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It's the 'what if's that hurts the most

Chapter Text

“Gary Michaels?”

 

“I didn’t know that was his name back then but It wasn’t unusual for you to play with adults- and you’d win too.”

 

“Did- did he do something to me?”

 

“Oh no, oh God no. It never got to that point. But when I saw the way he looked at you, I knew what he was.” 

 

His mother sounded so sure, so sure that Gary Michaels had never laid a hand on him. Of course Spencer believed her, Diana was always right when it came to him- why would she be wrong this time? But as he nodded in agreement in that office at the police station he felt something rotten begin to build in the back of his mind. Something that he knew wouldn't back down easily, something that would try and take as much of Spencer down with it. It was the last thing Spencer wanted nor needed so he brushed it off and finished listening to his mother’s explanation on what happened. 

 

The man was dead. Gary Michaels had been bludgeoned to death by the parent of one of his victims. Although Reid preferred to have their unsubs face charges for what they’d done, he was glad the man wasn’t on this planet anymore. He had been wrong about his father and he couldn’t help but feel guilty about how sure he was that the man had been a murdering child-rapist. He knew that if he took a step back and looked at the situation from an unbiased angle he’d know that it was an underlying need for him to punish his father for leaving him and his mother to fend for themselves. Leave him to fend for himself. Turns out he had been wrong about everything.

 

It was a few nights after they’d gotten home to Virginia that the dream started again. Spencer thought that the dreams would stop after he’d figured out the truth and they had, for a few nights. Then they’d started up again, except for the fact that now, the dreams were different. 

 

It started similarly, he was sneaking through a house, the lights were turned off and it was eerily quiet. He had his gun out, pointing it out in front of him in case he was attacked. He crept through the house until he made it down the stairs into the basement where he found a child's body. Reid could see the black sneakers over white socks he’d come to recognize as Riley Jenkins. He lowered his gun, the familiar feeling of failure blooming in his chest as he studied the motionless boy. Suddenly the body began to move. Spencer stood and watched in horror as the corps turned around and sat up. Riley stared at him. He looked angry, betrayed. When the other boy had stood up Spencer realised that they were the same height. Riley took a step towards him.

 

“Why didn’t you tell anyone? You could’ve saved us-” the boy in front of him spoke. His eyes had a dead look to them that Reid had gotten used to over the years, as awful as that sounds it was necessary if you wanted to survive in their line of work.

 

Before Spencer even got a chance to answer he felt hands on his body from behind him. Touching him, groping him. He tried to grab them, push them away but he couldn’t stop them as they slid down to his crotch. He cried out as the other hand wrapped around his throat and-

 

Reid shot up in his bed, frantically kicking the sheet away from him. Everything was too hot, too much. He needed to get the hands off of him. Away from him.

 

“Off, off, off. Get off me! Get-” He screamed horsey before realising where he was. He was in his apartment, alone. He was fine. It was just a nightmare. Spencer looked at his hands that were still desperately clinging onto the sheets on either side of him. He was shaking and before he knew it he was sobbing too. It had felt so real, almost as if- 

 

No. No, it was just a nightmare. Reading so many police reports on rape and abuse cases was getting to him a bit. Like Morgan said, it happens to everybody in the field. It was normal

 

He was fine.

Chapter Text

 

Spencer spent longer than he normally would’ve in the shower the next morning. Almost as if he was trying to wash the phantom feeling of the hands off him. He scrubbed until his pale skin turned pink, even then he still felt dirty. Why was this dream affecting him this much? It was just a nightmare, nothing more. It was just his brain and overactive imagination taking his cases and what he’s read a step too far. It wasn’t something in his subconscious and it definitely wasn't a memory. It was just. A stupid. Dream .

 

He skipped breakfast and opted for coffee instead. He hadn’t dared go back to sleep after he woke up, in case the nightmare started again. Reid knew he looked like a dead man walking but after that last case and the confession from his mother, he hoped none of his team members would mention it. That would just be mean. 

 

When Spencer stepped into the bullpen he could feel eyes on him, from all directions. He hated this kind of attention. He hated all attention really, but this? This was worse than anything he could imagine. Almost as bad as the first few days after the Hankle case. 

 

Reid sat down at his desk and began to go through the files on his desk. This would help. Although filling out and finishing up case files and reports could be annoying, at times like these Reid found it therapeutic. A good distraction from last night's events. 

 

If anybody noticed him acting strangely, nobody said anything. At all, nobody talked to him the entire day. Prentiss didn't slip him any files, Morgan didn't come and tease him at all, JJ didn't even come to ask him how he was. Garcia had left him a jar of cookies, which she only did after things like hostage situations or birthdays so that made him feel great. He didn't realise how much he'd come to like the casual signs of affection until now. He used to hate it, he used to hate people touching him, freak out actually, and he never really had anyone who asked how he was so it had all been very weird at first.

 

It was now that Spencer realised how much it hurt to not have it. To have people walking eggshells around him and not interact with him. The crushing loneliness he'd been so used to but then forgotten came back full force as the elevator doors closed. 

 

~~~~

 

He couldn't see anything, he couldn't move, he could barely breathe. His thoughts were all over the place, the only thing he knew was that he was scared, he was so, so scared. 

 

"God, you're so beautiful…" the words echoed around him. They sounded so familiar. But from where? Where had he heard this man before? 

 

"Perfect, untouched skin, beautiful hair." The was a disturbing groan and then suddenly Spencer could feel two hands on his hips. He tried to scream, he tried to kick and flail but nothing happened. It was like he had no control over his body. All he could do was Feel and nothing else. 

 

Next thing he knew everything was pain, his entire body was on fire, every nerve was screaming at him to 'make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.' Spencer cried and cried for help but nobody ever came. 

 

Reid's eyes shot open and he scrambled back towards the head of the bed, his back hitting the wall as his chest heaved with sobs. He pulled his knees to his chest, trying to make himself as small as possible. The tears kept coming, he couldn't stop them anymore. 

 

This was the fifth night in a row that he'd had this nightmare. Except for this one had a voice, this was the first time that the offender in his dreams spoke to him. Reid didn't want to think about the fact that he had recognized the voice, the words that had been spoken to him. ' It was just a dream, Spencer. Nothing more .' It was a mantra he'd been repeating to himself for the past few days as he dried his tears and forced his hands to stop shaking.

 

Spencer couldn't take another sleepless night, he had a job to do and he would be useless in the field like this. He looked over at the clock to see that it was barely past midnight. He sighed and rolled over, drying his eyes on the practically drenched sheets covering his thin body. He was sweaty and disgusting but he couldn't find the energy to take a shower yet. He couldn't find the energy to do anything but lie there and sob quietly.

 

Spencer had noticed that his team was suspicious of him. It didn't take a profiler to see that there was something wrong. He was sluggish and jumpy. When Prentiss had teased him about something he'd simply glared at her until she left him alone. That was one of many signs that the genius wasn't as fine as he was saying. 

 

Morgan was especially worried, he knew how much Riley's case had gotten to Reid and he'd seen the nightmares the kid was having about it. He had hoped that after the case was solved the nightmares would stop. But maybe they hadn't. But what would Reid be dreaming about then? 

 

He needed to find out. The kid looked on the verge of passing out and that's not a good thing in this line of work. Morgan knew that if Spencer was still like this during the next case it could get them into some serious trouble. 

Chapter Text

It had been over two weeks of nightmares, they got more and more vivid each time. Seemed more and more real. Each time Spencer would wake up tangled in his sheets, heaving with sobs. He felt trapped in his own mind, never able to escape. Everywhere he'd look he'd either see himself as a child, terror in his eyes or the figure in his dreams. 

 

The face of the man would change, as if his mind couldn't quite decide what he looked like.

 

Or can't remember what he looked like , a small voice in the back supplied. He dutifully ignored it. Spencer refused to believe that these were memories, or remnants of one. 

 

For not the first time in his life, he wished he could turn his brain off. Make it quiet for just a moment, just a minute of peace. That desperate need made the lure of the dilaudid hidden in one of the air vents of his apartment even stronger than before. 

 

He knew it was stupid to keep it in his apartment but even though he was determined to stay clean, there was something about throwing it away that he couldn't handle. As if the comfort of having it close made up for the fact he couldn't use it.

 

It hadn't gotten to the point where he'd open the vent yet but he did lay on his side in bed and stare at the grate separating him and sweet, sweet relief. 

 

But he knew that he couldn't do it, he couldn't do that to his team. His team was everything to him and he couldn't lose them. Not over something like this, not now after all this time. 

 

He had to think about his team, think about how angry Morgan would be, how disappointed Hotch and Rossi would be, how horribly sad Garcia would be. No, he couldn't. This decision didn't only affect him, it affected everyone. 

 

What he didn't realise was affecting everyone was his mood, the overwhelming amounts of gloom and pain that radiated from his being. He didn't see Hotch call Morgan into his office one day after the two had made eye contact as JJ woke Spencer up from where he'd fallen asleep at work for the 5th time that week. 

 

Stepping into Hotch's office, Morgan crossed his arms, "Hotch, you've got to notice there's something up with him, right? He's not okay." 

 

Hotch placed both hands, palms down on his desk and sighed, "Of course I noticed, it's affecting the whole team." Morgan knew he was right, there had been a dark cloud hanging over the BAU team ever since Morgan, Rossi and Reid got back from Las Vegas. "That's why I want you to speak with him. He'll talk to you." 

 

"Are you sure?" Morgan asked, thinking that maybe JJ or Garcia would be better at emotional support. But Hotch just nodded.

 

"Only you and Rossi were with him in Vegas and the only ones who really know what went down. Something happened that week and I need you to figure it out. He looks up to you Derek. Look out for him." The use of Morgan's first name only insinuated how important this task was. Derek knew this was one thing he could not fuck up.

 

Morgan soon exited his superior's office and watched sadly as Reid stared into what seemed like nothing. 

 

~~~

 

"Hey kid," Morgan stepped up next to Reid where he was stirring what was probably his 4th cup of coffee since he'd left his apartment that morning. Reid leaned against the counter of the breakroom, only humming in response. It seemed like he was somewhere else entirely. 

 

"You know you can talk to me right?" Morgan began, as he usually did. He needed Reid to know that he was always there if he needed him. Spencer didn't even seem to notice the comment. 

 

"Did you know that the human mind is incapable of creating new faces? So that means that any face that you see in a dream is either someone you know or have seen before in your life." 

 

The fact caught Derek completely off guard. What do you say to that? 

 

"Uh, no- no I didn't," was all he could come up with. It was probably the least helpful thing he could have said. 

 

Spencer nodded, not looking up from the floor, "Yeah. Statistically you dream up to six dreams per night but only remember about 10% of them, 96% being forgotten after the first 10 minutes of waking up." Spencer hated that fact. Despite those statistics he still remembered all his night terrors. Or worse, he was having more than he could remember. 

 

Night terrors, there was no other way to describe what he was experiencing. Although only 2.2% of adults have night terrors, usually growing out of them as they enter adulthood. He knew that night terrors in adults usually meant an underlying mental illness or psychological trauma. Both things he didn't want to be associated with. 

 

Derek shook his head sadly, "Reid, tell me what's going on, man." He was tired of the genius evading the subject. 

 

Spencer visibly drew into himself, he knew they'd been suspicious of him. They'd probably had a big meeting about it behind his back and Derek was chosen to go talk to him. 

 

Sometimes he hated working with profilers. 

 

"I'm fine, Morgan." Spencer still didn't look up from the floor. He didn't even try to fake a smile. He took a sip of his coffee, he held back a frown. Nothing tasted sweet to him anymore. No matter how much sugar he put in it, it was just bitter. Everything was bitter. 

 

Spencer saw that Derek was about to protest, so he looked up at the other man for the first time in a week, "Really, I'm fine ." 

 

It was that moment when Derek genuinely saw the emptiness in Spencer's eyes. The dark bruises under them only accentuating the tiredness of the boy's face. He was not fine. 

 

Before Morgan could comment Spencer walked off, leaving him behind to wonder what the hell had happened to his friend.

Chapter Text

Hotch was desperately trying to get Strauss off his ass. She didn't like how he was quite obviously was trying to take cases in Virginia, if any. He was trying to stay on paperwork duty as Morgan figured out what was going on with Reid. 

 

He knew currently all his agents were so worried about their youngest that they'd be useless in the field. It was almost as if Reid being compromised, compromised the whole team.  

 

Hotch knew that things couldn't go on like this, not for his team nor their jobs. If they didn't get back on their game they could get called out by their superiors. Then there was nothing Hotch could do to protect Reid's privacy. This way they could find out what was going on with him without the entire Bureau knowing. 

 

There was one thing Hotch suspected but prayed to everything that it wasn't. But the truth was Reid could be using again. The only time Hotch had ever seen Reid snap like he had with Prentiss the other day was when he was using. What else could it be?

 

Hotch sighed, no it couldn't be that. Reid knew that could lose him everything. He wouldn't do that. He knew how important it was to stay clean. 

 

But Hotch knew how desperate an addict could be to forget. Especially an addict who couldn't forget anything. Desperate enough to do something stupid. 

 

God, Hotch hoped he was wrong. 

 

~~~



Derek stepped out of the breakroom and towards Reid's desk. His heart twisted in his chest as he saw the genius passed out on his desk, his head laying on top of his folded arms. He made his way over to Spencer and sat down on the desk next to him, placing a hand on Reid's shoulder.

 

To his surprise, Spencer flinched back, waking up with a cry, "Don't touch me-" he pulled his arms to his chest defensively. Spencer blinked a few times realising where he was. He was at work, he was fine. He had just fallen asleep. Looking around he soon spotted Morgan who was looking at him, his eyes filled with worry as he held his hands out as if he was trying to calm a cornered animal.

 

“You okay, Pretty boy…?” He asked his skittish friend, his concern for him skyrocketing. 

 

Reid looked away as the pit in his stomach made him sick. He felt disgusting, dirty. He didn't want these dreams, he wanted them to go away. Why was this happening to him? He thought finding Riley's killer would make the nightmares stop, but finding him just made them worse. 

 

Shaking his head he stood up and stormed out of the bullpen, leaving behind a very concerned and confused Derek Morgan. He ran out into the bathroom and into one of the stalls. Falling onto his knees he threw up into the bowl. The vomit burned his throat as it was mostly coffee and stomach acid. 

 

Spencer sobbed softly as he leaned against the cold porcelain of the toilet bowl, not caring about how disgusting the floor and toilet probably was. He couldn't possibly feel any dirtier than he already felt. 

 

He was so tired, he was tired of the nightmares, of the pain, of everything. He just wanted to sleep. 

 

Reaching up he flushed the toilet and pulled himself off the floor. He wiped his mouth and stumbled over to the mirror where he stopped in shock. He barely recognized himself. 

 

His hair was all over the place, uncombed but clean. He'd taken so many shower's recently to try and get rid of the feel of dirt on his skin. The bags under his eyes were worse than they'd ever been before, the deep purple standing out against his ever paling skin. He hated his reflection, God, he hated it so much. He had always hated himself. He knew the only thing he had going for him is his head. The only thing keeping him on the team was his head. He wasn't FBI material. He knew this, Hotch knew it, Strauss knew it. 

 

Why was he even trying? 

 

To help people. He wanted to help people. Children and adults of all ages, people like Riley Jenkins, Tobias Hankle and Nathan Harris. People who didn't deserve what happened to them. 

 

Save people because he couldn't save himself. 

 

It was in that bathroom at the Quantico offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Spencer realised that the dreams weren't figments of his imagination, they weren't just dreams. They were memories he'd buried for years. Buried so far down that he didn't even know they existed. 

 

Spencer's breathing picked up as the damn broke and all the memories came back to him. The large hands on his body, the groans and whispers in his ears, the pain between his legs. He gasped as his mind returned to the scene. 

 

He had been going to go playing chess with Gary again. Gary was the only one close to his skill level when it came to chess. The other other never wanted to play with him. They said that chess was boring. Spencer didn't think it was boring, after the first three moves for each player there are over nine million different moves you can play. How is that not exciting?

 

When he showed up Gary looked sad or confused maybe? Spencer wasn't very good at reading people. He later found out that some of the chess pieces had been stolen, but Gary said he had a chess board at his house that they could use. Said it was made out of marble, handmade. 

 

It was true, Gary had a really cool chess board that Spencer got to use.  It was absolutely stunning. He was so busy looking at the board he hadn't noticed the way Gary looked at him, the way he locked the front door and the door to the study. He didn't realise it was all too late until two hands grabbed his upper arms, gripping them so tightly Spencer couldn't move. 

 

In a panic, Spencer began to kick his legs, desperately trying to break free from the man's hold. He felt himself pulled up against Gary's body, something pressing into the back of his thighs. He was only four but he was aware enough of the outside world to know what was about to happen to him. He should've known it was too good to be true. There was no stopping this.

 

Spencer tried to cry out for help but was silenced as Gary covered his face with his hand. All he could do was sob quietly as his shorts and underwear were pulled down, exposing him to the cold air around him. Large hands slowly slid down his back towards his butt. He knew what came next.

 

He tried to separate himself from his body, go somewhere else. In his head his mom was telling him his favourite story, it was one that she used to have her students read. The Buik of Alexander. An old tale of Scottish origins. First written anonymously and published in two parts before later, a second version was published by Gilbert Hay. 

 

"Remember Spencer, always to be brave." his mother had told him. He had to be brave.

 

Spencer tried so hard to focus on the stories, on his mum reading to him but it was hard when you felt like you were being ripped in half. Pain seized through his body as Gary pulled them down so he could sit at the table with the chess board. 

 

The boy looked at the chess board knowing that it was his idiocy that got him into this mess. He never should have accepted Gary's offer. How could he be so stupid?! He cried out into Gary's palm as pain shot through his body, lighting up every nerve with agony. 

 

"I knew you'd be good. So fucking delicious. You won't tell anyone, you're smart enough to know that no one will believe you after what happened with that Jenkins kid. They'll think you're after attention. The nerdy kid with a broken family, no. You won't say anything. Not if you know what's good for you…" Gary trailed off into a groan as he ran his hand up and down Spencer's body. "If you're smart, you'll forget this ever happened." 

 

Spencer tried not to scream, knowing he was still at work. His hands were in his head, pulling hard , trying to make the memories stop, make the pain stop. Make everything stop. 

 

It hurt. It hurt so goddamn much. The memories so vivid in his mind, as if it had merely happened the day before. He needed it to stop, he didn't want these memories, he didn't want to remember this. Spencer bit down on his hand to try and keep quiet. 

 

But he knew that no matter what he told himself, no matter how much he tried to deny it, it didn't change what happened.

 

Gary Michael had raped him.

 

Chapter Text

 

The discovery was all too much for Reid. He couldn’t do this, he couldn’t handle this. How could Derek live with this experience his whole life? Spencer rocked back and forth on the bathroom floor, his hands in his hair and his chest heaving with silent sobs. 

 

He’s stronger than you. You know it. They all are.

 

The thought was bitter but it was true. If he couldn't deal with something like this then he shouldn’t be in this job. You need to be strong to survive here. He wasn’t strong. He was weak. He had always been weak. The words repeated in his head. Over and over again. Weak, he was weak. You’re weak. You don’t deserve your job. You don’t deserve the strong people you surround yourself with. Maybe that’s why you do it. You surround yourself with strong people so you don’t notice your own weakness. How pitiful. 

 

Spencer couldn’t stay there. He needed to leave. He thought about how he could get his bag. He couldn’t go back into the bullpen looking like he did. He’d have to come back and get it later. Spencer felt his pocket to make sure he had his phone. Sighing in relief he stood up, he had his phone and his wallet in his pockets. The extra key to his apartment was under the mat so he didn’t need to worry about getting the keys from his bag. 

 

Spencer could just sneak out down the stairwell. Nobody ever takes the stairs there, he'd be safe in there. He'd call Hotch and tell him that he'd need a few days off. To do what… Spencer hadn't decided. He didn't want to do anything, but at this point he barely had any control of himself. Everything he'd do from now would be on auto pilot, at least until he got home. 

 

Drying his face, Spencer stood up on shaky legs and stumbled over to the sink again to wash his face. He turned on the sink and splashed his face with cold water, hoping to reduce some of the redness on his face. Looking into the mirror he realised that some cold water was not going to change the fact that he still looks like he just cried for 45 minutes.  

 

Spencer sighed and stepped out of the bathroom, looking back and forth down the hall to make sure there'd be as few witnesses as possible. When he deemed it safe he snuck down the corridor of the offices, trying to get to the stairs. 

 

The relief he felt when the door the the stairwell shut behind him was near overwhelming. He was one step closer to being safe at home. Away from where anybody could see how weak he was, how pathetic.

 

Spencer ran down the stairs as fast as he could, it was in the building lobby that it became a bit awkward. He held his head down as he walked past some people he'd seen around the Quantico offices before. Spencer prayed that none of them recognized him though. He just wanted to leave without anyone knowing, without drawing attention to himself. 

 

"Hey! Agent Reid? Is that you?" He heard someone shout from behind him. Spencer tried to pretend he didn't hear them and walked faster but they managed to catch up to him. He flinched violently when they placed a hand on his shoulder to turn him around. 

 

"Woah, you okay, man?" Agent Davies, he worked in the sex crimes division. How fitting , Spencer's mind supplied.  

 

"Uh, I-" Spencer's voice was hoarse from crying, he cleared his throat. It ended up being more like a cough. "Yeah, I'm fine. What's up?" He tried to act normal, not like he wanted to tear all of the skin off his body and then maybe bleed to death from his wounds. 

 

Agent Davies frowned, "Are you sure? You don't look alright…?" he goes to place a hand on the younger agent's shoulder but stopped when he remembered how he reacted last time. He knew Reid wasn't all for touching but he'd never reacted like that.

 

Spencer nodded and shrugged nonchalantly, "Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. Just heading home, finished my work early and all that." He felt so stupid, why was he explaining himself???

 

To his relief, Davies only laughed, "Of course. You and that brain man, we need to get us one of you in sex crimes. Make things a whole lot quicker." He was so busy laughing he didn't notice how uncomfortable Spencer was getting. 

 

"Well, I really should get going-" suddenly there was a hand on his upper arm, holding his so tightly he was sure it was cutting off blood flow to his hands. Spencer couldn't move, he couldn't pull away, he couldn't scream, he couldn't do anything. 

 

He looked up to see instead of the friendly face of Agent Davies, in front of him now stood Gary Michaels. He sneered at him as he gripped his arm tightly, holding him in place. 

 

Spencer's heart dropped down to his stomach. How was he here? He died, he was killed by Mr. Jenkins. He couldn't be here, he couldn't-

 

He couldn't breathe, he needed to get out of there.

 

"N-no, you're dead- you're gone… you-" was all he managed to stutter out before his legs began to work again and he pulled out of Gary's grasp. Taking a few steps back, shaking his head, he looks up at Gary only to see the concerned face of agent Davies. 

 

"Reid? What are you talking about?" He had his hands out as if to calm a wild animal. Or an unsub. "Who's gone? What's going on?

 

Spencer felt mortified. What had just happened? Only a moment ago Gary Michaels had been less than two feet away from him, but now it was agent Davies. He was seeing things. 

 

Intrusive memories, one of the signs of PTSD. Intrusive memories may include recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event, reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks), upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event and/or severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event-

 

He just had an episode in front of a coworker, the one thing he wanted to avoid. Dammit, he couldn't do anything right. Spencer shook his head at Davies.

 

"I'm fine, sorry." Looking over his shoulder his eyes find the exit and he starts to turn away, "I really need go- I'm uh, late." That was all he said before he power walked out the main doors of the building. 

 

Agent Davies had never seen Agent Reid like that, awkward, intimidated but scared? Terrified of something Davies couldn't even see? That had never happened. Should he tell Reid's superior? He knows that the BAU team is more like a family than coworkers. If he sees any of them he'd let them know.

Chapter Text

‘Feeling ill. I’m taking a few personal days off. I’ll come pick up my things tomorrow - Reid’

 

Hotch frowned down at his phone. Although Hotch was glad Reid was taking a few days off for his own health, he worried about him. He wanted to ask him what was wrong, he wasn’t worried as just a superior anymore, he was worried as a good friend. 

 

Morgan hadn’t brought him any updates but he didn’t know whether that was because the two of them were figuring it out together or just that Morgan hadn’t gotten through to their resident genius. He hoped that the text message meant that Morgan had talked to Reid and gotten him to take a few days off to figure himself out, but he’d have to ask Morgan. He felt bad for digging into Reid’s business like this but he was worried about the kid, as their superior it was his job to take care of his team. 

 

Hotch looked out of the window of his office down into the bullpen. Reid’s desk sat empty, his cherished bag left on the table and his jacket on the back of his chair. It was very unusual for Reid to leave his stuff- especially his bag, that thing was sacred to him. The fact that he left it behind because he was in such a rush to get home only worried Hotch further. 

 

Stepping out into the hall Hotch notices that Rossi seems to be walking towards his office. He doesn’t have time to say anything before the elder agent speaks. 

 

“You care to tell me what’s going on with our resident genius?” He crosses his arms over his chest with a frown. Based on Reid running out of the bullpen an hour ago and not coming back, Rossi suspected that Hotch would’ve gotten some sort of message from the kid. Maybe explaining what was going on.

 

“I don’t know, David. I’ve been trying to figure it out but I can’t, not without doing anything unprofessional.” Hotch’s face hardened, his frown deep set in his face. 

 

Rossi scoffed, "Unprofessional? Screw professional. The kid's in pain, we can all tell. Tell me we've at least someone trying to talk to him?" Rossi knew about Reid's history of drug abuse, he'd been made aware after he joined in case something happened, and he knew that the possibility of him falling off the wagon was there. 

 

"Yeah, I asked Morgan to keep an eye on him, try and get him to talk." Hotch watched as a distressed Derek Morgan walked into the bullpen. Rossi snorted, unfolding his arms and letting them fall down to his sides. 

 

"Speak of the devil and he shall appear." 

 

Morgan spotted Hotch and Rossi up on the walkway and made his way to them in only a few long strides. The worry radiating from the man was not lost on the other two agents. 

 

"You heard from Reid? I tried to talk to him but he just ran out of the bullpen. I've been looking for him and I think he's gone, man." 

 

Hotch held back a sigh. So it wasn't Morgan who'd talked Reid into taking a few days off. His stoic face didn't falter. "He sent me a message a few minutes ago stating he was going to take a few days off." 

 

Both Rossi's and Morgan's eyes widened in surprise, "He left? Without his stuff?" Morgan asked, just as confused as Hotch had been, "That bag is glued to him like a Siamese twin." Morgan could almost hear Reid correcting him in his head, It's conjoined twin, Morgan. The Siamese Twins were two brothers who traveled as a entertainment act from 1829 to 1839, it's in fact quite offensive to refer to a conjoined twin as Siamese twin because it dehumanizes the twins and breaks them down to only a freak show act rather than real human beings. 

 

Hotch only nodded, "I was surprised too, but he said he'd come pick his things up tomorrow." 

 

Morgan visibly seethed, "I have a bad feeling Hotch. Somethings not right." He crossed his arms over his chest. Rossi nodded in agreement. 

 

"He's right. Spencer wouldn't just leave out of nowhere, you know how he is. He always comes into your office to let you know if he's going home early, what about taking personal days off." Rossi tried.

 

"Which he almost never does," Morgan interjected, "he practically lives here, man." 

 

Hotch nodded as these were all good points. Reid had never done anything like this before, and after the way he's been acting, Hotch was even more worried. 

 

Noticing Morgan's and Rossi's worry, as well as Hotch's thoughtfully expression JJ stepped over to them, having a bad feeling she knew what this was about. 

 

"Is this about Spencer?" She asked, concern dripping into her voice. 

 

Hotch nodded, "How did you know?" He said it hoping Reid had talked to her, he knows how close the two are. JJ shook her head, a sad smile on her face.

 

"Playing profiler with you for as long as I have I've picked up a few things," She glanced over at Morgan, "and the only time Morgan gets this upset is when Spencer's in trouble." Any other day the response to the quip would be a laugh, but now the group of profilers were much too worried to laugh. 

 

Hotch nodded at JJ, but before he could say anything Morgan spoke, "I'll take his stuff to his apartment and check up on him while I'm there. It's no problem." 

 

JJ frowned, "Wait? You mean like case files and stuff," turning to Hotch with a worried glance, "If Spencer is taking a day off the least we can do is a little work for him, right?" 

 

Morgan shook his head adamantly, "No, JJ, he forgot his bag and jacket here at work. I'm not bringing the kid more stuff to worry about." He was slightly agitated, but not towards any of them, definitely not towards Spencer, he was just frustrated that Spencer wasn't talking to him. They were best friends, they could tell each other anything… right?

 

JJ's worry seemed to heighten, as it had done for most of them, when she was told that Spencer had left his things. She knew how protective he was of his things, especially that bag. 

 

Soon enough the group separated and went back to their individual tasks. Hotch pulled Morgan aside and told him to keep him in the loop. 

 

Morgan snorted dejectedly, as if he was already dreading what he'd find when he spoke to Reid, "You asking as his friend or his boss, because those are two different kind of updates you're gonna get." 

 

There was a long pause because Hotch answered, "I'm asking as his family." 


That was all Derek needed before he stepped over to Spencer's desk, grabbing his jacket and satchel and storming out of the bullpen, hoping, praying , he wasn't too late.

Chapter Text

 

Spencer grabbed the key from under the mat by the door to his apartment. He was so close to being home, so close to being safe from the outside world and it's judgement and it's cruelty. Sticking the key through the lock, he swung the door open and walked into his safe space. 

 

He'd been told many times that he should crack a window or open the curtains, maybe get more bookcases for the hundreds of books scattered on the floor. But there was something about the musty air, collected from a multitude of first edition copies of his favourite books, something about the comfort that it blanketed him with, it felt like a hug. This was his space, with his things, a place where the horrors of the job couldn’t haunt him.

 

Most of the time.

 

Now all Reid could think, all he could feel , were Gary Michaels’ hands on him. He could feel them on his hips, gripping them tightly as he tore his small body apart. Spencer could feel them around his throat as he whispered how good he was, how tight . The genius remembered nodding as Michaels forced him to repeat a phrase he thinks he’ll never get out of his head. I’m your good little boy . Reid knew that this was a common phase used in sex, but that was between two consenting adults, not a small child and his rapist. 

 

 As he stumbled into the living room, kicking off his shoes he couldn’t help but mumble the words out loud, “I’m your good little boy, I’m your good little boy.” It was practically a whisper but it echoed painfully in the empty apartment. Tears once again welled up in Spencer’s eyes and he chastised himself for being such a child. He didn’t want this, he didn’t want these feelings, this visions and sensations on his body. He wanted to forget how much it hurt. How much the guilt and shame tore him up inside. 

 

But his mind suddenly began to wander over to how when he had gotten home the morning after, his father had never come home from work and mother hadn’t even noticed he was gone. He wanted to forget how it felt as he cleaned himself up. He could barely reach the cupboard with the washcloths in them but he remembers so vividly having to lock the bathroom door and clean up the mess between his legs by himself. 

 

He didn’t want his mother to worry about him, and it wouldn’t happen again. Spencer couldn’t remember the moment when these memories became repressed but it hardly mattered now. Spencer knew the statistics about repressed memories and how hard it is to trust the memories due to how they may have been affected over time. Just like the ones with Riley had been.He’d read many studies on the subject and the results had fluctuated between 18% all the way to 57% of people abused during childhood had experienced memory repression at some point due to their abuse. But Spencer also knew that his brain did not work like other brains. His memory did not work like other memories. He knew that there were very few things he couldn’t remember which consequently led to him repressing those memories in which he simply couldn’t handle. But now that they were back it was as if it had happened yesterday.

 

One thing that accompanied the memories was something he hoped he would be strong enough to resist. The itch in his veins came back stronger than before. He longed to feel the cool metal of the needle pierce his skin and the pure euphoria that followed. He wanted to be able to forget. For once have his mind go silent and not have to constantly be replaying everything he’d ever seen, read or experienced. Reid hated himself for what he wanted to do. What he desperately craved, but, it was just all too much. He needed it all to stop. He wanted the voices to stop, he wanted the hands to go away and he wanted to feel safe again. He wanted to feel safe wrapped up in the warm embrace of the narcotic. 

 

Spencer desperately stumbled over to the grate where he kept the dilaudid and clean needles, grabbing a chair on the way. He stepped up onto the chair, his hands shaking as he used his thumbnail to unscrew the fairly loose screws on the air vent. He nearly cried out with relief as he took in the familiar sight of the pharmaceutical. Grabbing them quickly and stepping off the chair he couldn’t stop himself as he began muttering absentmindedly, “I’m your good little boy, I’m your good little boy.” 

 

Clean. He wanted to feel clean. Spencer was disgusting, he was dirty, used. It was a good thing nobody liked him, he didn’t deserve it. He didn't deserve the sweet relief he was about to attain via the drug desperately clutched in his hand. He staggered to the bathroom, the door hitting the wall violently as it swung open. Looking over at the bath and shower combo in the room. 

 

Spencer couldn't ignore the pressure inside his head, it felt like it had been filled with so much air it was about to burst. He blinked twice as he stood over the bath before nausea overwhelmed him and he had to sit down on the lip of the tub. He still held onto the vial and needles in his hand as his mind went around in circles. 

 

Chessboard. Lost. Gary Michaels. Mistake. I've made a terrible mistake. Please somebody help me. Oh God, it hurts. Please stop. No! Stop! It hurts! 

 

Reid's eyes filled with tears again as he tried to cover his ears hoping it would make it go away. Make the noises go away, the grunting, moaning, the harsh whispers in his ears. 

 

"I'm your good little boy…" he whispers into the darkness of the bathroom, lit up only by the lamp in the corner and the light from the hallway. He falls backwards into the bathtub with an  oomph, but he doesn't even notice the pain as his head hits the wall. All he knows is that he has the key to silence in his hands and he was damned if he wasn't going to use it.

 

Spencer placed the drugs next to him before he began to prep his arm. With painfully familiar motions he unbuttoned the cuff of his sleeve and rolled it up. Working on the buckle of his belt next, he removed it and wrapped it around his upper arm to slow the blood flow. He was so close to relief, only a little more. 

 

With shaky hands he opened the packaging around a syringe carefully, he couldn't fuck this up, no matter how desperate he was, he just couldn't. Taking the needle and vial he fills it up to a slightly higher amount than he was used to, he was used to shooting up just to take the edge off. Now he just wanted nothingness, he wanted complete silence. 

 

As Spencer stared down the syringe in his hand he realised what he was about to do. Was forgetting what happened worth sacrificing a year of sobriety? Was this truly unbearable enough to compensate for him falling off the wagon and back into the pits of despair and darkness and bliss

 

Yes. Yes it was worth it. He couldn't deal with the memories, it was all to vivid. Spencer could still remember the way it felt when Michaels finally finished inside him. The relief mixed with the anguish about what had happened plagued his mind. Michaels has bitten down on his neck before throwing him to the floor like he was nothing

 

That's because he was nothing. He was utterly useless and so, so stupid. What happened to him was proof of that. If he hadn't been so stupid to follow the predator home then none of this would've happened. 

 

This was his fault. 

 

Tears streamed down his face and he gasped for breath, he thought about screaming for help, for somebody to get the hands off him, get the voices out of his head and phantom pain out of his body but all he could choke out through his tears was,


" I'm your good little boy…