Title: My House, My Family
Characters: Morgan/Reid, child!OC
Word Count: 2124
Themes: Angst, family
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, but I do take liberties with them for no financial gain.
Notes: Part of the Come Daylight 'verse.
Summary: When their child brings home a drawing from school, they're stunned.
It only took ten minutes to walk to school, and just shy of twenty on Sam's little five year old legs. Morgan had taken Clooney with him to meet her, leaving Reid to finish his first draft of his current paper. Reid would have come with him, but he knew his husband would rather get the paper over and done with before they got back so they could have his undivided attention.
Sam let go of his hand at the end of the driveway, hurrying to the door. She turned and waited, practically bouncing on the balls of her feet.
“Why are you such an eager beaver to get home, today?” he asked as he took out his keys.
“It's spaghetti day!” she said excitedly, looking up at him with her expressive green eyes.
“Oh yeah, of course,” he smiled, opening the door and urging the child and the dog inside before him. Spencer's spaghetti was a firm favourite, not least because it made the house smell wonderful while he cooked.
“We're home!” Morgan called, and bent down to slip off Clooney's collar and leash.
“Hi,” Reid said as they converged in the living room.
“Hi Daddy!” Sam called, smiling as he hurried over with her arms open. Reid scooped her up, avoiding being clobbered by her backpack as she let it slip off her shoulders to wrap her arms around his neck. He braced the back of her head, in the nest of her tight orange curls, and gave her a kiss on the forehead. Morgan smiled as he watched them, seeing how much Reid loved their little girl.
“Did you have a good day at school, Sam?” he asked, as he put her down on the ground again.
“Yeah,” she sighed heavily, making both of her parents share a look. She was usually very forthcoming about what she'd been doing, without being prompted.
“What did you do today?”
“I... drew things,” she said, shuffling her feet and pulling her bag in close.
“What did you draw?” Reid asked.
“Nothing,” she muttered.
“Is that so? Well, if you don't want to tell me, are you going to tell Baba?”
“Okay,” she said in a small voice, looking at her shoes.
“C'mon, Sammie,” Morgan said. “Come show me.”
Reid gave a little shrug at Morgan as she headed over, both unsure why she was reluctant to show Reid. He retreated to the kitchen, though Morgan knew still in earshot, as Sam sat down on the sofa next to him and pulled out a large folded piece of paper from her bag. She seemed nervous as he gently took it from her and unfolded it. It was crayon on paper, and in Sam's careful but uneven writing, multicoloured letters at the top of the page read 'my house'. Below that was - even though Morgan knew he was biased to think so – a pretty good interpretation of the front of their house by a five year old with crayons. Beside it there was another heading – 'my family' – and an arrow pointing towards several stick figures. There was a little Sam, drawn in brown with lots of squiggly orange for hair next to a brown stick dog. For a second Morgan remembered the ease with which Hotch had once been able to identify a child's interpretation of a dog, and smiled to himself. On the left there was a tall stick figure with a line to show wide shoulders in a darker brown, with a big smile, labelled 'Baba'.
It all got a little confusing on the right; there was a figure drawn in pink crayon, with long brown hair, which had been labelled 'Daddy'. But over it, in black marker, a triangle skirt had been drawn on, and the label crossed out. Under it, in a neater script was 'Mommy'. Morgan was stunned.
“What happened here, Sam?”
“She said I did it wrong,” she said in a small voice.
“The teacher said that?”
She shook her head. “The classroom helper. I said I have a baba and a daddy and she asked me which one is my mommy and I said I don't have a mommy I have you and daddy and she said everyone has a mommy and a daddy. She said 'did you come out of someone's belly?' and I told her I came out of daddy's belly, and she said I was wrong, and that babies come out of mommy's belly. She drew on my picture.” Sam put her chin in her hands, looking forlornly at her drawing. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Reid hovering in the doorway, our of Sam's line of sight.
“Do you think you were wrong, Sam?” he asked calmly.
“No!” she said defensively. “I have you and daddy so that's what I drew! She got it wrong, babies can come out of ladies and men and other people.”
“Do you think she should have drawn on your picture?”
“What do you think we should do about it, Sammie?” Morgan prompted.
“Draw another picture.”
“Yes,” he smiled, “but I mean about the classroom helper drawing on your picture.”
“Tell my teacher?” she suggested. “So she can tell her not to do it again.”
“Okay, we'll go talk to Miss Daniels in the morning, okay?”
“Yeah,” she nodded.
“Now, are we going to show this to Daddy?”
“Nooo,” Sam whined, suddenly upset again.
“Why not, baby?”
“Because he'll be sad.”
“Will he?” Morgan asked, glancing over to Reid, who he could see leaning against the door, facing into the kitchen, obviously listening.
“He always gets sad when people don't think he's my daddy.”
“I think we should show him, Sammie,” Morgan encouraged gently, though his throat felt tight. “It might make him upset, but we'll make him feel better. C'mon.”
They got up, and by the time they got to the kitchen Reid was pretending he'd been busying himself with dinner prep the whole time. Sam stepped forward, and held the drawing up for him.
“What's this?” he asked. When he looked at it, knowing that Sam expected to see it, he allowed the upset to show a little on his face; a subtle face, but Sam picked up on it none the less, and her bottom lip began to quiver in the presence of her father's upset. She rushed forward and wrapped her arms around the tops of his legs, hugging him.
“Daddy,” she whined. Reid bent down so they were more level, and she looked at him sadly. Carefully she brushed a lock of her father's hair behind his ear, and smiled as her hand lingered against his ear and cheek. “It's okay. I love you.”
“I love you too, Sam,” Reid said.
“And Baba loves us both,” Sam insisted.
“I do,” Morgan agreed, as he took the drawing and went to put it somewhere he'd remember to take it when they went to see Sam's teacher in the morning.
“You want to get your crayons and draw a new picture?” Reid asked. “You can sit at the counter while I cook, so you can make sure the sauce is just right.”
“Okay!” Sam grinned as she pulled away, hurrying off to fetch her supplies.
“You okay?” Morgan asked. Reid smiled and nodded, turning back to his prep, but as Sam rushed back into the room, he knew he wasn't getting an honest answer, because the truth was not timely. He helped their little girl up onto one of the swivelling stools at the counter island, and she spread out paper and crayons. He leant in to kiss her head, and gently ruffled her hair.
Sam had been in bed for an hour when Morgan found Reid standing by the side table in the living room, looking at the picture. He slipped his hands onto the man's waist, and rested his chin on his shoulder.
“Who does something like this?” Reid murmured, looking down at his child's spoiled drawing. “Who tells a five year old that their family is wrong? She drew on her picture.” Reid sounded as stunned and confused as Morgan felt.
“We're gonna sort it.”
“Yeah, but it still happened, Derek. Sam still had to sit a classroom while an adult told her that her family was wrong. It's humiliating when we deal with ignorance, but how bad must it be for her? She's a child, she trusts what teachers say. They're in a position of authority, they're meant to be right. If this had been a teacher and not an assistant, would she even have told us?”
“I gotta believe she would,” Morgan said calmly, hand bracing gently on the man's stomach. “We've raised her to expect to be treated right by kids and adults. She knows what happened today wasn't okay.” Reid turned in his arms, and it was then he could see the man had started to cry.
“Hey, c'mon,” Morgan murmured, though it wasn't an encouragement for the man to stop, only to let him lead him around to the sofa to sit down. Reid immediately snuggled into Morgan, seeking the physical comfort. Seeing Reid cry was a rare and heartbreaking thing, and as he smoothed a hand over his arm, he wanted to be able to take all the hurt away.
“She's noticed when I get upset, and specially connected it to what I get upset about. It kills me to know our daughter knows how much other people's intolerance can hurt us. Because if she's picking up on it from me, she's seeing it from you too.”
“She's smart, baby. Perceptive.”
“I know. Just like at five I was getting to understand the stigma around my mother being mentally ill. It's not fair that she has to deal with that. I don't know how to deal with her probably understanding there are people who think she's less than human because she's the red-haired biracial child of two men.”
“Red hair ain't really something people are really going to hold against her,” Morgan said lightly, as he held Reid against him.
“It is when it's afro hair, though, isn't it?” Reid said, sounding more and more miserable. “It's ridiculous how often we have to tell grown adults not to paw at our child's hair like she's an interesting poodle. Or having people imply that by getting red hair and green eyes in a combined unlikely genetic turnout, she's somehow dodged a bullet of looking 'too' black, that it's enough to 'make up' for her skin and facial structure. Or seeing us together, and asking about her mother. Or people assuming she's your child and not mine, or my child and not yours. And all of that sucks but we can deal with that, we can counter it; but when she's facing it in the classroom? We're not the only authority on what is right or how she perceives the world there. All it's going to take is one bigoted teacher to make her life hell.”
“Spencer, take it from a mixed race black kid; we can't make that shit go away. We can't stop every closed minded, S.O.B, we can't shelter her from ignorant people. We have to keep giving her the tools to be a strong, happy kid despite all that.” He leaned down to press his lips to Reid’s forehead for a few seconds, as Reid sniffed back the last of the tears he'd shed. “She's gonna be twice as strong as we were. She's gonna keep being amazing. I mean, did you hear her today? She knew that assistant was wrong. She needed some coaxing to tell us because she didn't want you to be upset. Think about how amazing that is.”
“She is amazing,” Reid murmured in agreement.
“We are going get this sorted tomorrow, and make sure she doesn't have to deal with that kind of crap. Miss Daniels is cool, I'm sure she'll be pissed to find out what went down. Sam knows we have her back, and that's what matters.”
Reid murmured his agreement, and snuggled into Morgan's chest more. Morgan smiled down at his lover, happy to give the comfort he could, in the hopes of making things a little easier. It was hard sometimes, to face other people's bigotry directed at their family, but he knew neither of them would trade it for anything.
Current Mood: Awake