The wolf whistle didn't even register to Reid. He wasn't
accustomed to being the recipient of a reaction to his physical appearance. At
least not a favorable reaction. It was Morgan who made him pay attention.
"Hey, Pretty Boy, sounds like someone thinks you're really living up to your name tonight."
Reid followed the direction of Morgan's gaze to see Emily, with her fingers in her mouth, about to issue yet another whistle. Now that he was looking at her, she spoke to him instead.
"Hey, Handsome! Where did you get that tux?"
"It's not really a tuxedo, Emily, I'm just wearing a bow tie, so it looks…"
"I know that, Reid. But still, you look….wow!"
Now he grinned at her, looking her up and down. "And you look beautiful."
"Thank you, kind sir."
"Is JJ here yet?" Reid was looking around. The whole yard was filled with fairy lights, and flowers, and soft music. But not JJ.
Morgan answered, "Not yet. But I saw her mom earlier. I think she's surprising JJ."
This was the first time Reid understood that JJ didn't know. That despite having accepted Will's proposal, despite having encouraged him to ask her again, she had no idea it was being orchestrated tonight. This is her wedding night, and she doesn't know? What if she doesn't want it? What if she was just being impulsive on that terrible day? What if she's thought it over? What if she's changed her mind?
"Guys, do you think that's a good idea? That she be surprised with this?"
"Surprises are fun, Kid. She'll love it."
Morgan hadn't picked up on the tone of Reid's voice, but Emily had. She'd always been attuned to his moods.
"She'll be okay, Reid. She wants this now, really."
He didn't respond, but the doubt, the worry showed in his face. He may not be having pain over this sealing of his loss of JJ to Will, but he was still concerned about her.
Watching the look cross his face, Emily heaved a great sigh. She was about to contribute to his dismay.
Having already told Morgan, Emily signaled that she needed to speak with Reid alone. Morgan left them to rescue Garcia from her three way conversation with Kevin and his date.
"Reid," Emily was rubbing his arm as she said his name, alerting Reid that bad news was on its way. He eyed her warily.
"What?" Then, "This is going to be bad news, isn't it? You always sound like that when you're about to deliver bad news."
Emily considered that a moment. "Well, it's only bad news if you look at it a certain way. If you look at it another way, it's great!"
"Maybe you could just tell me, Emily. I don't think I'm up to any games tonight."
She'd taken his arm and walked him to a bench. Sitting him down, she broke it to him.
She watched for his initial reaction, and was glad to see that he hadn't crumpled. "I was offered a position in London, with Interpol, and I'm going to take it."
Reid just looked at her for a long moment, taking it in, reflecting back. In a quiet voice, he responded to her.
"You never really came back to us, did you? I mean, you were here in body, but your heart was never back into it. Doyle hurt you that much. The whole thing with Declan. The lies.."
He stopped himself abruptly. The lies. They'd been between the two of them for a long time. The closeness they'd had before was now always muted by the fact of the lies. But they'd both tried so hard to get past them, and he hadn't meant to bring them up now.
Emily didn't want to talk about that now, either. She ignored the reference, and answered the rest of Reid's question.
"No, you're right. I guess I never felt the same again, being back with the team. I don't know why. I love you all so much…"
She was grateful for the smile that got.
"And I value the work. But there's been something in me that's restless. I don't know why. It's not like I'm looking for a bigger challenge. Lord knows, the BAU is challenging enough. But it's definitely a restlessness. I think I was trying to fight it by putting down roots, you know? Buying the house? But something told me not to."
Reid loved Emily, despite everything. In some ways, he thought she might understand him better than anyone else. At least, before Maeve. And he thought he just might understand Emily better than she understood herself.
"Emily, where was the place you've lived the longest? In your whole life?"
She was surprised at his question, couldn't imagine what it had to do with their conversation.
"Well, I've lived in the States for more years than not, so I guess it would here. And Italy, we lived there on and off for almost fifteen years."
"On and off. Never for more than a handful of years in a row, right?" She nodded.
"And the longest relationships you've had?"
She looked off, now starting to see where he was going. "I have some very old friends, but we don't stay in touch." Now she looked back at him. "I guess the most sustained relationships are the ones I've had with you guys. Six years is a long time in my relationship history."
He didn't say anything further, just sat with her, letting her reach her own conclusion. And she did.
"You think I'm leaving because I got too close. Because I don't know how to be that close. Because I've never done it before."
Now he spoke. "I just wonder if it scared you. Being away from us, and then coming back, you didn't know what to do with the relationships." He looked at her with meaning. "Because it hurts when you lose them, doesn't it?"
Emily sat back against the bench and sighed. "Busted. And I guess I'm running away from losing you all again, is that it? That if I go first, it's not so bad?"
He just smiled at her.
Emily turned to really look at him now, beneath the surface. "When did you get to be so wise? Weren't you just that young kid on the team, like, yesterday?"
Now he laughed. Even he didn't know how he could be giving Emily advice about relationships. Except that his correspondence with Maeve was growing him in many directions. Briefly, he thought to tell Emily about her, wanting to share his great fortune with his good friend. But something held him back. Perhaps in another conversation. After all, this time she was going to a place where she could be reached.
Emily couldn't read the expression on Reid's face, nor hear his internal conversation. But she knew he looked happy, and was pleased for him. Moving closer, she cupped his face in her hand.
"You really are growing up right before my eyes, aren't you? I love you to death, Spencer Reid, and I will miss you forever."
Reid stood across Rossi's lawn and watched as JJ arrived with Will and Henry. He'd been told by Garcia that he would be in charge of Henry, and was to make sure the rings and ringbearer arrived to the ceremony intact. Despite his misgivings about the rest of the plan, Reid was more than happy to be charged with Henry. The two of them brought light into each other's lives.
She looked beautiful. He'd always loved her in blue, fascinated by how it made her eyes even larger, and deeper. He'd fallen into those eyes so many times. Idly, he wondered if Will looked at her in the same way. Does he think she's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen? Does he tell her that? Does it make her happy? Does he make her happy?
And then he flashed on his own relationship. The one that was still new, still without a certain direction. The one he was having with someone he'd never seen. Is she beautiful? Is her beauty expressed in her looks as well as it is in her words? Will I fall into her eyes? Will I ever see her eyes?
Reid watched as Rossi brought JJ's mother over to greet her daughter, saw the surprise on JJ's face. Then, a flash of uncertainty. It was only there for a split second, but he was sure he'd seen it. She's not ready.
Then he watched as Will seemed to say something, and then her mother lifted what she was holding in her arms, to show it to JJ. It was white. It looked like a dress. Her wedding dress.
JJ smiled at her mother, and the two of them walked off, arms linked, presumably so mother could help daughter dress for her wedding. I guess it's happening. JJ, please don't do it unless you really want to. Don't do it for him, or your mom. If you do it, do it for you. Please.
Garcia started to lead Henry in Reid's direction, but the little blonde spotted his godfather and closed the distance at full speed. "Uncle Spence!"
Reid bent to give Henry a hug as Garcia came up behind him, carrying the ringbearer's pillow.
"Uncle Spence is going to show you how to carry this, Henry. You're going to walk down that little aisle over there," she was pointing to the area where chairs were set up under a canopy. "And then you'll give the rings to your dad to hold them, okay? Your mama and daddy are getting married tonight!" Garcia clapped her hands in excitement, and set off to make further arrangements.
Henry wasn't exactly excited about carrying a pillow, and didn't understand why getting married was exciting either. He had more interesting things on his mind.
"Can we do magic, Uncle Spence? Can you make a quarter come out of my ear?"
Reid thought about it. "I can do better than that, Henry. Look at this!"
Reid produced two gold rings, bright, shiny and new. Henry loved bright, shiny things. "Oooh!"
But, before he knew it, the rings had disappeared. Despite having seen the quarter trick hundreds of times, it didn't occur to Henry that it could be done with anything else. He was totally dumbfounded.
"Where did they go? Did you drop them, Uncle Spence?" Henry began searching the grass.
Reid laughed. "Don't be silly, Henry. You have them, don't you?"
"Me? I don't have them. You dropped them. We have to look for them." He might not have been all that interested in the wedding, but he also didn't want to get in trouble.
"Okay, let's look." Reid squatted down to Henry's height and made a brief show of raking the grass with his long fingers. Then he looked at his godson.
"Wait, Henry, I think I see them."
Henry stood up from where he'd been kneeling in the grass. "Where, Uncle Spence?"
"Right here, Henry." And Reid pulled a ring out from behind each of Henry's ears.
Henry looked amazed, and then started laughing. Reid saw it. His little protégé now understood. It could happen with anything, the 'behind the ears trick'. Henry had just crossed a developmental milestone, and Reid took delight in it. He took delight in everything about Henry.
Before he knew it, the moment was there. JJ came out of Rossi's mansion, again on the arm of her mother. This time, she was wearing the white dress, her hair loosely up. She carried no flowers.
She doesn't need flowers to make her beautiful. Reid was standing off to the side, beyond Will, to cue Henry and make sure nothing happened to the rings. He watched her walking down the aisle, and wondered why he'd never fantasized about it, having done so about so many other scenarios involving her. He realized he'd never been focused on marrying her. He'd simply wanted to be able to love her, and be loved in return. The idea of her wedding only came into play when he thought about all of the ways he could lose her. Strange, he thought. I never looked at it as a way to gain her. Not so Will.
As she stood facing Will, JJ flashed a quick smile over his shoulder to Spence. He smiled and gave her his little, awkward wave in return. As they said their vows and exchanged their rings, Reid prayed that she would be happy.
The rest of the evening was taken up with good food, good wine, and good company. Once the final toast was offered, the dancing began.
When it was Reid's turn with Emily, the two danced cheek to cheek, each silently remembering the many moments, both good and bad, they'd shared together. Reid would have been in mourning over the loss of his confidant, had he not already found another. Instead, he was able to enjoy the gift of this special time with her, and left her laughing when he ended the dance with a comical bow.
It seemed as though JJ and Will would dance every dance with each other. But then Reid noticed JJ encouraging Will to ask his new mother-in-law to join him. As he did so, JJ made her way to the edge of the dance floor, near Reid. He thought she'd meant to rest, but instead she stood before him and stretched out her hand in invitation.
Reid raised his brows, and then accepted her invitation with another bow. She laughed as they took their positions with one another, holding their heads against one another so that they could speak.
"Congratulations, JJ. Will's a lucky man. I hope he knows that."
Reid was a little uncomfortable with that response. It wasn't 'of course he does', but 'me too', as in 'I hope so too.' Don't overread things. He tried again.
"You look beautiful tonight."
"Thank you. And you look so handsome!"
"Thanks." Long pause. He kept trying to talk himself out of asking this, but lost the argument. He had to know.
"JJ, can I ask you something?"
"Of course, Spence, what is it?"
"Are you happy?"
She leaned back at that, so she could see his face. "Of course I am. Why would you even ask that?"
Her tone wasn't angry. It was the tone of someone who needed to know. Did he recognize something in her that she wasn't seeing herself? They'd been close once upon a time. The rift over the deception about Emily had put distance between them, but she still thought Reid knew her better than anyone else on the team.
"I don't know. I just….Never mind, ignore me. I'm not making any sense tonight. Must have been all those champagne toasts."
She laughed because she knew he expected her to, but she was still chewing on the fact that her best friend had just asked her if she was happy on her wedding night.
It made her wonder about his own mood. She'd long known he had a crush on her, although he'd never acted on it. Their one failed 'date' had actually been all Gideon's doing. With the surprise of the wedding tonight, she'd not had time to think about how it might be affecting Reid. Taking stock of him now, she thought he was handling it well. Better, in fact, than she would have expected.
"How about you, Spence? Are you happy?"
"Me?" He had to think about that. He couldn't remember the last time anyone had asked him. Couldn't remember if anyone had ever asked him.
"Me." Pause. " I'm happy, I guess." He thought a moment more. "Yes, I'm happy."
She smiled at him. It was so 'Reid' of him, to want to be accurate, and precise with every answer. Then she looked at him more intensely, really studying him.
"Yes, you are. I can see it. You're happy." She reached up a hand to touch his cheek. "I'm glad, Spence."
He smiled down at her. "I'm happy for you, JJ. Really. I am."
"Thank you. And will you tell me what makes you happy? Is it a 'who'?"
Before Reid could answer, Will cut in on them. "I'm stealing my bride back, Spencer."
Reid gave another of his comical bows. "She's all yours, Will."
It was very late by the time Reid got home, but he simply wasn't ready for sleep. Tomorrow...well, today…was Sunday. The day he would page Maeve, and she would call him back at the phone booth. He was anxious for their conversation. They were reading through the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle together, and he found her insights on the writing, as well as the cases, to be fascinating. He found her to be fascinating.
He hadn't had a chance to answer JJ when she asked him what, or who was making him happy. He wasn't sure he could, or would, have answered her in the moment. He wasn't even sure he realized he was happy. But now, acknowledging his anticipation of their contact, he knew the answer. It was a 'who'. A 'she', in fact. Maeve. She'd given him reason to look forward, to be excited. She'd made him feel valued. The few times he'd been unable to call her when he was away on a case, she'd told him she missed him.
As much as Reid knew he contributed to the work of the team, he'd never felt as though he mattered. If not him, someone else would come up with the solution, or perhaps Garcia's computers would do so. But, with Maeve, it was only him. He felt it. She valued him. Not what he could do. Not his IQ of 187 or his eidetic memory. She valued the person who was Spencer Reid. He'd never experienced that before, and it was changing him. He treasured it.