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Younger Now Than We Were Before

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You can never say never
why we dont know when
time and time again
younger now than we were before
-Never Say Never -- The Fray

"Morgan, I've told you. I'm fine. Go home."

"And I've told you, pretty boy: I don't believe you. Now, I'm gonna step out into the hall, you're going to get dressed, and then I'm taking you home. Got it?" Morgan raised his eyebrows at Reid, daring him to refute.

Reid broke the look and instead turned to plead his case to someone else. "Emily," he nearly whined. "Will you please tell him that I'm a grown man completely capable of taking care of myself, seeing as I've been doing it for most of my life..." He broke off at Morgan's coughing fit. "What?" He glared at the man. "Oh nothing." Reid glared harder. "Reid, man, you don't exactly have the best track record for taking care of yourself, do you? So please, just shut up and relax for once."

And really, Reid should appreciate how much self control he was using not laughing at the pout on the young man's face. That was really going a long way towards making them think he was a grown man who could take care of himself... Looking over at Prentiss and Garcia, he could see they were having the same problems keeping their laughter to themselves.

Garcia recovered first, moving over to Reid's bed. "Baby, just let him do his macho manly thing, k? Believe me, he'll take good care of you." She pressed a kiss to his forehead. "You scared us all, okay? This is just Derek's way of dealing with it. And if you think for a minute that I won't be over at your apartment later with some goodies for you, you're out of your mind."

The first part was said so softly that Morgan barely caught it, and he didn't bother arguing. He knew it was true. He hadn't been able to help Reid when he'd been stuck in that house with anthrax poisoning, but he could damn well make sure that Reid was comfortable now...

At Reid's bed, Prentiss was agreeing with Garcia. "I'll be there, too. And JJ. It's already planned. She'll be bringing Henry and Will for a little bit. She thought seeing Henry might be good for you. And though he didn't say anything, I think that Rossi overheard our conversation, so he and Hotch will probably show up too. Just be prepared for a little company later, Reid."

"You guys, how am I supposed to relax if everyone shows up at my apartment? You people aren't exactly conducive to relaxation. If you want me to relax, leave me alone." From the look on Reid's face and his furtive glances towards the door, Morgan could see that he clearly wanted to end this conversation by leaving the room, but seeing as he was still in a hospital gown, that wasn't really an option. Instead, he huffed a bit on the bed and wiggled himself around.

Grinning, Morgan found himself approaching the bed. "Kid, when are you ever going to learn?" He ruffled Reid's hair, earning himself an indignant glare and more huffing, this time with a "knock it off, Morgan!" thrown in there. "You'd think you'd be used to the way this works, Reid, what with the way you're always injuring yourself..."

Reid opened his mouth, but quickly closed it again, not really having a retort to that statement. Instead, he settled for crossing his arms over his chest and ignoring them all.

"Yeah, Reid," agreed Prentiss, laughing a bit. "You're stuck with us. You'd do best to just go with it."

Reid tried to hide his smile at that statement, and Morgan was glad that Reid was pointedly not looking at him because he couldn't hide his own grin. Picking up the clothes he'd gotten from Reid's go-bag off of the chair he'd put them on, he tossed them at Reid, hitting him in the chest. "Now come on, pretty boy. Don't you want to get out of here?"

---------------------------------

Sighing, Morgan leaned back against Reid's couch and closed his eyes. It'd been a long day, but a good one, all things considered. He and Reid had been able to relax for a few hours after Morgan had brought him home before the whole team had descended on Reid's apartment. JJ had brought Henry for a while, who'd kept them all entertained, but when they'd noticed Reid starting to get tired Will had left with the baby.

Shortly thereafter Reid had conked out on the couch, and they'd all quietly milled around his apartment for a while, reassuring themselves that he was okay, still breathing, still here. At one point, Hotch had taken Morgan aside to tell him that his leave request had been approved. Apparently Strauss had been pretty reluctant at first since the team was already down one member, but shortly after Rossi had gone in to talk to her, his signed and stamped request had ended up on Hotch's desk. When Morgan had tried to ask Rossi about it, he'd simply grinned widely and patted him on the back, brushing off any of Morgan's attempts to thank him. "Just take care him," was all he'd said on the matter.

Laying down on the couch and covering himself with a blanket he'd taken out of Reid's closet, Morgan couldn't help but remember when he'd done the same thing for another of his friends. But while Penelope had been in actual danger at the time, Reid was technically just fine. But every time he closed his eyes, Morgan couldn't help flashing back to the look on Reid's face when he'd locked the door, or the look on Penelope's as she told him that Reid had gotten worse. And Reid's words "I'm already infected," and his painful coughing kept reverberating in his head.

And before he’d done this for Penelope, he’d tried to do it for Reid. Last time. When they'd all known that something was wrong with Reid, something that went beyond his physical injuries. When they’d known that he shouldn’t be alone. So Morgan had spent one sleepless night on this very couch, before Reid’s terrible mood and his own fear had driven him away. It was a mistake he regretted terribly, even after all this time, knowing now what had been causing Reid’s volatile moods...

But this time was different. Reid hadn’t been exposed to addictive narcotics, he hadn’t been tortured, and he wasn’t even really hurt. Not really. He was fine, amazingly. But Morgan wasn’t fine, and he just couldn’t stop the terrible thoughts floating in his head about all the could haves and should haves about recent and not so recent events.

So maybe he was sleeping on Reid’s couch for himself this time, but he didn’t care. Maybe he was selfish, but he figured that Reid was selfless enough for the both of them. He needed to be here. To know that Reid really was okay after everything he’d been through.

Everything that they'd been through.

Though he knew now that it actually had been the best decision, when Reid had declined going to the hospital, Morgan had wanted nothing more than to break through the door and bodily drag Reid to the ambulance, anthrax infection be damned. But once again, Reid had been the one to save himself from a terrifying situation.

Frowning and sitting up again, Morgan rubbed at his eyes. That was the problem. While Reid had been exposed to anthrax and it had been reeking havoc on his body, he’d still been able to save the day and himself, while Morgan had been stuck outside and had done absolutely nothing. Again. Just like in Georgia, when they’d all been forced to watch as Reid had been fucking tortured by a psycho with a gun, being able to do nothing for him.

And here he was again, sleeping on Reid’s couch after it was all over, after having stayed at the hospital with him again... he started as the sound of a door broke through his thoughts, and looking up he saw Reid shuffling into the room, sleepily wiping his hair out of his eyes. “Hey,” he said quietly. Morgan made room for him on the couch, and Reid came and sat next to him.

“Couldn’t sleep,” Reid murmured. Morgan merely nodded.

“You know,” Reid said quietly, “this feels a lot like... before, you know?”

Nodding again, Morgan cleared his throat. “Yeah, I know.”

They sat in silence again, both lost in their thoughts, until Reid finally spoke. “I- uh- I had a nightmare. Again. Just now. And- uh- when I woke up, I forgot you were here.” He looked up at Morgan for a moment, before giving a half shrug and looking at the couch again. “But then I remembered, and- thank you. I- just... thanks."

If the atmosphere hadn't been so somber, Morgan might have laughed at Reid's attempts to express himself, but as it was he simply nodded again.

Reid gave him what appeared to be a half smile, half grimace, before awkwardly patting Morgan's knee and standing up again. "I'm just gonna, um, go back to bed?"

Morgan stretched out on the couch again, at least as much as he could, his feet hanging off the other end a bit. "Sure. 'Night, kid. Hey, listen, you want one of us to attempt to make breakfast in the morning, or should we go out?"

Reid, who'd already turned to go back to his room, stopped and stared at Morgan for a minute, seemingly surprised. "Uh, my 'cooking' involves milk and a bowl, so I guess we should go out?"

This time Morgan did laugh a bit. "Same here. Out it is. See you in the morning." From his position in the hallway, Reid blinked at him a bit, before he nodded and went to his bedroom.

This time, Morgan was prepared. He wouldn't even think about leaving until he knew Reid would really be okay. He knew him well enough now to know when he was lying, knew what signs, what tells to look for in the kid. Maybe he couldn't save Reid all the time, in fact, maybe he didn't even need to, but he sure as hell could help him get back on his feet. And he would. Whatever it took.

And so, feeling better than he had since this whole mess had started, Morgan finally fell asleep on Reid's lumpy sofa, knowing that this time, Reid would be okay.