So, I apologize for how long it took for me to update this. I had no power or internet for three days as a result of the stupid random October blizzard. Anyways, this is an epilogue that takes place 1 year after Reid got stabbed.

One Year Later

Reid rubbed his forehead, annoyed—he had taken three ibuprofen and drunk three cups of coffee and his stupid headache still hadn't gone away. He gritted his teeth—this was not what he needed right now.

"Come in, Dr. Reid."

Reid opened the door, plastering a smile onto his face. This should be easy, he thought to himself, just don't say anything stupid.

"Have a seat." Reid glanced at her name-plate—Dr. Cynthia Edwards. He sat down opposite from her.

"Good morning, Dr. Edwards," he said, holding out a hand. She shook it.

"It's nice to meet you," she said.

"Likewise."

She smiled. "I suppose you're aware of how these work?"

Reid laughed. "Generally."

"Well, let's get started, then," she said, taking out a clipboard. "So. A year ago you suffered from retrograde amnesia as a result of electrical torture and blunt force trauma to the head."

Reid nodded. "Correct."

"Do you ever wake up in the morning and forget who you are?" she asked.

"It used to happen in the weeks following my abduction, but it doesn't happen anymore," Reid lied, keeping the easy smile fixed on his face and looking directly into her eyes. The truth was, it took him two or three minutes every morning to remember his name.

"That's good," she said, seeming reasonably convinced. "I see that your unit chief did a psychiatric evaluation, as well."

"That's right," Reid said, "He cleared me for duty."

"No signs of PTSD, apparently," she said, "That's good."

Reid just nodded.

"And you seem to have done…um, very well on the IQ test." Her eyes widened.

"187?" he prompted.

"Um," she said, "189, actually."

Reid felt his grin widen. Interesting. That was two points higher than last time. Maybe he was getting smarter with age.

"He wrote here about a marked change in disposition," she continued, "What's your opinion of that?"

Reid froze. Damnit, Hotch, he thought to himself. These people would look for any excuse not to allow him back into the bureau. His unit chief should have known better.

"Dr. Reid?" she prompted, beginning to look concerned.

He cleared his throat. "The experience has certainly changed me," he said, "As would be expected. I see things differently now. But I wouldn't call it a 'marked change in disposition.' And it certainly doesn't affect my ability to do my job."

She smiled again. "No one said that it would, Dr. Reid," she replied.

He relaxed slightly. Maybe he was being too paranoid; it wasn't like he was going to fail the psychological evaluation. He'd helped write the psychological evaluation.

"I see here that your mother passed away six months ago," she said. "How did you handle that?"

"It was difficult, but I got through it," Reid said curtly. "She had been sick for awhile."

Dr. Edwards nodded. "She was a paranoid schizophrenic?"

"That's right."

"I hate to ask this, Dr. Reid," she said, "But have you ever noticed any signs of—"

"No," Reid said shortly, cutting her off. She looked surprised. "I'm sorry," he said, realizing that he had been more aggressive than necessary, "But I'm practically certain that I won't inherit it. I'm past the age of onset and I've never had any symptoms before." His hand moved instinctively towards his head—where he still had a crippling migraine—but he forced himself to bring it back down, folding his hands in his lap.

"Alright, then," she said, giving him another smile. "Well, Dr. Reid, it seems as if your unit chief has done most of the work for me—and I think I'm inclined to agree with his assessment. You can start at the BAU in a week's time."

Reid felt a rush of jubilation swell up inside him—he had a sudden urge to get up and hug the doctor, but he restrained himself.

Now get out of the office before you mess it up!

Reid got to his feet. "Thank you, Dr. Edwards," he said, shaking her hand.

"It was nice meeting you, Spencer. Have a good night."

He nodded vigorously, then opened the door and closed it quickly behind him. He let out a sigh of relief, slouching against the wall.

That had been surprisingly easy.

As he got into his car, he realized that Dr. Edwards probably wouldn't have let him off so easily if she knew where he was going now.

Shrugging it off, he fastened his seatbelt, put on his sunglasses, and backed out of the parking lot. He pulled into McDonald's, buying two hamburgers, two large fries, and two sodas. He wondered briefly if Hotch would have passed him if he knew where he was going. If he knew where he went every night.

Hotch would understand, he thought to himself.

Then why didn't you tell him? A voice inside his head popped up. He brushed it away. By the time he pulled into the parking lot, it was already dark.

Reid grabbed the food and hurried towards the illuminated doors of the hospital—he didn't like walking alone in the dark. He approached the front desk.

"Hi, Dr. Reid," Kelly said. "Go ahead up. I'll put your name on the visitors list."

"Thanks," he said, grinning at Kelly, then proceeded down the hallway and up the stairs. He poked his head into room 105—the person sitting there gave him a small smile.

"Hi, Spencer."

"Hey, Tucker," he said, "Where's your nurse?"

"Went outside," he muttered. He was eyeing the bag in Reid's hands. "You brought food?"

"Yep." Reid sat down and handed Tucker both hamburgers, both packages of French fries, and the soda—he took the other soda for himself and sat down on the other side of the room.

"When was the last time you ate?" Reid demanded, as Tucker tore ravenously into the first hamburger.

"Areghamayf," Tucker said through a mouthful of hamburger.

"What?" Reid demanded.

Tucker swallowed. "Yesterday," he said.

"You mean yesterday, when I brought you food from McDonalds?"

Tucker nodded.

Reid sighed. "Tucker, not only is it unhealthy to live on a strictly McDonalds diet—"

"I don't like the food here. It tastes like mush."

Reid gestured towards the McDonalds food; Tucker was already on his second hamburger. "Refusing to eat anything but food from McDonalds is—"

"I like Dunkin Donuts, too."

Reid put his face in his hands. "That's even worse," he said, "And aren't they supposed to make sure you're eating?"

Tucker shrugged. "I stuff it in the napkin. They don't notice. They're too stupid." He froze. "Don't tell them," he pleaded.

"I'm not going to tell them, Tucker," Reid muttered. Tucker looked appeased and took a handful of fries. "Keep at it like that, and you're going to throw up," he warned. Tucker shrugged, looking unperturbed.

"I'll be OK," he said. Just then, a nurse came in.

"Oh good, you're eating something," she said jokingly. Tucker ignored her and continued munching on the fries. "He's lost twenty pounds since he came in here," she told Reid, "And he was already too skinny."

"He doesn't like the food much," Reid informed her.

"I don't like this place much," Tucker muttered.

The nurse kept the plastic smile glued to her face and put three pills down on Tucker's counter.

"Ew," Tucker said.

"I have to watch you take them, Tucker," she said.

Reluctantly, Tucker took a large swig of soda and put the pills in his mouth. He swallowed.

"There you go," the nurse said, smiling and exiting the room. Seconds later, Tucker turned around and coughed them up into the sink.

"Tucker…" Reid admonished him.

"They make me feel all wrong," he said. "This whole place makes me feel wrong. I hate it." He sat back down on the bed and looked like he was about to cry.

Again.

"It's not so bad," Reid said. "I heard you beat everyone at checkers today."

Tucker shot him a disbelieving look.

"Stop making me feel guilty," Reid said.

Tucker stared at the floor. "They're never going to let me out."

Reid didn't reply.

"How would you feel if it was you?" Tucker asked.

Reid felt an immeasurable amount of guilt twist in his stomach.

"They have some on the nurse's table," Tucker whispered, "It'll look like I took them myself. No one will—"

"Goodnight, Tucker," Reid said, getting to his feet. His hands were shaking. He grabbed his bag and hurried out of the hospital.

What if it had been you?

Tucker's voice echoed through his head all the way home. What if he had to spend the rest of his life in one of those places? The very thought made him shudder. It could have been him.

He slept badly, the headache not doing much to help calm him down. In the morning, he called Morgan; he needed to talk to a normal person.

"Hey, pretty boy. So looks like we'll be seeing you in a week's time."

Reid felt a grin spreading across his face. "How'd you find out?"

"Hotch."

Reid frowned. Right. "Well, I can't say it was difficult to pass an examination that I helped write."

Morgan laughed. "I can imagine. Anyways, I—" he broke off. "Right, sorry Hotch," he called. "Sorry, kid, I gotta go. Hotch is—alright, I'm coming!"

Reid muttered a goodbye, and seconds later Morgan was gone.

Reid spent the rest of the day reading, trying to distract himself from his wandering thoughts. He thought about his mother—had she been as miserable as Tucker? More? Less?

That was different, he thought to himself, she had a mental disease. Tucker is better now.

But he's still never going to leave.

Reid massaged his head; headache was back. Maybe it had never left. He couldn't remember.

Eventually, it got dark. Reid got to his feet. He drove to McDonalds. Bought two hamburgers, two large French Fries, and two sodas. Then he went to CVS; it was practically empty. He pocketed a bottle of Nembutal and bought a bag of chips.

He would do it. For Tucker. He would do for Tucker what the old him; the old Spencer Reid; would have been too weak to do. He emptied the bottle into the McDonald's bag.

He walked into the hospital and said hello to Kelly. Then he went into Tucker's room.

"I brought you something," Reid said, setting the bag down next to Tucker. Tucker was staring despondently at the floor.

"Thanks, I guess," he mumbled eventually. He didn't move towards the bag.

"No, Tucker," Reid muttered, "I mean, I got you—something."

Tucker's eyes widened. He stared at the bag.

"You mean—"

"Yes," Reid hissed. "No need to publicize it."

Tucker fixed him with a stare of admiration and gratitude. "You're the best brother I could have asked for," he whispered.

Reid nodded. "I know."

Then he left.

One week later.

Reid smiled at the pile of paperwork in front of him—for once, it was almost welcoming.

It's been a whole year, he thought to himself, A whole, fucking, stupid year. What a waste of time.

It didn't matter now. He reached for the first file, ready to begin.

He felt a hand on his shoulder.

"So. How's it feel to be back?" Morgan asked, his lips stretched wide to reveal a very white set of teeth.

Reid thought about it. "Feels normal," he said eventually, "A good normal."

Morgan laughed and clapped him on the back. "Good," he said. "You'd better get used to it, because I slipped half of my pile into yours before you got here."

Reid rolled his eyes as Morgan walked away, chuckling to himself. The rest of the day flew by; it was a flurry of paperwork and people welcoming him back and taking ibuprofen to make the headache disappear. Finally, when almost everyone else had left, Hotch called him into his office.

Reid sat down across from his boss; he was happy despite the headache. "You wanted to see me, sir?" Reid asked.

Hotch didn't look nearly as happy as Reid. "Yes," he said. "I'd like to talk to you about Tucker."

Reid frowned. "What about Tucker?"

Hotch cleared his throat. "He committed suicide a week ago. He overdosed on a sleeping pill called Nembutal. The nurses said he somehow got access to an entire bottle's worth."

"Oh," Reid said, unsure what the appropriate reaction should be. "That's terrible," he said eventually.

Hotch nodded, his eyes fixated on the young agent. They sat there in silence for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually, Hotch spoke.

"That's exactly how your mother died six months ago."

Reid kept eye contact with Hotch, trying hard not to blink. "I know," he said.

Hotch just stared at him.

"They really need to keep that stuff under better supervision," Reid said.

Hotch continued to stare. Reid wondered what he was thinking about; maybe he was rethinking his psychological evaluation.

"Your mother wasn't suicidal," he said.

"I know," Reid said quickly, "It's ironic, isn't it? She was always worried about people poisoning her drinks. I'm pretty sure it was just a mistake, though. She had access to as many as she wanted. She probably forgot how many she'd taken. Actually, 88.4 % of drug overdoses are said to be accidents."

Hotch didn't say anything. Reid shifted in his seat, extremely uncomfortable.

"You're different," Hotch said suddenly.

Reid froze. "Excuse me?"

Hotch just shook his head, as if dismissing his earlier statement.

"Is that all, sir?" Reid asked, desperate to be out of the office. He fiddled nervously with his watch, which he was wearing on the outside of his sweater.

Hotch stared at him for a long time—Reid stayed silent. Finally, his boss nodded. "You can go."

"Thanks, sir," Reid said. Then he got to his feet, put his sunglasses on, and hurried out of the office.

THE END

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