Why did it hurt so bad? It had been a month since the accident when Spencer was shot, yet the pain was constant.
The thought of his knee was unending and he winced at every slight movement. The team couldn’t know how bad it really was. Work was more important, the victims of the crimes they investigated deserved the team’s full attention.
“Hey, Spence! You okay?” JJ remarked as she walked by.
Spencer was rubbing his aching knee and grimacing at every touch, yet he stopped abruptly when he heard her voice.
“Yeah, yeah… I’m fine…” His voice trailed off as another shock of pain ran up his leg.
“Okay, whatever you say. Hey, the whole team is going out for dinner tonight if you wanna come. It should be really fun,” she said with enthusiasm.
“Yeah that would be great” He didn’t mean that at all. In fact, he would rather get punched in the face than have to sit in a hard dining chair at a restaurant without showing pain for hours. In fact, it might not even be possible.
Later that night, Spencer made his way up his apartment stairs at a slow, painful pace just as he did every day. Using crutches to go up 3 flights of stairs is an incredibly difficult task, especially when you have a gunshot wound in the knee.
After making it into his apartment room, he practically fell into the couch. The throbbing was so bad today. He slowly removed the brace that held his surgically repaired knee together. Undoing each strap felt like getting shot again. After finally getting the brace off of his knee and down his pants leg, he rolled up his pants to examine the joint.
The bruising was terrible. It looked like a kindergartener’s art project if they used purple and black paint. The scars from surgery were still fresh and crossed over the top of his knee. The swelling today was much worse than usual. The pain was so bad tonight, he has to resort to taking some Tylenol even though he didn’t enjoy putting any type of drug into his body.
Spencer passed out on the couch after such a long day. He awoke at the sound of a text message from Hotch: “Reid, where are you? We are waiting for you at the restaurant. We docked our reservation so I can come and get you. I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
At the sight of that text, he almost threw up. How could he say no? But how could he go through with it? There was no way he could get ready in 5 minutes. Hotch would hear his faint cries at every move, he was a profiler after all.
Spencer threw his phone on the floor and fell back asleep.
“Reid… Reid!... are you okay?” Hotch was yelling outside the door.
Spencer awoke with a fright at the shock of his boss’ loud and stern tone. He groaned and yelled out to him that the door was open.
Aaron entered the small, dreary apartment to find Spencer lying on his couch. He had never seen the boy’s knee without the brace. Its swelling, bruising, and scars were almost repulsive. He hated to see the damage. But the thing that Hotch’s eyes drew to first was the weak face and body. He could see in the boy’s eyes how terrible the pain was.
“Reid! Why didn’t you tell us it was this bad? You look terrible. Why didn’t you let anyone help you?” Hotch continued on with his questions
Hotch, I can barely move an inch before it feels like an army of soldiers is attacking my leg. I haven’t slept in days, it takes an hour to get up my steps, and I can’t even sit still without wincing.”
“Reid… You should’ve taken more time off. The team can do without you. The pain you are experiencing is incredible. I’m sending Morgan over here so he can take you to his house. There is no way I am letting you take care of yourself”
Spencer wanted to protest. He wasn’t a baby. Just because he couldn’t walk or do practically anything without a constant pain didn’t mean he needed someone to take care of him.
Alas, there was no hope in reckoning with Hotch as he had already called Morgan.
“Hey Morgan, I need you to come over here to Reid’s apartment. His knee is really bad and I need your help.”
“Is he okay? If one more thing happens to that kid I am going to have a heart attack!”
“Yeah Morgan. Nothing else has happened, but he looks like he is about to pass out from the pain he is in. I think you need to take him to your house for a couple days at least.”
“Okay, I’m on my way. Tell the kid to take some pain medicine at least. I’m sure he hasn’t taken his prescription, but over-the-counter is something. I’ll be there in about 10 minutes.”
Morgan arrived in Reid’s apartment shortly after, carrying a bag of supplies from the local drug store. He came in and dumped its contents on the table. A heating pad, some extra-strength Tylenol, along with some fuzzy socks were laid out on the table.
“Morgan, what is all of this for? I don’t need help,” Reid tried to reason.
“Pretty boy, just let me help you, there is no way Hotch and I are going to leave you like this.”
Derek kneeled down by the couch to look at the boy’s knee. Spencer immediately felt exposed and started to panic. No one had been that close to his knee after the accident and just the thought of something touching it made him nauseous.
“Oh my gosh, kid. That is awful.” The agent saw all of the surgical scars, bruising, swelling, and discoloration. However, the worst part of it was the way Reid’s face looked. How could he not of noticed it before? The pure agony in his eyes was enough to make Morgan’s heart weep.
“Kid, you have to come to my house for at least the week. No way am I letting you go up and down those stairs and get around your apartment with your leg looking like that.”
“Morgan… please…” Reid tried to protest, but a stern look from Hotch set him straight.
Hotch and Morgan got to work packing Reid a bag of clothes and books to bring to Morgan’s house. The genius could read more books in a week than Morgan could in his lifetime, so that bag was quite heavy. After collecting all of his belongs, the two older agents made their way back to Reid.
“Reid, I don’t know how we are going to get you back down those stairs. I can’t carry you because I still have lifting restrictions… but maybe Morgan can,” he glanced over to the other man.
“Yeah, that’s fine with me. It’s going to hurt like hell for you, but I don’t think there is any other way,” Morgan replied.
Spencer’s mind was filled with fear. Those two couldn’t see him cry. He was terrified of what was to come. It was hard enough going up and down those stairs by himself with no one to embarrass himself in front of.
“Reid… hello….” Hotch was calling out. Reid must have been caught up in his thoughts.
“Uhh, I guess that’s okay. I don’t know if my knee can handle being jostled around while being carried. I can just use my crutches, trust me, it’s okay.”
“Come on, Pretty Boy. I really don’t want you to move your knee at all, just let me help you.”
The younger agent was clearly unhappy with the situation but nodded in agreement.
The next challenge ahead of them was trying to get Reid into some sweatpants and then putting his brace on. The kid tried to convince him that he could put them on himself, but the other two refused.
“Reid, you are not doing that by yourself. You can’t stand on one leg that long and the other one is completely non-weight bearing. We are going to help.” Hotch advanced to the couch.
“Okay Hotch, but please don’t touch my leg. I can’t handle it.”
The oldest profiler returned a nod of understanding and set to work. They got the youngest up onto one leg while Morgan helped him balance. He slipped on one leg and then set him back down. He got the other leg into the pants and pulled them up onto the boy’s skinny frame. The next step would be a long and painful process.
“Hey kid, where is your brace?” Morgan questioned.
“It’s over by the coffee table.” The boy gestured with his hand.
Morgan made his way over to the table and grabbed the black support. The thing was massive. It reached from the boy’s hip to his ankle. Putting this on him was going to take forever.
“How do you want to do this?”
“Uhh… I guess let me try, I seriously don’t want anyone’s hands that close to my leg,” Reid replied.
The older agent thought that Spencer’s idea was for the best and passed the support onto the kid. He watched in pure agony as the boy pulled the brace up to his leg and let out a slight yelp. The first strap sparked a tear as he made his way halfway down his thigh and halfway up the bottom of his leg. All that was left were the knee straps, but the kid’s hands were shaking so badly, it scared him.
“Kid, you need to take a break and breath for a second. I can’t keep watching you cry.”
Spencer agreed and closed his eyes. He couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down his face. He couldn’t tell if it was from the pain, the fact that two of his closest friends were watching him, or a combination of the two. He decided on the last one.
“Morgan, I can’t do it.”
“You want me to try? I can promise that I will not be as graceful as you are,” Derek reminded the boy.
“Hotch… will you please put on the last of the straps… I can’t do it,” the kid cried out.
Never in a million years did Spencer think he would ever have to ask that of his supervisor. Nevertheless, it had come out of his mouth and there was no going back.
“I can try Reid, but it is going to hurt.” Hotch made his way over to the kid. He quickly tightened the last four straps with ease.
No matter how gentle the man was, the pain Reid felt was tormenting. His knee felt like it was being ripped apart. He started to bawl his eyes out. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t keep the levees behind his eyes from breaking.
Hotch looked over to Morgan with a deep sense of guilt. He knew that the kid would’ve cried even if he had done it himself, yet the idea that the four swift movements of his own hand caused that much destruction was heartbreaking.
“I’m fine,” Reid pushed out through his short breaths.
“Okay, Hotch. I think it’s time to go. We need to get him downstairs and into my car so I can take him home.”
The older man agreed and helped the boy up once again. This time, Morgan lifted the kid up bridal style being careful not to put too much pressure on his knee. The kid let out a sigh as tears rolled down his face. Who knew that this much pain even possible.