Morgan and Reid were headed out for the night. Morgan promised Reid a Coronary Burger from his favorite greasy spoon if Reid came over to his place afterwards to help Savannah with some study grant paperwork that was tying her in knots. Morgan couldn't decide which delighted Reid more: the prospect of the burger or the grant forms. He was such a consummate weirdo.
They'd almost made it to the elevators when Hotch called out to them from the darkened bullpen. He jogged up, nodding to Morgan once before turning his attention to Reid.
"Did you file your Higgins case summary report directly to the Assistant Director's office instead of to me?"
Hotch didn't look happy. In fact, he looked like he'd eaten a litter of kittens for lunch and enjoyed it. Morgan took a step back unconsciously but was surprised that Reid only appeared disinterested - not scared at all.
"Yes, I did. The request came from the AD's assistant. I figured that it had been squared away with you first."
Hotch sighed like he was trying to put out a puddle of lava and then rubbed his forehead viciously. "I wish you'd told me BEFORE you did that."
He was growling, his face actually changing color with frustration. It wasn't like him. Then he dropped his hand from his head and glared at Reid.
"Disaster, you'll be the death of me, I swear."
Reid's look turned to mild concern but he still didn't seem the least bit intimidated, which in turn appeared to make Hotch more irritated. Morgan thought he ought to step in as a mediator. After all, he needed Reid in one piece for Savannah's sake.
"Hotch, I'm sure it was just a mistake-"
Reid held up his hand to silence Morgan. "It wasn't a mistake. I was doing as I was asked."
Then he turned to Hotch and gave him an inexplicably mischievous grin. "Sorry, Sweatpants, your argument isn't really with me on this one. If it makes you feel better though, I promise in future to ignore the chain of command entirely in favor of your obsessive-compulsive directives. Deal?"
Reid even winked. Morgan thought for sure that he was going to get a punch in the mouth.
Hotch glared for a moment longer and then it melted into a resentful smirk. He waved his finger at Reid. "Get out of here. My blood pressure can't handle you right now."
Reid laughed - a joyful, full-bodied guffaw. Then he settled and gave Hotch a softer look as he pressed the elevator call button. "Don't work too late," was all he said.
Hotch continued smirking as he turned back towards the bullpen shaking his head and mumbling 'disaster' as he walked away.
Morgan waited until they were safely in the elevator heading to the lobby. "I don't get you two. Dad was totally gonna ground yer ass there, and you just... laughed your way out of it? And did you actually call him 'Sweatpants'?"
"Yep," Reid grinned as he watched the floors light up above them.
"Well? Explain it, man... I should be sweeping bits of you up into a dustpan right now."
"Nah, he wasn't really mad at all. It was all for show. I knew it as soon as he called me 'Disaster'."
“Wait,” Morgan made a face. “Is this some sort of kinky thing between you guys? ‘Cause maybe I don’t want to know that.”
“Relax, Morgan. Yes, he calls me Disaster but it’s playful. It came about when we had an argument about my perilous physical reputation and I pointed out how many times I’d gotten out of trouble manufactured by others all on my own. He’s decided that my notoriety is ironic.”
Morgan’s eyebrows rose as he thought about that for a moment. Really thought about it. “I dunno know, man. I’ve seen you run – it’s a little pirouette-y for my tastes…”
“Hmmmm,” Reid chuckled as the elevator stopped and they both headed into the lobby.
“So, what’s with ‘Sweatpants’?”
“That’s what I call him when he gets uptight. Because he doesn’t own any and never will. Not until they come with pleats, at least.”
“Oh my God,” Morgan snorted. “It’s a miracle you’re still alive… truly.”
“Hence the Disaster moniker,” Reid jabbed both of his thumbs in his direction and grinned. “This guy knows how to get out of tough scrapes, even with the husband.”
Morgan was cackling now. He had to stop when they reached his car in the lot so that he could wipe away the tears. “I can’t wait to tell Savannah all of this.”
“Burger me first, Morgan. Disaster needs to feed.”
Morgan didn’t stop laughing until they reached the perimeter gates.
Derek wasn’t laughing two weeks later when he tried to lighten the mood in a consults meeting by invoking Hotch’s nickname and instead received twice his normal amount of case files to review and his boss’s dreaded stink-eye for nearly a week afterwards. Reid shot him a puzzled look and shrugged his shoulders across the boardroom table in a ‘are you nuts?’ expression, while the others all looked at him as if he’d temporarily misplaced his instinct to live. Clearly, he didn’t possess an ounce of Disaster’s fabled mojo, and he wouldn’t let himself forget that ever again.