It was decided it would be easier if Reid stayed with Henry
at JJ's. There was plenty of 'Henry food' available, and, importantly, his toys
"The next door neighbor has a key. I'll call and let her know you're coming." JJ made a mental note to get Reid his own key as soon as she got back.
"Okay. I just need to stop back at my place to get some clothes first. Think I'll bring my partner along on the mission."
Reid was winking at Henry as he spoke, noting the little guy getting excited at the thought of going on a 'mission'.
"Spence, can you put him on for a minute, please?"
Reid handed his godson the phone, giving him a private moment with his mother. Henry's head nodded up and down a few times, and then he broke out into a huge grin.
"Okay, Mommy!" He handed the phone back to Reid.
"Whatever you said to him must have been good. You should see the smile on his face." Wishing she might say the same to him, with the same effect.
"I told him that you would read to him tonight, and get him ready for school in the morning. And I told him he could wear his 'profiler outfit' from Halloween, if he wants to."
Her words did bring a smile to Reid's face, as he remembered his godson wanting to go trick-or-treating dressed as his favorite profiler-his Uncle Spence. Not that Reid thought there was anything odd about the outfit. He'd just been happy to learn that he was Henry's favorite profiler.
"Sweet! I'll take good care of him, JJ. You just take care of yourself. Be careful, all right?" She'd explained that the unsub in this case seemed to be taunting law enforcement.
"I will. And, Spence? Thanks again. You're a life saver."
Just returning in kind, JJ, just returning in kind.
"So, what should we have for dinner, Henry?" Reid was looking in the freezer, where there were any number of labeled meals available to them.
"We us'lly have pancakes." Said with no outward appearance of guile.
Reid raised one eyebrow at his godson. "You do, huh? They wouldn't be chocolate chip pancakes, would they?"
"Yeah!" Henry couldn't believe his good fortune. He might actually score chocolate chip pancakes for dinner!
"And I suppose we wouldn't be eating any vegetables with them, would we?"
"And this is what you "usually" have, you say?"
More uncertainly now, suddenly not so sure he had successfully hoodwinked his godfather.
"Henry, did you forget how many times I've had dinner with you and your mom lately? I don't remember seeing any chocolate chip pancakes on the menu."
Busted. Henry had the childlike grace to look chagrined, making Reid take pity on him.
"But I guess that doesn't mean there can't be a first time."
Henry had been looking dejectedly at the kitchen table. Now his eyes shot up to Reid.
"You mean it? We can have them?"
"With string beans," Reid said primly. "I'm not wiling to have your mom mad at me for skipping the vegetables."
And so the two feasted, godfather and godson, on chocolate chip pancakes and string beans.
Henry actually volunteered to help Reid with washing and drying the dishes, having enjoyed their last kitchen chat when they did the same. As he dried, he completely reenacted the spring concert for his Uncle Spence.
"And then we all bowed, like this." And he demonstrated, with a flourish of the towel.
In turn, Reid clapped a cloud of suds at him, and the two broke into a giggle. And this time, Reid didn't even notice that he was laughing, when he should have been mourning. Sometimes healing creeps up on a person.
It was the first time Reid had been completely responsible for bath and bedtime. Henry cooperated (mostly), with the scrubbing, but dawdled getting into his pajamas. But Reid had his number by now.
"If you don't hurry up, we won't have time to pick out your profiler outfit for tomorrow."
Instantly-pajama-clad Henry showed his godfather where to find all the right pieces to the 'costume', including his mini-messenger bag.
"Hmm. What should you carry in this, Henry?" It had been empty the first time, to allow more room for Halloween candy.
"What's in yours, Uncle Spence?"
Henry looked around his bedroom. He had plenty of books. He started stuffing them into the bag, until Reid stopped him.
"Henry, feel how heavy this is." The little guy couldn't lift it off the bed. "Why don't you just pick out one?"
"Okay, good idea. This one, Uncle Spence. But can you read it to me first?"
It was a book about feet. Left feet. Right feet. Henry was learning to sight read the words, and thought it his best chance to catch his godfather at cheating.
Reid started the book. This time, he didn't cheat with the words. He cheated with his feet. He started acting out the commands of the book, using the opposite foot each time.
"Uncle Spence, that's not your left foot!"
"Are you sure Henry?"
"That one's your left foot!" Pointing, and demonstrating with his own.
"Well, what about my hands? Isn't this one my left hand?" Holding up the correct limb.
"Right? I thought it was my left hand!"
"It is you're left hand, Uncle Spence! You're right!"
"So if it's right, is this my right foot?" Holding up the left.
"Uncle Speeennce! You're silly! Don't you know your right and left? You must be very bad at doing the hokey-pokey!"
Without prompting, Henry scrambled out of bed and gave his uncle a lesson in the popular preschool dance, then pulled Reid up and made him join in. Reid found himself hoping that the LaMontagnes had never invested in a nanny cam.
Dances and stories over, Reid called JJ so that mother and son could say goodnight to each other. He counted them lucky when she was able to take the call.
"How's it going?"
Her tone of voice and the lack of detail concerned him.
"Are you all okay?"
She hesitated, not wanting to contribute to his worry, then realized that the very act of hesitating was doing so.
"Morgan had a close call. It was just a small explosive charge...really more of a taunt by the unsub than an actual attempt to kill, but it went off about ten feet from him."
Reid was alarmed despite her assurance.
"Is he okay?"
"He's fine, just a couple of small cuts. He didn't even need stitches."
Reid breathed a sigh of relief, but also formed a new determination to get back to his team as soon as possible.
"Thank goodness." He turned to look at his godson.
"I've got Henry right here."
Instead of putting them on speaker, Reid gave the two some privacy by handing Henry the phone. He could hear only one half of the conversation.
"Uh-huh...uh-huh. Yes. String beans. Uh-huh...I will. Okay, Mommy. I love you, too...and don't let the bedbugs bite!" He handed the phone back to Reid.
"Thanks so much again, Spence. Sounds like you two are having some fun together. I don't know when we'll be back, but unless they call him in again, Will should be able to handle the next couple of nights."
"I don't mind at all, JJ. Henry and I can hang out every night, as far as I'm concerned." He looked down to see Henry beaming up at him.
"Hey, JJ? Be careful, okay? I mean it."
Once they'd ended the call, it was time for prayers. Henry made his usual litany of requests for blessings on his family and extended family, including Maeve. This time, it wasn't a surprise to Reid. This time, it didn't evoke a pang of bittersweet grief. This time, it felt warm, and comforting, as though Maeve was being wrapped in the seemingly boundless embrace of the young child's love. Once again, Reid thanked..whatever...or Whomever...for the blessing of Henry in his life.
He hadn't expected to be able to fall asleep. Sleep had been so elusive, for so long, that he'd gotten accustomed to going without it, despite his exhaustion. So instead of disturbing the guest room, he settled on the sofa.
For the first time in a very long time, his thoughts were filled with something besides Maeve. His eidetic memory allowed him to relive every moment of his afternoon and evening with Henry, and he found himself smiling, even chuckling from time to time. He was happy for JJ, to have Henry in her life, even if it was only because of Will.
I guess I'm supposed to be grateful to Will for giving her Henry, but I don't know that I can go that far. I think it's JJ's genes that make me love him.
Inevitably, his thoughts led him to wonder what might have happened if he'd been able to have a life together with Maeve. Whether they'd have had their own child...or children, I think we might have had a bunch...whether he'd have been a good father. He had no question about whether she would have been a good mother. She'd have been great. So wise, so funny, so warm.
Remarkably, he found himself becoming sleepy, fading fast. He stretched himself out on the sofa, grateful that JJ had invested in an extra-long one. He fell asleep, with thoughts of Maeve and the family they would have had together running through his head. Paradoxically, a few tears escaped his eyes, and ran down towards where his lips had curled up into a small smile.
She was there, just beyond his reach, smiling at him, walking towards him, arms outstretched. Again. He could see her face, and she his. Again. They moved closer and closer, just about to touch...when the sound of danger came. Again. His head shot from side to side, looking for the source...and then he came awake, realizing instantly that this time the noise had not been in his dream. It had been in the house. At the door. Was someone breaking in?
Reid didn't have his gun. Even JJ didn't know that Hotch had insisted on holding it for him. They hadn't openly discussed why, but Reid had interpreted Hotch's request as more of an order, and complied. Now he wished he had something with which to protect Henry.
Before he could look around for an appropriate weapon, the door was flung open. Briefly, Reid wished it had been a burglar. Instead, it was Will LaMontagne standing in the doorway.
"You can go now." It was two in the morning.
"I didn't expect you. JJ said you had to work."
"Four to twelve shift, they kept us over a bit. But I'm here now, so you can leave." Offering no thanks.
Reid wasn't sure what to do. He'd been entrusted by JJ with taking care of Henry. But Will was the boy's father. And, technically, this was still his home.
"I can just crash here on the sofa until the morning, and get him off to school. Let you get some sleep."
"He's my damn kid, Spencer, and I'll take care of him. Now get going."
Reid recognized the statement as representing petty jealousy rather than paternal responsibility, but he had no rights here. And Will had started to get loud, making Reid afraid of Henry waking to a showdown between his father and his godfather. Reluctantly, he gathered his book and bag, and made his way to the door. Reaching it, he turned around.
LaMontagne looked at him.
"I've already made Henry's lunch for him. Make sure he gets it, will you? Make sure you don't accidentally leave it in the car."
He was satisfied to see Will's eyes widen, just a little.