When Derek Morgan had opened up to the team about Carl Buford, Spencer was shocked and desperately wanted to tell. But he couldn’t. He had promised.
But Derek noticed the look Spencer was wearing as Derek revealed his deepest secret to his family. It looked like Spencer was checked out, buried in his head. Derek recognised that look from his own face, one he had when he was with Buford.
The team hurried off the jet when they got back to Virginia. It was already past midnight, and they all wanted to get home. Spencer was looking forward to getting back to his apartment and feeling the heavy blanket strewn across his body. He enjoyed the comforting weight, it made him feel safe.
It didn’t take long to get home, and when he did Spencer audibly exhaled. All of his tension leaving his body. The smell of books drew him in. His body was barely cooperating, but he managed to drag himself towards his bedroom. He kicked his shoes off and then stripped to his underwear, crawling under the blanket.
Just as his eyelids drooped closed, he heard banging. “Reid! Come on kid. It’s Morgan.” Derek yelled.
“It’s open.” Spencer back. Derek came into the apartment, checking the rooms until he found Spencer in bed.
“Hey Pretty Boy.” Derek perched on the edge of the bed.
“What are you doing here?” Spencer could barely keep his eyes open.
“I wanted to talk to you, but you look tired. You should sleep.”
“Okay.” He was too exhausted to argue with Derek, and drifted off quickly.
Derek sighed. He knew the kid was damaged, but he couldn’t get over that look in Reid’s eyes when Derek talked about Buford. He stood in the kitchen before he decided it would be better to take a nap. The couch wasn’t too uncomfortable and he found that he fell asleep after a little while.
He woke with the sun, his neck cramped. Derek stood and stretched, rubbing the back of his neck and rolling his head to the side. He poured out two mugs of coffee and then steeled himself to have an uncomfortable conversation.
Spencer was awake. He’d been awake for almost an hour, staring at the ceiling, but he knew if he got up he would be forced to break his promise. Morgan knew. Spencer knew Morgan knew. Why else would he be there?
But the conversation was inevitable because Derek came into his bedroom, placing a mug of coffee on the bedside table. Neither man spoke for a while, Derek didn’t want to push and Spencer didn’t want to talk.
Finally Derek was tired of waiting. “Who was your Carl Buford?” His voice cracked.
“I don’t… I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Spencer said, scooting so he was sat up on the bed instead of lying down.
“Come on kid.” Derek sounded tired. He sounded broken.
“No.” Spencer scrambled away from Derek, into the corner of the room. He pressed his face into his knees.
“Reid.” Derek said softly.
“No. I promised. Don’t make me break my promise. I can’t” Spencer stressed. “break my promise.” Derek noticed that Spencer was crying now. He moved over to where Spencer was sat, and he slid down the wall so they were sitting next to each other. The two were sitting so their shoulders and sides touched.
“Pretty Boy I don’t count. You can tell me and you haven’t broken your promise because I don’t count.”
“You don’t count?” It was as though Spencer had reverted back to a younger state. He seemed helpless.
“Why don’t you count?” Spencer asked.
“You’re my little brother. I don’t count for you, and you don’t count for me.”
“His name,” Spencer sucked in a breath. “his name was Gary Michaels.”
“Okay. Tell me about him.” Derek mentally prepared himself for the storm he was about to unleash.
“I met Michaels in 1984. I was three years old. He approached me in the park by my house. I used to go there to play chess. We played twenty nine times but I won every time. One day he was sitting at the chess board when I walked over. He told me that some of the pieces were missing but he had a set at home. We walked to his apartment and played chess. We did it a few more times. And then after my fourth birthday…” Spencer stopped. Sometimes his eidetic memory was a painful reminder of things he just wanted to forget. “After my fourth birthday he told me we were going to play a game. I asked if it was like chess. It wasn’t Morgan.” Spencer was crying quietly into Derek’s shoulder.
“It’s okay.” Derek stroked Spencer’s hair. “What did you promise?”
“I wouldn’t tell.”
“You promised Michaels you wouldn’t tell anyone?”
“No. I promised Dr Oswald I wouldn’t tell.” Spencer sniffed. His face was buried in the wet fabric of Derek’s shirt. Derek withdrew, his eyebrows furrowed.
“Who’s Dr Oswald kid?”
“When I was younger, my father thought I was weird. I wasn’t acting my age. So he took me to a psychiatrist every week. After that first time with Gary Michaels I told Dr Oswald and he told me to shut up and stop lying. He thought I had made it up for attention after what happened to a boy I knew. Riley Jenkins. He was raped and murdered a few months before I met Michaels. Dr Oswald made me promise not to tell anyone about what happened. At the time I thought that maybe that meant it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. I tried to avoid Michaels for a month, but he was the only one who was close to my intellect. He was the closest thing I had to a peer. So I went back to the park and we played chess again. All the pieces were there.”
“It was a ruse.”
“Yeah.” Spencer breathed. “My dad left because he couldn’t handle my mom, and then my mom had one of her episodes. There was no food in the house and I hadn’t eaten in two days. So I walked over to Gary Michaels’ house because I knew he would feed me. And he did, but he wanted something in return. It wasn’t as bad the second time. And then each time after that, when I was hungry or needed a ride to school I would go to his house and exchange services.” Spencer said in disgust. “I did it as little as I could but my mom was sick and I was only four. I couldn’t take care of myself and she couldn’t take care of me, so I let Michaels take care of me.”
“I’m sorry you were put in that position.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“Come on.” Derek stood and held out his hand. Spencer took it and then Derek lead the younger man to the kitchen. He pushed Spencer lightly to sit on the chair in the room. Derek turned away and began making some eggs. He broke them into a mug, trying to ignore the relevance of the metaphor, and whisked the liquid with a fork.
He allowed the routine to take over, calming him and his desire to fly out to Vegas and shoot Michaels. He moved a pan to the stove and poured the eggs into the pan. He scrambled them. It didn’t take too long. Derek grabbed two plates and spooned out half the eggs onto each plate. He slid one of the plates over to Spencer, handing him a fork.
There were books stacked on the other chair, so before he sat down, Derek moved them to the table. He began to eat the eggs, encouraging Spencer to do the same. They both ate in silence.
When they were finished, Derek took the plates and forks and put them in the sink. Spencer stood up slowly, walked back to his bedroom and climbed back into bed. Talking about something he had left buried had exhausted him. Derek crawled in next to him and put his hand on Spencer’s arm. They were both lying on their sides, facing each other.
Once Derek was sure that Spencer wasn’t going to run, he scooted towards Spencer and pressed his forehead against Spencer’s. Spencer sighed and allowed his body to let go of all the tension. He closed his eyes.
Derek watched as Spencer drifted off. ‘How was any of this fair? How was what happened to me, what happened to Reid fair?’ Derek thought. Spencer rolled into Derek, pushing his head into Derek’s chest.
“It made us who we are. And we help people.” Derek was surprised when he felt the vibrations of Spencer’s words. He must’ve said his thoughts aloud. “As much as I hate what happened, I have helped saved hundreds and prevented the deaths of an innumerable amount. I don’t think I would’ve joined the FBI if my childhood was different.”
“There are plenty of agents without a past. Fate’s fate.” Derek said and took a breath. “Go back to sleep. We don’t have to go into work today.” Derek wrapped his arm around Spencer. He fell asleep a few minutes later.