Title: Consequences and Repercussions
Characters: Luke, Reid
Summary: Luke and Reid fight about having children, and Luke reacts in a way that Reid doesn't expect.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/n: Angsty, and no sex for once. Thank you to my wonderful beta teddybear9298 for reading through this and not making it suck.
Reid had had an awful day. He barreled down the hospital hallways; he was even snappier than usual with the staff, and impatient with neurology cases that weren't worth his time. The source of his frustration, as was almost always the case these days: Luke. They had been fighting for months now over the issue of children - Luke wanted them, and Reid most decidedly did not. For Reid, the family of Luke-and-Reid was enough for him and he didn't need a new addition to bind them closer together. He knew it was important to Luke, however - knew how much Luke valued family and stability after the disastrous upbringing he'd had – and so he had agreed to give it some thought.
But the more Reid considered it and the more they discussed it, the more claustrophobic he had felt. Little arguments had progressed to larger ones as they slowly ventured into dangerous territory of what their options were for having a child: Reid had always assumed they would adopt, but when Luke suggested surrogacy - with Faith as the birth mother no less - Reid had put his foot down. And from there, things had turned ugly, fast. Luke had accused him of having no respect for his sister or his family, and when Reid had pointed out that Faith was a flake and that no, he did not trust her - and with good reason - it had been like adding fuel to a fire.
"If we're going to do this - and that's a big IF - she sure as hell won't be involved."
"Why the fuck do you get to set all the rules here? I know you weren't thrilled about having kids, but just because you agreed doesn't mean I'm now beholden to cave in to all your demands. This isn't an autocracy.”
“Why can't you see that Faith is not the best person to be our surrogate?!" Reid tried to reason with him. "She's emotionally involved. She’ll never just be the oven for our bun! She’ll never be completely objective Luke, and neither will you."
"Bun?!" Luke spluttered. "Oven?! That's my sister and my child you're talking about! Real fucking people Reid! I don't want this to be some emotionless, robotic experience.”
"If we don't want the same thing then maybe we need to re-think this arrangement," Reid shouted, his patience running out.
"Agreed! I won't have my kid raised by another Angus-” Luke broke off, and Reid reeled back as if struck, rendered mute by the low blow. Luke’s cheeks reddened and he looked at Reid, his face switching from anger to a mixture of shame, regret and guilt. He stepped closer to Reid, reaching a hand out as if to touch him, but Reid flinched and Luke’s arm fell back to his side. “I didn't mean-,” Luke whispered weakly, looking at him pleadingly, but Reid held up a hand to silence him. Too hurt and angry to say anything, he turned on his heel and walked out, ignoring Luke's pleas and slamming the door on his way out.
Reid worked late into the night, unable to bear the thought of going home, his phone on silent in an effort to ignore the number of calls and texts from Luke. He couldn't believe Luke had used his past with Angus as ammunition in their argument. Luke was the only person who knew how traumatic his childhood had been, he was the only person Reid had ever trusted enough to share it with, and for Luke to throw it back in his face...Reid's heart ached. When had things gotten so poisonous between them? He knew he'd hurt Luke with his comments about Faith - he'd meant to hurt him - but Luke had completely crossed the line with his remark. He looked at the never ending pile of paperwork in front of him and sighed. He was too upset and angry to concentrate, and looking over at the clock, he registered it was 9pm and admitted defeat. He could avoid Luke all he wanted, but eventually he would have to go home and fight about everything all over again. It was clear Luke was sorry - the regret and guilt had been written all over his features the moment the words had left his mouth - but Reid knew better than most that 'sorry' couldn't take back what had been said.
Reid drove home slowly, dreading the fight to come. He should have been used to it by now: they were both so busy with their work that they barely saw each other, and when they did they fought. But no matter how angry he was, he hated to be in serious disagreement with Luke.
He got out of his car and looked at the house he and Luke had bought together two years ago. He remembered how happy they had been the day they had moved in, christening each and every room before they had even unpacked a thing. How had things gotten so fucked up? He slowly walked up to the front door and turned the key. He cautiously opened the door, unsure of what he might find, but the house was dark and quiet. Empty. Reid sighed. Luke was probably at his mother’s house. Maybe that was a good thing. It would let them both cool off. Throwing his briefcase aside, he ambled towards the kitchen and pulled a frozen pizza from the freezer. Luke hated frozen pizzas, and Reid felt an immature sense of delight in doing something which would piss Luke off even though he wasn't even here. He popped the pizza into the oven and went to throw the packaging into the bin and froze. He felt as if he had been kicked in the gut, almost doubled over in pain, because in the bin were no less than twelve bottles of beer.
Twelve empty bottles of beer.
Reid felt as if someone had thrown a bucket of cold water over him. He couldn’t breathe; all his anger and bitterness was extinguished in a second, and his mind whirled with everything he knew about renal pathology. In that moment he knew that he didn't care about their arguments or the awful things they said to each other. The only thing that mattered was the two of them happy and healthy and together.
Pulling his phone out of his pocket, he again saw the number of calls Luke had made to him and felt his gut wrench with guilt. His partner had needed him and he had been too busy holding on to a pointless grudge to be there for him. Taking a deep breath, he called Luke but the call went straight to voicemail, and he felt panic rise within him. He realised that Luke had called at least ten times before lunch, and then after that: nothing. Had he been drinking ever since then? Reid tried calling him again and slammed his palm against the wall when it went to voicemail once more.
He called Lily and to see if Luke was at her house, trying to keep the anxiety out of his voice. His heart plummeted when she answered in the negative.
"Is everything okay?” Lily asked. “It’s getting quite late.”
"No everything’s fine," he palmed her off, "Luke left his phone at home and I'm just trying to track him down, he's probably at Casey’s or Katie's. Nothing to worry about."
Reid called Holden and received the same answer, and yet again when he called Casey, and each "no" was like a knife in his gut. He knew he couldn't call the police yet, but he couldn't just sit around waiting for Luke either. Panic filled him as a series of terrible images flitted through his mind: Luke slumped over the wheel of a crashed car, Luke floating face down in the Oakdale River, Luke in a hospital bed with numerous injuries or connected up to a dialysis machine. He tried breathing slowly and deeply, knowing that a panic attack wouldn't help Luke. He gave the hospital a call and asked if any casualties had been admitted, and sighed in relief when the triage nurse informed him that it had been an uncommonly quiet night at the hospital.
Reid grabbed his car keys and ran out to his car and realised with a sinking feeling that Luke's car wasn't in the driveway. He felt almost light-headed with fear and had to grip the door of his car to keep from falling, his stomach churning. Luke, his Luke, had drunk two six-packs of beer, despite the danger to his kidney, and then gotten behind the wheel and driven off to God knows where. Reid got into his car and put it into reverse, revving the engine and skidding out of the drive way. He sped through the streets around their house, scanning them for Luke's car and then widening his search out to the surrounding suburbs and those close to the farm and Lily's. After an hour of driving he had to admit defeat - he knew the chances of finding Luke like this were slim. All he could do was go back to their house and hope and pray that Luke was there, and that he was okay. Tears pricked his eyes and Reid slammed his hands against the steering wheel. Taking a deep breath, he slowly drove back home.
When he entered, the house was still empty, just as he'd left it, except for the smell of smoke wafting in from the kitchen. “The pizza,” he realised, and ran over and turned the oven off. The pizza was burnt to a crisp, but it didn't matter because for the first time in his life Reid Oliver did not have an appetite. Sick to his stomach with worry, he tried calling Luke again and slumped back against the couch when it went immediately to voicemail. He slammed his head back against the couch in frustration, angry with himself as he wondered how long Luke had been drinking again, and how the hell he hadn't noticed.
How had things gotten so bad between them? They used to share everything, and now it was as though they were strangers, albeit strangers locked in constant battle. And now - their turmoil was poisoning Luke and driving him to drink. His stomach twisted into knots in concern for his young partner, and briefly he wondered how he could survive without Luke. The answer was simple: he couldn't.
Standing up, he began to pace the length of the living room, feeling light-headed with fear and worry and self-hate, his mind full of Luke. He waited and waited, becoming more fearful as the minutes ticked by, and finally he slumped back down onto the couch, his head dropping between his knees as, at last, he began to cry.
Reid didn't know how long he sat on the couch, numb with fear and grief, vacillating between crying, trembling and rocking, when he heard a key in the door. His head snapped up to find Luke standing in the doorway. Relief flooded through him and he began to shake. "You're home," he rasped, and then cleared his throat.
"Reid-" Luke began, and Reid’s heart clenched as he saw how broken Luke looked, his shoulders slumped, his eyes downcast.
"Luke," Reid interrupted, his voice breaking, standing up and walking towards Luke on shaky legs.
“I am so sorry about what I said-” He broke off as Reid reached out and cupped his cheek with a shaking hand, and Luke's gaze sharpened as he took in Reid's swollen eyes and haggard face. "Reid, I’m so sorry," Luke pleaded, shame and guilt etched on his face, and Reid leaned forward and rested his forehead against his and let out a shuddering sob. Luke didn’t seem inebriated at all; he seemed lucid, his speech wasn't slurred, and his eyes were focused, and Reid felt almost light-headed with relief. He wrapped his arms around Luke and buried his face in his neck, holding onto Luke as if he were drowning.
"I love you," he whispered brokenly into his ear, and sighed as he felt Luke hug him back.
"I love you too," Luke whispered back, hugging him tighter, and Reid lost himself in the hug.
Slowly, Luke pulled back and cupped Reid's face in his hands, his thumb gently wiping away the tears streaming down Reid's face, tears springing up in his own eyes as he studied him closely, a line appearing between his brows. “Reid what I said-” Luke began again, and Reid lifted up a finger and pressed it against Luke's lips, preventing any further words.
"It's ok," Reid said gently, and Luke looked even more confused. “What’s going on Reid? Why aren’t you angry?”
Reid sighed and ran his thumb over Luke’s eyebrow. “It doesn’t matter. I know we've been fighting a lot and we both said terrible things to each other, but none of it matters, all I want is for you to be happy and safe and healthy."
He saw Luke's eyes soften and he took Reid's hand and led him over to the couch, sitting down next to him and taking both of his hands in his own. "What I said was unforgiveable, why aren’t you holding it against me?" Luke asked softly.
Reid stared at him silently, tried to decide how to mention the bottles of beer he had found without sounding accusatory.
"Reid, what’s wrong?" Luke prompted him, his voice rising in panic.
Looking down at their entwined hands, Reid ran his thumb over Luke's hand. "I saw the bottles of beer in the bin-" Reid's voice broke, and Luke automatically bristled at the unspoken accusation, even though shame was written across his face.
"Reid-" he said, his voice sounding harsher than he had intended, pulling his hands out of Reid's.
Reid looked at him pleadingly, and reached out and stroked his cheek. "I’m not accusing you or judging you, I just...I was so worried, and all it's my fault, I've been difficult and fighting with you so much, I should have-" he broke off again, overwhelmed with emotion.
"I didn't drink," Luke protested, and at Reid's doubtful look, his frayed emotions got the better of him, "I didn't! I bought the alcohol, and I wanted to drink it - God did I want to, I wanted to forget everything, all the troubles we've been having, how we can't agree on anything and how nothing we say to each other is right." Reid winced as Luke powered on. "But I didn’t drink," he said emphatically, and Reid sobbed aloud in relief. "I kept thinking of the repercussions, and of you, and I poured it all down the drain." He gulped, tears making tracks down his cheeks. "I'm so sorry Reid-" he choked up.
Reid shook his head. "You have nothing to apologise for!" he said, gripping Luke’s face in his hands and pressing his forehead against his. "I'm so proud of you."
"Proud of what?" Luke spat, his lip curling with self-disgust.
"For fighting it on your own. For not succumbing to it, especially without any support from anyone else." Reid's voice broke. "I should have been here Luke, I'm sorry.”
"No you were right to be angry, what I said about Angus - God, Reid, I'm so sorry."
"None of that matters Luke!”
“It does! What I said was not okay, and I don’t want you to have to tiptoe around me because you think I’m going to fall off the wagon. It’s not fair to you.”
Reid shook his head. “When have you ever known me to tiptoe?! We’ll still fight and disagree and say the wrong things, but when it comes to this…if you ever feel like drinking, please, please don't ever think you can't come to me. Even if I'm the problem, I'm always here to support you."
Luke gave him a wobbly smile, and Reid leant forward and kissed his forehead. A tear rolled down Luke's cheek as he smiled shakily, and Reid wrapped an arm around him and pulled him close, leaning back against the couch. Sniffling, Luke rested his head on Reid's shoulder and wrapped his arms around Reid, and Reid rested his chin on Luke's head, feeling content for the first time in months.
They sat in silence for a few minutes, reflecting on the past months. It was Reid who broke the silence. "I was so scared when I saw the bottles," he said, his voice wavering dangerously, "so scared of losing you, so sad that you were hurting and it was me that hurt you." his voice broke, and Luke lifted his head and kissed him fiercely, their tongues tangling as their breath mingled. "I love you," Reid choked out, twisting his fingers through Luke's hair and holding him close, burying his face into Luke's neck, “I’m sorry it took this for me to realise that none of the other crap matters.” Luke nodded and hugged him back just as tightly, clutching fistfuls of Reid's shirt.
"Thank you," he whispered in Reid's ear.
Reid pulled back and looked at him, his hands still entangled in Luke’s hair, stroking his scalp more gently now. "Thank you for what?"
Luke blushed. "For believing me and trusting me even though you have no reason to.” Luke stumbled on as Reid tried to interrupt. “For loving me even though I'm an alcoholic.”
Reid felt his blood boiling, the rage building up inside him because he knew exactly where this was coming from. He knew exactly why Luke expected anger and blame when he made a mistake, and knew exactly who had made Luke feel so insecure and beaten down that he felt he was undeserving of trust, sympathy and support. But he also knew this wasn’t about him and his desire to murder Noah and so he swallowed down his anger and looked at Luke. He cupped Luke's face and tilted his chin up and tried to catch his gaze. "I love you," he said seriously. "I respect you, and I'm always here for you."
Tears welled up in Luke’s eyes and he nodded quickly, biting his trembling lower lip. "I know. I’m sorry-,” he swallowed, “I'm so sorry I didn't come to you-"
Reid cut him off by placing a finger to his lips, and a tear ran down Luke's cheek. Reid ached for him, the blonde kid that he loved so much and who had been through more crap than anyone should have to bear.
"No more apologies. We know where we stand now, right?” He smiled. “Whatever happens, I’m always here for you.” He took his finger away from Luke’s lips and stroked his cheek with a knuckle and leaned in and kissed him gently.
Luke kissed him back, and then pulled Reid’s hand up to his lips and kissed it, breathing shakily.
"I am sorry about what I said," Luke whispered contritely, and Reid smiled sadly and pulled him close, kissing his temple. "We'll talk about it later.” He ran a hand through Luke’s hair. “Look at you, you’re exhausted. Come to bed."
Luke nodded and Reid took his hand and led him into the bedroom. Luke lay down and Reid followed, curling around him and hugging him close. He felt Luke relax against him, burrowing his head into his chest, and smiled a little. "Where did you go?" He asked softly, and Luke shifted a little. Reid tightened his arms around him and stroked his back running his fingers up and down the ridges in Luke’s spine.
"I drove to Bay City and just sat at a coffee shop for hours."
"I'm proud of you," Reid repeated, and Luke raised his head and kissed Reid softly, then tucked his head back under his chin.
Reid stroked Luke’s shoulder and heard his breathing even out almost immediately. Holding him close, feeling him warm and solid against him, his own face buried in Luke’s hair, Reid was almost overcome by how content and serene he felt, a huge weight lifted off his shoulders. He knew things were far from perfect - their problems still existed - but he also knew that the respect and love they had for each other, they could work it out.