When Spencer and Derek first fell in love, the genius had known he would always feel the way he did. He knew that his first thought in the morning would always be of his boyfriend, and so would his last before he went to sleep. He knew that he'd look forward to the kisses and the way he fit so perfectly in the other man's arms. He knew that hearing "Pretty Boy" falling from Derek's lips and watching that smile light up his face would always fill his heart with warmth and remind him of how lucky he was.
Spencer knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with the man that completed him and understood him like nobody else. And Spencer would always know and believe all of that.
But, one thing that many people seemed to forget about the doctor, was that while he knew much, he did not know all. Spencer Reid knew that he would always love Derek Morgan, but what he would come to find out was that Derek would not always love him back.
It started out slow, things that could be explained away, things that could be reasoned away. It started out with him waking up alone. More often than not, Reid fell asleep with his limbs tangled with Morgan's, the older man's arms wrapped firmly around him. And more often then not, he woke up that way.
That started to change. When he woke up in the mornings, whether it be at his apartment or Derek's, the spot beside him was empty and cold. Sometimes his boyfriend left a note or a text, telling him he couldn't sleep and had gone in to work early, or something had come up at one of his construction projects, or a friend had wanted to meet up and he'd looked too cute to wake up. Other times, he "forgot."
And Spencer, well, Spencer believed him. Because he still fell asleep next to him, he still kissed him and hugged him every day, he still told him he loved him, and he still showed how much he cared.
(And then, Derek stopped falling asleep next to him. He stopped coming over, and he stopped inviting him to his place. He was just too exhausted from a case or too busy, but it was okay. It was okay because Spencer understood that he wasn't Derek's only priority, and he still got a kiss every morning, he still got an arm thrown over his shoulders and that smile that was solely reserved for him. It was okay because they were still okay.)
When Reid finally figured it out, it wasn't during some big fight or anything even remotely eventful. They'd had a few days without a case, and Hotch had let them all off early, a light feeling radiating from all of them. JJ, Emily and Garcia were all heading out together with plans of a girls night, and they'd even invited Spencer, but he'd politely declined, just wanting to get home and crash.
When Spencer figured it out, he was stepping out of the elevator on the bottom floor of Quantico, and he went to tell Derek he loved him like he did every day, but he froze up, because he was afraid he wouldn't hear it back.
That's when things started to slide into place, one thing on top of another on top of another, just too much to be a coincidence. He never came around anymore, never invited him out, never held his hand or wrapped his arm around him with "Pretty Boy" or any of his other petnames leaving his lips. He never gave him that smile only meant for him, and it had been a long, long time since the last time Reid could remember hearing Derek telling him he loved him. (Twenty-six days.)
The puzzle pieces were all finally together, and the things he'd brushed off and reasoned aside were swirling in his thoughts and leaking into his bloodstream, coiling tightly around his heart, anxiety, denial and pure devastation making all the breath expell from his lungs. Because finally, Spencer got it. He loved Derek, but Derek no longer loved him back.
Despite the thoughts that had crawled into the genius' mind and spread a deep hurt through him that he wasn't sure how to fix, Spencer's eyes never seemed to leave Morgan.
Spencer walked into the bullpen, coffee in his hands and sadness making his footsteps sluggish, and he looked to Derek, laughing with Emily.
(He wanted to be the one being laughed with.)
Spencer curled up in a seat on the jet, whether it be towards a case or on the way home from one, and he looked to Derek, eyes closed and headphones snugly over his ears.
(He wanted to be next to him, his head on his shoulder like he used to.)
Spencer got told they'd have to pair up because of the lack of hotel rooms, and he looked to Derek, who was already looking to Hotch or Rossi.
(He wanted to be the person that he thought of first, the person he used to be.)
Spencer had a bad day, and he needed someone to talk to, someone to hold him and to tell him that everything would be okay, and he looked to Derek, the man already on his way out the doors of the BAU.
(He wanted to be enough.)
Spencer and the team were caught in a shootout with five unsubs, and he got shot. He looked to Derek, and finally, Derek looked back.
(He wasn't enough.)
Spencer processed the abundance of yells before he processed anything else. Reid. Four people had called his name. Hotch, Emily, JJ, and Derek. Derek. Derek?
"Reid! Spencer!" His boyfriend hovered over him suddenly, (or was it suddenly? How long had he been lying on the asphalt? When had the other man appeared at his side?) his eyes wide and filled with worry, filled with tears.
Spencer processed all of this before he processed the searing pain in his side, and the way his lungs refused to draw air when he tried to breathe. "Spencer, Pretty Boy, come on, I need you to keep your eyes open for me, alright? Spencer," Morgan was yelling, his brows drawn and his eyes scared.
When had his eyes started to close? Derek, he tried to say. Instead, liquid filled his throat, and he choked on it, crimson dotting his lips and rolling down his ashen skin. "Der," Reid tried again. The name served to choke him even more, his lungs spasming as tears rolled down the sides of his face.
"Baby, c'mon, don't talk. Please, stay with me. Stay with me, Spencer," Morgan cried, pressing his hands firmly against his side. It hurt.
Vest. Shouldn't he have been wearing a vest? Spencer's panicked, confused eyes flicked down to his chest. Oh, he was wearing one. The bullet had missed it. What shitty luck.
Spencer looked back to Derek's eyes, at the tears shining in them, and he wondered why. The thought quickly floated away, though, as he registered the yelling around him, the desperate voices, and the piercing wail of a siren that was too far away.
And he knew, he was going to die. So with tears still rolling down his face, he looked at Derek, really looked. I'm sorry I wasn't good enough, he thought as he wheezed for breaths that wouldn't come, and darkness finally wrapped its firm arms around him, and pulled him away.
Ow. That was his first thought as his consciousness returned to him, fluorescent lights burning his irises even behind his eyelids, and a dull ache in his side that pulsed with every beat of his heart. Spencer's brows pulled together in a small wince as his fingers twitched, taking in the sensation of a hand in his.
Right away, he wanted to classify the hand as JJ's or Garcia's because it was the only thing that made sense, because they were the only ones that cared and that were comfortable enough with physical touch that they'd hold his hand while he was unconscious, but he didn't. Couldn't. It wasn't JJ's hand, and it wasn't Penelope's. Spencer could recognize those callouses and the lines on his palm and fingertips in seconds. He could even recognize the loose but firm way it gripped his. He knew that hand, despite not having held it for an achingly long amount of time.
Stubbornly, now that Reid realized where he was and that Morgan was there, he kept his eyes closed. Maybe, Morgan would keep holding his hand if he didn't know he was awake. Maybe, just maybe, Spencer could pretend for a little longer, like everything was okay.
Or not. Tears burned at the back of his closed lids, making him curl his nose slightly in frustration. "Spencer, can you look at me? Please?" Derek pleaded softly, his voice wavering, vulnerable.
Blearily blinking them open, Reid tried to display his anger on his face, but he was sure he failed, because the second he laid eyes on his boyfriend, he blinked owlishly in shock. Tear tracks were obvious on the older man's face, his eyes lined with red and his face contorted with a mixture of anxiety and relief. "Why?" Spencer asked, though, he was sure he sounded more sad than anything.
"'Cause--God, Spence I'm so sorry."
Reid had expected quite a few things to leave Derek's lips, but not that. His brows furrowed, mind trying to process the micro-expressions and flitting eye movements the other man made. "I. . . For what?" He asked, but they both already knew.
"For what?" Derek ran his free hand down his face, sighing heavily. A fresh wave of tears flooded his eyes, and Spencer watched them, precariously wavering but never falling. "Baby, I'm sorry for everything. I pulled away from you, I hurt you, I know I was hurting you, I knew it and I kept doing it. I don't have a good excuse, not one that'll mean anything, but, God, I don't want to lose you. You almost--Spence, you almost died. You almost died and I could see you thought I didn't care."
By the time he'd finished his small rant, breaths slightly harsher than before, Morgan's tears fell, streaking down his face. "So don't give me an excuse. Give me a reason," Spencer said, shrugging. The action screamed nonchalance, but his face and eyes showed fear. Fear and pure sadness.
Derek didn't say anything for a long moment, dropping his head to stare at their still intertwined hands. A cool droplet landing on his skin had Reid flinching slightly, and his heart ached when he realized it was his boyfriend's tear. Absentmindedly, Derek brushed it away with his thumb. "I've never. . ." He trailed off, his lips pursing.
Then he looked back up, blinking rapidly. "Pretty Boy, I've never loved someone like I love you. I've never--Every relationship I've ever been in has ended bad, or it just plain ended, one way or another, without fail. And it was always--without a doubt--on me," Spencer's frown deepened at his words, his tongue darting out to wet his chapped lips as he tried to figure out where Derek was going with this. Already, it was heartbreaking.
"I've been afraid my whole life to get close to someone, really know someone the way I'm close to you, they way I know you, and I guess it just hit me when I woke up one day that you're you, and I'm me, and snatching you up was the best thing I'd ever done. I guess I just thought that if I pushed you away, you leaving wouldn't hurt so bad."
Spencer's mouth fell open, shock, anger and hurt swirling in his eyes. "You're telling me the reason you made me think you didn't love me anymore is because you were afraid I wouldn't love you?" His voice broke on the last syllable, tears blurring his vision.
"It's stupid," Derk whispered as he looked to their hands. "I'm stupid."
"Derek, Derek," Spencer reached his free hand up to touch Morgan's cheek. "You are incredibly stupid, but I still love you. I'll always love you. That just goes to show how much."
"Forgive me?" Derek pleaded, his voice breaking. If he were anyone else, and Derek were anywhere else, he would've said no, should've said no. But he was Spencer Reid, and his boyfriend was Derek Morgan, and the genius could see the sincerity, the absolute pure heartedness in his boyfriend's eyes, on his face, even in the way he continued to hold his hand.
"Yeah, yeah, I forgive you," Spencer said, and when suddenly familiar lips were on his, and familiar hands were caressing his face, the past months of heartache disappeared. Their relationship wasn't perfect, and they were in no way done talking about what was going on between them, but right then, all of that was gone.
They were just Spencer and Derek, and they each knew that they would always love the other. (And despite his apparent gut churning fear of not being enough, in four months when they get engaged, Derek would be the one to get down on one knee.)