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Tough Guy

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Spencer had been the first to question the gifts. The woman at the front desk of their new, shared apartment had said that a delivery man came by every now and then to drop off the gifts in their mailbox, and she’d since been prompted to trash the boxes if they hadn’t any return address. That’s when the calls started. They were frequent, Derek was spooked by the heavy breathing, and the whole thing made Spencer very paranoid. He took after Hotch and carried two guns, one on his hip and the other on his ankle, ode to LDSK, and he didn’t like it when Derek went anywhere alone.

Derek had been reluctant to tell Hotch. He didn’t want it to be a big deal. He also didn’t want the team knowing of him and Spencer’s relationship, but that was a bridge to cross when they got there. Derek told Hotch six months after it all began, and it was only because a brick came flying through their window, four stories above the pavement, and it landed right on the couch just inches from Finch, one of Spencer’s cats. Derek tried to calm his very frustrated boyfriend, who was ready to go shooting blindly into the dark. 

When Hotch found out, about the stalker and about Spencer and Derek, he wasn’t upset. He told his superiors only of Derek’s troubles, and the agent was moved to a safe house and given a temporary new name while the remaining team looked into his case. Eventually the team was handed over elsewhere, Strauss had said something about it being too personal, so knowing nothing about his lover’s investigation upset Spencer. Two months came and went like a slug trying to cross three football fields. Suspicion of something having gone on between Reid and Morgan arose when Reid’s stress became clear in Morgan’s absence. He had no contact with anyone, not even Hotchner or Strauss, so Reid’s questions fell on clueless ears.

JJ had been the one to approach him about it. She came to his apartment, the one he had on his own, but decided not to comment about how it seemed like no one lived there. 

“So,” she had begun, “You and Morgan?”

Reid choked on his coffee, just barely catching the dribble on his chin. He coughed for a short while, and JJ fought a smirk and leaned back while he composed himself.

”Me and Morgan?”

”Yes. You and Morgan.”

Reid looked away, “How do you know about that?”

”You think that woman who picked up the mail said nothing about you? She slipped a few times, talking to Emily and I. Don’t worry, we wouldn’t blab.” She shrugged, “But I’m worried. If Derek’s stalker is still in love with him, knowing you and him are together might anger them.”

”I’m not scared.” Reid sipped his coffee, “I’ve dealt with stalkers before. It seems like every time I’m interested in someone, they’ve got a stalker. I succeeded in saving Lila, so I’ll protect Morgan too.”

JJ gave a strained smile, “I’m happy to see you so strong, Spence, but it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay. You can stay with Will and I. We’ve got room.”

”No thanks,” Reid set the mug down, “I appreciate  you, but I need to protect myself. If they come here, I’ll be ready for them.”

”Ready how?” JJ asked, stress arising.

”I’ll just be ready.”

And that had been how it went down. Emily mentioned it casually in a conversation she and Reid were having on the way to a crime scene in Chicago, and it flowed so easily that Reid wasn’t even embarrassed about it. Talking to Garcia about Morgan was a cry-fest for the two of them, which surprised Reid, who never thought he’d cry with Garcia in her fancy apartment. Rossi and Hotch never directly mentioned it, but they never flinched whenever Reid was tense with worry about Morgan.

The stalker came at night, to Reid’s hotel on the case in Chicago. Hotch was speaking to Rossi in the bar, but that didn’t mean subduing Reid was an easy task. When he felt the bed dip, and when the pressure came to his face and throat, he immediately started throwing punches. He got the guy off of him, onto the floor, he wasn’t very strong after all, and it seemed his intention was to knock Reid out and drag him away; or perhaps kill him right then. The pain that exploded on the side of his head knocked him off the guy, he groaned and touched his temple, feeling the flowing blood. He blinked, tried to stand, but he ended up crumpling to the floor.

Reid woke up now and again as the travel happened, he counted the passing street lights and turns whenever he could. He was reminded vaguely of laying on the floor of Tobias’ truck, wishing he’d never run into the corn field. He groaned, which was a mistake, because the guy spat at him, which obviously disgusted the doctor. Finally his eyes came open and stayed open, he was in some stuffy place, a locker room maybe, he noticed the footballs and jerseys, and he cringed.

He knew where they were. Reid blinked a few times and tried to make sense of the figure.

“Who are you?”

”Derek knows.” The voice was scratchy, this person had clearly been crying.

”Derek knows you? Or he knows this place?”

”Both.” 

“Well, I don’t know you. So how is it fair that you know me, and you know Derek, and Derek knows you, but I don’t have the slightest clue who you are.”

When he stepped into the light, it didn’t help. Reid tried to place him, but he could not.

”Derek and I were friends as kids.”

”Oh?” Spencer lifted his brows.

”Derek and I played football together.”

”Oh.” Spencer whispered, “I’m sorry.”

”Why?” He stepped closer, “Shit happens. You know that. You analyzed him. I watched you. You dug into every aspect of that bastard’s life. You were so happy when he was killed.”

Spencer nodded, “Yes. So what?”

”I was happy when he was killed.”

”You have every right to be. What’s your name? We’ve never met.”

”No,” the stranger shook his head, “But I know you. I know you’re with Derek.”

”Does that frustrate you?”

“Yes!”

Spencer tried to move his hands. They were bound to the chair. He huffed, pissed that he was in this situation. The man stepped closer, but he just stood there.

”Are you going to hit me?”

”Not in here.” The man replied, “I’m Roman.”

”Roman,” Spencer repeated, “Why did you bring me to this place? It clearly makes you feel weak.”

”I lived here. When I was a kid. This is where he found me. This is where I started playing football.”

”You lived with Carl?”

”Don’t say his name!” Roman shouted, but Spencer did not flinch, “Its what Derek and I had in common. And we went to the same university. But when I made a move, he rejected me. But he loved you. I don’t get it!”

”He wasn’t ready to accept himself back then. He still had a lot of internalized hatred for himself. There were things he didn’t understand. He thinks Ca- that man made him the way he is. But he had nothing to do with Derek loving me.” Spencer shifted in his seat, “And trauma may bring you together but more than likely it won’t keep you together.”

Roman looked distressed.

”Derek knew you were pining after him back then.” Spencer sighed, “It made him uncomfortable, That’s why he avoided you. It has nothing to do with me.”

”He was waiting for you.”

”I was 13, Roman. How could he have been waiting for me?”

”I don’t know.” Roman shrugged, “Why did he pick you?”

”I can’t answer that for you.”

Roman sat down, right near Spencer’s legs, and the agent stared at him. Roman looked small, and he seemed childish, but something shifted. Spencer released a knowing sigh, and he watched Roman stand, a different looked in his eyes.

”Oh, great.” Spencer sighed, “Are you the one who hit me?”

”If I was?” He spat, and Spencer wiped his cheek on his shoulder.

”Where’s Roman?”

”Oh, Roman.” He said it as it was not him, and it clearly wasn’t, “Don’t worry. He’s tucked away. You scared him.”

”Oh, tell him I’m sorry.” Spencer sighed.

”Where’s Derek?”

”What’s your name?” Spencer asked.

”Paulie.”

”Really?” Spencer laughed, and this Paulie guy hit him across the face, “Ow, alright, guess I upset you.”

”Where’s Derek?”

”How do you figure I know?” Spencer asked, “Haven't you and Roman been watching me? Clearly I have no contact with him.”

”He told you.”

”He didn’t,” Spencer snapped, “And even if he did, I wouldn’t tell you.”

Paulie paced for a short while. He moved his hands through his hair before he approached Spencer quickly. He grabbed his pajama shirt, and Spencer gave him a painfully bored expression.

”You're gonna tell me where Derek is,” Paulie said, “Or else he won’t recognize you when he returns.”

Spencer hid his fear, “Well, Derek’s never failed to call me ‘pretty boy’, so I’m not scared of what you might do.”