One of the things Reid hated about long stays away from home, was sharing a hotel room. It wasn’t because of the lack of space or even because he didn’t like his co-workers. It was because he had nightmares and when he didn’t have them, he wasn’t sleeping.
If they only stayed a day or two he could work through the night and no one would think anything of it. But when one or two turned into a week, his team started noticing he wasn’t sleeping.
This trip was worse than normal. The cause they were on was about kids. Each one taken from their homes in the middle of the night only to be found one week later in parks around the city. The first two had been alive, no memories of what had happened or who had taken. The next two were dead. JJ and Hotch were sure that the unsub was escalating but they had no evidence.
So, they had to wait and hope the man screwed up and left them something to work with.
They had been here just over a week, waiting Reid had barely gotten any sleep and he knew Hotch was getting worried. He had caught his boss watching him out of the corner of his eye all day and a few the day before. He had a feeling that tonight would be the night, his boss called him out on not sleeping.
He couldn't even hide away in his hotel room because he was rooming with the other man. He sighed. He had been setting in the small lounge area on the main floor for about two hours. But it was closing soon, and he would have to return to his room. He only could hope that Hotch had already fallen asleep.
30 minutes later he was standing outside their door. He couldn't see any lights from under the door and felt relieved that he had avoided a talk. At least for the night. He slid the key in and opened the door. He had been right, Hotch was asleep in the far bed, facing away from him.
He quietly slipped off his shoes and then tiptoes into the bathroom to change.
When he made it to the bed and Hotch hadn't stirred he let himself relax. He knew he wouldn’t get much sleep if any, but his body was exhausted, so he forced himself to close his eyes and drifter off.
He was standing alone in dark woods. The feel of wet dirt and grass under his bare feet. Confused he looked around for some sign of where he was or why he was there. But nothing could be seen but the endless sight of large trees.
Suddenly there was a scream, just off in the distance. He spun around and tried to find the source. When another followed shortly after, he took off. Hoping he was headed in the right direction. Who ever it was sounded scared and in pain. He raced through the trees. As he ran the screams got closer and closer, until he was sure whoever it was, was just around the next tree.
But they weren’t.
The screams kept coming and he kept chasing after them. Over and over he told himself he was there just around the next tree but it was like the whoever was screaming kept moving just out of his reach.
It felt like hours later, he was bent at the knees panting, trying to catch his breath. The screams could still be heard in the distance and a feeling of dread was building in his chest. Like he knew he was never going to catch them. No matter how hard he tired.
He spun around, the whisper of his name sounding so close he expected someone to be standing behind him. But there was nothing there.
A scream rattled against the trees. He spun around forgetting about the whisper and chased after the scream again. He had to help, no matter what.
He stumbled tripping over his feet. It had been louder this time. More insistent.
Again, he looked around him, trying to figure out who said it.
This time when the screams came he didn’t move. He couldn’t. Because there was something inside telling him to listen to the calm voice saying his name.
There was something familiar about it this time. Like he had heard it before. He turned towards the direction he thought it came from and started walking.
But another scream came from behind him. This one sound louder and closer. He was torn. Does he follow the familiar voice or screams of pain. He looked back and forth, hoping for some sign of what to do.
He let out a scream of his own. Frustrated and tired, he spun to follow the screams.
He jerked up right in bed. He was panting and covered in sweat. Hotch standing over him looking concerned.
“Are you okay?” He boss asked, sitting down on the side of his bed.
He nodded. Even if he wasn’t entirely sure.
“Reid,” The older man started, “You’re not okay. You have barely slept and I think your nightmares have gotten worse. Talk to me.” Reid hated that voice. The one Hotch only ever seemed to use on him. It was gentle but commanding at the same time and it made Reid want to tell him everything.
Instead he clamped his mouth shut and looked anywhere but his boss. He knew that if he told Hotch about his nightmares it would help. They used to talk all the time, back before Haley and Foyet. Back before Hotch had his own nightmares and sleepless nights. Now way would he had to the other man’s problems.
After a moment, Hotch sighed.
Then Reid was gently pushed and made to move away from the edge of the bed. Confused he looked up and saw that Hotch was climbing into his bed.
He opened his mouth, ready to protest but the words fell short, when he saw the tired worn look in his boss’s eyes. Maybe he wasn’t the only one hiding how bad it had gotten.
So, instead of saying anything he moved over and let Hotch lay down next to him. Neither said a word. But Reid found that after several moments he started to fall asleep.
And when he woke the next morning he found he had slept for hours, undisturbed and from the refreshed look on his face, so had Hotch.