When Eliot needs to save Sophie, he plays an act wherein he pretends to give up the team, sell them out and run with the loot. He doesn’t expect some of them to take it seriously, luckily Parker understands.
Warnings: sophie has a gun on her for a moment (shes fine) and Eliot has guilt abt his past
He had a gun on Sophie when Eliot entered the warehouse. And of course it was a fucking warehouse with shitty reception and hard to track, it was the ideal place and fit perfectly with the usual haunts. “John Tucker,” he greeted, attempting casual. “It’s been too long.”
“Eliot Spencer,” John grinned. “I would say it’s a pleasure, but it most definitely isn’t. Now what the fuck are you doing here?”
“Come on, John, you should know by now that you’re easy to find,” he raised an unimpressed brow and tried not to look at Sophie, who was trying to have communicative glances with him, which wasn’t something he could use right now. “A warehouse. It’s always a warehouse.”
“Well, that doesn’t matter. I don’t care that you found me, make a move and I’ll shoot the bitch,” John took the safety off and aimed at Sophie’s head again, who couldn’t help but flinch slightly and the chatter over the coms went haywire as they all asked after her, telling Eliot to give him what he wanted and get Sophie out of there.
Naturally Eliot knew it wasn’t going to be so simple. John was not only a pretty damn good hitter, but on the wrong side of insane too, if not a little dense. Eliot just hoped the latter part would work in his favor and that Sophie still had her com.
“I’m here to make a deal with you. Well, sort of,” he said, taking out his com and crushing it under his boot. “Off the record of course.”
It was a con on John Tucker, but the team hadn’t been together for long yet, so they might take it as truth and mess it up. So, the com had to go. He couldn’t be distracted with a weapon against Sophie’s head.
“Is ‘sort of’ short hand for killing people nowadays?” John asked, slightly scared, but not much. He found out why when John added: “Word on the street is that you’ve gone soft, so maybe you really are here to talk.”
He had been aware that his name was slowly changing, but it really came back to bite him at the worst moment. Sophie was shaken up and her eyes had widened once he had taken out his com, almost in shock and disbelief and Eliot hoped she would see this was a ploy and play along. Still, she was a distraction right now, so he tore his eyes away and chuckled: “Soft? Me?”
“Yeah, you,” John was gaining confidence. “Out here playing a good guy, running around with your little team. What happened to Eliot Spencer works alone?”
“I’ll tell you what, John,” Eliot said. “I found some stupid people, who pay me way more than my trouble’s worth, that’s what. These guys have no clue what a hitter costs and they just throw money at me.” He tutted, “So desperate for survival.”
“But I-” John was confused, which was exactly where Eliot wanted him. Eyes on Eliot, not gun on Sophie, yes.
“What? You what?” he asked, making his voice sound as if he thought the situation was absolutely hilarious. “You thought I gave a crap about them? Of course not, they’re a good gig for as long as they lasted, but I’m willing to find a new gig, maybe that chip you’re selling. Really pathetic how badly you manage your money, by the way.”
“You- You’re stealing my gig,” John said angrily. “And you’re doing it with her!” he waved the gun back at Sophie, who squeaked. “It’s your guys who have the chip, you’re trying to get your teammate back. You aregoing soft.”
“John, listen, shoot her if you want, I don’t care,” Eliot’s sigh was one of tiredness, though in reality he wanted to scream in frustration, fear and anger. “What I care about is that you are getting paid $500.000 for a chip that is worth $10 million. I don’t know about you, John, but 500.000 is not ten percent of 10 million. You got played.”
Luckily Eliot knew John (and his sort, he had been one of them once) well enough to know that would work and it was close to true anyway.
True to his prediction John stopped for a moment, brow furrowing as he did the math, before indignation sat in. “That bastard! I knew he was off, always so smooth talking.”
“Yeah, whatever, you got played, it happens,” Eliot waved him away again, really going for the ‘I don’t care about any of this crap, just the getting paid part, so can we hurry this along?’ He rubbed between his eyes and said: “The real question is what are yougoing to do about it? I have some ideas if you’re wiling to listen.”
His name was at least still good enough that John nodded and gestured for him to explain. “Well, I have the chip and I’m sure you have transport for it out of here. Together, we can sell it and make $10 million. What’d ya say?”
John slowly started to come around to his idea, first nodding, then smiling, before grinning and saying: “I think I’d like that. Five million is better than 500.000.”
“Five million?” Eliot hated himself for this, but he needed to sell this. So, he pushed on, trying not to see the hurt in Sophie’s eyes. “We’re splitting it 7-3. I’m the one with the chip, the one who stole it and has to get it from my team. All you did was get played and have transport. You were more in the way then helpful, be glad you get anything at all.”
“So, Elliot Spencer is still ruthless and a bastard, I see,” John nodded to himself. “I want four mil.”
“Three and a half, you’re not getting more, Tucker, take what you got and shut up,” Eliot growled, holding out his hand with an eyeroll.
Shaking it John grinned: “Three and a half it is. Meet you at the docks in an hour.” Then he remembered Sophie again and pointed the gun at her once more, making her swallow, “What about her?” he asked.
Eliot looked her over, trying to keep his gaze appraising as if he was thinking. She looked terrified, but unharmed, save for where she was tied to the chair with rough rope. However, the most striking was the betrayal in her eyes and Eliot felt as if that couldn’t be faked. Well, he thought quite self-deprecating, if even she bought it…
He wanted to tell her this was to get her out, that he wouldn’t do that, not to the team. He also wouldn’t do it when he was the one send after her and she was likely to have a com in her ear recording everything and he felt slightly hurt that she would think that lowly of his skills as well as his character, though he could understand the latter better.
While Eliot might be many things, he wasn’t stupid and there was a reason he hadn’t been caught yet. Almost all the time he spend in shady prisons was on purpose or for crimes he didn’t commit that were used as an excuse to get him there for things he did do. He would never make a deal like this and he used that as an excuse why he felt hurt, instead of hoping that he might have gained the team’s trust, a hope that was now ruined.
Not that he didn’t deserve it, of course. While they were all “bad guys” so to speak, there was a certain hierarchy to badness and Eliot was definitely the worst and the only one of them who would never be clean of his sins.
Still, he tried.
So, pretending to be done with her examination, he sighed: “I need her if I want to get the location of the chip. My boss has it and he won’t tell me if he thinks I was involved in her death. I’ll tie up the loose end, she knows to keep quiet. Wouldn’t want me to drag it out.”
Sophie whimpered slightly and the fact that she was buying it made John buy it as well, because he laughed. “You sick son of a bitch,” before cutting Sophie loose.
Eliot was there in seconds. He had to keep Sophie from lashing out and get them out of there as soon as possible. So, he grabbed her arm and held the knife to her throat as he started to march her out of there. “You better keep quiet, sweetheart. Or I’ll cut your tongue out to make you.”
He had admittedly done much worse than keep a knife to a friend’s neck and threaten them, still he couldn’t help but feel like a terrible person as Sophie trembled against him. He was a very convincing bad guy, almost no acting required just an older mindset.
But Sophie was a fighter and she struggled against them. If they hadn’t still been in John’s sight, he would have let her go immediately and apologized. Instead he gripped her tighter, knowing there would be a bruise later and already beating himself up over it as he hissed: “Play along, Sophie, before that idiot realizes I’m walking out of here with his bargaining chip and exactly what I came here to get.”
It shouldn’t have hurt so much that there was a flash of surprise that Sophie quickly covered up as she said: “Yes, of course, I was just selling my part.”
In turn he nodded, but didn’t say anything else until they were driving off safely. Then he couldn’t help but ask: “How glad am I that I didn’t have my comm during that?”
Sophie had the decency to answer that truthfully: “Glad, I suppose. You were very convincing back there and it didn’t help that the team was yelling, made me believe in it too.” That might be an excuse, but Eliot would take it.
“It’s easier when you have something to go off,” Eliot shrugged. “Been there before. With Tucker even. He’s good at punching, but never made it far in the business. Hasn’t got a head for numbers or strategy, easy to take advantage off.”
“Which we’ll be doing?” Sophie asked.
“Jup, tell Nate to have things ready at the docks in an hour,” he told her. “In case he missed it,” there was a bitterness in his voice that he didn’t manage to hide and he hoped Sophie’s com hadn’t picked it up as she repeated the message.
When they arrived back at headquarters everyone was quiet. Eliot pushed past them, not in the mood for whatever they had to say to him and leaving them to finish the rest of the con. He’dbe there when they needed him, if they trusted him enough to call on him. For now, he let them fuss over Sophie and the rope burns on her arm, let them talk about him.
He sagged on his floor, leaning against the door as he breathed. He should have expected it and he did, but a small part of him didn’t want to believe it. He’d done so much for the team already, yet it was stupid to think risking his life a few times – doing his goddamn job– would get him anything when his hands were so covered in blood they were unrecognizable as human.
In the end it was Parker who came to get him. She let herself in through the vents and sat down next to Eliot on the floor as if everything was normal. He tried to ignore her, but it was easy to get lost in her hands doing a hand puzzle thingy.
“Everyone was being really confusing,” she finally broke the silence. “You went off coms and we could only pick up snippets from Sophie’s side and she couldn’t tell us anything and everyone got loud and confusing.”
God, leave it to Parker to describe everyone righteously freaking out about Eliot as confusing.
A part of him wanted to get mad at her, rant at her and blow off steam, but she didn’t deserve that. No one did, but especially not Parker. He and her were more alike than anyone on the team, even if she still had an innocence about her, where had burned and ruined his long ago.
“They thought I’d gone AWOL,” he explained to her. “They thought I was selling everyone out and running. Getting loud and confusing is an apt reaction.”
“But you would never do that,” Parker stated it like it was a fact and a knife twisted in Eliot’s heart as he nodded and agreed: “No, I wouldn’t, but it isn’t hard to think that after all I’ve done, Parker. Can’t say I blame them.”
“No, Eliot Spencer never backs out of a job, never sold out any of his employers,” she stated sternly as if listing something. “He is ruthless, but reliable, never bails, worth every penny.”
“What the hell, Parker!” he exclaimed that was way too close, no exactly how he sold himself, well, his uses.
“Even when you were a bad guy like the rest of us, before you turned good, you wouldn’t have bailed on us, because you never bail that’s what makes you Eliot Spencer,” she explained to him, completely serious. “You would never sell us out.”
“Not even for $10 million?” he quirked a brow at her, trying not to show how much her words meant to him, because yeah, he was a bad guy, he knew that, but he never bailed on a job and no one could take that from him.
Next to him, Parker looked him up and down, before shaking her head: “Nah, you don’t do it for the money, not anymore. You stored more than enough in offshore accounts, but everything you earn now you give away to veteran, abuse and homeless shelters. You would have no reason.”
He couldn’t help the smile at that. He and Parker were always a bit different than the others, she couldn’t see why the others were hesitant around him with that unannounced stunt that he had only pulled the moment he saw who had captured Sophie.
Parker wasn’t naive, she just understood the work better, understood that there were principles and codes, even amongst the most horrible. She knew how important an untraceable brand could be and how the roughest spots worked. She saw Eliot and knew someone who would have her back and Eliot was going to do everything in his power to do right by her.
With his smile, she relaxed too, before saying: “Nate wants you meeting this Tucker guy again. They’re ratting him out to the police, but he needs a reason to come onto the docks. You’re supposed to jump in the water when they get there, in case they have to open fire.”
Eliot doubted that they wouldneed to get that far with John. He felt kind of bad for the guy, but it was honestly a miracle he had made it this far.
So, he got up and got ready. The team still needed him and he would show up, because that was he job and he always – always– did his job. And some day, they would see that too and the next time he played the bad guy, Hardison was right up in his ear, calling him a walking Godfathermovie and making fun of him.
That was later, though, but he would get there. They would get there.
yes, John Tucker was a reference, bc I know some people will be wondering. I watched the movie a while back with my friend and the name stuck
Btw, I’m all for the team, but they trust Eliot more easily than one would expect and he’s my fave, but I would watch my back for a while before trusting him, no hard feelings
Also the ‘we’re us’ from the Long Way Down Job owns my heart and soul, thank you very much.
also idk folks might argue with me but people who write theories, metas, headcanons, and especially fic writers are also content creators and it’s very discouraging spending hours writing something only for it to get 5 likes and disappear
Midoriya and Bakugo have known each other for a long time, giving them privileges with the other and allowing them to do certain things others can’t. It’s hard to shake old habits and sometimes those habits can rebuild a friendship.
To class 1-A Midoriya and Bakugo are big question mark that none of them would probably ever solve, but loved observing nonetheless.
From what they know, the two are bitter rivals, with more bitter than rival at the start of year, though they have gotten better throughout their time at UA. They’ll still be at each other’s throat about the littlest things, but they will allow only the other to do certain things without comment that no one else would try.
It used to be more obvious for Midoriya, with how he trailed after Bakugo and called him Kacchan, something all had noted Bakugo never commented on, despite the fact that he had nearly torn Kaminari apart when he’d tried.
So, it’s still fascinating to watch them glare at each other with Midoriya saying: “Kacchan, I can’t believe you. You don’t have to be an asshole, you know.”
“Wanting personal space isn’t being a fucking asshole, Deku,” Bakugo shoots back, crossing his arms as he scowls.
“You can at least ask someone to back off nicely,” Midoriya insists and if it had been anyone else Bakugo would have exploded, maybe even jumped the person. However, it’s Midoriya and Bakugo seems content to just yell at him, not even mentioning the nickname or the fact that Midoriya is telling him off.
That’s another thing. Midoriya is allowed to tell Bakugo off, not even teachers get away with that without Bakugo exploding on them, but Midoriya seems to do it with the blond only yelling a bit before stomping off.
But they’ve observed it’s not as one sided as they had first thought. Midoriya is overall a kind person, who’s easy going, but there are some things he would rather not someone does, though he doesn’t yell about it.
All have figured out he doesn’t like it when people are worried about him. It’s not stopping most to be concerned when he breaks another bone, but most have stopped trying to fuss, especially now that it rarely happens.
Rarely, however, isn’t never.
Today Midoriya broke his ankle. It wasn’t badly and he’s already fixed up by Recovery Girl, but everyone is still eyeing him anxiously, no one doing anything yet as Midoriya cheerfully walks around again pretending nothing happened.
No one but Bakugo dares to interfere when he attempts to climb the counters to grab a glass. The blond finally snaps and physically drags Midoriya off the counter, who lets out a small yelp and gives Bakugo big eyes as he asks: “Kacchan?”
“Fucking shitty nerd,” he grouches as he grabs the glass and presses it into his hands. “I know you’re fucking fine, but you don’t have to be a fucking dumbass about it when everyone’s still on edge. Just ask for the shitty glass.”
Midoriya takes the glass, then rubs the back of his head, before apologizing, which everyone waves away like they aren’t immensely grateful to Bakugo for stepping in when they would have gotten a small frown as Midoriya stubbornly insisted he’s fine.
“Tsk,” Bakugo rolls his eyes. “You’re so fucking stupid, how are you ever beating me if you can’t even take care of yourself, Deku. You’re never becoming the number one.”
And with that Midoriya’s eyes fire up as they start another argument, the scolding he had allowed forgotten completely. Still, Kirishima will later note, it never got violent and Bakugo seemed to herd Midoriya to the couch as they fought, simultaneously getting the other to rest.
That was before they destroyed ground beta and the two have been getting even better much to everyone’s bafflement.
It’s interesting how you don’t notice small things creeping in until something big happens.
Bakugo and Midoriya have been joking around a bit more, interacting casually and arguments have lessened, so when everyone hears the two voices picking up, becoming loud they all brace themselves for a set back between the duo. Then the voices get closer and they hear Bakugo loudly exclaim: “I- I can’t fucking believe you, you know that?”
“I’m sorry, Kacchan,” they hear Midoriya say and all frown in confusion. He sounds happy enough and not like a fight, which is good, but no one knows what isactually happening instead.
“You always had shit balance, dumbass,” Bakugo tells Midoriya, but it sounds closer to fond than aggressive. “Why on earth did you think climbing a tree was a good idea?”
And that definitely catches their attention. The two enter the common area now and they see that Bakugo is giving Midoriya a piggy back ride. After a moment of bewilderment at the scene they see that Midoriya is missing a shoe, having injured himself in the climb probably.
“But Kacchaaaan,” Midoriya whines. “It was a good tree and you climbed it too.”
“Yeah, to get your dumb ass unstuck,” Bakugo rolls his eyes as he deposits Midoriya on a chair, rummaging around in the freezer until he finds an ice pack as the class just watches them. It’s delicately applied to Midoriya’s ankle as the two argue more about the tree and whether or not it was smart to climb.
The more the class watches, the more they realize Bakugo and Midoriya have created a new dynamic between them. While Bakugo looks like the troublemaker between them, it has become increasingly obvious that Midoriya will go through with anything to prove he can and that – while Bakugo is always the one challenging him – he also is the one who afterwards checks if he’s okay, scolding him for being a dumbass as he, what can only be described as, fusses over him.
The childish challenges and fussing is something they only accept from the other, with Bakugo rolling his eyes at the antics of his friends when they try, while Midoriya will always insists he’s fine if anyone else asks.
Midoriya is also the only one who would ever get a piggyback ride from The Great Bakugo, since the blond will never let anyone near him, let alone touch him so casually. Still, as they watch them argue, Midoriya bumps their shoulders and flicks Bakugo multiple times, without him ever getting angry at him.
However, the fussing is not one sided, something they all discover a few weeks later when Bakugo messes up during training and hits a building when he boosts himself up with his explosions.
He has already waved away the opportunity to go see Recovery Girl, saying that he’s fine and all the fucking extra’s should stop worrying. But a nasty black eye is still developing and while no one is planning on mentioning it to him, they all wish he would put some ice on it once they get to their dorms.
When they get to the dorms, it becomes clear that Bakugo is planning on pretending that nothing is wrong, as if ignoring it will make so that he didn’t mess up.
Midoriya is having none of it and just grabs an ice pack before marching up to Bakugo and presses it to his face without much fanfare or warning. He says: “Don’t be stupid, Kacchan. You need to take care of that, not very hero like with a gigantic black eye. Just sit down. Here, I’ll go grab you a glass ofwater.”
“Don’t.” They’re sure he’ll deny it later, but Bakugo whines, something Midoriya ignores as he leaves to grab a glass of water.
Despite his protests, Bakugo sits and presses the ice pack against his eye with a groan as he leans into the couch, accepting the glass of water when presented to him. If Kirishima or Mina or something had tried to pull this stunt, they would have been blown into next week, but Midoriya onlygets a middle finger to which he responds to by sticking out his tongue.
Still, it’s not just the scolding and the fussing, there are also silly things, like the fact that only Bakugo argues with Midoriya about All Might.
“Oh my god, Kacchan, no,” Midoriya’s voice loudly rings from the kitchen. “The Detroit Smash is a stronger attack than the Texas Smash.”
“No, it’s not,” Bakugo scowls. “It blows enemies away, causing extra damage.”
“But the Detroit Smash is downwards, pushing enemies into the ground and creating an anvil effect, minimizing property damage and causing more harm, as well as keeping the enemy in place,” Midoriya lectures.
“Cracking the pavement is hardly called controlling property damage,” Bakugo says.
“And throwing a person into a building is?” Midoriya replies.
“All Might has enough control to know what he’s hitting and it’s sometimes beneficial to create distance,” Bakugo tells him.
“Sometimes,” Midoriya points out annoyingly and Bakugo snarls. “And we’re talking stronger attack, not handiest in certain situations.”
“I’ve been hit by both, Texas Smash is stronger,” Bakugo crosses his arms and quirks a brow, challengingly.
Midoriya gives the same look right back and replies: “I’ve also been hit by both, Detroit Smash is stronger.”
They just stand in front of each other, the argument having turned into a staring match. It’s a bit funny how many times Bakugo calls Midoriya a nerd, when he’s arguing about All Might stats specifics with him.
Kaminari is amongst the ones, who have been watching them. He is frowning and when the silence falls, he says: “I thought the United States of Smash was All Might’s strongest attack.”
“We’re comparing to stronger dumbass, not arguing about his entire array, Dunce Face,” Bakugo scowls when Midoriya looks away between their staring contest to explain. Midoriya shrugs apologetically and nods: “Detroit Smash and Texas Smash are the same, only the angle is different, which makes them fun to compare. Same goes for his second strongest attack.”
“The Nebraska Smash,” Bakugo smirks as Midoriya whips his head around and says: “No, Kacchan, you know it’s the New Hampshire Smash.”
“Are you stupid? He literally creates a tornado, dumbass,” Bakugo argues.
“He propels himself off the ground with the New Hampshire Smash, no other attack is strong enough to do that,” Midoriya throws himself into this new argument and Kaminari slowly backs away. Maybe no one argues about All Might with Midoriya, because they don’t know enough. All but Bakugo that is.
And it’s only Midoriya, who actively picks fights with Bakugo and doesn’t get murdered over it, though it has gotten less arguments and more teasing. Which is again something only Midoriya can do.
“Come on, Kacchan,” the tone in Midoriya is foreign to most, same goes for Bakugo’s suspicious and defensive stance.
“No, I don’t wanna play cards with you, I already regret teaching you pesten,” Bakugo says.
“But it was always fun to play with auntie,” Midoriya whines, leaning back on the couch as he shuffles the cards. “Are you still hurt about all the times we didn’t let you win?”
“You didn’t let me win,” Bakugo frowns. “And having to draw 23 cards is not fun, fuck you.”
“We can do no passing along?” Midoriya offers.
“What are you two talking about?” Uraraka asks, plopping down next to Midoriya and looking at the cards.
“Pesten,” Midoriya tells her as Bakugo says: “None of your business, Round Face.”
“Oeh, can I play?” The class had been together for long enough that most can ignore Bakugo’s sharper edges, even if they would never purposefully challenge him.
“Sure, it’s pretty simple,” Midoriya tells her and Bakugo frowns as his attention is pulled off of him. “You both begin with seven cards and the one with no cards left at the end is the winner. You can put each suit on its own and the same numbers as well. You have a few cards that mean different things, like the king, the king means you can go again-”
“No, it doesn’t,” Bakugo interrupts. “The king means the order turns around.”
“But when we played it with your grandma, she said it means that,” Midoriya protests.
“Yeah, but grandma had weak rules,” Bakugo shrugs. “We play with the hag’s rules. She and grandpa know how to play pesten. Now, fucking scoot over, because you’re explaining it all wrong.”
“So all the times you suddenly introduced the rule when we were playing was you not wanting to loose?” Midoriya teases, poking Bakugo, who blushes and pushes him off as he says: “No, I didn’t, shove off.”
“Yes, you did, you big baby,” Midoriya grins.
“It’s-” Bakugo splutters in anger, “It’s a totally valid rule when you’re with two, it turns back to the player who put it down.”
“And that only counted when you did it,” Midoriya exclaims, poking Bakugo some more. “You’re just a sore looser, admit it.”
“No, I’m not,” Bakugo shoves him back and soon they’re on the ground wrestling as Uraraka mumbles to herself: “Guess we’re not playing cards…”
Even if the fussing still catches their attention the most, even though that has gotten less as everyone got used to the little things. This, however, is not a little thing, so class 1-A remarks upon it, despite how commonplace it has gotten.
“I can’t believe you, you fucking idiot,” that is a familiar phrase. “You need to eat, dumbass. You can’t come to training without lunch, what were you thinking?”
“Sorry, Kacchan,” Midoriya pouts. “I was already running late.”
“Then you need a better schedule, maybe not stay up so late,” Bakugo scolds.
“I’m busy,” Midoriya defends as he is pushed onto a stool at the kitchen bar, where Bakugo leaves him as he starts pulling out pots and pans and an assortment of ingredients.
“That’s not a good excuse, Izu.” That is new. A nickname they haven’t heard before. Kacchan is already customary, but Izu is definitely new. A strange new window into a friendship that was long before anyone there knew of the others.
“I am trying,” Midoriya whines, but they all saw the small smile at the nickname that had just slipped past Bakugo’s lips.
“Well, try fucking better, I’m not letting myself get challenged by an idiot, who can’t even take care of himself,” Bakugo aggressively cuts some vegetables. “What would auntie say if she saw you now, huh?”
Midoriya pales just in time for Bakugo to notice when he sends him a glare before starting up the heat on the stove. They’ve heard Midoriya refer to Bakugo’s mom as auntie and they think they’re now first hearing the other way around, but it isn’t certain until Bakugo grins: “Yeah, I can call her you know, we text.”
“You can’t call my mom,” Midoriya exclaims, horrified.
“Then you take better fucking care of yourself,” Bakugo tells him. “And text her more often, she gets most of her shit from me and she worries.”
“Ahw, you talk about me,” Midoriya teases to get attention off himself.
“Don’t,” Bakugo wags a spatula at him. “She send me her katsudon recipe, so you’re lucky. Now shut the fuck up and make yourself useful. You can stir or making a better planning for yourself, because what you’re doing now is pathetic. You’re never gonna come close to beating me if you keep this up.”
Midoriya looks more chastised than they’ve ever seen him and he pulls out one of his notebooks to make a planning under Bakugo’s watchful gaze.
It’s kinda funny to watch them, both doing their own thing while Bakugo sometimes comments on Midoriya’s planning and Midoriya asks about the recipe as Bakugo defends it by telling him to shut up and he’s doing it exactly as they always did.
They look domestic.
The bitter from rivals has completely disappeared and the rivals is more a ruse they both use to justify some of the things they still do that can only be described as remnants from a long shared past.
As kids they were constantly in each other’s space, allowing them to get close and gain privileges they still carry, from scolding to teasing to even threatening to call the other’s mom.
Where they were able to bring out the worst in the other, they’re also able to bring out the best. The class can see that in the way Bakugo forces a half asleep Midoriya to eat his fucking katsudon, I put work into that, you dick.
By the time the bowl is empty, Midoriya can barely stay upright and Bakugo rolls his eyes as he hauls him onto his back again and mutters: “I can’t believe I’m still carrying your dumb ass to bed, Izu.”
“Because you’re secretly a softie,” Midoriya mumbles back, small smile playing around his lips.
Everyone can hear them, but Bakugo pretends they don’t as he replies: “Don’t let anyone hear you say that.” It’s more of a token protest, but Midoriya and Bakugo can perhaps be best described as a token protest in the end.
They both have an image to maintain.
Pesten is apparently a Dutch card game, so I’m back on my Dutch!Bakugo bullshit xp. According to Wikipedia it’s closely related to crazy eights if that’s anything to you, but it’s also a bit like UNO
Now pro heroes living in Tokyo, Bakugo and Midoriya attend the Hero
Gala, where they’re video taped while dancing a tango. Social media
and the tabloids are crazy, even though neither of them had intended
it as romantic. Slowly both look into their feelings as they try to
deal with everything and get together.
(Technically a sequel to Stepping Side by Side)
((I’m not doing convoluted media, miscommunication story-lines, I
refuse. They’re here for a good time, no conflict <3 ))
Warnings: Mild homophobia and invasive social media questions
Kacchan and Izu graduated two years ago and are now living together as they try to make a name for themselves as heroes.
The flat they share in Tokyo is tiny with two bedrooms that can be mistaken for broom closets and a tiny bathroom. The only place they have a bit of space is the kitchen, which is also the living room, where they have space to work out and dance, something they still do.
After they had started the tradition in their first year at UA, they kept on dancing throughout their school years to cope with all that was thrown their way.
With the closeness that came with sharing this precious childhood memory, their friendship strengthened. Anyone that hadn’t seen them since their first semester at UA, wouldn’t recognize them now.
Both had needed that change in their dynamic and right now they’re nearing the place in their lives where they always wanted to be. Upcoming heroes by each other’s side.
“IZU!” Kacchan’s voice rings loudly through the halls. “Where the fuck did you leave my body wash?”
“I don’t use your body wash, Kacchan,” Izu yells back from where he’s jumping to get into his costume. “Why would I have touched it? You’re always loosing your stuff.”
“I’m not!” Kacchan’s indignation is evident in his voice. “You’re always loosing my stuff. And yours. Just check your room, okay? Patrol was grueling and I stink. And I’m already under the shower.”
Izu topples over, but manages to pull up the rest of his costume as he sighs and calls back: “I will, but don’t expect me to find it, before I have to go.”
“Okay, okay,” Izu mutters grumpily, going through his room, which has less All Might merch than it used to have, though a few collector’s items are still proudly on display, along with Dynamight merch. The Deku merch he forcibly owns is in a box in the corner, because he loves it but is also highly embarrassed about it.
He indeed does not find Kacchan’s body wash in his room, but locates it in the kitchen, knocking loudly on the bathroom door as he yells: “Kacchan, open up! I found it.”
“Told you,” Kacchan’s smug voice comes back.
“I found it in the kitchen,” Izu informs him, not wanting Kacchan to think he stole it when he knows the other left it in a weird place, which he always does.
“What?” Kacchan says as he opens the door, steam wafting out as he holds out his wet hand for the body wash. “Oh, wait, yeah,” he adds, “I wanted to look up what’s in this.”
“Why?” Izu asks him confused as the door closes.
“Was curious.” He just knows Kacchan is shrugging. Then the other calls out loudly: “You’re gonna be late for patrol, Izu. Don’t forget to pick up groceries on your way back. And we have that gala this weekend!”
“Thank you, Kacchan,” Izu shouts as he hurries out of the door, jumping at 10% to get to work on time.
Yeah, they’re no longer two teens, who just fell apart, trying to find friendship again over late night tea and nostalgia.
After a long patrol, Izu gets groceries still in costume, pausing to take a few pictures with excited kids at the store, before going past the dry cleaner to pick up Kacchan’s suit for the gala, as well as his own outfit, glad the other reminded him.
It’s the first Hero Gala they’ll attend as heroes, not students. Though they’re both still sidekicks, waiting to be able to start their own agency, they now get to go as official heroes, not as third years tag-alongs with their teachers or forced to miss it to patrol. It’s going to be great.
Last time they went, Izu was too anxious to do anything but stand in the corner, Kacchan next to him just because he didn’t want to socialize, but this year they have a plan. Izu does well with a plan and Kacchan needs one to be motivated enough in these situations.
They’re looking at it like a business opportunity, something Izu found he thrives in. There will be government officials and other rich, influential people, so they’re trying to make their own agency a reality by impressing them. As well as the press that will be there.
Having a name is everything in their world.
And they really want their own agency, because while they also love doing hero work as sidekicks, it just isn’t the same. They want to be able to give themselves off for special occasions, participate in higher stake missions and take on their own apprentices, remembering all they learned from heroes before them.
So, the gala will be important and Izu is happy they’re going and that he’ll get to see all his UA friends again, since they’re all so busy now.
He arrives home in a good mood. His patrol had been great, he got the groceries and remembered his errand and now he’ll get to shower and fall onto the couch as Kacchan cooks.
“Hi, Kacchan!” he greets as he throws the door open.
“Oi,” Kacchan yells back, he is now resting on the couch, ice pack on his face. He looks back when Izu appears in the door. “Did you get groceries?”
“Yeah.” Izu puts the bag down. “You okay? What happened there?”
“‘m fine,” Kacchan says sitting up and removing the ice pack to reveal a black eye. “Some twerp threw me off balance in the air and I hit a store sign. It’s nothing.”
“And you checked it wasn’t a concussion?” Izu asks as he got closer to inspect the eye, Kacchan letting him hold his chin as he tilts his head to look at the eye. It doesn’t seem like it’s more than a surface wound and Kacchan’s pupil is completely normal, his eyes still alert. It’ll fade before the weekend.
“Yeah, the nurse at the agency looked at it before she let me come home,” Kacchan confirms. “I’m keeping an eye on it now. Just a bit of a headache.”
“Hopefully nothing too bad,” Izu replies. “I got stuff for curry and you can make it better than me.”
With that Kacchan perks up. “Curry?” he asks, excited, it still remains to be his favorite food and the written recipe of his auntie and Izu’s mom is proudly displayed on the fridge.
“Had a feeling you’d want that,” Izu laughs at his friend’s reaction. He doesn’t think he’ll ever tire of seeing Kacchan excited and happy about stuff. It’s much better than the grumpy teen he was at UA. Thank god for therapy.
“Well, I’m glad for your feelings,” Kacchan smiles, getting up to head to the kitchen cheerily, making Izu smile without even realizing as his heart twists.
“I’m gonna go shower,” he calls out after Kacchan, who is already pulling vegetables out of the bags.
“Thank fuck, you stink,” Kacchan smirks and Izu snivels: “Like you never stink, Mr. Drop On The Couch Without Showering After Patrol. And I can still throw your suit out the window, dick.”
“And then you’ll have no one to go with,” Kacchan, rightfully, doesn’t take the threat seriously and continues prepping their meal. “Just fucking shower, nerd.”
“You’re still a meanie,” Izu tells him.
“Never claimed I wasn’t, Izu,” Kacchan grins over his shoulder, before turning back.
Izu mimes his words with a mocking air, as he turns to take a shower, glad to strip out of his grimy uniform and tossing it in the laundry. He hangs up the two outfits, before grabbing a pair of sweats and a sweater off the pile in the hall where they both throw stuff that could still be worn.
The shower is heavenly. He always forgets how much he loves taking a shower until he’s under the spray, the soreness and leftover dirt from patrol washing off him.
By the time he floats out the bathroom along with the steam, he’s in a soft big sweater he’s sure was Kacchan’s, but has long since become more his and All Might sweatpants he got from the man himself upon graduation.
He plops down on the couch and watches Kacchan’s brow furrow in concentration as he juggles multiple pots. After a moment, he whines: “I’m hungry. Are you done yet?”
“Stop complaining,” Kacchan tells him. “I can give you raw vegetables if you’re so fucking hungry. Or you can cook yourself.”
“But you cook much better,” Izu pouts as he hang off the couch.
“And don’t you forget it,” Kacchan says. “I’m better.”
“We’re going to be a No. 1 hero duo, Kacchan,” Izu reminds him, but he doesn’t really care. It’s now just a joke between them and he’s in a good mood anyway. He feels warm and comfy and Kacchan is right there. They’re probably going to eat on the couch and watch the dance competition that is going on right now.
Soon enough delicious smells are wafting through the apartment and Kacchan plops down next to him on the couch with two bowls, handing one to Izu as he grabs the remote.
They both followed nutrition courses at UA and curry is a good filling option, something Kacchan was delighted to learn. Izu is sure they would have figured it out without those courses, but they would not be eating as well right now without them, nor without living in the dorms. They were only twenty after all and on their own for the first time.
The TV turns on and Kacchan puts it on the right channel, the announcer already naming the couples.
“Oeh, auntie and uncle’s students,” Izu points them out. “That dress is lovely.”
“Yeah,” Kacchan agrees. “The hag made it herself.”
“Really?” Izu says. “We should call her sometime. Tell her about it. I hope they win, that would be fun.”
“Of course they’ll win,” Kacchan states. “Mom and dad trained them, if they don’t then they shouldn’t be competing, because they didn’t do enough outside their training.”
“You can’t expect that of them, Kacchan,” Izu points out.
“We did,” Kacchan shoots back. “Even when I was being a dick and later we even made time for it at UA, between our hero courses and villain threats and whatnot. They have no excuses.”
“I mean, yeah, but I wouldn’t call what we do making time, exactly,” Izu smiles. “And not everyone is as dedicated as you.”
“Or you,” Kacchan is quick to say. It has always been fascinating to Izu how he’ll say stuff like that, just because he believes in it, without caring for giving others praise at all. Kacchan is thoroughly honest, whether he has something good or bad to say. “And at that level, they should be fucking dedicated,” he adds.
“That’s true,” Izu agrees. “But they’re probably going to try their best and we’re going to cheer them on. Good luck!” he yells to the TV.
“You’re an idiot,” Kacchan rolls his eyes.
“But you love me anyway,” Izu sticks out his tongue and Kacchan pushes him over with a: “Tragically,” which makes Izu snicker, before they’re both distracted by the announcer telling them it is starting.
They watch as all six do a short routine to the same song, all having the floor alone. The Japanese team is fourth and they anxiously watch the other couples get good scores.
When the scores for the third team place them first, Kacchan bristles: “Why did get so many points for footwork? Did you see that spin? She made an extra step to keep balance. Tsk. Of course they gave her a long dress that hides her feet in the dips, sneaky bastards.”
Izu has to agree, he spotted it too, but it also amuses him how fired up his friend can still get over dancing, even if they haven’t competed in years. So, he snaps a picture of Kacchan’s frown and posts it on twitter with the caption: Kacchan doesn’t agree with the TV
“I mean, you agree, right, Izu?” Kacchan turns to him in time to see him put his phone away and the indignation makes place for annoyance as he asks: “What did you do?”
“Nothing, just posted a picture of you looking grumpy,” Izu says.
“You love your phone too much,” Kacchan tells him. “Not everyone need to know all you do.”
“They don’t know all, I do,” Izu replies. “It’s just good to keep people engaged, you should be on social media more. Our manager loves the outreach I do for you.”
“Whatever,” Kacchan rolls his eyes, but quickly checks the notification anyway, rolling his eyes once more, before the announcer tells them the Japanese couple is preforming.
The two of them want to be supportive, but every minor mistake makes them wince, mistakes the average viewer wouldn’t notice. The couple is good, very good, and they get first place in that round, but some habits die hard.
Still, as a minor revenge, Kacchan keeps one eye on Izu as they watch the last two couples and manages to take a picture of him when it is announced that the last couple takes their first place from them.
He also thinks it absurd, however, and says: “They’re going to have to kick their asses in the next round or the old hag will kick theirs.”
“I can’t believe it,” Izu frowns. “They were good, sure, but they had less grace and that spin at the end was horrid.”
“The jury are fucking assholes,” Kacchan agrees, but he’s distracted by posting the picture of Izu with a caption that reads: He isn’t pleased either, don’t let him fool you
Izu’s phone bleeps, because he has the notification of his friends on and he mindlessly checks it only for him to pout when he sees it.
“Kacchaaaan,” he whines.
“Revenge, bitch.” Kacchan gives him a middle finger, before grabbing his now empty bowl to put away while the commercials play.
Izu ambles after him to help with the dishes real quick while they discuss how the competition will go. They’re both of course rooting for Japan, but they can agree Italy has a lot of potential too.
As the couples get onto the floor, they settle back onto the couch with Izu quickly checking his phone again. As always the comments underneath are filled with people, who have all sorts of things to say. He ignores the negative and prying ones, but tells one inquirer that they’re watching the WDSF, because Kacchan’s parents have a competing couple.
They would have watched regardless, but he’s never above giving friends and family a shout out and without Kacchan’s parents neither of them would be watching.
On TV the couples all dance on the ballroom floor and the two have to hold their breath from time to time as collisions seem imminent, but all goes well and soon it moves on to another round of solo dances.
It is at that moment, when a couple from Canada is dancing that a commentator points out a difficult spin, causing Kacchan to immediately say: “Can’t be that difficult.”
“I don’t know, Kacchan, that footwork was impressive,” Izu replies.
“We could do it,” Kacchan presses and gets up as Izu makes an uncertain sound. He holds out his hand and says: “Don’t believe me?”
“No,” Izu takes the hand.
“If I’m right, you’re doing the laundry and I’m getting a point on the board.” Kacchan gets a competitive glint in his eyes that Izu quickly mirrors, they’ve always been to eager to win for their own good. “Fucking deal,” he grins as he’s pulled to his feet.
So with the competition still playing in the background, they’re trying to do the spin. The first time they fall, but Kacchan insists they try again. They only stumble then and after four times, they got it down.
Kacchan fist pumps, as he plops down and says: “My costume’s needs to be washed too. And I now have a two point lead, fucker.”
“Ahw, your costume is a bitch to clean,” Izu complains as he flops down as well, landing partly on top of Kacchan as the points are counted. “And I’ll get you back soon.”
So far Japan is still in the lead.
They’re mostly asleep by the time it ends, the day catching up with them. They manage to see their team win, which puts them in a good mood and they send a quick text to the Bakugo’s congratulating them with the win and telling them to pass their congrats along.
Izu makes a quick post about it, mostly because he’s been asked who he’s rooting for, before putting his phone away as the two of them stumble through their nightly routines and saying goodbyes before falling into their own beds.
The following morning they have a joint patrol that last the entire day. They usually work full days and this is par of the course, yesterday was the one day of the week where they work less. It’s a boring patrol overall, which is good. Just a small mugging and a lost little girl, so soon they re racing home.
It’s all pretty routine, something that lasts all the way to the weekend when they have to get ready for the big Hero Gala.
Izu, naturally, is a ball of nerves. He doesn’t know if the outfit he picked is okay and if he’ll make a fool out of himself. God, what if he forgets something important? Or what if he doesn’t realize something is expected of him?
“Stop worrying, idiot,” Kacchan comes to his rescue. “You’re going to be fine. You never mess these things up and I’ll be there to save your dumb ass in case you do.”
“And the outfit is not dumb?” he asks anyway. “I should have gone with a suit, goddammit.”
He came out publicly as bi last year and has been more fluid with things ever since, so he wanted to be visibly queer for all the other youth out there, but now he’s uncertain about it. The outfit consists of lilac pants that could be mistaken for a skirt if he stood normally along with a sheer, mesh long sleeved black shirt and an equally lilac corset top.
It looks good on him, but it might be a bit much. So, he inspects himself in the mirror uncertainly if he shouldn’t just dig through his closet and hope his graduation suit isn’t absolutely crumpled.
“You look great, nerd,” Kacchan says with an eyeroll. He himself is in a sensible grey three piece suit and white dress shirt, though he has forgone the suit jacket. Subtly, he has added lilac cuff links too, which makes Izu smile.
“Yeah?” Izu checks again as he does another spin.
“Yes, Izu,” Kacchan doesn’t mind confirming it once more, he knows how his friend can get. “Just relax. I won’t let you go out looking like a fool, especially if you’re walking in next to me. We’re impressing people tonight, remember?”
And Izu does and that calms him completely. He smiles: “Thanks, Kacchan! You ready to go?”
“Yeah, just need to get this tie straight,” he says as he fumbles with it.
“Sadly we both struggle with getting things straight,” Izu jokes earning him an eyeroll from Kacchan, though he doesn’t mind joking behind closed doors.
With everything from Middle School, he’s never felt comfortable coming out as gay publicly and though he’s been working through it with his therapist, Izu lets him be about it. He doesn’t care if Kacchan will ever come out and won’t push, it’s none of his business and he’ll support his friend no matter what. And making gay jokes between them is just as fun anyway.
Still, in the end Kacchan ditches the tie, opening the few top buttons instead and they’re out the door. Iida is picking them up from where he and Uraraka were traveling from the North. And because he was the only one with a car, but Izu ignores that, it’s hard to miss a car when you can easily run everywhere.
The car Iida drives is a blue and absolute dad car, with room for many people, which is fitting with the amount of friends he often drives around, but also something they 100% made fun of him for, so when it comes down the street, Izu commented: “The dad mobile is here,” making Kacchan snort.
Iida rolls down the window and waves happily as he greets them while Uraraka throws open the door cheerily: “You guys look amazing! Get in here.”
“Hi, Urachan!” Izu greets her with a hug, before saying, “Your dress is beautiful.” And it is, the long mint green fabric wraps around her elegantly and her hair is braided extravagantly with flowers in it.
“Ahw, thanks, charmer,” she smiles as she kisses his cheeks. “You look great too.”
“Really?” he asks bashfully as Kacchan gets in and comments: “He’s insecure about the outfit, which is stupid.”
“Why would you?” Uraraka asks. “You look amazing, Mido. Don’t worry!”
“Yeah, Midoriya, your outfit is perfectly fine,” Iida tells him as he pulls onto the street. He is wearing a dark blue suit that matches his hair and is done up perfectly.
“You two are too sweet, thank you!” Izu says. “You look great too.”
“Are you all done with your circle jerk?” Kacchan asks. “We all look good, now just shut up. How is it in your cities?”
“Good,” Uraraka replies. “It’s been very calm this month, though Iida was on some task force.”
“Yeah,” Iida nods. “We rolled up an underground fighting ring.”
And so they chatter on until they get to the venue, catching up and reminiscing as much as they can on the short ride, knowing they’re all too busy to do so otherwise.
When they get there’s a valet waiting to take Iida’s car to the parking lot for him while they make their way to the carpet. At the carpet a swarm of media is awaiting them. The Hero Gala is one of the biggest events after the Hero Billboard Chart JP, so they were expecting them.
Since Iida was part of an operation not so long ago, he gets swept up by reporters about that, while the rest of them are left to the other minded sharks. It begins with one reporter asking Uraraka who made her dress and soon they’re all answering questions about their clothes.
It’s mostly peaceful until one reporter asks: “Deku, why did you decide not to go with a more traditional suit?”
“Oh, uhm.” He has gotten better at this, but it’ll never fail to make his heart beat anxiously. “I- I wanted to be a bit non-conforming, because it can feel isolating to grown up without anyone breaking the mold you’re expected to fit in. I wanted to be the person those like me can look to and know it’s okay to not be what everyone thinks you should be.”
“And you don’t think the mesh is slightly explicit?” the reporter asks.
“With how many times I’ve been on the cover of tabloids with my costume ripped up, it’s nothing anyone hasn’t seen before,” he laughs awkwardly, working through the surprise at the question, he hadn’t even considered that. “And it’s just my arms and shoulders that you can see through it.”
“So, you don’t care that a lot of young children look up to and will take over this dress sense and expose their bodies?” the reporter inquires, it’s now becoming obvious the man never had good intentions, but Izu isn’t sure that if he walks away, it won’t be twisted more.
Helplessly he looks up at another camera, hoping someone will jump in with a different question, but it’s obvious they’re all eager to watch him make a fool of himself. Kacchan is further back, talking about life-work balance and Izu now wishes he’d stuck with him or with Uraraka, who is talking about her diet further along.
He takes a breath and answers: “I do care a lot about the younger people that look up to me. I looked up to a lot of heroes when I was younger, still do. And that brought me great comfort, but not on every front, I’m being the hero I needed as a kid. That won’t be for everyone, but I don’t think I’m harming anyone with this outfit.”
“You think kids need this?” the reporter pushes, now just fishing for Izu to admit he’s doing something terrible, while he isn’t.
“I think you misunderstood my answer and this feels like questions asked in bad faith. So thank you for talking to me, but I’m moving on now,” he says.
“Why aren’t you willing to answer the question?” the reporter asks. “Are you hiding something?”
“No, I just don’t appreciate you insinuating things and trying to trip me up when I try to answer your questions,” Izu tries to politely explain, inside wanting to rage at the reporter. He’s already unsure about the outfit and this isn’t helping. He’s doing this for other queer kids and they don’t need to listen to this bullshit.
He attempts to walk away before the reporter can talk again, but he calls after him: “You’re giving heroes a bad name.”
At that point Kacchan has reached him, he hadn’t even seen him get out of his own interview. When he gets there, he hears the comment and frowns, before loudly demanding: “What the hell are you talking about, huh!”
“It’s nothing, Kacchan. Let it go,” Izu says softly, not wanting Kacchan to throw a scene.
Kacchan glares at the reporter and it still works on anyone that’s not Kacchan’s friend. So, the man cowers until Kacchan huffs and spits: “Deku has done more for the hero community and everyone living in Japan than you can in ten lifetimes. And he’s just starting.”
Izu blushes. “Kacchaaan,” he whines.
“Whatever, nerd,” he rolls his eyes. “Let’s just go. I heard shitty hair’s ugly laugh.”
“I like Kirishima’s laugh,” Izu counters, but gladly lets himself get lead away from the reporter while Kacchan argues with him about something as dumb as the laughs of their friends.
They get stopped by another reporter before they can reach Kirishima, who’s there with Mina and Kaminari. However, this reporter is much nicer, starting with: “You two are quite the sensation already. Often teaming up despite not officially being a duo. Anything like that in your future?”
“Well,” Izu answers for them, being more the face of the two, due to Kacchan’s allergy about being nice and friendly most of the time. “We’re saving every penny to start our own agency the moment we can and we’re considering becoming a duo when that happens. Since we work well together, but also apart, which makes teaming up fun and smart, while not being necessary. We’ve gotten the hang of when and where we work best together as sidekicks and we’re very grateful for the experience, but both of us are ready for the next step.”
“Wow, that’s certainly ambitious. Both of you are very young still,” the reporter says. “Sure you’re ready for that?”
Kacchan shoots her a glare and answers: “We’re plenty ready. We helped with the take down of AFO before we were out of high school. If we’re not ready, no one is.”
“What Dynamight is saying, is that we have a lot of experience and we feel ready,” Izu says. “Neither of us would make a rash decision on this part. We know how that can turn out and no one wants us to take an unnecessary risk.”
“Well, that is good to hear,” she smiles. “Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.”
“Of course,” Izu smiles back as he bows, before Kacchan yells: “Shitty hair!” because Kirishima seems also done talking with his reporter.
He’s already walking towards the other and Izu hears an equally loud: “BRO!” being shouted back as he smiles fondly. He turns to the reporter and says: “I have to make sure their greeting doesn’t accidentally cause minor destruction. Thank you for the time, have a nice evening.”
Then he makes his way over to the reunion taking place, everyone lighting up when he gets there as well. He can’t help the grin as he waves. The class of UA will never be broken up with all they went through together and he’s already braced for Mina jumping in his arms while Kirishima jumps on his back.
“Hi, you both,” he says. “Where’s Kaminari, I thought I saw him with you?”
Mina gets out of his arms and says: “He saw Jirou and Sero in the hall and took off, the idiot. But how have you been?”
“I’m good, I’m good,” Izu tells her. “You?”
“I’m always great, Mido, you know that,” she winks.
He now gets to appreciate her outfit. The black sleek dress with combat boots and fishnets is amazing on her and he’s quick to compliment her: “You look great. I love the dress!”
“And you look amazing too,” she says. “The lilac goes so well with your hair.”
“Yeah, bro,” Kirishima smacks him on his back as Kacchan comments: “What do you even know about fashion, you hard head.”
“I’ll have you know that my costume was voted best in the Women’s Beauty and Fashion magazine top twenty,” Kirishima sniffed.
“The one you made in High School that shows off all your abs in their full magnificent glory?” Izu raises a brow. “Gosh, I wonder why.”
They all laugh as Kirishima blushes and splutters through an explanation that is totally reasonable, he promises, just- hey, just listen to him!
As they walk on, Izu frowns: “I haven’t seen Todoroki yet. He said he’d be here. Did I miss the news or something? Nothing happened to him, did it?”
“No, Endeavor just put him on patrol tonight instead of this other sidekick that was supposed to be on duty, because she broke her leg,” Mina answers.
“Oh, how terrible,” Izu says. “I hope she’s okay. And sad that Todoroki couldn’t be here.”
“Tsk, Icy-hot will manage,” Kacchan shrugs.
“So mean, Kacchan,” Izu elbows him. “I know you’re secretly friends with him, you bought soba and served it cold without commenting last time he visited.”
“Shut up,” Kacchan grouches as everyone jeers about him having feelings and being a softie, which the others they meet up with hear and join in with, before asking what it’s even about.
The large group makes their way inside, chattering and generally having a good time. It’s going to be a good night, Izu feels. He’s getting to catch up with friends and they’re going to have a bit of fun while also impressing the important non-heroes in attendance.
Inside they say hi to old teachers and other acquaintances, making the rounds past important people while eating hors d’oeuvres.
In hindsight, it starts with one of the people they want to impress telling Kacchan with obvious flirtation that she does business best on the dance floor. Izu sees the look in Kacchan’s eyes and while he knows Kacchan doesn’t like it when women flirt with him, or anyone really, this is a good opportunity and Kacchan can suck it up for an evening. So, he smiles and answers for him: “Dynamight, won’t step on your toes, I hope.”
“Of course, I won’t,” there’s a competitive edge to Kacchan’s voice, which was exactly the point and Izu smiles as the two head off the the dance floor.
After a moment Uraraka appears at his side with a smile and asks: “Wanna escape to the dance floor for a bit? Promise I’ve gotten better at dancing since the dance classes.”
“Oh, hell yeah,” Izu sighs. All the taking has taken a toll on him and just dancing for a bit sounds lovely. So, he takes her hand and says: “Let’s see how this goes, I’m a terrible lead.”
That makes her laugh and indeed they struggle for a moment, before Izu remembers auntie’s stern voice from the days she was still trying to find a girl partner for him. When that came back, they glide over the floor, Izu making sure they don’t hit anyone.
It isn’t the most refined dancing with Uraraka having only basic training and Izu dancing a more unfamiliar part, but they’re definitely not the worst out there. So, they just have fun and gossip while they spin.
He sees Kacchan drop the lady off at the edge of the floor, smile falling the moment she turns away. Before he can start to look, Izu pulls Uraraka along in a faster spin that makes her dress flare out and sees as Kacchan spots the two of them.
When the second song ends, he lets Uraraka go, who is swept away by a slightly tipsy Mina and Izu just shakes his head as he watches them go, retreating to where Kacchan is.
“How did it go?” he asks.
“Well, she did not know you’re not supposed to grope your partner,” Kacchan grouses and Izu winces and apologizes. “Not your fault, Izu,” Kacchan sighs. “She at least seems interested in giving us money, so that’s something. God, I can’t wait for us to just have the money, so I can tell people like her to fuck off.”
“We’re almost there, Kacchan,” Izu tries to comfort him.
“Yeah, luckily,” Kacchan smiles, that cheered him up at least.
They take a moment to breathe and look out over the crowd, snorting as the watch how Kaminari tries to lead Jirou, who is suffering Kaminari’s horrible dancing, Iida and Momo are dancing very respectably, while Mina and Uraraka more look like two kids trying to spin the other the fastest, nearly hitting the other dancers.
Izu also spots Midnight, who is dancing with Present Mic and honestly Izu thought the other would be better at dancing since his quirk relied on sound and he presents himself as DJ, but Midnight seems to be doing most of the work. Aizawa never showed up, but Izu hadn’t expected him to.
Earlier he chatted with All Might and the man is still at the side in his wheelchair, now talking amiably to Nezu. He looks happy and Izu is glad for his old mentor.
“Wanna dance?” He’s startled out of his reverie by Kacchan’s voice.
“You sure?” he asks. Kacchan never really talked much about what his parents do and when it came up in interviews he avoided it. Izu knows it’s nothing big, just a bit leftover from Middle School that he has been working through, along with a slew of other bullshit he was fed back then.
“We’re not really gonna do much complicated stuff,” Kacchan shrugs, trying to be too nonchalant for it to be completely nonchalant.
“We never keep things simple,” Izu laughs, subtly asking again if Kacchan is sure.
“It’s fine, Izu,” Kacchan huffs fondly. “I talked about it in therapy, happy? I’m sick of holding on to all that crap and it’s not even like that anyway. We never get this much space or time to dance and I want this evening to be a little bit fun. I’m tired of talking to people.”
“Okay, lead the way,” Izu smiles, now comfortable that Kacchan isn’t pushing himself and glad the other is making process. He knows they’ll be dancing as friends, but he also knows how easily people misinterpret it.
When they get to the floor, classic waltz music is playing and they start out slow and easy. Their footwork is slightly neater and smoother than most, with added steps and spins that are unnecessary, but nothing that stands out. They get a few looks, but no one comments, except for the idiots, as Kacchan lovingly calls their friends, who are all cheering at happily, having slightly too much to drink.
Then the music changes. It’s no longer truly waltz music, since it’s now 4/4 time, instead of ¾ time, but it still has 28 bars. It’s music for a slow foxtrot, even if everyone keeps dancing a waltz. Still, Kacchan quirks a brow and asks: “Up for some foxtrot?”
“Always,” Izu replies, before they set off, their steps now different from those around them, though they never hit anyone.
Not many notice the slight change, since it’s subtle to an untrained eye. But they’re not longer rising and falling in their frame, since the foxtrot is a slow and flat dance. They twist their frame differently as well.
As they dance Izu says: “God, remember our first competition where we danced a foxtrot?”
“You mean the one where the hag thought we could do it fast and we slipped and you lost finally the tooth you were too afraid to pull out?” Kacchan asks with a grin.
Izu matches it. “Yeah, that one. We were so tiny back then. My mom send me the recording she made that day, we should watch it back. Maybe ask auntie to send us records of our other competitions if they’re not in the cloud, that’ll be fun.”
“We should totally do that,” Kacchan agrees. “But you know where we were truly little?”
“When we danced a Cuban bolero and the hag kept trying to explain it was about a couple falling in love, but we didn’t even know how to play that, so we made it about superheroes,” Kacchan answers. “Remember that? We danced a fucking bolero while pretending to be All Might and Sir Nighteye.”
The memory comes back and Izu snorts. “Oh my god, I had forgotten about that. All Might can never know, or I’ll die of embarrassment.”
“I think I’d just perish on the spot if he ever heard,” Kacchan laughs.
“Didn’t we wear All Might inspired outfit too?” Izu reminisces, as he is lead into a kick spin, which is honestly where it truly starts to go wrong. They’ve gotten into their own little bubble and are swept up in the dancing. When they’re at home and have just woken up from a nightmare, they dance too, whispering about fun memories or about dreams of the future as they try to one up the other, which can only be done by working together. And it’s that place they’ve reached on the ballroom floor, while they’re forgetting where they are.
So, without realizing Kacchan drops Izu into a split, the fabric thankfully forgiving, as he playfully groans: “Oh fuck, I had forgotten about that. We looked like idiots.”
He picks Izu up again and they dance on, but those who hadn’t caught onto the fact they were doing something slightly different, now had and their eyes were on them.
Sadly, competitions and life as heroes has ensured neither of them notice the eyes much, so they keep on talking about all sorts of nonsense, both surprised they still have that much to talk about after all the conversations they’ve already had.
So, as the music switches back to waltz, so do they. Doing the waltz would make them fit in again, but then Kacchan spins Izu into an old routine and Izu can’t help but get swept up into the lift that speaks so much to Kacchan’s strength with how much of a brick house of muscle Izu is.
Neither of them see Mina talk to Midnight, before Midnight talks with Present Mic, who in turn takes her to the man playing the music. After a short conversation the man nods, before starting to look some things up, then after a few moments, the music changes from a waltz to a tango and most couples left on the dance floor drop out.
Izu and Kacchan have been working on a tango in their recent sleepless nights. Izu had told Uraraka about it when she asked if he’d slept well, joking that at least he got a good tango out of the restlessness. Something she had just shared with Mina when the girl commented on seeing them dance again, which set the whole thing in motion.
When the music starts Izu gets excited eyes and anything Kacchan wanted to say about stopping flees his mind. They’re just dancing anyway, he thinks, and Izu is so excited about this routine, now we can finally do it without having to watch out for our furniture or shorten it for our walls. And with that his last awareness fades.
He lets Izu spin within the ring of his arms, before dipping him deeply, splaying him over his knee as he feels his face contorting into a fond smile, he usually doesn’t wear outside the house. Izu is spun on one leg, before the dance begins in earnest.
The tango is known to be a flirty dance, with knees and ankles brushing along one another and a steady connection at the hips.
They’ve made a choreography with many turns followed by a staccato movement, wherein they briefly freeze before moving on to the next steps and twist. But they’ve got some showpieces in there as well.
First it’s Izu, who drops down, one leg extended behind him the other bend with one hand still on Kacchan’s chest; then Kacchan lifts Izu off the floor with one leg straight out, the other still down, the only points of support Kacchan’s arm under Izu’s leg and Izu’s hand on his back; and ending with another dramatic dip.
Both are a still breathless at the end of that tango, but they’re also exhilarated and delighted that their choreography indeed works in a big hall.
Then they both realize it works in a big hall.
Kacchan quickly hauls Izu to his feet and both look up like deer in headlights at the crowd surrounding them. Nearly all have stopped to watch them and it’s all sinking in during that moment of quiet.
Then their friends begin to cheer, whooping loudly, which is followed by polite applause. Shyly Izu does a bow because he doesn’t know what else to do, before pulling Kacchan off the dance floor towards their friends. He softly says: “Sorry, I got carried away there.”
Kacchan is quiet for a moment and Izu is terrified the other will explode and be mad at the closest person, which is currently him. Then he sees that Kacchan isn’t mad, just looking more uncertain than Izu has seen since that first night they ran into each other in the dorm’s kitchen. Izu tries to smile as reassuringly as he can as he says: “It’s going to be totally fine. It’s just dancing, you grew up with that. They can’t very well have a comment about that.”
That seems to ease some of the tension in Kacchan’s shoulders and he even allows himself a smug smirk when their friends gather around them to babble about how cool it was.
Having their positive chatter around them really helps in calming both their nerves as they mostly avoid everyone else in the ballroom. They’ve already talked to everyone they wanted to talk to and the few members of the press that are in attendance are easy to avoid. Neither of them truly feels like talking about it.
Instead they eat some more as they stick with their friends posing for a stupid selfie, which Izu throws on twitter and insta, before they say goodbye and go home.
When they get home, Izu decides to check in again. He makes them both some tea while they change into sleepwear and hands Kacchan his cup as he asks: “Did you have a bit of fun tonight? I know these aren’t your thing.”
He left it ambiguous on purpose and they both know it. This way Kacchan can decide whether he wants to get into it or not.
“Yeah,” he answers. “Seeing everyone was fun, though I am going to find out who that one reporter was that was harassing you and I am going to kick his ass.”
“Kacchan, no,” Izu says. “He was just being a bit of a jerk about me apparently dressing explicit and if I ‘thought of the children.’ Classic homophobe, but nothing new.”
“And you have to deal with that shit while I- while I got to talk about fucking work-life balance or whatever they’ve come up with at events,” Kacchan frowns. “It feels unfair.”
“I knew what I was getting into when I came out,” Izu shrugs. “You made the same consideration and decided it wasn’t worth it. And that’s fine. They can pry whatever they want, but they’re only hearing what we want to be shared. This one guy was a dick, so what. I’ve got a lot of nice people too. You don’t have to think of anything, but what you feel comfortable with.”
“I don’t know, Izu,” Kacchan sighs as he flops down.
Izu hums questioningly, not willing to push, but curious nonetheless.
“Sometimes it seems easier to just be honest and not have to deal with the flirty reporters or the endless talk show hosts, who try to look into every interaction with women that I have,” Kacchan says. “But then tonight happens and it seems terrifying and I wouldn’t know how to deal with all those questions like you do. Because I can get angry on your behalf, but I don’t know if I can get angry for me or if I’ll fold like I did in Middle School. I don’t want that, you know.”
“You’ll just get different flirty reporters,” Izu points out. “But I get it. Though, I don’t think you’ll do the same again and I’ll be with you this time. You won’t turn against me again.”
“Nah, I won’t,” Kacchan nods, mostly to himself, then he smiles: “You’re stuck with me this time, asshole. And it’s gonna be fine anyway, like you said, it’s just some dancing.”
“Exactly,” Izu smiles and that seems to be the end of the conversation. They lie on the couch in silence for a few moments, before getting up and heading to bed. An evening like this is always tiring and they have patrol tomorrow.
Both of them sleep soundly, unaware of the twitter storm that’s currently taking place.
The following morning Izu wakes up to a thousand notifications and a dozen missed calls. The slow blinks of sleep, soon make place for panic as he scrolls through his phone.
They always blow things out of proportion
Its gonna be fine
If you need to talk call me <3
Don’t read the articles, some are being horrid
I can try to get them taken down
im so sorry bro
you were just having fun
we all were
i can take the vid down
but i think its a bit late
pls tell bakubro not to blow me up
Izu has no clue what all that is about, but none of the messages are helping. There are more like it, also one from All Might, to not worry since these things happen to every hero. Their manager is calling him like crazy as well.
He decides to find out first what’s happening and opens twitter. His eye immediately falls on the number one trending tag: #DynaDeku
Of course he’s familiar with the tag, but he’s never paid it much mind and it was always relatively small, but that seems to be over.
When he clicks on it, the number one post is indeed a video from Kirishima, which has first the group at the sidelines in view, before Mina loudly demands that he flip the camera. Kirishima complies just in time for the music to change and Izu can see himself and Kacchan shift slightly as they start the new dance. The tango.
“I haven’t seem them dance like that since first year,” he hears Uraraka comment in the background. “In dancing class, remember?”
“Oh yeah, they danced Latin back then, right?” Mina replies. “At least, I think that’s what Midnight put on anyway. That was beautiful.”
“I’m just impressed by how flexible Midoriya is. Ouch,” Kaminari comments as Izu drops down.
From next to Kaminari, Jirou snorts: “Not everyone is flexible just because you’re as bendy as a wooden plank, Denki.”
“Oi, I take offense to that,” Kaminari answers. “I saw Bakugo drop him in a split earlier, that’s not natural.”
There is mostly silence afterwards until Kacchan lifts him and Kirishima says: “It’s insane how much Bakubro can lift, with all the muscle Mido is heavy.”
“Yeah, I couldn’t even move him that one time I tried,” Mina complains. “What does he even eat?”
The comments of the video are filled with him and Kacchan getting tagged along with thousands of question about where they learned that, what their relationship is, if they’re getting married. Not to mention all the thirst comments or the hateful ones as well as a lot of speculation about Kacchan’s sexuality and a bit about Izu’s gender.
Kirishima’s video itself isn’t even tagged with DynaDeku, but the comments have placed it there anyway.
There are all sorts of screenshots from the video beneath it with captions ranging from get yourself a man who looks at you like Dynamight looks at Deku #DynaDeku to I don’t who I’m more jealous of: Dynamight holding Deku or Deku being held by Dynamight, gotta get into that #DynaDeku sandwich
After a bit of scrolling he discovers one of the media outlets there also videotaped the whole thing and released it on their website as well as twitter. They had been there to make a highlight reel, Izu remembers and it appears they’ve picked them as a highlight.
That video ends with the both of them quickly getting out of the end position and looking around a bit startled.
It isn’t hard to find a post with a screenshot of that and the caption: Look at those eyes and tell me that’s not an ‘I fucked up’ look, bois be hiding something and that something is the gay lmao #DynaDeku
There are some nice messages too, of course. People are telling others that just because Izu is bi they shouldn’t just push him into a relationship with everyone, along with PSA’s that it’s rude and invasive to make demands about comments of someone’s sexuality or gender, as well as calls to let people be friends and have fun.
However, they’re mostly drowned out, especially when Izu finds tabloids both of the rude reporter from yesterday, who wrote a whole slew of venom, now not just directed at Izu, but at Kacchan as well.
And there is of course a magazine with as cover picture the two of them, a close up of their first dip with Kacchan smiling softly and him grinning back. In big letters the headline reads: SCANDAL REVEALED AT GALA: HEROES DEKU AND DYNAMIGHT ENTANGLED ON THE DANCE FLOOR AS LOVERS!?! More on page 5
It’s at that point that Izu decides to put his phone down. He knows Kacchan will be in the kitchen making breakfast, like he always does. Only checking his phone after a shower and breakfast. He can’t find out like Izu did.
He scrambles out of bed and into the kitchen where Kacchan looks up in confusion. He quirks a brow and asks: “What happened to you? Fought your sheets and lost?”
Izu says nothing, unsure how to even start to break this Kacchan, wondering how the other will react. God, they have so much planned together and, yes, this will probably blow over, but it’ll impact them and Izu isn’t sure how.
“Izu? What’s wrong?” The playfulness has left his features and he now just looks concerned at Izu’s silence.
“It might have not just been a dance and fine,” Izu squeaks. “DynaDeku is the number one trending tag and all the tabloids are full of it. Kacchan, I’m so sorry.”
Kacchan is frozen for a moment and it feels to Izu that the whole work is standing still with him, holding its breath as it waits for Kacchan’s reaction.
He takes a deep breath, then another one, before he starts counting to ten and then backwards, before counting forwards again. Izu wants to comfort him, but knows better than to interrupt Kacchan when he’s calming himself down. And indeed after a few moments, Kacchan takes one final breath as he rubs his face, then says: “We need to make some sort of statement. Snuff this out before it gets anywhere.”
“Good idea,” Izu nods, not sure why his heart feels sad, it’s probably this whole situation, he decides. “So, what sort of statement?”
“I don’t know,” Kacchan snaps, before taking another deep breath. “Call our manager.”
“Oh, yeah, yes, smart, smart,” Izu mutters, fumbling for his phone. He’s a bit off balance about the whole thing and unsure where Kacchan is standing. He doesn’t miss Kacchan’s rage directed at him and is glad therapy is helping, but if Kacchan raged, Izu would’ve gotten a look into what he’s thinking instead of this brick wall.
“Hi, Tanaka,” he greets sheepishly as he waits for their manager to respond.
“I’m not going to lie,” she starts, not even taking the time to greet him, “this is bad. If you don’t make a comment they’ll assume they’re right, but we have to think carefully about what sort of comment you’re going to make. Anything you say can be misconstrued.”
“Uhm, we can say something about how we appreciate the support, but that it was just childhood memories, since we competed together?” Izu asks more than he suggests.
“Yes, childhood is good, no one wants to mix children and whatever the tabloids are spewing, so we can keep it out of the more mainstream networks,” Tanaka says. “Do you have videos? Something fun to post underneath it? People love children, just distract them with the cute baby heroes dancing, Midoriya. And make sure Bakugo comments on it too.”
It always makes Izu a bit uncomfortable how Tanaka looks at these situations, but that’s why they need her, because neither of them can do that.
“Okay, thank you, Tanaka!” he chirps shrilly. “I will!”
“Good, I can proofread it if you want, but I also trust you,” Tanaka replies. “So, just get it up as quick as you can. If you’re fast you can be before the morning news and talk shows.”
“I’ll try,” Izu nods, before Tanaka hangs up. He looks at Kacchan, who is aggressively stirring their breakfast and tries to joke: “Well, at least those video’s will come in handy now.”
Kacchan doesn’t react for a moment, then gruffly says: “The old hag will still have some of our videos in the cloud, or we can call her if nothing’s good.”
“I’ll check,” Izu quickly says, before going to the laptop.
He decides that Latin is always a bit sensual and the opposite of what they hope to achieve, so he looks for their names in the Ballroom file and finds a video of when they were eight, the first time they won the under 11s competition.
The video starts with both of them in full tail suits, hair gelled back, while Izu is looking very nervous and Kacchan is smirking. Auntie is squatting down next to Izu and talking: “You two are going to do amazing out there, just breathe and look at Katsuki, Izuku. Alright. You’re going to win this, see he has faith, just trust your partner, Izuku.”
“Yeah, Izu,” baby Kacchan loudly says. “We’re gonna be the best! I’m always the best, so we’re going to win.”
“Kacchan, so amazing!” baby Izu has seemingly forgotten his fears temporarily, which is exactly on time for the buzzers to sound and Kacchan to grab his hand and drag him onto the dance floor.
The two of the are easy to follow in the mass, which is smaller at the finals. And since they’re both the only boys couple and younger than everyone, you can spot them even if they disappear to the other side of the floor.
Whenever they’re close, you can see their concentrated little faces, Izu’s cheeks puffing up as he focuses while Kacchan keeps on grinning, even if there’s a little furrow between his brow. Both of them have perfect posture, which looks adorable as they try to keep their backs straight, Izu’s arms slightly shorter than Kacchan’s.
Neither of them are strong enough for lifts yet, so the waltz is entirely footwork and posture. Izu remembers how terrified he was.
He’s softly smiling when the music ends in the video and all the couples start to bow. Izu and Kacchan are near his own mother, who is filming, and bow in her direction, little Kacchan throwing her a clumsy wink before they move onto the next corner to bow there as the video stops.
It’s perfect, Izu thinks and runs it by Kacchan, who agrees, though he’s still not saying much. Izu can’t blame him, but he misses his usual Kacchan anyway.
So, he focuses on writing a good caption. In the end the post reads:
Thank you for all the lovely comments about our dancing! We’ve been dancing since before we could walk and it’s something that has kept our friendship together. I get that you’re all just having fun with #DynaDeku, but it’s weird to certain types of comments about something I associate with childhood and it’s also uncomfortable when people comment on a relationship that isn’t there. Thank you for understanding, hopefully this adorable never released footage of kid Kacchan and me makes up for it <3
He gets a text from his manager telling him it’s a good post and reminding him that Kacchan should comment as well.
Izu grabs Kacchan’s phone and tries to do his best Kacchan imitation as he quotes his own post and types: Stop being fucking creepers. And I’ll blast you if you call me adorable again, Deku!
Of course he mutters when he types and Kacchan catches on to what he is doing on his phone and snorts. The first normal reaction he’s gotten that morning. Izu’s head whips up and he smiles, glad that Kacchan seems more relaxed.
Teasingly, he asks: “Was that a close enough response from the Great Explosion Murder God Dynamight?”
“Oh shove off,” Kacchan smirks.
“I still can’t believe you just shortened that name,” Izu says. “Do you think anyone remembers that outside class A?”
“No, Aizawa never let me use it, which I’m sad to say, I’m grateful for now, the bastard,” Kacchan replies.
“I thought it was a cool name, Kacchan,” Izu tells him.
“And I know you’re a bad lair, Izu, but thanks for the attempt,” Kacchan rolls his eyes. “But you only thought it was cool when we were ten.”
“So it wasn’t a lie,” Izu argues.
“Just eat your goddamned breakfast, nerd,” Kacchan shoots back, ruffling his hair roughly, before ignoring him to eat his own breakfast. It’s quiet for a moment, then Kacchan softly speaks up: “What are they saying?”
Izu suddenly realizes how little Kacchan knows and all he’s heard is bad. They have to go on patrol in a minute and Kacchan probably thinks he’s walking into something terrible. So, Izu attempts to reassure him: “Most of it is jokes and lighthearted comments. We actually got a lot of support for our supposed ‘romantic entanglement,’ which was sweet. You always have the gross comments and a few assholes, but it’s been mostly just invasive. I can check what they’re saying now.”
“I mean, if you want, I don’t care.” Kacchan obviously cares. “And all comments are fucking invasive.”
Izu checks his phone again. They’re still trending, but his own post is now at the top, with millions of reactions, despite the short time it has been up.
He quickly scrolls through it and reads a few comments: “Ahw, they’re so cute, tiny babies. I don’t think they’re listening to your threat, Kacchan.”
“You made that threat, nerd.”
“And you agreed it was a solid threat,” Izu points out, slightly distracted by a weird comment that makes hives want to break out. He quickly blocks the person then reads another comment: “Wow, Dynamight is so talented and hot, every time he does something he gets more perfect, like sweep me off my feet with those muscles good sir. Uhm, excuse you, @Dynamightsnumber1fan, not only am I contending you for that title, I am also right there.”
Kacchan snorts: “I am just the best, Izu.”
“Blah, blah,” Izu grins as he finds another comment. “Hah, this person doesn’t agree, here: Deku is so precious look at that little face. Lovely and talented, I wanna scream. So, suck on that, Kacchan.”
“We’re not making this a competition,” Kacchan warns him.
“Of course not, because you’d be losing and you can’t have that,” Izu shoots back immediately, glad his friend is back to himself again. With the fears he voiced yesterday, he wants to avoid Kacchan being pushed in any direction, especially if the media is pulling on him. Fucking sharks.
“I’m not loosing, asshole,” Kacchan yells. “We agreed, no media for on the scoreboard. We promised grey lady.”
“Really? You’re pulling the manager in on this one?” Izu asks, not minding at all. “Okay, nevermind, she’s scary, I concede. No media.”
He remembers clearly how she yelled because they were fucking with each other on social media for a challenge they themselves had created. It was then decided that they wouldn’t put anything for media on it, to prevent any dumbassery that could seriously impact their career for the sake of competitions.
Izu goes back to scrolling, reading some nice understanding comments and comments of their friends about their dancing, as well as some professional dancers who had commented on the post as well. “Haha, Kacchan, Dancing with the Stars made a comment about inviting us and people are rioting in the comments about us being unfair competition.”
“Like I would ever compete in Dancing with the Stars,” Kacchan huffs. “I would wipe the floor with all those extra’s. And I don’t need a fucking coach.”
“I think you would compete if I competed,” Izu says. “That would be interesting, if we competed on a different team.”
Kacchan pulls a thoughtful face, then shakes his head: “Nah, I’d get too annoyed if anyone else was my partner.”
“True,” Izu nods, before putting away the dishes and changing into his uniform. No matter what’s happening online, they still have a job to do and they will just have do deal with nosy people until they’ve found something new to speculate about. Izu has never before wished some famous couple would break up or something.
Indeed their patrol is slightly different than usual, with the both of them getting stopped on the streets a bit more often. People still take pictures with them, but they also ask about the dancing and the headlines.
Izu watches Kacchan’s eye twitch each time, he even storms off a few times, while grouching that he isn’t dealing with nosy people, who can’t even be right about what they’re nosing into. But he hasn’t exploded much and Izu has managed to talk their way out of it every time so far.
When lunch rolls around they eat it on the roof of a building to avoid being interrupted and Izu sees a tweet from someone they’ve talked to with a picture of the two of them and the caption: These two are true heroes, saved me from a mugging and even talked to me about the whole #DynaDeku thing :D Y’all need to lay off, bc theyre just people too who are trying to do their jobs: protect people
Yeah, this whole thing would blow over just fine and he and Kacchan could go back to what they always did, mucking about and having fun while doing what they love together.
The rest of their patrol is fairly average, with a chase through the town leading them back to their agency, where they can clock out after they handed the perpetrator over to the police. While walking inside Izu argues: “I totally had him first, Kacchan.”
“No you didn’t, nerd,” Kacchan shoots back. “I had already grappled him before you came over to meddle. I’m not giving you the point for this, I had him first.”
“Pff-” Izu is about to debate further, but Kacchan gets out of the top half of his costume and the tweet from @Dynamightsnumber1 flashes in front of his eyes and he can’t help but pause to look at his friend, who is indeed incredibly muscled and hot. Fuck, Izu knew this already, he’d dealt with his crush in UA and left it there. Right?
Kacchan noticed his quiet and when he didn’t react, he softly asks: “Izu?”
“What?” Izu blinks then blushes, realizing what he’d been doing and shakes his head. He plasters on a smile and says: “Sorry, I was just thinking of this tweet I saw.”
“Not a bad one right?” Kacchan’s face contorts to a familiar scowl. “Because I’ll find them and fight them. Don’t test me.”
“No, no, not at all,” Izu reassures him, then scrambles to say something other than: ‘it was about your muscles.’ Instead, he luckily manages: “It was from that girl we saved with the mugging. She posted the picture and was really sweet about people needing to leave us alone. I liked it, so I can find it if you wanna see.”
“Tsk, no thanks,” Kacchan huffs, but the scowl lessens and he goes back to changing, Izu doing the same.
As he changes he looks pointedly into his locker, ignoring the presence next to him as he has a mild breakdown. He’s over that crush, isn’t he? Sure, in hindsight he’d realized that childhood adoration had been more than just that, but that was just kid stuff. Whatever he’d felt for Kacchan is gone… and yet-
No, it’s gone. He doesn’t like Kacchan like that, they’re just friends. It’s this whole thing just getting to him, all those tweets haunting his subconscious. It’s nothing. He already knew his friend is attractive, but most of his friends are. He lives with that without being attracted to them. It’s fine and normal.
When they’re changed, he distracts himself by restarting the argument about who had the guy first and why he deserves the points on their ever-ongoing score board. Kacchan is currently still in the lead with two points and Izu can’t have him besting him.
That evening Kacchan makes katsudon. Izu tries to remember if he did anything to get his favorite meal or if it’s just coincidence. Kacchan sees him looking and sighs: “For dealing with the media stuff when I shut down on you. Now stuff it, nerd, I’m not giving you more, you already got the stupid point.”
Izu smiles and hugs the other as he squeals: “Kacchan’s so sweet.”
“I’m not sweet, dick,” Kacchan grumbles, but doesn’t push him off immediately, and Izu knows he doesn’t mean it.
As they eat, Izu turns on the TV on a stupid talk show they like, since it’s bullshit but at least respectable. However, when he gets to the channel, it’s their faces from the ball between the two hosts. Izu is about to zap away when Kacchan stops him. “I wanna hear.”
“You sure?” Izu asks, but Kacchan just holds his hand tighter, so he doesn’t click and listens.
“Well, these two certainly have never had so much spotlight since their UA days,” Mori, one of the hosts smiles to the other. “From apparent dating scandal to a talent reveal that shocked even their biggest fans.”
“I certainly didn’t see it coming,” Suzuki, the other host, nods. “Dynamight with all his brashness and explosions so graceful and charming.”
“I’m plenty charming,” Kacchan frowns.
“Of course, Kacchan,” Izu rolls his eyes, trying not to think about Kacchan’s smile, wondering where the fuck that came from.
On the TV a clip from the Hero Gala as well as from the one Izu uploaded plays. Mori smiles: “Well isn’t that absolutely adorable.”
“Don’t let Dynamight hear you say that,” Suzuki interjects playfully.
“Indeed,” Mori jumps on the obviously scripted bridge. “Both pro heroes Dynamight and Deku asked fans on twitter not to speculate about their relationship, after fans of the duo, who think they’re romantically together, had gone wild under the hashtag DynaDeku.”
“Yes, they have dispelled these rumors,” Suzuki replies. “Both in their own distinctive ways.”
“You can say that again,” Mori laughs as the two tweets appear side by side. Deku’s message to his fans with many thanks and Kacchan’s short, vulgar one. “Their personalities truly shine through in these two tweets.”
“Tsk, you wrote both of those,” Kacchan snorts. “They don’t even know you.”
“I mean, hero Deku would never say such things…” Izu trails off purposely and Kacchan finishes: “But that never stopped Izu.”
“Exactly,” Izu grins as they focus back on the program.
Suzuki nods: “Yeah, and Deku truly granted us a gift with the video he uploaded with it. Apparently the two heroes have been dancing since they were very young, which you can see here.”
A different part plays again and Izu can’t help but watch Kacchan get a fond smile on his face as he watches them on screen. Yeah, they need to hold a video-night soon.
“Honestly so sweet,” Mori says again. “And the whole internet has switched in letting go of the love to focus on the cuteness that is this video. Let’s go through a few tweets.”
Both heroes on the couch tense, even if they know these hosts. Positive albeit fake. Then the first tweet appears and Suzuki reads: “User @Dekuthesweetie says: I’m gonna explode baby #DynaDeku dancing sjdhkjshd, which is the mentality of most.”
“Indeed,” Mori agrees. “As user @Pinkymarymepls pointed out: Now their investment in dancing competition makes more sense #DynaDeku. And indeed we’ve been able to uncover that Dynamight’s parents own a dance studio, Bakugo Dancing, with the two older Bakugo’s being previous reigning champions of dance.”
“Reveals are just everywhere,” Suzuki says.
Kacchan grabs his phone and Izu watches as he pulls up the twitter page his parents have for their dance school. As expected the follower count has gone up significantly and the post that is pinned to the top is a picture from when they competed in the under 14s for the first time back when they were nine.
In the picture they’re both wearing their best, Kacchan a full tail suit and Izu in flashy clothes with furls, so that he could twirl like he had a dress on, even if he’s wearing pants. Around their necks are bronze metals, but also a few gold and Kacchan is pouting even if Izu smiles, one of his front teeth missing.
Above it the tweet reads: Third place in the under 14s even at nine, what a champions! Katsuki is a bit grumpy about not winning, but Izuku is keeping the spirits up. They have won all the under 10s and under 11s, so a good day for this pair, despite the lost tooth!
“Of course the old hag is using a scandal to promote herself,” Kacchan rolls his eyes, but he doesn’t seem to mind anymore.
“At least our distraction method worked,” Izu shrugs. “Though I am not looking forwards to our next interview, we’re so gonna have to dance.”
“Oh fuck,” Kacchan groans, sliding down. “I already got a long ass text from the old hag about our technique, which is so fucking rude.”
“What did she say?” Izu frowns, thinking the whole thing over. Sure, there had been some less than stellar moments, but nothing big sprung out. Though… he and Kacchan could still see things when the pros danced and they hadn’t done a competition in years.
“All sorts of things,” Kacchan gestures dismissively. “I didn’t cup, you didn’t look up at one point, the spin was slightly sloppy, I should watch my expressions, blah blah blah.”
He watches Kacchan fondly, unable to help himself as he thought: Kacchan’s sweet when he’s grumpy. And cute.
To distract himself from that thought, he focuses back on the TV, where Mori is about to betray him as she says: “Still, there is still a lot of discussion about this. We aren’t ones to go off rumors, but a lot of people are speculating about Dynamight’s sexuality. It’s already known that Deku is bisexual and now, when many are looking closer at his relationship with Dynamight, a lot of people wonder if there is more than dancing and heroics that brings these two together.”
“Again, both have denied this claim,” Suzuki lessens the betrayal, but not much. “However, even without being in a relation together, many are putting question marks behind Dynamight’s straightness, pointing out that is has never been confirmed by the hero himself.”
Izu fumbles quickly to turn off the TV, but Kacchan has already seen and is frozen again, looking slightly fearful.
Cautiously, Izu puts a hand on his shoulder and says: “It’s like they said, just gossip.”
“You and I both know how gossip can grow,” Kacchan snaps, before burying his head in his hands and saying: “FUCK! What the fuck am I doing now? They’re not going to let it go and I don’t know if I can fucking do this much longer. They’ll never fucking believe me. And I’m not doing those fake dating things, I’m not.”
“We’re gonna get through this, Kacchan,” Izu is also uncertain what to say, because there is nothing more he can do.
“Easy for you to say,” Kacchan snarls, before he realizes he has pushed Izu off, who is looking at him with hurt eyes, because while he knows Kacchan is having a difficult time with this, his own coming out hadn’t been the easiest either and Kacchan of all people knows that. Kacchan’s eyes grow wide and he says: “I’m sorry, Izu. Fuck, I don’t- That- You don’t deserve that.”
Izu smiles again, always so forgiving. “It’s okay, Kacchan. Are you going to tell me what’s bothering you now or are you going to growl some more?”
Kacchan has the decency to look mildly ashamed.
It is quiet for a moment, then Kacchan starts and Izu can see he has to force himself to talk: “I froze this morning. I wanted to help, but I couldn’t and let you deal with it. And I just- What am I going to do when a reporter comes up to me, huh?”
Izu begins to think it over, but Kacchan is already answering: “If I storm off they’ll see it as me hiding something, If I become angry they’ll say I’m over compensating, If I carefully explain that I’m straight, which I’m not, they’ll say I’m acting out of character and lying and they’d even be fucking right too. But most likely I’ll shut down again and I don’t even wanna think what they’re going to do with that.”
“And if you come out, it’s only more fuel to the flames,” Izu nods. After a moment he smiles and says: “Well, then I’ll just have to make sure I’m with you the entire time, won’t I.”
Kacchan gives him a strange look that quickly turns soft, before the other punches his arm lightly and comments: “I don’t know why I thought I could live without you, nerd.”
Izu ignores thinking about how that comment makes him feel and instead jokes: “You never were the smart one between us,” which causes Kacchan to jump him and they fall to the floor while wrestling. Izu closing the lead Kacchan had.
The next few days they indeed patrol together, fleeing mostly from nosy reporters if they can by claiming they have work to do. Izu keeps an eye on twitter, but after confirming that no he is a man, he just likes looking pretty, nearly adding that everyone can suck his dick, most people seem to leave them alone. However, the DynaDeku tag is much larger than it used to be.
Still, that’s easy to ignore, he’s been ignoring many types of tweets for many years already, they both have. They can get used to this new normal.
If only reporters would as well.
“Is it true that you’re hiding a love affair,” one reporter asks after a clean up. It has already been a week since the Hero Gala, but it seems that isn’t stopping them and Izu mentally rolls his eyes while plastering on a smile, seeing Kacchan’s eyebrow twitch out of the corner of his eye.
“We’re not hiding a love affair,” Izu explains gently. “We simply danced, a lot of dancing happened that evening and right now I’d rather answer questions about this attack, since that is more relevant than whether or not me and Dynamight are sleeping together.”
Luckily another reporter asks them about the quirk and property damage and they can ensure everyone that it was nothing out of the ordinary and it has been dealt with.
Sadly, the reporter from earlier isn’t willing to let go. Izu faintly recognizes her, since she works for a magazine known for reporting gossip, instead of actualities. So, he cringes when he hears her ask Kacchan: “Want to comment on speculation about your sexuality? The people are curious and want to know.”
He whips around to check in on Kacchan, who stills for a moment before glancing back at Izu, who tries to look reassuringly back in turn. After that glance, Kacchan blows up at the reporter: “Why the fuck are hung up on that, huh! Maybe just keep to yourself, you fucking nosy bastard!”
It was the most in character reaction Kacchan could have given and now it is up to Izu to make sure it doesn’t get twisted.
So, he makes his way over to the startled reporter and puts on his nicest smile and his most tired voice as he says: “Dynamight is a very private person and neither of us appreciate all the prying and general uncomfortable questions, so I am going to ask you to leave this scene and not talk to us again until you have some questions to ask about what we do. Because our job is saving people and no one is more passionate than Dynamight, he didn’t ask for the spotlight that comes with it. He just wants to do his job, let him”
“The people are just curious, I also have a job to do,” the reporter protests.
“The people don’t need to know anything,” Izu tells her, smile falling. “You should be ashamed that instead of asking about the well being of the people in danger here today, you’re asking off false rumors and stoking the pot.”
“Why are you defending Dynamight so much?” the reporter asks. “Is there a reason? A relation perhaps?”
“God, I can’t believe you,” he tells her, scowling yet calmly, albeit with barely restrained anger, he answers, “This is me getting angry, so I’m giving you a chance to walk away right now and for your own sake, take it.”
Izu knows he can be intimidating if he wants to be, but he has never seen it in himself. However, the reporter definitely thinks so, because she quickly backs off and Izu smiles again, turning to the rest of the press as he says: “We’ve wrapped up here, direct more questions about this incident to the police or the agency.”
Most just nod, dumbfounded, but Izu doesn’t stick around, bounding away into the direction he’d seen Kacchan leave in.
Later he would check twitter and find a tweet saying #DynaDeku find yurself a protective man like deku, but also supportive tweets for Kacchan, which were a bit louder. People will always have fun, he supposes, if the general message is at least out there, he supposes.
But now, he just lands next to Kacchan on a rooftop and sits quietly next to him. He looks out over the city, a city he has come to know well over the last two years.
The wind is cold so high up, but he’s used to it. Strange how one can get used to standing on top of buildings, looking down, keeping an eye on the city to see if everyone is safe, if everyone is still okay.
He and Kacchan often sit on top of buildings and just talk or joke. It’s a place where they can just be, far from prying eyes and big lenses, while still doing what they love. Both love their jobs and they knew paparazzi would be involved, but both would love to do what they do without the whole monkey dance surrounding it.
So, they sit on the roofs. Sometimes quiet, just looking in the peaceful moments, allowing them to think without having to worry the world will fall apart without them noticing.
The roof is a good place and Izu is content to sit and let Kacchan start talking.
“Did I leave you for many sharks?” Kacchan finally breaks the peaceful silence after a few moments. He doesn’t look at Izu, just stares ahead, but he doesn’t look distressed or angry, which is good.
“Nah, I scared her a bit and then got out of there,” Izu smiles.
“Poor woman,” Kacchan gives a soft half smirk.
“How are you doing?” Izu asks, they always have the best talks on roofs, so far away from the world that it almost felt like didn’t matter, while also being a part of it.
“I don’t know,” Kacchan admits after a second. “I just froze for a moment when she asked me, exactly like I didn’t want. I fucking hate this, you know?”
“Hmh?” Izu made a soft humming noise, indicating that he was listening without pushing he other to say something.
“Yeah, because it’s none of their fucking business who I like and all that shit,” Kacchan explains, waving his hands in frustration. “And it’s only a thing, because it’s not what everyone fucking assumes, otherwise I wouldn’t even have this shitty problem. Because I don’t care, I fucking don’t, honestly. The only reason I care, is because all those fucking vultures will make a big deal out of it and I’ll have to deal with that shit. I went to therapy for this shit, I’m fine, it’s those assholes who are the problem, who make me want to hide just so I don’t have to go through all that bullshit again!”
Izu thinks that over, Kacchan has never been anything but brutally honest and the only reason he was secretive to his friends about his sexuality in the past was because of Middle School and all he’d been told there.
Kacchan hadn’t cared when Izu came out, hadn’t changed any behavior surrounding their interactions, just moved on. Just like he’d done when they found out Aizawa and Present Mic were together, when they discovered Midnight was bi, when Uraraka and Tsu came out as lesbians, Mina as pan, Todoroki as gay and so on and so forth.
Looking back, it is almost funny how queer the UA class is where the both of them ended up. And how much both of them had needed it to gain more confidence in themselves.
Once Kacchan had come out and made them all swear to never tell (a promise easily made, because outing someone is the opposite of cool or hero behavior), he mellowed out, stopped compensating with anger for anything he thought could be perceived as gay.
Then slowly Kacchan stopped caring, starting commenting along with the others on hot heroes or celebrities, voicing opinions during sleep overs filled with stupid games.
Izu delighted in seeing his friend grow into himself.
And now there he is: A hero, on his way to the top, comfortable with himself, but stuck putting up a facade he’d dropped long ago, just so he could keep prying questions and comments from his youth that had made him such a mean and angry person away.
A plethora of emotions wells up in Izu and all he can do is hug Kacchan and whisper: “I could go beat up everyone who’s a dick about it, save us all some trouble.”
“Thanks, Izu,” Kacchan huffs. “But Kirishima already offered to do something particularly stupid, so I wouldn’t have all the attention on me. I’d rather have that he messes up, or I’m still stuck with you and the media following you, dumbass.”
“Tactical decision, Kacchan,” Izu hums, not letting go yet, but shifting so that he can watch the skyline again. It’s cold, but Kacchan is warm and he’s content.
“I am a tactical genius,” Kacchan agrees.
“Of course,” Izu says, lulling him into a false sense of security. “I totally agree that the best tactical decision you could have made three weeks ago was running headfirst into the fight with that water user, who renders you quirk useless for the most part. It was tactically sound how you went down in a flood.”
“Oh shove off,” Kacchan elbows him and he lets go, trying not to feel sad at the loss of contact, while also wondering why he even feels that.
“I mean it,” he grins. “I still have the gif of you going under saved, wanna see it again?”
“No, I don’t and you better stop, because I have the video of you crying last birthday over how much you love cake,” Kacchan threatens and Izu makes a very tactical retreat: “I have forgotten what we were even talking about, but, hey, look! A city to patrol!”
“Idiot,” Kacchan rolls his eyes, but both of them get up to go back to work again.
The rest of patrol goes seamlessly, but that night Izu can’t help but think over what Kacchan has said, how everyone is the problem with being nosy and judgmental.
He, himself, of course has noticed the invasiveness that people grant themselves around him just because he’s a hero, but he always saw it as the small minority, who always asks questions. But is everything he sees as harmless fun so harmless? Or is he just missing what Kacchan sees in all the jokes and comments that come their way every single day.
And him being himself, meant that he goes into a bit of a spiral late that night, scrolling through his own comments and the Deku tag as well as the DynaDeku tag, all choices he should not have made, but now already had.
The reporter is a dick, but lets focus on hubby Dynamight swooping in to save the day *heart eyes* #DynaDeku
If Dynamight dipped me and gently smiled at me like that, I think I would combust, idk how Deku does it, must be used to it winkwink #DynaDeku
#Deku is so buff, but so graceful too, I’m in love, pls marry me
The fact that their coach is telling #Deku to look at #Dynamight to stop the nerves is killing me, I might have to start believing in #DynaDeku
Look at #Dynamight just fucking picking #Deku up like my man’s buff, stronk, sexy and I’m gonna die, with indeed a gif of the lift attached
Ok, so not only did they grow up together (inside jokes and cute nicknames we knew), but they DANCED together, like little babies in the ballroom?? I am deceased, literal soulmates #DynaDeku
#Deku don’t be afraid to claim your man, he’s not only hot as fuck but looks at u like you hung the moon and stars, own that shit #DynaDeku, this post has a collection of pictures from interviews and other appearances with Kacchan looking at him.
The romanticism of dancing with your partner, the whole world disappearing to just the two of you as you seamlessly preform a complicated dance routine like you’re a period drama endgame couple #DynaDeku
If #DynaDeku aren’t in love then love doesn’t exist, look at them dancing, absolutely absorbed in one another and tell me they aren’t soulmates, you literally can’t
We all know #Deku is cute whtevr, but can we talk abt #Dynamight, swooping in like some knight on the red carpet and then literally swooping Deku off his feet, I don’t believe in the ship, but I do want that to happen to me, bc whoo that’s HOT
#Dynamight s little peptalk for #Deku is so fucking cute, like he has always believed in them as a team, they’ve always been side by side and moving in sync, im gonna cry they’re so perfect together #DynaDeku
He’s a few hours into scrolling down, when he decides this is not how he should be spending his night and that he has a job that’s important and that he shouldn’t get distracted by tweets and speculation… but it’s just hard.
They’re all harmless, positive comments, but they’re all making assumptions, all throwing it out there like they know them and know what’s going on with them. The last one truly illustrates how one can know so little, but assume so much. It’s a bit creepy.
Is that what Kacchan sees, he wonders, not fun joke-y comments, but a familiarity and a sense of having the right to know things about them everywhere?
Objectification, they have learned to live with. Izu stopped caring after the third time his full upper body was on a magazine when he’d just been beaten to a pulp, stopped caring after the tenth question about his workout routine followed by a wink-y comment no one should make to someone fresh out of high school, stopped caring after the so manieth thirst tweet he was tagged in.
But this is different.
This is, well, if he has to give it a name, he would call it emotional objectification. Thousands of people that are projecting what they think he should feel onto him and pulling out evidence like they knew anything beyond what was taken from them and what they had willingly shared.
So many people had so many opinions about them and the longer Izu thought about it, the more anxious he became.
All they’ve done so far has been as friends, they would have done that regardless of feelings. Izu isn’t sure if that will change, he’s never really looked for someone, never truly liked anyone, so he wouldn’t know, but them now? That was friends.
Just friends, he danced with Uraraka that night, had fun with all the others, did those things with them as well as Kacchan, but everybody had decided to fixate on them, just because they had a choreography?
Maybe if he and Uraraka had been photographed together everyone would be focusing on that or maybe on Kacchan and that investor lady? People’s attention is only pulled to that which is in the spotlight and their perception so colored by the headlines, the comments, the reactions and the hashtags.
They will probably be friends for the rest of their lives, will every interaction now be colored by strangers even if millions of friends do the same every day without comment?
Sure, dancing always is an intimate act, but it’s not inherently romantic. He knows some dancer couples that married, like the Bakugo’s, but also tons that haven’t, who have spouses outside of dance, who are great friends with their dance partner but never interested beyond that. He knows the joys of jumping and dancing wildly with friends at parties and the little moments between him and his mom in the kitchen.
He and Kacchan work well together, this whole life they share, which no one has been privy to, is intimate, but is that romantic? Izu never inspected all his feelings so closely, because it always stressed him out, but now he feels like he has to know, has to figure it all out so that he can know how he relates to all these tweets.
When his door is suddenly thrown open, he jumps.
Then he notices is Kacchan standing in his doorway, pajamas rumbled and eyes tired. His shoulders are both tensed and slumped, telling Izu the other must have just woken up from a nightmare. He checks the clock quickly and sees it’s 2 AM, fuck, he should have gone to bed earlier.
Not important now, however. He shakes his head and asks: “Wanna talk about it?” as he gets out of bed and pads to the kitchen, Kacchan silently on his trail as he goes through the familiar motions of making them tea.
Kacchan shrugs: “Just the usual. Everyone dying, me stuck and captured, unable to help. Nothing much to talk about. Only need to get out of my head for a moment. What were you doing still awake? You should’ve come to me if you had a nightmare, Izu.”
“I- I hadn’t gone to sleep yet, forgot the time,” Izu cringes.
“Stupid!” Kacchan chops him on the head, but it’s much softer than it could have been. “You should go to bed earlier. We talked about having a routine. Rest is important.”
“I know,” Izu sighs. “Just couldn’t let something go.”
Kacchan sends him a curious look, before asking: “What?”
Izu is silent for a moment. They’re sitting on the couch together, tea in hand, outside world as silent as a city gets and completely dark. The motions they went through to get here are familiar, domestic, completely unseen by the outside world. Is that romantic? Making tea, soothing their bad dreams, asking if they’re okay? Without the eyes, without words put in his mouth, does it feel like everyone thinks it feels?
It’s more intimate than the dancing, it’s not a show, quite the opposite actually. It’s just them. And they learned how to make tea from his mother, he was comforted by her after bad dreams first and she always made time to listen when he wasn’t okay.
Is it not romantic, just because it’s not romantic or because there aren’t thousands of people telling him that it is supposed to be romantic. But then, what even is romance? Is it real?
God, this whole thing is just fucking confusing.
He hasn’t even noticed how quiet he’s been, staring into his tea as the steam warms his face, his side warmed by Kacchan’s, until the other softly asks: “Izu?”
“Wha?” he blinks, world coming back into focus. He looks at Kacchan, who is looking at him with concern, not saying anything, but already looking for words. How can he even begin to explain all that he’s thinking about? He can’t. Not yet. So, he says: “Dance with me?”
The suggestion startles Kacchan for a moment, but both have had nights where they would rather forget than talk, so he doesn’t comment and just takes a final sip of tea, before pulling Izu from the couch as he asks: “What are you in the mood for?”
“Can we just do a simple waltz?” Izu asks. “I’m not in the mood for anything complicated.”
It isn’t likely to stay uncomplicated, it never is with them, but Kacchan nods anyway and starts them in a simple spin as he hums softly, reaching for his phone until there’s music softly playing as they glide over the carpet.
Kacchan’s arm is secure around him, hands warm on his back and in his own hand. He leads smoothly and Izu lets himself get carried away as he thinks.
He knows he has had a crush on Kacchan when he was little, but did it ever leave? Or is it coming back? And if it is, is it just because now is the time or because everyone planted the idea in his head with their headlines and questions? He tries to recall, but can’t seem to remember. Has he not noticed it coming or has it always been there and did he only just notice?
Just a few days ago, Kacchan questioned how he thought he could live without Izu and he shares the sentiment. Kacchan is his everything, always has been.
Maybe he has never truly looked for a partner, not because no one was fitting and he was busy with hero work, maybe it had always been because he couldn’t fit anyone in his life next to his Kacchan, next to his partner.
So, perhaps the crush never went away and it’s highlighted in his mind now? Maybe he never realized and the romance is in choosing each other, not because it’s the easiest, but because you can’t imagine ever making another choice.
But Izu has chosen Kacchan since he was a baby and he doesn’t think baby Izu knew much of what he was doing, or the world for that matter. He still knows next to nothing about love, so he can’t blame baby him for not realizing if he acted on it, but choosing someone can happen in many contexts. It doesn’t have to be romantic.
Todoroki chose to rekindle a relationship with his family without their father. Chose his relation to them, despite the memories attached to that relation. He can hardly call that romance.
And Kacchan hasn’t always chosen him.
Every time he thinks he has an answer, he thinks of a reason why it doesn’t have to be romantic. He’s probably over-analyzing it, but he can’t help it. His brain has latched onto this and he probably won’t find rest until he has some sort of answer. It’s just how he is.
Maybe if he focuses on Kacchan, he’ll figure it out?
How can he describe Kacchan? Or them?
He’s an idiot who doesn’t remember taking his body wash to the kitchen of all places to check the ingredients, he reminds Izu of his errands, he makes them food and makes him laugh. He’s there as backup, as nurse. He’s in every memory, good or bad.
When Izu looks at Kacchan, he can only feel an overwhelming fondness for the other. As well as just content that they’re both here as they had always dreamed.
He might be attractive, but he’s also a shoulder to cry on, arms to disappear in. He’s steady feet working in sync to his. He’s a competitive smirk and a taunt, as well as a lecture to sleep better and hand leading him away from a nosy reporter.
Izu doesn’t know if that fondness is love or if it’s just years of Kacchan and Izu together against whatever life threw at them.
The steps they’re taking have become more complicated and while Izu is following well, he’s distracted and for a moment, he stumbles.
Before he can do more than fumble slightly, two arms are already steadying him close to a chest, ensuring he can’t fall.
Between his stumble and the catch can’t have been more than a split second, but Kacchan caught him like he’d already predicted it was going to happen. Like he just knew.
Izu finds there is a comfort in being known, in being understood so deeply by another that no outside observation could ever come close to guessing. It wasn’t about the intimacy of being held to Kacchan’s chest, about the closeness, about attractiveness. It’s about knowing someone is there to catch you, before you even know you’re falling.
In the end, maybe that’s how Izu can describe them best: knowledgeable.
No tweets can implant years of knowledge, years of choosing to follow the other, maybe it doesn’t matter, because there is no one else, maybe all that will change is choosing to do something out of romance, because everything has always been out of love.
Softly Kacchan asks: “Are you okay?”
And Izu is. He smiles and hugs Kacchan tight as he says: “Everything’s a bit confusing, would it be weird if I said we’re married?”
“What?” Kacchan doesn’t follow and Izu tries to explain.
“I- I can’t imagine what I’d do without you. I don’t think I could live without you. I’ve been choosing you my entire life and those stupid tweets made me feel like everyone knew us, me better than I did, but no one does, because I can’t even begin to describe us, so how the fuck can they know,” Izu rants. “We’re domestic, things we do are intimate, I do the things I do for you out of love, but I never thought about the fact that I was keeping romance out of my life, because it would never be what I have with you, but I want to do the things I do for you to be out of romance and love, not because others decided, but because I want to. I don’t want all we did as friends to suddenly be romantic, because strangers told me it was, I want to do it on purpose, from now. Am I making sense?”
“A bit,” Kacchan isn’t letting go and Izu has never been more comforted by it. “Can you explain a bit more what even lead you to this?”
So, Izu tells him about diving into all the tweets, doubting everything they did, how strangers seem to know them, or at least act like they did. He tells him about the thoughts he’s had these past days and how he started to think he was only having them because of the tweets, how he wanted to figure out how he felt, so he’d know, but how he didn’t have a good frame of what romance entailed.
He tells Kacchan about all he could think off and about the fact that all can be non-romantic. He explains how he came to the conclusion that no tweets can influence him, not when it comes to Kacchan, because he knows Kacchan too well for those tweets to understand them and color their interactions. And how those thoughts had been there before them anyway.
Knowledgeable, he tells Kacchan, is us. And all of them don’t know us and can’t decide what our interactions are like. I did that out of friendship and I want to do them out of romance, but I want to do it intentionally, not because someone else said it was after the fact.
“I want to love you on purpose, Kacchan, does that make sense?” Izu asks. “I want to chose it, not have it be decided for me. We’re practically married, but we’re not, because neither of us decided on it. You can’t do these things accidentally. And I’ve realized that and now I wanna do it on purpose.”
After that whole explanation Kacchan is quiet, working through all Izu said,
For a moment Izu thinks he messed up everything and that Kacchan doesn’t think and feel the same as he does. Then Kacchan smirks and says: “If that’s your proposal, you’re going to have to do better, but it’s not bad as a love confession.”
Despite his rants and many thoughts, the tease doesn’t feel out of place and he grins at Kacchan, who says: “And I like the idea of doing it on purpose, no extra is telling me what to do. I’m keeping you, because I want to.”
“Yeah, I could have danced with anyone and felt the same, but next time we dance it’s special, because I’m dancing with you with extra love and because it’s romantic,” Izu says excitedly. In their line of work, they’re constantly followed and managers and agencies make choices for them, it’s nice to do something without them knowing, fully on purpose yet under their noses.
Kacchan quirks a brow and puts his hands back in dance position, which Izu eagerly slots into.
The dance is messy, with Kacchan definitely holding instead of cupping, backs not perfectly arched, but bodies molded together. They throw in moves from all styles as they sing softly and laugh, both bright eyed filled with love.
It’s Izu’s favorite dance they’ve done yet and at the end Kacchan leans in close and asks: “Can I kiss you very purposefully?”
“Of course,” Izu tells him happily as they slot together, kissing softly despite it being a crescendo in their life that has been a long time coming.
They’d already had the aggression between them, the clawing passion that came with rivalry and the urgency that came with desperately finding each other after battles.
Here in their home, they’re safe and soft. They’re movie nights, making fun of talk shows, late night dancing, cups of tea, carefully wrapping wounds and now softly kissing as they pour in as much love as they can.
“I love you, Kacchan,” Izu whispers when they break apart. “I’ll always choose you.”
“Fuck, Izu, I love you too, so much,” Kacchan replies. “And I’m never going to let you, I’m holding onto you.”
And that’s Kacchan’s love. He nearly let go of them, nearly had to live without Izu and only the fact that Izu chose to stay kept them from falling apart. Kacchan is now holding on, choosing Izu back, choosing Izu’s love.
In that moment, Izu is happy. There are a million more choices to come, a billion days wherein he’ll chose Kacchan again and again, but for now he’s just in that moment, with Kacchan holding onto him, swaying softly to the music.
Tomorrow they’ll have to deal with the media again. The media that thinks they know them and now has a truth that came to be despite them, or maybe to spite them. But for now, they make another cup of tea and drink that on the couch, this time Izu leaning against Kacchan, purposefully filling up his space and taking his warmth.
They curl into bed and sleep soundly, entangled in each other as they did when they were kids, but different in how Kacchan kisses Izu’s forehead and Izu buries his hand in Kacchan’s hair.
Nothing they ever did was romantic, but just because some things can be non-romantic, means you can also make them romantic and Izu is planning to make every interaction he has with Kacchan romantic. From the simple good mornings to whispered reassurances, he’ll pour love into it all, because he wants to and no one can tell him he can’t.
When they wake up that morning, news has broken that a singer has been caught cheating and all the gossip has moved on, leaving them in sweet oblivion.
It’s true that the whole incident has irrevocably changed them and their dynamic, but the media also never knew what they were talking about and never had the dedication to stick with something or someone until they knew them.
There will be questions in the future, when another interaction has now been rightfully recognized and at some point they might even get answers, but no one ever gets a say, except the two of them and the two of them say:
“I chose you, please, dance with me, love me, stay here because you want to, choose me back” and the other will reply: “Of course, there’s no one else I would rather know so well and love so deeply.”
Randomly decided to write this sequel on a whim, have been thinking abt it for a while and finally found the motivation!
I hope the transition from high schoolers to living on their own for the first time came out well, they’re more domestic and comfortable after all that time, at least that was the intention :D
Not me in the middle of the night on the Ballroom dance Wikipedia page lmao
I had a lot of fun watching dancing videos, so if you want to share in that and have a bit of a visual, then I invite you to check it out:
- Inspiration for the slow foxtrot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8jkMhG0fCM
- The lift for the waltz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyAPG43crso
- Inspiration for the tango: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jODtGZEKP7U
Btw, you can’t tell me rooftop talks don’t fuck and fuck hard. Anything you say on a rooftop doesn’t exist outside it, it the best place, same goes for any conversation that happens between 1 and 3 AM
((I have detailed class 1-A sexuality and gender headcanons, but decided against listing them all, but I will give them freely))
This got so philosophical and introspective, I’m sorry that’s what I get for writing at 3 AM and hating social media celebrity culture, while also using it as a plot point lmao. I had planned a crises after the midnight dance, but you know what, never too early for a crisis
Idk if y’all noticed, but I love the concept of loving on purpose, loving because you want to, choosing to care about those around you. That might be the arospec in me, but I think it’s beautiful <3
Also, I can never leave things alone, I’m literally writing this and planning out more. When will I stop? Why can’t I just let things be what they are?? Anyways, I’m looking if this is something people are interested in before spending more time on it lmao, I could squeeze three more fics out of this if I tried that I discovered XP
Where I am, it’s 2022 already, so happy new year!!
I hope you’re all healthy in the coming year and happy :D I hope it’s a better year and that it will treat you kindly <3
I am setting a challenge for myself, currently my AO3 has 781.412 words and I hope to reach 1 million words this year! I think it’s reachable when looking at this years word count and the year before that, but we’ll see, cause I’m gonna be busy lmao
Anyways, a good 2022, to fun challenges that you won’t take that seriously XP
1, 25, 27 :))
1. favorite fic you wrote this year
Oeh, that’s hard one I wrote so much, lmao. But I had a lot of fun while writing Eliot’s High School Reunion, so that one certainly, just because it was a delight. And Promises You Made to Me is also very dear, bc the writing style was a challange and bc I cried while writing it lol
25. favorite fic you read this year
simple machines and hold on to me by @coffeesuperhero like if you want to have feels about Eliot and cry and go through the whole spectrum of all the feels with OT3, check these out, because holy fuck they’re so good!! Especially simple machines came to me at the right time whe I was going through queer shit TM and I’m really thankful for it <3
27. favorite fanfic author of the year
Well, as you can probably guess by the answer before coffeesuperhero certainly, but I got into Leverage a lot and I have enjoyed a ton of works from @eliot-wolfgirl-spencer @onyxbird @faorism @kerkerian @suddenrundown and practially anyone in the Leverage tag (i props forgot peeps and im so sorry), it was a very Leverage year XP
And if I have to be honest, myself. I’m the person who reads my own fics, because they’re specifically catered to me lmao and they hit right every time ;D
since it’s december, i thought i’d make a little end of the year ask meme for fanfic writers and readers! reblog and ask away
- favorite fic you wrote this year
- least favorite fic you wrote this year
- favorite line/scene you wrote this year
- total number of words you wrote this year
- most popular fic this year
- least popular fic this year
- longest completed fic you wrote this year
- shortest completed fic you wrote this year
- longest wip of the year
- shortest wip of the year
- fandom you enjoyed writing for the most this year
- favorite character to write about this year
- favorite writing song/artist/album of this year
- a fic you didn’t expect to write
- something you learned this year
- fic(s) you completed this year
- fics you’ll continue next year
- current number of wips
- any new fics to start next year
- number of comments you haven’t read
- most memorable comment/review
- events you participated in this year
- fics you wanted to write but didn’t
- favorite fic you read this year
- a fic you read this year you would recommend everyone read
- number of favorites/bookmarks you made this year
- favorite fanfic author of the year
- longest fic you read this year
- shortest fic you read this year
- favorite fandom to read fic from this year
*feel free to specify fandoms or a fic depending on the question.
Oh please do!!!
Husband Tag: tumblr & AO3
We’re gonna do some admin, v fun fun
Hello! Uh, i know you wrote them.. three? years ago now (Jfc 2019 was three years ago-- or is it two?) BUT i just wanted to tell ya how great your Misfits fics were and that i appreciate heir existence :D we love Nathan whumps especially when they include everybody else.
They were all written well and you got the characters pretty spot on and I'm so glad i enby to your account after reading Dead of Night.
I hope you're doing well, and thank you for writing! ^^
This is an absolute delight to read, I’m so glad they’re still making people happy :D
The Misfit fic have a special place in my heart, because I got my ao3 account because of them. God, the memories, lmao. Thanks for making me happy and reminding me of fun memories <3
Have a great day!!
I really wanna write, but I have no inspiration, my word docu keeps staring back to me blankly, so if you have requests, hit me up <3
Love how my writing has gotten more and more niche throughout the years, it’s great to not really care about engagement, just fun
Spencer has been taken by an unsub that buries his victims alive and only has a phone that cannot be traced as the clock slowly ticks down with the rest trying to save him. Derek is on the phone with him, emotions running high as they have to see whether Spencer can be saved or if they’re too late, both to find him and for one of them to tell the other how they truly feel.
Warnings: buried alive, panic, near death experience, Spencer nearly gives up on his survival even if he wants to live, hospitals
Spencer is missing and Derek is panicking.
Everyone, of course, is panicking, but Derek feels like he’s going to split apart at the seams. He can’t do this again, not with Spencer.
The unsub they’re chasing buries his victims alive, leavingthemwith an untraceable phone while they have no other leads. Derek already listened to two people die while talking to him and has listened to the recordings of five more. He doesn’t know whetherhe can stop himself from falling apart, if it’s Spencer on the other side.
Still, he knows he’ll have to when the call comes, but still he prays that Spencer has just gotten lost (even if that has never happened before)as he watches the phone they’d set up for this.
They all startle when Derek’s own phone starts ringing and he doesn’t even look at the screen as he picks up and snaps: “This better be important,” not really caring that it might be a higher up on the line.
“M- Morgan?” it’s Spencer, sounding like he’s been through hell and barely keeping it together. No one thought Spencer would call anything but the number they’d set up for this if he’d been taken, but it seems even geniuses could forget things, which scares Derek immensely.
“Yeah, pretty boy, it’s me,” he says, hoping his voice is soothing as he gestures to the others to connect his phone to the contraption as they try to ask if it’s Spencer with theireyes.
He squeezes hisown eyes close when Spencer whimpers: “It’s so, sodark.”
Derek remembers how scared Spencer has always been of the dark. Back when the doctor first told him, he turned it into a bit of a joke. Now it is anything but and Derek wishes he could protect Spencer, but the other is too far out of reach.
So, he just tries to keep Spencer as calm as he can, by saying: “Hey, hey, you’re okay, you’re alright, just calm down, okay? Just breathe.” Spencer starts to follow his lead slowly and Derek praises: “Yeah, like that, you’re doing great, pretty boy. Just keep breathing.”
“I- I’m okay,” Spencer tells him after a moment and Derek could sink to the floor in relief with that, glad Spencer isn’t falling apart anymore right now.
The other’s have connected Derek’s phone to the speaker. It allows everyone to hear Spencer’s side, but Spencer can only listen through Derek’s phone speaker. They designed it so that they wouldn’t have to leave victims alone in silence, while still being able to discuss a plan of action.
“That’s good,” Derek tells him, looking at the others, who are all anxious to hear Spencer speak. So he asks: “Can you tell me where you are?”
“In a box underground, Morgan,” Spencer snaps harshly and Derek can’t blame him for finally lashing out, even if everyone startles. However, it’s still Spencer, so the moment he does it, he backtracks: “Sorry, just- fuck- I mean, yeah, you know.”
“I know,” Derek replies, because he does. Spencer is stuck with no way out, vulnerable and unreachable, a combination he hates. Derek has seen how much Spencer struggles with affection he wants, but doesn’t know how to ask for and now in one of the most stressful situations he’s ever been in, he can’tget anything even if wanted to.
But Spencer doesn’t reply, instead they listen as he shuffles around in the tight space, thumping whenever he hits the wall, which is too often for comfort. Next to him Hotch tells Garcia to check the camera’s again, they’re all anxious to do something while Spencer is quiet.
When Spencer’s voice comes again, it’s empty yetrough with emotion as well. He reports: “It’s a coffin. I’m in a coffin.”
“A coffin?” Derek repeats, unable to stop himself as he imagines Spencer lying in there, as if he’s already dead. In an attempt to distract himself, he wonders: “Where is he even getting coffins?”
“I don’t know, maybe he works at a funeral home,” Spencer replies, voice steadying now that he has something to work on. The other always was a workaholic. “But he has money. I’m in a really fancy suit by the feel of it.”
“Good work.” Derek knows they have a rule against profiling team members, but Spencer’s need for praise and validation is so obvious from time to time that Derek’s brain couldn’t help but catalog it. And right now, he’s glad he did. Spencer needs something to help him feel better and stay focused on the case. “Do you smell anything or hear something? Anything could help, you’re already doing so much. Just keep it up and focus your senses, okay?”
“Y- yeah, yeah, okay,” Spencer says, a bit breathless, which Derek immediately hates, especially when the other takes a deep breath, before falling completely silent.
Derek doesn’t think there has been a moment before this that has been more excruciating than those few seconds wherein Spencer is holding his breath, before he inhales deeply.
“There is nothing odd about the sounds or smell,” Spencer reports and Derek could kiss him for speaking again, a feeling that fades when Spencer continues, “it’s just getting stale, which is to be expected. The average coffin has a volume of 886 liters and the average human 66 liters, which leaves me 820 liter, 164 of which are air. Without the panicking and with steady breaths, I have 5 and a half hours total. How long have I been missing?”
“We noticed you were gone half an hour after you went to get some air. That was less than an hour ago,” Derek tells him. He remembers how his heart sank when they realized, how much he still hates himself for not noticing sooner, for not stepping out with the doctor.
How much he wishes he was holding Spencer right now.
“Oh, okay,” Spencer’s voice is high with how scared he is and Derek wants to cry, but he needs to hold it together, for Spencer’s sake. “What- What time is it?” Spencer asks cautiously.
“It’s 2:45,” Derek answers after checking the time. They still haven’t figured out much yet and the clock keeps ticking.
“Okay, so I have until a seven at the worst, that’s- that’s still enough time, right?” Spencer asks him and he can’t promise the other anything. They don’t have a lot of time and they both know that they might never see each other again. Spencer could turn into a picture on the crime board, just another victim.
Spencer starts to cry.
Derek can hear him try not to, but his gasps break after a moment and he sniffles softly, but it sounds as if he’s trying to muffle them. That won’t do. So, Derek puts on his most soothing voice and states: “We’ll find you, okay, pretty boy? Just hang in there.”
It might be false hope, but it’s all they have and Derek won’t give up until he finds Spencer. He doesn’t care if that’s dead or alive, even if he prays it’s the latter.
The other is quiet, but Derek is distracted by Hotch giving him an order: “We have to know what he remembers. The sooner we start figuring things out, the faster we’ll find him. You need to interview him.”
Everyone is quiet and looking at Derek, who realizes he has the privilege of talking to Spencer, while he’s going through this. Should this end wrong, he’ll be able to spend as much time with the other before the end.
He’s not going to waste that time and he’s going to find them. He can’t imagine what he would do if he was forced to just stand there and listen to Emily or Rossi talk with Spencer over the phone without getting answers.
Though, they might not get distracted this easily. Derek has always let his emotions rule when it comes to Spencer.
So, he nods and turns back to the phone. “Hey, Reid, listen up. We need to know all you know, so I’m going to coach you through a interview, alright?”
“Ye- yeah, sure, okay, yeah, that’s- that’s good,” it’s a stuttered answer, but Spencer seems to be sure, only fear coloring his answer.
“Good,” Derek says, trying to get back in his profiler mindset and get Spencer through this. The genius doesn’t need panicking right now, but a steady presence to lean on, Derek can be that, he is good at these interviews, he can do his job. Just do his job. Okay. “Do you know what happened? Just close your eyes and try to remember. You went outside, where did you go?”
“I- I wanted to get some air,” Spencer says and Derek remembers him waving off the invitation to clear their heads, because he was reading a transcript again. “I couldn’t take it anymore, I wasn’t focusing, so I went outside. To the parking lot.”
Derek puts his brain on mechanic and goes through the motions of an interview. “Alright, so you went to the parking lot. Was anyone there with you or were you alone?”
“No,” Spencer answers, “it was calm. Lunch had finished half an hour before, so everyone was inside again.” Derek hums and is about to ask his next question when Spencer exclaims: “Wait. Wait, I remember someone. Uhm, it was a- a guy. I- I think I spoke with him.”
“Very good,” Derek nods. “Can you remember what he said? Or even you reply?”
“It was only briefly, I don’t know,” Spencer’s voice sounds anguished and Derek knows how much he despises being unable to help and how much he fears not knowing. His heart constricts for the other agent, but all he can do is continue with every interview strategy he knows.
“Anything helps, pretty boy, no matter how small a detail,” Derek reminds him. “Come on, you’ve been doing great.”
Spencer is quiet as he thinks and Derek can perfectly picture the small pout as he mouth words to himself while he thinks. God, what he wouldn’t give to see that face again.
“He asked if I had a light,” Spencer’s voice snaps him back as he chuckles bitterly. “And I did.” Before Derek could wonder why the fuck Spencer had a lighter on him and if he should worry about him again, Spencer quickly explains: “I smoked briefly in college, quit before my third PhD, but found that having a light is a good way to start a conversation, so I still carry one out of habit.”
Derek decides to let it go. It’s not really the time and place to have a conversation about a past bad habit, so he just says: “So, you walk over to him to offer him the light. What does he look like? Just try and focus on his face. Tell me how he looks.”
Instead of an answer there is a short silence before they hear a thump and an annoyed groan.
“Spencer? Pretty boy?” Derek asks carefully with incredible concern. It isn’t until he sees Emily quirk a brow that he realizes he called Spencer by his first name. He’s always avoided it, he’s more a petname guy and sticking with the last name created some sort of barrier. He blinks, but decides to ignore it, now isn’t the time to focus on that, but on Spencer.
“I- I can’t see it,” Spencer’s reply comes through clenched teeth, frustration dripping off it. “He’s right there and I can see him, but his face is blank. Fucking dammit.”
“It’s okay, baby, it’s okay. You’re okay, darling,” the soothing words are out of his mouth before he can even think. The moment they’re out it’s quiet.
He never used to petnames for Spencer.
Never let something slip like this.
Derek hides behind pretty boy, which is achingly true in regards to Spencer, but easy to play of as teasing if questioned. Darling and baby are very different. Derek’s a petname guy and his petnames definitely have meaning.
Does Spencer know? Has he figured out Derek’s feelings and did he make him uncomfortable by taking liberties – no matter how accidentally – while Spencer is trapped?
God, he tries so hard to hide them, but maybe this gave him away.
He doesn’t want to ruin the friendship he has with Spencer and Spencer has never shown interest in him. Derek knows better than to pursue the uninterested and what they have now is already so good, more than Derek ever thought he could have with Spencer.
Instead of reacting to what is giving Derek a minor breakdown on top of his already existing stress, Spencer suddenly says: “The unsub didn’t have a cigarette. I remember walking up to light his cigarette, but I was too close when I noticed it was a piece of cloth. He attacked me when I saw. It was chloroform.”
Derek is now unsure where he stands, if Spencer even noticed. So when he talks again his voice is a bit more subdued, testing the waters, as he replies: “Good job. We can track that.”
He leans away, glad to not have to face a potential rejection, slightly hating himself for thinking of that in these circumstances as he says to the rest of the team: “Tell Garcia to track who bought chloroform.”
“Thank god, something to do,” Garcia’s voices comes over the other speak they have in the room so that she can stay up to date with everything’s that going on. She quickly replies: “That is a disconcertingly long list, I need more to narrow it down.”
So, Derek turns back to the phone. He still has a job to do and Spencer deserves to have his best friend there without him making it weird. Just shake it off, he tells himself. He asks: “Did you make eyecontact with the unsub when he attacked you?”
Spencer is quiet for a moment, then his excited voice comes over the phone as he remembers: “He has blue eyes and blond hair. It was long, he made a joke about us having the same hair.”
Derek fumbles for a notebook, not noticing that Rossi is already writing it down as Spencer gives them a description of the unsub. Rich looking, caucasian, about 6ft2, last seen wearing dress pants and a white shirt that Spencer remarks upon as being odd.
“Why was that odd?” Derek asks, of course pretty boy would note something as out of the ordinary while being kidnapped.
“Well, if he has to dig a grave then I would assume he wouldn’t wear clothes that got dirty easily,” is the reply, then Spencer realizes something, because his tone changes as he adds: “He didn’t even have time to dig a grave. It takes two workers three to six hours to dig a grave. The unsub dressed me up in nice clothes, I even think I have make up on my face and my nails are done. He takes the coffin thing seriously, I don’t think he would skip the 6 feet under.”
God, Spencer truly is a genius.
What a beautiful brain.
“So, he dug the grave before that,” Derek has to check if what he’s hearing is true, if he is really allowed to hope that they might find the other. His brain immediately switches to profiler as he tries to fit the pieces together. “Where would he have the privacy for that?”
Everyone pulls a thinking face, but it’s Spencer who answers first: “In the wild? But he barely gets that here, even outside the city with the grass everywhere and it’s too far of a drive. So somewhere in the city.”
“He has money,” Derek thinks out loud. “He could own a property. I’ll ask Garcia to pull up satellite footage, a patch of recently dug graves will be spotted.”
Emily reports that to Garcia, who had already been typing away since she heard Derek over the line as Spencer agrees: “Yeah, the satellite scans for 6 ft holes, it has to be-”
Spencer doesn’t finish the sentence. In Derek’s mind a scene plays with Spencer not having enough air and suddenly falling unconscious without them ever being able to locate him.
“Spencer? Pretty boy?”
“I’m in a cemetery,” Spencer’s voice is hollow and flat and Derek doesn’t understand it, relief flushing through his system.
“A cemetery? That narrows it down, good job.”
“No,” Spencer’s tone stops Derek in his tracks as he feel a darkness looming over him, about to drop with whatever Spencer tells him next. “There are 48 cemeteries in Houston and approximately 43 burials each day. You’re not going to find me.”
The silence that follows for a moment is nearly deafening and when Spencer speaks there’s such a finality in his voice that Derek wants to shake him until he has hope again, but the entire problem is that Spencer is out of his reach.
“You’re not going to find me. I- I called because I wanted to help, but also to say goodbye. I don’t wanna die by myself.” They can tell he starts to cry, the overwhelming sadness closing his throat and making Spencer hoarse. “You-You need to record a message to give to my- my mom. I don’t want- wanna scare her by calling her now. Please- I-”
Derek is frozen as he listens, but JJ can’t take staying silent anymore and pulls the phone towards herself as she says: “You’re not going to die, Spence.”
That unfreezes him and he adds: “Yeah, you can’t think like that.” He won’t allow Spencer to give up when they still have time. They’re going to find him and he’s going to fight to the end. Spencer doesn’t give up and neither does the rest of the BAU.
They’re going to find him.
They have to.
“Please, just-” Spencer disagrees, heartbreaking cries continue to come through the speaker.
Emily takes the phone from him and says reassuringly: “Of course, Reid, just give me a moment, okay? It won’t be the best quality, but she’ll hear your voice.”
When she pulls out her phone to make an audio recording JJ hisses: “What are you doing, you can’t let him give up!”
“I’m not letting him give up,” Emily hisses back. “He’s not going to function until he knows his mom will be okay if this does go wrong. Until he makes this message, we won’t be able to reach him.”
JJ looks conflicted, all of them do, so they turn to Hotch, who nods his approval for Emily’s plan. So, Emily presses record as she says: “You can talk now.”
“H- Hey, mom,” Spencer’s voice is so incredibly small and Derek can’t do anything to comfort him, all he can do is listen.“It’s me, Spencer. I, uhm, I’m calling- It’s- I just want you to know that I love you, okay, mom? And- And I’m so proud each day to- to be your son.”
He continues in true Spencer fashion of underselling everything terrible that happens to him. “I’m- I’m not doing so well right now, but don’t worry, by the time you hear this I’ll- I’ll be resting and even- even if I- I won’t ever see you again, I know that-” he clears his throat “-that no matter what, I’ll always carry you with me, just like you will have me in- in your heart.”
God, Derek doesn’t want to Spencer, but like a car wreck, he can’t look away.
“And I- I hope that you have a- an amazing life, okay? Don’t give up because of me. I’ve written you so many letters and I’m ex- expecting to hear of all the good days you still- you still have to have. Even if they’re with- without- without me.”
Spencer starts to sob and Derek can feel silent tears running over his face as well. He doesn’t want to think of the days he’ll have to live without Spencer’s comforting presence next to him.
“I’m sorry,” Spencer fails at sounding okay. “I just miss you already. And- And I wish I could say goodbye properly, but you know how I am,” a sad chuckle, “didn’t want to- to worry you. I- I wanted to thank you, for always being- being there for me. You’re the best m- mom I could have had,” Spencer finishes. “I- I love you and- and goodbye.”
When it’s clear Spencer isn’t adding anything else, Emily stops the recording and says: “I got it. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it with me just in case we need it, but I hope I’ll get to throw this away soon.”
“Thank you,” Spencer’s voice is still wrecked. “It was the best- the best thing in my life to work with you.”
And no, god no, Derek is going to be sick. He’s going to throw up. He doesn’t want to listen to this, if listening to Spencer’s goodbye to his mom was terrible, this is evenworse.
“Spence-” JJ thinks the same, but Spencer cuts her off and goes on: “You were all always so kind to me. That was good. No one else was ever nice, except my mom, but she doesn’t count, she’s required to be nice.” Spencer suddenly snorts: “Not that that stopped my dad.”
All Derek knows, isthat he wants Spencer to stop, but he doesn’t know how, so he just clutches his phone and looks up helplessly.
“Reid,” thank god for Hotch stepping in. “Do you have an estimate of the time you were buried. I need you to focus and tell us okay? Everything can help, you might be the key to catching this guy, before he takes anyone else. So focus, there are lives at stake.”
It is a good tactic. Spencer is giving up and they need him sharp, not distancing himself to spare himself the dreadful apprehension. Since he has already given up, imploring him to care about his own life isn’t the best move, but telling him he can save other is. Spencer has always been the most compassionate and caring agent Derek has ever met.
“I- I’ve probably been buried at 2:15 at the earliest,” Spencer sniffles and Derek has never been more glad to hear that.
“Good,” Hotch nods, still leading the conversation while Derek tries to get it together. “We’re going to canvas all the cemeteries for activity around that time as well as check all the traffic camera’s around the cemeteries, okay.” He takes a look at Derek and adds: “Morgan will stay here with you, if you remember anything, tell him.”
Derek can’t even be mad about getting benched. He would much rather be with Spencer than talk with funeral home workers and he probably looks ever worse than he feels if Hotch is willing to bench him over it.
“O- Okay,” Spencer says, sounding tired.
“You did good work, Reid. Now hang in there,” Hotch says, before bustling out of the room with the others, gathering the police force and sternly telling them what’s going to happen with no regard for the local authority. They’re all too on edge to care about that right now.
“What time is it?” It’s only when Spencer speaks up again that Derek realizes he’s been staring blankly at the now empty precinct.
“It’s only three o’clock,” he tries to assure him. They haven’t been talking that long, they still have time. They’ll find him.
Spencer turns over the information in his beautiful brain, then says: “Hey, I calculated it again.” Derek hums to show he’s listening. “I’ll die around seven, but I’ll pass out at 6:25.”
Derek doesn’t want to hear Spencer talk about when he’s going to die, because they’re going to find him before that happens. He has to be able to keep believing that. So, with a tightly voice he says: “We’re not going to let that happen.”
“I- I know,” Spencer responds, sounding like he didn’t. “I just thought you would want to know that when I stop reacting, I’m probably still alive.”
“Oh, yeah. That’s- That’s good.” Derek hadn’t eve realized that, but he’s filing it away with big letters reading: IMPORTANT, written over it in his brain.
Then it is quiet again.
It feels slightly awkward and Derek doesn’t know if it’s his fault for calling the other baby and darling – it was honestly a slip, but maybe he has now ruined the easy camaraderie they have always had.
He doesn’t want to mention it now, however. Spencer is stuck underground and steadily running out of air. He’s trapped with only Derek as company and Derek isn’t about to make Spencer choose between being alone or having to pander to Derek’s feelings, because Spencer will totally do that, no matter what Derek will tell him.
So, he stays silent and just breathes, mentally deciding he’ll tell Spencer that he loves him when he gets out of there while choosing to be just a steadying solid presence now.
“D- Derek?” Spencer has never called him that, but he has also never sounded so out of his depth and afraid.
“Yeah, pretty boy?” he replies, putting all the compassion he can in his voice.
“Can you talk to me?” Spencer asks, voice barely more than a whisper. “It’s- It’s so, so dark and I’m scared.”
“Oh, Spence, baby,” it’s an instinctual reaction, but Derek knows how hard Spencer finds it to admit that. The other must be putting on a brave face, even if one wouldn’t think it with how scared he sounds, he’s more terrified than even that. “Of course, I’ll talk. You did very well today, just holding it all together, I don’t think I would have fared the same.”
And he means it.
He’s not even afraid of the dark or small spaces, but Spencer is compartmentalizing extremely well especially when Derek remembers the last time he’d been taken by an unsub, not to mention how much sitting there is reminding him of the anthrax attack of a while ago.
It’s also very telling that Spencer doesn’t protest the compliment like he usually would and just hums happily, the only positive noise he has made so far. And Derek clings to it.
He starts to talk, hoping to keep that emotion there with anything he can think off. He tells him about an embarrassing scare by a cat when he was still police, about his first day jitters at the FBI, even about a stupid comic he made as a kid and his mom comforting him after his sisters made fun of him for it.
“You mom sounds lovely,” Spencer speaks up at that, adding as an afterthought: “I met her, did you know?”
Derek remembers that terrible day he was in custody those years ago, but more prominently he remembers getting home and his mom telling him all about his coworkers and why he’d never brought them over before.
“Yeah,” he laughs at the memory. “She mentioned it. Told me to feed you more often and make sure you’d talk to people too.”
He doesn’t know why Spencer interprets his words the way he does, but he asks: “Did she think I was rude?”
“She loved you,” Derek assures him, unable to keep himself from thinking of how he already had his mom’s approval over Spencer. She’d actually figured out about his crush that day. “She said you were like she expected you to be, but warmer. Welcoming, I think she said.”
Spencer doesn’t react and Derek tries to make that sound not weird. “I talk to her about you. The whole team,” he rushes to add, even if it’s mostly Spencer he talks with his mom about. “I like to call her when I can and just chat. I’m not home often, so I miss a lot and she keeps me up to date on all the gossip.”
After that he starts babbling again, telling Spencer he’s the gossip of his siblings, before he finds himself saying: “Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you back then – I thought it embarrassing and not something we’re doing anyway, but you’re invited for dinner at my mom’s house. She makes the best comfort food, so when we get you out there, we’re taking her up on it, yeah. Sound good?”
It’s quiet for a moment, then Spencer replies: “I’d love to.”
“Good,” he smiles as he gives himself a moment to imagine it, even if he colors in Spencer loving him back while it isn’t true. It’s just a good little moment that he wants to escape in. “I’ll make sure she makes something you’ll like,” he promises. “And don’t think you’re getting out of this promise just because of your circumstances, alright, pretty boy. I’m keeping you to your word.”
“Heh, sure,” Spencer tells him. He sounds like he still thinks his circumstances will most definitely prevent him from keeping word by killing him as well as sounding exhausted.
When nothing else comes Derek worries, again picturing Spencer falling unconscious and dying, so quickly he calls out: “Hey, hey, hey, don’t fall asleep okay.”
“Sorry, just comfortable,” Spencer says, before his voice changes into his joking voice, “who knew sleeping like the dead was also sleeping like royalty.”
Derek doesn’t want to know that the coffin is comfortable enough to sleep in and in an anguished voice he replies: “Spencer…” unsure how he even wanted to finish that sentence.
In turn he hears only a thump and he furrows his brow, especially when more thumps follow. His mind supplies him with all sorts of images of the coffin falling apart and filing with dirt burying Spencer more before they can get close to finding him. Tensely he asks: “What’s happening, pretty boy?”
“I am comfortable,” Spencer says in a voice that tells Derek that there’s more to it.
“…Good?” he replies when nothing follows. “Does that mean anything?”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s just that I’m 6ft1 and most coffins range from 5ft to 6ft8, which, yeah, I would fit in,” Spencer thinks out loud. “But most standard coffins they have on display at funeral homes wouldn’t be my size. If the unsub quickly grabbed one to bury his victims in, why did he have one in my size there? It just doesn’t make sense.”
Suddenly Derek sees what Spencer is saying and he finishes: “Unless the unsub doesn’t work at a funeral home or cemetery, but makes coffins. I’m contacting Hotch and Garcia.”
He dials Garcia and anxiously waits for her to pick up. “Hot stuff, how’s my little genius?” she doesn’t even manage her normal greetings and he can’t blame her, but luckily he has good news for her.
“Well, certainly still a genius,” he tells her. “Can you check for coffin makers and crosscheck that with your list?”
“Yeah, just hang in there for a moment.” He can hear her typing before she exclaims triumphantly: “There, got him. Theodore Webb. Owns multiple properties that Reid might be at.”
“You’re amazing, baby girl,” Derek smiles. “I’ll call Hotch.”
“I know and I’ll call Hotch, you stay with our Einstein. We’ll pin this asshole down and bring him in,” Garcia says before hanging up.
He quickly relays the information to Spencer, who doesn’t seem equally enthusiastic. He probably doesn’t want to have false hope, but Derek isn’t willing to let the feeling go, so he fills the air between them with good memories, fun gossip and happy endings of old cases.
Still, he can’t help but stay tense throughout the entire hour it takes them to locate Webb. Hotch offered to have JJ take over while they went on the raids, but he can’t leave Spencer, not now, not like this.
Besides, he’s sure he’ll kill Webb the moment he sees him.
So instead he watches the seconds tick by, not even aware of what he’s saying until they bring someone in. He’s surprised by the venom in his voice as he reports to Spencer: “They’re marching him in.”
Webb isn’t that impressive, but Derek can feel his fists clench as he watches them take his fingerprints and picture.
He feels smug and Derek wants to punch the expression off his face, only stopped by Spencer asking: “What’s his story?”
With effort he tears his glare from Webb and turns to his tablet as he answers: “Apparently his sister disappeared when he was young. They buried an empty coffin, since they never found her. According to an angry post he made back then, he blames his parents for not caring enough to find her, even if they truly did their best.”
Derek can’t bring himself to feel bad for the guy. Sure, it’s terrible when someone disappears, he knows that, he sees it in his aunt so often. But that doesn’t excuse taking people and burying them alive.
That doesn’t excuse taking Spencer!
He keeps on glaring at the file for a few minutes as if that will change anything, before he stomps off to grab a coffee, Spencer in his hands.
From the coffee machine he can see the interrogation room and the viewing room. He knows it’s stupid to go with all the emotions he feels, but he also needs to see the man who dared to take his pretty boy from him.
After telling Spencer where they’re going he makes his way over to the viewing room, forgetting his coffee at the machine.
Emily and JJ are there watching Rossi and Hotch interviewing Webb, but they’re immediately distracted by Spencer when they come in. Derek takes the moment to look at Webb, who is still sitting there, looking highly average, yet twisted to sinister by Derek’s mind.
Rossi is explaining to him how giving them Spencer’s location is in his best interest and Webb just shrugs: “Like I said, if you cared enough, you would have found him already.”
Derek can’t believe what he’s hearing. This guykidnapped Spencer, put him in a coffin and buried him alive, and now he has the nerve to claim they don’t care when he doesn’t even know them. He can’t help but scoff: “Is he really saying we don’t care enough about Spencer to find him?”
“Yeah,” Emily replies, “it’s been half an hour since he’s been brought in and it’s the only thing he’s said ever since he got processed.”
Red creeps over Derek’s vision and he’s already starting to walk towards the door as he hears himself say: “I’m going to punch him.”
There is just so much rage inside him.
How dare this man take Spencer.
How dare he sit there acting high and mighty when Derek has just spend three hours listening to Spencer trying to hold it together, while death looms over his head, unable to feel hope.
“Morgan. No!” He’s stopped by JJ and Emily before he can get out of the room and he tries to fight him as they tell him it will ruin the case.
“JJ, back off,” he snaps. “I’m punching him. Here hold the phone.”
He tries to hand her Spencer, but she refuses to take it, knowing he won’t risk accidentally hanging up by dropping it or forcing it into her hand. However, before he can try and convince her a heartbreaking shout comes out of the phone: “NO!”
Immediately worry overtakes him and he forgets all about punching Webb as he asks: “Are you okay, pretty boy?”
For one horrible moment, Spencer is quiet, then he says: “Let me talk to Webb.”
“What?” all three of them reply at the sudden switch.
“Yeah,” Spencer explains. “I can convince Webb you do care and to give you the information.”
Derek doesn’t want to let Spencer anywhere near Webb and quickly shakes his head with a frown that Emily counters with a quirked brow that tells him she’s considering it. He turns to JJ quickly, who gives him an apologetic look.
“I’ll ask Hotch.” Emily takes her win and leaves.
“Are you sure about this?” Derek asks, hoping Spencer will change his mind, but knowing the chance is small.
“Do you have a better plan?” Spencer shoots back and Derek is reminded of the fact that his plan was punching Webb, so he just sighs: “I hope you know what you’re doing.”
At that moment Hotch enters and asks: “Reid?”
“Yes, sir?” comes the immediate and proper reply.
“Are you certain you can do this?” Hotch also checks. “If Webb isn’t convinced, we’ll loose our only chance, do you understand?”
Derek doesn’t want to hear that. Doesn’t want to hear that it’s this or nothing and nothing means the worst thing he’s ever had to go through.
He doesn’t know what he’ll do with himself if Spencer fails and dies.
Sure, he’ll try anything to get Webb to talk, protocol be dammed, but that might not be enough and if he himself would fail too, then he won’t ever recover. He hates this uncertainty.
“I’m sure,” Spencer, however, answers clearly, not sounding uncertain at all, which calms Derek enormously.
Before Derek can think of the possibility that Hotch will force him to hand the phone over, the unit chief curtly nods: “Okay. Morgan, come on.”
When they enter Derek snarls at Webb, who snottily asks: “Oeh, what’s this, more agents to try and intimidate me?”
“No. This is SSA Derek Morgan, on the phone is SSA Dr. Spencer Reid, the man you kidnapped and buried,” Hotch introduces them. “He wants to speak with you.”
“Dr. Reid?” Webb is obviously taken aback at the title, it seems they were victims of opportunity, doesn’t matter how many loved ones they actually had. “He wants to talk to me?”
“Yes,” it’s Spencer who answers him. “Hi, Theodore. I heard about what happened to your sister. I’m really sorry about that, I can’t imagine.”
Derek knows it’s a good tactic to sympathize, but he can only feel anger that Spencer, who has been through so much, trivializes all his own hurts again, just to make this fucker feel better.
“What do you know about that?” Webb sounds defensive, which is good. They’ve broken to his aloof act and unbalanced him.
“I know you blame your parents,” Spencer tells him. “I know you think they didn’t care enough to find her and that you had to bury an empty coffin, because she was never found. And I think burying me, is you doing me a favor, because you think that no one cares enough about me and that I would be happier off dead. This is you showing me mercy.”
The words punch Derek in the gut.
He cares so much about Spencer and the other might have never realized. This might be an act, but the words ring too true.
His resolve to confess his feelings once they’ve found Spencer hardens. His pretty boy will never go through another day without knowing how much he means to Derek and how much he loves him.
“So?” is all Webb says in return, however.
“Well, I want to thank you for your kindness,” Spencer replies and even if Derek knows he doesn’t mean it, it’s only Hotch’s eyebrows that keep him at bay.
“You do?” Webb sounds practically delighted and Derek wants to punch him so bad.
“Yeah, I do,” Spencer on the other hand, happily agrees. “Without you, I wouldn’t have known how much my team cares about me, but now I do. The people around me have been working nonstop to find you and with that me, but even in such a stressful situation, they haven’t left me alone to face my biggest fear, the dark. SSA Morgan- Can you see him?”
Derek nearly smiles at Spencer’s masterful manipulation, but looks surprised when his name is called and Webb turns to him. That in turn, causes him to glare.
Webb swallows and confirms he can see Derek, before Spencer goes on: “So, SSA Morgan is a real alpha guy, always needs to do something, can’t stand sitting by. Do you know the type?”
“Oh yeah,” with the way Webb says it, it’s probably his father.
“Despite all that, he has sat with me the entire time,” Spencer tells Webb. “He sat with me for, what I think, is three hours and just talked. He told me embarrassing stories and reminded me of all the good memories I have with this team. Do you know the worth of people like that in your life, Theodore?”
A lump forms in Derek’s throat.
Of course he has sat with Spencer. He won’t ever leave the other, fuck, he should have told Spencer sooner how much he means to him.
“I- I do.” Webb is wavering, they all know it.
“And thanks to you, I know how much I have,” Spencer says. “I won’t get to enjoy it, but it’s nice to die knowing I was loved. I only ever had my mom growing up, but now I know I’ll spend last moments of my life surrounded by true family, even if it’s just over the phone.”
Derek wants to cry at Spencer’s words, but instead he watches Webb’s face, knowing they need all the cues they can get.
Webb looks like he’s convinced, but also like he doesn’t want to be, like it challenges his world view that someone has anyone that does care enough to find them, so to speak. He protests: “But- But they didn’t find you.”
“No, they found you,” Spencer tells him gently. “They found the key to finding me. That’s the point right? Caring enough to find me?”
“No,” Webb says petulantly, not wanting to give in, “they have to find you on their own.”
Derek nearly throttles him, but Spencer is quicker in asking: “Do you want to hear a fact, Theodore?”
The shift takes them all by surprise and confusedly Webb says: “Y- Yeah?”
“Did you know that there are 17,000 current missing person’s cases and 13,000 unidentified bodies in the USA?” Spencer asks. “I see it every day. Thousands of people go missing without ever being found. What happened to your sister was terrible, but your parents did everything right. It’s people that take others, who rip families apart and take people from their loved ones, who cause the grief, who didn’t care enough. And it is tragically common. But you can help solve one case today. You can make a difference.”
It is silent.
Derek nearly smiles. Spencer manages to twist emotions and statistics so well together that it amazes Derek every single day. Now hopefully Webb will agree enough to give them Spencer’s location.
Anxiously they wait as a war wages on Webb’s face.
“I buried him at Jackson Cemetery,” Webb is finally convinced and Derek nearly collapses with relief as Webb adds: “The grave of Sophie Ford.”
Hotch looks at Rossi, who confirms: “It was on our potential lists, I was there earlier today. He’s not lying.”
With that confirmed they’re out the room in no time, Hotch already calling out JJ to get a machine excavator to the cemetery.
When she gets back to him with a politician, who is refusing due to integrity of the dead, Hotch practically tears the phone out of her hand to rip, whoever is on the other side, a new one. By the time he hangs up they have permission and are nearly at the cars.
It’s only when they’re on the short drive (and Derek will never forget that Spencer was only six minutes away that whole time), that he remembers Spencer won’t have any clue what’s happening and fills him in: “Sorry for not updating you. We’re on our way to the cemetery. Hotch yelled really hard at a bunch of politicians and we’re allowed to bring a mechanical excavator onto the terrain to get you out as fast as we can.”
There is no reaction.
Derek’s heart drops.
Did Spencer fall unconscious while he was distracted? Did he die without Derek taking note, still alone in the end?
“Pretty boy?” he almost doesn’t dare to ask.
“I’m here.” The relief of hearing Spencer’s voice is overshadowed by how far away he sounds.
“Are you okay? What’s going on there, talk to me?” It’s a demand at this point, but Derek is past caring about that right now.
“I- I don’t know what to feel,” Spencer confesses and the fact that he’s disassociating slightly shouldn’t be comforting, but the alternatives are so much worse.
“Feel relief, okay,” Derek tells him forcefully, willing Spencer to hold out till the end. “We’re getting you out of there. We have shovels. If need be, I’m digging you out of there myself.”
“I’m looking forwards to it,” Spencer smiles, even giving a soft laugh that Derek will forever cling to. “How long will I have to wait?”
“We’re getting there at 5:40,” Derek says. “The mechanical excavator is getting there at 6, he’ll have you out at 6:20. You won’t even have to pass out, pretty boy.”
“Good, that’s good. I’m waiting on you guys,” Spencer replies, but he’s not sounding enthusiastic enough yet and the sentence is choppy, so Derek promises: “And I’ll be there the entire time.”
He isn’t going to break that promise, he vows as he gets out of the car and sprints into the cemetery with Rossi, who knows the way, shovels in hand.
When they get to the grave of Sophie Ford, Derek is about to lay Spencer down, but decides to tell him first. Spencer weakly protest, which is worrying and makes Derek more anxious to dig. Luckily he is easily convinced to let Derek dig, if he’s close by.
Even with their (mostly Derek’s) frantic digging, the two of them aren’t going very fast and Derek is cursing more with each shovel.
He knows that he just has to wait for the mechanical excavator, but now that he’s finally doing something, he wants it to work. He wants to see results. He wants to see Spencer.
God what he wouldn’t give to hug Spencer right now.
Then he notices Spencer calling out, sounding scared. He drops his shovel immediately and Emily picks it up, as he falls to his knees and picks up the phone again: “Pretty boy?”
Spencer sighs in relief with him there and Derek feels guilty about nearly breaking his promise already by not being there. Spencer starts with a wobbly voice: “I’m feeling weak. My- My body is heavy.”
“Just hang in there okay,” Derek tells him, trying not to let the knot in his stomach consume him as he checks his watch. “They’ll be here in ten minutes, you just gotta stay awake until then. Once they’re here, you’re going to be out in twenty, but you gotta make it.”
He’s desperately begging at the end, but he’s past caring as he yells: “Start digging faster!”
They’re already going as fast as they can. Emily is a beast and Hotch has taken over from Rossi and is also digging steadily.
“Don’t worry, Der…” Spencer’s weak voice comes over the phone and Derek worries how it doesn’t sound like a nickname, but an inability to keep going.
“Bit too late for that, Spence,” he says anyway, hoping to keep Spencer engaged by joking, “You’re going to make my hair fall out with the stress.”
It’s silent for a beat too long, before Spencer replies: “You don’t have hair.”
He sounds genuinely confused and Derek starts to cry again. His little genius shouldn’t be confused over that joke, but he also doesn’t want to worry Spencer, so with his broken voice, he merely agrees: “No, no I don’t.”
Spencer doesn’t reply.
“Stay with me, pretty boy,” Derek begs. “Eight more minutes, okay?” He looks up and yells: “Where the fuck are they?”
“They’re on their way,” JJ attempts to calm him down. “The ambulance is already here.”
“We can’t very well use an ambulance without the stupid digger, now can we?” he snaps back, feeling bad about it, but unable to do anything else, but feel anger, because it was better than the fear. So, when JJ tries to speak again, he snarls: “No, I am calm!”
“It’s going to be okay,” Spencer says over the phone and Derek immediately turns his attention towards the other, clutching the phone tightly as he agrees: “Yeah, it is, it is, just hang in there.”
“My life was okay,” Spencer answers, giving up instead of hanging in there.
“Don’t say that, Spencer. You- You don’t get to say that, alright?” Derek is crying even more now, it just can’t end like this. “You’re gonna make it, you just- just hang in there.” He doesn’t know who he’s trying to convince.
“You made my life okay.” If Derek weren’t already crying, he definitely would be now.
“And I will keep making it okay. More than okay. Amazing even! Yeah, I’m going to make your life amazing from here on out, I swear,” he promises, knowing he’ll do anything for Spencer, if he just keeps breathing, keeps living.
Spencer doesn’t react.
“Spencer. Pretty boy? Reid,” Derek is practically pleading right now, desperate to keep Spencer with him. “Come on, man. Six minutes.”
“De-rek,” it sounds like that’s already a struggle. “What will your mom make?”
For a moment Derek has all but forgotten about Spencer promising to have dinner with him and his mom, but soon he remembers and starts talking, anything to keep Spencer listening. “Her specialty is Mac ‘N Cheese. She used to make it all the time when I was a kid. She uses like, three types of cheese and it’s the best ever. So, I- I’d ask her to make that. It’s- It’s really good, Spence, you have to try it.”
“Yeah?” Spencer asks softly.
Through his tears, Derek agrees: “Yeah. But first you’d have to sit through the snacks. We always have a bunch of snacks before dinner when guests are over. My mom has the sort of philosophy that if her guests don’t leave with a- with a stomach ache from the amount of food they’ve eaten, then it’s gone wrong or- or something.”
He’s struggling to keep it together as he waits for a reaction that isn’t coming, so he goes on: “And- And we’ll have desserts. I’ll convince her to make Eton Mess. You ever had that?”
Again there is no reply and Derek hopes Spencer is still listening, even if he’s talking nonsense about a dessert. “Well, it’s- it’s this thing and, uhm-” he has to swallow thickly and gasps for air to keep his voice from being taken by his tears “-and you crush meringues and cut up strawberries and you- you mix it up with whipped cream. It’s- It’s really nice. You’d-” He slips up and uses past tense, while Spencer is going to live and going to the dinner. He curses: “Fuck! You’re- you’re going to love it.”
As if rewarding him for his dedication, Spencer hums and Derek’s gasp in relief that is amplified by the mechanical excavator appearing at the end of the street. He immediately reports: “The mechanical excavator is nearby. Just wait a little while longer.”
“Okay,” Spencer says weakly and Derek starts to sob at how small he sounds.
Then he notices how slowly and carefully the mechanical excavator is going and the outrage stops his tears as he screams: “What the fuck is he doing! Spencer is dying down there! I don’t fucking care about the graves, those assholes are already dead anyway. He needs to save Spencer.”
Derek is up and walking before he has even realized it, struggling out of JJ’s grip as the phone slides out of his hand.
He keeps on walking, anger building up.
What do they hope to protect?
Their fucking public image.
Hotch is suddenly in front of him, grabbing his shoulders and calmly saying: “He’s just doing what he has to, Morgan. If we destroy the headstones, or you do something rash, then we could loose our jobs.”
“I’m going to kill him!” he shouts back anyway, uncaring about his job at this point. He needs to do something, anything, and right now that operator is not moving fast enough while Spencer is slipping away and he can’t just sit there anymore. He can’t.
So, he starts to push back and Hotch starts to fight him, attempting to hold him back, which is an effort. They spar together sometimes.
Derek wins often.
But then Rossi is there as well as Emily, both holding his arms as he screams: “Let me go! Fucking let me go! I’m going to kill him, I’m going to kill him! Fucking move faster!”
“Morgan,” Hotch barks. “Stand down. You’re not helping.”
“Come on, man,” Rossi tells him. “Keep it together. We have time, he’s going to make it.”
“You don’t know that,” Derek snaps. “You didn’t hear him. He’s dying, Rossi. I don’t care if I loose my job, just force that motherfucker to save Spencer.”
“Spencer will care about his job when he gets out of there,” Emily states calmly as if it’s a fact they’re going to get him out.
He wavers slightly, not struggling, but also not standing down. However, Rossi is like a shark and pounces on the hesitation when he feels it: “We also don’t know how to operate that thing. If we want to get him out, we need the guy, Morgan.”
“I’m still keeping an eye on him,” Derek gives in, shaking off their slowly loosening grip as they let go.
Emily walks back to JJ, who’s still at the grave, Rossi following her after eyeing Derek for a moment, but Hotch stays put, something Derek pointedly ignores as he yells at the operator to move. Later he’s going to be thankful the man took it all in stride and kept on working, not stopping to pick a fight, but now he’s only angry.
Derek watches the machine excavator like a hawk, cursing both the operator and the dead that are buried in the way.
Still, slowly, but steadily, it approaches Spencer’s grave.
He’s about to let it go when JJ suddenly slaps him and yells: “What were you thinking running off like that? Do you know how much you scared, Spence? God, I can’t believe you. He needs you with him, not yelling at some guy.”
There are tears still streaking her face and he isn’t sure if she’s shaking with rage or fear.
“JJ, I’m sor-”
“No, save it for the phone,” she snaps. “You’re going back there right now and apologizing. Don’t think Garcia won’t hear about this. Or you mother. I’m the media liaison, don’t think I don’t have her number.”
She doesn’t wait as she stomps off and Derek practically scurries after her
He doesn’t waste any time when he arrives. “I’m so so sorry for leaving you, pretty boy. I- I just had to do something and that asshole was going too slow and I wanted to-” JJ clears his throat and he remembers what she said, so he quickly changes course. “But I’m here now.”
“Derek,” Spencer sighs, sounding relieved, even if he’s obviously crying. God, Derek feels like he’s the worst for walking off like that, but there was just so much energy in his body and he couldn’t handle just standing by anymore.
“Yeah, Spencer, it’s me and I’m not leaving again.” But he’s not making that mistake again. Now he just has to find something to ensure Spencer stays awake. Aha, yes, of course. “Can you hum for me, pretty boy? Just make some noise,” he asks.
Spencer starts to hum what sounds like a bad rendition of Tell Me Whyby the Backstreets Boys and Derek would laugh, if he wasn’t so certain it would turn into tears.
Then suddenly Spencer starts to peter off and Derek’s heartbeat skyrockets as he panics and yells: “Spencer! You talk to me right now!”
A startled noise comes over the line, before Spencer starts to hum again.
Slowly Derek’s heart rate goes down, until it happens again.
Each time Spencer is less responsive and Derek anxiously keeps an eye on the mechanical excavator creeping closer and the clock. They’re supposed to have until 6:25 before Spencer passes out, but it’s 6:13 and he’s already struggling.
He fades out again and Derek wakes him with yelling, hoping he’ll start humming again. Instead he’s graced with words, which he would be happier about, if it weren’t Spencer whimpering: “I’m scared, Derek. I don’t- I don’t wanna die.”
God, Spencer is still young. He doesn’t deserve to be this scared. He doesn’t deserve being so close and wanting to live, while feeling it’s never going to happen.
Forcefully, as if that will make it true, Derek says: “You’re not going to. You’re going to live. I’m going to hug you down there, okay. I swear. You are going to get out of there awake. I’m not taking that back, okay? Never.”
They’re being forced back as the mechanical excavator finally starts to dig, but Derek can’t bring himself to be happy about it. He just feel empty.
Spencer is silent.
He wants to ask for him, to beg for a reply, but his voice has been taken.
Suddenly the speaker crackles to life and Derek’s heart surges, hoping that Spencer is still there and holding on the best he can. The words are soft and he can make out: “I’ve always…”
Then Spencer falls silent and Derek doesn’t hear what he meant to say. The voice that had been stolen from him, returns as he screams: “SPENCER!” loudly into the phone, but he gets no reply, the other is truly gone.
It isn’t fair.
It’s 6:18, they were supposed to have until 6:25. He promised Spencer he’ll get him out of there and then give him a hug.
‘I just thought you wanted to know that when I stop reacting, I’m probably still alive,’ Spencer’s exact words float through his brain and when he looks up, he sees everyone standing there, as defeated and empty as he is.
But there’s still hope.
“Dig, you motherfucker,” he yells. “He’s still alive down there. Just fucking hurry, you son of a bitch.”
The next 17 minutes are the worst minutes of his life as the scoops full of dirt seem to be taken out of the grave at a snail’s pace.
He screams into the phone, not even seeing the other’s ghostly faces, because the line stays silent.
Spencer is not talking to him.
Spencer is dying.
And all the mechanical excavator can do is slowly dig him up.
All Derek can do, is pray Spencer’s still breathing when they find him.
Next to him the EMTs are waiting with a stretcher, the media is already swarming at the gates like vultures, a metaphor he already hates.
Still the cemetery feels silent.
As if there is a bubble keeping out the noise as the world holds its breath.
The coffin that’s finally unearthed is a beautiful black that shines, but Derek has no eyes for it, he just jumps into the grave and rips off the lid to find a passed out Spencer. He looks almost peaceful, lying on the pale blue satin in a three piece suit.
Immediately Derek takes him into his arms, pressing his ear against Spencer’s chest, clutching his body tight as if he can press his own life force into the other, hand in his soft curls that he has always silently adored.
“He’s still alive,” he doesn’t know how hard he yells it, but all the sound suddenly rushes back to him, the world exhaling again alongside Spencer.
After that everything moves a mile a minute, he lifts Spencer’s limp body high enough for the paramedics to take him, before Hotch and Emily haul him out of the grave and usher him into the ambulance alongside Spencer, before it tears off to the hospital.
Derek hears snippets throughout the fifteen minute ride to the hospital. “Oxygen levels dangerously low” “twenty more minutes and he would have died” But he can’t focus on anything but Spencer’s pale face behind the oxygen mask.
At the hospital, there’s little the doctors can do, save putting him on oxygen and checking him for wounds and drugs as well as cleaning him up, while they wait to see if Spencer will wake up.
One of the EMTs, who was at the cemetery with him, squeezes his shoulder and let’s him know where they’ll be taking Spencer after checking him over. A nurse, he doesn’t get the name off leads him there, compassionate smile all the way, before settling him down next to Spencer.
Faintly he hears her say: “It’s always the roughest with the people closest,” but he doesn’t have the wits to take it in.
It is as if all the emotions of the past five hours have finally caught up to him and it has all become too much, causing his brain to turn the emotions nob off.
At some point Emily and JJ enter the room, but Derek barely hears JJ as she tells him that she has called Garcia to tell her Spencer’s still alive and that they’re waiting to see when he’ll wake up.
He just blinks.
Then he sees Emily giving him a small encouraging smile and suddenly there are tears streaming down his face, completely silent.
Spencer’s going to make it.
He’s staying alive.
Derek will get to see his beautiful eyes again, will get to hold more than his limp hand, will get to tell him he loves him and hear Spencer babble on about an article he read recently. He will get to see Spencer live.
His brain isn’t fully comprehending that beyond flooding him with emotions that he can’t get a grip on as tries to process that they actually did it. They found him.
JJ wraps an arm around him and he gratefully leans into her touch, careful to ensure Spencer is still in his line of sight and his hand tight in Derek’s. The hand is warm and while it isn’t returning his hold, it feels alive and that’s so much more than Derek hoped to ask for.
Rossi and Hotch enter the room as well, having wrapped up the last bit of the case still left at the precinct, before coming down.
Both men clap Derek on his back and he’s glad for that, despite the fact that he feels a bit like an idiot for being hit so hard by the whole thing.
The rest of the team also cares for Spencer, but they obviously now know that Derek cares in a different way as well and that it left him a wreck. He feels exposed and raw, but today had just been the breaking point for something that was a long time coming.
Spencer and Derek have been orbiting each other for years now with him groaning to Garcia about how pretty Spencer is and how unfair that is for him (the one secret she has managed to keep, even if JJ figured it out on her own and Emily raised her brow at him a few weeks into working with them as she raised her own rainbow pen with an smirk as her eyes flicked to Spencer’s desk then back to him, her look far too understanding).
In hindsight he wasn’t good at hiding.
Luckily Spencer is oblivious.
…Or trying to ignore your advances, a small part of his brain whispered, despite the fact that Garcia has often told him how into him Spencer is. She even had a list of clues.
God, all the emotions are confusing and his chest both feels to big and empty, while simultaneously being filled to the brim with every possible thing it is possible to feel. He hates this feeling and the only thing that will make it a little bit okay again, is if Spencer wakes up.
But that doesn’t happen yet.
At some point the others leave to grab dinner. It’s already around 8 PM and none of them have had much time to eat ever since Spencer disappeared, still Derek refuses to go with them, gripping Spencer’s hand tighter and keeping a close eye on the still figure, as he ignores their knowing looks while they leave.
Then he’s all alone with Spencer and the beeping machines. The stillness in his face looking more unnatural in the quiet and the hospital sheets behind him reminding Derek of the coffin.
He hates seeing Spencer like this. He’s a visual person and while Spencer’s whimpers and sobs over the phone will forever haunt him, he doesn’t think he will ever forget the moment he opened that coffin and found Spencer on the brink of death, laying there almost peaceful in the tranquility that came with being so close to fading.
And suddenly he can’t take it anymore. Softly he squeezes Spencer’s hand and hoarsely whispers: “Spencer? Pretty boy? Please wake up, I- I can’t- you gotta- Please, just wake up.”
Spencer doesn’t react, save for his eyes flitting slightly behind his lids.
“Come on, please, don’t do this to me,” Derek pleads. “I- I just need to see your face. I need to know you’re okay. Please. I- I swore I would tell you that I- that I love you. I wanted to so many times, but I- I never did. You gotta give me chance, so just wake up. Ineed you.”
He hold’s Spencer’s hand to his lips, bowing his head as he kisses it, before resting his forehead against the hand, hoping Spencer will wake up soon, because even after all that waiting next to the phone, waiting without Spencer’s voice is so much worse.
At that moment, almost as if commanded, Spencer’s hand twitches.
Immediately Derek looks up, watching as Spencer furrows his brow lightly, before wiggling his nose, annoyed at the tubes giving him extra oxygen. Then, like a miracle, Spencer blinks open those beautiful brown eyes, his world slowly coming into focus again as he winces against the light, croaking: “De-rek?”
Derek lets out a sharp breath of relief, before hugging Spencer as tight as he can, getting another confused, “Derek?” in return. Which is a fair assessment, seeing that Derek never dared to hug him before now.
“Pretty boy,” he chokes, unable to say more.
Spencer seems to catch on and tentatively hugs Derek back. Those thin arms, holding him as tight as the newly awakened limbs can, fingers clutching his shirt, is the best hug he has ever gotten and in that moment there is nothing more than them, no doubts or fears. It feel natural as he says: “I love you.”
“Wha?” Spencer replies, but in that moment the floodgates are opened and Derek just rambles: “I love you so fucking much, pretty boy. I have always, but I- I never dared, but now- Fuck, I almost lost you again and I just couldn’t- I love you. I love you, okay? Never doubt how much I fucking love you.”
“Derek?” Spencer says. “Do- Do you mean that?”
He looks so horribly vulnerable and scared and Derek wants to take all the bad things that happened to him and all the burdens he has had to carry, until he can just accept Derek’s love without doubt, but that isn’t for today. Today he just says: “God, I would let the world burn if it made you happy. I love you, Spencer Reid, my pretty boy. Properly and entirely.”
Then, ever so slowly, a grin starts to spread over Spencer’s face and it might just be the most beautiful thing Derek has ever seen, but it’s not as beautiful as Spencer replying: “I love you to. I- I tried to tell you, but-”
He doesn’t finish the sentence, they both know what he means and neither seems to want to ruin the moment, by mentioning the terrible day.
Spencer’s still wearing an oxygen mask, so Derek settles for dropping a small kiss on his forehead, before gripping Spencer’s hand as tight as he dares, letting his head rest on Spencer’s stomach, while Spencer’s other hand rests on his head.
For the first time since he noticed Spencer missing, Derek feels peace.
He feels peace like he hasn’t done since he was a kid, content to just be there and tiredly watch as nurses and doctors come to ask Spencer questions, which Spencer is able to answer, because he’s alive and well and he’s here.
A giddy feeling rises in his chest.
Spencer Reid loves him.
Spencer loves him. Him!
There is still so much they have to talk about, so many times Derek still has to tell Spencer how much he loves him, but for now he is content to know they have all that time together. Because there is a future and they can build towards it, together.
He misses when he falls asleep, the whole day catching up on his as he lies there, Spencer holding him the best he can, the both of them okay with hope to see tomorrow, the other by their side.
Spencer is found and Derek is calm.
Do you ever start writing something for that one scene? But then that one scene needs exposition, so it turns from 2k into 11k, but then your fic isn’t working. So you rewrite it. And it still isn’t working and you realize it’s because you don’t have enough info. So you write the whole thing again, but from a different POV. And ONLY then does it work. Ever had that?
Anyway, thank Derek clutching Spencer’s limp body in a grave for this whole series, it was meant to be nothing lmao
And in case you’re wondering: yes that was a Leverage reference.
Also I haven’t often written such emotional turmoil, so I hope I did okay with it!
Spencer has been taken by an unsub that buries his victims alive and only has a phone that cannot be traced as the clock slowly ticks down with the rest trying to save him. Derek is on the phone with him, emotions running high as they have to see whether Spencer can be saved or if they’re too late, both to find him and for one of them to tell the other how they truly feel.
Warnings: potential death, buried alive, panic, Spencer nearly giving up on wanting to live
Spencer has in the past described the space between waking and sleep, when you’ve forgotten all things terrible that happened to you, as blissful. However, waking up in the dark, confined space without knowing how or why, is anything but.
Soon the memories rush back and Spencer’s mood does not improve.
The team is chasing an unsub that buries his victims alive and leaves them with a phone too old to be tracked, both killing them and psychologically torturing their loved ones as they have to listen to them die. So far, they haven’t been able to locate a single body, even if they have confirmed seven dead.
Not that any of that matters to Spencer right now, because all he can do is panic. He slams his hands against the top of the box he’s in and yells, but no one seems to hear him.
He screams and trashes, bruising his body, and gets no answer.
Spencer can make all the noise he wants, but no one will hear him. He can die there, all alone, without anyone ever knowing he was there. Without having anyone there.
Tears stream out of his eyes and he tries to stifle the gasps, remembering equations about air use even if it’s only making it worse.
God, he’s so alone.
He remembers he should have a phone and mages to calm himself a bit as he goes groping around his body to find it, trying not to think of the fact that he’s wearing a fancy suit, so the unsub must have redressed him while he was knocked out.
When he locates the phone, he types in a number he knows by heart with shaky hands, hoping the man on the other side will pick up, despite the stress he must be under with Spencer missing.
“This better be important,” is snapped at him after a tense second.
“M-Morgan?” He knows it’s Derek, but in that moment his relief of just hearing Derek’s voice is so big that he can only whimper the name.
“Yeah, pretty boy, it’s me,” Derek’s voice immediately turns gentle and Spencer feels his eyes prick with tears he refuses to let out again. He isn’t going to spend his last hours on this earth, crying into the phone. He’s going to help solve the case, save someone’s life, if he can.
Still, that resolve isn’t enough to prevent him from being terrified and with a wobbly voice, he chokes: “It’s so, so dark.”
He hasn’t taken the time yet to process it all and with Derek there on the line, the difference between where he wants to be and where he is, is so big that it all just catches up to him.
His heart is beating loudly in his ears and he can’t see a thing. The fact that the box is too small for anyone to sneak up on him would be more comforting, were it not for the fact that he’s nearly suffocating in the tight space.
“Hey, hey, you’re okay, you’re alright, just calm down, okay? Just breathe,” Derek’s voice cuts through the panic and he hears the man breathe over the phone. Unsteadily he follows, relieved he has Derek with him, even if it’s over a crappy speaker. “Yeah, like that, you’re doing great, pretty boy. Just keep breathing.”
“I- I’m okay,” he finally manages after a moment.
“That’s good,” Derek tells him. “Can you tell me where you are?”
“In a box underground, Morgan,” he snaps, before apologizing. “Sorry, just- fuck- I mean, yeah, you know.”
“I know,” Derek sounds almost sad and Spencer hates it and doesn’t want the other to hear him like this, even if he never wants him to leave either.
Instead of replying he focuses on feeling around, while in the background Hotch gives the order to call Garcia again and see what she got on camera’s. The box isn’t rough, but soft, like a bed. It takes him a second before he realizes why.
“It’s a coffin,” he says, almost at his breaking point. The unsub truly buried him. “I’m in a coffin,” he repeats still slightly disbelieving, even if he really should be used to this in his line of work. Still having the odd happen to him is different.
“A coffin?” he can’t blame Derek’s reaction. “Where is he even getting coffins?”
“I don’t know, maybe he works at a funeral home,” Spencer says, trying to help to built the profile and distract himself from the fact that he’s in a coffin. “But he has money. I’m in a really fancy suit by the feel of it.”
“Good work,” Derek tells him and Spencer isn’t sure why the other is complimenting him so much, but he isn’t going to point it out, because right now it’s the only thing he’s able to cling to. “Do you smell anything or hear something? Anything could help, you’re already doing so much. Just keep it up and focus your senses, okay?”
“Y- yeah, yeah, okay,” Spencer swears he’s usually more eloquent, but with no unsub to talk down all he can focus on is himself and Derek’s comfort, which is foreign enough to throw him off balance and make him feel too open and vulnerable to think of words when he has no place to hide away in.
So, he tries to ignore it all and holds his breath as he listens. He has once read about room noise people record to put into artificial silences in recordings, because no noise sounds wrong, since the brain calibrates for the natural noise in the room.
The coffin sounds like that.
It sounds like nothing, an empty space too far away for any noise to penetrate, save the sounds coming from the phone, which right now is only Derek’s breathing. It sounds wrong, like there should be no life there… and that’s probably exactly the point.
Spencer exhales and focuses on the scents, before he can panic again. Not that it helps much, because the air is starting to get stale, a stark reminder that the clock is ticking down and he doesn’t have much time left.
He reports: “There is nothing odd about the sounds or smell, it’s just getting stale, which is to be expected. The average coffin has a volume of 886 liters and the average human 66 liters, which leaves me 820 liter, 164 of which are air. Without the panicking and with steady breaths, I have 5 and a half hours total. How long have I been missing?”
“We noticed you were gone half an hour after you went to get some air,” Derek tells him. “That was less than an hour ago.”
“Oh, okay.” Was his voice always that high? He swallows and cautiously asks “What- What time is it?”
“It’s 2:45,” Derek answers.
“Okay, so I have until seven at the worst, that’s- that’s still enough time, right?” It isn’t, they both know that. They haven’t found anyone yet, why would this time be different? Spencer feels a pit start to form in his stomach. He had already realized that he would die here, but it’s suddenly more real and the tears he has managed to hold at bay until now, start to flow out of his eyes.
He manages to silence the sniffles, but Derek must sense something, because he soothingly tells him: “We’ll find you, okay, pretty boy? Just hang in there.”
Spencer nods without realizing Derek can’t see him, while in the background Hotch’s muffled voice gives Derek an order.
“Hey, Reid, listen up,” Derek says, going for a lighter tone. “We need to know all you know, so I’m going to coach you through a interview, alright?”
“Ye- yeah, sure, okay, yeah, that’s- that’s good,” Spencer decides that anything is better than just lying there, even if he doesn’t really feel like remembering how he ended up there. He wants to help solve the case, even if they might be too late for him.
“Good,” Derek praises and Spencer feels slightly better. “Do you know what happened? Just close your eyes and try to remember. You went outside, where did you go?”
“I- I wanted to get some air,” Spencer recalls. “I couldn’t take it anymore, I wasn’t focusing, so I went outside. To the parking lot.”
“Alright, so you went to the parking lot. Was anyone there with you or were you alone?” Derek asks.
Spencer closes his eyes, no matter how redundant it might seem and tries to remember. He pictures the parking lot clearly as it was then. “No, it was calm. Lunch had finished half an hour before, so everyone was inside again.”
Derek hums, but before he can say anything Spencer sees someone in his minds eyes. “Wait. Wait,” he says. “I remember someone. Uhm, it was a- a guy. I- I think I spoke with him.”
“Very good,” he can almost picture Derek nodding with compassion and it makes something constrict in his chest. “Can you remember what he said? Or even your reply?
“It was only briefly, I don’t know,” Spencer’s voice sounds anguished even to his own ears. He hates not knowing and he’s even more scared of not remembering, of not being able to help.
“Anything helps, pretty boy, no matter how small a detail,” Derek reminds him. “Come on, you’ve been doing great.”
And Spencer tries. Tries to go back to that moment, suddenly recalling he got startled by a voice and turned around. The face is still unclear, but he hears what is being said.
“He asked if I had a light,” he says, chuckling slightly bitter. “And I did.” He knows how that sounds with the other habit he kicked once, so quickly explains: “I smoked briefly in college, quit before my third PhD, but found that having a light is a good way to start a conversation, so I still carry one out of habit.”
“So, you walk over to him to offer him the light,” Derek says. “What does he look like? Just try and focus on his face. Tell me how he looks.”
Spencer can picture the man. He was slightly taller and definitely buffer than him and the clothes he wore were expensive and preppy. He can see that much, but the face still eludes him and it is frustrating as fuck. He groans and slams down his fist, already hitting it on the lid, painfully reminding him where he is.
“Spencer? Pretty boy?” Derek asks him carefully and Spencer is pretty sure that’s the first time the other called him by his first name. Spencer would have more emotions about it, if he wasn’t about to die.
“I- I can’t see it,” his teeth are clenched, but he gets it out. “He’s right there and I can see him, but his face is blank. Fucking dammit.” He rarely swears, but it feels deserved. He is trying so hard to be useful, but he can’t even describe the unsub.
“It’s okay, baby, it’s okay. You’re okay, darling,” Derek says soothingly. He hasn’t heard the petnames in relation to him and it stumps him for a moment, resetting his system.
He doesn’t know if Derek did it on purpose (and he doesn’t want to think about the possibility), but the emotions he’s been suppressing in regards to Derek come bubbling to the surface and the last thing he wants to do is to think about them. So, he throws himself into his work, ignoring all else and trying to think logically.
“The unsub didn’t have a cigarette,” he blurts out in lieu of a reply, suddenly remember that part. “I remember walking up to light his cigarette, but I was too close when I noticed it was a piece of cloth. He attacked me when I saw. It was chloroform.”
“Good job,” something has changed in Derek’s voice, but he can’t focus on that right now. “We can track that.” A bit further away, he says: “Tell Garcia to track who bought chloroform.” Then he returns his attention to Spencer, asking: “Did you make eye contact with the unsub when he attacked you?”
Spencer furrows his brow, trying to remember that horrid moment wherein he realized he was fucked. It’s a blur of motion and then- There! He got it. With one piece, his brain quickly puzzles the rest together.
“He had blue eyes and blonde hair,” he says. “It was long, he made a joke about us having the same hair.” He quickly gives a description of the man that Derek pens down.
The unsub was handsome, but not like Derek was handsome. He had money rolling off him and a slickness that felt off. Spencer might have slept with him in another time, when he was younger and more naive.
Not that it matters now, he tries to focus on his description, which he finishes off. Almost as an afterthought he adds: “He was wearing a white shirt, which I found odd.”
“Why was that odd?” Derek asks.
“Well, if he has to dig a grave then I would assume he wouldn’t wear clothes that got dirty easily,” he shrugs, then he remember something he read when he was six and he had just buried his grandmother. “He didn’t even have time to dig a grave. It takes two workers three to six hours to dig a grave. The unsub dressed me up in nice clothes, I even think I have make up on my face and my nails are done. He takes the coffin thing seriously, I don’t think he would skip the 6 feet under.”
“So, he dug the grave before that,” Derek summarized, voice changing as hope creeped in. “Where would he have the privacy for that?”
“In the wild? But he barely gets that here, even outside the city with the grass everywhere and it’s too far of a drive. So somewhere in the city,” Spencer pulls up a map mentally.
“He has money,” Derek says. “He could own a property. I’ll ask Garcia to pull up satellite footage, a patch of recently dug graves will be spotted.”
“Yeah, the satellite scans for 6 ft holes, it has to be-” Spencer cuts himself off when he realizes and immediately feels like crying.
“Spencer? Pretty boy?” Derek asks when he falls silent for too long.
“I’m in a cemetery.” His voice is flat, because if it isn’t flat, he’ll be crying. He’s already buried in a full suit in a graveyard, even if he is never found, he’ll rest. He’ll rest and no one he loves will ever be able to visit him. He doesn’t believe in anything after death, except for a warm light, but he also knows nothing can be disproven and he doesn’t want to be alone forever.
“A cemetery?” Derek repeats. “That narrows it down, good job.”
“No,” there is a hollow space inside him and he feels it in his body and soul. “There are 48 cemeteries in Houston and approximately 43 burials each day. You’re not going to find me.”
Up until now there was hope, but that is gone. He’s in a grave in the ground and they’ll never find him in time. He’s going to die with only Derek on the phone for company, probably the team too, but they’ve been letting Derek do all the talking.
The truth he’s known since he woke up, finally catches up with him and with a finality, he repeats: “You’re not going to find me. I- I called because I wanted to help, but also to say goodbye. I don’t wanna die by myself.” He starts to cry unable to stop it anymore. “You-You need to record a message to give to my- my mom. I don’t want- wanna scare her by calling her now. Please- I-”
“You’re not going to die, Spence,” that’s JJ, finally speaking.
“Yeah, you can’t start thinking like that,” Derek adds.
“Please, just-” Spencer words fail him. He’s crying and all he wants is a hug, the affection he never dared to ask for and will now die without receiving. He doesn’t have anything except a coffin that feels empty despite its cramped-ness. Fuck, what he wouldn’t give hear his mom’s voice right now, but he can’t worry her.
Emily, his savior Emily, jumps in: “Of course, Reid, just give me a moment, okay? It won’t be the best quality, but she’ll hear your voice.” There are some hushed noises, before Emily speaks again: “You can talk now.”
“H- Hey, mom,” he starts, trying not to think of what his voice sounds like. “It’s me, Spencer. I, uhm, I’m calling- It’s- I just want you to know that I love you, okay, mom? And- And I’m so proud each day to- to be your son.”
How he is talking through the tears, he does not know, but he is. He’s also reminded of the anthrax attack of a while ago. It’s always him, isn’t it? But back then, he didn’t get to say more. He can tell her more this time.
“I’m- I’m not doing so well right now, but don’t worry, by the time you hear this I’ll- I’ll be resting and even- even if I- I won’t ever see you again, I know that-” he clears his throat “-that no matter what, I’ll always carry you with me, just like you will have me in- in your heart. And I- I hope that you have a- an amazing life, okay? Don’t give up because of me. I’ve written you so many letters and I’m ex- expecting to hear of all the good days you still- you still have to have. Even if they’re with- without- without me.”
He starts to sob and he can’t even bring himself to be embarrassed. He’s just so scared and no matter how many people are on the other side of the line, he’s all alone.
It takes him a moment to get his breathing under control again.
“I’m sorry,” he says, attempting a watery smile, because his mom always told him you can hear a smile. “I just miss you already. And- And I wish I could say goodbye properly, but you know how I am,” a sad chuckle, “didn’t want to- to worry you.”
He wipes his eyes, quite an achievement in the tight space, and sniffs, trying not to think of the fact that crying wastes oxygen.
“I- I wanted to thank you, for always being- being there for me. You’re the best m- mom I could have had,” Spencer finishes. “I- I love you and- and goodbye.”
It’s quiet for a moment, then Emily reports: “I got it. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it with me just in case we need it, but I hope I’ll get to throw this away soon.”
“Thank you,” he starts crying again, but this time it’s a silent weeping. “It was the best- the best thing in my life to work with you.”
“Spence-” JJ starts, but Spencer ignores her.
“You were all always so kind to me,” he says. He has to tell them. “That was good. No one else was ever nice. Except my mom, but she doesn’t count, she’s required to be nice to me.” A sudden thought occurs and he snorts. “Not that that stopped my dad.”
“Reid,” Hotch is stepping in and something in his tone requires Spencer to listen. “Do you have an estimate of the time you were buried. I need you to focus and tell us okay? Everything can help, you might be the key to catching this guy, before he takes anyone else. So focus, there are lives at stake.”
That actually helps. He may have already given up on himself, but he isn’t putting anyone else through this if he can help it.
He sniffles again, before running the timeline through his head and saying: “I- I’ve probably been buried at 2:15 at the earliest.”
“Good,” Hotch nods. “We’re going to canvas all the cemeteries for activity around that time as well as check all the traffic camera’s around the cemeteries, okay. Morgan will stay here with you, if you remember anything, tell him.”
“O- Okay,” for some reason Spencer feels small and tired now that he has nothing to do but wait until they find something.
“You did good work, Reid,” Hotch tells him. “Now hang in there.” And then he’s gone.
Spencer listens to everyone bustling out of the room and Hotch yelling. He knows that normally Hotch would never treat local law enforcement with anything but respect, but this isn’t really normally.
When the noise dies down, there is nothing to focus on except himself and his surroundings, so he asks: “What time is it?”
“It’s only three o’clock,” Derek assures him, or at least Spencer thinks that’s what the other is trying to do.
Only twenty minutes have passed since he called, but it feels like forever. He mentally runs the numbers again. If he did have 5 and half hours, he’ll die at a 7:45, but he’ll pass out 35 minutes before that due to oxygen deprivation. However with all the crying, he subtracts 45 minutes to be on the safe side.
“Hey, I calculated it again,” he says and Derek hums to signal he’s listening. “I’ll die around seven, but I’ll pass out at 6:25.”
“We’re not going to let that happen,” Derek says, voice tight.
“I- I know,” Spencer lies. “I just thought you would want to know that when I stop reacting, I’m probably still alive.”
“Oh, yeah,” Derek sounds taken aback. “That’s- That’s good.”
It’s suddenly awkward between them, which is so ironic that Spencer either wants to cry or laugh loudly. They’ve never been awkward before, Derek was one of the few people that Spencer has never had to feel awkward or uncomfortable around, but now that he’s on death’s door, there’s suddenly a barrier between them.
He remembers that Derek called him baby and darling, which he never does. He had tried to put it away, but his brain isn’t listening and now he’s wondering if Derek meant something with it. If Derek likes him back.
Spencer knows it’s an absurd thought. Even if Derek’s bi (which Spencer knows he is, he’s just more a lady’s man, so there goes that), he wouldn’t like Spencer. Spencer is awkward and a nerd, who doesn’t know when to shut up.
And Derek’s well, he’s Derek. Sexy, smart, funny, charming as hell. In short everything Spencer is not and very far out of the doctor’s league. Not to mention that Spencer is probably completely friend zoned by the man.
Besides, it’s not like it’s going to matter now. Spencer is in a coffin somewhere and steadily running out of air. Telling Derek he’s always loved him, will not do anything good. He’ll only leave the other guilty or sad or angry.
He wants Derek to remember him as he’s always been, not desperate last words that will lead to nothing, except embarrassment, should the small chance come to pass that he survives this.
Still, the silence stretching out between them isn’t helping and the ever present darkness feels like it’s compressing him.
Only Derek’s soft breathing is preventing him from breaking down and he knows that if he doesn’t ask for help soon, he’ll waste more precious air by panicking. He hates asking for help, however, but he’s going to die anyway, so he won’t have to live with it for long.
“D- Derek?” he doesn’t know if he’s ever called Derek anything but Morgan (he does and he hasn’t), but in this moment it feels wrong to call the other Morgan. Seems to cold and distant, when he’s the last person Spencer’s going to hear.
“Yeah, pretty boy?” Derek asks with nothing but compassion in his voice, even if he’s forced to sit there, when Spencer knows Derek would much rather do something, anything.
“Can you talk to me?” his voice is small, but he can’t really bring himself to care anymore, he’s that close to tears. “It’s- It’s so, so dark and I’m scared.”
“Oh, Spence, baby,” Derek doesn’t seem aware he’s calling him that again, he just talks in that gentle, soothing voice. “Of course, I’ll talk. You did very well today, just holding it together, I don’t think I would have fared the same.”
On another day, Spencer might have protested, but all the emotions have made him exhausted and the praise just warms him slightly as he hums in content, glad that Derek is speaking.
Derek begins a story of his police days, when he got spooked by a cat on a routine round. Then he moves on to his first case with Gideon and Hotch and how intimidated he’d been, something Spencer finds hard to believe, but Derek swears it’s true.
A small lull falls, then Derek says: “Did you know that when I was nine I wrote a comic book?”
“What?” Spencer replies. He’s been trying to save air, but he reacts here and there.
“Yeah, it was ugly as all hell and the plot was all over the place,” Derek shrugs “But I wrote it and drew it. It was about a cat, who was also a robot and fought crime. Her name was Claw-raptor and I made three installments.”
Spencer giggles and Derek continues: “I thought it was the best thing too, forced my mom and dad to read it, as well as my sisters. Now, my mom and dad were nice about it, but my sisters were also kids with no filter, so they were brutally honest. They made me cry.”
That sounds like a lie and Spencer makes a noise that hopefully communicates that.
“It’s true,” message received then. “I ran to my mom and sulked all day. She was really nice about it, even if I was being a complete baby. She stroked my hair and told me to keep working to my dream and don’t let other people get to me. Eventually I lost interest in drawing, but I didn’t immediately stop because of that.”
“Your mom sounds lovely,” Spencer says, deciding this is worth commenting on. “I met her, did you know?”
Derek laughs, but he isn’t laughing at Spencer, trust him, he knows what that sounds like. It’s just a noise of pure enjoyment, which Spencer clings to in these depressing times. “Yeah,” Derek finally answers. “She mentioned it. Told me to feed you more often and make sure you’d talk to people too.”
“Did she think I was rude?” Spencer is not able to say why the opinion of Derek’s mom matters to him in that moment, when he will never see her again.
“She loved you,” Derek assures him anyway, probably confused about why Spencer is asking, but going along with it because of the circumstances. “She said you were like she expected you to be, but warmer. Welcoming, I think she said.”
Spencer wants to react, but doesn’t know what to say, so he stays quiet.
“I talk to her about you. The whole team,” Derek adds, almost too quick, not that Spencer is thinking about that. “I like to call her when I can and just chat. I’m not home often, so I miss a lot and she keeps me up to date on all the gossip.”
There is a smile in Derek’s voice as he goes on: “Don’t tell baby girl, but out of my siblings, I’m the gossip, even if my family thinks it’s my sisters. Me and my mom know better. I think it’s the profiler in me, gossip is interesting when you look at it from a behavioral way. Both in what is told and by whom and how.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you back then,” Derek says, switching topics after a small pause. “I thought it embarrassing and not something we’re doing anyway, but you’re invited for dinner at my mom’s house. She makes the best comfort food, so when we get you out there, we’re taking her up on it, yeah. Sound good?”
Spencer can imagine all sorts of scenarios in which that happened under very different circumstances, but that doesn’t matter right now. Derek is just talking to him, merely trying to get him to keep hope and stay alive.
It’s ironic, actually. In this coffin, six feet underground, it’s quite difficult to die from anything but asphyxiation. Spencer couldn’t die early, even if he wanted to.
He supposes he could hang up, but only 45 minutes have passed since he last asked the time and he isn’t looking forwards to two hours and forty minutes all alone in that dark, utterly silent box where his only company is his breathing until he passes out.
“I’d love to,” he replies, because at this point nothing sounds better than trying to behave somewhat normally in front of Derek’s mother in a totally platonic way with Derek. Anything is better than being in this box, even if this box is going his final resting place.
“Good,” and now he can truly hear the smile, picture it perfectly too. At times like these, he blesses his memory, for being able to show him the good things behind his eyelids. “I’ll make sure, she makes something you’ll like. And don’t think you’re getting out of this promise just because of your circumstances, alright, pretty boy. I’m keeping you to your word.”
“Heh, sure,” Spencer replies, too tired to come up with anything else to say. He wants to sleep, but he knows that when he does, he might not wake up again.
“Hey, hey, hey, don’t fall asleep okay,” Derek’s voice is immediately worried and Spencer feels bad for making him sound like that. He didn’t mean to, honest.
He tries to make a joke, to make Derek feel better, because he doesn’t think he would have been able to stay this calm without him. “Sorry, just comfortable, who knew sleeping like the dead was also sleeping like royalty.”
“Spencer…” the joke isn’t well received and he flinches, hitting his knees against the lid of his coffin.
The action makes him think again and he frowns, kicking the bottom of the coffin as well, before stretching out to test how much he has above his head.
“What’s happening, pretty boy?” Derek asks, sounding tense.
“I am comfortable,” Spencer says in lieu of an answer, not yet connecting the dots, but knowing there’s something to connect.
“…Good?” Derek tells him, uncertain. “Does that mean anything?”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s just that I’m 6ft1 and most coffins range from 5ft to 6ft8, which, yeah, I would fit in,” he says, thinking it through out loud. “But most standard coffins they have on display at funeral homes wouldn’t be my size. If the unsub quickly grabbed one to bury his victims in, why did he have one in my size there? It just doesn’t make sense.”
“Unless the unsub doesn’t work at a funeral home or cemetery, but makes coffins,” Derek connects the dots Spencer’s brain wasn’t able to. “I’m contacting Hotch and Garcia, wait one moment.”
Spencer does, feeling a bit like Watson, a feeling he remembers from when he was three and his mother read him Sherlock Holmes for the first time. He’d loved Watson from the start and decided to become a doctor, even if he dad said Sherlock was the smart one.
Soon Derek’s voice comes over the speaker again: “Well done, pretty boy. We got a name. Theodore Webb, heir of a coffin making company that’s located here. They’re trying to pin him down, because he owns multiple properties. Just hang in there, we’re getting you out, okay?”
Spencer nods, then realizes what he did and says: “Yeah,” not sure if he’s willing to let himself have hope. So, instead he focuses on how weird it is that some of his teammates, might have walked over the ground he’s buried under, without even knowing. Either of them.
Derek must have heard something in his voice, because he launches into more stories, recounting things they did together, or something Garcia told him. It feels as if he is filling the space now that it is hopeful, because he’s afraid something else will fill it otherwise.
Still, the undercurrent doesn’t go away for the entire hour it takes the others to locate Webb. He was sure Derek would leave once they started the raids, but the other stays with him throughout the entire hour, reporting with venom: “They’re marching him in.”
“What’s his story?” Spencer asks, a morbid curiosity at who would want to bury him.
“Apparently his sister disappeared when he was young,” Derek says. “They buried an empty coffin, since they never found her. According to an angry post he made back then, he blames his parents for not caring enough to find her, even if they truly did their best.”
Normally there would be some form of empathy in Derek’s voice. They all understood most unsubs, even if what they did was fucked up. But right now his voice is cold and Spencer doesn’t know if it scares him or if he’s touched that Derek cares so much.
He decides to be touched as Derek takes him over to the watching room after a moment and updates him on everything that is happening. JJ and Emily are there too and greet Spencer with a bit more happiness than last time he heard them.
“Hey, Spence,” says JJ, concern, however, still lacing her voice. “How are you doing?”
“Oh, you know, buried,” he sighs, not energized enough to lie. “Could be worse. Derek’s been keeping me company, giving me blackmail material that I might never be able to use against him.”
“Spence…” JJ sounds strained and Spencer feels bad for his reaction, they’re also not having a good time right now.
“I’m kidding,” he attempts his best positive voice and is mildly successful. “I’m actually doing okay, I think this might get me over my fear of the dark. I don’t even mind it that much anymore. Not sure if I’ll ever be able to live in silence again, though.”
“Well, then, I’ll make sure to annoy you and send Garcia your way everyday,” Emily jokes, even if Spencer can hear a genuine promise in there.
He returns it in kind: “I’m keeping you to that.” It’s jokey, but a thanks is obvious in his voice, though no one comments on it.
Out of the blue Derek scoffs: “Is he really saying we don’t care enough about Spencer to find him?”
“Yeah, it’s been half an hour since he’s been brought in and it’s the only thing he’s said ever since he got processed,” Emily replies.
“I’m going to punch him.” He can barely recognize Derek’s voice through the rage.
“Morgan. No!” that’s JJ, Spencer didn’t even know he should have taken that seriously and is incredibly touched, even if punching the guy wouldn’t help in any way.
“JJ, back off,” Derek growls. “I’m punching him. Here hold the phone.”
The two women protest, but Derek isn’t hearing it. Spencer thinks him an idiot, but hearing that he might leave him makes his heart drop. He knows he’ll be with JJ and Emily, but it’s not the same and, no matter how childish, he wants to stay with Derek. God, if he lives through this, he going to have separation anxiety.
“NO!” it’s torn out of his throat before he realizes.
“Are you okay, pretty boy?” Derek immediately forgets all about fighting Webb in order to fuss over Spencer, who is more relieved about that than he probably should be.
However, it now looks like he might make it, so he can’t very well tell the other agent that he panicked because he thought Derek would leave him and he’s afraid of going without him, because he’s always loved him and if there’s a possibility he might still die, he doesn’t want to die without hearing Derek’s voice last. So, he panics and says: “Let me talk to Webb.”
“What?” now it’s their turn to exclaim something in disbelief.
It isn’t something he meant when he said it, but now that he thinks about it, it is a good option. He says: “Yeah, I can convince Webb you do care and to give you the information.”
On the other side of the line it’s quiet while they probably converse in a series of expressions, before Emily says: “I’ll ask Hotch.”
He heard a door opening and closing, before Derek asks: “Are you sure about this?”
“Do you have a better plan?” he shoots back. Now that there’s a prospect of getting out of the coffin, he’s suddenly anxious, the walls feeling less and less friendly as it looks like he might escape what is supposed to be his final resting place.
“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Derek sighs as the door sounds again.
“Reid?” it’s Hotch.
“Are you certain you can do this?” he asks. “If Webb isn’t convinced, we’ll loose our only chance, do you understand?”
Spencer thinks about Derek, who’s been sitting with him for the past two and a half hours. He thinks of the team doing everything to find him. He thinks of how he has never met people he loves more than these.
“Okay,” Hotch says curtly. “Morgan, come on.”
There’s some noises as he leaves the room and enters another one. When he enters the other one, he hears a familiar voice asking: “Oeh, what’s this, more agents to try and intimidate me?”
“No,” Hotch tells him. “This is SSA Derek Morgan, on the phone is SSA Dr. Spencer Reid, the man you kidnapped and buried. He wants to speak with you.”
“Dr. Reid?” Webb sounds surprised. “He wants to talk to me?”
“Yes,” Spencer decides to say. “Hi, Theodore. I heard about what happened to you with your sister. I’m really sorry about that, I can’t imagine.”
“What do you know about that?” Webb sounds defensive.
“I know you blame your parents,” Spencer answers. “I know you think they didn’t care enough to find her and that you had to bury an empty coffin, because she was never found. And I think burying me, is you doing me a favor, because you think that no one cares enough about me and that I would be happier off dead. This is you showing me mercy.”
“So?” Webb isn’t denying it, but he’s also not really going along either.
“Well, I want to thank you for your kindness,” Spencer says, hoping Hotch’s poker face is enough to calm Derek down.
“You do?” Webb asks, sounding almost happy about it.
“Yeah, I do,” Spencer confirms. “Without you, I wouldn’t have known how much my team cares about me, but now I do. The people around me have been working nonstop to find you and with that me, but even in such a stressful situation, they haven’t left me alone to face my biggest fear, the dark. SSA Morgan- Can you see him?”
Webb confirms that he can and Spencer says: “So, SSA Morgan is a real alpha guy, always needs to do something, can’t stand sitting by. Do you know the type?”
“Oh yeah,” with the way Webb says it, it’s probably his father.
“Despite all that, he has sat with me the entire time,” Spencer tells Webb. “He sat with me for, what I think, is three hours and just talked. He told me embarrassing stories and reminded me of all the good memories I have with this team. Do you know the worth of people like that in your life, Theodore?”
“I- I do,” Webb is wavering, they all know it.
“And thanks to you know how much I have,” Spencer says. “I won’t get to enjoy it, but it’s nice to die knowing I was loved. I only ever had my mom growing up, but now I know I’ll spend last moments of my life surrounded by true family, even if it’s just over the phone.”
It’s quiet and Spencer hates he’s unable to see Webb’s face right now, that he’s not able to read whether it is working and can only stare in the darkness and hope.
“But- But they didn’t find you,” Webb protests.
“No, they found you,” Spencer tells him gently. “They found the key to finding me. That’s the point right? Caring enough to find me?”
“No,” Webb says petulantly, “they have to find you on their own.”
“Do you want to hear a fact, Theodore?” Spencer decides to try something different.
“Y- Yeah?” Webb replies, confused.
“Did you know that there are 17,000 current missing person’s cases and 13,000 unidentified bodies in the USA?” he asks. “I see it every day. Thousands of people go missing without ever being found. What happened to your sister was terrible, but your parents did everything right. It’s people that take others, who rip families apart and take people from their loved ones, who cause the grief, who didn’t care enough. And it is tragically common. But you can help solve one case today. You can make a difference.”
It is silent.
Spencer holds his breath and prays he was convincing enough.
“I buried him at Jackson Cemetery,” Webb tells them and Spencer feels as if his strings are cut and misses the rest of what Webb says.
All this time, he was a six minute drive from the police station.
He doesn’t even notice the chaos that ensues on the other side of the line until Derek apologizes: “Sorry for not updating you. We’re on our way to the cemetery. Hotch yelled really hard at a bunch of politicians and we’re allowed to bring a mechanical excavator onto the terrain to get you out as fast as we can.”
Spencer doesn’t react. He feels hollow now that the end’s nearby. They should be in the nick of time, but it can still go wrong and he hasn’t yet figured out what to feel about his death that he had accepted and then didn’t have to and now still might, so his brain has decided on feeling absolutely nothing.
“Pretty boy?” Derek sounds panicked.
Distantly he says: “I’m here.”
“Are you okay? What’s going on there, talk to me?” Derek demands, even if it’s caring.
“I- I don’t know what to feel,” he confesses.
“Feel relief, okay,” Derek presses him. “We’re getting you out of there. We have shovels. If need be, I’m digging you out of there myself.”
That gets a soft laugh out of him and he smiles: “I’m looking forwards to it. How long will I have to wait?”
“We’re getting there at 5:40,” Derek says. “The mechanical excavator is getting there at 6, he’ll have you out at 6:20. You won’t even have to pass out, pretty boy.”
“Good, that’s good,” Spencer says. He’s starting to feel sleepy, but he can still hold out. He wants to hug Derek and he needs to be awake for that. “I’m waiting on you, guys.” The guys is an afterthought, for now only Derek exists. It’s too exhausting to focus on more than one person, which is something he’ll worry about later.
“And I’ll be there the entire time,” Derek promises.
Then Spencer hears them getting out of a car and Derek telling him that he’s putting him down so that he can dig. Something Spencer protests until Derek assures him, he’ll be on speaker and Derek will be still right there.
At first it’s okay. He can’t hear anything yet, maybe a bit of stamping when he tries, but the only noises are over the phone, which is fine. He just focuses on his friends, coming to get him. He tries to picture Derek with a shovel and is mildly sad he doesn’t get to see it, even if he always feels guilty about ogling Derek after the fact.
But then he notices he’s blinking more and when his phone slides off his chest, it takes him a lot of energy to put it back. His pulse attempts to race, but isn’t able to.
“Derek?” he says softly, but gets no reacting. “Derek. Derek! Morgan!”
“Pretty boy?” Derek is there and Spencer can’t help the sigh of relief.
“I’m feeling weak. My- My body is heavy,” he says, unable to keep the wobble out of his voice as he informs Derek of what’s happening.
“Just hang in there okay,” Derek tells him. “They’ll be here in ten minutes, you just gotta stay awake until then. Once they’re here, you’re going to be out in twenty, but you gotta make it.” He hears Derek yell at, presumably, the others: “Start digging faster!”
He wants to tell the other it’s a disrespectful of authority and the FBI doesn’t take kindly to that, but it’s too much effort, so he just says: “Don’t worry, Der…”
“Bit late for that, Spence,” Derek replies, going for light and failing. “You’re going to make my hair fall out with the stress.”
Spencer frowns, he should have a reaction to this. This means more than just that, Derek is trying to be light and funny. Is it a joke?
“You don’t have hair,” he states, still confused.
“No, no I don’t,” Derek agrees and there’s a voice crack in there that Spencer isn’t familiar with.
There’s more that he’s not familiar with regarding Derek. Things he’ll probably never find out, because Derek doesn’t like him like that and he’s about to die. Though somehow that last part isn’t really landing yet.
Maybe I can obverse him better at some point, he muses, or ask Garcia, to find out new stuff about Derek.
No, Garcia will tell Derek, or anyone really. He needs to keep his crush on Derek a secret.
“Stay with me, pretty boy. Eight more minutes, okay?” Derek says. Yelling again: “Where the fuck are they?” Then: “We can’t very well use an ambulance without the stupid digger, now can we. No, I am calm!”
“It’s going to be okay,” Spencer says and Derek is there again immediately: “Yeah, it is, it is, just hang in there.”
“My life was okay.”
“Don’t say that, Spencer. You- You don’t get to say that, alright?” Derek sounds off. “You’re gonna make it, you just- just hang in there.”
“You made my life okay.”
“And I will keep making it okay. More than okay. Amazing even! Yeah, I’m going to make your life amazing from here on out, I swear,” Derek promises.
That sounds like a good plan to Spencer, even if Derek already makes his life amazing by being there.
He should tell him that.
But talking is a lot of work.
“Spencer. Pretty boy? Reid,” he would say Derek is pleading, but Derek never pleaded. “Come on, man. Six minutes.”
“De-rek,” making noise is hard, but Spencer tries. “What will your mom make?” He doesn’t believe, he can ever go, but it’s a nice image to end his life on and it means he’ll get to hear Derek’s voice so more.
There is a confused pause, before Derek begins: “Her specialty is Mac ‘N Cheese. She used to make it all the time when I was a kid. She uses like, three types of cheese and it’s the best ever. So, I- I’d ask her to make that. It’s- It’s really good, Spence, you have to try it.”
“Yeah?” Spencer manages and is pretty damn proud of it.
“Yeah,” Derek agrees. “But first you’d have to sit through the snacks. We always have a bunch of snacks before dinner when guests are over. My mom has the sort of philosophy that if her guests don’t leave with a- with a stomach ache from the amount of food they’ve eaten, then it’s gone wrong or- or something.”
Derek pauses, obviously waiting for a reaction, but Spencer isn’t really able to give one.
“And- And we’ll have desserts,” Derek says when he realizes that as well. “I’ll convince her to make Eton Mess. You ever had that?”
Still no reaction. Even if he really wants to, he’s unable to bring himself and that terrifies him to the core. Tears start to leak out of his eyes silently.
“Well, it’s- it’s this thing and, uhm-” Derek swallows deeply and takes a gulping breath that makes Spencer jealous “-and you crush meringues and cut up strawberries and you- you mix it up with whipped cream. It’s- It’s really nice. You’d- Fuck! You’re- you’re going to love it.”
Spencer manages a hum and he hears Derek gasp with relief.
He almost thinks it’s his hum, but then Derek says: “The mechanical excavator is nearby. Just wait a little while longer.”
“Okay,” Spencer says weakly.
Derek lets out a sob and Spencer frowns.
Why is Derek crying? Derek shouldn’t be crying.
He’s too pretty to cry, he should smile. Derek is pretty when he smiles.
Then the crying stops and he hears Derek yell in a hoarse voice: “What the fuck is he doing! Spencer is dyingdown there! I don’t fucking care about the graves, those assholes are dead already anyway. He needs to save Spencer.”
A struggle, then a thud.
Derek’s voice is further away when he yells: “I’m going to kill him!” With multiple shouts attempting to stop him and another scuffle.
“Derek?” Spencer calls out. It takes so much effort, but he needs to know Derek is there, he can’t be alone, not right now.
Not like this.
When he hears someone pick up the phone, he wants to scream in relief, but instead he can only softly ask: “Derek?”
“Not Derek, I’m afraid.” It’s JJ.
“Where’s he?” Spencer asks.
“Rossi, Emily and Hotch are currently stopping him from murdering the mechanical excavator,” JJ informs him. “The poor guy has orders to hit as few graves as possible. I want to murder him too, but it’s not his fault. Politicians, you know. It’s gonna take a moment before he’s here.”
Spencer lets out a pitiful noise.
Now that it’s so close, he wants to live.
He doesn’t want to die. He wants to wake up again, he wants to have dinner with Derek’s mom, he wants to see his own mom again, he wants to see Henry grow up, he wants to stay awake and hug everyone
He doesn’t want to die.
He hasn’t even realized he started sobbing until JJ makes a soothing noise and says: “You’re going to be okay, Spence. We’re going to get you out.”
She tries, but she’s not Derek.
For a moment he hates himself for thinking it. He wants to say goodbye to all of them, but Derek was going to be there and he left. He left him.
“I know, Spence,” JJ says. “I love you, I hope you know that. You’re the little brother I never had and I will claw you out with my bare hands if I need to.”
Spencer wants to reply, he wants to tell her he loves her too, that she has to tell Henry he loves him too and that he’s so proud of the little boy, even if all he does is exist.
Most of all he just wants to hug her.
He wants to hug all of them desperately, even Rossi and Hotch. He wants to know if Hotch will let him and if Rossi hugs well. He wants to know if Derek’s arms are as steadying and comforting as they look and if JJ’s will be as he remembers them. He wants to sink into Garcia’s loving hold that always manages to steady him, even if he has t figured out why. He wants to know if Emily will be awkward like he is, or if this is crazy enough for her to relax into a hug.
There is so much he still wants to know.
His entire life he’s been a genius, who knows it all and to whom other’s turn for answers, but now that he’s about to go, he realizes how much he still has to discover.
“Garcia wanted me to tell you that she loves you very much as well,” JJ says. “She also wanted me to say that she isn’t going to say goodbye, because you’re going to make it and she’s going to hug the shit out of you soon.”
He’s pretty sure JJ is crying as much as he is.
Then he hears Emily, who first is only talking to JJ: “We got Morgan from murdering the guy to yelling at him. I think the guy is humoring him, seeing, well, everything. Hotch is still keeping an eye on him. How’s Reid doing?”
“He’s tired,” JJ luckily answers for him. “He’s trying to stay awake, but it’s a struggle, I keep trying to talk to him to keep him awake, but I don’t want to say goodbye to him, because it feels like giving up.”
“Then we’re not saying goodbye,” Emily tells her firmly, before addressing Spencer: “Hey, Reid, remember that time we were held hostage by Benjamin Cyrus and his cult?”
That isn’t what he expected, but he manages to whisper: “Yeah?”
“I’m really glad I was in there with you,” she tells him. “I know you felt guilty about letting me take the beating, but you have no clue how much I appreciated having you in there with me. I know I can always rely on you to keep an eye out and think whenever anything goes to shit, so having you there made me able to focus and relax. Thank you.”
If she wanted to make him cry more, she has succeeded, because he sobs. Loudly.
“It’s okay, Reid,” Emily tells him. “Just let it out. This fucking sucks, but I promise you, the mechanical excavator is really close. Okay. Can we do anything for you?”
They’re already doing so much for him.
He can hear the wheels above him. The mechanical excavator must be huge with how he hears it coming.
The ground shakes as it approaches.
His coffin shakes.
For a moment he has a vision of the weight crushing his coffin as it streams full of dirt, suffocating him.
“Get Derek?” he asks, not even caring how pathetic he sounds. He just wants comfort from his best friend, because even if Derek is never going to love him romantically, he will always be Spencer’s best friend and the greatest comfort he has ever known.
“Of course, sweetheart,” JJ assures him, before walking off. In the distance he can hear her yell harshly.
Emily whistles: “I am glad I’m not Derek, right now.”
Spencer smiles, even if Emily never knows, he smiles again because of her.
It’s only moments later that Derek’s voice comes over the speaker again: “I’m so so sorry for leaving you, pretty boy. I- I just had to do something and that asshole was going too slow and I wanted to-” JJ clears her throat. “But I’m here now,” he finishes.
“Derek.” He’s there, the other is actually there and Spencer is weeping still unable to form his whole name.
“Yeah, Spencer, it’s me and I’m not leaving you again,” Derek promises. “Can you hum for me, pretty boy? Just make some noise.”
Humming isn’t as much effort as talking, so he starts to hum, trying to remember a melody Derek likes.
It’s only when he hears Derek’s panicked voice that he noticed he dropped off.
God, he’s so tired.
He just wants to sleep.
Why isn’t he allowed to nap again?
“Spencer! You talk to me right now!” Derek yells into the phone.
Talking is too much work, so he hums again. And again. And again.
The pattern keeps repeating himself as Spencer tries to keep himself awake and fails. It’s really hard and while he wants to, he doesn’t even notice most of the time and one of these times he isn’t going to notice and it’s going to be the last time he nods off.
He manages to whimper some words after the sixth time: “I’m scared, Derek. I don’t- I don’t wanna die.”
“You’re not going to,” Derek says forcefully as if that will make it true. “You’re going to live. I’m going to hug you down there, okay. I swear. You are going to get out of there awake. I’m not taking that back, okay? Never.”
God, Derek is so nice to him.
Spencer loves him.
He loves him so so much.
And he’s going to die without ever letting Derek know how important he was to him.
His fear is going to come true.
He’s going to die in a dark box under the ground without air and by himself with only an echo of the voice of the one he loves coming out of a speaker.
Derek is making him promises and comforting without ever knowing the different joy Spencer finds in hearing his voice.
It feels almost like he’s using him with how much he left unsaid.
Spencer remembers when Gideon left. How much there was to tell him still, how much he’d wanted to let the other know all he’d done for him.
He doesn’t want to die regretting the same thing twice.
Why must he die when Derek is right there? Why does he now want to see if the life he’s always wanted to live, could have been if he had been a little braver? Why couldn’t he die in peace, but must his brain remind him or all the things he did wrong and all the other things he has let slip through his fingers?
He isn’t going to die like that.
“I’ve always…” he starts, but is unable to finish the sentence with ‘loved you.’
Spencer passes out when the mechanical excavator has barely started to dig. With all his talking and panic, he has quickened the process more than expected and passes out at exactly 6:18, never reaching 6:25 like he predicted.
He never sees that his team is waiting above him.
Y’all better appreciate that I did Math to figure out when exactly Spencer would die and pass out and stuff. I’m gay and stupid, okay XP
Ngl, nearly made myself cry while writing this lmao
The mechanical excavator is really the archaeologist in me, lol, I don’t think they’re called that, but idk what else they would be called, so going with what we know XP
((I’m making another part written from Derek’s POV where you’ll find out if Spencer made it >:3 ))
it’s always sad when you’re really excited abt a fic but u just know it isn’t going to do well, whether it be small fandom, rarepair or just premise, and then, lo and behold, self fulfilling prophecy.
and you can’t ever be mad either, because people read what they wanna read and no one is obliged to read a story they don’t wanna (like if u interpret this as a shaming post im coming for u, it’s really not)
but you keep on hitting that refresh button, hoping for a comment or reblog, maybe just a like or some kudos
AND THEN IT HAPPENS!!
day made, unparalleled, lovely feeling. bc u were excited for it and expecting nothing and suddenly there is something and you know it wasn’t for nothing and you can continue on happily, making content no one but u and like 3 other people care about
Boromir has to fight off the effect the Ring has on his mind and looks to Aragorn for aid, hoping he can be stopped before it’s too late.
Warnings: the Ring’s control
As Boromir walked through the winding paths beneath the trees of Lothlórien, he shook his head as he realized that he had never thought he would end up like this, but he knew there was no other way and this was the right thing to do. So he walked on.
He found Aragorn smoking his pipe in an alcove where the trees hid him from sight. A small part of Boromir felt guilty that he sought out Aragorn after everything the ranger had been through and when he clearly wanted to hide from everyone to think.
The dark voice that had plagued his mind since Rivendell clung to that guilt, whispering to him that he wasn’t strong enough, that this wasn’t the way, that Aragorn wouldn’t understand and that he should turn away while he still could to preserve his honor.
Boromir hesitated where he stood. He and Aragorn hadn’t seen eye to eye once this entire journey and he could see in the other’s gaze he thought that Boromir could not be trusted. So why should he go to him? Why should he tell Aragorn that he was weaker and less worthy than Aragorn already believed him to be?
No, he would not show weakness to this ranger from the North, who thought he had claim on the throne.
He turned around and walked away, but as he did, the dread faded and the darkness retreated from his mind. A sensible part of him, a part that had long been suppressed by doubt and fear, called out to him that this was what the Ring wanted. That it wanted him to believe that turning away was the right choice by easing his mind the moment he did.
So, he turned back and the darkness creeped in again as he watched the would be king, in his rags, smoking a pipe like a commoner that had no place near the Citadel of the White City.
Conflicted feelings rose up in him. There was a fight in his mind for what would be the best course of action. Going back to Aragorn and telling him all his worries or leaving now and not put himself in a position where everything he had risked to be here could become undone.
A voice echoed inside his mind, speaking of a hope he couldn’t believe in, no matter how hard he tried. His mind could not see hope in the young men dead or dying on the field, his little brother screaming in terror the first time they had been besieged, the cold look in his eyes now whenever he shot his bow with deadly precision, or his father’s eyes gleaming with something he could not place, but scared him.
He sat down on a tree root, restless, but having found a compromise that his mind could agree on and that made it stop trying to tear itself apart.
It was soon after that Aragorn, who unbeknownst to him had seen his struggle, walked up to him, speaking. “Take some rest. These borders are well protected.”
Aragorn didn’t understand that it was these lands that made him uneasy, that it was the rest that made him want to tear his hair out. But maybe he could make him understand. The conviction he had before, when he set out to find Aragorn reared its head again, and he wanted to tell the other what had been in his mind. “I will find no rest here,” he said, not looking up.
The moment he had spoken, the darkness pressed on his mind again and the true reason couldn’t be forced past his lips. There were more than one reason, of course, so another spilled past, a partial lie. “I heard her voice inside my head. She spoke of my father and the fall of Gondor. She said to me ‘even now there is hope left.’ But I cannot see it.”
How could there be hope when the one thing that could change the outcome of this war was in the hands of a halfling, or more importantly, in his hands. Faramir should have been there, Mithrandir should be there. But they were not and all was lost.
“It is long since we had any hope,” he hated how his voice sounded, but how could he sound any different when he had grown up in splendor that was fading across from a shadow that was rapidly growing. When there had been no onebut him to stop that shadow, while he had not the means to do so.
Aragorn listened to him, face attentive, but also hopeless. It was foolish to think he could find support in the other man of their company. Boromir didn’t look at him as he moved to sit next to him on the root.
He said nothing to what Boromir had told him and Boromir tried to explain: “My father is a noble man, but his rule is failing and our people loose faith.”
His father was far from noble when it came to his own household, but Boromir could not speak ill of his lord, for in the other regard he had been a good leader. Still, he had to clench his fist when he said the words, thinking of the first time Faramir turned up with a bloody nose, only ten. And he nearly buckled when he was reminded of the weight his father has put on his shoulders.
“He looks to me to make things right and- and I would do it. I would see the glory of Gondor restored.” A part of him didn’t want Aragorn to think that he wasn’t trying, he wanted to please the man, despite his earlier judgments. He has always wanted to please everyone, especially when they had authority over him. It was what made him rise through the ranks and stand out as Captain.
Boromir wanted Aragorn to tell him he was doing his best, that he was on the right track, while going on this mad quest that seemed hopeless. That it would save Minas Tirith, his beautiful City that he cared for so much.
God, he missed his Minas Tirith. He missed riding home with Faramir after a patrol. He missed drinking with his soldiers after a battle well won. He missed sleeping in his own bed, walking through the streets and even looking out to see his City with Mordor in the background.
Because it was home, his home.
“Have you ever seen it, Aragorn?” he asked, not waiting for an answer. “The White Tower of Ecthelion, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, its banners caught high in the morning breeze. Have you ever been called home by the clear ringing of silver trumpets?”
He finally looked back to the face he’d been ignoring, while simultaneously being intimately aware of who was sitting next to him. Deep down, he hoped to see wonder in Aragorns eyes, to be the one who described the City so well that Aragorn would jump up to join him in aiding it. But he was no Faramir and words were not his tool to use. Aragorn simply replied: “I have seen the White City. Long ago.”
Still, he must try again. He must try for the sake of everyone in Gondor, even the free world, for if Gondor should fall, so would the rest of Middle Earth. He was reminded of Mithrandir, who once told his father about something that might happen, like it was a fact. He said it with such certainty that his father hadn’t even noted it and gone along with it.
“One day, our paths will lead us there and the tower guard shall take up the call: The Lords of Gondor have returned.” For a moment, he almost believed it himself, but Aragorn did not react to it, save for an indulgent smile that went as soon as it had come, and he knew he has failed.
Of course, you failed, the voice returned to his mind, Aragorn does not care for Minas Tirith, does not want to go there, especially with you. He thinks he knows better than to indulge you, he only follows his own lead and you’re not good enough for him. He will only go once blood other than his own has been spilled to save it and he can be king without dirtying his hands.
Boromir knew this was not true, knew that Aragorn didn’t mind getting his hands dirty and had backed Boromir multiple times during battle and on Caradhras.
He knew the voice was lying.
Anger bubbled up, both at himself for not always seeing it and at the world, at the Ring, at the fellowship for not helping when they saw. For a moment, the voice was weak and he seized the bit of control while he had it. “Help,” he chocked.
Immediately he saw how the far-away look that Aragorn had worn while he was in thought, fled from his face and a frown of concern replaced it. Boromir could nearly weep at relief that someone was finally seeing and reacting with something other than suspicion.
He wanted to explain how he did things that later baffled him as not being what he would do, while it seeming so right at the time. How dark thoughts were amplified and any hope snuffed out before it could be awakened. How he wanted someone to see him struggle and help, but the words would get stuck in his throat.
Yet, while he wanted to explain, all he could managed was: “I’m fine,” while his eyes screamed the opposite and an untouched part of his mind hoped Aragorn would see it was a lie.
As luck would have it, Aragorn was on high alert, scanning Boromir’s face for anything that could be a threat from the moment the other had cried out. He saw the war that was being waged behind those light eyes, a war Boromir was loosing.
He acted quickly, taking Boromir’s head between his hands as he looked intently into his eyes. “You must fight it, Boromir. Fight it. Win and tell me what it is you are fighting.” It was almost a command more than a request and the healing hands of the King worked with a point to focus on to drag Boromir through this, to a victory.
Boromir tried to wrench his head away as if to escape, but his fists remained firmly clenched and to his side, like he had to fight to keep them there. All while he writhed there, Aragorn held steady until Boromir sagged forwards.
For a few moments they sat there, foreheads against each other as they caught their breath. When it seemed, the fight would not start again, Aragorn softly asked: “What is happening, Boromir?”
“The Ring,” he said, not wasting any time while he had the change to finally talk, “it has taken me. I do not normally act this way, I swear. I am an honorable man, I know my duty and I am trying to fight it, but all the suspicion, while just, is only feeding it. At times I am incapable of telling you things, the darkness creeps ever closer and my body can be beyond my control. I need help, Aragorn, please.” His voice broke.
“How? What can I do to help you?” Aragorn asked. It was the same mix of urgency and control that made Boromir trust him and want to follow him.
“I do not know, just stop me, by force if you have to. I cannot be trusted.” Boromir hated that these words rung true to himself. He couldn’t be trusted, not anymore. He had been Boromir the Tall, Boromir the Fair and Boromir the Bold, but now he was no more than Boromir the Dishonorable upon which no trust could be placed.
“Boromir…” Aragorn trailed off his disagreement for he knew it wouldn’t be true and that hurt more than Boromir would have expected.
“Just keep me away from Frodo,” he begged, unable to much else. The rejection had hurt even if the judgment was fair. He was poisoned now and all they could do was damage control. But it had been enough for the dark voice to gain hold once more.
He didn’t know that Aragorn could see how a dark veil came over his eyes again, before he stood up and walked away, as if the beginning of what he wanted to say were his last words on the matter.
After their conversation deep in the woods of Lothlórien, Aragorn could not break through to Boromir again. When he tried, he was shut out, chased away by all the buttons Boromir and the Ring knew how to push.
Still, he attempted to do what Boromir had asked of him. Keeping watch at night, being in the boat with Frodo should the need arise to protect the Hobbit and trying not to let the harsh words get to him, for he knew why they were spoken.
Alas, all had noticed too late that it was not suspicion that Boromir needed, but compassion. For a doubting mind is much easier to manipulate. And when Aragorn noted the lone shield with no owner, he knew that he had failed his brother in arms, his soldier, his subject.
I am a sucker for the relation between Boromir and Aragorn. There are so many interesting ways in which they can clash and come together and I just love it XP
After having a shit day, Spencer finds a friend in Derek, who doesn’t mind taking care of him and being there for him.
Ships: none (could be read as Moreid)
Warnings: none, but tell me if I missed anything
Spencer has glasses. This is not an unknown fact and, with the nerd stereotype, it doesn’t come as a surprise tomany people.
However, that doesn’t mean he likes wearing him. The legs itch behind his ears all day, it pinches his bridge and he can never quite get used to the ridge in his sight. So, he doesn’t often wear his glasses, no matter how many headaches he gets. He can live with theheadaches
…on most days.
Today is not hisday, lets start there. He wakes up with a start after a nightmare that’s already fading before he can even pinpoint what scared him so much, but keeps him up for the rest of the night anyway. Whatever he dreamed makes a pit appear in his chest that doesn’t leave, no matter what he tries.
When he finally decides that staring at his ceiling isn’t helping (he knows the facts about how lying down is also rest, but he truly can’t be bothered when his own brain is driving him crazy), he gets up and promptly breaks his coffee machine.
He stares at the smoking machine for a few seconds, nearly deciding to give up and call in sick so that he can crawl onto the couch and feel miserable for himself. However, he wants to help should there be a case and he doesn’t think he can handle missing one justbecause his coffee machine broke and he slept sightly terrible.
So, he gets dressed and hauls his ass to work anyway, barely making it there without having to call in sick anyway after he trips on the underground stairs and spills coffee from the cafe over himself as he avoids cracking his skull.
Safe to say that by the time he has reached his desk, he has an idea of where this day is going.
Still, he has a clean shirt in his go-bag (which he dropped on his toe) and changed into it on the toilet, before sitting down. There is no new case yet, only paperwork. On any other day he wouldn’t mind paperwork, but today it’s taunting him as he looks for anything other to do than his paperwork.
The others aren’t in yet, because Spencer is always earlier than their early and this time he was even in before that. So it’s just him and the evil paperwork. Fuck, what Spencer wouldn’t give for Emily’s and Derek’s banter to annoy him right now.
But instead he rubs his eye and tries to concentrate on the report in front of him. It blurs slightly and he blinks tiredly, before heaving a sigh and starting to recount what happened in clipped, up-to-code and guidelinesspeech.
When Hotch and Rossi arrive, deep in conversation, he has barely finished that report, but jumps on the opportunity to talk with someone. He greets them, going for a smile, which the two return, before going back to their discussion. Great, no distraction there, back to the horrid paperwork it is, he supposes.
JJ isn’t any help either, on the phone with a frown as she comes in, barely giving Spencer a wave as she passes.
It’s only when Derek and Emily finally come in at 8:15that he has someone to talk to, by that time he has scarcely finished two reports and wishes the day would be over already. Still, he greets the other two, by calling out: “Enjoy sleeping in?”
“Waking up at 6:30 is not sleeping in,” Emily groans.
“Feels like it, though,” Derek adds and they all have to agree with that. Not getting called awake is a luxury they don’t often have and Spencer wishes his body had realized that this night, instead of waking him up at 4.
He’s snapped back to the conversationby Derek asking: “You okay, pretty boy?”
For all that he wanted a distraction, it seems he got distracted the moment that wish was granted. He shakes it off, before nodding as he starts to frown. Did he look that terrible? He changed out the coffee stained shirt, so is it just his face? “Yeah, why?” he shoots back.
“Nothing,” Derek shrugs. “Your eyes look a bit tired that’s all.”
Spencer goes cross eyedfor a moment, before realizing he can’t see his own eyes and blinking, slowly getting two grins into focus as Emily and Derek both catch onto his thoughts. He huffs a bit snootily, before saying: “Paperwork piles are on your desks.”
That wipes the grins of their faces, but Spencer feels slightly bad for them. If hisconcentration comes back, he decides, he’ll do some of theirs.
However, that idea is quickly shot down as the edges of a headache creep up right before lunch. It starts at his temples and moves along his eye sockets as the words begin to blur and his already slow process slows down even more.
Technically, he can take an early break, he knows that. But he never takes an early break and if this headache is bothering him, the team nagging him will be even more bothersome. So no break just yet, he can hold out until lunch.
After lunch he’ll grab his glasses out of his go-bag, those will probably help. He left his other pair ofglasses on the nightstand and regrets that now. If he put them in his bag, he could subtly grab them now and no one would fuss, but if he gets up to grab them, it’ll be a thing and the team will worry.
He sighs and focuses back on the sentencehe’s now reading for the third time.
Once lunch rolls around, the only improvement is that he can stop pretending to be working and go grab his glasses and some food. He’s going crazy looking at the letters that keep blurring as his head pounds.
Still, he doesn’t say no when Derek asks if he wants to eat with him, Emily and Garcia in the courtyard. Anything is better than sitting in the bullpen and maybe some fresh air will do him good, besides he’s longed for company since he woke up and while working beside each other is nice, some conversation will be nicer.
All of this, he regrets the moment he steps outside and remembers he lives on a planet near to the sun that now seeminglywants to disintegratehim. It’s manageable, but barely. A migraineis coming and right now it’s more a when than an if.
However, he’s determined to enjoy today. He likes calm office days. There is no one getting brutally murdered or missing and he can just do some low-effort paperworkwith his friends, but today, as stated before, is not his day.
So, he mostly listens as Derek and Emily argue about the film adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Fiveand whether it was good or not, and watches the kitty video’s Garcia shows him in silence. This behavior, naturally, doesn’tgo unnoticed, though they let him be for a big part of lunch.
By the end he is almost enjoying himself, his headache has lessened and the weird feeling he’s had in his chest all day has subsides on the waves of his friends talking. He can just go inside and grab his glasses and maybe today will be something anyway.
“You okay, Reid?” that’s Emily, seems he got lost in his musings and missed the conversation leading up to the question.
He smiles slowly and nods, wincing slightly at the movement. He explains: “Bit of a headache, but I’m fine.”
Garciaasks with big eyes: “You’ll tell us if that big brain of yours turns to evil on you, right, junior g-man?”
“Of course,” he lies, reassuringly, before pulling himself onto his feet and making his way back inside. He faints goingto the bathrooms for the ones looking, before veering to the lockers where they keep their go-bags.
Any optimism he might have had for the day dies as he grabs his bag. The bag-dropping incident of that morning has shattered the lensesof his glasses, which haveslid out of theirprotective bag. His only chance at making the headache less has been washed down the drain and he feels like he’s about to cry.
For a moment he considers putting on the broken lenses, but decides against it. Looking through broken glass isn’t going to make anything better and his whole reason was to not pull attention to himself.
He’ll just have to live with the headache.
His whole life he has hated his glasses and how uncomfortable they can be and right now when he needs them, they’re not there. It’s almost like a stuffy nose, you don’t know how much you love being able to breathe normally until you can’t anymore.
Silently, he mourns his glasses as he returns to the bullpen, the stack of paperwork nearly breaking him to the point of tears again, when he has just managed to get himself away from the waterworks moments before.
At a snails pace, he goes through the rest of his pile. It physically hurts to read and he should probably just take the rest of the day off and go home, but he’s nothing if not stubborn and he doesn’t want the fuss, so he pushes on.
None of this goes unnoticed, of course,and he should really know better by now than to try and hide things like this from a group of profilers.
Derek soon notices they’re working through the stacks at the same pace, which is never the case, so he balls up a bit of paper and throws it in Spencer’s direction. He just wants to get the other agent’s attention, but instead Spencer jerks backwards, then hisses at the movement.
The noise gets Emily’s attention as well and both frown at each other, before Derek says: “Hey there, you doing alright, man?”
Spencer almost lies, but quite honestly, he’s done with the whole day and at this point, he rather feels like turning into a miserable heap more than keeping appearances. He groans as he puts his head on his desk and says: “Fucking headache. Shit day.”
He usually doesn’t swear, since his filter easily fades when he rambles and he doesn’t want any swears to slip through on the job, Hotch’s eyebrows scare him too much. But this day? This day fucking deserves it.
“Damn, must be real bad,” Emily says softly and Spencer appreciates her keeping her voice down as well as sympathizing with him. He deserves a bit of sympathy after this day.
“Can we get you something, pretty boy?” Derek asks.
“No,” Spencer replies moodily. “Unless you can magic a pair of glasses into existence.”
“You have glasses in your go-bag,” Derek reminds him and in any other circumstance that would be sweet of him, but, as stated before, not today.
“I dropped my bag this morning and they broke,” Spencer grouches.
“What were you doing with your go-bag?” Emily asks, not because she wants to pry, but because it’s habit for all of them to ask follow up questions at any given moment, in case it would be useful later.
“Because I spilled coffee on my shirt,” Spencer snaps anyway, just tired and cranky now. The whole day is catching up and it’s coming out in the shape of irritability. “And I spilled coffee on my shirt after I nearly fell on the underground stairs, ones which I usually don’t take, but these atrnear the cafe I like and I wanted to go there, because my coffee machine broke, something I found out at 4 am this morning when my body decided to hate me and not let me sleep in. And this whole headache of this could have been fucking avoided if I just took my glasses with me, but I didn’t because I hate how they feel on my face, but now I that would kill for them, they’re on my fucking nightstand.”
He pants after his rant, sagging in wherehe puffed up in outrage before as he recounted all that went wrong in his life today.
Derek and Emily are silent for a moment, across the bullpen JJ loudly calls out: “Everything okay? I heard yelling.”
Spencer barely manages to feel bad about the glare he sends her as Derek explains: “Reid has had a terrible day and right now has a headache.”
“Then take him home,” JJ calls back. “I’ll tell Hotch.”
And now Spencer does feel bad about the glare, but he could also hug her with how great an idea that is. He hates getting fussed over, but he’s already made a spectacle out of himself with his outburst, might as well go home and try to sleep.
Derek sends JJ a thumbs up before gathering his things, depositing his paperwork on Emily’s desk with a grin. She just rolls her eyes and splits the stack evenly, dropping half back on Derek’s desk, despite the fact that he had gotten through more of his stack already.
Not that he notices, he’s too busy watching Spencer with concerned eyes as the agent slowly gathers his stuff. Though Derek knows better than to help, since Spencer will only see it as fussing, something he knows the other hates.
Still, he can’t stop the concerned look as they slowly make their way to his car, with Spencer barely walking in a straight line, wincing at the lights. But they get into the car eventually and Spencer drops down with a sigh, closing his eyes and leaning back in his seat.
Derek decides to let him have his moment and drives off in silence. It’s only when they’re nearly at his house that Derek softly says: “No one would have blamed you for going home early, you know that, right?”
Spencer is quiet for a moment, Derek almost thinks he isn’t going to answer, when he replies: “I do know that. It’s just that- I’m already the youngest. And you all take me seriously and listen to me, which is great, but everyone always fusses over every small thing. I just didn’t want to make a scene over a minor headache.”
The minor part earns him an eyeroll form Derek, but the other agent does consider his words. He does not think they baby Spencer, but that might be because Spencer is really adamant about not being babied.
He sighs. “I wouldn’t call it fussing,” he finally says. “And we’re not singling you out on purpose, if we even do at all. It comes from a place of love, Reid, I promise. We watch out for our own and you’re included in that.”
“I know,” Spencer sounds almost annoyed at how aware he is. “I just don’t like the attention, I’m not used to it.”
He lucky doesn’t see the sad look that crosses Derek’s face at the comment. He shakes it off and says: “Well, you’re going to have to get used to it at some point, pretty boy, because we’re not letting you go that easily.” Derek doesn’t miss how Spencer flashes a brief smile that fades with the loud noise of a passing motorbike.
When Spencer gets himself away from the pain, he replies: “It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but everyone seems to care in such a big way.”
Derek files that information away for later and focuses on the road again, as he jokes: “I wanna be there when you tell Garcia that.” To which Spencer manages a snort.
It’s at this time that they pull up to Spencer’s apartment building. Derek wanted to drive to his house, but he doesn’t have glasses for Spencer, which is what the doctor needs right now, along with migraine medicine, even if it’s probably too late already.
“You don’t have to walk me to my door,” Spencer rolls his eyes as Derek gets out of the car as well.
“I’m not,” he grins back cheekily. “I’m coming inside and making myself home on your couch. I have to hold the ‘BAU’s big caring way’-name high.”
“God, I’m never hearing the end of that comment,” Spencer sighs, but doesn’t further protest Derek’s presence and even seems to welcome it, giving the other his keys so that he doesn’t have to struggle with the lock and trusting Derek to lead the way to his couch.
Derek remembers Spencer saying his glasses are on the nightstand, so he pops into Spencer’s bedroom and grabs them for them, handing them to the grateful doctor along with some light pain killers.
“Tea?” Derek asks. “I’m not getting you coffee with your headache.”
Spencer pouts a little, but does accept the offer, looking much better with his glasses on and sagging on the couch.
Within no time Derek is back with the tea and hands him a mug as he takes a seat next him. They sip their tea in silence for a moment as Spencer tries to decompress after his horrible day. He does so by closing his eyes and curling up, looking indeed very much the part of young agent that still needs to be taken care of, no matter how competent Derek knows him to be.
He shakes his head. How can Spencer not know that no one makes a scene on purpose, but that Spencer just makes it so hard for anyone to care for him? It’s only big, because Spencer isn’t used to more than the bare minimum.
Hmm, yeah, okay, Derek gets it. The slightest bit more than the bare minimum will already feel like a lot if you’re not used to it, so normal care levels for their team relations will feel gigantic. He can work with that.
But that’s for later, now he just makes himself comfortable on the couch and sips his tea as he flips through a book in the vicinity, not really reading the academic text, but content to let his eyes glide over the pages and save his attention for Spencer, who is slowly starting to perk up with the medicine and rest kicking in.
“The Oxford Handbook of the European Bronze Age,” Spencer murmurs the title softly. “I read that before going to sleep yesterday.”
“Yeah?” Derek prompts him to go on, knowing Spencer likes to talk about all he reads and he needs something fun in his day today.
“Hm-mh,” Spencer hums. “There was one chapter by Nick Thorpe that I enjoyed about warfare in Bronze Age Europe. Did you know that the Bronze Age brought forth the Warrior ideal and was the start of many war traditions that the Iron Age enlarged into large scale warfare? Like swords, the Bronze Age produced the first swords, which were also the first tools that could only be used to kill another human being.”
“So we’ve been killing each other since the Bronze Age?” Derek asks, actually finding the topic quite interesting, seeing how their works relates to killing, though not warfare.
“No, we’ve been killing each other before this too, like the Linearbandkeramik people, for example, they probably had violence as a big part of their culture and massacring whole communities happened in a ritualistic manner,” Spencer answers. “They just used tools like adzes to do it, which could also be used for chopping down a tree, as well as arrows, which were also hunting tools.”
“Really?” Derek hasn’t heard that before. “I thought people were relatively peaceful back then.”
“Common misconception,” Spencer says, launching into a small lecture about the history of warfare in prehistoric Europe on the basis of defensive structures and remains found as well as rock art and weapons.
Derek lets him ramble for quite some time, enjoying how Spencer appears to forget his rough day through his lecture, seemingly not even minding his glasses with how he pushes them up every time they slide down without faltering his speech.
He supposes just listening can be a small way of caring.
So, he sits and listens as that lecture turns into a lecture about the impacts on societies with different metals being discovered and metallurgy technology coming up, after which Spencer bashfully apologizes for rambling, saying he’s gotten into a bit of a archaeology research hole recently.
“I didn’t mind listening,” Derek smiles, seeing Spencer’s eyes widen. “Did the Scandinavian rock paintings really have erect dicks?”
“Of course you only remember that part.” Spencer rolls his eyes and pushes Derek over, but it’s too fond to be meant.
“Hey, I paid attention, you can quiz me while I cook, I can listen to your smart-boy talk,” Derek shoots right back.
“You’re going to cook?” Spencer is immediately thrown off by that.
“Yeah, I’m gonna cook,” Derek tells him. “You gotta eat something that’s not, like, instant noodles, my mom will kill me if she finds out I’ve not been forcing you to eat like a real person.”
“Your mom?” Spencer is only getting more confused, but also not stopping Derek as he trails after him to the kitchen, where Derek is making himself at home.
“Yes, Spencer, my mom,” he replies. “The best friendship is one with food, is what she always tells us.”
“That’s a good philosophy,” Spencer muses, before telling Derek about the psychological impact of communal eating and cooking on mental health, already having forgotten about quizzing Derek about his earlier lecture.
Derek lets him, engaging with his talk as he cooks, deciding that this is nice and something Spencer can handle on affection levels-wise.
Mentally he’s already thinking of other things he can do, deciding to fix Spencer’s coffee machine before he leaves. And the next time Spencer has a headache, Derek pulls a spare pair of glasses out of his bag.
It’s the little things that make life and friendship worth it, even after a shit day.
Come for the hurt/comfort, stay for the archaeology facts!
Gotta give a shout out to my mans, Harry Fokkens, who edited the book along with Anthony Harding (I just don’t know him or Thorpe personally, but I enjoyed that article greatly, so also shout out to those three, it was v interesting).
Also, you don’t even know how hard it was for me not to write out the lecture, I wanted to so bad, but I think the massacre graves would kinda ruin the vibes I built up, so I let it be, but omg hit me up in the comments and I will, like 100%
hello you seem very cool and also write stuff i love for the same fandoms as me (mechs and leverage) and i wanted to say hi and also thank you for being good at writing
ahwww that’s so sweet <3333 This made my dayyyy!!