Takes place two days after "Nameless, Faceless".
"Hi," Reid said as he entered Hotch's room in a wheelchair. That was right – Reid had gotten shot while Hotch was being stabbed by Foyet.
Hotch sighed. He hadn't been alone since he had woken, and he really needed some time – privacy – to process things. The constant presence of the team was overwhelming, although he appreciated their concern.
"I convinced the nurses and the team to allow me to eat here."
"Reid, I can eat by myself," Hotch interjected.
Reid nodded. "I know. But they won't leave the hospital unless one of us is here, and I still qualify. They are all having a real meal now, which is better than cafeteria food. That gives me ninety minutes."
"That's your only motive?" He was surprised Reid hadn't yet asked him how he was, actually. It was a nice surprise, although he wouldn't mind to get it over with.
"No," Reid admitted. "I also have to be back in my ward in fifty-six minutes."
Hotch raised an eyebrow. "So.."
Reid gave a small smile. "Concern is often overwhelming. Sometimes you need a little time and privacy to process things. So we'll have a nice and quiet dinner together, and I'll leave, which will give you some time to yourself." Reid shrugged. "It's not much, I know that. But I know that sometimes I really appreciate the half a minute between doctors leaving and teammates returning."
Hankel, Hotch thought. Of course.
A nurse walked in with two trays of food. Hotch and Reid ate in a comfortable silence.
Hotch finished quickly. He hadn't eaten much, although his lack of appetite had more to do with the knowledge his son was in danger than the stabbing. He thought for a moment. Something was – off. "You didn't ask me how I was," Hotch realized.
Reid gave another small smile. "I already knew what you would answer. I thought I would spare you the trouble of making up a convincing lie. You are injured, after all." Reid was silent for a moment. "You don't usually want to talk about yourself. I don't, either. I know you'll talk if you want, and I hope you know you don't need an invitation. But sometimes, quiet is just really nice."
Hotch was a little out of his depth, here. He knew how to deal with sincere questions and awkward answers, as well as overwhelming concern. But the – understanding – he got from Reid was different.
Hotch realized he didn't really mind Reid's company, though.
"You can stay, if you want," Hotch offered.
Reid looked closely at Hotch, then nodded.
Hotch had never needed words with Reid – there was never meaningless chatter. So they sat in a companionable silence. It wasn't that they could hold silent conversations or something, it was just that they never felt the need to fill the air with sounds.
"You want a refill?" Reid asked with a gesture to Hotch's glass.
"If you will," Hotch said. He could have said 'please', but he wasn't going to beg.
Reid wheeled his chair to get Hotch's glass and moved to the sink to fill said glass. He then opened cupboard beneath the sink to get another glass, which he also filled. He put both glasses on Hotch's bedside table.
Both glasses were only filled for two thirds, Hotch realized. Reid must have seen the question on his face, because he explained. "It's easier not to spill that way." Hotch realized Reid was the only one so far who hadn't asked him whether or not he needed a straw – or worse, who just assumed he needed one.
"Thank you," Hotch said.
Reid gave a small smile.
The door of the room opened and a nurse entered to remove the dinner trays. "Can you get me a bottle of water?" Reid asked her as she was about to leave the room. "Easier that way." He didn't elaborate on what, exactly, would be easier.
The nurse turned back and although she looked a little puzzled, she said she would get one.
"Why do you need a water bottle?" Hotch asked Reid.
Reid shrugged. "For your nightstand. Then you can fill your own glasses. A pitcher would invite people to pour them for you, and that's annoying."
Hotch nodded. Reid was being practical, he realized, in the way Reid was always practical – Hotch knew from when they shared rooms that Reid always had a bottle on his nightstand. And he was thoughtful. Then again, he had probably done this before.
When the nurse returned with a bottle of water, Reid thanked her and turned the cap slightly, so that it was easier to open later. But he did this so automatically Hotch doubted Reid meant to make things as easy as possible, as most would. Garcia would have uncapped the bottle and put it in a favorable position; Reid just handed the bottle to Hotch and left Hotch to do things for himself. Hotch wondered where Reid had learned this ability of being helpful yet giving Hotch control over everything. He then realized it probably had something to do with his mother.
"You're not on an IV," Hotch noted.
"I don't trust them not to put narcotics in them when I'm asleep," Reid said softly.
Hotch winced. Bullet wound, knee surgery, and no painkillers? That had to hurt.
They fell silent once again. After a few minutes, Hotch realized he was getting tired. Reid's hour was nearly over, anyway. "Mind going back a few minutes early?" Hotch asked, hoping Reid wouldn't take offense.
Reid just smiled. "When the others return, tell them I left mere minutes before they came back. I might have told them I stay with you for two hours."
Despite everything, Hotch smiled slightly. He would tell them, of course. He was grateful for the privacy, and Reid had been right: he really needed some time to process.
As the door closed behind Reid, Hotch sighed softly. "Thanks, Reid."