"Are you using again?"
He didn't meant to be blunt, yet now that the question is out, Morgan can't imagine how to be anything but. It's been a hard year for them all, losing JJ and Emily, almost losing Hotch; they all are worn and ragged around the edges, victims of their success in the worst possible way. Vacations, that's what they need. There is, unfortunately, a serious shortage of agents in the Unit, so much that even being the A Team gives them no more than a training cadet, and a fairly mediocre one at that.
And so they make do. They make the best possible use of their personal time, Hotch with Jack, Garcia with Kevin, Rossi with whatever member of the ridiculously extended Rossi family is around. Morgan himself, he has his restoration projects and his clubbing nights, his mom and sis at the other side of the line. Reid has a mother who won't use a phone, won't write back, won't recognize him on her worst days; he has an absent father, an absent mentor, a close friend who's too busy dealing with a new job and a family, another friend who's recently died, and a patched family of sorts that's tired, exhausted, too thinly spread.
No, it can't continue, this life they've been living since Emily's. They are only one teammate down, yet it feels like the work per head has doubled, the files stacked on their desks tripled, the mails and consult calls exponentially grown. JJ is too sorely missed, the team's diminished efficiency obvious in the mishaps they keep having with the media, however rare they are, when previously they had close to none. And there's the fact that she was also an extra pair of eyes, her experience something Seaver still isn't even close to achieve. They all have bags under their eyes, and the coffee has been disappearing so fast that Strauss felt the need to tear Hotch a new one, this time about budget constraints.
"No, Morgan, I'm not." Reid's voice is weary, his whole body is in fact the image of weary, hunched as he is over the file in his desk.
"Reid, I've told you-"
"I know, Morgan."
He frowns again, because in other times the words would have been delivered with anger. Now, though, there's only more of that weariness behind. He doesn't get to further enquire, as just then Hotch appears at the top of the stairs, a file in his hand and a grimmer look in his perpetually grim face.
Another one, damn it.
"Who's it this time?" Rossi asks as he enters the room, the last one.
Hotch looks at them for a moment, his mouth so tightly closed that his lips are pale lines. Then he opens the file and tosses the pictures across the round table.
"Cooper's team," he says.
"The whole team?" Garcia's voice is surprised and yes, a little bit scared. Morgan would have been a little bit scared if he could; the Red team is (was) as good as their own. As it is, rage is all he can feel.
Rossi is, however, as eerily calm as ever. "And their targets?" he asks, barely glancing at the pictures and focusing on Hotch instead.
"Gone, as per usual."
And truly, that's been the usual way this UNSUB operates. Nonetheless, Sam Cooper only got the most important missions, which means the shit is just about to hit the fan.
"Are they finally giving us the case?" Seaver is her typical eager puppy self, her eyes bright, her body ready to run off. She isn't paying attention to the images either, but unlike Rossi's quick acknowledgement, she's basically dismissing them as irrelevant.
She's going to end dead herself soon enough, Morgan just knows.
"No." Hotch's hand rises before Morgan can voice his misgivings. "The Director wants to put an end to this already, and that's what we're going to do."
"Code Red?" Garcia asks, as eager as Seaver had been before, but at the same time much more professional. Her hands go immediately to her tablet, and the main screen is soon filled with plans and schedules and reconnaissance photographs.
But even as he pours over them, as glad as he is that the time has come to put in practice what they've been preparing for, Morgan has to say the words.
"We really should go after this bastard."
And yes, he can see at least Hotch and Rossi feel the same, but he can also see that they've already discussed this and agreed on the course of action.
"After we're done he won't matter."
"Or she," Garcia pipes up, facing Hotch's glare with a blinding smile. "We still don't know whether the UNSUB is male or female, sir."
"Most definitely male, and a mole too." Seaver looks at them, a smug grin in her face, and adds when nobody says a thing, "he knows too much about the way the Unit works."
Her words make sense. Of course, the rest of them already reached to the same conclusion days ago, Morgan knows. His bet is on Kevin Lynch, even if Reid insists the guy wouldn't be smart enough to do it. Reid's own is Seaver herself, claiming nobody could be as naive as she supposedly is, not with the father she had.
Hotch divides them in groups of two: he and Rossi go first to set the bombs that will destroy the power plants, the cave's main entrance and the water supply; meanwhile, Garcia and Seaver are to play interference with the place's communications system. As usual, Morgan and Reid are the main operatives.
Unlike usual, Morgan is not comfortable with his partner.
"What's your take on the mission?"
Reid looks up at him from where he's crouched, but only for a moment before returning his full attention to the so far empty hallway.
"What's there to think? As long as the resistance's leader is alive their side will hope."
It gives Morgan a strange feeling, the focus Reid clearly has. Typically he is never this calm, not unless he is as high as a kite. But he's been coolly composed while remaining clean for longer than anybody remembers, and Morgan worries Hotch is going to set him aside and give Reid the lead anytime soon.
Today, though, Morgan is still the one making the decisions.
Soon they are in the little back room their own infiltrator told them about. She is there too, and with her help it takes them less than five minutes to have control of the situation. In the end there are five men and women dead or dying: their target's personal security. One more shot, and the damn civil war is finally going to end.
But that one shot doesn't come from Morgan's gun. The bullet doesn't end in their target's head, either, but in Jordan Todd's.
"What the hell, man?" It takes him a moment to react, and when he finally does Reid has picked Todd's weapon. They stand there, Morgan's gun trained on Reid and Reid's own two unwaveringly pointing at Morgan.
"Go ahead, Mr. President," he says, his body blocking any shot Morgan could've taken.
And, hesitating just so, their target goes.
Morgan should be angry, he is always angry, always. Except for today, it seems. Reid has just cost them a golden opportunity, he's caused them a setback they might never recover from, and yet anger and suspicion are not first and foremost on Morgan's mind.
He just doesn't understand.
"Don't say it." It takes Morgan a moment to realize that Reid is speaking. "Don't you say that I've gone crazy, because I haven't gone crazy yet."
Reid is crying, his hands are trembling, and yet he still has both weapons trained on Morgan.
But Reid just shakes his head, "This isn't who we are, Morgan, this isn't what we are supposed to be."
And then he fires.