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The Girl Next Door, and the Boy Who Needed Her

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Life was going pretty well for you at the moment. Although the death of a relative wasn’t usually considered “pretty well,” you had hardly known your great aunt, and for some reason, she had given you her entire inheritance, a hefty amount. Combined with your freelance writing, you were well off for the first time in a long time. Your new apartment at the Capital Plaza Apartments reflected this, and you felt a sense of pride and stability moving into #24.

The apartment was located in a nice part of DC. Your space had ample room for all your stuff and then some. It was nice to feel a bit of luxury for once. Your large living room gave way to a modern kitchen. Off the main area was your bedroom and a large bathroom.

The apartment building was so nice, that you were utterly shocked when you saw a giant cockroach meander over your stove and into a crack behind the microwave. You almost laughed once you had finished screaming. It was as if you’d been transported into one of those cartoons where the woman stands on a chair and screams at the mouse. Before you could laugh, however, you turned and screamed again as a man busted through your door holding a gun.

Thinking you were under attack, you held up your hands as you tried to think of words to save your life. The young man stopped, took a deep breath, and lowered his weapon.

“What the hell?” you screamed at him, realizing he was not trying to threaten you anymore for some reason.

“I-- I… I’m sorry,” he sputtered. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a badge. “My name is Doctor Spencer Reid, I’m with the FBI, I heard your screams and thought--”

He looked down at the ground as if he were ashamed of his good intentions.

“What the hell is the FBI doing here?” you asked, wondering if something bigger was going on that you didn’t know about at the moment.

“Nothing, I mean, I’m not with them right now, I just live next door,” he said.

Looking at him now, you could see this must be true. Under his ragged house coat were pajamas. It was the middle of the day.

You took a deep breath and tried to slow the beating of your heart back to normal. This man was not here to hurt you. He had actually intended to save you should you actually have been in danger.

“I’m (Y/N),” you said finally, still too rattled to do anything but speak.

He nodded and stood awkwardly by the door, his gun still by his side. The silence filled the room and gave you ample time to study him.

His hair was messed in a way that some guys took hours to style, but you were sure had been natural; his slippers were red velvet; his eyes were brown and inquisitive.

Dr. Reid tucked his gun into a pocket of his house coat.

“Sorry again,” he muttered.

“It’s okay,” you found yourself laughing. The situation was just too ridiculous.

He smiled at your laugh.

“What did you scream about, anyways?” he asked.

“A cockroach,” you admitted. “It just appeared out of nowhere.”

“A cockroach can live for a week without its head,” Reid said, almost out of reflex. The moment after he said it, he looked dejectedly to the ground until you laughed.

Cocking your head to the side, you asked, “How do you know that?”

His lips turned upwards and he laughed.

“I’m full of information,” he shrugged.

“Can I get my FBI friend a glass of water or something?” you asked.

He looked around and behind him as if checking to make sure the coast was clear for some reason.

“Sure,” he said, after a moment’s hesitation.

You gestured to the only furniture in the room that was assembled, the kitchen table and chairs, and he sat down, watching you sift through boxes until you found a glass.

“So what part of the FBI are you in?” you asked.

He seemed like more of the behind the desk type, but then why would he have a gun?

“Behavioral Analysis Unit,” he said.

“Oh wow,” you said, your eyes widening as you handed him his glass. “So you catch psychopaths and everything?”

He smiled softly.

“We try,” he said modestly.

“From what I hear, you succeed,” you praised him.

“You look that kind of stuff up?” he asked, surprised.

You took a seat opposite him and smiled.

“I have a morbid fascination with serial killers,” you admitted.

“It’s said that people interested in serial killers are 70% more interesting conversations,” he recited.

You laughed.

“How am I doing so far?” you joked.

“Swimmingly,” he smiled.

You liked his smile, but for some reason, you didn’t think he smiled often enough in his life. Not surprising, given his occupation, you reasoned.

“Must be hard though, looking through all those victims,” you sympathized.

He tensed, and it seemed as though you had hit a nerve.

“Sorry,” you quickly apologized. “I didn’t mean to…” you trailed off, unsure exactly what you had done. But in the moment you had started to apologized, he had regained his composure, although his eyes seemed heavier than before. It was then that you noticed the dark circles under them.

“It is hard,” he said quietly. “Sometimes unbearable.”

It was a strange moment of intimacy to have with someone you’d just met. It almost seemed like he was saying this more to himself than you, and you simply nodded.

“But I’d bet the people you save are eternally grateful,” you added, trying to brighten up the mood you’d killed.

He smiled a little at this, the sadness lessening in his eyes.

“Yes, that is true,” he admitted. “What is it you do?” He asked.

“Freelance writing. For magazines mostly,” you answered, feeling a tad self conscious at the comparative unimportance of your job.

“That sounds relaxing,” he smiled.

His eyes drifted to the piles of books around the kitchen table, landing on one stack right by his chair. The book was “War and Peace,” a title you had yet to crack open because of its immense size.

“Have you read this?” he asked, holding up the book. You shook your head.

“Not yet,” you admitted. “It’s a little intimidating.”

“Yes, I remember,” he smiled. “I read it when I was ten, and then again a few years ago in the original language.”

You laughed until you realized he hadn’t made a joke. He was serious.

“What, are you some kind of genius?” you asked.

“I have an IQ of 187,” he answered, pursing his lips together and watching your reaction closely.

“Holy shit,” you laughed. “That’s incredible. You read this when you were ten ?” you confirmed.

He looked relieved for some reason, and nodded.

“Maybe you should just tell me what happens, I don’t know if I’ll ever read it,” you smirked.

He laughed nervously and said, “I could recite it to you, actually.”

After the IQ, you didn’t doubt it.

“I have an eidetic memory,” he explained. “So I remember everything I read.”

“That’s insane!” you said excitedly, and jealously. “Sorry, probably not the best choice of words. I just meant really cool,” you smiled.

He looked surprised.

“Thanks,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that reaction before.”

He glanced around your apartment and then back to you.

“I should let you unpack,” he said.

You couldn’t tell if he wanted to go, or just thought he should.

“Ah, but you’re helping me procrastinate!” You teased, playfully tapping his forearm.

He looked, almost alarmedly at your touch, and for a moment seemed to debate something, but then he relaxed and smiled.

“Thanks for the water,” he said, getting up.

“Anytime,” you promised, rising with him.

You walked him to the door and watched him walk out.

“Feel free to come over sometime,” you offered, having enjoyed his strange but easy company. “But maybe knock first,” you winked.

He blushed and chuckled, looking at his hands.

“Maybe,” he answered noncommittally.

He carefully opened his door and slipped inside, not giving you the slightest glimpse of what was on the other side of his door.

You went back into your apartment and began unpacking. It wasn’t until you settled into the silence of your place, that you realized how much you missed having company already. You truly hoped he would take you up on the offer to hang out sometime, because you could tell how lonely you would be for a while until you made some friends here.

You managed to unpack half of your stuff before giving up to read before bedtime, all the while thinking about your encounter with the handsome FBI agent, and wondering when you might see him again.