minutes before the helicopter arrived. The bleeding had been stopped mostly, but Reid was right, it started again as she was moved. Morgan had a hold of him by the arms and was steering him towards the helicopter too, low against the downward force of the blades. He felt confused as Morgan passed him into the arms of a paramedic, who bundled him into the helicopter beside Seaver, who was prone on a stretcher, strapped down for the journey.
“Derek?” he asked, frightened and reaching for him even as he was buckled into a seat. He didn’t understand, he wasn’t hurt, and he wanted to be with his husband. He wanted to be held and have his hair stroked and told Seaver was going to be fine, not sit next to her as she died. The helicopter door closed and they were in flight, and Reid took a breath and tried to focus on what the paramedics were doing. There was still blood on his hands, and he wiped it on his slacks.
They were wrapping Seaver’s wounds, staunching the bleeding on her arms and hands, and putting pressure on her torso as they shouted instructions at each other. There was still blood on his hands, and he wiped them on himself again, trying to regulate his breathing and take stock of himself. He didn’t hurt, he wasn’t having contractions; the fall hadn’t triggered preterm labour. It wasn’t a surprise that Morgan had pushed him into the helicopter though, just in case.
There was still blood on his hands; he didn’t understand it, was annoyed with it as he rubbed his hands on his trousers again. He turned them over to examine them, and registered the large cut on his right palm, and two on the finger of his left where his wore his wedding ring. The silver band was crimson with blood; his, Seaver’s – it didn’t matter. The cuts were pulsing, and one of the paramedics finally noticed. He let her grab his hands and tend to them as the pain finally registered.
Reid was sat in the waiting room, holding back the bandage on his hand and considering the stitches there when the rest of the team arrived. Everyone started talking at once, and he considered each of them as he rose slowly to his feet. For some reason he knew he had to address his information to Prentiss, whose thumbnail was already bloody from her biting it.
“She’s in surgery,” he started, making eye contact with Prentiss. “They stabilised the bleeding, but they were worried about the stab wound to her torso most of all. I haven’t heard anything else yet. They said they’d update me soon.”
“Are you okay?” Hotch asked.
“Spencer, why aren’t you in a room?” Morgan asked, taking Reid by the elbow and leading him away from the group as they settled in to wait. He inspected his injured hands, one with a bandage around it and the other with small wound closure strips along with a couple of stitches on his cut ring finger.
“Derek, I’m okay. They stitched my hands and gave me painkillers, but didn’t give me a tetanus shot because I had one about eight weeks ago as routine.”
“You should be in your room.”
“They discharged me already. The doctor gave me a full work up, including an ultrasound just in case.” He stepped away and picked up a brown envelope, moved back and slipped out a print out of the ultrasound. “Here.”
The image of the fetus was clear, and the development since their last one was striking. Morgan took it in his hands, mouth slightly open.
“Wow. They’re getting so big.” Morgan probably didn’t even realised how hushed his voice had become.
“As if you couldn’t tell from the size of me, right?”
“You didn’t find out the sex, did you?”
“No,” Reid shook his head. “I told the ultrasound technician I didn’t want to know. He got me to look away when he needed to check in that general area. We didn’t wait all this time to have to have the surprise ruined, did we?”
“No,” Morgan chuckled, pulling Reid against him and kissing his cheek. “I’m glad you’re both okay, baby.”
They rejoined the group and the worry. Reid watched as JJ put her hand on Prentiss’ to stop her lifting it to her mouth to chew on her nails. If the team weren’t a bunch of profilers who had picked on there being something between Prentiss and Seaver months ago, that sign of such intense stress and worry would have surely given them away.
By the time a surgeon came out to, see them Reid’s anaesthetic was wearing off and his hands were throbbing.
“She’s only just come out of surgery,” the surgeon said, raising her hand to placate the sudden surge of questions from the gathered group. “She’ll make a full recovery, although we had to repair the flexor tendon in her left hand, so she’ll be in a hand splint for several months, and we won’t know whether she’ll get full function back until she’s better healed.”
“Can we see her?” Rossi asked as Morgan turned away to call Garcia and update her.
“She’s in recovery, so just one of you can sit with her right now. You’re welcome to wait here until she’s ready for more visitors. There’s a visitor cafeteria on the floor below, just follow the signs.”
“Emily,” Rossi said gently, urging her forward, “you go to her.”
Prentiss nodded frantically, too nervous to say a goodbye before she followed the doctor away. They all kept looking after her, just waiting for someone to say something to get them moving.
“You all knew they’re a couple, right?” JJ piped up.
There was a murmur of agreement and relieved, comforting chuckling.
Instead of waiting around, everyone did what they could to help arrange to have Seaver transported from Kansas to Virginia, so everyone could get closer to home. Reid had been reluctant to leave her, almost as much as Prentiss, but they’d both been persuaded long enough to take the jet flight home in worried silence. Morgan had literally had to beg Reid to come home, eat, bathe and sleep before he went to the hospital.
Seaver was asleep when they got there, and Prentiss was at her bedside. She had a band-aid over the nail she’d chewed bloody, and was fiddling with the end of it with her teeth. Morgan, who was much more inclined to give tactile comfort, crossed the room to gently put his hand on her shoulder. She turned just slightly, a weak smile on her face.
Reid stood at the end of the hospital bed, looking at Seaver. Both her arms were totally bandaged and her left hand was in a splint to keep it still. An IV line disappeared somewhere under the sheet and was probably inserted into her leg or groin, since the bandages covered her hands, wrists and forearms. There was a dressing on her face too, where she’d had surgery to fix her broken nose. She’d got each of those injuries defending him. She had body-blocked him, putting herself in harm’s way to protect him, clearly sensing he was at a significant disadvantage with his huge pregnant belly. Even when she’d been given a concussion and a broken nose with a shotgun, she’d tried to protect him.
“Our last conversation was about you guys,” Prentiss said, bringing Reid’s attention back. “This morning. About how we were excited for you - are excited for you, and how much we’re going to miss you. I think I asked her to move in with me.”
“Think?” Morgan said, squeezing her shoulder.
“Yeah. I just mentioned when you two moved in together, said maybe it was time we did the same, and she didn’t say anything. I guess that means she doesn’t want to, though.”
“Maybe,” Morgan said evenly, “or maybe she wasn’t sure if you were being serious, and didn’t want to embarrass herself. You should try asking her for real.”
“Really?” Prentiss asked, looking around at them. Reid smiled reassuringly, one hand bracing the end of the hospital bed, the other touching his stomach.
“After I was exposed to anthrax,” Reid started, “we came out as a couple, and Morgan made me come stay with him so he could look after me.” Morgan smiled at him. “The whole time, I was worried about what would happen after. I didn’t want to go back to my apartment, and I even thought about faking still feeling like crap so he’d let me stay. All because even though this was his way of moving me in, he didn’t actually ask me. Not until I started packing to leave, then he got all confused, assumed I just knew he wanted me to stay. You should ask her.”
Reid nodded. Morgan smiled at both of them, and withdrew his hand from Emily's shoulder. “You should go home and get some rest.”
“I’m not going home,” Prentiss said. “The nurse is going to set up a cot for me.”
“Okay,” Morgan said. “I’m taking you home now pretty boy, no arguments. I’m playing the protective husband card, and I’ll play the ‘please think of the fetus’ one if I have to.”
Reid smiled and accepted the hug Prentiss rose to give him, returning it earnestly. Then he let Morgan steer him out of the room. It was just as well; he was exhausted. His knees ached, his spine hurt and his feet throbbed, and all he wanted to do was crawl into bed and let his husband rub his back.
Instead, of course, as soon as they’d climbed into bed, Reid noticed he had blood under his fingernails; Seaver’s blood. Utterly exhausted, he just wanted to sleep, but he couldn’t like that. Morgan, to his credit, quickly picked up on where Reid was focusing and guided him out of bed, to the bathroom, and helped to gently scrub his nails clean.
“How do you say thank you?” Reid said suddenly, turning to look at Morgan. “How do you think someone for almost dying to save your life? For protecting you and the fetus you’re carrying, a fetus they have no genetic link to and no biological incentive to protect?”
“We’ll think of something, Spencer,” Morgan said gently. “We’ll buy them a really nice housewarming gift when they move in together.”
Reid smiled and let Morgan pull him close, but the vision of Ashley in her hospital bed, cut and stitched and broken was fresh in his mind, and a hypothetical housewarming gift didn’t feel like enough.
“It was one thing to sacrifice your own life for someone else's. It was another thing entirely to bring into the mix a third party - a third party who knew you, who trusted you implicitly.” - Jodi Picoult
“All things are ready, if our mind be so.” - William Shakespeare
Reid woke up alone, and could hear the sound of Morgan moving around downstairs. He groaned at the immediate throb in his hand, less after a week since it was stitched, but still enough to be uncomfortable. He took a moment to stretch his legs out, and then curled in on himself again, and wrapped his arm around his stomach. He was huge, but in the last few days as the fetus had ‘dropped’ into position in preparation for birth, the pressure on his lungs and stomach had eased. It was replaced with increased pressure on his bladder and pelvis, however, and he knew he’d have to get up soon to use the bathroom.
The fetus was moving, not enough to be uncomfortable, but Reid rubbed his stomach all the same. In five weeks or less, he wouldn’t be pregnant anymore. He’d have a child, he’d be a parent. He was a parent now, really; at this point if the worst should happen he couldn’t see himself referring to it as a failed pregnancy instead of a lost child.
Reid forced the thought out of his head; he’d gone thirty five weeks without any complications, it didn’t make sense to worry now. Every day he felt less and less worried; he’d read so many books and resources, taken classes, they’d prepared their home. In a matter of weeks, their baby would be in their lives, and he was excited.
The sound of Morgan coming into the bedroom caught his attention, and he let his eyes follow Morgan around as he put a mug of tea on the bedside table.
“What do you think our child is going to look like?” Reid asked. Morgan smiled, apparently not expecting that as a good morning greeting.
“Hmm,” Morgan sounded, climbing onto the bed and snuggling down behind Reid. “Pretty.” He kissed the back of the man’s head. “If we’re going off our baby photos, they’re gonna have hair when they’re born. A great mop of it, judging by yours. They’ll probably be small like we were, but once they hit their teens, they’ll grow up tall. If they get your eyes they’ll need glasses sooner, if they get mine they’ll need them later. Brown eyes like us, most likely. Some shade of brown between me and you. They’re gonna be beautiful.”
“We have to make sure we tell them every day,” Reid muttered, still clinging to the last moments of sleep.
“Our child. Tell them they’re beautiful all the time.”
“Of course we will. Why’d you say that?”
“Your mom calls you beautiful all the time,” Reid mused. “Every time we see her, or she calls you, you’re her beautiful boy. My mom didn’t. I know my mom loves me absolutely, but I’ve always been her special child, clever, smart, amazing. She was never in the habit of calling me beautiful. I’m not saying it gave me issues,” he said evenly, “but at school I had long hair, thick glasses and what my schizophrenic mother considered ideal dress sense. My self-image was pretty damaged until the later years of college. Nobody actually called me beautiful until you.”
“That’s a crime, baby,” Morgan murmured. “You should hear it every day. I promise our kid is going to hear.”
Morgan got up and began dressing for work. Reid pushed himself up and stretched, taking time to savour his tea before he did the same.
“Did the blood come out of my paternity slacks?” he asked. “I like them better than the blue ones.”
Morgan paused and turned, pulling his t-shirt down. “You’re not going back to work,” he said.
“Spencer.” There was something scared in Morgan’s voice, something Reid hadn’t heard for a long time. “Please don’t. Please, Spencer, let me be the overprotective husband for once. I have deferred to you for everything in this pregnancy, please let me call this.”
“I could have lost you, Spencer,” Morgan went on. “If it wasn’t for Seaver, he’d have gutted you there on the road, he’d have killed our kid. You’d have been alive still, Spencer, when he pulled our baby out and killed them. You would have seen it all, and I-”
Morgan gave a distressed sound and dropped on the bed, cradling his head in his hands. Reid suddenly realised why Morgan hadn’t been sleeping well since it had happened; his nightmares had become the hellish vision of what would have happened if Ashley hadn’t been able to protect Spencer from the unsub. Reid had thought about it too, but endeavoured not to let his mind linger.
He crawled across the bed and sat down next to Morgan, took one of his husband’s hands and dragged it down to his belly. He held it there until Morgan met his eyes again, then his lover relaxed a fraction and rubbed in small circles of his own accord.
“I don’t want you to go back,” Morgan said. “I want you to leave now.”
“I know,” Reid nodded. “I guess I thought my time at the BAU could end on a high, not with one of our friends almost dying. But there’s no way Hotch will let me anywhere near the field, I’ll be in Garcia’s office. I hated that when I blew out my knee. I mean I liked being with Garcia-” he added quickly, “but being stuck there and not really involved with the case was boring.”
“So you’ll leave now?” Morgan asked hopefully.
“Yeah. I guess it’s time.”
“Thank you,” Morgan breathed, swooping in to cup Reid’s face and kiss him. “I promise I’m only going to be there a few more weeks. Three, tops. If you give birth before that, I’m done. I’ve told Hotch, if the baby comes, I’m gone. I’d leave too right now, but with Ashley down, the team is going to be stretched thin.”
“I know, it’s okay,” Reid said, and it was. The way the tension eased out of Morgan was satisfying, and he was angry at himself for not realising how effected his husband had been earlier. He had been so wrapped up in coping, in talking himself into going back despite the fear and the flashbacks to that empty road and the cloying smell of Seaver’s blood, that he hadn’t noticed Morgan struggling too.
“But I’ve got to go in to hand in my gun and badge.”
Morgan hummed his agreement, reluctant to pull away.
“And give Garcia a chance to reorganise the leaving party.”
“How’d you know?” Morgan chuckled.
At thirty-eight weeks pregnant, Reid had spent the few weeks since officially leaving the BAU at home, with Clooney and - after she was out of hospital – Seaver for company. With two profilers down, only one of which was planned, it had made sense for Reid to look after Seaver while she recovered. She was under doctor’s orders to rest, and she wasn’t impressed by Reid’s vast collection of sci-fi DVDs, but she was a good conversationalist as Reid tried to stave off sedentary.
He’d hit the nesting phase, and suddenly been taken with the urge to clean. When Morgan had left the house, with Prentiss who had driven Seaver over, he’d promised to take it easy. He didn’t, though, for the first few days of not working; he cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, and polished, with Seaver helping even though she couldn’t move by convincing him to hand her things to dust and polish. Morgan had to know, but he didn’t say anything when he got home.
Seaver could technically have managed on her own two weeks after the fact; she was healing well and able to move around for extended periods of time, but neither of them felt much like being alone. Reid had no issue with solitude, but he hadn’t realised just how much time he spent with Morgan until he wasn’t with him all day. He missed him, and couldn’t wait for him to finish up his time with the BAU too.
“What’s that?” Seaver asked, nodding towards the paper he was holding as he came through from the kitchen.
“The birth plan.”
“Is that what it sounds like?”
“Basically.” She didn’t ask to see it, and he didn’t offer, but he did continue. “It outlines certain things. My practitioner and the hospital have copies. It’s quite detailed; it was therapeutic to plan for various circumstances. What drugs I don’t want to be given, who I’d like in surgery with me if Derek can’t be there, that I want the surgical screen low enough to see the baby delivered, where I’d like the baby to sleep when I’m recovering after the caesarean. A stipulation that Derek gets to cut the umbilical cord.”
“That was important to him?” Seaver smiled.
“Yeah,” Reid said as he sat down heavily on the couch. Clooney was being a well-behaved dog and sitting with his head on Seaver’s knee, letting her stroke him and scratch behind his ears. “It was a tradition that arose once non-birthing males were allowed into the delivery rooms, to make them feel like they’d contributed to the birth of their offspring.”
In the quiet, the television murmured quietly, a daytime cooking show on for background noise mostly as they talked.
“Do you miss it yet?” Seaver asked, and she didn’t have to clarify.
“I miss the team,” Reid said. “But when I think about the thrill I used to get, I just feel tired.” He gave a little laugh, stroking the huge swell of his stomach. “I’m tired so much of the time these days, the thought of the effort it takes to work a profile is daunting. And I don’t miss the risk. We almost died twenty days ago, Ashley. I’ve been shot, infected with anthrax, drugged... so I don’t miss the risk. Not when I can’t justify it any more. It’s not just me, and not just me and Derek doing the same job and running the same risks. We were okay with that when it was just us.” He sighed, and shrugged his shoulders.
They faded into quiet, and Reid knew he’d already thanked Ashley for defending him and saving him from a worse fate on their last case. “I don’t know how many times I can say thank you before it feels like enough,” he said. “Do you-” he shrugged, floundering for something to suggest, “want us to name you as God-parent?”
“Neither of us believe in God,” Ashley chuckled.
“I know. But without you it’s likely he would have killed the child.”
“Just,” Ashley shifted, putting her head on her hand thoughtfully, “tell them about me, about what I did I mean. When they’re older, tell them what happened. Seeing them get into this world safe is going to be enough reward, but it might be nice to be remembered.”
“We’ll tell them,” Reid nodded. “Of course we will.”
“I got you a present,” Morgan said, handing over a small parcel wrapped in tissue paper with a blue ribbon. “Well, it’s for the baby, so it’s not really a present for you. I guess you’re going to get loads of gifts like that now.”
Reid smiled as he looked the package, judged the weight of it. It was light, and definitely material. He rested it on his belly, while he untied the ribbon, Morgan’s excitement clear in his peripheral vision. Under the tissue paper was a navy blue snapsuit with white writing and a picture of an angle on it.
“I’m acute baby,” Reid read, smiling. “Derek,” he added with affection.
“It’s 5-6 months, so it’s one we’ll have to save for later, but I couldn’t resist,” Morgan explained. “I almost walked out of the baby store as soon as I went in. It was all segregated; a rainbow of colour on one side, and then a wall of pink. There were these special twin sets of clothes, and they had one for opposite sex twins; ‘smart like daddy’ in blue, and ‘pretty like mommy’ in pink. If we have a girl she’d going to be smart, and if we have a boy he’s going to be pretty. But,” he sighed, letting the annoyance drain from his voice, “then I saw this one in the boy’s section. I think it’ll just fine whatever we have.”
“It’s perfect,” Reid said, gladly accepting the kiss Morgan moved in to initiate. “Between you and Garcia, our child is going to be impeccably dressed.”
They kissed slowly, lips moving against each other, one of Morgan’s hands straying downward over Reid’s belly.
“I’ve felt bad leaving you on all these late nights getting stuff finished,” Morgan said. “This is the last one, I promise. I’m done. We’re both ex-profilers now. What do you want to do tonight?”
“Can we take a bath?” It didn’t seem like much of a request, but even in their large tub it could be a bit of hassle getting his pregnant self in and out, so they took even fewer baths than they had pre-pregnancy.
They went upstairs and Reid began to undress as Morgan prepped the bath. He tied his hair up out of the way, he’d washed it that morning and he knew he’d be uncomfortable in the night if he got it wet again this late in the evening. It was thicker and shiner than ever in pregnancy, which Morgan had definitely appreciated.
Reid had never hated his body; despite years of his peers trying to tell him he should, for being beaten up and harassed for how he looked and how small he was, he couldn’t bring himself to hate his body when it functioned perfectly fine for the most part and could do some pretty amazing things. But he had never truly loved his body and been able to fully appreciate it until Morgan.
Morgan loved every inch of him, from the faded track marks on the inside of his arms to his knobbly elbows that got dry if he forgot to moisturise them, as he had always forgotten to do in the early stages of their relationship. By loving and appreciated and adoring his body, Morgan had taught him to love and appreciate it himself; his big hands with spindly but strong fingers, his fingernails that looked elegant when he let them grow just a few millimetres; big feet with dexterous toes he could turn the bath taps on and off with, sharp hips and ribs that stuck out when he stretched.
It was different now, with a massive pregnant belly changing the same of his body. He had more flesh all around, from weight gain and water retention alike, his ankles were swollen, his face was full, and his chest was sore and leaking small amounts of clear colostrum; not enough to show through the paternity vests he wore, but enough that he’d been self conscious when he noticed it. Morgan’s love for his body hadn’t diminished or greatly increased if the latter was even possibly, but changed as his body changed. He was enjoying it too, despite the pain and discomfort it brought on with it. Morgan’s enthusiasm for his form was infectious.
Morgan looked at him with such reverence as he padded into the bathroom he couldn’t help the smile that pulled at his mouth.
“You always look so good with your hair tied back,” he said as he slipped out of his clothes.
“You put bubbles in,” Reid smiled as he peered into the tub, steam rising from the water.
“And some of that bath oil you like.”
“You are,” Morgan said, a hand slipping down Reid’s back to cup his rear.
“Smooth,” Reid chuckled, leaning back against Morgan briefly. He let Morgan take his hands and help to balance him as he stepped into the water, grateful for the large tub he’d considered rather lavish when he’d first seen it. He suspected when Morgan had installed it he’d imagined one or even two naked women in it with him and not a heavily pregnant man, but neither of them had ever expected to end up together, let alone happy and having a child.
Reid lowered himself down slowly and let the water take his weight, immediately relieving the pressure on his pelvis and drawing out a groan from him.
“Good?” Morgan asked as he settled down behind Reid.
“Yes,” Reid said. “I’ll be glad when this pregnancy is over.”
“Not long now, baby. Eighteen days until they cut you open.”
“I can’t wait,” Reid murmured as Morgan pulled him close. Reid leaned his head back on Morgan’s shoulder and let himself voice the sounds of his body relaxing. Morgan picked up a washcloth and dunked it under the water, and then brought it up to wash Reid’s collarbones and the top of his chest.
“You sore?” he asked as he moved lower, washing the small swell of breast tissue that had formed in the months previous as his body prepared to be able to feed their impending infant. Reid was glad he avoided his nipple with the cloth; the vests he wore stopped his clothing rubbing against them, but after a whole day in confinement he was still sore.
“Yes,” he said.
Morgan cupped his hand and lifted water up to douse Reid’s chest, and then gently cupped his hand on his chest instead, and rubbed his thumb gently over Reid’s nipple. The thumb was callous but Morgan was so gentle it didn’t hurt, and he turned his face into Morgan’s neck and kissed the skin there. With the washcloth forgotten Morgan did the same with the other hand on the other breast, large thumbs carefully helping to sooth and cleanse his flesh.
“Remember when you weren’t confident you’d have enough growth to breast feed?” Morgan mused.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Reid admitted. “JJ said her breasts hurt less once she got Henry to latch properly.”
“You’ve been talking about boobs with JJ?”
“It’s not as exciting as it sounds,” Reid laughed breathily. “She saw I was uncomfortable and we got talking.”
Morgan’s hands were now on his belly, where he was able to be a bit more robust as he washed his lover, teasing his extended navel with the washcloth. Reid made a half-hearted attempt at washing Morgan in return, running his hands over his knees and legs, but the warm water and his lover’s attentions had sapped his remaining energy.
“Does it ever just stop you in shock that you’ve got a small human being in you?” Morgan mused.
Reid laughed into the man’s neck. “There’s a dirty joke in there somewhere.”
“Seriously, Spencer. In a matter of weeks they’ll be born. You will have successfully grown a human being.”
“The one and only time I will ever,” Reid said. “I am never doing this again.”
“And if we want another kid one day?”
“You’re not already thinking of more, are you?” Reid lifted his head to look at Morgan’s face.
“No,” he shrugged, “but not ruling it out.”
“Fine,” Spencer settled down again with a smile, “you can be the pregnant one next time.”
“You haven’t made it sound like the most fun time.”
“We’ll adopt, like we planned.”
“Yeah,” Morgan hummed. “Don’t worry, I promise I’m not planning more yet. I’m happy with one, our little one. Our little family of four.”
Reid was confused for only a second. “You’re including the dog, aren’t you?”
“Of course!” Morgan feigned offence. “You can’t leave him out, especially when he’s been a more attentive mate to you than I have during your pregnancy.”
“You’ve been great,” Reid said. He lifted his arms to wrap them around Morgan’s neck, humming contentedly. “I couldn’t have done this without you.”
“We only have babies when we're young enough not to know how grim life turns out.” - Gregory Maguire
The big day arrives.
“All children mythologise their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won’t be the truth: it will be a story. And nothing is more telling than a story. ” - Diane Setterfield
Reid stirred awake to the sudden sensation of wetness. His first thought was that he’d urinated in his sleep, which wasn’t unheard of in pregnancy, especially with the fetus pressing down on the bladder. He quickly realised the origin of the dampness meant it couldn’t be urine, and there was no pain so it couldn’t be blood, which left only one option.
“Derek,” Reid reached over to shake his husband by the shoulder. “Derek, wake up.”
“You okay?” he muttered sleepily.
“Derek, I think I’m having a prelabor rupture of membranes.”
“No, Derek, I think my waters have broken.”
To his credit, Reid had never seen Morgan get out of bed so swiftly. He turned on the light and pulled back the covers to reveal the damp spot he was lying in. A wave of panic swept through him as he looked down at himself, and could still feel the trickle of liquid leaving him. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed, blushing with embarrassment as he continued to panic.
“Are you having contractions?” Morgan asked.
“I don’t think so. I woke up because of the damp, not pain,” he said in a small voice.
“It’s just amniotic fluid, it’s okay.”
“No it’s not, no no,” Reid said, holding his belly. “This is too soon, it’s too soon to be happening.”
“Baby, Spencer,” Morgan said calmly, as he put his hands on his husband’s shoulders and squeezed. “You’re only three days early, it’ll be fine. I’m going to call the OB, and you are going to stay calm, okay?”
Reid nodded. He didn’t feel calm at all, because if he was honest he’d convinced himself that his planned caesarean date would arrive before his body naturally went into labour.
“Spencer, she said to bring you in within the next hour. She’s booking the OR for eight, but you need to be observed until then. It’s her day off, but she said she’d be there like we requested in our birth plan. She said even though you’re not having contractions, labor will probably start soon. And even if it doesn’t, you’re at risk of infection now your waters have broken.”
“She said you’re okay to have a shower before we go in, if you want?” Morgan’s voice was kind and gentle, but Reid didn’t miss the hint of excitement. He nodded, and let Morgan help him to his feet.
“Do you want me to give you a hand?” Morgan asked.
He shook his head, and waved a hand towards the bed. “Can you-?”
“Of course. Don’t worry about it, it’ll wash out, unlike that time we ruined our sheets with that chocolate sauce adventure.”
Reid couldn’t help but laugh, and he instantly felt better for it. The hot water over his body helped too, soothing away the sudden vulnerable feeling that waking up to his waters broken had given him. The pain took him by surprise, and he braced the shower wall with one arm as the other hand stroked rapid circles on his stomach to relieve the pressure of what was surely his first contraction. It was a tight cramping feeling, and he screwed up his face. When Morgan didn’t appear, he called for him as the pain faded after the peak.
“Derek,” he called. Morgan came into the room fully dressed. “I just had a contraction. I’m going into labor.”
“Okay pretty boy, we should go soon. Let’s get you out of the shower.”
“I’m still leaking.”
“You can sit on a towel. Not dignified, but it’ll work.”
“I’m going into labor,” he repeated, because he thought it needed to be said, as he stepped into the waiting towel Morgan was holding open for him. His husband wrapped him up and brought him in close, kissed his head and the bridge of his nose.
“It’s time, Spencer.”
“Are we ready for this?” Reid asked, nestling into Morgan’s warmth.
“Hell no. Nobody is really ready. But we’re gonna do great.”
Fifteen minutes later, once Clooney was placated and they’d made sure they had everything in their hospital go-bag, and they were ready to go, Reid had his next contraction. It seemed to hurt worse than the first and his knees wobbled. Morgan was right there of course, within grabbing distance, and did his best to support Reid as he gritted his teeth and tried to breathe himself through the pain. Under his hands he could feel the material of Morgan’s t-shirt and it was wrong.
“You need to wear a shirt,” he snapped.
“Go put a proper shirt on!” He was glad that Morgan didn’t ask him why he had such a demand, because he wasn’t sure. He just knew it felt important. Derek waited for the contraction to finish and then hurried upstairs to change; when he came back down in a white shirt Reid was bracing his hands on the back of the couch and breathing through the residual pain.
“Have you got the bag?” Reid asked.
“The birth plan?”
“Did you call anyone yet?”
“I’ll call them at the hospital. C’mon, it’s time.”
They were driving but almost at the hospital when the next contraction came, about another fifteen minutes later. Reid gripped the nearest solid thing, which happened to be Morgan’s arm as he changed gear. Morgan quickly took Reid’s hand and let him squeeze, sparing a glance over as his husband hunkered down against the pain and groaned through it.
“I’m scared,” he whimpered. “If we don’t get there in time a natural delivery is a significant risk for-”
“We’re five minutes from the hospital, your contractions are fifteen minutes apart and first time labor isn’t usually quick,” Morgan said, falling well into the role of soothing and calming. “We’ll be there in plenty of time.”
They were, and all their planning paid off; their OB had made the arrangements for the caesarean being moved up, and they were shown to a room where they prepped Reid for an epidural.
“Who do you want me to call, Spence?” Morgan asked as Reid leaned forward, freshly panting from a contraction and now having a nurse push a needle into his spine.
“Your mom,” he said. “She’ll kill you if you wait until after to call her.”
Morgan chuckled and squeezed Reid’s shoulder.
“And Garcia. She can call everyone else.”
Their OB came into the room where Reid was being prepped, smiling and smelling faintly of coffee.
“Good morning. You couldn’t wait, huh? Don’t worry, I’ve made all the arrangements as per your plan. I’m going to go scrub in, a nurse will come help Derek suit up and you’ll be brought down to the operating room and we’ll get right on with it. Do you have any questions?”
Reid shook his head, trying not to focus too much on his lower body going numb. He wasn’t in much state to appreciate Morgan in the scrubs he had to wear in order to go into the operating room with him. It was strange to be awake as he was wheeled into the operating room, which was rather cold. Morgan was seated by his head, and stroked Reid’s hair away from his forehead as the OB got into position.
“We’re going to start now,” she said, from behind her mask. “When we deliver your infant we’ll wait a few moments to cut the cord, after it’s stopped pulsing, and close to the placenta so there’s plenty left that Derek can cut in preparation for clamping. You want to donate the cord blood, correct?”
“Yes,” Reid said.
“Alright, let’s get your child delivered.”
Reid reached for Morgan’s hand and squeezed, watching the surgeons move beyond the screen that obscured the view. The idea of seeing himself cut open didn’t actual faze him, but he didn’t want Morgan to have to see it, even if it was a routine procedure.
“Here they come,” the OB said, and Reid craned his neck to look, the sterile screen had been lowered just for this moment at their pre-arranged request. Reid could feel a tugging sensation in his lower abdomen, though it didn’t hurt or really register as more than pressure.
Over the top of the screen gloved hands lifted a very pink, slightly bloody infant, all their limbs still scrunched up tight against their body, their little face too, with a crown of fine dark hair plastered to their head.
“It’s a girl,” Morgan said before the doctor had a chance to, awe in his voice. “It’s a girl!” He practically whooped.
Reid couldn’t think of anything that mattered less than the sex of their child, when their child had just been born, plump and pink and tiny. The doctor held her aloft for several seconds, and then she was gone from site. He felt more tugging, and the doctor confirmed she was delivering the placenta.
“She’s not crying,” Reid said, almost dizzy with panic. “She’s not crying, Derek, she’s not-”
“Shh, shh,” Morgan stroked Reid’s head as the doctor instructed for the umbilical cord to be cut, and their child was handed to a midwife. “That’s normal, remember? They’re going to check her lungs, they’re going to-” He trailed off, his eyes following the nurse.
“Go,” Reid urged, and Morgan hurried over to help. The station where the infant was given a quick wipe and a check up, mouth and nose suctioned was in Reid’s line of sight. He watched as the baby – their daughter – writhed, those little limbs moving, and the nurse quickly walked Morgan through clamping and cutting the umbilical cord.
And then she began to cry. Great screaming cries for her size, tiny lungfuls of air swallowed down and screamed back out. The nurse handed her loosely wrapped in a towel to Morgan, who took her tiny naked form in his hands, and carefully made the few steps back to his seat by Reid’s head.
“It’s our baby,” he said as he raised the child up so Reid could see her, and lift a hand to touch the side of her face with his fingertips. Her cries had dimmed when Morgan picked her up, but she still whimpered her displeasure at being wrenched from the warmth of Spencer’s womb, bits of which still seemed to be stuck to her forehead, her eyes screwed shut. He touched her tiny hand, and she immediately curled her fingers around one of his.
“She’s here,” he breathed, overwhelmed.
Her head easily fit in Morgan’s hand, and her backside in the other, tiny against his broad grasp. She was an angry pink colour, small but plump like newborns were always pictured to be, with a small wide nose that Reid couldn’t resist touching. He stroked down from between her eyes over her nose and she snuffled, settling against Morgan’s hold.
“She’s small,” Reid said.
“The midwife said she’s a little under six pounds,” Morgan said. “She’s so light, Spencer.”
They sat in quiet, just looking at their baby as she wriggled and fussed. Morgan tucked the towel around her to protect her from the cool room, and Reid wanted to hold her, but it would be awkward in his position.
“Okay Spencer, Derek,” the OB said, “we have to move the baby while we finish closing you up and move you to the recovery room.”
“Can Derek keep hold of her?”
“Yes, but he’ll have to leave the operating room; he can meet you in recovery in about fifteen minutes.”
“I won’t leave you, Spencer,” Morgan said.
“It’s okay. Go with her, stay with her. I’ll be out soon.”
“Okay.” Morgan changed his hold on the tiny baby, wrapped the towel more securely around her and leaned down to give his husband a gentle kiss. “I’m proud of you, pretty boy.”
As Reid smiled it occurred to him suddenly why he’d told Morgan to wear a shirt. “Put her against your chest.”
“It’s in the birth plan. Skin-to-skin contact is beneficial to newborns. Once you get out of here undo your shirt, and hold her. Even before they give her a vitamin K shot and a heel stick test. We can do that later, just hold her, okay?” He knew he was babbling, but the rush of chemicals, of love and dwindling fear and joy were almost overwhelming. “I want her to have the benefit of skin-to-skin contact, I don’t want her to be poked and prodded or left alone before I can hold her. I want you to hold her.”
“Okay,” Morgan said softly. “We’ll see you on the other side, okay?”
Sending his daughter away after only seeing her for a few short minutes had been fine in theory, to give her the opportunity to benefit from immediate skin-to-skin contact, but actually doing it was hard. He knew he’d see her again soon, but watching Morgan carry her out of the room, a midwife in tow, made him ache.
“We’ll have you out of here soon, Spencer,” the OB reassured. It still felt like an age, lying on the operating table as he was closed up. The OB did him the courtesy of explaining at length how the cord blood would be extracted, stored, and potentially used in the future, even though she knew he knew it already. It gave him something to focus on, words he could grasp while time stretched out unnaturally.
When they wheeled him into the post-op recovery room, Morgan was in a chair beside a cot, his white shirt open and his sleeves rolled up, holding their daughter to his chest; one hand supporting her rear and the other cradling her head. Reid could feel himself shaking, but he’d expected that from the epidural and the stress on his body.
“Hey, pretty boy,” Morgan said, once Reid was in place propped up and the nurse had left them alone. He came to the edge of the bed, still holding their baby to him. “Our little girl has a surprise for you.”
“Does she?” Reid asks, resisting the urge to reach for her, even though he wanted to hold her so much.
Grinning, Morgan carefully moved the hand that had been cradling her head down her back, revealing a head of now-dry fine ginger hair, which was even more striking against her light brown skin.
“Wow,” Reid breathed, a bubble of delight forming in his chest. “Your mom is going to be so happy.”
“Is there any red hair in your family?”
“My maternal grandmother. But I don’t mind if Fran wants to take full credit for this.”
Smiling, Morgan lifted the baby off his chest. Automatically Reid held out his arms, and he didn’t miss how Derek’s smile widened at the sight. She fit perfectly along his arm, nestled loosely in a blanket. He was surprised that her eyes were open, and they were a mid-grey tone. She made a small distressed sound at being disturbed, and Reid didn’t want her to cry so he rocked his arm slowly. After a moment she settled, her eyes searching for something to focus on. He knew she didn’t have very good vision yet, so he lifted his arms a little.
“Hello, little girl,” he murmured. Her eyes followed the sound, and he couldn’t call it recognition, but he hoped that it was. She focused on his face, big eyes watching him. “It’s good to see you. We’ve been waiting a long time to meet you.”
Morgan had perched himself on the edge of the bed, and reached in to touch one of her feet, slotting his thumb against the arch of her sole.
“She’s perfect,” he said. “Isn’t she?”
“We’re biased. We’re – especially me - full of hormones relating to parent-infant attachment. She could have been born with tentacles and we’d think she was perfect.”
Morgan clearly agreed, as he leant in for a kiss over their child. As they pulled apart Reid could sense Morgan’s eyes grazing over him.
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m okay, I’m still numb. I want to try feeding her for the first time before the epidural fades.”
“The first feeding is important, an infant gets their first supply of colostrum which gives them antibodies to fight infection.”
“I’ll go find our stuff, okay?”
Morgan went to fetch their hospital go bag, and returned with it, and a male lactation specialist who came in to observe, leaving them to try on their own, his experience ready to help them if they needed. Derek extracted the breastfeeding pillow and helped to position it so Reid could continue to cradle the baby without actually having to use his muscles to support her, and kept pressure off his incision. He held her against his bare skin and encouraged her to latch, the specialist encouraging his effort. After one attempted that was painful and the baby fussing when he pulled her off to try again, clearly unhappy with that turn of events, the second time she took better, and it felt odd but it wasn’t painful after she’d latched properly.
“There we go,” he cooed.
“You okay?” Morgan asked, Reid wasn’t sure to which of them, as he sat on the bed.
“Yeah. Pretty sure it won’t be this easy when we get home and don’t have a lactation specialist on hand to tell me I’m doing it right.”
“You’re doing great,” Morgan encouraged. “How does it feel?”
“Nice,” he said, unable to take his eyes off their baby as she made tiny snuffling sounds around his nipple, her little fist clenching and unclenching against his chest. “That could be the oxytocin breastfeeding releases.” His breathed hitched at a harder tug at his breast that was more a surprise than painful. “Did you pack the pump?”
“Of course I did, you watched me pack the bag, remember?” Morgan’s voice tinkled with amusement, watching Spencer as much as he watched the baby.
“Good. You should be able to feed her. I don’t want you to miss out on this, Derek,” he said as he stroked over their daughter’s hair, feeling the softness under his fingertips, and traced one particularly long curl around her ear. “Feeding is an essential part of bonding, and she has to learn she relies on you for food too.”
“You remember when you were worried you wouldn’t form an immediate attachment?” Derek teased fondly.
Reid did, but at that moment he couldn’t believe he’d ever doubted it. He loved her, immediately and completely; he never wanted to let her go, he’d be happy if she nursed at his breast for the rest of time, the three of them together in the grace period before his anaesthetic wore off. She was tiny, beautiful and perfect, and Reid thought for ever worry and hardship he’d had in the past nine months, she was worth every second.
When Reid was ready to be moved to their paternity room from recovery, they were finally convinced to let their baby be handled by the nurses so she could be weighed and measured accurately. She was given an injection of vitamin K and a heel-stick test, dressed in a fresh cloth diaper, wrapped in a blanket, and then handed back to Morgan so he could be the one to try and sooth her. He rocked her until she went to sleep, and settled in the bedside chair with her cradled in his arm so naturally, even though her cot was right beside the bed.
“Have you had any thoughts on a name?” Morgan asked.
Reid thought for a moment, looking over at his husband with their sleeping child. They hadn’t talked about names much; before Reid had found it hard, and now he was regretting his reluctance. They’d all but settled on a name for a male child, but now with a female child the choice was much harder. And then quite suddenly and unexpectedly he had a thought that settled into place with perfect ease, and he hoped it would be one Morgan agreed with.
“We should name her after your father, like you wanted.”
Morgan thought for a few seconds. “Samantha?”
“No,” and then after beat, “just Sam.”
“Sam,” Morgan said, testing the name on his lips. “I like it. Our baby girl Sam. What do you think, little one?” he asked their sleeping daughter in a hushed voice, as she gripped his finger in her fist. “You going to live up to being a Sam? I think you’ll like it. We’re naming you after your Grandfather, who was brave, and kind, and strong. All the things we’re going to help you be, pretty girl.”
The pain was starting for Reid and he’d just been given pain medication when a familiar face knocked on their door and entered with reserved excitement, a large bag over her shoulder.
“Hello, my doves,” Garcia said softly, as she set the bag down, and made a clear effort to make eye contact with them both before her gaze turned like a magnet on the baby in Morgan’s arms. “Oh my god.”
Morgan stood carefully as Garcia hurried over, rearranging the blanket around the baby so her face was clear on show.
“Oh god. I need pronouns so I can squee,” Garcia urged.
Morgan smiled. “A little girl.”
“Eee! She’s beautiful, boys!” she gushed, keeping her voice down. “Look at that red hair! Wow, how did she get that?”
Reid had an answer to supply about genetics, and usually he would, but he was trying not to move too much since his stomach was hurting and he felt tired.
“Have you named her yet?”
“Sam,” Morgan said.
Reid could see her practically rocking on the balls of her feet, and her excitement was infectious. “You want to hold her, Garcia?” he asked.
“Oh, yes please!” she nodded, turning towards Reid.
“Careful,” Morgan said as he gently transferred her to Garcia, “we want to try and keep her asleep.”
Garcia adjusted and cooed, bobbing Sam up and down in her arms as she fidgeted, disturbed by the transfer. Reid tried to sit up a little straighter, and the noises of pain that caused him made Morgan rush over.
“What are you doing?” he hushed as Reid settled back against the pillows.
“It’s not that pleasant being stuck in a bed with a catheter in, you know.”
“I know, Spencer, but they’re not going to let you try and get up until this evening. And when they do there needs to be a nurse around to help. Just take it easy, I can get you anything you want.”
“Coffee,” he said, even though he knew he couldn’t have it and he was just being difficult.
“I promise when you can drink coffee again, I will make it just the way you like it at your beck and call.”
“Good,” Reid huffed. His incision site was aching, and as feeling came back to his legs moving them made it worse.
“Did you call everyone else?” Morgan asked.
“Yeah,” Garcia said dreamily. “I told them to come in the afternoon, to give you some time to adjust. I knew you’d be in recovery for a couple of hours.”
“Thanks. Did you bring the stuff?”
“I did. You want to do it now?”
“Yeah. Give Sam to Spencer, and I’ll call my mom while you set up.”
Garcia gently handed the baby to her father, under Morgan’s watchful gaze. The awkward angle jostled her a little, and she began to wake, a cry forming.
“Hey, Sam, it’s okay,” Reid cooed. “Shh, shh. Your daddy is calling your grandma, and Penelope is going to get up a video chat so she can see you.”
“Hey, ma?” Morgan said, on the phone. “Yes. I told you, no news would be good news. Mama, please. Garcia’s setting it up now; can you get to your computer? Okay. Who’s there? Okay.”
Garcia had a laptop out on a rolling table, adjusted to the right height for Reid, and the computer was turned towards her as she set up the conference. Sam had quietened again, comforted by Reid’s attention.
“Tell her to press ‘accept’,” Garcia instructed.
“Ma? Press ‘accept’. No? Okay, ask Des or Sarah to do it. Right.”
“Oh!” came Fran’s voice from the computer. “Hi there!”
“Hello, Mrs Morgan,” Garcia greeted.
“Hi, ma,” Morgan said as he hung up his phone, stepping into the laptop’s field of vision. Reid stroked Sam’s hair as he let Morgan make the introduction.
“Did Spencer have the baby?” Fran asked.
“It went fine. You ready?” Morgan turned the laptop around, and pushed it into place. Reid saw his own image in a small box in the corner of the window, where Fran was sat with her hands clasped at her chin, with Des and Sarah leaning in either side. Sam, as if on cue, waved her arms where they’d been freed from the blanket, and made a fussy noise.
“Oh my god,” Fran said, as the three women on screen made excited sounds. Derek adjusted the angle of the laptop just slightly, giving them a better view of the new baby.
“Ma, meet your new granddaughter.”
“Oh Derek, a little girl?”
“Look at her hair!” Sarah said, pointing at the screen.
“Oh wow! Mine was just like that when I was a baby,” Fran cooed, and Reid smiled at Morgan over the top of the laptop. “It got darker in the first couple of years, though. And you kids were lighter skinned when you were born than you ended up.”
“Spencer, she’s adorable,” Des said.
“Oh, Spencer,” Fran said, “how are you feeling?”
“I’m okay,” he answered, smiling at the screen. “Just sore.”
Derek came to sit on the bed with Reid, slipping an arm around his shoulders.
“Have you named her?” Fran asked expectantly.
“Yeah,” Morgan said, peering down at her as she blinked slowly. “We called her Sam.”
“Sam?” Fran breathed. “After your dad?”
“That’s perfect, Derek.”
“It really is,” Sarah agreed.
“You have to bring her to see us soon,” Fran pushed. “Or I could come down to a visit? I don’t want to get in your way while you get used to being parents, but I want to just cuddle her, she’s so lovely!”
“We’ll work something out, Ma. If you get Sarah to teach you how to use the webcam on your own, we can do this a bit more often.”
As Sam began to cry in apparent protest to the idea, her grandmother and aunts only cooed and fussed more through the screen, watching Spencer’s attempt to calm her. It was a little unnerving having three experienced mothers watching him manage, but seeing how proud Morgan was beaming made it completely worth it.
“She’s beautiful, Spence,” JJ said.
Morgan had Sam in his arms, freshly changed and asleep after a slightly more difficult breastfeeding session, where Reid had had to move onto his side and use pillows to support her little form to line up with his nipple. Their former team and lifelong friends had come together from the office in the afternoon to greet the new addition to the BAU family they would always be a part of.
“She is,” Prentiss agreed.
“So, is your milkman a redhead?” Rossi asked.
“Dave,” Hotch chided, but he was hiding a grin, and Morgan played at mock-scandalised.
“She’s very small,” Seaver noted.
“Five pounds eight ounces,” Morgan said. “She’s in a healthy range, but she’s on the small side.”
“She’ll lose weight in the first few days,” JJ warned.
“I know, anywhere up to ten percent of her body weight,” Reid confirmed. “She’s going to be so tiny.”
“She wouldn’t have gained a lot more weight if she’d been born on her due date,” JJ said soothingly. “Sometimes babies are just small. She’ll catch up.”
“It was a little strange when Jack lost weight at first,” Hotch said, “but then when he started gaining it, it was pretty steady.”
“What did your mom say about the red hair, Morgan?” Prentiss asked, as she touched Sam’s little nose with a fingertip.
“Oh, she’s so happy,” he chuckled, “praying that it comes through red again when the baby hair falls out.”
“And her eyes,” JJ said, “they’re not dark, they might not end up brown.”
“Are you guys going to place bets on that too?” Reid asked, to a round of quiet laughter. “Who made the most money out of the pool, anyway?”
“Seaver,” Rossi said. “She bet on girl, on early delivery and the date.”
“Congratulations,” Reid said.
“You too,” Seaver grinned.
“Are you doing anything to mark her birth?” Hotch asked. “Haley was always disappointed we didn’t take more pictures.”
“We’ve taken lots of pictures,” Morgan said. “A nurse is going to help us do hand and foot prints this evening. But a few more pictures would be great. Who wants to hold her first?”
Sam was eventually jostled awake from being passed around and held for photos, but both her fathers weren’t worried; these were the people they trusted most in the word. Reid remembered the last time they’d gathered to celebrate a birth, when Henry had been born. Everyone had been happy, a respite in the midst of awful cases.
For them it wasn’t the same now; there were no cases to go back to, no terrible files to read. Sam’s birth was not an oasis of calm, but the start of something completely new. They weren’t sure what was going to happen, or what their life was going to turn out like, but as Reid looked over at Morgan holding their newborn daughter in his arms, amongst their smiling, cooing friends, he was looking forward to finding out.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” - Mark Twain
Now they're home, the new chapter of their life begins in earnest.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“A baby's cry is precisely as serious as it sounds.” - Jean Liedloff
Clooney had truly earned the title of “good dog” since the new addition had been home. Morgan had taken one of Sam’s first blankets to the house when he went to check up on the canine, and reported back that the dog was fascinated with the smell and hadn’t chewed or bitten the fabric. It took the dog a full day before he disobeyed orders that he had to be in his bed when both he and the baby were in the living room. He got up and padded towards where Reid was sat on the sofa with Sam up against his chest, her head resting on his shoulder as he alternately rubbed and patted her tiny back, attempting to burp her after her feed.
“Stay,” Reid said, with much more confidence than he’d had when he first met the canine, and Clooney immediately stopped in his tracks half way across the room. Clooney hadn’t been allowed close yet, as they gradually got him used to the smell and presence of the new arrival. Morgan had been taking him for several walks a way to drain his excess energy, which Reid was sure was also giving him the extra attention he needed; he’d never had such regular walks with his masters when they worked at the BAU.
“Slowly,” he said, and Clooney started walking again at the designated pace, putting one paw deliberately in front of another. Reid was thankful for all the training Morgan had done, and what he’d then instructed Reid to do in turn. “Sit,” he said when Clooney reached him, and the dog obeyed, looking unwaveringly at Reid.
Sam let out a little burp, and Reid craned his head to see if she’d spit up – she hadn’t - he’d experienced that already, and had a towel over his shoulder in preparation.
“There we go, Sam,” he cooed. “Someone wants to say hello, I think.” He took Sam off his shoulder and transferred her to his arm. He’d found it easier than he imagined to hold her; she was so tiny, she fit perfectly. He wasn’t as confident as Morgan, who could carry her around with one arm with perfect ease, but sitting down he was able enough to do so, freeing up his other hand to reach out and scratch Clooney’s head.
“Good dog,” he said, and the dog relaxed as he was rewarded with affection for following commands. After a moment his interest was caught by Sam, and he inched forward to sniff her. She fussed as the warm muzzle made contact with her, nudging her. Reid stroked her head, ready to push the dog away or command him if he did any more than sniff around.
“This is Sam,” he said. “She is a very tiny human, you have to be gentle.”
“He will be.” Morgan was standing in the doorway, smiling. Apparently even a new baby couldn’t match the excitement of being a dog that hadn’t seen his master for all of twenty minutes. He trotted over to Morgan and got a good rub around the neck and ears with both hands for his trouble. “You being a good dog?”
The doorbell rang as Reid was getting up from the couch. “You go,” he prompted, readjusting his hold on Sam, “she’s making what I’m pretty sure is her poop-face.”
When he came back to the living room, Sam – in a clean cloth diaper - was crying as he held her against his chest, a short staccato cry which he thought meant she just wanted comfort; the cry she made when she was hungry was much higher in pitch. He bounced her slightly, making shushing sounds. Morgan was sat on the couch, and there was a large hamper on the coffee table.
“Who’s that from?” he asked.
“Don’t know.” Morgan held out his hands, and Reid passed over the crying baby with care. “Hey little girl,” he cooed as he held her like Reid had. “What are you fussing for? Daddy’s got you.”
“It’s from Lila,” Reid said as he read the inside congratulations card. “She says ‘Congrats on your new arrival. Wish I could come say hello, but as I’m currently filming in Australia, I thought I’d send along this gift in my place. Don’t forget to look after yourself. Love, Lila.’”
“Yeah,” Reid said as he began to open the hamper, but there was a heavy feeling in his chest.
“But?” Morgan prompted, seeing through Reid’s attempt to smooth over his feelings.
He sighed as he lifted out a bottle of champagne from the basket. “Ethan hasn’t called. Or sent a card. Or made any attempt to contact me. I thought he’d get over it in a few days, but...”
“Spencer, if he’s still hung up on being an ass, it’s his loss.”
“I know. I still wish it hadn’t ended up like this.”
“I know you do. But you couldn’t have done anything to stop it.”
“Yeah. Look, Lila didn’t send us anything for Sam, it’s all for us.” He smiled; it was nice to be remembered through the flood of baby-feelings everyone was having. “DVDs, books, snacks, bath stuff, oh, and spa tickets.”
Morgan didn’t pursue their discussion on Ethan, instead took the proffered tickets from Reid. “Have you ever actually been to a spa? Not on a case,” he added as Reid opened his mouth.
“We should go. In a few weeks, yeah? When you’re healed. Garcia will be begging to get a chance to babysit by then, anyway.” He turned the tickets over, examining them. “Wow, I’ve heard of this place. It’s classy. Hey, and maybe we can cross a sauna off our list of places to have sex.”
Reid smirked at Morgan’s mischievous grin, and leaned over to kiss him lightly on the mouth. Automatically his hand went to Sam, between each of Morgan’s hands and rubbed her back. Morgan took his hand off the back of her head as Reid’s moved up to replace it, and instead put it around his husband and drew him in close.
“You okay with me taking one while you’re feeding her?” Morgan asked, holding the camera aloft as Reid sat with Sam latched on his breast.
“Yeah,” Reid sighed. “I wrote about breastfeeding in my letter anyway.”
“We could go and see your mom, you know,” Morgan said as he knelt to get a good angle.
“I think we should wait until she’s older,” Reid said, though he didn’t look up. Feeding Sam was still mesmerising; watching her suckle with her little fist clenched against his skin. He’d already noticed that during morning feedings she kept her eyes open, looking around at what would be fuzzy shapes in her vision. “If I keep sending pictures hopefully by the time we visit she won’t be shocked, even if she’s not completely lucid.”
“Your call, babe.”
“You know you haven’t called me baby since about the eighth month of pregnancy?” Reid noted.
“No. She’s your baby now, I get it. She was your baby then too, even though you consistently used neutral language to make me feel comfortable. Then you started using singular ‘they’, which was still ambiguous but allowed you to give the pregnancy the personal significance you needed to.”
“You used ‘they’ too,” Morgan pointed out.
“I know. It got to a point that while still technically a fetus, the baby had a good chance of survival if born prematurely and I was already thinking of them – of her – in the terms of being a person.”
“Do you miss me calling you baby?” Morgan asked as he stood over them, taking a picture from a high angle.
“Not so much that it causes me distress,” he smiled.
“I can try to do it if you want?”
“Don’t force it.” Reid stroked the side of Sam’s head, around the shell of her ear. “I don’t mind what you call me.”
Morgan came to join Reid on the couch, setting the camera aside. He pulled a small book into view from the coffee table, and Reid recognised it as something called a ‘Promise Book’ that Garcia had given to them. The premise was to write promises to your child on each page; fill the book in their first year or so, and then put it in a sealed wooden box and not open it until said child’s eighteenth birthday.
“I wrote a couple,” he said.
“Did you? Tell me.”
Morgan opened the book, and turned to address Sam as much as Reid. “I promise to love you forever.” He turned the page. “I promise to help you grow. I promise when you’re a teenager we’ll only embarrass you a little bit.”
Reid laughed. “Well, it would be impossible to keep all of those promises.” He paused. “She is going to be happy.”
“I know.” Morgan leaned his head on Reid’s shoulder, and watched their daughter feed. “She takes her time on you, doesn’t she? When she has a bottle she wolfs it down.”
“Milk flow is easier from a bottle.”
“You doing okay with it?”
“Yeah, but it hurts if she doesn’t latch properly.”
“I’m sorry I can’t help you take that,” Morgan said. “If we’d thought of it I could have pumped to induce lactation...”
“Derek, you’ve been getting up to feed her. I didn’t do any feeding last night, and only one the night before. You really are helping. We’re making a good team.”
“We’ve always been a good team, Spence. Ever since we met, we’ve worked well together. Though our work was never really nurturing.”
“Well, not in the same way this will be.”
“No.” Morgan closed the book and hunkered down, resting his head on Reid’s shoulder. “You deserve a promise, too. I promise you, we’re in this together, forever, pretty boy.”
“I don’t think you’ve ever made a promise to me you didn’t keep,” Reid murmured, sparing the hand that wasn’t supporting the baby to search out Morgan’s and lace their fingers together. He squeezed, and wondered just how long things could stay so perfect, if there was a limit, or if they’d finally made it; if everything they’d seen and fought was over, and they could now have happiness without cost. That was a promise neither could make, even though the promise to give everything they could to see it happen was implied.
They’d been at home with Sam for a week, and even though both of them had been on hand to look after her, they were both tired. Day four had brought Spencer’s first session of random crying; one of his nipples was very sore, and when it was his turn to feed Sam she wouldn’t latch. He’d burst into tears, certain they’d somehow messed her up by alternately breast and bottle feeding her. Morgan, in an attempt to not upset Reid further, had phoned JJ instead of the lactation consultant for advice. She’d suggested Sam might be gassy, and probably wouldn’t want to feed. So they spent an hour holding her in different positions to burp her, with Reid getting more and more worried as Sam cried and cried. Eventually, she let out a huge belch which seemed to abate her crying, and Morgan had never looked so proud. After that she latched fine and fed like a champ, and the new parents had overcome their first hurdle.
By the time Sam was ten days old, her umbilical stump had fallen off and healed, and they decided to move on from the sponge-washes they’d been giving her.
“You sure you don’t want to be the one to do this?” Morgan asked, testing the temperature of the bathwater with his hand as he pulled off his boxer briefs with the other. “First bath, and all.”
“I’m sure. I can’t hog all the firsts,” Reid smiled, holding onto a naked and freshly fed and changed Sam as Morgan got into position. “Besides, I can’t get in and out of the tub.” There was also something about the idea of bathing with a large wound that didn’t sound appealing, but he left that out. Instead he sat down in the chair they’d put by the side of the bath, with all the necessary things within reach, as Morgan settled down in the water. As he handed Sam to her other father, he hoped she wouldn’t cry and fuss; Morgan had been so looking forward to bathing her, and it had developed quickly into taking her into the bath with him, at Reid’s suggestion that the opportunity for skin-to-skin contact might help her not to panic.
Morgan put her against his chest and leaned back, supporting under her backside as he eased into the warm water. She wriggled as she was half-submerged in the warm water, and Morgan grinned.
“You like that, Sam?” he asked her, as her little legs kicked out experimentally and she made a small sound. “Yeah, you do. Just don’t get too relaxed and pee on Daddy, okay?”
Reid chuckled, and watched as Sam started to cry. Morgan didn’t panic, just sloshed water on her back and kept touching her, stroking along her back to reassure her. It was a half-hearted cry to begin with, and after a few minutes she settled down.
“If we get a bath mat, we could take her in the shower with us,” Morgan said. “This is nice, but baths take a while.”
“When I’m healed better. You know I have to brace in the shower because the heat’s been making me unsteady after a while.”
“We’ll buy a shower seat, too. It might come in handy.”
“All the stuff we didn’t plan,” Reid mused. “Shower seats, afternoon naps, sore nipples.”
“My nipples feel fine,” Derek teased, as he picked up the washcloth from the side of the bath with his free hand and dunked it in the water. Reid leaned forward and took it, wringing it out a little and spreading a mild soap on it. He handed it back and Morgan began to wash Sam, turning her slightly on his chest to get to her stomach. She was quiet and calm, clearly content between the warm water and her father’s warm chest and hand.
“Got to get you nice and clean, little baby,” Morgan murmured as he washed over her rear and legs and down to her tiny feet. Reid smiled as he watched them, and knew Derek could tell his eyes were on him. He’d noticed it too, when he was interacting with her, Morgan would just watch them, smiling contently. There was nothing that had made him feel as happy as watching him interact with their daughter in a long time. It wasn’t as if their relationship had been lacking at all, or that they had been incomplete, but he hadn’t been able to comprehend just how quickly and spectacularly he could come to love another human being.
“I never want to be pregnant again,” he said suddenly into the relative quiet. Morgan spared him a lopsided look as he used a jug to carefully rinse Sam of soap and make sure she stayed warm. “I mean-” Reid went on, “well, I mean I don’t want to. Ever. But I don’t regret it. I am so glad we did this, Derek. She’s perfect, and I love her.”
“I love her too,” Morgan said, leaning down to kiss the top of her head.
He carefully ran the cloth over it, washing her scalp. Reid leaned over to wipe at her face with another cloth, carefully cleaning around her mouth, her eyes, her nose. She began to cry again, and Morgan smiled as he tried to sooth her.
“Baby girl, don’t fuss.” She didn’t seem responsive to being calmed, so they both carefully worked to rinse her free of soap. “She might be getting cold. You better take her.”
“Here we go,” Reid cooed as Morgan handed her over, and wrapped her up in a fluffy towel, gathering her up in the folds and moving away to give Morgan some room. “Shh, shh, shh,” he sounded as he carried her through into the bedroom. “Daddy’s going to get you dry, okay?”
She’d settled down in the warm towel by the time Morgan came out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist. Reid smiled at him, but didn’t expect the man to come over and sweep him up, wrapping his arms around them, pressing Sam securely between them.
“That was fantastic,” Morgan murmured. “She’s so tiny and brilliant. We made her,” he added, sounding like he’s just realised it and was amazed.
“Yeah, we did.” Spencer grinned, and as Sam snuffled between them amongst the folds of towel, he knew that although he’d never imagined his life ending up here, he wouldn’t change a single moment of it.
“There are words in the soul of a newborn baby, wanting and waiting to be written.” - Toba Beta
A/N: That's the end of Come Daylight! It's been a long run to get this story finished. I've learned a lot along the way. Thank you to everyone who as read, commented, and given support and help.
Don't worry, this is not the last story you will see in this 'verse. I will continue to write in the Come Daylight 'verse, but there will be no more chaptered stories. It will likely be one-shots, as and when I get inspiration for them. Also, I can't guarantee they'll be in chronological order. I hope you continue to enjoy what this 'verse has to offer.