"He's telling me to choose... I don't want to choose... I don't want to… Please don't make me… I don't want to choose…"
JJ quickly ran over to the couch and saw Reid thrashing around, fully immersed in his nightmare. She knew that he must be flashing back to being tortured by Hankel.
"Please… please stop," Reid begged. Tears were streaming down his face as he fought off an invisible attacker.
JJ couldn't take it and crouched down to rouse him. She shook him gently at first.
"Spence, wake up," she said, calmly.
When that didn't work, she shook him more aggressively.
"Spence!" she nearly shouted.
JJ pinched hard on Reid's trap muscle which caused his eyes to fly open like a deer caught in a car's headlights.
He panted heavily as he tried to catch his breath again.
"Deep breaths now. You can do it," JJ coached. "In and out."
JJ put a hand on his shoulder to try to ground him in reality, but he shrugged it off. It was then that she noticed that sweat had soaked through his clothes. She instantly felt guilty for leaving him alone. The nightmare must have started pretty soon after she had left him.
It took another few minutes before Reid's breathing was back to normal.
"Do you want to talk about it?" JJ asked.
Reid shook his head. The last thing he wanted to do was relive the nightmare he had just escaped from. To his surprise, JJ didn't press the issue further.
"Why don't you go take a shower? You look like you just swam in a pool of sweat," JJ suggested, joking a bit to try to lighten the mood.
Reid didn't react to her lame attempt at humor in this moment but liked the idea of taking a shower. He stood up and was a little wobbly at first; his legs felt a bit like jelly. As he walked off, JJ called back at him.
"And Reid, keep the door unlocked," JJ told him.
He didn't respond, or even turn around, but JJ knew he had heard her.
She heard the bathroom door slam and then a few moments later, the shower turned on. She walked over to the kitchen. Aware of the fact that she was trying to use alcohol as a clutch in this situation, JJ took the still open bottle of whiskey and poured it down the drain before she could change her mind. It wasn't going to help anyone in this situation if she was drinking.
A few minutes later JJ was leaning back against the counter when Reid walked out of the bathroom wearing pajamas and a gown overtop.
"Did you throw out my mouthwash?" he asked confused.
"Because it had alcohol in it?" Reid asked. "I would never drink mouthwash, JJ."
"I bet you also thought you wouldn't be shooting up at night in the men's bathroom at the BAU. See how fast things change when you get desperate?" JJ snapped back.
His face looked immediately shameful and JJ felt instantly bad for being so blunt with him.
"Sorry," she apologized. "I shouldn't have said that. I just meant that you don't know what you'll do when you get desperate enough and it's better safe than sorry."
"I guess," Reid replied.
They were both quiet for a while. Reid grabbed a book off a shelf and sat down on the couch to try to distract himself. He didn't want to sleep and risk having another nightmare. Fifteen minutes into reading he noticed that his pace had slowed down considerably; he had barely gotten halfway through a book that he should have already finished by now. He couldn't focus on the words in front of him. The more he tried to concentrate, the more nauseated he felt. The more his head hurt. He didn't like the feeling. The worst part was that he knew how to stop it. He knew that JJ hadn't found the last of his vials. It was hidden in an inside pocket in one of his jackets and she hadn't looked there during her search of his apartment and he didn't say anything. The craving for Dilaudid had been steadily getting stronger the whole night and his whole body seemed to ache for more.
As much as he wanted to make some excuse to go over to where his jacket hung by his door and get his hands on the drug, he knew he couldn't let himself. He needed to be stronger than the drug. He couldn't let Hankel win. Moreover, this really was his last chance to stop using before he lost everything he had. He didn't know what he would have left without this job. He might have known a lot of things in theory, but in reality, all he had ever really known was the FBI.
Besides, he really would not be able to do anything with JJ watching him like a hawk. The feeling of constantly being watched was getting under Reid's skin and starting to severely piss him off.
"You okay over there?" JJ asked, interrupting his inner monologue. She was curled up on the chair to the side of the couch, scrolling through her PDA.
"I'm fine," Reid replied, sharply.
"Alright, easy. I just noticed that you haven't turned a page in that book in a while," JJ explained.
Reid snapped the book closed.
"Well, maybe you should consider that it might be hard to concentrate with you staring at me!" His voice got louder as he spoke.
"I'm just trying to help you," JJ said, calmly.
"Well, don't," Reid replied.
JJ ignored his curt demeanor.
"This is all normal- not being able to concentrate, irritability, feeling restless," JJ told him.
"I know that," Reid told her. "I don't need you to tell me that."
"You'll get through this, I promise. And it's okay to get angry. You can say as much shit as you want to me, but I'm not going anywhere."
For some reason JJ's patience was pissing Reid off even more.
"I get it. You got through something similar, therefore so can I. But you can't relate to what I went through. You don't know what it is like to be tortured by an unsub and then forced to take drugs that ended up becoming the only thing that helped you survive. Your job was never on the line because you couldn't stop. So, honestly, you're not really helpful to me right now," Reid told her then turned away from her and curled up on the couch.
JJ knew that he was just getting angry at her because she was there. He was in withdrawal and in pain and it was pretty normal for him to take it out on someone else. It didn't make his words hurt any less though. She knew that their experiences may not have been the same. But he also didn't know that in a sense, she too was tortured by someone. He didn't really know anything about her. And he never could know more than he did.
Reid heard JJ walk away and part of him hoped that her words would make her just leave. Another part of him hoped she didn't. That part of him was too scared to do this alone.
"Here," JJ said, handing him another glass of water.
Reid hadn't heard her go into the kitchen, nor had he heard her walk back to him. He ignored her.
"Don't be stubborn," JJ said.
"I'm not thirsty," Reid replied. He hated that his voiced almost sounded like a whiny child.
"Spence, you need to stay hydrated."
Reid turned to face her. He was about to tell her in probably very unpolite terms to fuck off, but then he made eye contact with her. Her eyes were a little red and her mascara had smudged ever so slightly. He could tell that she had tried to wipe some tears away.
He looked away from her and grabbed the glass, spilling some it in the process.
"You should try to get some sleep. You might feel better when you wake up," JJ lied. She knew that when he woke up, the withdrawal symptoms were bound to be more severe. But she also knew that this might be his only chance to sleep.
Reid shook his head.
"I can't," he said.
"I'll be right here and wake you up if you have another nightmare."
Reid hesitated before nodding. He mostly agreed just to get JJ off his back about it.
A few hours later Reid was in and out of sleep. Every time he felt himself drift off he would try to force himself to wake up.
JJ had finally fallen asleep just over an hour ago, when Reid woke up in a panic. He had had another nightmare. This time the dream started out with him digging his own grave and then it transitioned to him being buried alive. In the dream he couldn't move, he couldn't even speak, no matter how hard he tried.
He took a few breaths to try to slow his rapid heart rate down. It didn't work. He couldn't sit still anymore. He jumped up and started pacing back and forth through his apartment. He felt sick to his stomach. It felt like his blood was boiling but at the same time his skin was touching ice. Or maybe it was the other way around. He just knew that he was hot and cold at the same time.
Reid checked his watch. It was nearly 4am. JJ was still asleep on the chair near him. He looked over at his jacket that still hung by the door. He knew that he could get his hands on the vial of Dilaudid now that JJ was asleep.
He rubbed his eyes aggressively. It felt like there was a battering ram attacking his head. It hurt to move, to see, even to think. He barely noticed it when his body slumped to ground, and he subconsciously leaned against the couch. His stomach turned and gagged on the vomit that threatened to come up. He needed it. He couldn't do this any longer. He couldn't feel like this. His jacket looked a mile away from him through his blurry and disorientated vision.
He needed it to stop.
Just a little, he reasoned with himself. Just enough to make the feeling of slowly dying stop.
Reid started to slowly crawl towards the door. It was slow and painstaking but the closer he got to it, the more determined he became. It was the only thing that didn't hurt to focus on. He couldn't think about anything else.
After what seemed like hours, Reid reached the jacket and hobbled up to it. When his hand felt the bottle in his hands, he knew he had made the right choice. Nothing was worse than feeling this way.
He grabbed the vial and syringe and slowly crept over to the bathroom, using the walls to guide himself as his vision came in and out of focus. He finally made it to the bathroom and closed the door behind him.
The window let in some moonlight and light from a nearby streetlamp. It was enough to illuminate Reid's face. He looked at his reflection in the mirror. He could barely recognize the person staring back at him. His hair was matted and stuck to his face with sweat, his eyes were sunken in with dark circles greatly contrasting his very pale face. He reached up to push his hair out of his eyes and noticed how much his hands were shaking. He looked one small step away from a body on an autopsy table.
He pulled out the syringe from the packaging and pushed the plunger down. As carefully as he could with his shaky hands, he inserted it into the vial and drew back. He leaned against the wall and suck down the wall. When he went to find a vein in his arm, he couldn't see any. Grabbing the belt from his gown, he yanked it off to use it as a tourniquet.
The needle was just grazing his arm when the syringe was roughly grabbed out is hands and the liquid was released into the toilet. He reached blindly for it, but his weak body couldn't fight the thief off. There was a crash behind him which he would only later realize was the remaining vial of Dilaudid being thrown across the bathroom and shattering.
"NO!" Reid cried out. "DON'T!"
Suddenly, he couldn't breath. His last secret refuge was gone. He needed it and it was taken from him. Reid couldn't imagine having ever felt such a great loss than he did at that moment.
"You bitch!" he yelled at JJ when he looked up to see her kicking the glass to the side. In his haste to get the drug into his system, he had forgotten to lock the door behind him.
She leaned over next to him and untied the makeshift tourniquet. Reid tried to push her away. He managed to make contact and hit her in the face and she stumbled backwards.
"I fucking hate you, you know that right?" he snarled at her.
"You're just saying that because I'm not letting you destroy your life any longer," JJ replied.
"No, I'm not. I wish you were the one that Hankel took. Because you wouldn't have made it out of there alive. You would have died there, and I would have been alright," Reid continued. His voice was aggressive and angry.
"Or maybe by some dumb luck you would have survived. But then at least your life would be shit and not mine!" Reid shouted.
His voice shook, not only from the withdrawal, but also from the pure anger that coursed through his body.
"This feeling with eventually pass. I promise," JJ said.
"You know what I promise? I promise that you're a fucking bitch who needs to mind her own goddamn business!" Reid shouted back.
Suddenly he lurched forwards and puked into the toilet. A cold towel was pressed against his forehead. He tried to push JJ away, but he couldn't really do anything before he leaned forward and retched again.
"You're going to be okay," JJ told him.
"Please, I just need something, anything. I'll do anything," Reid begged. His voice like a small child who was seeking comfort. "Please, I'd rather die than feel like this. Please just let me die instead… It hurts too much."
JJ's heart broke as she watched her best friend break down in front of her. She rubbed his back and held him, but there was nothing more she could do.
"I can't do this anymore. I can't do anything without it," Reid mumbled, tears falling down his face. "I'd rather be dead."