If Reid had been to a game
like this before, he might not have found the behavior that amusing.
It all started, when White Bread gathered their entire gang in the southern corner and KFC did the same in the northern. Then both gangs started towards each other, teams, gang leaders, advisors and officers in front.
It was like some kind of military formation, and if it wasn't because Reid was walking so far up front he would have been carrying a big grin on his face.
Instead he felt a bit uncomfortable with the way Prentiss showed that he was an important member of his gang. Reid didn't feel like he had earned his spot completely – and he really didn't want his position to be based on the sole fact the he could spot a rat from a mile away.
When the two teams entered the court, the gangs cheered and Reid thought it felt like some sort of obscure ritual.
Out of the corner of his eye Reid noticed Prentiss gesturing for him to move over so he was standing behind the bench the gang-leader was sitting on.
“I hope you're a good cheerleader, Reid,” Prentiss smiled and the two big broad shouldered men who stood next to Reid chuckled.
“If I am, it'll be pure luck. It's my first time cheering.”
Prentiss shook his head and flashed a smile to JJ who glanced in his direction. “How is your vocabulary coming?”
“Growing at great speed, but if you don't mind. Snowflake? I understand that it's something the African-Americans call Caucasians but I just wanted to know if I should be offended I somebody said it to me.”
“Did somebody call you snowflake? Was it the man who split your lip?” Prentiss kept his back to Reid who couldn't help but respect his superiors observational abilities.
“The Nazi called Zoller split my lip Morgan called him snowflake.” Prentiss nodded absentmindedly but Reid noticed a small frown on his face.
“Try to stay out of troubles with the Nazis, and try to stay away from Morgan too.” Prentiss paused making Reid wondering if he had forgotten his question. “But you should be offended if someone called you snowflake. Be offended and tell me who did it, so we can tell him not to do it again.”
Reid looked up to find the game starting.
And Morgan on the court.
He was good.
Reid bit his lip and tried hard, but couldn't quite muster up the excitement that the surrounding men seemed to hold as the two teams dribbled, passed, shot, feinted and God knows what. He cheered when the White Bread All-stars got the ball through the basket but he couldn't help but blush, when Morgan would score too. He would grin and find Reid's face in the crowd – locking their eyes and making Reid's insides feel mushy and fluttery. And him feeling increasingly like a 14 year-old school girl.
Prentiss cleared his voice and made a small gesture for Reid to come closer.
“I like you, Reid. JJ likes you and tells great words about how good at remembering the lingo and what a nice person you are. I think you'll grow to be very useful – but if you forget where your loyalty is supposed to be... I don't like people who turn on me, Reid. Don't do that.”
“I won't. I'm sorry if I gave you any reason to doubt my loyalty – it wasn't my intention.”
“You're refreshing Reid. Courtesy isn't something you see very often in a prison – you've made me realize how much I've missed it.”
Reid straightened his posture with a small nod as he acknowledged the dismissing tone in Prentiss's voice.
You had to give him that much – the man was a natural born diplomat and growing up with a mother like Elizabeth Prentiss. If he wanted to be Reid was sure his superior could be the perfect gentleman.
After a short bored look at the game Reid let his gaze wander, slowly noticing every person, what they did and how they felt about it.
Besides the entire KFC and White Bread a big group of young men from Italo Brothers was watching the game, with excitement shining on their faces. Not interesting.
A big group of Taco Loco were entertaining themselves in the iron pile – lifting weights and chatting. Not interesting either.
The majority of the Adol-fans was sitting on a group of benches in deep conversation. When Reid looked closer, he found that almost all the men he had identified as being somewhat high ranking in the group was there – including Hankel. His molester looked up in time to notice Reid watching him and gave him a big grin that made shivers run down the up-and-coming gang member's back. Reid wasn't happy spotting the man in the yard. Rossi had pulled some strings and moved Hankel out of Block C, but all the prisoners were in the yard in the Sunday afternoons. After Hankel joined the discussion again Reid kept watching them. Usually the Nazis were scattered all around the yard, hanging in small groups trying to intimidate the other convicts. Their behavior wasn't interesting. It was suspicious.
A loud complaining yell brought Reid's concentration back to the game and he took a sharp breath.
Morgan was lying face down on the court while his teammates were hurrying towards the spot. JJ was trying to hold back one of his teammates who was yelling at the other team who replied in loud tones to match.
Reid watched the black man on the ground as he rose slowly his face contorting in pain when he straightened his legs. JJ stepped next to the other man holding the ball at his hip apparently asking if he was alright. Morgan brushed his knees and hands, shot a brief glance at Reid, smiled and nodded to JJ who gave the dark man the ball and went back to calm down his teammate.
The African-American part of the spectators calmed down when Morgan gave them a sharp glance. The Caucasian part did the same when JJ nodded to Prentiss and smiled. The small Italian group gave the last cheering hollers before they fell quiet too.
The game resumed and Reid looked back to find the interesting group of Nazis to be disbanded and he gave a disappointed sigh.
“Reid!” Prentiss was looking at Reid a bit annoyed with a cocked brow. “Anything more interesting that want I want to tell you?”
Reid shook his head. “Not anymore.” Both Prentiss's eyebrows rose and Reid bit his lip at his unfortunate comment. “Sorry.”
“Not important.” Prentiss shrugged, obviously satisfied with the small apology. “Come closer.”
Reid mimicked his movement from before, leaning in so his face was right next to Prentiss's making it hard for anyone but the two of them to hear what they were talking about.
“About Morgan,” Prentiss began. “I'm not encouraging you on that subject, but let's just say, that if you increase Morgan's goodwill towards our gang I won't object to anything out of the usual.”
“I... I don't know what...”
“Morgan's usually very passionate about his sports. Him, not throwing something familiar to a hissy fit and taking a swing at our dear friend Spicer is nothing less than a miracle.”
“Oh... I... I'll try keep doing what I've been doing lately then...” Reid couldn't help the feeling that he was given credit for something he had no control over, but if this improved his relationship with Prentiss who was he to complain?
A shrill whistle from one of the guards signaled the end of the game and people started to leave the court sides while the players shook each other's hands. Reid watched as Prentiss rose and welcomed JJ by pulling him close and enveloping the smaller light haired man in his arms.
“Sorry you lost Baby.”
JJ made a small disappointed grimace. “If it wasn't for that idiot Spicer!” JJ turned slightly in Prentiss's arms and smiled to Reid. “You have to join for the next game, Spicer's useless on the court! You have to come and save our game!” The two men laughed at the terrified look on Reid's face before walking away holding each hands.
“How's the career coming, son?” Where did Rossi come from?
“It's coming along.” Reid settled on the bench next to the Italian man. “I think my job right now can be described as something like the Secret Internal Affair Department.”
“Department? You have someone working for you?”
Reid gave a small laugh. “I don't think I'll ever get anyone to work for me!”
“You plan on becoming a consigliori?”
“What's a consigliori?”
“The man who has all the right advices. An adviser.” Rossi smirked at Reid. “I think you'll be an excellent consigliori. You're practically one already – you just need someone to grant you the title.”
“You flatter me, David.”
“I don't flatter, son. I tell the truth.” Reid felt a ball of warmth grow in his stomach. It was nice to hear that you were doing good sometimes.
“What are we talking about, gentlemen?” The bench squeaked in protest as Garcia joined Reid and Rossi.
“Where're your manners, Perez?”
“Sorry – hi David, hi Baby Cheeks. What about your career?”
“Baby Cheeks?” Reid felt a very unwelcome blush color his cheeks while Rossi sighed rose from the bench with a small pat on Reid's head.
“I'll leave you two alone.” He strolled away and Reid had a brief moment where he wished he carried himself with as much dignity as the older man. He shook his head to concentrate at the problem at hand.
“What? You don't like your new nickname?” Garcia grinned at his lanky friend.
“No! It's extremely degrading!”
“Don't worry, Genius Boy – I won't say it in front of your friends.”
Reid sighed and rubbed his face.
“But seriously, Reid. What's up with your career?”
“I'm trying to promote myself.” Reid frowned when he realized something odd. “You called David David!”
“Of course! We're the best of friends! Or friends anyway... Taco Loco and Italo Brothers are very close, so all the cool people mingle without caring about silly stuff like which gang you belong to.” Reid nodded. “I think White Bread could be a part of our little alliance too, if it wasn't for your socializing with those God-awful Nazis that call themselves Adol-fans... Although they don't call themselves Adol-fans – we do...” Garcia looked at Reid and smiled when he noticed the big grin on his tall friends face. “Oooh – you're scheming, aren't you? You're thinking about how to promote yourself, and you're stealing all of my good ideas!”
“I'm not stealing any of your ideas!” Reid said a bit defensively. “I'm thinking about you opinions, analyzing them, then I consider how many feel the same way as you do, and then I contemplate if I can do anything to use that to my advantage.”
Garcia gave Reid a odd look before his face erupted into a huge grin. “You're stealing my thoughts and turning them into plans to take over the world!” Reid looked at his friend and considered if he really needed the man to make everything work out. He did – damn it! “Aaaw, I'm so proud of you geniusness, Baby Cheeks!”
“Geniusness isn't a word, Garcia. And please stop calling me Baby Cheeks! It sounds like... I don't know – something a silly woman calls her boyfriend!”
“Just say the word, Cupcake, and I will make it happen.” Garcia winked and Reid erupted into laughter. “So cute – my little evil genius is practicing his evil laugh!”
Reid brushed away a tear trying to stifle his laughter. “Is it intimidating enough?”
“I'm afraid not – it just makes me want to stuff you into my pocket and show you off to my friends.”
“I'll have to keep practicing then.” Reid smiled at his friend and felt grateful for his ability to make him laugh.
“That'll be a really good idea.” The big blond man stood and gave Reid a long look. “But remember what I said, my dear worshiper. Say the word, and I – Perez, God of All Knowingness and Getting What is Wished – will do my magic and make it happen!”
“I appreciate it Garcia. I'm glad you're supporting me on this.”
Garcia grinned and left Reid on the bench contemplating what to do next.