In the Clear Air

    
Morgan sneaked a glance at Reid, who was smiling quietly as they walked out of the police station. He was all too glad be finished. He could take gruesome – but even he had his limits, and this case had pushed him long past them. Morgan was in a bad need of a distraction – and, luckily for him, there was one Dr. Spencer Reid handy.


"So, Reid," Morgan said, casually, "Was that true?"

Reid kept rummaging in his bag, frowning when his hair fell in front of his face. He shook his head, trying to clear it away. "What do you mean?" he replied, distract.

"What Hotch was saying. Did you really get propositioned by every prostitute you talked to?" Morgan said.

"Yeah. Pretty much," Reid shrugged, giving up his search. He tried to smooth his hair down with both hands, battling against the cool breeze, and didn't really succeed. He didn't elaborate further.

"But – what did they do?” Morgan nagged, not giving up. “Winking? Allusive talking?"

"Well, they were actually rather explicit. Verbally, I mean," Reid said, thoughtful. "A couple seemed overly fascinated with my tie, and I'm pretty sure one tried to feel up my... you know," he paused to clear his throat, looking away,. Morgan generously decided not to comment on the kid's blush. "Lower back. I mean – umh. My... behind."

Morgan nearly snorted. "So she tried to grope your ass?" he said, disbelieving. He planted his hands on his hips, muttering darkly. "God, I can't believe it."

Reid stopped, turning to face him. "Why? Is it that surprising?" he said. He looked at Morgan, suddenly uncertain, blinking against the sunlight. "I mean, it's their job. Didn't they – didn't they do it to you as well?"

"I – well. No. They didn't," Morgan said, and for an instant he vaguely wondered whether he should feel offended by that. He tossed the thought away. "Of course it's surprising. We're talking about Spencer Reid here. I mean – well, kid, look at you. You don't..."

Reid's gaze shifted to the ground. "Gee. Thanks for reminding me, Morgan," he said. He huddled into his green sweater, crossing his arms over his chest – Morgan could almost feel him withdraw into himself, as he seemed to shrink inside his clothes.

Morgan stared at him for one long instant, frowning in confusion. Then, he understood. "No. No, no, no, hey. Reid," he reached out to touch Reid's arm, just in time to prevent him from walking off. Reid stopped, but didn't look at him, the line of his lips unnaturally hard. "Reid, what I meant is that you don't look like the kinda guy who goes with prostitutes. Or needs them," Morgan said.

Reid looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “See who's talking. You sure don't look like you need them.”

“Yeah, but I do look like a dog. They should have flocked me,” Morgan replied, trying to hide his relief at the smile he saw peeking out on Reid's lips. He didn't let the kid's arm go. “Hey, kid, believe me when I say they can sense that a mile away! They can do their own profiling."

“I guess,” Reid conceded, glancing at him from under his lashes. His expression softened, and he couldn't hold back a chuckle. “I think they may like me because I look – you know. Inexperienced. I guess they like that.” He looked briefly at Morgan's hand, still resting near his elbow. He didn't move away. “I guess it makes them feel... in power.”

“Right. Or maybe, they like you because they can sense that you're burning hot stuff under that geek wear,” Morgan said. He struggled not to laugh at Reid's scandalised face. “But anyway, groping your ass? Come on, man. You're way too cute for that.”

Reid's mouth pretty much fell open. He blinked at Morgan, seeming uncertain between feeling surprised or affronted, and swallowed. “Did you – just call me cute?” he managed. Morgan winked, squeezing his arm, playful.

“You can bet that nice behind of yours I did,” he said. He generously did not remark on the 'hot stuff' part.

Reid snorted. “Okay. I'm not talking to you anymore,” he replied. He clutched his satchel's strap and walked on, completely failing to hide his blush – and Morgan followed close, grinning like a loon.

"Did you know that prostitutes have business cards?" Reid said eventually, breaking the silence, always the one who couldn't hold a grudge for long. He slowed down, waiting for Morgan to reach his side again.

“I thought you weren't talking to me,” Morgan teased. He decided not to push it, contented with their banter. "And how do you know?" he asked.

“One of them gave me hers,” replied Reid. He fished in his pockets, and pulled out a tiny cardboard square, turning it between his fingers. “She slipped it in my pocket. My pants pocket,” he said. Morgan stopped dead in his tracks.

“She did what?” he said. He looked at the kid with incredulous eyes. “Gimme that!” He snatched the card from Reid's hands and studied it, frowning. He found himself resisting a dishonourable urge to pout. “That's it, kid. From now on, I'm not letting you go home alone after dark.”

Reid's laughter rang soft and sweet, in the clear air.

                                                                                                                                   

~~~~~~~~ Back to Criminal Minds ~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                   

 

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