It's safe to say Ryder was worried when she saw the news of the random shootings taking place in New York, especially when she found out Spencer and his team were working the case. She knows his job is dangerous but this feels more real, being able to see what was happening. So when Ryder sees something about a car exploding on the news and she can't get a hold of Spencer, she goes into a small panic. Her chewed nails attesting to that.
"Calm down, Ry, I'm sure he's fine." Steve tries to comfort his friend as he watches her pace back and forth in front of her couch. The news plays on mute in the background. He had tried to turn it off when he got there, knowing it wouldn't help her at all but she had refused to let him so he settled for just turning to volume down.
"You don't know that." She says as she continues to pace, chewing on her already chewed nails.
"If you keep that up you won't have any nails left." Steve informs her, having dealt with Ryder in a panic before. "Look," He stands from his seat, gently grabbing her wrist to stop her pacing and pulls her fingers from her mouth. "I understand you're worried, but this isn't going to help so please just sit down." Looking up into her friend's eyes and seeing nothing but calmness helps Ryder slightly, but not enough. She turns her head to look at the tv. "And stop looking at that, it's only making things worse."
"What if he's not okay?" She asks Steve, letting him guide her to the couch and change the channel on tv.
"Ryder you can't think like that, Spencer is fine." He tells his friend once again. Truth is Steve was a little worried too, he's not super close to Spencer but he likes the guy and he makes his friend happy.
"Then why isn't he answering his phone? Spencer always answers his phone." Ryder says with wide eyes, glance at the tv even though it was playing some movie rather than the news.
"He's probably super busy, okay? He'll call you when he can, I'm sure of it." Sitting there waiting was torture for Ryder but she knows Steve is right. Spencer will call her when he can and he was fine. Or at least that's what she continues to tell herself.
It isn't until later that night as Steve is standing in Ryder's kitchen trying to decide if he should order some food - he knows with Ryder like this she won't eat unless he makes her - that a ringing sounds from the small device in her hands, making her jump before quickly answering it.
"Spencer?" She quickly asks, jumping to her feet as Steve walks back over to her.
"Yeah, it's me, I'm okay." Spencer tells the worried girl. He would have called sooner if he could've.
"Damn you, Spencer Reid, you had me worried to death." Ryder says, her shoulders dropping with relief.
"I sorry." Spencer shrugs lamely, not expecting that reaction from the tiny women on the other end of the phone.
"No, I'm sorry, are you sure you're okay? Is everyone else okay?" Ryder questions, feeling bad for yelling at him.
"For the most part." Spencer says, Hotch's injuries fresh in his mind. "We're leaving New York in the morning."
"Okay, good. You'll come see me?" She asks hopefully.
"First thing." Spencer nods. He wants nothing more than to see her.
"You're tired." Ryder states. She can hear it in his voice.
"Long day, even longer night." Spencer mumbles, everything that's happened hitting him. He imagines everyone else is already sound asleep as he leans against the wall outside the hotel the team is staying at.
"I'm sorry, babe. I should let you get some sleep." Ryder says to him, the little pet name slipping through her lips before she even processed it.
"Can you stay on the phone actually, I just..." Spencer trails off, looking up to the sky, wishing he could be back home with Ryder instead of talking over the phone. But he'd take what he could get.
"Of course." Ryder says, turning to look at Steve as he puts his jacket on. Ryder is okay now, and so was Spencer, his work is done, he'd leave them be. "Just give me two seconds."
Setting her phone on the couch, Ryder jumps up to hug Steve and tell him thank you for coming to be with her. "Anything for you, Ry." He tells her before making his exit, leaving Ryder to rush back to the phone.
"Sorry about that, I may or may not have called Steve in my panic and he came over to try and calm me down." She explains as she pulls her legs under her, covering herself with the blanket that was hanging over the back of the couch.
"Sorry I couldn't call sooner." He feels guilty for worrying her.
"No, it's okay. As long as you're okay."
"Yeah, I'm okay. Better now." Spencer says as the relaxed against the wall, closing his eyes, finding comfort in Ryder's voice. "Tell me about your day."
"My day?" Ryder asks with a small chuckle. Her day was nothing compared to Spencer's.
"Yeah, or anything, I want to listen your voice." Spencer confesses, bringing a small smile to Ryder's lips as she gets more comfortable on the coach, prepared to talk to Spencer about whatever he wanted to.
And she does, she talks to him about random stuff. What she did that day or the day before, things she had coming up soon and everything until she eventually falls asleep, phone still held to her ear.
"What do you think your team will say?" Ryder asks one morning as she watches Spencer get ready for work.
"I don't know. Morgan will definitely say something." Spencer responds, running a hand through his now shortened hair. He got it cut the day before. He hadn't even told Ryder about it, choosing to surprise her instead. And surprise he did, he had told her he was coming over and as soon as he walked through the door her eyes had gone wide and the only words that left her mouth were "Your hair!". He had been a little worried she wouldn't like it at first but all worry disappeared when a wide smile had broken out across her face and she approached him to run her hands through it.
"They'll love it." She tells him with a confident smile. "It makes you look very handsome."
"It doesn't really matter, as long as you like it." Spencer says with a smile as he comes to stand in front of her from her seat on the bed.
"I love it." Ryder grins, standing to kiss him. "You think you'll be able to get away this weekend?"
"It's your birthday, I wouldn't miss it for the world." Spencer tells her not for the first time. He knows she's worried he'll miss it as she's asked him similar questions throughout the week.
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry." Ryder apologizes with a sigh, knowing he was probably annoyed with how many times she's asked. Ryder didn't do a lot for her birthday, she'd never had a party or celebrated growing up until she was adopted and even then she'd never had a big party.
Her first birthday after being adopted was just dinner with her mother and brother. She hadn't expected anything at all, having spent her whole life without doing anything for her birthday. So when Eleanor had asked what she wanted to do she was surprised. She hadn't known what to say so she just decided to help Eleanor cook her favorite meal and they spent the rest of the night watching tv together. As a family. And that was the greatest birthday gift she could have asked for.
And since then, after discovering the diner she had taken Reid to, they went there every year for dinner. So that's what she planned again this year, going with Spencer and Steve. Last year it had been Steve and her brother. She was sad Tommy couldn't be there this year, he'd always done everything he could to be there for her as he knows how much her birthday means to her.
But he couldn't be there this year and as much as that saddened her she understood. He was a soldier, he was protecting people and for that, she didn't think she had the right to be upset with him. He'd been gone before but never for this long. She really missed him but she doesn't let herself think about it too much or she'd start crying and she wasn't sure if she'd be able to stop.
"And remember, no gifts." Ryder reminds him as she's done before. Sure Ryder likes gifts and the thought of them but she never likes receiving them if she wasn't also giving them.
"Too late." Spencer mumbles as they both make there way down the hallway towards the front door.
"What!?" Ryder nearly shouts, picking up her pace to catch up to him. "Spencer, I said no gifts."
"Yeah well, I don't know how you expecting me to not get you anything. Don't worry, you'll love it." He tells her as he finishes the last sip of his coffee. Ryder had bought a coffee maker after Spencer had started staying over and it wasn't for nothing as it was used quite often.
"What is it?" She asks, a tiny pout on her lips as she looks over at Spencer.
"It's a surprise." He smiles, coming to stand in front of her, rubbing his hands up her arms.
"Fine." Ryder sighs, looking off to the side.
"Are you mad at me?" Spencer asks the shorter girl with a smile.
"No." Ryder admits, kicking the floor before looking up to meet Spencer's eyes. "I could never be mad at you."
"Good." Spencer grins, leaning down to kiss her.
"You better go, you're gonna be late." Ryder says before kissing him again.
"I don't think I'll be able to if you keep doing that." Spencer mutters before kissing her again, closing his eyes when she runs her fingers through his hair.
"That's the plan." Says Ryder right before the ringing of Spencer's phone sounds throughout her apartment causing her to groan and pull away from him, allowing him to answer it.
"Yeah? Okay, be right there." He says disappointedly to the person on the other side of the phone.
"It's okay." Ryder says with a stronger pout, pulling and pushing Reid with the hold she had on the front of his shirt.
"I'm sorry." Spencer frowns.
"It's okay." She repeats, smiling up at him. "Be safe, have a good day."
"I will." Spencer tells her before giving her another kiss, walking to the door with Ryder trailing behind him. "Bye." Spencer says with one last kiss.
"Bye." Ryder waves, a funny, odd feeling in her heart as she watches him go, closing the door once the disappeared down the stairs. "Oh boy." She mumbles to herself as she leans her back against the door, a good idea to what that feeling was.
His last case dragged closer to the weekend than Spencer would have liked. But he was able to finish with his paperwork with enough time to go home and change before he had to be at Ryder's apartment if he were to leave early. Now all he had to do was get the okay from Hotch.
"Come in." Aaron Hotchner's voice calls from the other side of his closed office door.
"Uh, sorry to bother you, sir." Reid says as he slowly makes his way into his bosses office, suddenly nervous. Almost like a child asking their parent if they could go out with friends.
"Spit it out, Reid." Hotch tells his youngest agent, seeing his trouble to form words.
"Um, I need to leave early. Today is Ryder's birthday and it means a lot to her and I wanted to be ther-." Spencer starts rambling before being cut off by his boss.
"Reid," Looking up, Spencer wrings his hands as he waits for his answer. "It's fine, you can go."
"Thank you, Hotch." Spencer tells his boss with a sigh of relief. There's no way he could've missed Ryder's birthday. He was going to mention this to Hotch at the beginning of the week but they got called away on a case and he just hadn't had the chance until now.
"Tell her I said happy birthday." Hotch says before Spencer leaves his office. He was happy for Reid, he could clearly see he loved this girl and how good she was for him. He doesn't blame him for not telling the team either, he understands. He's also heard the teasing from the other team members, even directed their attention away from the topic on occasion. And of course he would let him leave early, Hotch knows first hand what this job takes from you, it took his wife from him, he wouldn't let the same happen to Reid if he could do anything about it.
"I will, thank you, again." Reid nods once before making his exit, passing his other team member on his way back to his desk to collect his stuff.
"And where are you going in such a hurry?" Emily questions as she watches Reid get ready to leave.
"Nowhere." Spencer quickly says, hoping she would drop it but knowing she wouldn't
"Well, it's obviously somewhere." Morgan sits back in his seat, watching Reid in amusement.
"I just have somewhere to be." He tells his team, ready to leave and get away from their questions. He knew they meant well but sometimes he wished they would mind their own business.
"Oh yeah? Where's that?" Emily pushes when he finally collects all of his things.
"Somewhere." Is all Spencer offers them before quickly making his way to the elevator.
"Somewhere?" Emily repeats to Morgan with raised eyebrows, the two sharing a suspicious glance towards Reid. "What the hell is he up to?"
"I have no idea," Morgan shrugs with a laugh, tempted to snoop through Reid's desk in hopes of finding a clue.
"No," Emily says when she follows Morgan's gaze, immediately knowing what thoughts were going through his mind.
"Well, what do you expect me to do? The kid's not telling us anything." Morgan argues but doesn't move from his seat.
"C'mon Morgan, let him have a secret or two." Emily tells her team member. She likes teasing Spencer but it was just for fun, if Spencer didn't want to tell them then he didn't have too.
"Last time I let him have a secret it wasn't a good thing." Morgan suddenly turns serious, causing her to see he was just worried about his friend. Morgan saw this team as family, Spencer like a little brother and he just wants to watch out for him.
"Yeah," Emily sighs. "But I don't think it is this time." She reminds him. "He's happy Morgan, let him have this one."
"Ryder?" Spencer calls out as he enters her apartment with the key she had given him a few weeks back, closing the door behind him as Ryder calls back.
"In here!" Walking towards her voice, Spencer passes the kitchen and living room and he enters the hallway, going halfway before turning to the double doors on his left, smiling at the sight of Ryder sitting on her stool, paint covering her clothes as she stares down the canvas.
"As cute as you look covered in paint, we're going to be late." He tells her, laughing when she looks at the time, stumbling out of her seat as she lets out a curse, rushing passed him, down the rest of the hall and into her room, stripping out of her paint-stained clothes on her way.
"I swear it wasn't this late five minutes ago." She says to Spencer as she shrugs on the pants and shirt she had picked out earlier that day. Her hair and makeup already done.
"You know how easily you lose track of time when you're painting." He reminds her with a fond smile, watching her twist the shirt in her hand with a confused face, seeming to have forgotten which side was the front.
"Yeah, yeah I know." She mumbles, finally figuring out the shirt and throwing it over her head before walking to her full-length mirror to check her appearance.
"Hey." Spencer says as he wraps his arms around her waist from behind, this being the first time he's seen her since getting called away on his case a few days ago.
"Hey." Ryder says back with a smile, turning in his arms to kiss him.
"Happy Birthday." He tells her, not for the first time that day but for the first time in person.
"Thank you." Ryder says cheerfully, giving him another kiss that makes his knees go weak.
"As much as I want to stay here alone with you, we really are going to be late." Spencer tells her, reluctantly pulling away.
"You're right, Steve will never let it down if I show up late to my own birthday dinner." Ryder agrees, pulling Spencer with her down the hall and towards the door, grabbing her purse from the kitchen table before exiting. Walking hand in hand towards the diner, Reid pulls his phone from his pocket but keeps it by his side so Ryder won't see and sends a quick text to Steve to let him know they were almost there before sliding it back into his pocket.
"It's about time." Steve says as his two friends approach him, Ryder pulling away from Spencer to give him a big hug.
"Hey, we are not late." Ryder defends as Steve sets her back on the ground, having had lifted her off the ground.
"Sure," He says sarcastically before opening the door and letting her enter, sending Spencer a nod once he was sure she wouldn't see it. "Happy birthday, Ry."
"Aww you guys," Ryder says when she sees the flowers on their table and the balloons floating above the booth seats. "Thank you." She tells them sincerely, sliding into the booth after Spencer, Steve sitting across from them.
"There's the birthday girl." Ms. Linda says as she approaches the table, having helped the boys set everything up, this being the eighth birthday Ryder has spent here.
"Hey Ms. Linda." Ryder greets with a smile up at the women.
"Happy birthday, dear." She tells the young women she's had the pleasure of watching grow up with a smile and a hug. "I made sure we had your favorite pie, it's just come out of the oven, it'll be perfect when you're done with your meal."
"Thank you." Ryder tells her with a smile before they each ordered their food.
"Now, there's only one thing missing." Steve says, drawing Ryder's confused eyes towards him.
"What?" She asks him, narrowing her eyes in suspicion at the mischievous smile on his face.
"Well, your present of course." Spencer tells her, looking down at the confused girl with a smile before both him and Steve look over her shoulder towards the door, causing her to do the same.
Feeling her eyes go wide and mouth fall open, Ryder's hand goes over her heart as she blinks rapidly, not believing the sight before her.
"Tommy?" She asks, looking at her brother standing before her, dressed in his uniform and smiling down at her.
"Hey, punk." He greets with a fond smile, using one of his many nicknames that always annoyed her.
But she didn't seem to care about the stupid name as she jumps from her seat and bolts towards him and into his open arms, wrapping her own around his neck as he lifts her from the ground and spins her in a circle.
"Or should I say, Flash." He jokes as he holds his sister close. Finally setting her down, Tommy runs his hand over her hair, messing it up as he looks down at her. "Did you get shorter? I didn't think that was possible."
"Shut up, Tommy." Ryder says as she wipes the tears from her eyes, lunging forwards to wrap her arms around his waist in another hug. "How are you here?" She asks him once she pulls away, still wiping her eyes. She suddenly glad she wore minimum makeup.
Looking over his shoulder, Tommy nods towards Steve and Spencer, the two of them the reason this possible. Turning around Ryder runs back over to the boys, emotions swirling around as she all but jumps into Spencer's arms, giving him a giant hug, the words leaving her mouth before she could stop them.
"I love you!" Taking a moment to realize what she had said, Ryder loosens her hold from around Spencer's neck, her feet slowly hitting the floor as his own hold loosens as well.
"Hey, I helped too." Steve breaks the awkward silence after a moment, earning him a slap to the shoulder from Tommy.
Admitting she loved someone was not easy or something Ryder takes lightly. She'd never said those words until she met Eleanor and Tommy and even then it had taken a long time, but she meant it, she really did love Spencer. She had for a while now, she'd just been too scared to say it. What if he didn't say it back? What if he rejected her because he didn't feel the same way?
"I mean that," Ryder decides to say instead of playing it off. She did love Spencer and she just told him and her brother was home, she felt so happy right now like she could do anything.
Without wasting another second, Spencer bends down to capture Ryder's lips in a sensuous kiss. "I love you." He tells her once he pulls away, huge smiles on both of there faces.
"As amazing as this moment is," Tommy interrupts after giving the couple a moment, "I'd like to officially meet the man that's sucking face with my little sister."
"Tommy!" Ryder shouts, turning away from Spencer to look at her brother with wide eyes.
"I apologize for nothing." He shrugs before turning to Spencer, offering him his hand which he easily accepted, to Ryder's surprise. "I'll give you the big bother talk later."
"Not necessary," Ryder shakes her head as she looks back and forth between the two who have their eyes locked in some sort of standoff, she assumes.
"Totaly necessary." Tommy tells his little sister, finally breaking eye contact with Spencer to look down at her.
"Tommy? Is that you?" Ms. Linda calls from behind them, a smile growing on her face when she sees the young man she's known his whole life.
"Hey, Ms. Linda," Tommy greats the older women, moving towards her to hug her.
"Oh my boy, how have you been? You look skinny." She tells him while looking him over. The other three raise their brows at her words. Tommy is many things but skinny isn't one of them. He's basically a rock. Tommy had gotten into working out in highschool and Ryder doesn't think he's stopped since. But she can see where Ms. Linda was coming from, she was very grandmotherly, always looking after those she considered family, and Tommy may have had muscle, but in his slightly baggy uniform, you can't tell. He didn't look huge by any means, she supposed he did look on the skinny side of muscular.
"I've been good, just missing you guys." He says with a glance towards his sister.
"You worry us, you know?" The older women tells him with a stern look.
"I know, I'm sorry." He mumbles before she shoos them into their seats so they can eat their food.
"I can't believe you guys did this." Ryder says after they've finished their food, looking around at her friends and family.
"I told you you'd like your gift." Spencer whispers to her, feeling nothing but joy in his heart for the beautiful girl he loves sitting next to him.
"I love you guys." She tells them all, this being one of the greatest birthdays she's had in a long time. And even though her mother couldn't be there, she would never forget the women who saved her life, changing it forever.
"Aww, we love you too!" Steve says over dramatically, placing his hand over his heart, earning chuckles from everyone around the table.
After having dessert, the group makes there way back to Ryder's apartment where they watch tv until late and Steve leaves and Tommy i so tired he almost falls asleep in the living room. "Thank you so much for today, it was the best." Ryder tells Spencer as they get ready for bed, Tommy having retired to the guest room for the night.
"Well, I kind of lied about something." Spencer says, his back facing her. Ryder's heart to drop to her stomach, a thousand thought's going through her head of what he could've lied about. "I got you more than one gift."
Sighing in relief, Ryder looks up to Spencer, realizing what he was said. "I said no gifts, in what universe does that mean to get me two?" She asks as Spencer makes his way towards her.
"Seriously? Just let me have my moment? Please?" Spencer pouts as he sits in front of her, a small box being help behind his back.
"Okay, I'm sorry." Ryder apologizes, actually excited to see what he had gotten her.
"Close your eyes." He tells her.
"Come on, Ry, please?" He says, smiling despite himself at how difficult she was being.
"Okay, fine." She gives in and closes her eyes.
Smiling, Spencer pulls the box in front of him and opens it, pulling out the silver chain and dangling it in front of Ryder. "Okay, open." Opening her eyes, Ryder blinks to help them adjust to the dim lighting, Spencer face being the first thing that comes into focus before she sees him holding his hand up, a silver chain hanging from his.
Following the chain down, Ryder feels tears fill her eyes when she looks down at the jewel. Her birthstone. The necklace an almost exact match to the one her mother had gotten her for her sixteenth birthday. She had cherished that necklace for so long, never even taking it off until one day she'd lost it. She had gone into hysterics trying to find it, going to her mother in tears to tell her she'd lost it. Eleanor had comforted her daughter, telling her it was okay, that it was just a necklace and that it wasn't what truly mattered.
"Oh, Spence." Ryder whispers, reaching out for the necklace. She lets the small jewel rest in the palm of her hand, feeling Spencer's warm hand come to rest on cheek and he wipes away a stray tear that falls from her eye
"Do you want me to put it on you?" He asks, prompting Ryder to nod and turn, allowing Spencer to drape the necklace around her neck and lock it together as she holds her hair out of his way.
"You don't know how much this means to me." Ryder tells him with a teary smile.
"Anything for the women I love." He says pulling her into a kiss, wiping away her tears.
If he could stay there for the rest of his life he would. He loves Ryder and she loves him. He never believed in love at first sight or soulmates but in that very moment, he couldn't deny the fact that Ryder was everything to him and he couldn't imagine his life without her.
In that moment he would admit that she was his soulmate.