No More Games

“Aha! Looks like someone’s about to lose again, Morgan.”

Morgan repressed a snicker at Reid’s cheerful whisper, eyeing with mild interest his poor handful of cards. He rested his chin on his palm, elbow braced on the armrest of the seat, as Spencer made a fuss trying to hold his own cards in his bandaged hand to try and pick another with the good one. Morgan’s eyes narrowed unnoticeably at Reid’s sudden sharp intake of breath – but the young Doctor simply spread his cards again, concentrating on the game.

They sat in comfortable silence for a while – their colleagues were sprawled around the jet, sleeping off the tension and distress of the last case, and the two of them were huddled in the seats across the small table, their voices low and warm. The night air was quiet and still, lulled by the soft rumble of the engines – but Morgan did not feel like sleeping at all. As for Reid – the pain in his arm and shoulder would not let him rest, along with the discomfort caused by the voluminous bandages, and he’d been silently grateful for Morgan’s suggestion of a game of cards to pass the time by.

It hadn’t seemed like a hard case – there were no children involved, no horrifying torture, no race against the hours in the desperate attempt to rescue an abducted victim. And when they had figured out the Unsub’s hiding place, in the bungalows of a low class tourist resort, they’d been convinced that he would not be expecting them to come looking for him – they had expected it to be quick, and easy. Lots of wishful thinking involved, Morgan did reckon.

But then, as they spread in smaller groups to check the buildings, they’d heard the gunshots – Morgan had run, a chaos of shouting voices in his earpiece and all around him, gun ready to blast as more shots followed, someone bringing down the screaming Unsub. He willed back a shiver as he remembered – reaching the front of the house, and then the sudden pain punching him in the guts as he saw Reid collapsed on the ground, he saw – all that blood, Christ. He thought his heart was being wrenched out of his chest as he pushed past the SWAT guys hovering around and threw himself to his knees, hands reaching out to pour some light over Reid’s body, pulse racing, his mind gone blank with purest terror but for one frantic, throbbing thought – oh God please no

“Morgan? Is everything alright?”

He snapped morbidly out of it, called back by Reid’s gentle voice – he forced out the ghost of a smile to wipe the slight frown off Spencer’s face, before he offered, “Yeah, Genius Boy – a little tired, I guess.”

Reid just smiled back, his eyes darting quickly to Morgan’s before going back on the cards. He pretended to study them for a moment – missing the way Morgan’s gaze remained on his face, slowly mapping his features, the smudged bruise on his pale cheekbone, his never quiet lips. And Morgan – Morgan just sat, as he felt something that was heavy and soft and complicated come to settle in his chest – an unexpected, warm realization pulsing its way up to his head, his hands. He swallowed, his throat suddenly tight, and looked at the tousled boy in front of him, his mind a turmoil of secret words, unspoken wishes.

“Apparently, here I win again,” said Spencer with a low chuckle, laying his cards out on the table and waiting for Morgan to acknowledge them. But Morgan’s eyes did not move – Reid looked up at him, shifting uncomfortably under the man’s fixed gaze. He cleared his throat, trying to shuffle the cards with his good hand, messing them about the table. “Would you – would you like another game?” He asked, his voice unsure.

Morgan just looked at him, long and steady. “No,” he said. And Reid could not miss the way his voice was lower, thicker, seeming somehow – full of some deeper implication he couldn’t quite put his finger on. “I’m tired of playing.”

Reid just gave a nervous smile, the corners of his mouth twitching up uncertainly, as he tried to overcome his perplexity at Morgan’s sudden seriousness. “Sure. That’s fine, I – I don’t mind.” He couldn’t quite squash the interrogative tone curling up his words – he gave another quick smirk, then brought his attention back to the disarray of cards. His fingers, however, would not quite comply – the sudden tension was making him clumsy, and he felt himself blush under Morgan’s scrutiny.

Morgan just waited until Reid gave up his futile struggles and raised his gaze once again, his expression a blend of puzzlement and blooming frustration – Morgan’s stare was smoky and warm, rolling on his features like heavy, dark honey. When Derek spoke again, his words were slow, and deliberate. “No more playing,” he whispered.

Reid just frowned slightly in confusion, as Morgan’s tone did something funny to his heart rate. He just managed to get out a dubious – “What…” –

– and Morgan was shifting from his seat, slow and resolute, moving around the little table to get on one knee right in front of Spencer. He took the boy’s good hand between his own, unyielding as Reid wriggled in mild panic, his eyes darting to their oblivious colleagues, his voice hitching in a muffled yelp – “Morgan – get up, what are you doing! – ”

“No,” Morgan replied, his voice low, but firm. “I ain’t getting up until I’ve gotten this off my chest, Reid.” He motioned for Reid to hush when he tried to protest more, and the genius settled for scrunching up into his seat, making himself as small as possible, his eyes still flickering around to check if anyone was stirring from their sleep. Morgan waited for him to focus once again, before he spoke.

“I’m tired of this, Reid. I’m tired of all the playing around, of never knowing where we stand – I’m tired of wondering if I’m allowed to take your hand, tired of flirting nights away with some daft chick and wonder if you’re taking someone home when we’re apart.” He paused, his brow furrowing slightly, such honesty in his eyes – Reid had stilled and was looking at him in disbelief, his lips barely parted. “Last night, when I saw you – and later, I…” He scowled. “It just keeps getting worse and I can’t help it, man.”

And that was indeed true; Morgan felt he was losing control, and fast. Some long, painful hours after the shooting – after doing all the talk and signing all the papers and scrubbing off the smell of gunpowder and dirt – Morgan had gone to check on Reid at the hospital. He’d stepped into his room to find one doctor, random agents, Hotch – and a scruffy-looking, exhausted and bandaged up Dr. Spencer Reid sitting on the side of the bed. Reid had beamed him a weary, brave little smile, waving at him with his free arm – Morgan’s knees had almost given up on him, and he’d had to fight not to sweep the boy in a crushing bear hug in front of everybody and kiss him as long as he needed to.

He gave a light squeeze to Spencer’s hand, vaguely wondering exactly when that skin, that warmth – that boy – had grown to be so dear to him. “I want to know it’s only us, Reid. I want to hold you and touch you in front of everybody and just don’t give a damn. No more hiding, no more half-truths, no more fooling around – ” He stared straight into Spencer’s eyes, taking a steady breath. “No more games, Reid.”

Reid just stared at him, lips moving and eyes huge – Morgan’s face was dead serious and God, he really had not seen that coming. He swallowed, his gaze raking over the desk, the cards, his knees, trying to overcome the weird disconnected feeling he was swept in all of a sudden. He wet his lips, uneasy.

“Well, I – It never occurred to me that you could have – such views on the matter. I thought I was the one with a tendency to over think issues, or – well, I guess I just tried to avoid you feeling pressured, by trying to maintain a low level of expectancy on this whole – relationship thing. I mean, your record status shows a statistically clear preference for non-committal affairs, therefore I just thought you might – ”

Morgan was quick to butt in when he had to slow down to breathe. “Reid – Reid,” he murmured, holding back a grin that tugged at the corner of his mouth. “A simple yes or no will do, Genius Boy.”

Reid hesitated, his instinct throbbing with the need to carry on with his tirade, to try and put some distance between himself and the somehow scary intimate ground the conversation had strayed on. He just shut up, instead – and smiled a slow, silent smile, awash with glowing relief.

“That would be – yes, then,” he said, soft. And Morgan couldn’t stop his heart from doing a funny leap in his chest, though he would deny it by all means – God, he had it bad. He tried to restrain another grin and failed big time, and could not have cared less.

“Can you get up now?” Reid asked, a hint of playfulness in his voice – the tension seemed to have been drained from his body, replaced by something light, and warm, and fuzzy.

Morgan squeezed his hand one last time. “Sure. Scoot over, kid.”

Reid slid on the window seat, as Morgan sat down beside him. He manoeuvred around a bit to avoid crushing his aching arm and shoulder, and ended up with his back against the plastic lid and his legs resting on top of Morgan’s, who gave a secret, affectionate smile to his silly stripy socks.

“Pretty Boy,” Morgan whispered, after a stretched silence. He waited for Reid to half-open one eye and make an assenting noise – and fought the impulse to look down, feeling quite foolish. “Can I – hold your hand now?”

And Reid just beamed him a sleepy, luminous smile, and placed his hand on Morgan’s strong one, lacing their fingers. “Of course you can,” he said. “Always.” He closed his eyes with a contented sigh, a drowsy grin hovering on his face, and let himself be soothed by the airplane’s purring sounds, and Morgan’s warmth.

And Morgan just smiled back at him, and slumped comfortably into the seat – he held tight onto Reid’s hand as his eyes slid shut, and he drifted slowly towards sleep. And maybe someone was awake, or watching – but he just didn’t care.


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



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