I don’t want to die like this. The thin, sharp needle feels thick and blunt as it pops through the tender skin in the crook of his forearm. Where metal meets flesh, a shaky hand has caused blood to pool. It’s pierced too deep. Pain radiates through the entire left side of his torso, cold and burning.Was my whole life lived, only to end here?  Special Agent Doctor Spencer Reid sits bruised and strapped to a chair, kidnapped in the line of duty by a man with split personalities. One of whose hand, soft and strong, presses hard on his bound wrist, holding still, Spencer’s involuntarily twitching muscles. “Raphael?” He mumbles. “No, it’s me Tobias, I’m goin’ to set you free.” The man replies. While trying to breathe through the dense scent of burning fish and sweat, Spencer’s eyes make their way to the thumb poised atop the dust-speckled syringe. In the hour long second it seems to take for the thumb to lower, his mind races with reckless abandon. No. Why? Please. What is in that? Are they coming for me? This is my fault. Mom. Should’ve listened. Please stop. I can help you. The words strain at the back of his throat, unable to escape the fortress of clenched teeth. Though twenty-five years old, the blinding fear makes him feel no older than six. Translucent fluid is forced through the syringe, coursing into his veins, his body immediately recognizing it as a foreign enemy. Instantaneously his breath catches and the dim, dusty shack, back dropping the figure of his young captor, begins blurring and rippling, as though under water. Then comes the unmistakable warmth, peace and security found only under the blanketing abyss of unconsciousness.

 Spencer Reid sits alone at his kitchen table, lights dimmed, blinds closed, staring at a syringe and two small bottles of clear fluid in front of him. His feet tapping incessantly, a pair of socks one red and one gray peek out between the black of his pants and Converse sneakers. The usually inaudible ticking of the clock sounds like a giant metronome inside of his head. Tick. I didn’t have a choice then. Tock. I shouldn’t have taken these.  Tick. I have a choice now. Tock. But I just want to forget. Tick. I miss the numbness. Tock. I have an eidetic memory. Tick. Every time I close my eyes. Tock. Even when they’re open. Tick. I remember every millisecond. Tock. He did this to me. Tick. I want to go back to before. Tock. These drugs can do that.  Spencer reaches out, his whole body shivering in the summer warmth. As his fingers reach the bottle, tracing a circle around the smooth lid, he becomes aware of his heart beating spastically in his chest. Under a lightweight navy blue hoodie, the pale yellow of a Carl Sagan Is My Homeboy t-shirt now feels heavy and scratchy against his skin. Licking his cracking lips, he tries to swallow but his mouth is desert dry. Getting up from the table, his heartbeat stabilizes. With unsteady hands, he takes out a plastic glass shaped like the head of Yoda and fills it with water. There’s been a definite shift in the force. I need to acquire a Jedi Master. The cool, soothing liquid washes down his throat, reminding him he’s still alive. With every sip, his breathing evens out, his shirt feels soft again, and the clock has fallen silent. For a few moments he forgets to remember.

A siren, loud and distorted, wails within the apartment catching Spencer off guard. His nervous system blinks, Yoda falls, bouncing and spinning at his feet, throwing off water onto the floor. The siren dims into a shrill ring. This better be Garcia. Spencer makes his way over to the rotary phone on the countertop, slowly raising the receiver to his ear. “Hello?”

“Ahoy!” Although wincing from her volume, Spencer can’t help but smile at the bubbly voice of their teams’ tech girl, Penelope Garcia.

“Garcia, I’m glad you called. Do we have another case?” He asks, rubbing his temples. He barely made it through the last one, almost shooting up in the bathroom.

“We sure do boy wonder. We need you later tonight, but only if you’re up for it.”

“So, you don’t need me then.” Spencer replies, surprised by his own annoyance.

“I’ll be kind and rewind. We have a case, we need your brain for, but only if you’re up for it.” Garcia says.

 “You said only if I’m up for it, twice, which implies that I can choose, so obviously you’re fine without me. Just say what you mean.” He says, wrapping the short cord around his fingers. It’s like he’s not in control of his own words but he still wants to say them.

“Reid, What? No... I just, are you okay?”

“You would know if any of you bothered to come visit.” His face flushes hot.

“You asked us not to. JJ tried calling you Reid. You haven’t even been answering you cell phone, not to mention I even-”

“What time?”

“Reid… I shouldn’t have even, you’ve been through a lot.”

“What time should I be there Garcia? I’m fine. I’m sorry.”  He says with a smile in his voice, knuckles whitening around the cord.

“You are not fine my friend, well, physically speaking you’re usually total hotness, but you sir, emotionally okay you are not.”

“I asked what time? Stop speaking in code.”

She pauses; Spencer pulls the receiver away, not able to take to the sound of her breathing. I’m losing it. If I throw myself into my work everything will just go away.

“6:00 sharp. It wasn’t your fault.” She says hanging up.

Great job doctor Reid. If I’m such a genius how, come I can’t figure out how to fix all of this?  He puts the receiver back and gets a towel from under the sink. Kneeling on the floor he begins sopping up the water. Why did I run after him and get myself kidnapped?  He looks up, eye level with the drugs on the table. This was my fault, I got myself taken, I was reckless. Who am I trying to prove myself to? My absentee Father, my schizophrenic Mother, my co-workers? He picks up the Yoda cup, turning it over and over in his hands. What am I even trying to prove? Strength? Knowledge? Bravery? Having the best almost dying, but saving myself in the knick of time capabilities? My heart is beating incredibly loudly. I can’t use these tonight, I want to, I can’t.

The beating gives way to knocking. Someone’s at the door. He gets up, using the table for leverage, the room spinning in slow motion as he puts the towel and the glass in the sink and crosses the short distance to the door. If there’s a little, green, wrinkly Muppet man in a robe out there, I’m going to freak out. Reaching the peephole, he bends looking out into the hallway. Standing there is a short, plump, blonde woman wearing a skirt and cardigan comprised of half the colors of the rainbow. A giant blue flower, matching the frames of her wingtip glasses, sits in her hair. Penelope Garcia. Why is she here? Spencer opens the door halfway, before remembering the paraphernalia on the tabletop. It’s too late; she’s entering the apartment.

“I’m totes stalking you, I called via cell from outside because you weren’t answering yours. Despite your avoidance and snippiness, I brought you a cookie. You look like crap.”  She says, handing him a little paper bag. “Now I know you probably don’t want me here but I think you secretly do.” While she gets deeper inside the small apartment, Spencer is doing his best to keep himself between her and the table. “Why is it so dark in here? Look, I know your history with your Mom makes you therapist weary and all but I really think you should maybe, why are you? Why are you making us walk like that?”

“Walk like what?”

“Like we’re two repelling magnets on a dance floor.”

“I don’t know what you mean. We have to get to the meeting.” Spencer says swaying slightly, trying to guide Garcia to the door. “You didn’t need to stop by, much appreciate the cookie.”

“It’s only four thirty and you’re welcome.” She puts her hand on his arm, his muscle tenses at her touch. Their eyes lock and she darts to the right, in clear view of the table. The purse on her shoulder slides to the floor, her face goes white. “Are they his?”

Spencer shuts his eyes, his chest tightening in the vice like grasp of the memory. His fingers twitch at the thought of the warmth and softness inside Tobias’s jacket pocket and the feeling of his lifeless eyes, judging him behind the closed lids. “I haven’t used them.”

“Are they his?” She asks, unmoving. “Did you take these from Tobias?”

“I haven’t used them, I swear I haven’t.”

Tears well up in her eyes, as she turns to face him, “Why? Why would you do that? He forced you take these, he hurt you with that, I saw it.” Her voice cracking, she walks towards him. “I saw all of it. I’m the one who watches the all the tapes, remember?” Spencer nods, “How could you Reid? After everything, why? Tell me why.”

She puts both her hands on her hips, breathing heavily. The floor starts moving beneath Spencer’s feet. His mind moves him to a chair at the table but his body can’t follow. Instead he sits in place, Indian style, like a tall, gangly, strung out child. “I don’t know.”

Garcia looks around the apartment, clenching her jaw. She walks over to Spencer, and kneels down in front of him, brushing his floppy brown hair out of his face and taking his head in her hands. “Tell me why.” She asks, their eyes stare into one another, almost matching in their large size and deep brown color.

Spencer swallows hard, as he bites his bottom lip, taking in her soft scent of lilac and pen ink. “I haven’t used them. I’m not tripping out, I’m withdrawing. I know I shouldn’t be working but I can’t just sit here. I don’t know why I took them Garcia, I- I really don’t.” He says, allowing the weight of all the truths in that lie to sink in and overtake the physical pain.

 “Hey.” Garcia says softly, sitting beside him. She waits for his eyes to meet hers and come into focus, takes his hand and says, “You are not alone.”

Spencer’s face tremors with years of concealed emotion, tears stinging the backs of his eyelids.  “I am. I always have been.”

“No, no you’re not.” She says, taking a tissue out of her sleeve. “You may be lonely Doctor Spencer Reid but you are never alone. Your Mother may not always know who she is, but she will always know who you are. Not to mention, you have an entire family to meet up with in a little while.”  He smiles vaguely through his tears. “Now look, I can believe you don’t fully know why you took those, but you know you’ll never use them right?”

Spencer blows his nose, “How do you know that?” He asks.

“I know you.” He rolls his eyes. “Don’t give me that I’ve been through something now I’m different routine.”

Spencer’s head feels like a helium filled brick as he replies, “Garcia, I, you can’t understand…what I went through was…”

“Torture? Again yes, I saw it, but Reid… it’s over. Now you’re just torturing yourself.” He looks at her blankly. “Okay, you’re going to tell me you didn’t spend hours sitting there staring at those bottles, wondering if you’ll pick one up?” His eyes flicker with recognition. Wait, was Garcia on drugs? That would explain a lot. “I know, if I were on drugs it would explain a lot.” He laughs half-heartedly and she replies smiling with her mouth but not her eyes. “Reid, my whole adult life has been stress of the post traumatic variety. Our job is dangerous, life threatening and we, you and me, and JJ specifically, are sweet, caring people trying to make a difference in the world. Defeat a few big bads, in the only ways we know how.”

“You.” Clearing his throat. “You really don’t think I’d use them?”

“No.” She says, shaking her head, curls bouncing.

“I have an addictive personality.” He replies, pulling at the tissue in his hands.

“Coffee is to the sky as drugs are to the ground.”

“It’s a long way down?”

She nods. “If you did use them, you wouldn’t be Reid, and it’ll take a lot more than being kidnapped, tortured and drugged by a three in one special, to change you my friend.” She nudges his arm with her shoulder.

“Garcia. My mother.”

“Whoa.” She says, backing up. “Hold up little birdie, I am not your mama.”

“No.” He smiles. “My mother, she’s why I would never use them right? She’s sick and she didn’t choose that. She can’t fix it, not ever. She’s brilliant and trapped, and lost; I don’t want to be like that. I try everyday not to let myself be like that. ”

Garcia stretches, arms in the air. “See, I’m always right.”

“No, you’re wrong.” Her hands hit her lap. “I would have used them, maybe. I’m not above that. I could’ve easily been Tobias.”

“How in the world is that?” She asks.

“Lots of ways, I’m right on the edge, I feel like I’m right on the edge. There are so many factors that make up a person. Nature versus nurture, some people are inherently messed up.”

“I don’t believe that.”

“Look, if my Mother got mean instead of confused, if my Father hadn’t left, if I didn’t have my intelligence, if I hadn’t made it into the FBI, Garcia I’m reckless.”

 “I’ve noticed that.”

“I feel like I have to fight.”

“We all feel that way sometimes.”

“No. Garcia I feel like I have to fight all the time, I always have, for everything. To not be like my Mother, to be just like my Mother, to prove I’m better than my Father, that I’m as strong and as brave as the rest of our team. If I always leave open the option to fail, I can always win at something. I’m always, looking for the darkness so that I can… choose to be on the light side of the force.”

“You’ve merely wandered off your path young Skywalker and for a genius you’re kind of a dumby.” Garcia says, standing up.

“I know right?” Spencer says watching her rise.

“There’s no winning or losing in life Reid, well, except the board game but that’s a skewed representation.” She swipes the bottles off the table. “You need to prove something to yourself? Now’s the time to do it, break these.”

“Why don’t you do it?”

“It’s symbolic, work with me here.” She helps him to his feet. “You said it yourself, your Mother is ill. Fight all you want, dwell for eternity, but if you get sick too, you can’t help it anymore than she can. Her mental illness seems to have skipped a generation, be grateful. Getting lost is not the same as denying you know where are. Also, not to push you too much here, but Tobias murdered people Reid. You survived, you stood on your own against all odds and you saved yourself. I’m not saying there was no collateral damage.” She places the drugs in his hands, his fingers tentatively wrapping around the cool, slick bottles. “You owe it to everyone who’s life he took, to keep living. You owe it to yourself, and to those who love you to make it a part of you and then let it all go. We all make mistakes in our life, but you can’t let your life become your mistakes.”

“I hear you, I do. But, you think if I throw these out, all of my problems will go away?” He asks.

“Yes I do… No, Mr. Passively-aggro. I think if you throw them away, one big potential problem will go away. In fact I know it will and no offense, but you really don’t need any more problems.” She picks her purse up off the floor, and starts walking away from him.

“Wait, you’re just going to leave?”

“Yep. Oh, wait.” She walks back over picking up the syringe with the tips of her index finger and thumb. “Taking this with me, I’m eternally optimistic, not risky.” He watches her cross the room, a pounding in his head, getting stronger with each of her receding footsteps.

“Reid.” She says, opening the door. “You have to do this yourself, you have to.” She turns to face him. “You are the best of us.”

A weight lifts off his chest, then falls. “Garcia?” He asks, stepping forward.

“I’ll never breathe a word. I’ll see you at six.”  She turns on her heel and exits.

Spencer stands alone in the silence, moving the bottles between his hands like Chinese medicine balls. He walks to the sink, the clock ticking loudly in his ears. He catches his reflection in the window above the basin. His face tired and gaunt, dark circles ring his eyes, his shaggy hair sticking randomly to his forehead in greasy strands. If I’m the best of us, we’re all screwed. Placing one bottle on the counter he takes the other in his trembling hands, opening it slowly. He reaches into the pocket of his hoodie, pulling out a second syringe. As he fills the tube, the clear liquid spurts out from the tip of the needle with the tiniest of finger pressure. Spencer rolls up the sleeve on his left arm, the fabric feels almost serrated against his sensitive skin. The faint purple-green bruise in the crook of his forearm aches with phantom pains at the thought of being punctured again. He watches as his own hands mimic the movement of Tobias, only this time, he’s in control.

Spencer grabs a grapefruit out of a fruit basket, on the counter top. I’ll never stop fighting. He plunges the needle deep inside, feeling the needle pop through the skin into flesh of the fruit. I’m fighting everything and everyone because I’m fighting myself. Why can’t I have the faith in myself that everyone else has?  His thumb hovers above the syringe. He looks up at himself in the window. If everyone already believes in me, what am I trying to prove? He studies his own face as though trying to read the truth in a stranger. “I don’t want to live like this.” He says aloud, startled by the sad, desperate tone in his own voice. My power, I’m taking it back. Looking down at the syringe, he lowers his thumb slowly, watching the fluid leave the tube. He fills and empties the syringe again and again, faster and faster, perforating the outer layer of the fruit so much it starts to bleed tiny streams of pink juice.  

In the moments between emptying the first bottle and starting the second, a switch flicks on in his brain. The silent film of his memories begins to flicker into focus, moving rapidly through the chronology of his life. Fill. He’s reading books with his Mother. Inject. He’s finding the goodbye note from his Father. Fill. He’s hits the floor of a school hallway. Inject. Nurses are taking his Mother away. Fill. He sees a person die at his feet. Inject. Grabbing a knife from a nearby drawer, he cuts the hemorrhaging fruit in half, shoving it down into the drain. His vision blurs as he blinks through a flood of tears and flicks on the garbage disposal. Steadying his jagged, sharp breathing, and sniffing back a sob, he throws in the syringe, followed by the small tops of the bottles. His thoughts moving in fast forward, through every case, every victory, every loss, everything leading up to the moment he separated from his partner and got himself taken. He goes into his memories to the split second decision of chasing Tobias, and instead stays by JJ’s side. In minute detail he sees them catch him, right there and then find all their evidence, arrest him and go home. Raising his arm back like a pitcher, he allows himself to, this time, relive the pain and sheer terror of the days actual events, letting the reality of his choices, sink in.

Inside his mind, all the voices of Tobias give way to that of Garcia. You are the best of us, her voice then merging into his own. Don’t let your life become your mistakes. Taking a deep, ragged breath, he chucks one bottle and then the other, into the sink watching them both shatter into thousands of tiny glittering shards. He turns on the faucet, staring down into the eyes of Yoda, then into those of his own reflection. A smile crosses his face, although he can’t feel it. He can’t feel anything; inside and out he is numb, but not empty. This emotional release was more of an anesthetic than the drugs could ever be. I haven’t won and I didn’t lose, I’m still playing.  He stands there frozen, staring into his own eyes until he can finally feel the smile. His gaze is broken, by the increasingly familiar rhythmic sound of the ticking clock, finally in synch with the beating of his heart.  

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

dad
5/22/2012 15:42:24

Is the criminal minds above an actual episode?

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Caitlin
5/22/2012 19:57:01

It begins with a recap of sorts then quickly continues into complete fan fiction.

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6/10/2015 07:24:10

While trying to breathe through the dense scent of burning fish and sweat, Spencer’s eyes make their way to the thumb poised atop the dust-speckled syringe. In the hour long second it seems to take for the thumb to lower, his mind races with reckless abandon.

Reply
7/1/2015 05:02:21

Locksmith Angels was born in 1994 when the founder of this company recognized the need for residential locksmith, commercial locksmith, car locksmith and door unlocking solutions in their community. Since then, Locksmith Angels has grown to become the leading professional locksmith service provider in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Although Locksmith Angels’ main aim is on emergency business and home locksmith servicing, we also provide a wide variety of automotive services for your safety.

Reply
7/14/2015 04:17:45

The inside is made up of a cable system that are affixed with bolts. The bolts are fastened into the track and they can only be released when the T handle lock is turned.

Reply
8/26/2015 04:07:01

The thin, sharp needle feels thick and blunt as it pops through the tender skin in the crook of his forearm. Where metal meets flesh, a shaky hand has caused blood to pool. It’s pierced too deep. Pain radiates through the entire left side of his torso, cold and burning.

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