Author's Note: Yes, this is set all the way back in Season 2. If you are like me, then you took issue with how CM handled the aftermath of "Revelations." They set up this wonderfully complex character struggle just asking for conflict, growth, and team bonding moments and then proceeded to only lightly skim over the consequences of the whole ordeal.

Don't get me wrong, I was pleased whenever they addressed the different aspects of how Reid's kidnapping affected him. However, looking at the episodes "dealing" with the aftermath, something immediately jumps out-not once did they ever really address the ongoing problem (namely Reid's drug use). It still irritates me that evidently, no one helped him, so I made this-my interpretation of the events following "Revelations."

Just some things to note: this is my first CM fic, it pretty much adheres to canon, it's definitely Reid-centric, and I'll be posting this in three parts. That's pretty much it. Enjoy!

Part 1

Sometimes, Reid wished he wasn't so good at misdirection.

It had been dead useful in his childhood-keeping away CPS with no real guardian and a mentally unstable dependent at the age of ten required some doing, after all.

Getting bullied had even helped in that endeavor, if such a word could be used in connection with his childhood of never-ending torment. After all, if he could indirectly provoke some of the more temperamental jocks to violence from time to time (which took less effort than Reid was strictly comfortable with), then no one would question the day he came to school with a black eye because his mother thought he was an imposter, or bandaged hands because he'd had to do the cooking again and he still had yet to master cutting vegetables or using the stove. They assumed the quickest, easiest explanation and attributed any scrapes or bruises to what they'd seen with their own eyes.

His love of magic and trickery of the eye only gave him more tools and techniques to add to his arsenal. If he was honest with himself, he might even say it inspired him to adopt and internalize this particular method of evasion. It amazed and intrigued him, how easily the eye could be deceived, the mind tricked, the senses duped.

Now you see it, now you don't.

Life, a shell game that can't be won.

After years of practice and refinery, he was well versed in the "magic" that was essentially math, illusion, dexterity, and a good measure of showmanship. He supposed it was only natural that it became a habit, that he kept misdirecting and misleading when it came to personal problems in his adult life.

They all had their methods of shutting people out, of obscuring the truth from one another, but Reid had found he was only ever good at the one.

He didn't have a stone cold facade he could hide behind like Hotch. He couldn't draw a shield of humor or anger around him for protection like Morgan. He couldn't compartmentalize like Prentiss. He couldn't keep up an unblemished mask of composure like JJ. He couldn't get people to back off with simple silence and stature like Gideon. He couldn't even imagine being totally honest and open with others like Garcia so often was.

But he couldn't lie, either. Not just because he was rubbish at it (and wasn't that the truth), but because his team was his family.

So when Morgan approached him on the plane after his first case back on the job after Georgia, he told him a partial truth. The leaves and pictures of the victims had bothered him-he had even had several bone-chilling flashbacks in the middle of the local PD, for crying out loud-but that wasn't what was really bothering him. That wasn't the real problem.

What was bothering him was the fact that he had taken two vials of Dilaudid off of a dead man's body and hadn't told anyone. What was bothering him was that he wasn't entirely sure why he kept them, or why he suddenly found he was taking them with him wherever he went, even into work-although the answer lay perpetually whispering at the edge of his consciousness.

But he didn't want to face those answers, and he sure didn't want anyone else to concern themselves with those answers either, so he fell back on old tactics.

Direct the gaze, control the audience, don't let them see the sleight of hand, the misdirection. Keep the attention off of the thing with the potential to destroy his health and his relationships and his career and his life. Off of the thing that he found himself spending more and more time thinking about, wishing for, needing, craving.

No, keep the attention on something marginally less immediately threatening-like the fact that he may have PTSD. But why not do one better while he was at it, and misdirect the misdirect? Talk about how he knows what it's like to be the victim now instead of admitting to the flashbacks, as though it's empathy he's discovered and not a crippling, constant fear that the slightest connection to the Hankel case could set him off. Because he knew he was in trouble when leaves, simply by virtue of being on the ground, sent him catapulting back into the past.

Details were his specialty-or were they a curse?-and his mind wouldn't let him forget one nanosecond of it, not even in his dreams.

On his better days, sleep was an unfortunate but necessary evil he would dutifully struggle through, continuing to go back to bed even after waking up from the umpteenth nightmare-or rather, memory. On his worse days, the very notion seemed utterly unthinkable. A cruel joke, laughable in the sense that it was as ridiculous as a daily habit of self-inflicted torture.

And then there was his waking life.

Seafood restaurants were out of the question. Barns, sheds, and basically any dilapidated building set him on edge. Graveyards were just asking for trouble in the form of flashbacks and hyperventilation. Shovels had become his least favorite tool, ever, and rope perhaps the most nauseating way you could tie two objects together.

He had even changed his whole route to the subway just to avoid the homeless guy on the corner who had once (one year, five months and sixteen days ago, to be precise) shouted about the Day of Judgement and the end of the world whilst intoxicated.

Those were all the things he needed to avoid. That, and more (technically a whole host of issues he'd rather not get into), but he knew how to deal with the critical eye, the attentive audience.

Tip the hand, make them think they're in on the trick, that they have it figured out, but never reveal the true secret.

A complacent mind is the easiest to fool.

He is having problems-that is to be expected, after all-but of course, they're the kind that a few platitudes slapped on during a two-minute plane conversation can fix in a wink. He just needs to use his possible PTSD-a certified mental illness-to make him a "better person."

Right. Because that's how that works.

It's almost frustratingly easy how quickly Morgan accepted and was satisfied by that redirect. Even as Reid smiled and looked down, he almost wanted to scream-do you honestly believe that fucking leaves are the real problem here?!-but then, he's never really been the shouting type. Besides, isn't this what he wanted? No one the wiser?

This hurts in a different way, though. Because any magician knows that the audience's willingness to believe and to be deceived is half the magic.

He let them see his need to feel independent, that he could do things on his own. Because they'd expect that, he told himself. It was only natural when he'd been stripped of all control, via both physical and mental restraints. Plus, angry outbursts could also be a symptom of PTSD. Why he would want them seeing through his misdirect-misdirect to the first misdirect eludes him. He just knew it felt good to let a bit of the hurt show. (And when did he start making decisions based on his heart and not his head?)

He may have gotten too carried away with it, however. When he snapped at Prentiss, and some of the itching, stinging irritation that had become his constant companion lessened for a moment, he couldn't quite keep from spitting out more tart remarks. But indulging his irritation only seemed to add fuel to the fire, and soon he found himself angry at everyone and everything.

At the homeless shelter, he couldn't help but be reminded of the guy on his street he went out of his way to avoid, and that only led back to Georgia-it always went back to Georgia-and that only heightens the rage and, lingering just beneath that, the fear.

Why shouldn't they be on their guard? Everyone should be wary, should be scared witless, should be on the edge of their seat and the balls of their feet. Unsubs could be anyone, Prentiss-however unlikely-even in that innocuous shelter.

She acted like he was behaving unreasonably, as though there was nothing to worry people about. A killer was on the loose! Does she not remember how innocuous "witness" Tobias Hankel was? How unreasonable it was to worry about a simple interview? To not bring backup to such a mundane task?

Sometimes he wonders if this team really knows each other as well as they think they do.

Sometimes he wonders if he even knows himself anymore.

He misses the plane. He doesn't care. Was actually an interesting experience. Change of pace. At least that's what he tells himself.

Morgan doesn't buy it when he cites cell reception as the cause.

Whatever. Morgan believed his misdirected misdirect (or was it a mis-misdirect? Or a...something or other), so at this point, Reid believes any explanation would suffice. Or no explanation at all. It's not like the profiler really pursued the issue, anyway.

And wasn't that just it? He had been thinking about it, in that time away from the others, and he had finally figured it out. Either his team-his "family"-just plain didn't notice, or they just plain didn't care. Or, if they did care, not enough to make a concerted effort to help him. Nothing beyond the occasional concerned glance or useless comment.

After visiting Ethan, the answer seemed obvious. They just didn't care. If his friend he hadn't seen in years could immediately pick out that something was seriously wrong with him (and Reid was fairly certain he had also pinpointed exactly what was wrong with him, in a matter of minutes), then it wasn't even in the cards that a seasoned team of FBI profilers he saw twenty-four-seven wouldn't notice the same thing.

It was funny, in a way, because any expectation he might have of his team depended wholly on his perspective, and that just left Reid in a tangle of confusing thoughts. For example, as coworkers, his team had zero obligation to help him through his personal issues. But if they were just coworkers and they knew what was going on, at least one of them would have reported him, to Hotch at the very least, if not Strauss. But that hadn't happened, he knew, because he hadn't been fired. So, if they were just coworkers, then the only logical answer to the current lack of intervention was that they did not know. But then Reid had already ruled that possibility out due to the improbability of it.

That left Reid with the conclusion that he and his team were indeed more than coworkers; they were friends. With friends, there wasn't the option that they didn't know-Ethan had shown him that much, at least. Since according to the premise that they were friends, they had to know, and it followed that they would have done something. Because that's what friends do, right? If one of them is about to self-destruct and fall so far they can't see the light any longer-they help each other, right? They do something about it?

Thing was, they hadn't.

Not anything meaningful, anyhow. There were a handful of worried gazes traded not-quite-subtly enough, as well as the occasional inquiry into his general well-being, but no strong effort to get to the heart of the matter. Nothing more than a phrase in a stolen moment or a couple of sentences in the middle of a case.

No calling or meeting up outside of work to get an honest answer out of him. No confrontation. No one saying what he needed to hear-that they weren't wondering is he okay, but what's wrong and how could they help, because they knew he wasn't okay and were determined to get him through whatever demons were haunting him.

But that never happened.

Was he not worth the effort? Or were they really that much more distant than he thought they were?

It appeared that he had come to a conclusion. He and the others were just casual friends-not even close friends-and certainly not the "family" they liked to pretend they were.

For some reason, that realization hurt more than anything Hankel had put him through.

AN2: Pretty short (each part will be about this length FYI), but I needed some space between this and the next part of the story.

Please feel free to read and review! Well, I suppose you would have already read it at this point. Fun fact, I literally had to try 5 different times to spell "read" correctly just now because I kept typing "Reid" instead, and then "red" when I realized there isn't actually an "i" after the "e" in "read" and before I figured out what does go there. So yeah. I promise, I really can write English.

Anyways! Your thoughts and feedback are greatly welcomed, and feel free to give some constructive criticism as well-just no flames, please.