“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
― William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well
- Hotch and Gideon
They get back from New Orleans and Hotch finds himself in Gideon's office, sharing a drink with him. A dark knowing hangs between them, unseen but felt keenly.
“Today could have been very, very bad,” he says to the silent room.
Gideon, across the desk, makes no physical indication that he’s listening.
“Reid…” Hotch sighs and swigs his drink, “He’s struggling.”
Hotch gives Gideon a hard look.
“You can’t know that.”
“I know him.”
Hotch huffs, frustration coming out. He is tired and its harder to keep these emotions at bay. He looks out the window through the slats in Gideon’s blinds.
Out in the bull pen he sees Reid, Prentiss, and Morgan chatting with Garcia as they share a coffee between their paperwork. They should be at home, but perhaps today they all feel the need to close ranks.
Reid is smiling but it's weak, subdued. Ashamed.
He came so close today to losing everything he has worked for. The future that Gideon has molded for him.
“He keeps so much to himself,” Hotch says firmly, “More than Morgan, more than you or me. I didn’t even know about his mother until he was trying to talk down Randall Garner.”
“He has that right.”
“I know he does,” Hotch admonishes him, “But we both know that he is going to be here long after you retire-”
He says retire but his mind says ‘after you are gone’ the image of a sucking chest wound, of a horribly broken body flashing through his head.
“-how am I meant to protect him if I only find things out about him in the worst ways?”
Gideon remains silent.
Hotch goes back to his drink.
Eventually, after a heavy moment of thought, Gideon leans forwards on his desk and says, in a low quiet voice.
“When I recruited Reid, I sat him down and told him every horrible thing I had ever seen another agent do,” he finds Hotch’s gaze and holds it like a vice, “Every moment of racism, of antisemitism, of violence and bigotry. I told him all of it. I gave him no allusions or fairy tales about this job, that the FBI may stop some of the most depraved and horrible human beings in the world, but it is an institution that holds a long history of intolerance and violence.”
Hotch doesn’t squirm under Gideon's unnerving gaze but its close.
“I told him,” Gideon continues, lacing something weighted into his voice, “That some things about himself would be better kept to himself. That he needed to protect himself from this institution if he wanted to hunt monsters.”
“Jason, I don’t-”
“Come on, Hotch,” Gideon admonishes him this time, his hawk’s eyes flashing darkly, “Put it together.”
Hotch holds his gaze and thinks. He remembers Reid when he first got here, meek and mild despite the strength of his mind. He remembers his first case as an agent when he had fallen apart in the bathroom afterward and Hotch discreetly stood guard and never let him know that he knew about or saw the tears.
Bigotry, he thinks, intolerance and bigotry. Jason had weighted those words. Why would those things apply to Reid?
He thinks about the few fleeting glances he had gotten of pictures of Reid from college. When he had gone with him once to his apartment after he took down Phillip Dowd. The Reid in those pictures was so different from the clean-cut teacher's aid that had shown up at the BAU. His hair was longer and uncombed, unkempt and grinning at the camera, dressed in a lime green bowling shirt with his arm around a similarly dressed man who was also smiling at the camera, face flushed and-
It clicks in Hotch’s mind.
He makes no physical indication that he put it together, but Gideon nods.
“Now you know all the secrets that I know about him,” Gideon sighs and sits back in his chair.
Hotch looks out the window and wonders how he didn’t see it before. The hesitance he had around discussing his love life, the alarmed look in his eye every time Morgan teased him about meeting someone, the melancholy when Morgan said; ‘Lady Friend’, the almost hypervigilant caution he had around ‘attractive’ men.
He should have seen it before.
Garcia is teasing Reid down in the bullpen, sitting on the end of his desk and miming a story that has Morgan and Emily in discreet stitches. Reid has his head ducked, a blush on his face. The set of his shoulders still radiates shame, but the more Garcia talks the more he looks relaxed as well.
“He has a lot to hide,” Hotch all but whispers, “I … I can understand why he would.”
Gideon looks out the window as well.
“He has a mind like I have never seen,” Gideon says, “He’s the future of this unit- beyond politics and rank climbing- he is the future of finding and stopping the monsters of this world. They all are.”
He gestures out the window at their laughing teammates.
“They will be better than us. They will train agents better than them, and so on. They don’t need the horrible parts on the Bureau getting in the way of them doing their job.”
Hotch nods, feeling split.
People say he could be the next director.
But the director doesn’t stop monsters. The director doesn’t help the victims left behind by the carnivores this society churns out. The director does paperwork. The director is a politician.
The director gets to see his son every day.
“I’ll keep his secrets,” Hotch vows, pouring himself another drink, “For as long as I’m here.”
Gideon doesn’t reply. He can’t tear his eyes away from the window.
Outside, Reid is laughing.
It’s two weeks since they got back from Chicago when they go out as a team. They have fun, even Hotch and Haley seem to relax and forget their squabbles for the night. Emily, JJ, and Garcia almost turn into stereotypical party girls, getting flushed and loudly laughing, uncaring who in the bar is looking at them.
Morgan has fun too, but he has no interest in taking a girl home tonight. He hangs by Reid sensing he is in a strange mood. They play darts together, Morgan wipes the floor with him, and then they play some pool, which Morgan also wins by a mile.
When Morgan comes back from the head he finds that the ladies had piled a few fruity drinks into Reid and he is red-faced and giggling.
Morgan discreetly takes a photo of them all together and then claps Reid on the shoulder.
“Alright, Pretty Boy,” he teases, “Time to head out.”
“What?” Reid says, speech slurred, “It's only early!”
“Reid, its last call in five minutes,” Morgan laughs as he hoists his friend up, “Hotch and Haley left hours ago.”
The girls giggle at him.
“You lovely ladies going to be okay to get home?”
Garcia leans against his side and grins up at him.
“You’re so gallant,” she giggles, “My knight in neon bar lights.”
“My moms coming to pick us up,” JJ laughs, “We’re crashing at my place and none of us are driving, don’t worry.”
Emily leans against JJ’s side, signaling the bartender for one last round of sambucas.
“Alright, Silly Girls,” Morgan laughs, kissing the top of Garcia’s head as he extracts himself, “Be safe, I’ve gotta get the boy wonder home before he turns into a pumpkin.”
Reid wrinkles his nose.
“I hate pumpkin.”
The lady’s cackles follow them out of the bar.
Morgan loads Reid into his passenger seat and drives off, intending to drop Reid into his guest room. No way is he getting him up the steps in his apartment building when he’s this drunk.
They’ve been driving for fifteen minutes, silently enjoying the pop music on the radio, when Reid rolls his head over the headrest to look at him.
“I’m sorry about knowing things about you.”
“You’re private,” Reid says in a sleepy voice, “You- you value your privacy and in Chicago-”
Morgan feels himself tense up.
“-We all, the whole team, found out about your past without you wanting us too. I’m sorry.”
Morgan sighs through his nose. He’s thankful Reid didn’t bring up any details.
“It’s done, man. Don’t worry about it.”
Reid’s face wrinkles into a frown.
“But I feel like its unbalanced.”
“I know these things about you, but you don’t- you don’t know things about me. Its weighted too heavily on my side.”
Morgan shakes his head in amused disbelief.
“Reid, that’s really not how it works man. I don’t want you to feel compelled-”
“I knew Stephen before I knew Gideon.”
Morgan frown, racking his brain.
“Gideons son,” Reid says face smoothing out as he talks, voice becoming less insistent and more whimsical, “I met him at college when I was eighteen.”
“Okay,” Morgan nods, not following Spencer's reasoning for him having to know this, but he’s drunk so he plays along as he steers them through traffic.
“He was in one of my classes,” Reid continues, a smile slipping onto his face as he does, “He asked me for a pen and sat next to me. He had just moved to town, but I had been there for years at that point, Cal Tech was as familiar to me as Las Vegas was. So, I showed him around.”
Reid looks out the windscreen, getting wrapped up in his story.
“He was so charming,” he admits in a near whisper, “He just- he asked me to dinner and I had no idea what to do. No one … no one had ever looked at me like that before.”
Morgan is thankful they are stopped at a red light because he thinks he would have slammed on the breaks.
He feels shocked.
Shocked and a little mad. He thought he had seen right through Reid, seen everything about him. And mad because they’ve known each other for years now and he didn’t tell him? He had to feel drunk and guilty to come out to him?
What does that say about how Reid thinks of him?
He breathes out through the irrational anger.
“I didn’t know that you were … are-"
“Bisexual,” Reid chuckles, “Is what the kids are calling it these days.”
“Alright,” Morgan chuckles back at Reid’s teasing, feeling his tension leak out as he does, “…You could have told me.”
“I’m telling you now.”
“Gideon told me it would be better if I kept it secret,” he says, the smile slipping away, “he said its hard to know how people would react to it. Safer to be secret.”
Morgan shoots him a significant look.
“I would never think any differently about you- I don’t think any differently about you. I know you from your actions.”
“You tensed up when I said bisexual.”
Drunk as a skunk and still a profiler.
“Okay, I did. But that was my irrational shock that I hadn’t profiled that about you, and irrational anger that you hadn’t felt comfortable before now to tell me.”
Reid bites his lip.
“…I was worried you’d hate me.”
“Come on, man,” Morgan says, reaching over to lightly punch his shoulder, “That’s never gonna happen.”
Spencer smiles at him, relief painted all over him.
“Now tell me about Gideon’s romeo son.”
Reid rolls his eyes. But he looks happy.
“We dated up until I joined the BAU,” he says, “We lived together with a few other friends while we went to college, and the one day he says his dad is giving a lecture on campus and asks me if I want to go with him.”
“And that’s how you met Gideon?”
Reid hums in confirmation.
“I told him a profile he was presenting was incomplete. After the lecture, he asked me if I knew what I wanted to do with my life. If I wanted to hunt monsters.”
“Stephen didn’t like you becoming a profiler.”
“He didn’t mind. But he wanted a more solid life. We’re still friends.”
They pull up at Morgan’s house and he pulls the languid doctor out of the car.
“No current boy toys?”
“Ew,” Reid says, face crinkling, “No. I haven’t dated anyone since him. Well, I kissed Lila Archer. But that’s it.”
“Well, I know a couple of guys-”
“Please, no,” Reid whines, “I am not going on any blind dates with your friends, just because I told you my sexual orientation doesn’t mean I suddenly like dating. Or strangers. Or trust your taste in men.”
Morgan laughs, and he guides Reid inside.
“Alright, alright. No blind dates.”
“…You know there’s this gay bar I know in town called The Male Box and-”
Reid hadn’t planned on going to a pride parade. He used to go to various pride events in California and Las Vegas but hasn’t gone near any pride event since he joined the Bureau. If he’s being honest his paranoia about his colleagues discovering the truth about his sexuality that steered this decision.
He has time off work and is asked to give a guest lecture in San Francisco by an old friend from Caltech. He agrees readily and enjoys the lecture; the audience responds and interact beautifully making the whole thing run smoothly.
He leaves the restaurant his friend invited him to after the lecture and just sort of ... walks into pride.
The parade is in full swing, music, and colours streaming from every direction. People proudly wear their sexualities on t-shirts, shake it on signs, sing it from floats and that familiar feeling, that high of pride hits his smack bang in the chest. Reid melds into the crowd, slipping seamlessly between smiling people and he happily smiles back.
He slips out of his sweater vest, ignore the symbolism of the act and stuffs it into his bag.
The day seems brighter and a float full of drag queens paying tribute act goes past, the queens happily blowing kisses and shooting confetti onto the crowd.
A person with bright pink hair and a box full of handmade badges comes past and Reid, on complete impulse, flags them down. he buys two buttons, one with the Bisexual Flag colours across it, and another that’s shaped like a label and says Best Bi. He pins them onto the pocket of his button up.
He finds a stall and buys an iced coffee, the sunshine and life force of the event making him feel flushed. He is just turning away from the stall when he bumps into a blonde woman wearing a rainbow tutu, glittery fairy wings and a crown of plastic rainbow butterflies.
“Sorry!” Reid stutters, “I didn’t-”
The woman whirls around and besides noticing the Queer as In Fuck You! shirt, he notices that he knows her.
“Reid!” Garcia shouts glitter covered face dropping in shock, “What are you-?”
“What am I? What are you-”
“I’m from here, I cam back for my brother’s birthday, I-!”
Her eyes catch on the buttons on Reid’s shirt. Reid tenses.
“Oh,” she says and then looks back up at him.
They stand there staring at each other for a moment. Then Garcia grins.
“Hell of a way to come out to each other, huh?” she teases, smoking him on the arm.
A laugh startles out of Reid.
“Yeah- yeah I guess it is.”
Garcia laughs too and slips her arm through his.
“Come on, Dr. Reid,” she says as she pinches his cheek and he grins, “Come meet my exceedingly gay friends who know all about keeping secrets from the FBI.”
“Secrets about people’s sexual orientation or…?”
“Let's just go with that.”
Reid spends the rest of his time off with Garcia and her friends, going to parties and crashing on the couches of people he doesn’t know. When they get back to Quantico Morgan teases them about their twin hangovers and Garcia flips him off on behalf of both of them.
“The kids a tweaker.”
Hotch snaps his head up to see Rossi standing in the doorway.
“Shut the door,” he says with a commanding tone in his voice.
Rossi, looking somewhat smug, comes into the room and shuts the door. Hotch doesn’t take his eyes off of him.
“He’s not very subtle about it,” Rossi continues as if Hotch had replied, “The way he talks, the way he retreats and speaks. He has drug addict written all over him.”
Hotch barely repressed the urge to raise his hackles.
“Dave,” he says firmly, slipping his phone into his desk drawer, “Please, show some tact.”
“Tact?” Rossi laughs, “I didn’t say his name did I.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Please, Aaron,” Rossi sits down across from him, still smug, “Don’t be obtuse. It doesn’t suit you.”
Hotch doesn’t reply.
Rossi hasn’t been back for long. Hotch has noticed his distance from the team, his lackluster approach to their opinions and ideas. He arrogant and stuck in the way the BAU used to be, and while Hotch hopes that will fade, he also doesn’t like where this is going. Reid is eager to please Rossi, to impress him. And he’s also still vulnerable.
Hotch’s protective instinct towards his team rears its head inside his chest. There is so much he protects from the world, from the Bureau and with the way Rossi is acting he can’t be sure he shouldn’t protect them from him too. Or that he can afford to keep secrets from him, either.
His lack of a response doesn’t stop Rossi, though.
“It’s a risk to have someone like that in the BAU. Drug addicts are unpredictable, selfishly motivated. They are a liability,” Rossi shrugs as though he is talking about the weather, “I’ve seen good agents turn to the needle and the bottle when things get too dark, but I’ve never seen a unit chief keep them on the team much less in the field. Seems like a hell of a risk for a man who seems like he should be an academic anyway.”
Hotch sits up straighter in his chair and stares Rossi down.
“Do you know an UNSUB named Tobias Hankel?”
Rossi frowns and shakes his head.
“I don’t know that name.”
“In Atlanta last year we were called out to a case where a team was killing couples for their sins; lust, greed, pride. But when we got there we discovered that it was not a team but one UNSUB, Tobias Hankel, whose violent traumatic childhood and massive amounts of drug consumption had caused his personality to split into three,” Hotch takes a breath, “But we didn’t figure any of this out until after Hankel had locked JJ in a barn with a pack of dogs who had already killed a woman … and kidnapped Reid.”
The smug look has gone from Rossi’s face.
“How long was he kept for?”
“A couple of days,” Hotch tells him, sighing heavily, “And over those couple of days, Reid was beaten, burned, forced to choose Hankel’s next victims and tortured in both physical and psychological ways. At one point he seized and lost consciousness for several minutes before he was resuscitated. When we were getting close to Hankel he took Reid outside, so he could dig his own grave.”
Rossi’s eyes leave Hotch’s face and flick out to the bullpen. Reid and Morgan are making their lunch in the office kitchen while Emily and Garcia joke around with them. JJ is looking on, smirking as she drinks her coffee and flicks through a file.
Rossi opens his mouth but Hotch cuts him off.
“And between the torture that was at the hands of the personalities that called themselves Hankel’s father and Raphael the Archangel, Tobias would come out and offer Reid the only relief that he knew worked,” Hotch takes a breath to calm himself, an old anger flaring inside him, “And despite all of that torture and despite the drugs in his system Reid still managed to give us clues to find him and shoot Hankel with the revolver he had been playing Russian roulette with before. There was only one bullet in the chamber. And that was all he needed.”
Rossi looks back at Hotch.
“That must have been one hell of a lucky shot,” he says, but there is still shock in his eyes.
“Whatever Reid is, Dave,” Hotch says firmly, “He did not choose to be it.”
After a silent moment, Rossi nods.
“I … I didn’t read any of that off the kid.”
“No, you didn’t, and you won’t. Reid keeps his secrets better than anyone I have ever met. If he doesn’t want you to know, you won’t.”
“Which means he let me see those things,” Rossi says, a small smirk on his face, “The kid tricked me.”
“He wants to know what kind of man you are,” Hotch agrees, “Gideon trained him, but he had a lot of natural talent before that. And he doesn’t trust without proof.”
Hotch leans forwards on his desk and catches Rossi’s eyes again.
“This team is the best in the world, Dave,” he says with a low seriousness, “I know that they are, Gideon knew that they are, but what do you know? You won’t interact with them or spend time with them beyond the minimum required. You have locked yourself away and unless that changes … I don’t see this working.”
Rossi looks back at him, looking slightly miffed.
“Yeah,” he says softly, “I can see that.”
Rossi gets up to leave but pauses at the door.
“You said secrets,” he says, looking deep in thought, and then leaves.
Hotch sighs. Alone in his office, he draws up a mental plan of what he will do if Rossi’s presence ends up being more harmful than helpful.
Almost two years later Rossi picks Reid up from the hospital when they release him. He hobbles out on his crutches, ignoring the frustrated looking nurse with the wheelchair behind him, and squints at him.
“Rossi?” he says, “I was sorta expecting Morgan or Garcia.”
“I volunteered,” Rossi shrugs, smiling at the nurse as he leads Reid back to his car, “The rest of the team is busy with Hotch.”
Reid’s face goes distantly sad.
He cuts off the question as one of his crutches slips and he jars his leg. He lets out a hiss and squeezes his eyes shut. Rossi steadies him, but Reid nods him off, forcing himself to keep going.
Rossi looks him up and down.
“You didn’t get any pain meds,” he realizes.
Reid shoots him a look.
“Gotta keep that one-year chip, huh?”
Reid looks at him, alarmed.
“How did you-?”
“I had a talk with Hotch when I first came back,” Rossi tells him as he helps him into his car, “I admit that I thought the worst. Hotch straightened me out.”
Reid bites his lip.
“Its almost two years,” he admits in an almost whisper, “It would be there already, but I had to take some painkillers after I fell wrong on a case.”
“That’s good,” Rossi nods.
“Is … was that the only thing Hotch told you about me?”
“Only that,” Rossi says as he pulls out of the parking lot, intent to take Reid somewhere to get a proper meal before he takes him home.
Reid watches him for a moment, something determined crossing his face.
“Gideon told me I should keep certain things secret about myself when I became an agent,” Reid says, “He told me that there were agents he knew who wouldn’t like me for those things. Who would make things harder for me. I’ve been trying to figure out for two years whether you were one of those agents.”
Rossi feels a sting, but nods. He deserves that for how he was when they first met.
“I hope I wasn’t,” he admits, “But I’ve made mistakes in my time. I can only hope-”
Rossi words die in his throat.
Reid stares at him with a hardness in his eyes he’s never seen before and waits. Waits to see what kind of man Rossi is.
Rossi turns the information and rolls it over in his mind. After a moment he nods.
“Yeah, that fits.”
“What?” Reid says, surprised.
“Gender is a construct,” Rossi replies flippantly, recalling a particular Garcia rant he has been subject too a few weeks ago, “Sexuality is a spectrum.”
Reid narrows his eyes.
“Garcia yelled at you, didn’t she?”
“And how,” he laughs, “But seriously kid, I’m no one to judge people about who they love. Doesn’t change anything on my end.”
Reid smiles, relieved.
“Plus, there was this one time in Nam- his name was Johnny Lewis and well-”
“Oh god please no,” Reid begs as he laughs, “Have mercy I just got out of the hospital.”
Rossi mock glares at him.
“And I was going to buy you lunch.”
Reid perks up in his seat.
“If you buy me the biggest hamburger available you can tell me all the smutty war stories you want.”
Rossi wacks him on the arm, but he smiles.
- Emily and JJ
An UNSUB in Galveston is killing people he lures away from busy clubs. The team while not sure what he is luring them away with is pretty sure its one of the three universal constants; sex, drugs, or money.
Emily is leaning against a bar in a too loud club while Reid leans beside her, sipping on a glass of coke through a metal straw.
Galveston may have a serial killer on the loose, but their clubs are keeping up with economic trends.
Emily shifts in her heels and winces. They have both spent the better part of the night going from club to club showing a photofit of the UNSUB too drunk and ditzy club goers with no success.
And whilst she and JJ had changed into dresses and heels, Reid was just wearing his usual outfit- suit pants, a vest and a button up with rolled up sleeves. His messy hair is pushed behind his ears, not even brushed. The bastard.
JJ appears from a thicket of club dancers, obviously barely containing her frustration.
“How’d it go?” Reid asks from around his straw.
JJ takes Emily’s virgin margarita and skulls it.
“God, I wish there was alcohol in that,” she huffs, “I found a guy who might have seen the UNSUB but he wasn’t interested in helping.”
“Why not?” Emily demands.
“I was standing between him and ‘scoring’,” She makes air quotes around the word.
“He wasn’t trying to flirt with you?” Reid asks.
“Not the right gender.”
Reid looks over the crowd. JJ points out the taller blonde man across the dance floor.
“Okay,” Emily sighs in frustration, “Let’s take him down to the station, maybe we can-”
“Let me talk to him first.”
Both the women look at Reid skeptically.
“What?” JJ asks.
“Just-” he snatches the photo fit from her hands, “-give me a minute.”
Reid disappears into the crowd and JJ leans on the bar beside her.
“What was that?” Emily asks, “Is Reid going to-”
“He can’t be,” JJ laughs, “Reid doesn’t…”
They look at each other and then move into the crowd, following Reid.
They watch as Reid sidles up to the man, a smile on his face like they’ve never seen. Like he’s trying to be charming.
The blonde man looks at Reid and his eyes widen a fraction before he smiles back.
“Oh my god.”
Reid says something that makes the man laugh and then looks down bashfully as he pushes his hair back behind his ear. The man's posture relax and he leans into Reid, more than charmed now.
Reid leans subtly into him and without missing a beat he holds up the photo fit.
The man is much more forthcoming with Reid, speaking to him for several moments. At the end Reid makes him laugh once again, and the man leans close to whisper something in Reid’s ear as he slips a piece of paper into his pocket.
Reid turns back to them and nods for them to exit the club. They slip out the back to where they left the car, and where it's much easier to hear each other.
“Reggie said he knows the UNSUB from his gym,” Reid tells them, “he’s a personal trainer there with, and I quote; ‘a serious attitude problem and roid rage.’”
“Drugs,” Emily nods.
“I’m texting the name of the gym to Garcia, it should still be open, and we can get the team over there while she finds out the UNSUB’s name.”
“Reid,” JJ laughs, “What was that?”
“What was what?”
“You charmed the pants off that guy,” Emily laughs.
“Yeah, and we’ve never even seen you flirt with anyone,” JJ agrees, “The closest would be Lila Archer.”
Emily feels her jaw drop and her eyes go wide.
“The Lila Archer?”
Reid looks pained.
“Just saying,” JJ continues, “It took us by surprise.”
Reid looks between them both and then says, simply.
“I have a bit more practice flirting with men,” he says casually, though his eyes are guarded, “Women take a little longer to get my humor.”
Emily reacts without thinking, punching Reid in the arm.
“Ow! Why do people always do that when-?”
“Dude!” Emily laughs, “I’m a Lesbian.”
Its Reid’s turn to look a little shocked.
“Really? I had no idea!”
“Yeah well, that’s kinda the point. FBI isn’t exactly a welcoming environment for sexual diversity.”
And then they both look at JJ.
She throws her hands up.
“As far as I know I’m straight,” she smiles at them teasingly, “But I support you both. Can we get going now?”
Prentiss nods and gets out her phone to dial Hotch. As they walk back to the car she notices JJ bump her shoulder with Reid’s.
“Thank you for telling me.”
Reid bumps back.
“Thanks for supporting me.”
JJ rolls her eyes.
“As if I could do any different.”
Emily can’t help but grin as she relays the information they learned to Hotch.
Steak outs are hell. Reid knows that, everyone knows that. But you always forget just how hellish they really are until you are actually on one.
This time he and Tara drew the short straws.
They are waiting on a suspect to surface at the local bar in a rural town in Pennsylvania. The man had disappeared several days before, gone underground after a bumbling local deputy tipped him off to the police monitoring him.
Its frustrating for sure. But this man could be the UNSUB, or a submissive partner to the UNSUB, responsible for the murder and dismemberment of seven local women.
So as frustrating as a steak out is, in the end, they don’t really mind. If they catch the UNSUB it will be worth it.
The radio crackles and Luke’s voice sound through it.
“How you doin’ out there, night owls?” he asks, teasing obviously in his voice, “Ran out of chips and coke yet?”
Tara shares an amused look with Reid and picks up the radio.
“We’re all stocked up here, Alvez,” she replies, “How’s that bench you’re warming?”
Luke laughs and makes a mock wounded noise.
Spencer feels his heart beat a little faster at the noise.
Luke has been out of the field ever since the bomber case a month ago. He almost died. Reid still can’t really think about that fact without his chest going so tight he can’t breathe.
This is his first case back and Emily had relegated him to stay at the police station and well out of the action.
Reid is grateful for that. Irrationally grateful.
A lot to do with him has been irrational lately.
He’s been zoning out thinking about fantasies. About crossing the line between professional and personal with Luke. Stupid innocent fantasies. Going on dates, seeing movies, staying in together and just reading or watching T.V. Comfortable fantasies.
He knows what it means. He hasn’t felt this way since … since Maeve.
He’s not ready to think about that.
“Okay,” Luke says, still laughing, “Put Reid on the horn.”
“What, you don’t trust me with him?”
“I trust you, I just got a question for him.”
Tara rolls her eyes and hands Reid the radio.
“Reid here,” he says, clearing his throat awkwardly in the middle.
“Reid,” Luke says, and he tries not to read into the sunshine tone of the man's voice, “’Rogers and Hammerstein refrain starter.’?”
“Pardon?” Reid frowns, “Are- are you doing a crossword?”
“I’m on my Emily mandated rest break!” he laughs, “And I’m not a theatre buff. I’m really stuck, here, I need your brain.”
Reid pretends that Luke saying that doesn’t make something warm stir in his stomach.
He thinks about the question.
“Do a deer. D-O-A-D-E-E-R.”
“Oh man, that’s perfect!” Luke exclaims, “Fits right in. Thanks, Reid. You’re the best.”
The radio clicks off and Reid looks up to see Tara smiling at him knowingly.
“What?” He asks.
Tara stays quiet.
“No, really; what?”
He shifts in his seat nervously.
Tara continues to look at him and then says;
“You like him.”
Those three words make him panic and blush in equal measure.
“What, no, I-!”
Tara raises her eyebrow again and it stops his protests in his tracks.
He sighs, seeing no point in further denials. Not against Tara. She’s the keenest profiler Reid’s ever met. Better than Gideon.
“Yeah,” he says softly, “Yeah I think I do.”
Tara grins at him.
“Good?” Reid all but squawks, “It’s good that I have an extremely inappropriate crush on a team mate that I only realised I had when I thought said team mate was dying because he shielded me from a bomb blast?”
Reid slumps back against the car seat.
He’s got to stop revealing his sexuality to people in cars.
“Well then you must see something I don’t.”
“I see a healing,” Tara says softly, “I see a man who has been out of prison for over a year now whose emotions and wants are finally being freed along with him.”
Reid hadn’t thought of it like that.
He looks back at Tara.
“You don’t mind that I’m Bi?” he asks in a small voice, still after all these years hesitant that people will hate him for it.
“It would be pretty hypocritical,” she shrugs and pops a chip into her mouth, “Considering I’m Bi too.”
Reid barks out a laugh.
They share a smile.
“One day I’m going to not be blind sided by my team mates coming out to me.”
“Yeah-wait other BAU members have come out to you?” an interested yet forcibly aloof look takes over Tara’s face, “Did-did Garcia?”
“Oh my god.”
Tara holds a chip up to him threateningly.
“So, help me Reid if you-”
“I think you should ask her that.”
“Yeah, totally. The second you ask Luke out.”
Reid huff and looks out the windshield-
Only to see the unsub walking into the bar.
He raises the radio to his mouth.
“Suspect spotted,” he reports nodding to Tara who is already tightening her vest and getting out of the car, “Agent Lewis and I are perusing on foot.”
“Affirmative, Dr. Reid,” Luke says back, “Back up on standby, good luck, over.”
Luke’s voice echoing through his mind he gets out of the car and draws his gun.
Bomber cases are always hard. There is a guarantee of victims, and an almost certain escalation of casualties before the UNSUB is caught.
New York gets a serial bomber not that long after they finish dealing with the fall out from taking down The Believers.
They think they track the bomber down to an abandoned apartment complex in Brooklyn. They don’t realise it’s a trap until too late.
The blast goes off and Luke gets caught in it.
Reid, who was only clipped in the arm with some shrapnel finds himself in the hospital staring at the set of double doors that they wheeled his team mate through and out of sight.
He looked so small strapped down on the gurney, a doctor balancing on top of him as she tried to resuscitate him. Luke isn’t meant to be small. He’s big and bright, he’s a smile with adorably crooked teeth, good nature and intense loyalty. He can’t be contained and yet.
Luke put himself between Reid and the explosion. He protected him and now his life was in the balance. Guilt ripped through Reid as savage as a wild fire. He felt like he couldn’t breathe. The thought of never seeing Luke again, of his life being taken away in place of Reid’s, swirled around in his mind.
What was the last thing he had said to Luke?
He sees the other man’s smile in his mind. Bright and goofy.
He loves that smile.
A hand claps down on his shoulder and Reid jumps.
“Woah! Sorry,” Simmons steadys him, “I called out, but you didn’t seem to be hearing me.”
Simmons looks between him and the doors and he nods in understanding.
“We can’t do anything for him right now,” Simmons assures him, “But we can do something. Come on, I’m going down stairs to the blood bank. They’ll be needing all the plasma they can get.”
Matt steers him away from the doors and a couple of steps away before Spencers reeling mind catches up with what he said.
Simmons stops and looks down at him.
“Is it the needles?”
“No, I’m not allowed.”
Matt frowns and Spencer sighs, frustration bleeding through. He really didn’t want to come out now, or in this way but here goes.
“By law. I’m not allowed to give blood by law.”
Matt looks at him and Spencer sees the moment he understands.
“Oh. Sorry,” he rubs the back of his head bashfully, “You’re gay?”
Matt nods and then says;
“Thank you for telling me. Thank you for trusting with this part of yourself.”
Reid raises an eyebrow.
“I’ve read a lot of parenting books. I wanted to be prepared.”
Despite his fatigue and his whirling feelings about Luke, Reid smiles.
“If or when one of your kids comes out to you, Matt,” he tells him, “They’ll be in good hands.”
Matt smiles back.
Spencer sighs as he comes to a decision.
“So, I might not be able to give blood, but I can get coffee and sandwiches for people who do.”
“Alright,” Matt nods, “Let’s go.”
Matt claps him on the back and together they walk down to the blood bank.
“Would you like to go on a date?”
Luke who was in the middle of a story, freezes. He has one hand hovering over the elevator buttons and a shocked look on his face.
“With me,” Reid clarifies, panic setting in as the silence stretches, “A date with me.”
Luke just stares.
Reid starts to fidget. He finally got up the nerve to ask Luke out and instead of waiting for a proper time to do it he blurted it out in the FBI buildings elevator because Luke was looking so cute while talking about how his nieces make Roxy a jumper covered in pom-poms. The elevator doors close on their own, taking them down to the basement.
Luke just keeps staring and he can’t take it anymore.
“Can you say something please,” he begs, fidgeting with his collar, “Say no or tell me to go to hell, just say something, I’m-”
“You ... you wanna go out? With me?”
Luke looks dumbfounded. Reid ducks his head.
“Yeah. I mean- yeah.”
Luke unfreezes, dropping his arm and stepping closer to him.
“I-” Reid swallows, feeling his face heat, “I’ve sort of always been attracted to- don’t look at me like that, who wouldn’t be? But, um … after the bomb blast I really- Tara says my emotions and desires-”
Luke makes a small, interested noise at that word and Spencer swallows again.
“-that they were repressed from being in prison and they’ve only just woken up and ... and I feel like I can be myself with you. I feel like I know you and want to know so much more at the same time. I just- … I like you.”
Luke nods at him.
“Okay, yes, I’ll go out with you.”
Reid feels like he can’t breathe.
Luke looks similarly affected.
Maybe it’s the enclosed space, the electric feeling in the air or the fact that Reid never seems to be able to do anything in the right order, but he knows what’s going to happen before it dose.
Luke moves and Reid’s hands come up to cup his face just moments before he is being pressed against the wall of the elevator, and kissed.
Reid can’t help the small, hungry sound that he makes, or stop they way his hands pull Luke closer until there is no space left between them. It’s a deep searching kiss, impossibly loud and scandalous inside the echo chamber of the elevator. Luke’s hands scrabble under his suit jacket, shaking as they search for a grip to pick him up and-
Reid breaks away with a gasp.
“Are there cameras in here?”
Luke’s eyes go wide.
The elevator dings and they spring apart, smoothing their clothes down as they do. They skitter out as a bleary-eyed man with a giant cup off coffee shuffles in. Somewhere along the line, Reid forgot that it was three in the morning.
They stand there, trying to conceal their panting breathes until the doors close again.
“That was close,” Luke says, and when he looks over at Reid his eyes are heated, “…Dose the team know that you’re bisexual.”
“All of them. Hotch and Gideon too- well I dated Gideon’s son, so he knew before the others.”
Luke’s eyes go wide.
“You dated Jason Gideon's son?”
Reid laughs at his shocked look. Luke shakes his head with a smile.
“I have a lot to learn about you, Dr. Reid.”
“Yes,” Reid teases stepping closer to lean into Luke’s space, “Hence the date.”
“Yeah, I guess we should actually go on a few before we … continue what we started.”
“I didn’t say that.”
Reid hooks his hand through Luke’s belt and tugs the stunned-looking man in the direction of his car.
“You know,” he says softly, slipping his charming smile onto his face, “I have some reproductions of Rembrandts etchings that are really quite beautiful.”
Luke follows him face slipping into a smirk.
“Why, Dr. Reid,” he laughs, “I believe you’re trying to seduce me.”
“I’m doing more than trying,” they reach his car and he gently pushes Luke up against the side, “I’m succeeding.”
Luke’s boyishly happy laugh echoes off the walls of the carpark and Spencer thinks he’s never heard a sweeter sound.