Doing Time

To Be Or Not To Be Acknowledged

“You look like a cat that just ate a big plate of cream.” Reid gave Garcia a slightly confused, slightly amused look.

“I look like a cat?”

“Garcia, please stop comparing him to animals! It's extremely unmanly!” Conrad said as he climbed up to his bunk and settled on with a book. It was the Danielle Steele novel Reid had unpacked just hours before.

“Have I been compared to animals before?” Garcia grinned at him and smacked his back.

“You have this thing about you. It reminds me so much of puppies and kittens. It actually is a bit disturbing. But now tell your good friend Perez what put you in such a good mood.”

“I think I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel.” Reid gave the big blond man a small smile.

“So you're done being grumpy and moody all the time?”

Reid cocked a brow. “Sure...”

“Great! So how's Prentiss treating you?”

“Alright I think. Like I expected anyway. Davis gave me a sort of death threat today.”

“He what? Why? You're a pretty little flower, he should be nursing you, not cursing you!”

“You're making the boy uncomfortable Garcia,” Black's dark voice sounded from the bunk over Reid.

“But he is!”

“I don't think I'm a flower. And I certainly won't act like one.” Garcia gave him a worried look and the resemblance between this man and his mother was enough to make goosebumps appear on Reid's arms. “You don't have to worry about me, Garcia. I have a plan, and it's working perfectly. Although there is something I'd like to ask you to do for me.”

“Anything for you cupcake!” Cupcake?

“If you could come talk to me or something when we're in the exercise yard or the recreation room?”

Garcia gave Reid a long contemplating look and Conrad put down his book and look at the scrawny young man with a frown.

“You really do have a plan, don't you Pretty Boy?” Reid winced a bit at the familiar name but nodded at the blond man sitting on his bunk across from him. “And you really are smart, aren't you? I saw you chatting with Rossi earlier today.”

“Yes, I am extremely intelligent, and I don't plan to rely on somebody to make it in here. I only rely on myself. Which reminds of something!” Reid left the bunk and stood so he could look at Black. “What is Morgan's problem?”

Black propped himself up on an elbow and looked at Reid quizzically. “Morgan has a problem?”

“Why did he help my in the showers, and do he enjoy messing with my head like that?”

Black shrugged and leaned back on the bunk. “Direct you questions to him, I can't answer on his behalf.”

Reid scowled at the uncooperative black man before settling back on his own bunk. He registered the warning bell as some distant noise and gave a sigh of relief when everything grew dark.

Reid was walking with Conrad, tray in hand, greasy porridge on tray – they never seemed to get anything else – when he caught the eye of Prentiss who nodded at the vacant seat in front of him.

“You were right,” the dark haired man said quietly when Reid put down his tray. “My boys said he broke down almost before they started questioning him.”

“I'm not surprised. He was very nervous.” Reid shoveled some of his lunch into his mouth. “What will happen to him?”

“He's taking a week off,” Davis said with a wolfish smile. “In the infirmary.”

Reid nodded but he pushed the still full plate away. The fact that his telling had sent a man to the infirmary had easily killed his appetite.

But he didn't have the time to feel guilty.

He had to put himself first at all cost.

“If you see anybody else acting strange I want you to tell me.” Reid looked up to find Prentiss' dark eyes fixed on his face. He nodded with stiff movements.

“Of course.”

The man to Reid's left finished his food and gave the lanky man a long thoughtful look.

“Weren't you talking with Rossi yesterday?” All men in hearing range looked at Reid with various looks of suspicion, approval and deep thought.

“I did,” Reid said with confidence. The men surrounding him was acting like some primal form of predators and he wasn't going to play the part as their prey. “He thinks I have great potential.” A smile spread on Prentiss's face.

“He does?” The big man rested his chin in his hand with his eyes fixed on Reid's face. “And why would he say that?”

“I gave him a small piece of advice.”

“And why would you do that?”

“He can be a useful friend.” Prentiss gave Reid a long, hard stare before nodding absentmindedly, picking up his tray and rising from his seat.

“Remember the game tomorrow. JJ's taken quite a liking to you, and he will be very upset if you're not there. I don't like it when he's upset...”

“I'm looking forward to it. I count JJ as my first friend in here. I don't think Garcia count, since he seems to have adopted me as his younger brother more than as a friend.”

“Garcia's quite the character.” Prentiss smirked a bit before giving Reid an approving nod and walk off.

Reid nodded to Hotch who was standing at his usual place near the entrance. The two men had grown a rather close through Reid's frequent visits to the small library. Hotch had told him some more about his son, Jack, and his wife Haley. Reid told the man about his mom and his plan to make it on his own. Hotch kept advising him to get a strong boyfriend but Reid always shrugged at the advice.

Reid walked briskly over to his favorite bookshelf – the one stuffed with non-fiction books. He had read almost half the books even with Hotch and Garcia trying their best to get some more for him. And the two very different men had a lot of strings they could pull.

With a sigh Reid slid his finger across the line of astronomy books.

He was thinking about joining one of the educational programs the prison offered. The beautiful logic of mathematics had always attracted him – almost more than men.

Almost.

He smiled at his thoughts but was brought back to the present as someone poked his shoulder painfully.

Reid turned around to find a group of light skinned, blue eyed, buff young men. A few of them had swastikas tattooed on their arms.

If Reid had been a braver or stupider man, he would have sighed out loud.

“Can I help you, gentlemen?” he asked in stead with a small uncertain smile.

“You're Reid?”

Reid nodded. “Yes.” How come he was such a celebrity? Yes, he had been raped – but surely he wasn't the first one that happened too.

“We heard you're Prentiss's new lapdog.” Reid looked at the man talking. He seemed to be their leader – the other men had their bodies turned slightly toward the man, as if anticipating his reaction.

“I suppose you could call me that.”

“We also heard it was your fault Hankel got send to the Hole.”

“I think that's up to interpretation. After all he was the one who raped me.” Whoops – judging from the tensioning of the Nazi's body language, that hadn't been a smart remark. “But I suppose some would agree with you.” Reid glanced around hoping someone would come and take him away from the hostile group of men, but alas. He was caught against a bookcase with nothing but bookcases in sight and he really didn't fancy the thought of calling for help.

“I think our young friend is getting a bit cocky,” the leading Nazi said to the other men. Reid ran his eyes over the faces staring at him.

Why was everyone acting so predatory today? He felt increasingly as a deer as the day went by.

“Listen, I don't mean to...”

“I really think you should stop talking, punk.”

Punks,” JJ said with a serious glance at his lingo-apprentice. “Are someone like you and me. The obvious rape-victims. You'd be surprised to find out how many is young and white – the typical weak fish...”

This didn't look well...

Reid tried to straighten his posture and look untouched by the hostile attitude, but was only awarded with a smug smile as the leader took a step closer.

“I think you should work harder to improve your gangs relations, because your recent behavior haven't done anything helpful...”

A feeling swelled in Reid's slim chest.

A strong feeling.

An unwelcome feeling.

The blind one-track minded feeling of pride.

Shit.

“Well. From what I've observed, the only relation I seem to have hurt are the one between White Bread and your pitiful excuse of a gang, and that really didn't bother me that much.”

Seriously – shit.

The Nazi looked at Reid eyes wide from shock before something connected with his jaw, sending the young man spinning back, hitting a bookshelf square on the mouth and limply dropping to the floor.

The Nazi crouched over him with an ominous look in his eyes. “You really shouldn't have...”

“I think you should stop right there, Zoller.”

Zoller, Reid thought, trying not to acknowledge the warm feeling steering in the pit of his stomach when he recognized the newcomer's voice. What an original name for a Nazi...

“Mind your own business, Nigger.” The Nazi rose from his crouching position and Reid hoisted himself to his elbows telling his blurry vision to get a grip and start working properly.

“Well, Snowflake – I was minding it. But then you came along and ruined it with your big ugly face.”

Remember to ask JJ what a snowflake means, Reid thought and smiled.

And winced at the sharp pain in his lip.

Why did his lip always split?

“You are aware that you are terribly outnumbered, don't you Morgan?”

“I think you're overestimating your boyfriends abilities Zoller. And if you didn't notice, Hotch was the guard at the door. You do remember how keen his hearing is from last time, don't you?”

Reid had no idea what the black man was talking about, but apparently Zoller did, judging by his sour facial expression. He gestured for his fellow Nazis to follow him as he stomped off, leaving Reid sitting on the floor holding his bleeding lip.

“Are you okay, Pretty Boy?”

"Why do you keep helping me?" Reid gave the other man an incredious look. Morgan crouched down in front of him. "They were outnumbering you 1 to 5 – you've could've gotten hurt!"

"I suppose – but those White Power guys are usually always selling wolf tickets." Selling wolf tickets = someone who's all bark and no bite. Reid sent JJ a thankful thought. "As for the rest - rumour has it that your a smart guy – why don't you figure out for yourself?"

Reid pushed himself into sitting position leaning against the bookcase. "I tried doing that, and I've come up with some different theories; either you want to piss of Prentiss by befriending me and persuade me into doing something backstabbing. Or you want to to improve your relationship by using me as bridge and buffer. Or you could want to use me against Rossi, although that is very unlikely when you consider how new our friendship is. Perhaps you think it's fun to befriend new defenseless inmates and screw them over in the end. Some find that to be a good ego-booster."

Morgan gave a deep chuckle and Reid felt his inside flutter and heat rush to his face, much to his annoyance.

"I think you just might be too smart for your own good. You're a lot smarter than me anyway." The KFC-leader smiled at Reid as he leaned over and brushed a lock of hair behind his ear.

"Is everything alright over here?" Hotch emerged from behind a bookcase with a worried frown coloring his features.

"Yeah Hotch," Morgan said getting to his feet but keeping Reid's eyes gaze locked with his. "Everything is perfectly alright now."

Hotch extended a hand to Reid who quickly came to his feet, but had to lean against the bookcase for support, as the room started spinning around him. His knees buckled and left the man holding on the the big piece of furniture as if his life depended on it. He was not going to fall over in front of a man he admired and a man he... admired.

"You should start taking care of yourself, Reid." He couldn't help but avert his eyes under the heavy look Hotch gave him. The guard sighed. "You should listen to my advice, young man. It would benefit you in the long run." Hotch gave Reid a meaningful look and nodded almost invisibly at Morgan.

With a pat on Reid's shoulder he left the two inmates to themselves.

Morgan gave Reid a quizzing look but the latter shrugged and Morgan seemed to let it go.

"Anyway," the black man said to Reid with an unfamiliar glint in his eyes. "I'm watching out for you Pretty Boy." Morgan smiled at the gaping Reid and left the library.

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