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Love You, Dearly

Chapter Text

Foliage, to answer the question. Autumn had brought foliage. Thick vines grew around the safe house, which had become purgatory for Derek, who felt his lover slipping through his fingers. His condition was getting worse. There were days he did not remember Derek, or himself, or even where he was. There were days he woke up with memories of Vegas, specifically high school. Those were the worst days. He was convinced Derek had taken him away. Derek was on the landline nonstop, calling the only number that worked, relentlessly, borderline screaming at his superiors to come to help them. Food was running low. Derek was convinced they’d left him and Spencer to die. The blue truck came in the morning, some August morning Derek lost track of, and Spencer very willingly climbed into the car.


Strauss was sending them to Texas, to see some hypnosis doctor who would supposedly help Spencer get all those memories back. Derek held Spencer’s hand on the way there, and he was only able to because today was a good one. Spencer had that longing look in his eyes, his fingers were locked with Derek’s, and the two of them ignored the side glances from the driver, who was well aware of all the rules against relationships between colleagues. It didn’t help that he thought poorly of them anyway.


A plane ride felt foreign to him. Derek knew the Spencer-who-remembered would have gone insane in that house, with no work to do, so he thanked whatever force had put them in this situation that his lover wasn’t too stressed out about these things. Texas was pretty if you looked at it from certain angles. They were in Dallas, and that blue van was there again, ready to drive them to the clinic. Of course, it was a different van, it was just a similar blue hue and the same hard leather seats.


Doctor Andrea Cook. That was her name. She was pretty, Derek noticed, as he and Spencer went into the office. He lay on the couch, Derek near, and the doctor began picking up things and showing them to Spencer. Derek watched from a seat in the corner, his knee bouncing, a sharp look on his otherwise soft face. Spencer closed his eyes. Doctor Cook had him hold her hand. She had said it was good to bring back the worst memories first. She played a newsreel of his father speaking, she talked about Tobias, she feed Spencer information about the night in Vegas when those cruel children did what they did. Then, she took a vial, a vial Derek knew far too well, one had had pried from Spencer’s hands, in his worst moments, when he nearly relapsed, when Derek found unopened bottles here and there.


It must've felt cold. It must have felt terrible. Doctor Cook flinched, tried to pull her hand from Spencer. Sometimes Derek forgot how strong his lover was. Derek wanted to stand and stop it all. Doctor Cook continued, feeding him information, about Tobias, about Roman, about his father. Spencer squeezed his eyes shut, but then they came open, wide, terrified, and he looked at her in absolute horror. Doctor Cook leaned over and brought something over for Spencer to see. It was a long stretch of dark black fabric. It happened before Derek could jump up and stop it. Spencer shoved her, hard, hard enough to knock her from her seat. When Derek came into view, Spencer nearly threw himself at him. Derek leaned down, and Spencer locked his arms around Derek, hiding his face in between his neck and shoulder, flinching rather hard now and again, his legs shifting as if he were trying to get away from Cook. She stood, and brushed herself off.


“I’m sorry,” Derek looked back at her as best he could, as he dragged his hands through Spencer’s hair.


“It’s okay,” she assured, “Spencer? Doctor Reid? Can you tell me who this is? Who’s holding you right now?”


Derek felt Spencer tense under his hold.


“Agent Morgan, I’m assuming?” There was a pained laugh in his voice.


Derek let his shoulders relax after they’d been tense for months, “Holy shit, pretty boy. Thank God, thank God.”


Spencer wasn’t sure exactly what was going on, but he did know that everything was elevated and he was just happy Derek was holding him. He twisted a little, to look around the room. The last he remembered, he was being wheeled to surgery after Roman. Then, he fell asleep. Derek let go, and watched as Spencer looked around the room a bit more. Finally, he turned to Derek.


“I had amnesia?”


“How do you figure?” Cook asked.


“Well, there are symbols of my life in here. The vials, my mother’s book, t-the blindfold. How long has it been?”


“A month,” Derek said, “It’s August now. And um, the team knows. About us.”


“Oh,” Spencer placed his feet flat on the floor, “Where are we?”


“You’re at a hypnosis clinic in Dallas, Texas. You arrived two hours ago,” Doctor Cook folded her hands, “You’re quite an interesting case, Spencer. If I could j-”


“I want to go home,” Spencer stood, and Derek took his arm carefully.




“Yes. Home. Our home, Derek. I want to sleep in our bed. I want to go home.”


“Doctor Reid, I just advise that you stay here for a few hours, just so we can run some tests.”

Spencer sighed heavily, “Alright, if it’s absolutely necessary.”


“We also can’t go back to our apartment until we get the signal from Hotch. Roman escaped custody and he’s after us. He came to you, posing as Liam, and you gave him the old check.”


“Oh.” Spencer sat down slowly, “So we’re at a safe house, then?”


Doctor Cook raised her brows.


Derek patted his hand, “Yes. You would love it. We’ve got guards all over the building, pretty boy. It’s like we’re famous.”


“Oh, we are. Well, I am,” Spencer fought a smile as he looked to Doctor Cook, “So, those tests?”


“Oh, yes!” She fanned herself, “Y’all are just too cute! Look at me, blushing like somebody just opened the curtain on me! Doctor Reid, can you come with me? We’ll do a CT scan, then we’ll see how your heart and brain waves react to some questions.”

Chapter Text

When Spencer came out of the room Doctor Cook had him in, he looked rather drained. That was what Derek noticed at first. The second was the red tint to his lips and the jello container in his hand— the other held a spoon. Derek could not help but playfully roll his eyes. He’d missed Spencer’s keen awareness of his sweet tooth. Driving back to the safe house felt strange, especially with Spencer clinging to the file folder that included the photos from his brain scan. It was nothing new, Spencer got his brain scanned yearly, this was just one of twenty or so documents that would find a new home in his filing cabinet at Spencer’s apartment.


“It’s pretty,” Spencer sighed before he stepped out of the car.


The guards went to the perimeter only after surveying the home. When they were gone, Spencer looked around. The Spencer he was just a few hours ago would have clung to Derek. Derek missed the independence Spencer had, but he also missed the way he was relied on by his lover. Spencer, who sensed a pair of eyes on him, turned to look at Derek with a small smile on his face. He set the folder down and walked over to him, the shyness apparent in his eyes once more. Derek often neglected to remember how shy Spencer was. Even this far into their relationship, Spencer would still stumble over his words or act like Derek was just a friend he had a crush on.


It was rare that Spencer initiated the first touch. Derek felt Spencer’s hand softly on his face, a thumb caressed his cheekbone, and he placed his hand over the thin one that he missed so much.


“So Roman’s still after us?” Spencer sighed, “I’m sorry. I know this is hard for you.”


Derek opened his eyes. He stared at Spencer, paying special attention to the healing injuries on his face.


“Yeah. Hotch and the others are focused on catching him. But they’ve got other cases too.”


“I know,” Spencer shrugged, “Was I an unbearable patient?”


“You?” Derek smiled, and wrapped his arms around Spencer’s waist, “Never. But I missed you.”


Spencer hugged Derek but kept his hand on his face. He knew Derek liked it when he touched his face, especially in a comforting manner. Spencer had only found out because Derek had cupped his face so much. In the early stages of their relationship, Derek would go right for Spencer’s face when kissing him, almost as if he was holding him in place. Spencer liked it, he didn’t mind, but one day he took a shot in the dark and held Derek’s face. He remembered the way Derek pushed into his touch, and Spencer had been surprised, but it was something he enjoyed now. If only he weren’t so shy about it.


“It’s scary, to not remember what happened.” Spencer sighed.


“I’m sorry.”


“I want to talk about Roman.”




Spencer took Derek’s hand and led him to the couch. When seated, Spencer put his legs on Derek’s lap. Derek’s hands came to rest upon his knees, and he moved his thumb back and forth as if providing some sort of comfort to his boyfriend.


“You know he’s unwell. He’s probably really scared right now. Whenever he got upset, or scared, Paulie would show up. Paulie was violent. Sure, Roman hit me, but it was like Paulie’s hits were harder. In the end, when he hit me in my head, when I had a seizure, I swore I heard him screaming. Telling me to stop. Saying that it was his fault. He was afraid of me being dead.”




“He was scared. I don’t even think it was Roman’s idea to hurt me. I think it was Paulie. Paulie, who hurt and kidnapped me, but Roman who stalked you and sent those gifts.”


Derek shifted, unsure about this. Spencer had always been the sort of person who tried to see the good in people who hurt him. Roman had not physically harmed Derek, so Spencer had a clear enough bias to weigh all the possibilities. It was like his injured wrist and healing bruises meant nothing to him. Spencer’s forgiveness scared Derek. Part of him wondered, if given the chance, rather Spencer would be willing to speak to Roman or not. Being locked in a shed so easily accessible to the public but never used out of respect for a guy fronting as a groundskeeper had to be hard for Spencer. It had to be Hell for him, so why was he so quick to forgive and move on? Maybe he just missed home.


“He hurt you,” Derek argued softly, as he touched Spencer’s arm.


“I lived.”


“Barely.” Derek kissed his fingertips, “I don’t know how I would have reacted had you died there, pretty boy. I don’t think I would have been able to get out of bed.”


Spencer smiled softly, “I would want you to be the best you could without me. Besides, I’d haunt our place.”




“Scout’s honor,” A smile played on Spencer’s lips as he played with the hem of his shirt, “I hope things haven’t been too hard for you, Derek.”


“Being with you makes it easier.” Derek kissed his fingertips again, “I think I’d be able to go to Hell, and I’d be fine, as long as you were with me.”


“You’re so corny,” Spencer blushed, and faced the television, even though it wasn’t on.


Derek shifted up, so Spencer was under him. He stared at him, then released a ragged breath.






“Do you remember, at the beginning of our relationship, when I was unsure about sex? Not because it was with you, but because you’re a guy? And I— I mean, we—”


Spencer touched his hand, “It’s okay, Derek. If you want to remove sex from the equation for now, or even forever, I’m okay with that. I’m with you because you’re you. I’m still gonna be here even if we never have sex again. Both of us should enjoy it. If you’re feeling unsure, I understand.”


Derek released a breath, “Why do I get so nervous when I know that you’re so perfect?”


“Me? Perfect?” Spencer fanned himself dramatically, “Well.”


Derek laughed. For the first time in months, he laughed, really laughed, over something as silly as Spencer playfully poking fun at Doctor Cook’s mannerisms. Of course, Spencer had no intentions of being rude, it was all in good fun, and hearing Derek laugh was like seeing the sun after being locked away for so long. Spencer, beneath his lover, reached up and cupped his hands to Derek’s face. The older agent leaned down and wrapped his arms around Spence’s waist, and he held him as if he were afraid he might turn to vapor and slip from between his fingers.


“Let’s hope they catch Roman soon. I miss Clooney so much. Hotch has Anderson keeping an eye on them.”


“Anderson has expressed many times that he’s not a dog person.”


“Maybe Finch loves him.”


Spencer tensed, “No way. Finch only loves me.”


“Are you jealous of Anderson?” Derek laughed.


“Maybe. But only because it's his job to watch Finch and Clooney.”


Derek brushed Spencer’s hair back, “Don’t worry. We’ll go home and be with them soon.”


“And the team.”


“Yep,” Derek kissed his cheek, “And the team.”

Chapter Text



Harshly colored, in-your-face, hand-washed curtains were what his mother made in his youth. She made dresses too, but curtains, those were her strong-suit, and Roman did not want her legacy to die with her; so he made sure that every window in his apartment kept the light out with the help of those ugly, thick, hand-washed curtains. Spencer was right. Roman was scared. He’d begun renting the apartment with cash, under Seabird’s first name—Rover, which was really no better or worse than his nickname. He did not like how the woman at the front desk looked at him, how she asked him what he was running from, how she batted her lashes, and tried to flirt— Roman had never done well with those advances. Now he sat in his dark room, thinking only of how he’d forced Spencer and Derek together. He had to get rid of Spencer to get to Derek, it was the only way.


It had been six months since he’d shown his face. Six months of Derek and Spencer locked away wherever they were, but today he knew that they were to come home. He’d listened to Hotchner’s conversation. He’d hired a man from the internet to stalk Hotch. The man was low-key, and Roman did not even know his face. He left yellow envelopes with information at the front desk and asked for them to be hand-delivered. He’d made the woman at the front desk a middle-man, and Roman knew and accepted this. In the times Anderson was not there, Roman had been to Derek and Spencer’s apartment. He’d never done anything besides steal a few of Derek’s jackets or get Clooney more accustomed to him, but surely he’d be arrested even if he never hurt Spencer.


Just as he was lost in thought, his phone rang.




‘It’s me. They just landed, boss man’s walking them to the car. That’s who you’re interested in?’


“No, no. The bald one. He’s probably all over the guy with the brown hair.”


‘He looks like an alien.’


“Derek would kick your ass for saying that.”


‘I know he would. So that’s Spencer, huh? All this trouble for him? Shame, Seabird, that’s a shame.’


Roman flinched, at being called a name that was not his own. Seabird would not show himself just because someone called his name, but he was alert now. He’d be the one to come forth if Roman got overstimulated.




“Still here.”


‘So when do you want to do this? When do you want me to do this?’


“Wait two days. I’ll meet up with you, we’ll go after them. Wear your disguise.”


‘I’m not new to this, Seabird.’


“I know, Van. Better safe than sorry. See you.”


‘Bye, kid.’

Chapter Text

Harry was a good man. He had a family, a wife, two kids that he called his own. He was the last thing Derek would expect— that’s what Seabird told him. Harry had finally convinced Derek to come to see him, and he sat at the end of the old, dark walled bar and nursed a half-full cup of Hennesy. Derek’s beer had gone warm, so Harry ordered another. Derek had left Spencer at home, only after the agent urged him to see his friend after playing claiming Derek had far too little. Derek was happy to see Harry, but not being with Spencer made him anxious. Even if it had been a few days since their return. Seabird’s plan had changed. Harry, larger than Roman, would go after Derek. He’d drug him to subdue him, throw him in the car, and they’d meet at their undisclosed location— Harry’s old cabin that had since been abandoned after his first kid.


“Hey, Harry.”


“Derek,” the other stood, and the two shared a hug, “I didn’t think you’d come.”


“I nearly didn’t. Spence got me outta the house,” Derek touched the nape of his neck as he sat down, “You know I don’t want things to be weird between us, Harry, but you have to understand that me and Spence are gonna stay together. Regardless of what you say.”


“I know it seems like I called you out here for some intervention, but Derek, I really do want to rekindle our friendship. I just feel terrible, man. I mean, I had no right to disrespect you. I-I spoke to Devon too. He and I are meeting for coffee next week.”


Derek smiled, “It’s good to see that you’re maturing.”


Harry leaned over and punched Derek’s arm playfully, “It’s about time I grew up.”


He and Derek drank a little more. Each time he got a new drink, Harry would find some way to lean over and either punch or touch Derek, so he’d be able to drop the drug into his beer. People talked to them too, those around them noticed the punches and such, but the fizzle of the pill went unnoticed by them all. The entire time Harry’s heart was pounding. He’d done this before for people, except he’d usually immediately dispose of the body. This torture method Seabird had planned was new. Eventually, Derek was stumbling all over, so Harry faked a front as a good friend with intentions to bring him home. In some ways it was scary.



Clooney had to be taken out twice each day, four times if Derek neglected to write on the chart. The poor dog was getting old, so he was losing much of his mobility, and Derek and Spencer had discussed putting him down before. For now, he was not suffering, but somehow Spencer still felt terrible for him. He and Clooney had just returned from the park, Spencer dropped a plastic bag in the bin and washed his hands before he moved up the stairs to shower. It was odd to think that just a few days ago, he could not even remember his boyfriend’s name.


Spencer peeled off his clothing and took a shower, hissing at the warm water on his bruises. He stood there for a while, dragging hands through his soaking hair. He stepped out, wondering for a moment why Derek had not returned. He honestly did not expect him too early, but Derek was always the kind of person who would check in. Spencer shot him a quick text, then tossed his phone onto the bed. In all honesty, Spencer missed Derek. He missed the way he held him, the way he whispered in his ear, the way his hands would roam all over his body. Before he could get too bothered, Spencer shook away the thoughts and got dressed. It was his usual pajamas, black baggy pants, and a loose t-shirt, which of course belonged to Derek. Just as he was heading back downstairs to get a novel from the living room, he felt an intense pain right at the back of his head. The shock sent him flying down the stairs, he barely made contact with the wooden boards as he flew, and he crashed to the bottom with a groan.


For a moment he could not move, he laid there staring aimlessly up at the sky, but a familiar figure had him standing and stumbling towards the door. He felt like throwing up, he heard a few whimpers from Clooney, which sent him twisting around to look, but the dog had just backed into his cage with fear. The figure took Spencer down, dodging his flying hits, and Spencer shrieked when two hands pressed into his arms and held his hands down on the floor. Spencer felt a prick in his arm, and he lifted a leg and managed to throw the guy off of him. His head was aching so badly he could not move, he was sobbing at the pain because he could hardly see and his ears were ringing so loudly that it worried him.


He felt the prick again, this time in his leg, and he could feel himself being injected with something. His body went slack and he couldn’t move, his eyes became heavier, and he succumbed to slumber only after cursing whatever force had caused him to lose. Above him, Roman panted, angered, and out of breath. He touched his head for a moment, clutching his forehead as if he were the one to get hit. If Spencer were awake, he would have been able to note the change. This— this was Seabird. Spencer had not met him, but Hotch apparently had. Seabird bent down and snaked one hand under Spencer’s knees, while the other cradled the nape of his neck. Seabird strained a little, he and Spencer were nearly the same size, but he smiled down at the bloodied face in his arms.


“You put up one Hell of a fight.” He chuckled, “Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

The sound of footsteps, continuous footsteps, moving back and forth between the two walls of the room, was what occupied Spencer that morning. He was still hazy, still out of it, so he just let his eyes slowly follow the dark black dress shoes that seemed to be attached to a very stressed person. He lifted his eyes and saw that this man— or person, Spencer didn’t want to assume— wore a dark blue mask that covered their whole face. One thing was for sure, this was not Roman. Roman was far smaller than whoever this was. Spencer shifted slightly, and he winced as his skin pressed to whatever uncomfortable metal was below him. He shifted more and felt the edge of something, then he froze. What sort of contraption was he on? The masked person came to his side, and Spencer squinted despite their being very little light.


“You’re going to fall if you don’t stop squirming. Trust me, the table is better than the floor.” The person’s head gestured Derek, leaned against a wall, shivering.


Spencer immediately tried to sit up, but the masked stranger’s strong hands caught him. Spencer then noticed he had gloves on too, white cloth gloves that the agent wanted to shy away from. Spencer let himself be laid back on the table, but he turned his eyes to Derek, who stared at him from under thick brows. Spencer wanted to be at his side. He wanted to know what was wrong. He was so worried, he wanted to cry, but he refused to give this masked culprit his tears. Spencer, disregarding what’d been said to him, threw himself to the side, feeling very weak in the legs. He hit the floor with a harsh slap, his fingers curled onto the cold ground, it felt almost like cement, and the masked unsub came over and lifted him easily.


“I told you not to do that,” he sounded frustrated.


Spencer felt restraints being strapped around him. He was angry, he only remembered a fight with Roman, but it pissed him off that Derek was here. He was supposed to be safe with Harry. Shit—


“Harry.” Spencer snapped through clenched teeth.


The pause in movement proved his guess true. Spencer, unable to find any more strength, remained feeble under the restraints. Spencer craned his neck to look at Derek, who had closed his eyes and seemed to be focusing on his breathing. Spencer eyed him, trying to figure out why he hadn’t moved, but then his eyes caught the trail of rope that peeked out from behind his lover. Spencer grew worried. This was ten times worse than what Roman had begun with because Derek looked hurt and Heaven knows what this masked criminal had planned. 


Spencer squeezed his eyes shut when he heard the squeak of a door opening and closing. There were footsteps that grew louder, pushing a theory that they might be in a basement. At first, Spencer refused to open his eyes, but they came flying open when he felt a hand through his hair. Roman. Spooked, Spencer yanked away from the touch as best he could. His legs, middle, and arms were all strapped down. Roman seemed different somehow. There was a look on his face Spencer could not describe.


“Who are you?” He whispered.


“I’m Seabird,” he said as if he were surprised Spencer didn’t know, “I was so saad I didn’t get to meet you before. Paulie was so harsh with you, huh? Bruised up your face. Well, Spencer, I’m here to try to fix everything for Roman. Starting with making Derek his.”


“Go to Hell,” Spencer frowned, “Derek will never leave me for him.”


“Roman told me you were feisty.” He pulled at Spencer’s hair, and the masked man— Harry— looked away, “I have ways of fixing that, Spencer. I have ways of making people listen to me.”


Spencer spat at him, flinching as his hair was pulled harder, “I’m not scared of you.”


“Maybe not now, love, but you will be.” Seabird let him go, and he whispered something to Harry.


Harry walked over to Derek and pulled the rope from the pipe he was tied to. He half dragged Derek over to Spencer, who eyed him curiously. Seabird tied Derek’s hands to the edge of the table Spencer was strapped onto.


“There. Now you can hear each other’s screams.” Seabird walked to Derek.


Spencer had to crane his neck to see. Of course, he knew Derek was there, he could see his hands tied above him curled into tight fists, and he could see Seabird looking at him. He leaned down— and Spencer struggled against the restraints that held him down.


“Spencer, I see what you and Roman see in this one. He’s very handsome.”


“Don’t touch him like that.” Harry spoke up, “Don’t go touching his face like that.”


“Would you relax?” Seabird stood, “I’m not that kind of guy, Roman would kill us. I just wanted to touch his face. Feel the stubble.”


“Don’t touch him.” Spencer pulled at the straps, “Please, don’t touch him. H-He isn’t in a good head space right now, can’t you see?”


Harry shook his head, “He’s out of it because I drugged him to subdue him. He’ll be like that for a while. Tomorrow is gonna be a bitchin’ hangover, though.”


Spencer let his head fall back onto the table, “What do you want to do to us? Why can’t you just accept the fact that Derek doesn’t love you?”


Spencer turned his eyes to Seabird. He saw the shift from frustration to sadness. He imagined Roman pushed Seabird out of the way to say what he needed to. Roman slammed his fist down on the table near Spencer’s head, making him flinch and narrowly avoid his nose becoming a bloodied mess, much like the dried redness on his forehead.


“Shut up, Spencer!” Roman spat while he shouted, and Spencer cringed, “You never stop talking, that’s what always got you in trouble! So shut up!”


“Why should I?” Spencer’s tired eyes turned wide, “Why? You’re just going to hurt us, let us go, then come get us again. Do you think I’m stupid? It’s going to be a never-ending cycle until someone kills you, and trust me, this time my team won’t be opposed to blowing your fuckin’ brains out.”


Harry was shocked. Derek, who blabbed about Spencer while getting drunk, had said his lover was docile. Sweet. Cute. Harry couldn’t understand what Derek found docile or cute about the bloody, erratic man spurring on about how someone would kill Seabird— or Roman? Harry was new to this situation. He listened to Spencer and Roman shout back and forth, until Roman brought his fist down on Spencer’s stomach. Harry watched him climb the table and straddle the agent. Fingers dug into his shirt. He shook Spencer and screamed at him, all the while Spencer kept his eyes and mouth shut tightly so no spit would go flying. Harry touched the other’s shoulder, and angry eyes turned to him before Roman, or Paulie, or Seabird, climbed off of Spencer.


“Well,” the slight octave drop let him know it was Seabird, “Seems we got a little angry. Spencer’s so good at making us angry.”


Seabird left the room just as he’d come in. When he was gone, Harry turned to Spencer. The two of them stared at each other until Spencer turned away.


“Your head alright?”


“Go to Hell,” Spencer whispered.


“Let me bandage your head.”


“Go to Hell,” Spencer repeated, his voice cracking.


“The fuck’s wrong with you?” Harry wiped Spencer’s tears away with the rough pad of his thumb, “Men don’t cry, Spencer.”


“I knew it was bullshit.”




“Your redemption arc. Your stupid little speech about wanting to change. You hate me, Harry. You hate Derek.” Spencer squeezed his eyes shut, “I’m allowed to cry as much as I damn well please. Don’t project your trauma onto me. Because if I need to cry, I’m gonna cry.”


Harry shook his head, “You’re weak.”


Spencer’s eyes came open, “At least I’ll be alive at the end of all of this.”


“You threatenin’ me?” Harry asked as he gestured himself.


“I’m talking to you, aren’t I?”

Chapter Text

Derek’s coughing alerted Spencer, who had gone quiet since Harry left the room. Spencer listened to his boyfriend heave and gag, and he cringed as he thought about what sort of emotions Derek could be experiencing, especially since he hadn’t spoken yet. Spencer twisted as best he could to look at him, but his neck hurt because of the way he had to crane it.


“Derek,” Spencer spoke as evenly as he could, “Derek? Are you there?”


Derek said nothing, he just took in a breath and coughed more. Spencer let his head fall back against the table. He was quiet for a long time, listening to his lover’s ragged coughing and occasional heavy breathing. It felt like hours before he heard footsteps again. He watched Roman, who he could only decipher because of the way he walked, go to Derek with a cup of water. He nursed it to his lips, and though the agent rejected it at first, he figured he needed it for his sour throat. When Roman stood, he and Spencer made eye contact. Roman went to Spencer’s side and brushed the hair from his forehead.


“Have you ever had surgery, Spencer?”




“That’s okay,” Roman smiled, “There’s a first time for everything. You don’t like to be sedated, right? So should I just shoot some blocking agents? Harry’s gettin’ the breathing machine ready.”


Spencer couldn’t help but tear up, “What are you going to do?”


“Is this fear? From Spencer Reid?” Roman brushed his hair back again, “Don’t worry, Spencer. It’s just a method one of my chatroom friends recommended. Harry and I would never hurt either of you like Carl did, but there are other ways you can make someone feel like their body doesn’t belong to them.”


Spencer watched Roman walk away. He was panicked, and he fought against the ropes that held him on the table. He felt tears flood his eyes, he clenched his fists, and his breathing became weak and sporadic.


“Derek, please. Please say something, anything. Please, please, let me know that you’re here.” Spencer let his head fall onto the table, “Please? Please, Derek, please.”


His pleads were not given a response. He looked towards the stairs as Harry and Roman came down. They were silent as they set up the respiratory machine, one of them had to have some medical training, but Spencer did not pay attention. Roman came up to him and gripped his arm, his hand suddenly cold and strong. Spencer wiggled his head as Harry strapped the mask to his mouth, he screamed as best he could behind it, and he began sobbing as he felt the prick of the needle. After only a few moments he fell still, his body felt as if it were collapsing. The breathing machine was something he could no longer fight, not only because he could not move, but because it was the only thing keeping him alive. He stared helplessly up at the ceiling, eyes blown wide. Harry touched his face, he ran fingers through his hair and his mouth moved, but Spencer could hardly register anything but the sound of Roman’s tools clattering. When Roman came over him, he brushed away the tears that would not stop streaming from Spencer’s eyes.


This wasn’t Roman anymore. This was Paulie. He showed Spencer the knife, it was an average kitchen knife, and Spencer tried to mentally prepare himself. Then, he felt the pain. A hot, red pain, ripped through him, and his eyes did not move but his mind screamed. He wanted to move away, he did not know what was happening, but his tears continued ten-fold and Harry kept wiping them away. It felt like years before it ended, and Spencer sobbed at the stitching. Spencer felt like dying. He wanted to. He couldn’t believe he;’d experienced whatever it was without any sedation.


“You want to know what happened,” Harry felt his forehead as if checking for a fever, “Carl gave us dog tags, Spencer. Ones we threw away one day. Roman happened to pick them all up. He saved them because Seabird was interested in whatever value they might hold one day. Derek’s dog tag is inside of you now, sewn up tight under your stomach.”


Spencer listened, sobbing, unable to move.


“He’ll never touch you again, not with that ugly scar.”



When Spencer was finally able to drift off to sleep, his head was only filled with nightmares. It had just happened, but this time there were demons in place of Harry and Roman, grotesque and ugly, ripping his heart out while Derek stared aimlessly. So when he woke, to find that the drugs had worn off and he could move, his let out a much-deserved scream. It was horrible, really, he screamed like he never had before, and it tapered off into sobs. He kept on screaming, his fingers weakly moved to his concave stomach to feel the elevation of stitches. Spencer traced the shape of the stitch, there was a ‘C’, and his hand kept on moving until he reached the end of the letters. Spencer, terrified, began to cry. He brought his hands to his face and sobbed. Would Derek ever touch him again? Would Derek be able to look at him? Whatever weird headspace Derek was in right now concerned him, but how would he react if he saw the scar? The mere mention of the monster from his childhood sent Derek into a space Spencer had to be patient with. Now, would looking at his lover send him there? Spencer didn’t want Derek to be afraid to touch him.




Spencer kept staring at the ceiling. “Derek?”


“Where are we?”


“Some basement,” Spencer whispered, “It’s Harry and Roman.”


“Are you hurt?”


Spencer closed his eyes, “No.”




“T-They put something inside of me, Derek.”


What ?”


“No, no! Nothing like that. It’s— they— they cut me open, Derek. There’s something inside of me. There’s a big cut and some smaller ones. The big one is where I was opened up.”


“Spencer,” Derek’s voice broke, “I’m sorry. I should’ve tried harder to pull myself from—”


“No. Don’t apologize,” Spencer’s voice slurred, “We should sleep.”


“No, Spencer. Talk to me, please.” Derek shifted, and tried to move his legs, “Spencer, talk to me?”

“About?” Spencer’s eyelids felt heavy.


“Anything, pretty boy. Talk to me about anything.” Derek pulled at the ropes on his wrist, “I want to hear your voice.”


“I’m tired.”


“I know, baby, but you can sleep after we talk for a little. I need you awake. You’re in a lot of pain right now.”


“My head hurts. I want to sleep.”


“Spencer,” Derek was weeping, “Stay awake for me, pretty boy. C’mon, tell me about your shows. O-Or the books you read. Or anything, anything, Spencer please.”


Spencer frowned, “I’m okay to sleep, Derek. I-I just want to sleep.”


Derek called out Spencer’s name a few times but received nothing but hums of acknowledgment. Spencer, Derek noticed, had fallen asleep. Derek shut his eyes tightly, angrily, and called for help to an empty room.

Chapter Text

JJ had awoken that morning with an ill feeling resonating in her chest. She’d opened her eyes to stare aimlessly at the ceiling, her brows tightly narrowed as she pushed the bottoms of her palms to her eyes. She called Hotch. The two of them were over at Morgan’s place in a matter of minutes. The door had been shut, but there was obviously some foulness at play. Armed with their guns, they moved slowly through the foyer, further into the home, and Hotch jumped back a little when Clooney came trotting up to them. JJ immediately fed him and Finch, then turned to her boss with a downcast gaze.


“It has to be Roman. He wouldn’t be able to subdue them both without a partner.”


“Weren’t Reid and Morgan doing two different things?” Hotch asked, “Morgan informed us he was going to reconnect with a friend he played football with. And Reid was here.”


JJ nodded, “Should we label them missing?”


“Of course.” Hotch put his gun away, “Call the others, we should ger forensics over here. I’m going to check upstairs, looks like there’s blood here. Maybe Reid fell.”


Rossi was first to arrive. Then, Prentiss was there. Only having three other members on his team felt strange to Hotch, who was so used to looking over to see Morgan and Reid speaking. He would never be vocal with his worry, lest it was to Rossi, who he often confided in. No one knew Roman like Derek did, even if Hotch had been there during his interview. He knew Seabird better. He prayed to a God he hardly had faith in that Seabird was not in control. Roman and Paulie had a hatred for Spencer, but Seabird had evil in his eyes when he spoke of the agent. He spoke so easily, yet his voice was taut and hoarse— he really meant every word he had said about the genius, especially that of wanting him dead. Hotch was scared, really, mainly of what Seabird would do to Spencer. Nothing seemed to faze him, not even when Hotch spoke of the time he’d receive in the psych ward, not even when he threw mental health to the curb and threatened jail time. Hotch was scared.




Derek opened his eyes when he felt a cup press to his lips. He could hardly keep them open, his head ached so much, he was hungry and tired, but still, he sipped at the water, though admittedly with little grace.


“I figure Roman would want me to be nice to you.” Seabird touched his chin, “Though I hardly see what he loves about you.”


“What do you want?”


“Roman wants you. I, of course, give Roman what he wants.” Seabird pulled away, “Do you want to see Spencer’s scar? Or should we wait until he can’t hide it from you?”


Seabird jerked his head to the side. Spencer had his back to them, he was curled up in a ball, shirtless, shivering, and Derek pulled at the restraints and spat at Seabird.


“What did you do?!”


Seabird laughed and leaned back, “Just a little reconstruction. He hasn’t spoken since you begged him not to sleep. Harry kicked him around a little, he gets angry every time he sees that name.”


“What name?” Derek whispered although he knew.


“Nothing, nothing. You’ll have to see for yourself.” Seabird sat down on Derek’s knees because his legs were sticking straight out, “Roman knows that you don’t love him. So, it’s our job to make it that you don’t love Spencer either.”


“I’ll never stop loving him,” Derek spoke through clenched teeth.


Seabird stood up and walked over to Spencer. He gripped a handful of his hair and dragged him over to Derek with little regard for his weak, slurred movements. Spencer was so out of it, his mind and body could hardly register that he’d begun bleeding again. The blood wasn’t so thick that it was worrisome, so Derek saw the name. It was like a slap in his face. That name, his name, of all names, written permanently in his lover’s skin. Derek began to cry. He winced and looked away. Spencer just closed his eyes and thought vaguely of life before Roman. He came to realize that without Derek, he did not have much of a life to live at all.


Seabird dropped Spencer, and Derek listened to his footsteps on the stairs. Derek felt a hand reach out, it weakly brushed against his ankle, and he yanked back so fast he almost kneed himself in the chest. Spencer’s eyes, hardly open, filled so quickly with tears, that Derek had to let go again. Spencer’s hand stayed reaching out, and he looked confused, like he didn’t understand why Derek wouldn’t want to comfort him. Derek squeezed his eyes shut and tried to pretend that Spencer wasn’t there, that that name wasn’t there. He opened his eyes again, to find that Spencer had turned on his side again, so his back was to Derek.


“Spencer,” Derek whispered, “Spencer, untie me. Sp-Spencer?”




“Spencer? C’mon, we can survive this. Try to untie me?”


Derek thought he’d be met with silence again, but Spencer pulled himself to a sitting position. Derek quickly looked away so he did not have to see the wound as Spencer turned his way. He listened to Spencer drag his limbs, he blocked out the small whimpers of pain, and he finally felt thin fingers fumbling with the ropes above his head. Spencer couldn’t get him free. He was struggling, crying, his chest heaved up and down sporadically, and he seemed, all-in-all, incredibly tired and sad. Spencer collapsed, coughing, clutching his stomach.


“Reid.” It slipped, “I know it hurts, but please. Please, we can take them down.”


Spencer just looked at him.


Derek frowned, “Spencer, oh God, please. Please, please. Keep breathing, OK? Please. Y-You can hear me, right? Blink twice if you can.”


He did.


“Good. Can you try again?”


Derek was met with silence. He cursed and stared at Spencer, who looked straight through him.

Chapter Text

Derek could not pinpoint where they were. He remembered nothing after the bar, nothing after Harry had been smiling in his face, nothing after Harry mumbling something to a nearby bartender about having too much to drink. Derek was sure he would not be as scared as he was if Spencer would just talk. Hearing his ramble in all their times as friends and lovers made this silence feel like something out of a horror movie. Derek could tell it was morning because sun rays peeked through the sliver of window above their heads. If no one had heard Spencer’s screams earlier, surely no one would hear them shouting. Derek pulled against the ropes that held him in place and stared at Spencer, who had been cuffed and blindfolded last night. Spencer hated handcuffs, he couldn’t stand the cold pressure on his wrists or the rattle of the connecting chain whenever it bumped— it hurt to see Spencer in so much pain. And the blindfold, God, it reminded Spencer of every bad thing that ever was, especially every bad thing that’d happened to them. Even so, Derek did not want Spencer to touch him, especially not with that name written across him. It made Derek feel pressure in his lungs every time he saw it. 


Before he could begin their one-sided conversation, he heard a thunderous chorus of footsteps on the stairs. He turned his head, though he cringed at Spencer’s cower. Seeing Hotch was sort of like a promise that things would be alright. Then came Rossi, and the two of them hurried towards their friends. Hotch easily pulled Derek free, and he helped him to his feet. When Rossi reached to untie Spencer, he was not prepared for the glazed look or the stitches on his stomach. His movements slowed, and he looked to Hotch, who just lifted Spencer in his arms, knowing he was not in any state to walk. Of course, Derek was alright with it, because he hadn’t the arm strength or mental strength for that matter, to carry his lover.


“How did you find us?” Morgan asked as he leaned on Rossi.


“We knew you were with Harry. His father bought several houses this past year, and only three weren’t up for sale yet. We knew that Seabird,—” Hotch looked down when Spencer flinched at the name, but he was otherwise unresponsive, “We knew he, um, relied on connections. So, we searched the houses. This is the second one, Prentiss and JJ are headed back from the first.”


Derek just nodded. He tripped a few times on the way up the stairs, but he made it. He cringed at the sunlight, as did Spencer, who still did not speak or give much of a response. The cringe was minimal, and Hotch would not have noticed it had he not been carrying Spencer. He placed him on the stretcher in the ambulance when they reached it, and an EMT looked to the young agent. Spencer had his arms hugged to his chest as if he were still cuffed, and he stared straight ahead, even when the light shone in his face. The EMT reached behind him to grab a needle and as soon as it came into his line of sight, Spencer screamed. Hotch jumped, while the EMT stayed calm. Spencer clawed for Hotch as if expecting him to save him from medical care. Hotch stared from where he sat, and he tried not to show too much emotion. Spencer whacked the EMT a good few times, but the man seemed unfazed. When Spencer was calm, the breathing mask came next, and his hands tried to fly up and rip the thing off; but he was strapped down. Neither Hotch nor the EMT knew of Spencer’s surgical experience in that basement, and surely Hotch would have made them stop if he did.


Nearby, Derek looked up. He heard Spencer’s distress. Rossi sensed his anxiety and touched his arm briefly.


“He’s okay,” Rossi assured, “You’ll both recover.”


“You weren’t there, Rossi.” Derek frowned, “Did you see what they did to him? Rossi, I-I couldn’t even touch him afterward. I kept thinking about that bastard, I kept looking at that name, and I couldn’t touch him. He was so confused, Rossi. A-And I heard them talking to him, but the drugs hadn’t worn off and I was out of it. I wanted to comfort him, Rossi, but I couldn’t.”

Rossi nodded, “I understand that kid, but you have plenty of chances to make up for lost time. Let’s get you checked out at the hospital.”



Derek was alright, but his wrists had to be bandaged because they were torn a bit from pulling at the ropes. When he asked about Seabird and Harry, Prentiss had been the one to inform him that they’d been caught at the border after trying to flee. It was scary, to think about what would have been if they got away. Sitting in the waiting room while Spencer was in surgery felt like he’d been placed in a room full of knives, and any turn in the wrong direction would make him automatically regret such movement. No one really spoke, especially not Hotch, who would usually be everyone’s rock in these situations. Hotch could hardly stand on his own. He had some of Reid’s blood dried on his wrists and hands, but he’d refused to go home and wash it off. 


When the doctor came into the room, Derek stood. There was a pause, a grim look on his face, and the doctor approached only after clearing his throat.


“Agent Morgan?”


“Yes,” Derek gestured himself, “I’m the one written down. How is he?”


“The good news is he did great during surgery and he’s going to make a full recovery.”


“And the bad news?” Garcia, who had arrived shortly after the team, spoke as she stood up.


There was an obvious tension in the air. The doctor cleared his throat again. He looked unfamiliar, young, and the team could tell that he was new, so delivering whatever news he had in store was very hard for him.


“Spencer is not speaking. He’s no responding either. He’s refusing to eat, and he’s been refusing narcotics and pain medications, so he’s resorted to toughing it out. We were able to get the necklace out—”


“Necklace?” Derek asked, “What necklace?”


“Um, d-dog tags, sir.”


“What did they say? Did you throw them out?”


When the doctor took a step back, Hotch walked forward and lifted a hand as if to pause the situation.


“How long until we can see him?”


“You can see him now, we gave him an hour to detox after surgery.” The doctor shifted from one foot to the other, “Also, uh, we didn’t throw out the dog tags. We have them if you’d like to keep them.”


“No, no. I’m sorry, I’m saying I’d like you to trash them. Have someone throw them over a bridge or something. I never want to see them. And I never want Spencer to see them either.”


The doctor nodded. He led them to Spencer’s room. The team was not surprised by the darkness, they all knew of his light sensitivity, so they just walked inside. Derek was the first to approach him. He couldn’t see the scar now that he had the hospital gown on, but even without it, Derek knew he had bandages to cover. He wondered if it still said that name.




His lover’s eyes were already open. He laid on his side, with his hands tucked under his head, and he stared aimlessly forward, almost as if he could see right through Derek. The older agent decided to get down to eye level, though it was a strain on his knees, and he brushed the hair from Spencer’s face.


“Pretty boy? You there?”


Although he did not say anything, Spencer nodded in acknowledgment. The team tried hard not to seem too much like a hovering force. Spencer’s eyes flickered towards them, and Derek smiled a little.


“Team’s here. You wanna see them?”


Spencer shook his head. Although they were hurt, they respected him, so they left the room. When they were gone, Spencer began chewing on his lower lip. Derek gently touched his chin, telling him to stop.


“No need to worry. It’s over, we’re safe now. We’re safe, Spencer.”


Spencer shut his eyes tightly. Derek gently kissed his cheek, as if trying to keep him grounded. Spencer had so much to say, but he felt like the world was far too big at that moment. He didn’t want his voice to echo off the endless walls of uncertainty. He didn’t want to be overwhelmed. And he didn’t know how to tell Derek how much pain he was in.


Chapter Text

That night did not come easy. When the pain grew to be far too unbearable, Spencer reluctantly called the nurse and pointed to a ten on the pain scale she’d showed and left with him earlier. She had explained that if it got to a ten, she would give him medications. Until then, she would check on him. Derek was asleep when the nurse came in, but he felt a hand suddenly grasped his own, he felt nails digging into his skin, and a coaxing, feminine voice.


“Spencer, I don’t want to hurt you. You’ll have to relax if you want the medications.” The nurse whispered, “I’m not here to harm you.”


Derek, though groggy, stood and kissed Spencer’s cheek. This caught his attention, and he looked to his lover, then squeezed his eyes shut and lay his head on Derek’s chest. The nurse looked thankfully to him before she stuck Spencer with the needle. When that had subsided, Spencer lay on his back and stared at the dimmed lights on the ceiling, his eyes hard and glazed over, his fists grasping the sheets. Derek had tried to get words out of him, but Spencer seemed less than interested in holding a conversation. When Derek’s voice stopped, Spencer looked worriedly to him as if he did not understand why he had stopped.


“You want me to keep talkin’?”


Spencer nodded.


“Alright,” Derek smiled, “I’ll keep talkin’.”


So, he did. Derek talked throughout the night, and when his throat got dry, he would sip his water and continue. Sleep welcomed Derek easily, but the night was not too kind to Spencer. He got up some time in the middle, pulling along his IV stand, and he stood by the window and stared at the grass. He saw the team leaving from where he was, he could tell only by Garcia and JJ’s blonde hair, and that very subtle limp Rossi had. He closed the curtain and looked to Derek, who was snoring loud as ever. He left the room and wandered for a little, until his nurse approached him, gently touching his arm to get his attention.




Spencer turned to look at her.


“Are you alright?”


He touched his stomach, and she smiled.


“Hungry, huh? Follow me. You like sweets, right? Your husband told us you really like jello. Cherry, right?”


Spencer blushed. Derek had never been called his husband before. He wanted to tell her that he and Derek weren’t married, but he didn’t. He couldn’t. She led him by the arm to the kitchenette, it was in a little room and reminded Spencer a lot of Garcia’s kitchen. It was so bubbly, he wondered who’d decorated. The nurse, Shauna, as her shirt said, handed him a small cup of jello. He poked the end of the spoon in it, then flinched when some of it splattered on his face. He was quick to wipe it off, frantic almost, but Shauna gently took his clawing hand from his face and wiped the excess jello away with a napkin.


“Are you mute?”


Spencer shook his head.


“I didn’t think so. Y’know, Dr. Reid, I really believe that you’ll talk again soon. I know you’ve got loads to say.”


Spencer closed his eyes, “Is the name still there?”


Shauna tried not to look too surprised. Even if she did, Spencer wouldn’t see, because he had his eyes closed. He looked so closed off, as if he were trying to make his entire world smaller. It made her sad.


“Um, yes. B-But the doctor believes he can give you a number to a tattoo artist, or a surgeon who can cover or remove it. I-I have a tattoo,” Shauna lifted her sleeve and showed off her upper arm.


Spencer opened his eyes for only a moment.


“My father burned me with a pin when I was 17. I went out the second I turned 18 and got it covered. Tattoos aren’t necessary, just recommended. Especially by me.”


“What if Derek never wants to touch me again?”


“Oh, Spencer. He fawns all over you. He’ll be all over you, I’m sure of it. ‘Till death do you part, right?”


Spencer smiled, although strained, “Right.”