Sooooooo, I'm actually not dead. I know that this has taken a super long time, but at least it's finally up. In case you can't tell, I hate ending stories; it never goes exactly how I want it to. Anyway, ya'll probably don't care, so read on, my ostriches, and eat many enrolladas (which if you haven't had, do it).
Hank paced, back and forth, his worry powering his tireless legs. He shouldn't have to be here, stuck, waiting for a doctor to come out. He should be in the operating room, saving his brother's life. He couldn't just wait here for a doctor to relay Evan's status. Which would be a clean bill of health. Evan had to be okay, he just had to. Hank honestly had no idea what he would do if Evan— He wouldn't even allow himself to think that.
Seated in the waiting room, eyes following Hank's anxious movements were two of the FBI agents from Spencer's team, Hank assumed. One of them, he knew the name of: Derek Morgan. He had been the one that had driven Hank to the hospital. The car ride had been completely silent, both men lost in their own dark thoughts, both men worrying about the two other men the ambulances ahead were transporting.
The other agent had introduced herself as JJ, when she had come into the waiting room, but she had remained silent since then. Abruptly, her cell phone buzzed, the vibration jolting all three out of their thoughts. "Garcia," JJ whispered as a greeting. She was quiet as the other agent spoke, before replying, "No, there isn't any news yet. … I don't know; he didn't look super great. Two GSWs to the stomach…" Her words trailed off as she listened to the other side of the conversation and Hank turned his attention elsewhere.
It wasn't that he didn't care about Spencer Reid. He was one of Evan's friends, for heaven's sake. However, Hank knew that if it was between Evan's life or Spencer's, Hank would always prefer his brother over the agent. It was cold and it probably went against the Hippocratic Oath or the Declaration of Geneva to hold Evan's life above Spencer's, but Hank couldn't help it. Evan was his baby brother. Spencer was just a friend. And not even a close one at that.
A doctor entered the waiting room and Hank, followed by both agents, stepped closer. The doctor had to be there about Evan and it had to be good news. Anything else was just simply unacceptable. "Are you here for Spencer Reid?" the doctor questioned. The two agents nodded quickly and while Hank knew he should probably step back, he was curious to hear the FBI agent's condition. The kid—for that was really what he was; he was younger than Evan—had probably saved their lives. Hank wasn't stupid and recognized that if Spencer hadn't been kidnapped with them, his FBI team wouldn't have even looked for Hank and Evan. If Spencer hadn't been there, and Hank hated to admit this, Evan would probably be dead. That had been Steve's plan, force Hank to watch his brother die and if they hadn't been interrupted by the rescue team, Steve's sick torture would have been carried out.
"I'm Dr. Jacquez, his doctor. When Mr. Reid was brought into the hospital, we found two entry wounds and one exit wound. Which, as I'm sure you can realize, meant that one of the bullets was still in there. That bullet had managed to scrape Mr. Reid's left lung, before becoming lodged in the back of his rib cage. The scrape of the lung and added pressure of the bullet's remainder in the chest cavity, ended up creating a tension pneumothorax. Basically, this is when air escapes the lung, but the lung is unable to be refilled. Mr. Reid's chest was being filled with air, which would eventually crush the lung, leading to a complete collapse. Fortunately, we were able to catch the pneumothorax before it escalated to that stage. Because his pneumothorax was not causing any immediate danger, we were able to insert a chest tube to relieve the pressure, rather than use needle thoracostomy, which can lead to many more problems. Overall, Mr. Reid was very lucky."
"Wait," the second agent that Hank didn't know very well said. "Didn't you say there were two gunshots? What about the second one?"
"Yes," Dr. Jacquez continued, "Mr. Reid was shot twice. The second bullet was a straight in and out. It managed to clip the spleen, but it's only a small tear. We going to keep a close eye on it and Mr. Reid will need to be kept here for a while longer, but the spleen should be able to heal itself. If, within a week, there is no progress on the spleen, Mr. Reid will be taken into surgery and we will stitch up the spleen ourselves. But, while he is healing from the tension pneumothorax, we'd prefer to not perform surgery on him also. Spencer Reid is expected to make a full and complete recovery."
The blonde agent that Hank was almost sure was named JJ, took a shaky breath. "Thank goodness. I thought—" she shook her head, before looking to Derek Morgan, the agent Hank definitely knew the name of. "I'm going to call Garcia. And Hotch."
"I'll sit with him," Morgan responded softly. "May we see him?" he asked Dr. Jacquez.
The doctor nodded. "Of course, he's in room 211. Just take the elevator down the hallway."
Morgan turned to Hank after the doctor had left. "Would you like to come visit him with me?"
"No, I need to wait for Evan. I'm glad Spencer's okay, though."
The FBI agent nodded, ever so slightly, before saying, "Please tell me if your brother is okay. I know… I know Reid would want to know."
"I will," Hank said, resigning himself to sit in one of the uncomfortable hard-backed chair and await his brother's outcome. (Which would be positive; Evan would be fine. If he kept saying it, it would have to come true.)
Hank's thoughts were interrupted when Divya entered the room. "Hank!" she exclaimed, quickly pulling the doctor into a hug. "I just heard you were here. Are you okay?" Divya pulled out of the embrace, looking Hank up and down, examining him for any injuries he could be hiding. "And Evan, he's okay?" Divya added, once she had finished her examination.
"I don't know," Hank admitted. "He's in the OR, currently."
"But… but, it's not serious?"
Hank stared at his PA for a second, wishing that he could say anything but the truth. He desperately wanted to tell her it was just a couple scratches and Evan was just overreacting or that Evan was completely fine. However, he knew that he must tell the truth. "Evan was, ah, stabbed… A couple times."
"Oh, Hank," Divya said, softly. She had known that Evan was in danger ever since the two FBI agents had come to talk to her. They had informed her that the men that had abducted Hank and Evan would most likely torture Evan to torture Hank. But, Divya had tried to ignore that possibility. It wouldn't happen. Evan would be fine. The FBI agents could be wrong. Divya hadn't realized how much she was holding onto that hope until it was ripped from her with the reality of Evan's torture. "Hank, he's going to be fine. Evan is a fighter; he'll pull through."
And wasn't that the stupidest thing to say. Hank, back when he worked in the ER, had often told grieving family members that their loved one was "a fighter," that if the victim "fought," he'd be able to survive. Now, however, Hank realized how hollow those words were. Evan's survival rested on Evan's shoulders alone. There was no way for Hank to help fight the battle for Evan's life. And, what if Evan wasn't strong enough? What if he couldn't pull through, couldn't fight long enough? …what if he died?
"Family of Evan Lawson?" The words yanked Hank out of his negative thoughts and he immediately stepped towards the young female doctor. "I'm Dr. Howard and I'm Mr. Lawson's doctor. You are?"
"Evan's brother," Hank quickly supplied, stepping closer and hoping she would hurry up with the diagnosis. At the same time, though, a part of his brain screamed that there was definite danger that the doctor did not have good news, that Evan was irreparably hurt.
Dr. Howard nodded. "Yes, well, Evan Lawson is an incredibly lucky man." Hank felt a weight that he hadn't realized was pressing down his shoulders lift. Evan would live; Evan would be fine. The doctor continued, "When your brother was stabbed in the stomach, he did lose quite a bit of blood, but none of his organs were pierced. Often, organs can shift out of the way of knives, since the blade is not as fast or as piercing as a bullet. We were able to staunch the bleeding and stitch your brother up and he is expected to make a full recovery. For the next couple days, however, we'd like Evan Lawson to remain in the hospital and abstain from solid foods, at least until his injured stomach is less tender and we are certain that all of his organs are still unharmed."
"May I see him?" Hank asked.
"Yes, of course," Dr. Howard nodded. "He's on the second floor in room 205. If you take the elevator, it's to the left after you get out."
Hank smiled slightly. "Thank you." He immediately set out to find his brother, anxious to see for himself that Evan would be okay. Divya followed close behind. Hank could sense that she wanted to say something, but was thankful that she remained quiet. He just wanted to see his brother and didn't have time for a conversation.
As Hank reached the door of Evan's room, he paused, suddenly hesitant. It could all be a cruel joke that Dr. Howard was playing on him. Evan could be dead. Hank had watched him be stabbed over and over and over again and while he knew that everything Dr. Howard had said was medically correct, he still was unable to shake the feeling that he would be walking in on his brother's corpse.
Divya glanced at Hank in confusion, waiting for him to open the door. Ignoring her searching gaze, Hank pulled the door open, taking the entire room in at once. Evan was laying quite still on the starchy hospital bed, the white sheets drawing whatever color was in Evan's cheeks and making his younger brother look all the more pale. The heart monitor beeped steadily, reminding Hank that Evan was fine. He would be fine. Hank settled in the chair next to Evan's bed, gently taking his baby brother's hand in his own. "It'll be okay, Ev. You're gonna be okay."
"I hope you realize that you're paying for this."
"It's free. No one is paying for anything."
Derek Morgan shrugged as he and Spencer Reid got out of the black SUV. It had been nearly a month since the whole shooting incident in the Hamptons with the Lawson brothers and Morgan had honestly expected to never return. Reid had been damned lucky. If it had been anyone else than the geeky kid beside him, Morgan suspected that they would have died. But, hey, he wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth. He was just glad that Reid was still up and spouting facts. "Yeah, well, if we did need to pay, you would be paying. You're the one with connections in the Hamptons."
"I wouldn't say connections. I knew Evan for a year."
"Dangerous connections," Morgan continued, ignoring Evan's interruptions. "You got shot because of the connections you had in the Hamptons."
"Will you stop using the word 'connections,' please?" Reid asked, rolling his eyes.
Morgan snorted. "That was your clever retort? I was expecting some marathon of facts about the origins of 'connection' and how that makes me look even more idiotic."
"I'm tired," Reid said, making his way to the front door.
That was true. Morgan had noticed how Reid's comebacks were more sporadic and how he remained quiet. Reid had returned to work a couple days earlier and there had been a noticeable damper on Reid's normally indefatigable persona. "I don't know why… You've taken almost an entire month off of work."
"I was shot, Morgan. I'm pretty sure that merits some time off." Reid fell silent for a moment as Morgan tried to think of something to say in reply. "If you don't want to come along with me, that's totally fine."
"What do you mean?"
Reid rolled his eyes. "Look, I can tell you don't like Hank and Evan. You blame them for my getting shot. So, if you don't want to join me, that's perfectly fine."
"I don't blame them—" Morgan began, but stopped when he saw the look in Reid's eyes. "Okay, I blame them a little bit. I know it really wasn't their fault, but I just can't help thinking that if Evan hadn't—"
"Hadn't what?" Reid interrupted. "Asked for help? If I hadn't been there, both Hank and Evan would have died. So, I'm totally okay with being shot a couple times if it means that all three of us got out of there okay. Or, at least, moderately okay," Reid added with a rueful grin.
Morgan shrugged. He understood exactly where Reid was coming from and knew that the younger man was right, but that didn't make it any easier. "Okay, you're right. I just hope they aren't about to poison us. You haven't talked to Evan for how long? How do you know he can actually cook?"
"I talked to Evan a couple weeks ago," Reid muttered sarcastically. He then added, "I should have just brought Prentiss."
"Wow, I'm offended, Reid."
Reid looked as if he had a comeback, but fell silent as they reached the front door of Boris' garden house. Morgan stepped forward and knocked loudly, earning a glance from Reid. "I'm hungry," Morgan explained.
"Not worried about poison anymore?"
"I'll take my chances."
The door was opened by Hank, who grinned at the sight of the two FBI agents. "Hey, guys. Evan's just finishing cooking. You're right on time." The two agents followed Hank into the room, where Evan was putting a large dish on the table.
He looked up and grinned at Reid. "Hey, Spencer. How're you feeling?"
"Like I've been shot," Reid replied, grinning just as much as Evan.
"It's better than being stabbed," Evan remarked, ruefully.
Hank interrupted his brother before he could continue on. "There will be no talking about shootings or stabbings. We're going to pretend we're just a normal group of friends gathering together for lunch."
"I don't think normal describes any of us," Morgan remarked, sitting down in the chair after Hank gestured him to the table.
"Yeah, well, we can pretend," Hank asserted, helping Evan carry a couple dishes to the table.
"Hear that, Reid?" Morgan asked. "You've gotta pretend you're normal. Try to tone down that genius brain of yours."
Reid rolled his eyes, but took his seat in between Morgan and Evan, across from Hank. Evan quickly dished out the food, some sort of casserole, was all Reid could tell. He cooked for himself, but never really strayed from the safety of pasta, something he had perfected after years of repetition. "What is it?" he questioned, smelling the rich scent of peppers and spice.
"Enchiladas," Evan answered, putting a healthy portion on Reid's plate. "And you need to eat all of it because you are just too skinny. I'm pretty sure the bullet went straight through because there literally was nothing to stop it."
"Hey!" Hank quickly admonished around a mouthful of the cheesy tortilla. "We're pretending Spencer wasn't shot. Remember?"
Evan rolled his eyes. "My bad. Must've slipped my mind."
Before Hank could comment about how it didn't take much for something to "slip" Evan's quite forgetful mind, Morgan remarked, "This is actually really good."
"Well, thankfully, I learned a couple of things that semester down in Guatemala. Not a lot of economics, like I was supposed to, but plenty of Spanish and cooking."
"I'm glad that you learned something," Hank muttered.
Reid raised his eyebrows. "Enchiladas?"
Evan frowned at his friend. "Okay, enrolladas, if you want to be technical about it," Evan muttered, the Guatemalan word rolling off his tongue with practiced ease. "I just use the lay man's term so that Hank knows what he's eating." Noting the mixture of shock and pride in Reid's eyes, Evan continued, "And you thought you were the only one in the room who knows random facts about food from Latin America."
With a grin, Reid took a bite of his portion of enrollada. "This is really good," he remarked in amazement.
"Are you trying to offend me?" Evan asked. "I understand your FBI buddy's surprise; he doesn't know me. But we've been friends for—"
"A year," Reid interrupted Evan's mini-tirade. "And it was while you were a freshman in college. You didn't do much cooking."
"But, you could've had faith, man…" Evan groused.
Reid snorted. "Okay, Evan. Next time you cook, I'll trust you."
"And next time Hank and I get abducted by psychotic killers, I'll trust you to rescue us."
"Not that there will be a next time," Hank quickly inserted.
"Well, I hope not," Morgan muttered. "I'd hate to have to save your sorry butts ever again."