Moments Lost

Morgan was slouched on a fancy leather couch, right outside the studio of that hypnotiser woman. He stared darkly at the pale wooden door, drumming his fingers on the armrest, and trying to pretend there was nothing wrong with his heart rate.

He had meant to put up more resistance when Rossi had piped up and declared that he would go in with Reid. He really had. But a half-hearted - "Hey. I can do that," was all he'd managed to say, feeling way too childish for his own liking, and praying his anxiousness wouldn't show through. Rossi had critically eyed his crossed arms and tensed shoulders, and had seemed on the verge of actually grinning, almost condescending – Morgan had had to fight against the wild impulse to bloody deck the man.

Which, if he thought calmly about it, sort of confirmed Rossi was right. Sort of. Hell, alright, so maybe Morgan might have some problems with detachment and emotive reactions here – but he was only human, after all. And – and it was Reid, damn it.

"I'm sure you could. However, I think I'd prefer to do it. Just this one time," Rossi had said, his tone implying quite clearly that, rather than making a suggestion, he was informing Morgan of how things would be. He opened his mouth to protest, but Reid raised one hand and placed it on his arm, his touch so light Morgan could barely feel it.

"It's fine, Morgan," he'd said, his voice soft and his eyes gentle and vaguely distant as they met Morgan's. His fingers felt weightless and warm on Morgan's skin. "He can come. It will only be a few minutes, anyway."

And, with a tiny smile, his touch was gone and his gaze was slipping away, turning towards the floor as Reid clutched his satchel's strap. Morgan had felt something crumble soundlessly into his chest, as a spot of sore silence slowly crept up to replace it. He'd closed his eyes, as he raised one hand in surrender. "Alright. Alright. I'm gonna wait outside," he'd said, before walking to the couch and flopping down. "See? I'll be right here. Now go and have fun with your psycho tricks."

Reid had sort of smiled at the tiled floor, fidgeting, then had ventured into the studio. And Rossi – Rossi had shot Morgan one last, indecipherable look before he'd followed the kid and shut the door firmly. Morgan thought he could see a deep understanding nestled somewhere in his eyes, and sympathy, maybe – or maybe, Morgan was imagining it all, and Rossi could be one big son of a bitch when he wanted to.

His arm felt just a little too cold where the warmth of Reid's fingers had been.

Also, Morgan knew he was wrong to be angry.

Sort of.


At least ten minutes had passed already. Morgan picked up a random magazine from the nearby table, leafing aimlessly through the pages – he gave up soon enough and rolled it up, tapping it against his other hand, restless. He most certainly did not believe in hypnotism and psychic stuff and all that new age crap. But still – still, there was an elusive, sick-green feeling gnawing at the pit of his stomach, whispering him that it couldn't possibly be healthy to mess around with a brain like Reid's. Morgan gave a frustrated sigh, and smacked his leg with the magazine. He had to get a grip, and calm the hell down – damn, his muscles were tense to the point of strain. He willed his shoulders to relax, and tried to ease the stiffness in his back.

Soft talking, too low to understand, had been going on for merely a couple of minutes when Morgan heard sudden commotion coming from inside the room. Was that supposed to happen - ? The woman's voice rose in volume, seeming to lose its coolness. Morgan thought he could detect a hint of fear in her tone. No, he decided, it couldn't be normal – something was definitely off. Morgan tried to reason with himself, focusing on the fact that Reid was in no kind of danger, and that nothing that could happen in a fucking hypnotherapy session would be even remotely comparable to what they had to face almost daily on their job...

Yet, he found himself frozen into place when he heard a distressed whimper, and it took him a few, astonished seconds before he could recognise Reid's voice in that sound – God, he'd never heard him sounding so small, so defenceless, except maybe –

And Morgan was on his feet, his instincts sweeping his reasoning away and happily telling it to fuck off somewhere else. He strode towards the door with every intention of smashing the goddamn thing down if that's what it took to get in there – and stopped mid-tracks as he heard Rossi's voice, hushed and on the verge of frantic, "Damn it, wake him up!"

Morgan splayed his hands on the thick wood in front of him, and struggled to maintain control as he heard the hypnotiser's voice take over, soothing despite the edge of urgency. Fuck. He couldn't just burst in – it might mess with that hypnosis shit, maybe send Reid into shock. Or was that somnambulism? He shook his head, trying to clear off the irrational thoughts that kept sprouting in his overexcited mind. He held stiff and tried to breathe evenly, his gaze just about to burn holes in the sodding door, as he heard a confused rustling – and then Rossi was murmuring, repeating - "It's okay. It's okay, Reid – it's okay." After a few seconds, Morgan thought he could hear Reid's voice as well, sounding a little shaky but nowhere as distraught as it had been before – and soon the voices grew even, and settled in the pattern of an average conversation.

Morgan breathed in deeply, and it took him a conscious effort to step away from the door and go back to sit stiffly on the couch, resting his arms on his knees. When he looked down, his hands were shaking. Sort of.

Morgan gripped his jean-clad knees so hard his fingers bloody hurt - and forced himself to just calm down, his jaw set, hard.


Also – also, it was Reid.

Morgan slumped lower in the armchair, rubbing at his eyes. The lounge's lights were dim, and the music in the background was soothing, that kind of washed down jazz that seemed to naturally belong in hotel bars and waiting rooms. It wasn't, however, doing much to soothe the throbbing ache he could feel in his head, behind his tired eyelids. He groaned, and wished he'd indulged that whiskey craving that had got to him as he placed his order. He peeked at the soda still untouched on his table, and did not call for the waitress.

It was Reid. Not even one full week before, Morgan had almost sent a coffee mug crashing to the floor in a victim family's house, as Reid's screaming tore the night air. Morgan had sprinted towards the living room, and thrown himself at Reid's side – and Reid's eyes, when he'd jolted awake, the way he'd looked at him –

Reid had been screaming his name. His name. He'd been trembling in Morgan's arms with the aftershocks of the dream, for the briefest instants before the victim's parents rushed downstairs and Morgan had to step away – but it had been enough. When Morgan had gone back to sit with him, he'd kept his distance. His arms, his hands had been throbbing with the need to reach out and touch him – but he hadn't.

Morgan leaned back, and tried not to groan. Maybe Rossi was right. He did not have the objectivity to deal with Reid, not right now. And, if he tried to be honest and as ruthless as he could be with himself – he was a profiler, he was trained to do just so, to understand what someone didn't want to admit - he'd been walking on that thin line for some time. Quite some time.

When he'd walked out of the room, Reid had been pale, his hands unsteady. Rossi was standing just one step closer than he normally would have – Morgan's profiler instinct had detected that without him even trying. He had felt a sharp pang, somewhere in his chest – Reid was his to protect. His... duty? His...

He closed his eyes. He just couldn't do this. Or could he? It was getting harder to understand what he himself was thinking – maybe, he didn't even want to. Could he trust himself with something that delicate? Could he trust himself – with Reid?

“Hey. How about swapping that soda for a decent drink?”

Morgan's eyes snapped open as Rossi placed two whiskey on the rocks on the small table, before taking place on a luscious couch nearby, seeming utterly at ease. Morgan eyed him, then the glass, somewhere between suspicion and approval.

“Thanks, man. I wonder how you even knew,” he said. Rossi made a noncommittal noise, which sounded suspiciously like a chuckle.

“Well, I could hear you thinking all the way from the bar.”

Morgan couldn't help but shake his head, as a grin tugged at the corners of his mouth.”Well, you are one darn good profiler then. Thank you,” he said. He shifted on the cushion, leaning slightly forward, in a way he knew would indicate that he was open to conversation – he was still detached enough to recognise that his earlier harshness towards the man was a product of his own conflicted emotions. He didn't touch his glass, though.

Rossi just looked at him for some time, as if trying to decide what kind of approach he should go for. Eventually, he snorted, then slouched further down in the couch, deciding on 'blunt'. "You know, you should try and realise that you're not the only one who cares for Reid around here," he said, calm. Morgan's head shot up, his eyes wide.

“ I – what?” he stammered. Sort of - Derek Morgan did not, by definition, stammer. He didn't manage to finish the sentence, gaping at Rossi in mild bewilderment.

The man smiled, as gently as possible. “I respect you, Derek. Therefore, I believe you know very well what I'm talking about.” He said. “We all want to keep him safe, Morgan.”

Morgan blinked, raising his hands as if trying to reject what was being said – then he sighed, and nodded, slow. “Yeah. I know. Honest – I do know. I just – ” he leaned his arms on his legs, letting his head drop forward. “Instincts and reason don't always listen to each other.”

“ I understand that. And I'm not blaming you for your instinct: protectiveness is admirable. I do admire you for this.” He paused, folding his hands in his lap. “All I'm trying to say is that you don't have to feel like this responsibility lies on your shoulders alone. We all want to take care of the team, and we all want to take care of Reid,” he said, as he met Morgan's gaze, and held it, steady. “You just need to learn to trust us with that.”

Morgan snorted a half-laugh. “You know, sometimes – I'm not even sure I trust myself.”

“ That's why we are a team,” Rossi said, leaning forward to directly face Morgan. “Because where one fears to fail, he may be able to trust the others.”

“Yeah,” Morgan said, as he rubbed his hands, idly. “And – I just need to learn to trust you with that.”

Rossi lifted his glass, taking a sip, then lay comfortably back. “And there is no time limit for you to do that. I just – felt the need to remind you that you are not alone in this.” He paused. “None of us are.”

He remained in silence, observing the way Morgan's shoulders seemed to slowly relax, the way his brow seemed to grow smoother. After a few minutes, he even began absently tapping his finger on the armrest on time with the music, occasionally eyeing the table. Still, he didn't touch his glass. Rossi suppressed a grin.

“So, the hypnotiser woman,” he began, conversationally, joining his hands. “This afternoon, she warned us that the memories brought back by sessions are most likely to resurface during sleep.”

Morgan eyed him inquisitively, one eyebrow shooting up. “So what?,” he asked, careful.

“So, maybe he doesn't need to be alone right now,” Rossi replied, and Morgan thought he could read the hint of an affectionate smile hidden somewhere in the slight crook of his lips. “Maybe you should be there. I believe our kid could do with some support right now.”

Morgan hesitated and instant before speaking. “Right.” He shifted in his seat. “I just – he didn't seem too keen on – you know,” his hands tightened, as he refrained from pointing at himself. Rossi pretended he didn't notice. “You really think he needs – this?”

Rossi bent forward to place his glass back on the table. “Let's just say detachment may not always be what a person needs,” he said, searching for Morgan's eyes. “Nor what a person wants. No matter what they say.”

Morgan couldn't hold back a chuckle. “Well, we of all people should know that,” he said.

“True indeed,” replied Rossi. “Then, I guess you will shut up and go, now.”

The corner of Morgan's mouth turned upwards in the tiniest grin. “I guess I'll do that,” he said. He waited just a moment too long before standing up. “Thanks, man.”

Rossi settled peacefully on the couch, and brought his feet to rest on the little table. “No problem,” he said.


Morgan hesitated, alone in the silent corridor. He resisted the urge to pace on the dusty carpet, as he considered whether he should knock one second time. No sound came from inside the room. The kid had probably gone to bed already – well, damn. Perhaps he should just forget about it all, and -

And then, the door opened, and a sleepy and rumpled Doctor Reid appeared in the doorway, blinking in the cold light. “Hey,” he croaked, looking at Morgan with a vaguely interrogative gaze.

“Hey,” Morgan replied. Whatever he'd planned to say seemed to have disappeared, skittering smoothly down the white, vaguely depressing hallway – so he remained quiet. He stuck his hands in his pockets, and tried not to feel stupid.

Reid cleared his throat. “So, umh... did you – need something..?” He prompted. His arms went reflexively to cross around his chest – Morgan suppressed a smile at the sight of the faded t-shirt and loose tracksuit bottoms the kid was wearing. Curious how he never had considered this – he certainly wasn't expecting Reid to sleep in corduroys and a button down shirt. Well, the kid sure looked good out of his usual geek wear, and – oh. Now, that was probably a wrong line of thought.

Morgan shook his head, trying to clear off the very inappropriate images that were suddenly popping up in his mind. “Yeah, I – sorry about that. I didn't wake you up, did I?”

“No, of course not,” said Reid, a little too quickly. He looked down, seemingly very interested in the carpet, and Morgan hardly managed not to roll his eyes. “I mean, I wasn't really – I was just, you know. Dreaming. Sort of.” He said. He stepped aside, seeming a little more awake. “So, uh. Would you like to come in?"

"Yeah. Thank you," Morgan said. Then, he hesitated. "Unless you'd rather – you know..."

"No, no, it's fine," Reid almost blurted. Morgan thought he could hear a hint of relief in his voice. Maybe, the kid really didn't need to be alone right now. Reid seemed about to add something, then settled on a shy smile instead. Morgan smiled back, warm, and stepped inside.

"Please, just – umh. Take a seat. Or something," Reid said, almost tripping into a rug as he stumbled to clear the armchair from his go-bag and a few discarded clothes. He stood holding them for a few seconds, before he settled on dumping the armful on the drawers chest. Morgan shook his head, chuckling, then obediently sat down. “Thanks.”

“It's no problem,” Reid said. He turned to rummage through the heap of clothing, fishing out a purplish sweater vest. As he worked on turning it right side out, and subsequently fumbled with the buttons he hadn't bothered undoing to take it off, Morgan let his gaze wander through the room, feeling oddly at peace already.

The bed-sheets were rumpled, the way only a good deal of tossing and turning, or a number of rounds of heated sex can make them. For some reason, Morgan felt confident he knew which cause to pinpoint this time. Hell, he couldn't even picture the kid doing that kind of – oh. Maybe he sort of could, after all. And that – that was definitely a wrong line of thought.

He shifted, trying to focus on the rest of the room – on anything else, in fact. The main light had been switched off, and two big lamps cast a warm light among the shadows. When Reid noticed his scan, he gestured towards the main switch – and Morgan was quick to stop him. “No, it's alright. I don't mind.”

The kid went to sit on the edge of the bed, fiddling with the sleeves of his cardigan. Morgan found himself strangely entranced by the way his hands were moving – and realised with a little delay how the silence was stretching, the kid growing more skittish by the second. Then, before Morgan could come up with something to say, Reid blurted, “I've been meaning to apologise. For – the way I acted today.” He brushed an unruly strand out of his eyes. “ Well, these past few days. I know it's been – I've been, well. A pain, to say the least. It's just – you know,” he waved a hand, conveying abstract patterns in the air. “So... I'm sorry.”

Morgan smiled. “Hey – you don't need to apologise, kid. This thing's gotta be tough on you. Meeting your dad after all these years, the accusations, the dreams – all those memories, coming back up... that's a helluva lot of stress there.”

“Yeah. I guess so,” said Reid, with a stretched smile.

“There is one thing I don't get,” said Morgan after a moment, leaning back in the chair. “If I can ask. I thought – well, I thought you remembered everything. With that...” he paused, as he spotted Reid staring at him with an air of amused expectancy. Morgan repressed a grin, and gave the kid what he wanted. “That photographic memory of yours.”

“It's called eidetic, Morgan,” Reid contentedly interrupted, almost giggling. Morgan looked at him, and distantly thought he really liked the way the kid's face brightened up. Also, he really liked when it was his doing.

“Yeah. That's what I said, kid,” he replied, feeling a warm smile tug at the corners of his mouth at the familiar banter. “So, how come you forgot...?”

Reid's smile dimmed a little, and he lowered his gaze, thoughtful. “Truth is, I'm not quite sure myself,” he said, considering. “I just don't understand. My memory, it's usually flawless, yet my childhood – all those lost moments. I can't seem to – ” he rubbed at his forehead, frowning. “I only have these random flashbacks, usually after something triggers them. Like in dreams, or – or when...” he paused, and a haunted shadow seemed to pass over his face. Morgan felt his stomach tighten, and did not comment. He knew. “And then, the ones from the session, today. Now that they're back, the images seem to be hanging somewhere at the back of my mind, almost as if, you know... waiting.”

“Waiting?” Morgan enquired. “For what?”

Reid's smile was shy. “For me to close my eyes, I guess.” He scrunched his nose up, looking decidedly unhappy. “I'm not particularly keen on sleeping right now.”

“I can understand that,” Morgan said. He lowered his gaze, apparently examining his watch. He didn't comment further.

“So,” Reid said eventually, hesitantly breaking the silence. His voice had the slightest trace of uncertainty to it. “If you don't mind me asking, exactly why are you...?”

Morgan shifted, folding his hands. He cleared his throat. “Rossi told me what the... the hypnotiser woman said. About the memories. And – the dreams.”

Reid looked at him, seemingly not very convinced. “Right,” he said, cautious. He eyed Morgan, his brow furrowed in mild confusion. “And...?”

And, all of a sudden, under Reid's timorous gaze, Morgan wasn't so sure he knew anymore – and, at the same time, he knew all too well. He opened his mouth, and found himself unable to answer. Yeah – exactly, what the hell he was doing? How was he planning on helping Reid – assuming the kid needed or wanted his help at all?

He stared at Reid for a few, stretched seconds, uneasy, before he lowered his gaze, and made to get up. “You know, maybe – I should just go.”

“No, no. I – I didn't mean...” Reid was quick to say. Morgan stopped, mid-movement, and looked at him. The kid shot him a quick look from under his lashes, his hands tightening. He seemed to be struggling with words. “Just – would you mind... could you...?” He half-asked, almost under his breath. He squirmed, uneasy, trying to avoid Morgan's eyes.

And that was all Morgan needed. “Well, kid,” he said, grinning, as he slumped comfortably back in the chair. “Looks like you're gonna have a Derek Morgan night after all. Got any plans?”


It was Reid.

Morgan sat, slouched on the poorly straightened sheets, his back propped up against the headboard. He stared vaguely into the half-darkness, his arms loosely crossed on his chest – listening. And there was Reid, curled up beside him, his head resting on two piled up pillows and one hand absently tucked under his chin – his voice the only sound to be heard, soft and steady in the silence of the room. He was holding a battered book in hand, and was currently reading of how Billy Pilgrim was confined into the Dresden slaughterhouse which would be his shelter from the fire.

When he paused, at the end of the chapter, Morgan could feel him stirring, then the soft thump of the book dropping on the covers. He glanced to the side, just in time to catch the kid as he failed to stifle a huge yawn, his hand going to cover his mouth before coming to rest on the cushion. Morgan craned his neck to get a better look, and couldn't hold back a smile when he found Reid's eyes were closed.

“Hey, kid,” he said, keeping his voice low. “You wanna get some sleep?”

Reid mumbled, adjusting himself on the mattress. “No. 'm just resting my eyes a momen'.” he said.

“Well, this looks a lot like falling asleep to me,” Morgan couldn't help but tease, amused at the way Reid pouted in response. “We may never know what will happen to old Billy then.”

“I said I'm not,” Reid protested. He didn't bother opening his eyes, though. “And you've read Slaughterhouse 5 already. I could continue, though, if you like,” he offered.

Morgan chuckled. “Reid, you can't even hold the book up,” he replied.

“Don't need it,” Reid muttered. “Can remember. Just – need to rest a minute...”

“Alright. Alright,” Morgan surrendered, playfully. He shifted to turn slightly on his side, making it easier to look at the kid. “Rest your eyes all you want. I'm right here.”

Reid seemed to have inched closer, just barely. Morgan could feel the warmth radiating from his body. “Thank you,” the kid murmured, almost too soft to hear. Morgan's lips curved in a silent smile.

“You're welcome,” he replied.

And Morgan remained awake, as he felt Reid's body relax, his breath growing deep and even, and the night unfolded, slow. There were, apparently, no dreams. The kid seemed to slump towards Morgan, leaning in closer while curling up tighter in his sleep, until his forehead was brushing against the letters tattooed on Morgan's arm. Reid's skin was warm.

For the briefest instant, he wondered if Reid would know - if he would remember. Or if it would all disappear, too, among the fog of his strayed memories - of all those moments lost.

Morgan looked at him, in silence, and found he couldn't help but breath him in – Reid's hair smelled like shampoo, faint cinnamon and – and Reid. He reached with one hand, slow, to brush the kid's hair out of his face – then leaned forward, just enough to lay a kiss on the top of Reid's head, between his tousled locks. “I'm not going anywhere,” he whispered.

Also, Morgan knew he was wrong to feel what he was feeling now. Whatever that be.

Sort of.


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



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