A/N: So this is the last chapter! There is a possibility that you will all hate me for this ending (although I hope you don't!) but I have a lot of good reasons for ending it this way, and I don't think it will generate quite as much hatred as my endings usually do, which has got to count for something, right? Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone who read and/or reviewed this story (you are AWESOME!) and it would make me really, really happy to hear your thoughts on the final chapter (SO TELL ME!) Thanks for being so incredibly cool, and I hope you enjoyed reading this 60,000 word conglomeration of insanity as much as I enjoyed writing it.

"My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what you do it's bound to be a waste of time in the end so you might as well go mad." –Jack Kerouac

Reid sat on the cold, hard wood of the floor, his hands pressed against his face, his gaze fixed straight ahead. A pair of vacant eyes stared back at him from the floor. It hadn't been difficult to kill Michael or Remy, but he couldn't bring himself to move their bodies.

A faded memory tugged at the back of his mind. I wanted to leave you there, Jack's voice said. But Michael insisted on carrying you.

Now Michael lay on his back with his mouth half open and his eyes blank and staring and his arm twisted awkwardly underneath him. Remy lay face down on floor several feet away. Her long hair fanned out in a circle, obscuring her head from view. Reid tried to muster up some feeling of guilt, of anger, of fear—but he could conjure up nothing but an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

He couldn't make the drug.

He could hear his pulse beating in his ears, a stark contrast to the deathly stillness permeating throughout the room. The names and images of chemical ingredients flashed in and out of his clouded mind before disappearing again. It was all a useless jumble of nonsense. Everything was a series of missed connections. John had never taught him how to make the drug, and he couldn't figure out how to make it without taking it first.

He just wasn't smart enough.

Suddenly, the sound of voices and footsteps punctured the mournful silence of the room. Reid wondered idly if his team was coming for him, and found that he didn't really care one way or the other. He didn't move as the footsteps continued up the staircase, across the halls, growing louder and louder, faster and faster, as he heard the sound of a door bursting open—

"Well if it isn't our old friend Dr.—woah, what happened here?"

Reid's head snapped up at the sound of the familiar yet unexpected voice. Another familiar figure came through the door a split-second later. She glanced first Reid, then at the bodies on the floor, and then at her brother. "Well," Ellie said, a small grin spreading slowly across her face, "Looks like you kids have been having fun."

Reid stared at Ellie for a split second longer, then leapt to his feet and ran at her, grasping the collar of her shirt and yanking her towards him. "Where's John?" he asked.

"Put me down," Ellie said, the hot air of her breath wafting across his face, "And maybe I'll tell you."

Reid relinquished his grip, allowing Ellie to take a step backwards. She smoothed out her shirt, flashed another toothy smile, then said, "John is dead."

Reid stared at her. He opened his mouth to ask a question, then closed it slowly. "Jack is dead," he whispered.

Ellie smirked. "We know," she said. "We saw."

"Then you…" Reid trailed off again and continued to stare. "Then nobody knows how to make the drug."

Ellie glanced at Marland again, then back at Reid, then once again at Marland, her grinned growing wider and wider. "I think, Dr. Reid," she said, giggling once, "You're going to regret being so rude to us earlier."

Reid stared at them. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"You see," Marland said, stepping forward to stand beside Ellie, "People are always underestimating us."

"It's absolutely dreadful for our self esteem, to be honest," Ellie said.

"It really is," said Marland. "But we're not stupid, you know."

"Oh, no," Ellie said. "John picked us for a reason."

Reid glanced back and forth between them, utterly bewildered. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"Absolute cherubs, we were," said Marland. "Before all this happened."

"Smartest kids in the class," said Ellie.

"All sorts of words were thrown around."

"Brilliant—"

"Gifted—"

"Genius—"

"You should be familiar enough with that," said Marland. "Right, Dr. Reid?"

"Anyway," Ellie said, "When John was just starting out, he wanted to see how the drug worked on kids. Whether or not it was dangerous. You know."

"Turns out," Marland said. "It was."

"But that's not important," said Ellie. "What's important is the drug. What's important that the two people who created the drug are both dead, and lovely Jeanette is shut up in that hospital."

"What's important," Marland said, "Is that we're smarter than people expect."

"And more observant," Ellie said.

"Could you get to the point?" Reid snapped, reaching the end of his patience.

"What's important," Marland said. "Is that we have something you need."

"And you," Ellie said, peering behind Reid at the table of chemicals, "Have something we need."

Reid looked back and forth between them. "You don't mean…do you…" he trailed off, licked his lips, and took an unintentional step forwards. "Do you…have it?"

"No," Ellie said. "But we know how to make it."

O

"I'm sorry, Hotch, but 'Jack's cabin in the woods' is a bit too vague to produce an immediate address," Garcia said. "Can't you ask her how far it is outside of the city? She's got to remember that, at least."

Hotch exchanged a look with Morgan, who was seated on the other side of the waiting room with his fists clenched in his lap and his leg bouncing up and down. "She claims she's never been there before," Hotch said. "Jack told her about it in case they ever needed to escape. Besides, she hasn't spoken to anyone since she talked to me—she just sits there and glares at everybody who tries."

"Sounds like a fun atmosphere," Garcia said. "Alright, well I can't find any property owned by Jonathon Weber outside the confines of the city."

"What about his family?" Hotch asked.

"He was an only child," Garcia said. "Both parents are dead. Only family I can find is an uncle that lives in Seattle. Jack— John—whatever his name is—didn't own any cabins in the woods, as far as I'm concerned."

Hotch sat up suddenly, as Garcia's words provoked a stir of recollection. "Wait," he muttered.

"What is it, Hotch?" asked Morgan.

"There was something…." Hotch paused for a moment, then continued. "When I was talking to Jeanette. It seemed weird at the time, but I didn't consider it until…" he trailed off, and then shook his head slowly. "When she was talking about the drug, she said 'We knew it was killing us. I knew it. Jack knew it. John knew it. We kept making it anyway.' At the time, I thought she was just repeating herself, but…what if Jack and John are two different people?"

They sat in silence for several moments.

"When Reid stabbed me with the needle," Morgan said suddenly. "I remember him shouting…"

"'Hey Jack, the real feds are here,'" Hotch said, nodding along earnestly. "I remember hearing that."

"But in the poem," Morgan said, "The twins says 'Charlie, John, and Dr. Reid.' Not Charlie, Jack, and Dr. Reid…"

"John is dead," Hotch said suddenly, "But Jack isn't. Garcia, can you search for any colleagues of John Weber also named Jonathon or John or Johnny or…?"

"I'm searching for any Johns that were at Yale or Georgetown around the same time as Dr. Weber. Oh," there was a pause. "Yikes. 587."

"Try narrowing it down to anyone who majored in the natural sciences," Hotch said. "Biology, chemistry, pre-med—"

"One hundred and thirty-five," Garcia said. "If only their names were Xavier or Alfredo…"

"How about students that graduated the same year as John?" Hotch asked. "Maybe—"

"Wait, Hotch," Garcia said suddenly. "I think I've got something. It's an article in the school newspaper. John Weber and John King won an award for their studies into a drug which could help cure depression, but…oh," she paused for a moment. "Our second John never graduated."

"Why not?" Hotch asked.

There was a moment of furious typing, before Garcia said, "He was expelled in his senior year after he was arrested for drug possession."

"Sounds like our guy," Hotch said, exchanging another look with Morgan. "Where is he now?"

"He owns property in DC," Garcia muttered, "And also…yep," she said, as her voice grew louder with excitement, "His family owns a cabin in Maryland, which he gained full rights to after his father's death ten years ago. I'm sending you the address now."

"Thanks, Garcia," Hotch said, snapping the phone shut. By the time he had turned around, Morgan was already on his feet.

"Where do you think you're going?" Hotch asked.

"To go get Reid!" Morgan said, smacking his hands together and turning towards the door.

"I don't think so," Hotch said. "You were stabbed with a tranquilizer dart a few days ago, and you're still in your hospital gown." Morgan looked down at what he was wearing, as if he had only just remembered.

"I feel fine, Hotch," Morgan insisted.

Hotch turned towards the door. "Call Blake, Rossi, and JJ, and tell them where we're going," Hotch said, ignoring Morgan's protests, "I'll get a SWAT team ready. This time, nobody is getting away."

O

Reid glared at the grinning faces of the twins with mistrust and disbelief. "If you know how to make the drug," he said, "Then what do you need me for? You've got the chemicals now, don't you?"

Ellie and Marland exchanged a look. "He's right," Ellie said. "Let's kill him!"

"What my sister is trying to say," Marland said, as Reid took a quick step backwards, "Is that we know how to make it, but that doesn't mean we can make it."

Reid inched further away from Ellie. "It didn't seem like that's what she was trying to say," he muttered.

"Look," Ellie said, rummaging around in her pocket and pulling out a piece of paper, "We've got the ingredients written down, but we don't know how to put them all together. We don't know how to—you know—prepare it properly."

Reid tried to snatch the piece of paper away from Ellie, but she took a quick step backwards. "And what makes you think I know how to make it?" he asked.

"We were hoping your doctorate in chemistry would help you out," Ellie said. "Besides, if you don't know how to make it, this whole thing will seem incredibly pointless, won't it? Your entire involvement in our organization will have been, essentially, useless."

"A right waste of time," Marland said, nodding along in agreement.

Reid stared at them suspiciously for several moments. "I don't get it," he said eventually.

They looked away from each other and stared at him with wide, innocent eyes. "What do you mean, Dr. Reid?" asked Marland. "We've been nothing but pleasant ever since we got here."

"Yeah," Reid said, "Exactly."

They folded their arms simultaneously and glared. "We don't appreciate the insinuation, Dr. Reid," said Ellie.

"No," Reid muttered. "I mean…the drug. You've got to be going through withdrawal, like I am. I feel like…like my brain is trying to push itself out of my head through my eyes and my hands are shaking so bad I could hardly hold the vials steady and the only thing that's stopping me from jumping up and strangling you is that piece of paper you've got in your hands, but you guys are…" Reid trailed off and stared at them. "You seem fine. Cheerful, 're acting like you normally do. You're acting like…" he stopped speaking again, looked back and forth between them, and said, "You've just taken the drug."

Ellie sighed. "Ah," she said. "I was afraid we might get found out."

"You see," Marland said, "After our home was so rudely intruded upon by your so-called friends, we found that John had managed to retrieve a significantly large stash of the drug that you so fondly refer to as euphoria."

"It was on the tube," Reid muttered.

"Anyway," Marland said. "John was being intolerably rude to us."

"Didn't want to share," Ellie said. "Didn't want to waste it on us, he said."

"Words can hurt, you know," said Marland.

"So after his unfortunate death—"

"The circumstances of which are quite unimportant—"

"We didn't want to let his…resources go to waste."

"Obviously," said Marland.

"We did what anyone would have done," said Ellie.

"Well you'd better have some left," Reid snapped, "Because I won't be able to make anything unless I take some of that drug."

Marland and Ellie glanced once at each other, then back at Reid. "Let's say we did have some of that drug," Ellie said, "What are you going to do for us?"

"How can we trust you?" Marland asked. "After all," he gestured towards the bodies of Remy and Michael, lying on the floor, "It seems you've developed quite a bit of a temper."

"It doesn't do to act that way, Dr. Reid," said Ellie.

"If you murder all of your friends, you're going to end up lonely," said Marland.

"Trust me," Ellie said. "We know."

"Not from experience, of course."

"Oh, no. Of course not. We're speaking hypothetically."

"Suppositionally."

"Theoretically."

"Look," Reid snapped, "Either give me the drug, or I'll snap both your necks. How does that sound?"

Ellie and Marland exchanged looks once again. "Quite frankly, Dr. Reid," Ellie said, "That sounds like a terrible thing to agree to. But we could, perhaps, remind you of several rather significant obstacles you're still facing."

"First of all," Marland said, "Even if you do learn how to make the drug, you're going to run out of chemicals eventually. What'll you do then?"

Reid glared at them suspiciously. "So you're telling me," he said, "That you not only know the ingredients of the drug, but you also know where to get them?"

Ellie flashed him a smile. "Like we told you before," she said, "People often underestimate us."

"Remember when we tried to warn you about Charlie?" Marland asked. "Still, you decided not to listen."

"And you never appreciated our poetry," said Ellie.

"Your poetry," Marland snapped, "Don't implicate me in that."

"No matter," Ellie continued, "What we really should focus on, Dr. Reid, is the more nascent and immediate problem."

"What's that?" Reid asked, still eyeing the piece of paper in Ellie's hands. .

Ellie pocketed the piece of paper and began to speak. "Well, after John was killed—"

"Mysteriously—"

"Unexpectedly—"

"Tragically—"

"It can't have been too hard for the police to identify his body," Ellie said. "And once they figure out who John is, they'll eventually figure out who Jack is, and then where he lives—"

"Which is, coincidentally, here—"

"Which would make the current location of our scientific facilities slightly problematic."

Reid glared at them. "So you're saying," he began, "If you give me the drug, you want me to take all of these chemicals and go with you to some undisclosed location to make more, and after we arrive, you claim that you have unlimited access to the same chemicals that will let us make as much as we want."

"Not unlimited access," Marland said, "But more access than you've got."

"Besides, Dr. Reid," Ellie said. "You've got a doctorate in chemistry. You know how to make the drug—or, you will—you might even be able to make it better. Why on earth would we kill you, when you're so very useful to us?"

Reid looked back and forth between them. "This all sounds very rational," Reid said. "But you're not rational. You attack armed FBI agents in coffee shops. You write mad poetry to the police. You're the result of a failed narcotics experiment."

"I've told you already," Marland snapped, "Words can hurt, you know."

Ellie reached into her pocket once again, this time extracting a small vial containing a tiny bit of translucent liquid. "You don't have to trust us, Dr. Reid," she said, raising the vial so that it hung mere inches from Reid's face. "But it seems like you've got no other choice."

O

"Clear!" Hotch lowered his gun as he made his way through yet another empty room. He turned to Rossi, who was several steps behind him, and sighed. "If they get away again," he said, "I don't know how we're going to—"

"Hotch!" Hotch's speech was interrupted by the frantic sound of JJ's voice coming at him from his radio. "Hotch, you'd better get up here!"

The two men turned and ran towards the stairs. As he went, Hotch could feel a twisted, sickening feeling growing in the pit of his stomach. He could hear Rossi's breath inches away from his head, panting, as he ran up the stairs and across the hallway and burst into the room.

Two bodies— a pale, blond man lying face up and a young woman lying on her stomach, with her hair obscuring her face. "God," Hotch muttered, although he felt his heart rate decrease slightly when he had ascertained that neither of the corpses resembled Reid.

"That's not it, Hotch," JJ said, from across the room. Hotch's head snapped up as she reached for the closet door and yanked it open. As she opened it, the pungent smell of rotting meat increased tenfold, and Hotch clasped a hand over his mouth and nose as he looked at the third body hidden in the closet.

"He must have been dead for at least a day," Blake's voice came to Hotch from the corner—as he looked at her, he noticed that she was standing at a small, wooden table, which contained a single piece of paper. Blake saw him looking, and said, "You'd better come see this." As Hotch approached the note, he couldn't help but recognize the painfully familiar handwriting.

Dear JJ, Morgan, Blake, Rossi, Garcia, and Hotch,

I killed the people in this room. I'm only telling you this to save you the trouble of worrying about it. I was in an absolutely terrible mood when I did it, but I feel better now. Much, much better. I know you aren't going to listen to me, but I thought I'd give you some advice regardless. I don't want to cause you any more trouble than I already have.

Don't try looking for me. We both know you won't find me. I know exactly how criminal profilers think—and, more pertinently, I know exactly how you think—so it'll just be a waste of your time. I don't plan to hurt anybody else—I never wanted to hurt anybody, in the first place. Neither did John, I think, whether or not he really killed Charlie. He just wanted to perfect intelligence—if that isn't a worthy goal, then what is?

I'd also like to apologize for stabbing Morgan with that tranquilizer dart (although, in my defense, he kind of started it.) I hope you aren't too angry with me—but even if you are, it wouldn't change my mind. I want to take this feeling and make more of it, and that's what I'm going to do.

I won't try to justify my choice to you. I know you don't understand. This drug isn't an indulgence or an escape, like the heroin was. I was able to stop taking heroin, but I can't stop taking this drug. Euphoria. I don't want to stop taking it. It makes me into the most perfect version of myself. You don't understand, because you've never needed to be a genius. I always have, and I still do.

I know the drug will kill me eventually. But we're all dying anyway, aren't we? Statistically, I should've died in that barn with Tobias Hankel—outside of a hospital, CPR has a 6.4 percent success rate. Any of you could be shot in the head by an unsub tomorrow. Your job is dangerous; statistically, you'll all live about as long as I will. So don't take it all so seriously. I don't think you'll be seeing me again, so I guess this is goodbye. I hope someday you'll be as happy as I am.

Your good friend,

Dr. Spencer Reid

THE END