DISCLAIMER: This is not a chapter update. I am sorry to disappoint, but I wasn't sure if updating the About page on my profile would send an alert to all of the wonderful people who have been following this story and asking about updates. This is more of an explanation of what is going on and why I haven't updated, and why I am hesitant to update now. There is a part of me that would like to finish this story for closure (both for myself and you), but it is rather low on my current priority list and very hard to motivate myself to do so. Hopefully I do a good job of explaining what's been going on over the last five years.

So, where to begin. First and foremost, the last time I sat down to write anything for this was my junior year in college. Writing fanfic was something that I started in high school after a lot of encouragement from some friends on a Criminal Minds message board who had seen some of my shorter work (you know who you are, love you!). High school was a tough time, and writing was a good outlet. Plus I was a huge Criminal Minds fan at the time, as well as watching a lot of other crime shows. I finished Secrets, the prequel to this story, during my senior year of high school. Eight, nearly nine years ago now. This is part of the struggle with this, but I'll get to that in a bit.

College years are one of those transformative times in your life... or at least they were for me. I was studying journalism, and was finding it hard to motivate myself to write more when I wasn't writing for class. This really started after I turned 21 and felt comfortable partaking in campus activities... If you catch my drift. I love my college and wouldn't trade the experience or the friends I've made for the world, but I was going through a lot of not so great things at the time as well. First and foremost, a real bad cocktail of sleeping issues and depression. Turns out I was dealing with depression since high school, but never did much about it. Still fighting anxiety now, but it is much better. Again, I can get to that later. Anyway, I was also very jaded about some things, especially my major by the time senior year came around. I wasn't making it to classes, and was in danger of failing, so I dropped out of college for a semester to save my grade. This was around late 2013 - early 2014... This was a very difficult time in my life, and I wasn't thinking about fanfiction or writing fiction of any kind. It is also important to note that I had stopped watching Criminal Minds (and basically every other police procedural that I used to watch) out of a general loss of interest, which started at some point during college (can't really remember when I stopped watching).

Good news is that I straightened out after my short sabbatical and did graduate college cum laude (a fact that I am extremely proud of, considering that I almost didn't make it to the finish line at all). Upon graduating with a dual concentration in broadcasting and journalism, I realized something: I no longer wanted to be a sports announcer. This was the dream that nine-year old me had, and realizing after four years of college that you no longer want to do what you studied is rough. Where do you go when the thing you were banking on isn't there anymore?

So here I am, tons of debt and no direction. I was fortunate and picked up a job quickly, but it was very stressful and I was probably working about 50 to 55 hours of week. All mental, all on the computer, and the last thing I wanted at the end of the day was to go home and sit on a computer typing more. I worked this job for about a year. Upon leaving, I picked up another job (the one that I am at now, and have been for three years now), which has better hours and recently has been a little more varied, but still a lot of mental and a lot of computer time.

In other words, I haven't written anything in over five years now. This is not a case of me ignoring Exposed to write other projects... it is a matter of me simply not writing. Do I want to write? Yes. Do I want to write enough to stop doing other things and sit down and get the job done? As of right now, apparently not. Will that change at some point? Probably, yes.

That brings me to the hard part. What to do with Exposed? First, please understand that this story still being unfinished after over five years is just as disappointing to me as it is to you. This is a series that I am still quite proud of to this day, despite not being a fan of CM anymore and not watching Higher Ground in years (though I am not opposed to watching it again; there may be things that I need to be reminded of as a 27-year-old, and HG is nothing if not a good teacher). However, I am a different person. Completely different. My mindset is different, my interests are different. Late in college, I discovered a love for comic books that I have been denied most of my life. I have been spending most of my free-time collecting, reading, and trying to think of a story worthy of making my own. I used to love drawing, and am trying to get back into it. This would also get me back into writing. However, since this is what I'm interested in doing, if I decide to create anything anytime soon, it is more likely to be that than it would be Exposed. I'm sorry to disappoint, but that is just the reality of the situation. I am also going through a large MegaMan kick currently. I'm a video game nerd, as well, and MegaMan Zero is almost begging me to put my own spin on that series. In other words, there are a lot of different things that I want to do, and it is hard to prioritize.

And this is where you come in. I know many people want to see this series come to a proper close, and I agree with the sentiment. One reviewer mentioned that a half-assed attempt at a close would be better than nothing, but this is where I disagree. Part of my hesitation to committing time into figuring out how to end this thing is that I do not want to do a sloppy job just to have it finish. Talk about a bad taste in people's mouths... I mean, everything has been thought out and fairly well-executed, and then the ending is just a dump just to say that it is over. I personally wouldn't want to read that, and definitely don't want to write that.

So, first and most important, if I am going to do this, it is going to take time. This is not going to be an overnight thing. I will need to rewatch all or most of Higher Ground, or at least the Shelby and Scott-centric stuff. I will have to re-read both Secrets and Exposed to try to re-familiarize myself with the style and tone, and I am not a fast reader, so that will take some time. And then, realistically, we would probably be looking at about five to ten more chapters to properly wrap up. And even if I really buckle down and do so, I cannot guarantee that it will ring true. Again, I'm a very different person. My writing style is different (and incredibly rusty), my mindset and personality are different, my experiences... This may make it better, to be honest, but it may not flow great with the original material. Also, I haven't watched Criminal Minds for years (I had stopped watching prior to the last update on this fic), so I can't guarantee that I will write the characters perfectly in character and definitely will not be showing any respect to current continuity (which shouldn't matter to much, as this story was set pretty far back).

If this is worth it, then I'll see what I can do. However, it will be months at the earliest before I will have anything to show for it. For one, I cannot start before the holidays, as I have entirely too much to do prior to Christmas. But if you want to see this completed, I ask for two things. One, a lot of patience. You have already shown this, and I greatly appreciated, but please no that I do not respond well to pressure. While I appreciate the fact that people have enjoyed this and want more (it is very touching), it also stresses me out and stress makes it harder for me to write. Second, I ask that you review this if you are still interested in reading the rest of this. Again, five years have gone by, and it is possible that your interests and priorities have changed, too. So if you have moved on to other things, then there isn't much of a reason for me to look into doing everything that I'd have to do to complete this.

I guess that's the gist of it. I apologize for rambling on, and hopefully at least some of this makes sense. Again, I don't mean to disappoint, but this is a tricky nut to crack right now. Please feel free to review if you want me to continue, or PM if you have any questions for me. Thank you for your support over the years! It means a lot, and hopefully I will be able to pay it forward someday.

Happy late Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays to everyone!