Title: Crossfire 2/?
Rating: FRT (series overall FRAO)
Summary: When Joe shows up at the BAU, Morgan thinks the worst. Reid finds himself feeling more out of place than ever before.
ConCrit: Better than Reid’s boy band haircut. Wait, nothing’s better than that :)
SPOILERS: Some canon from all seasons, but not always in the way it happened on the show.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights or trademarks to Criminal Minds, the FBI, CBS or any of the characters within. No infringements of these copyrights are intended. Any similarities between original characters therein are a coincidence. I make no profit from the following fictional story. (Fictional, maybe, but I swear this happened all in my head).
3:42pm, two days later at the BAU offices in Quantico
Agent Derek Morgan
I roll and crack my neck as the elevator door opens up. Hotch told us to go home, but we all decided to come back and try to finish the paperwork this afternoon. At least I don’t have to fill out an incident report. I questioned Hotch’s decision in front of the local PD, called him a fool and nearly destroyed a coffee maker. I thought I could do this. I thought I could be professional. But I guess that even though I’m not consciously thinking about Spencer, the thoughts are always there. The resentment towards Hotch for allowing him to go is still very much on the surface. Sometimes I wonder why I still work for the man, considering I can’t trust him.
I slide into my chair at my desk and turn on my computer, eager to type up the report and get it on Hotch’s desk by six. Anderson sits at Spencer’s desk--a change ordered by Hotch for convenience. Of course Spencer gets his desk back, but Hotch thought it would be easier for us to work if Anderson wasn’t all the way across the bullpen. Prentiss told me she went to him to ask for the switch because she hated watching me stare at his empty chair all day.
I’m pulling out my scribbled notes from the jet ride home and attempting to translate my own handwriting but I can’t focus. I hear Anderson typing away at Spencer’s keyboard and I want to clock him across the face with it. I wonder, if I hit him hard enough, if the keys will make an outline on his face.
I look up to see Emily standing over me. “What do you want? I’m just going to finish this and then I’ll go home I promise.”
“Derek, Joe is in Hotch’s office.”
I turn around and see through the blinds Joe talking to Hotch. I can’t...there’s...Hotch isn’t smiling. That means Spencer...
“Derek, breathe, breathe.” Emily has her hands on my shoulders. “Look at me, you need to inhale and exhale. No matter what, there is nothing you can do right now okay? Please, just breathe okay?”
My eyes are glued to Hotch’s office. Now Hotch’s back it turned, and I can’t see Joe’s face. I make a move to stand up but Emily’s hands are strong on my shoulders.
“Derek I will shoot you,” I hear JJ’s voice behind me.
I don’t care. If Spencer is...if he’s....I’ll fucking shoot myself. Then I see Hotch turn. His face is still, but not stern or upset. Is he trying to remain calm? I can’t tell. I don’t want to wait anymore. I push out of my chair and out of the clutches of Emily and JJ and jump up the steps towards Hotch’s office. I don’t knock, I just burst in. “Joe, what happened to Spencer?”
He takes a deep breath and a small smile creeps over his face. “He’s safe. We raided the camp two nights ago, his job is done.”
“Two nights ago? Why didn’t you fucking tell us?”
“We spent nearly ten hours cataloguing evidence and booking the members of The Gaia, then he had to be debriefed and immediately seen by a federal psychiatrist,” Joe puts his hands in his pockets. “He asked me to get him a hotel room for tonight and he was going to come back to the office tomorrow to show you he’s back before he goes on leave.”
Hotch clears his throat. “He’s been working for a year, he’s entitled to a leave as long as ten weeks.”
“Why does he want a hotel Joe?” I ask, completely failing at holding back tears of both relief and confusion.
“He doesn’t want to be bombarded, he was afraid if he went home that is exactly what would happen.” Joe approaches me. “I’ll tell him to call you, but I can’t make any promises. He’s had a long year, he’ll need some time to adjust. But he’s a fucking genius, he’ll be fine. Don’t worry about him, just give him some space over the next week or so. Let him get used to running water and processed foods again.”
I watch Joe walk out of the room before slumping into one of the chairs in Hotch’s office. “Why didn’t he call us himself?”
“You understand, you were undercover for eighteen months,” Hotch says calmly.
“And I couldn’t wait to call my sisters and my Ma. I was practically sprinting back to Chicago.”
“Go home, worry about your paperwork later. You really need to calm down,” Hotch sits behind his desk. “That’s an order.”
Not responding, I leave his office and go back to my desk, where Emily, JJ, Anderson, Rossi and Garcia are all standing and waiting. I swallow. “It’s over, he’s safe.”
I watch relief swim over their faces. “Where is he?” Garcia asks.
“Still being debriefed, we should get to talk to him tomorrow morning,” I lie, hoping that I can believe my own lie enough to keep me from going insane tonight. I begin to gather my things. “Hotch is sending me home. I’ll see you all tomorrow.”
“I’ll go with you,” Prentiss offers.
“No, please. I mean it, I just need some sleep.” I put on a fake smile. “This might be the first night of good sleep I’ve had in a year, knowing that kid is gonna be safe now.”
I manage to leave without much protest from the rest of the team, and I make it all the way home and to meowing cats before I start to tremble. Why doesn’t he want to see me? Is he really afraid that I’m going to...I don’t know what. I’m not going to scare him, I just want to hold him forever and never let him go. He had to have missed me too, right? And when I tell him about what really happened with Toby Bell.
I kick off my shoes and shuck out of my clothes, pouring some food into the bowl for the cats before instantly curling up in Spencer’s bed, on my side. Why could he possibly not want to see me right away? Did he sleep with someone while he was undercover? I don’t care about that. He’s safe, he’s alive and he’s safe and he’s just upset. Maybe Joe is right, he just needs to calm down. He’s probably expecting walking into the bullpen tomorrow to be a terrifying experience. I wouldn’t blame him. That’s it. Gotta be it.
Just as I close my eyes the house phone rings. I roll over to grab the set on the nightstand. “Hello?”
Holiday Inn in Annapolis, MD
Dr. Spencer Reid
“Derek?” I swallow. “It’s Reid.”
“Spencer, holy shit. When I saw Joe in Hotch’s office today...I’m just glad you’re safe.” His voice is shaky, I can tell he’s upset.
“Joe told me you were upset, that I should call you. Reassure you that I’m fine. I just...I need to sleep.” I stretch out on the hotel bed. “Before I see everyone. I haven’t slept since the raid.” I lie.
“How did you know to call here? You called your home line?”
“When I called your home line it was disconnected. Your cell was too.”
“Oh, we had to change our numbers after you went undercover, protocol Joe said.” I hear him take a deep breath. “I can’t wait to see you.”
“I know,” I sigh. “Uhm, my hair is longer. I didn’t cut it at all. How are the cats?”
“Cats are great. I think they are eating right now, but they’ll be joining me in bed soon.”
“You’re in my bed?” I ask. I don’t know why, but the thought of Derek being in my place while I’m not there is unsettling. I don’t know why. It doesn’t make any logical sense.
“I uhm...well I’ve been living here right now. I figured it was best for the cats for me to move in than to disrupt them by moving them.” I hear his voice getting less shaky, like he’s okay now that he knows I’m okay. I should feel better about that.
“I’ll be going home tomorrow. I uhm...” suddenly I find it hard to talk. “Can you leave your keys at the office? I think mine got left with Hotch and I’m not sure where he put them.”
“Spencer, I uhm...my lease expired. I sorta moved in here. I’m sorry and all...I’ll go get more keys made first thing in the morning.” He sounds nervous, like he got caught in a lie.
He’s been living in my place? Sleeping in my bed without me there for a whole year? I just can’t...I shouldn’t have called him. “Okay, uhm, I’ll be at the office tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know that I’m okay.”
He takes a deep breath. “I guess I understand, you feel a bit overwhelmed. It’s been a whole year Spencer, a whole year. I’ve just missed you. When I saw Joe in Hotch’s office I nearly lost it.”
“You thought the worst?” I manage to release a sincere laugh. “For such a macho man, you really do wear your emotions on your shirt.”
“It’s heart on my sleeve Spence,” he laughs back. “Oh, and I’ve been writing to your mother, she’s doing really well. She only had one bad spell since you were gone, she’s been very lucid. She can’t wait to talk to you.”
“Thanks. Right, I should call her tomorrow.” Spencer’s mother. My mother. I’m sure she’s been worried, even with Derek writing to her and everything.
“Thanks for calling me Spence. I missed you.”
“Yeah, sure. I’ll see you tomorrow?” I hold my breath, feeling terrified again.
“Yeah. I’ll bring you coffee and muffins. Good night Spencer.”
“Good night.” I hang up the phone.
I let myself cry. I haven’t been this scared since Barry blew up the police station in Autryville and I found out Derek was inside. It seems more than a year ago. No, it doesn’t even seem like my life. It’s like I have all these memories of Spencer Reid and his life and things he’s done but I don’t feel like I’m really him. It’s almost like I’m really Nathan Villisca, Loki, and Spencer is my cover.
Everyone is going to be so happy to see me. They’ll hug and cry and who knows what else. Garcia’s had her baby by now, I’m sure there will be pictures. Everyone will want to know how the case went, what I went through. They will be telling me stories, events over the past year. I’ll have so many case files to read through, just so I can stay caught up on the work the team has been doing. I’m sure it won’t take me long to read like I used to again, but a year of pretending I read at a normal pace has become so first-nature to me that it might be hard.
I reach across the bed for my bag. I was able to grab my things before we left The Gaia camp. The psychiatrist said I needed to throw the clothes away and buy something I would normally wear. I didn’t tell her about the box of items, because I know I should get rid of it. I should take my time off, get back into my life and then I’ll be okay. Right now I’m transitioning and it’s very terrifying. The psychiatrist said that. I know that.
I’m still feeling very alienated. I wonder if this is what it’s like for people who are abducted very young and found again. They have to relearn who they really are, and deal not only with their own confusion, but with everyone else’s confusion. One year isn’t a whole lifetime, I know that. The very thought of going back to my apartment, seeing my cats, wearing my clothes is scary. Not seeing Strawberry again. Or Hank. I know they were criminals, but Hank didn’t hurt people. He never knew that Barry was killing women, he surely would have stopped it if he did. Strawberry is my best friend and when I tried to visit her at the jail before I left for DC she didn’t want to speak with me. I feel terrible about it, but I know that I shouldn’t contact her ever again.
I get up and go to the bathroom, turning on the harsh flourescent light and taking a good look at myself. Dark circles are there, brown eyes, I guess save for not having shaved in almost a week I look like me. Spencer Reid. I’m not Loki, I never was. I just pretended to be him. I turn on the sink and reach for the toiletry bag Joe bought for me. Inside I find a razor, some shaving cream, and a few other essentials. I start to run the water and lather my face.
Sharp jaw. Derek kisses this jaw once. Ran his tongue along it. Cupped these cheeks in his hand. He bumped his nose into my small pointed one. He looked into my eyes. Spencer’s eyes. Kissed my lips. Held me close. Who told Prentiss to tell me that he loves me. I love him too, or at least I should. I told myself for the first few weeks that I was going to go home to him, that we could be okay together again. We could be a good thing for a very long time, and everything in the past didn’t have to matter. Me getting high and killing Toby, his being overprotective. I thought I wanted to go home.
But I just feel like a stranger now. Maybe I shouldn’t go back at all. I was going to leave before I went undercover with The Gaia, I still could leave. It would make total sense, the genius profiler burning out at 31. They were all expecting me to burn out before then. I once overheard Hotch telling Rossi he thought I’d leave the BAU before Gideon did.
After shaving and washing my face, I run my damp hands through my hair and take another look at myself. I could leave. I could put my resignation, badge and gun (not my weapon, but the Glock Joe gave me) on the desk and be gone by morning. I could drain my accounts before Garcia even woke up.
I think I finally understand Gideon.
Meanwhile at a house in Binghamton, New York
She drops her keys into the dish near the door, letting her golden retriever Dolly inside before turning around and securing three deadbolts. She quickly hits five numbers on the keypad of her home alarm system before kicking off her walking shoes and heading into her kitchen.
She checks that Dolly’s water dish is full. Satisfied, she pulls a bottle of water from her fridge and leans against the counter. Today she took a much longer walk that usual, because she was feeling a bit un-nerved.
Hang-up calls are common every once in a while. Even if she’s unlisted, someone that has a number one digit differently from her...she doesn’t want to think about it. It’s not that she fears it was someone who was after her for nefarious purposes. She knew how to deal with them. It was trying to stay hidden from people she once considered friends.
Sighing, she heads into the living room to watch some TV.