What Lies Beneath
The others are shocked and seem offended that this woman has just told such a horrible thing to their youngest, and are about to retaliate when Reid starts to hyperventilate.
Reid immediately starts feeling like the walls are spinning.
Not him spinning.
The walls are.
Because his feet and body feel very heavy right now; also the air has suddenly been sucked out of the room he assumes in his haze, because suddenly he can't breathe.
He faintly hears the team telling the woman, 'Why did you do that?' and 'How dare you?'.
Breathe Reid tells himself.
Nope that's wrong, it's not working.
He can't find air, the black dots that have been dancing in view are getting thicker and he barely registers Morgan and JJ beside him; Reid's arm lazily reaches toward the inside of his bag.
He needs his inhaler.
The one he's had since the Anthrax scare. His lungs were given some damage done to them because of it, so he keeps a rescue inhaler in moments like this to be used.
Morgan must know what he wants because it magically appears before him.
He takes the magical puffs with shaky hands, and listens to the soothing words of JJ and Morgan beside him that are coaching and praising him. It makes him feel better. He is zoning in on them, he grabs the first voice his mildly-coherent mind hears; Morgan's. Telling him to breathe and he tries to obey. His body must be listening because it's working. The dots are being chased away and the vacuum that sucked the air out has suddenly turned off.
Realizing he is now in a chair, Reid looks up to Morgan who is kneeling in front of him; nods his head to him and says quietly, "I-I'm.. okay."
Taking some deep breaths Reid closes his eyes, he now senses all the eyes that are on him, and it makes him want to squirm in his seat but he is just too tired.
"Hey don't listen to her Spence, you're fine. Nothing bad is going to happen okay? Don't worry, my grandmother always spits out some random stuff that no one takes seriously." JJ says softly in a soothing voice while rubbing circles on his arm.
"Yeah man, don't listen to her bull-shit," Morgan comments with conviction and anger laced in his voice.
Reid smiles weakly to them with a reply of, "Thanks, um can I have something to drink?"
"Sure! What do you want?" JJ offers up quickly.
"C-Coffee?" Reid says hopefully; using his most pitiful puppy dog face with his big brown eyes to its fullest power that he can muster.
"Hum, how about a coffee and water?" JJ asks.
Though it sounds more like she is going to make him drink both no matter what Reid says, at least he gets his coffee. So Reid just nods his yes to her and she is off in the direction of the break room where he can see Officer Parke already making a new batch of coffee.
After Reid had drank some of both his coffee and water and ate bits and pieces of some chips, he was allowed to settle back down into the conference room to get back to work with the rest of the team, minus JJ who was babysitting him the whole time.
What he could tell when walking in was the team and some officers were discussing the possibilities of occult activities or shady activity in the recent weeks. From what he gathered in bits and pieces, there were some odd occurrences but none so weird to warrant any attention at that moment. Heard them mention that there are still a lot of believers out deep in the county that have strong ties to voodoo and magic and the old ways of medicine and so forth. But since most people in this town are superstitious no one dares bothers them with these accusations of murder.
Sitting near the window Reid kept giving it sideways glances looking out onto the street, watching the dying daylight with its shadows dancing till they couldn't dance no more. Not really knowing why but just keeps having the feeling that he is waiting for something, or maybe someone to show up.
After much debating and idea giving the team called it a night and settled to heading back to their hotel and getting a good night's sleep.
A basic necessity of life; to some it's so natural and simple, but to Reid it's elusive and a real struggle.
A real pain in the gluteus maximus Reid thinks.
After he got back to his and Morgan's room; they had to share since the hotel wasn't that large, he started his night time rituals. Putting his messenger bag near his bed since they didn't have a desk to drop it on; then going to his go-bag and putting it on his bed taking out his neatly folded night time clothes and laying them neatly beside it and gathering his toiletries. He takes out the spare hangers he keeps in his bag and starts hanging his work clothes for the next day on them, and then puts it away in the closet. He spots his nightlight at the bottom of his bag that he keeps for traveling sometimes, wondering if it would be un-manly to plug it in while Morgan and him are sharing a room, and decides to put that off for now.
Reid looks towards Morgan; the man is already ready for bed, wearing a simple dark gray sleeveless shirt and his boxers to bed while watching the small television.
Biting his lip he thinks maybe he'll be okay since Morgan is in the room with him, and nods to himself.
Putting his gun, badge, cell phone and wallet on his side of the nightstand, Reid gathers up his items and heads towards the bathroom but stops short, "Hey Morgan? Are you going to be taking a shower in the morning? If so then I will take one tonight so we won't be late sharing the bathroom."
"Oh, um, I was going to take one in the morning but I don't have to. Whatever you want to do is fine with me kid," Morgan says while taking his eyes off the television to look at Reid quickly.
"I'm okay with taking one now, might help me sleep better." Reid answers with a shrug and walks inside the bathroom and closes the door after him.
Putting his toiletries on the sink, and grabbing his shower items he goes to the tub and turns on the water and lets it heat up while getting undressed and take his contacts out. He wonders momentarily if he should take a bath to soothe his aching muscles instead of a shower, and finally decides upon the bath. Plugging the drain he lets the water rise up, and grabs a towel to place at the foot of the tub to keep from slipping and an extra to dry off with later and neatly places it near the head of tub. He slips a foot in the water and realizes he has the water a little too hot, but decides to not turn it down and keeps it going.
Lowering himself down gently in the tub as the water is still rising; Reid watches the water with fascination once again like at the station earlier. He feels himself relaxing already and sinking down to put more water on him, impatient to let the burning liquid cover him. He likes the pain of the sting; helps distract him and let him know he is still feeling something, snaps him back to reality. He closes his eyes and lets his mind drift off to thoughts of nothingness and plays a soft classical melody in his mind.
He is barely aware that the water has reached his face and is touching his lips now. He lets it continue though, lets it cover his mouth and lowers his body deeper into the water till his head is covered and he thinks the water isn't as hot as it was before. His body must be adjusted to it by now.
Holding his breath and listening to the rhymic sounds of the water falling into its deep oasis of the tub and the swashing the ripples make. Its soothing to Reid's ears, but then he is suddenly very aware of how it triggers his memory back to his horrible dream of the sea of red….
Rushing to the top of the water he breaks the surface with a loud splash and gasps loudly.
He then sees that the water has overflowed and is gathering at the floor and has already soaked up his towels. He lunges to turn the faucet off and quickly gets out of the tub, grabs an extra towel off the rack and starts messily wiping up the water.
Morgan must have heard the ruckus he was making because there's a knock at the door and it makes Reid jump and drop the towel he was using to mop up the water and stare at the door.
"Reid, are you alright?" His voice sounds worried.
"I-I'm, uh, I'm p-perfectly alright…nothing to worry about. Jus-Just knocked some water out of the tub and was.. mopping it up," Reid's nervous voice yells shakily as it cracks near the end. Great even his voice is betraying him.
"Are you sure, you don't sound okay, do you need help?"
And Reid can see Morgan's feet underneath the door, Reid is betting that if he doesn't sound convincing he might bust the door open soon.
"Y-Yes, I'm sure -" Reid tries to calm his voice down, "- I was sort of drifting off in the tub and didn't pay attention, that's all, I promise."
"Okay," Morgan says hesitantly.
Reid breathes a sigh of relief and sinks down to the floor on his knees and feels very embarrassed. He gets up and lowers himself back in the tub and finishes washing off so he can hurry and go to bed.
As soon as Reid put on his glasses he gets dressed in his purple boxers, socks, red flannel sleeping pants, and white t-shirt. He finishes brushing his teeth and brushes the tangles out of his hair. He leaves the bathroom and pads over to his side of the room ignoring Morgan's side which he had to walk past to get to his own. The television was off now so Morgan must have been waiting up for him, that makes him feel a little guilty for taking so long yet somewhat irritated as well; he didn't ask the older man to stay up and wait on him. He pulls the covers back on his bed and crawls in after placing his glasses on the nightstand. He lies down and starts snuggling in this blankets trying to get warm and comfortable… and waiting for it. He waits for it.
"You know, you really shouldn't fall asleep while taking a bath…" Morgan's echoes through the quiet semi-dark room.
There it is. Morgan has to say something about it.
"I know," Reid mumbles into his pillow then lifts his head to give his friend a small quick smile, "Goodnight Morgan."
"Night Reid," Morgan also gives a tired smile and turns around to his side and shuts the light on the night stand off.
And Reid is covered in a blanket of darkness as he closes his eyes and let's sleep take him in its grasp.
That's the feeling that's hitting Reid's feet, which doesn't make since sense his feet and his body always stay cold because of his low blood pressure and bodyweight.
Reid opens his eyes and to his dismay finds it's the dreaded red sea of blood touching his feet and it's steadily gaining height. He also recognizes he is dressed differently, in all pure white; with a white long sleeve button up shirt and white pants.
This is new; it's never done this before. He looks around; everything seems fine, well about as fine as it can usually go. It's still endlessly dark, but he is alone… A fact he hates but gladly welcomes at the current situation.
Looking down he is watching the ripples the liquid make, wondering where it ends.
Something has changed…
Staring at his reflection as it warps and moves, the images changes and fades away to something else entirely.
It's not his face anymore.
It's showing a group of children beating up a much smaller child in a classroom, its dark and they are using anything in their reach against him. Reid is shocked when he finally catches a glimpse of the child's face… its Reid's. Then it's as if film reel has turned on, playing selected scene after scene of every embarrassing moment, failure, torture, abandonment, heart breaking moments when his mother didn't recognize her own son, every holiday spent alone, cases unsolved and failed, every pain….
Tears are streaming down Reid's face it tickles his chin as they fall down to mix with the red which is now up to his knees instead of his ankles.
"What a pitiful thing,"
Snapping his head up he sees the view has changed somewhat.
There is now an incline of beautiful dark marbled stairs, there are many black metal candle holders giving it a haunted feel to it. In the center at the top of the stairs is a large decorated gold throne with a language Reid isn't familiar with. At the foot of it is a coffin like box, it is also decorated in gold and symbols but it sits on four small peg legs. There are images portraying a scene on it, but he can't quite make out what it is.
What concerns Reid the most is the man sitting on the throne, it is the dark figure that plagues his dreams, the one with the red eyes. He is covered in pure black as if a shadow has fell upon him and only him, the only thing Reid can see is his eyes, and his wide wicked grin.
Reid is transfixed on the image, not sure what to do or say.
The voice speaks again; it's deep and charming but also holds authority.
"Hello Spencer, I've been waiting for you," The man smiles crookedly, "Oh so very long time I have, you have no idea. I want to help you, all that horrible pain you've had to endure. I can fix that so easily, and you can help others. So many others if you let me, there will be no pain." The man's voice echoes like a sweet promise of candy to a hungry child. It's sweet and soft and sounds empathic.
Reid is shocked and is no fool but he isn't thinking straight at this very moment. His mind is sluggish and he just wants to wake up and hopefully this will be over soon.
"….W-What?..." he asks shakily and it's all he can come up with.
"You've been so confused my child, let me help; but you must hurry there is no time."
Reid is perplexed by this and tilts his head and is suddenly aware that the red liquid has risen up and is now at his waist.
How did he not notice that Reid wonders? But he feels drawn into this moment, as if webs have twined around his body and he is being pulled deeper and deeper toward the spider.
Swallowing tightly Reid starts slowly wading the long way towards the stair case, still not sure about it because there is a knot in his chest and it just won't go away….
The man just smiles wider.
Morgan wakes up not sure why, because it can't be time to wake up yet, he feels as if it hasn't even been an hour that he finally got to sleep. He listens for an alarm or noise, but nothing. Groaning and reaching out blindly to his cell phone on the night stand he finally grasps a hold of it and flips it open. When he unburies his head from his soft pillow to squint at the bright screen display he finds it's only midnight.
Then why did he wake up Morgan wonders, he scans the room blindly. Everything seems fine and normal, that is until he looks over at Reid's bed.
The covers are thrown back and Reid isn't in it.
Morgan pushes himself up out of bed lighting fast to Reid's bed to make sure he hasn't fallen off the other side, but he isn't there. He checks the bathroom and the kid's not there either, he looks around the room and all of Reid's belongs are there; his shoes, bag, badge, cell phone, gun and everything.
Panic is tightening its hold on Morgan's chest, his body racing with adrenaline and the only thing he can think of is.
Reid is gone…
Morgan quickly puts on his standard gray F.B.I. sweat pants and slips on his shoes, grabs his gun, and is practically ripping the door off its hinges so hard that it slams against the room's wall with a loud bang.
"Reid?" Morgan yells looking across the parking lot.
The hotel they are staying at has rooms all in a roll facing its parking lot, so the kid couldn't have gone to a lobby to read one of his books or get a bite to eat.
"REID!" Morgan cries starting towards the vehicles glancing around frantically, "Where are you?"
Hotch must have been still up because his door swings open, "Morgan? What is going on?"
Morgan turns around on his heel so fast he has to correct his balance while staring at the man and now a sleepy looking Rossi. He can barely growl out, "Reid is missing, he isn't in the room and his stuff is still there!" Watching a shocked and worried looking Hotch head back into his room; Morgan just heads back off in his search zipping past cars and looking for tread marks left behind.
Hotch went to grab his gun and put his shoes back on and by time he was back outside Morgan is half way across the parking lot still screaming, and Rossi has gotten dressed and is headed out to go and wake up Prentiss and JJ.
"No, no, not again…" Morgan whispers to the dark folding his hands behind his head, eyes scanning the area. For a place so warm he felt very numb all of a sudden.
This can't be happening, not to Reid, not his best friend, his little brother! He can't lose him again. Morgan can hear the team behind him talking but he doesn't care to listen.
He just wants to find Reid.
Morgan doesn't know how long it's been since he's woken up to this hurricane, feels like hours maybe days. Watching everything crash and burn. But in all actuality it's only been a few minutes.
Walking further up the road he sees a dark van parked on the side of the road further ahead under an old street lamp casting a subtle light on it. He can barely make out a figure in the dark, but suddenly the wind blows a gentle breeze and that soft light shows glowing hazelnut hair.
Heart beat, a heart beat, and Morgan is already on the run, "REID!" he screams with all his lung's might. The others following behind him, he can hear their footsteps faintly.
"REID, STOP, WAIT!"
The kid is walking very slowly as if the air is heavy, his tall and thin frame is getting closer and closer to the dark van, and Morgan isn't sure he'll get to the kid in time. To everyone's horror a strange man opens the van door and gets out to stand, he looks to be waiting with a hand outstretch towards Reid.
"Reid, it's Morgan, can you hear me? REID!" Morgan pleads to the boy.
Reid takes a deep breath.
Holds his breath in and pauses.
That was Morgan's voice.
Reid turns around but can't see him. Where is he?
"Reid, it's Morgan, can you hear me? REID!"
Reid's eyes widen and his head snaps down to the warm red liquid that's engulfing him slowly and he can see his friend's panic looking face screaming at him. Why does he look so scared? Morgan never looks scared. Something is wrong. This doesn't feel right. The knot in his chest just grew three sizes.
He looks up to the sick twisted smile before him, and shakes his head.
"You won't win," The cold voice says.
"F.B.I. Stop where you are, put your hands in the air," Hotch yells to the strange man weapon already raised.
But nothing has changed.
Reid is so close to the van, to close for Morgan's comfort but no matter how fast he runs he won't make it in time to stop him. He won't, he can't let that happen!
Out of nowhere, there is another man but he is tall and stands behind the first one. This one's hands reach out toward the other and latch onto the man's neck from behind and with a twist a horrible noise is heard throughout the otherwise silent night of a neck snapping and a body falling limp to the ground.
The team is shocked and stunned for a second but keep their composure.
Morgan raises his weapon and aims at the still standing man near the van.
He blinks and then another man walks out of shadows towards them so fast it should be impossible.
The man is reaching for Reid.
"GET AWAY FROM HIM!" Morgan roars, still running with heavy feet that would leave bruises on the hard concrete with the amount of force he is applying. He is ready to tackle the second he is close enough, and the two new strange men haven't shown any hint of a weapon yet.
"Back away slowly, Federal Agents!" Rossi yells right after Morgan; but like the others in the team he is still far behind.
Morgan just runs the fastest of them all, especially if he has incentive to.
The newest man has his hands on Reid's shoulders and is saying something to him; his lips are moving so fast it resembles a humming bird wings. Moving closer to the light the team can see they are so pale they seem to be illuminated.
Morgan is about to tackle the man touching Reid when he gets close enough but the second he does he is halted as the other has just appeared before him, with something close to a snarl escaping his lips with vicious looking yellow eyes glaring at him. Yellow eyes?
He aims his gun at him but the man before him doesn't even seem to show fear, just something along the lines of amusement.
"Get out of the way! Put your hands on your head right now!" Morgan growls out with such anger that the hold on his control is on a super thin line right now.
The man just cocks his head to side and warns, "Do NOT interfere."
"Oh the HELL I won't! That's my friend right there. Now get the fuck out of my way," Morgan snaps with smoldering fury behind his eyes as he aims his gun at the man's shoulder and pulls the trigger.
But the man dodges it easily.
Morgan is soundly confused, that was a point blank shot, and he could not have missed that. After Morgan's first shot fired the air is suddenly filled with the same sounds. Except with so many shots being clipped at the guy he couldn't dodge it all, and finally gets one in the abdomen.
Morgan takes this advantage and runs to the young doctor.
The man talking to Reid is so distracted he doesn't even notice a thing, that is till Morgan punches his face and he takes a step back with a confused expression.
Morgan hand feels as if it just hit a brick wall.
The strange man is stunned but doesn't seem to be in much pain; barely a grimace crosses his features as he says quickly, "NO, you don't understand! I can't stop, not yet."
"Come with me; together we will make those who wronged you bled like you've bled, wept as you have wept. There is nothing left of you, I can see it in your eyes. Like a hole, like an open bleeding sore I will creep in. Do you understand?"
"No, you're wrong," Reid cries looking down upon the faces of his friends, his family.
"All will be abandoned, leave this life."
Reid looks to the face of the friend he thinks of as a big brother and raises his head back up to look at the man before him.
"No. . . they - he won't leave me behind," Reid says defiantly with conviction in his voice, as his breath grows still and shallow.
The red sea is swallowing him whole.
It's ironic, before his dreams were coming true and now here he is again just like he was before in the bath tub being covered in warmth; but deep down he feels so cold.
He gasps as it touches his lips, he feels scared but he refuses to move any further.
He must be strong, for his friends who have so much faith in him. All in all, he doesn't cry like he thinks he should or wants to, he's scared to fall into the emptiness, but maybe he'll finally find what lies beneath.
He will turn the tide and not let those cold jaded eyes win. He looks and sees Morgan is right in front of him again and lets a small smile grace his face. He will make Morgan proud, fight for him.
Fight for one last breath, he will fight until the end.
Spencer closes his eyes and thinks... it's never been easier than to let himself drown.
Just like a puppet's whose strings were suddenly cut; Reid's knees buckle beneath him and his frail body falls.
A/N: This was my favorite chapter so far. Next chapter is already half way done, expect it soon. It will have some comfort and action, poor Reid isn't in the clear yet. The ball is rolling and things will be clear soon. So what ya think?