The sound of Spencer’s phone echoed through his apartment, yanking him out of his dream with the shrill ringing. For a few seconds he lay there dazed, before his body kicked into action and moved him out of bed and across his apartment. The sky was dark apart from a sliver of orange in the horizon indicating it was still early, the kind of early where it was strange someone was calling him.
“Hello?” Spencer ignored the hoarseness of his own voice, the scratch low in his throat that ached when he tried to speak. The person on the other side was quiet for a few seconds, soft breathing the only thing he could hear before they finally spoke up.
“Sorry to wake you at this hour.” Hotch’s voice filled Spencer’s ear and both his heart and stomach dropped at the exact same time. He wouldn’t be calling if something bad hadn’t have happened, it must have been important, urgent for Hotch to have to call instead of just waiting a few hours for Spencer to come into work.
Shifting awkwardly where he stood, Spencer swallowed the lump growing in his throat and looked back out the window at the growing spread of orange in the sky. He remained quiet for a few moments before regaining the ability to speak.
“It’s okay. What’s wrong?” It was Hotch’s turn to stay silent, that was until he let out a clearly exhausted sigh which only made Spencer’s head rush to all the worst scenarios; and he’d seen some awful stuff so he was capable of thinking of even worse.
“There was a shooting, no one got seriously hurt but I thought you should know.” The word shooting had Spencer’s heart impossibly skipping a beat. He reached down and gripped the material of his pyjama bottoms, attempting to ground himself with the feeling of the fabric beneath his fingertips.
Hotch sighed again and for a few seconds Spencer wondered what could be worse than a shooting at work? Where all the people he cared for most were? If that wasn’t the case then why would Hotch feel the need to inform him over this? That was until he realised what he was trying to tell him without actually saying the words.
“Where is she?” Spencer picked up the phone and carried it with him as he hurried back into his bedroom. Getting changed while holding the phone in his arms and to his ear wasn’t the easiest but he wasn’t about to waste any more time than he had done already. Another sigh filled his head as he struggled to yank his trousers up his lanky legs and he frowned at the sound.
“Lenox Hill, Reid do you really think this is a good idea?” The tone in Hotch’s voice lead him to believe that he probably shouldn’t think so, that didn’t matter though. It wasn’t about whether or not it was a good idea, many brilliant and important things had come from bad ideas. This wasn’t one of those moments but his point still stood.
Spencer hurried over to where his coats and shoes lived, grabbing a random pair of shoes and his warmest coat before heading back over to his arm chair. He sat down and placed the phone back on the table beside him, his mind racing as with shaky hands he fiddled with his laces.
“I have to make sure she’s okay.” Hotch couldn’t argue with that. He only wanted what was best for Spencer, it was why he called in the first place and he couldn’t baby him over his choices. Things were only just starting to get back to normal, like how it was before he’d made the dumb decision to introduce Spencer to you in the first place.
Hotch had said no one had gotten seriously hurt but that still left an infinite of other possibilities, he’d promised himself not to run towards you anymore but what was the alternative now? Turn a blind eye and run the opposite direction? He couldn’t allow that.
“Okay.” Hotch said with as much softness as he could muster, he’d done what he thought was right and now Spencer had to make his own calls. It was out of his hands. They exchanged brief goodbyes before Hotch hung up the phone, leaving Spencer back in the heavy silence his apartment clung to. He slung his coat over his pyjama shirt and hurried out of the door, grabbing his bag for whatever reason on his way out.
Hailing a taxi in New York was the easiest thing to do in the city but that morning it was as though they’d all vanished from existence. All the yellow that lined the roads like bumblebees on a spring day had vanished and Spencer realised he was going to have to walk to the hospital. Nowhere was too far to walk if the destination was important enough, and Spencer had cared about few things as much as he cared about this.
A few blocks down the road he managed to spot a taxi sat beside the sidewalk, the man inside reading yesterday’s newspaper with a face like he sucked on lemons for a living. Before getting inside Spencer rummaged through his back till he found his wallet, pulling out whatever he had inside of it before knocking his knuckles against the window.
While perched the back of the taxi, the heavens decided to open and rain begun to pour. Spencer leant his head against the window and watched as droplets began to group up on the window, racing down the glass and crashing together. Some divided like cells, splitting apart and then starting their own races, the streetlights cast a warm glow over the car and for a couple of seconds at a time everything was warm and pleasant.
Realistically Spencer knew he didn’t have to be as worried as he was. Hotch said that no one had gotten seriously hurt but he could assume with great accuracy how you would be reacting to guns being shot in the building you considered home. He didn’t know all of the details either, were you involved? Who were the shooters? Was it a fight between ex-friends or gang activity? The point was, just because you hadn’t been shot didn’t mean you were okay.
The drive was quicker than it would have been if it was later on in the day but it still felt like a forever. Spencer squirmed uncomfortably in his seat as the seconds ticked by and the world rushed past him, it didn’t help that he was still somewhat under the effects of sleep. It was as though his body was telling him hundreds of different things, pulling him in all those different directions and it couldn’t have felt more accurate for the situation.
He didn’t know what he was going to do when he got to the hospital. He wasn’t the kind of person who didn’t think things through but there had been no real time for thought, now that he was stuck in the taxi his brain finally caught up with him- what was he doing? He could use the excuse that he often went to crime scenes and spoke to the involved, but that was on cases he was on. The BAU weren’t on this as far as he knew, and it wasn’t as though anyone would believe that was the reason he was there.
By the time that the taxi pulled up outside of the hospital, Spencer had chased his thoughts around his head enough time to make him physically exhausted. He managed to mutter a quiet ‘thanks’ before he clambered out of the car and into the rain. Not that he cared all that much about his appearance but at least the rain helped in flattening out his crazy bedhead, all curls sticking up in every possible direction. His shirt was very clearly a part of a pyjama set but as he headed inside he buttoned his coat up so only the collar was visible.
Spencer had never liked hospitals, there was something about the atmosphere inside that upset his stomach. He pushed open the front door apprehensively and peered inside for a few brief seconds before pushing forward and actually going inside.
The woman sat at the front desk was clearly preoccupied by all the stacks of paper around her, ink staining her fingers which wasn’t the most hyenic thing ever especially considering she worked in a hospital but Spencer bit his tongue. Instead of informing her on the hygiene practices she should be partaking in, he reached into his bag and pulled out his badge.
The FBI didn’t have anything to do with the case as far as he was aware but it wasn’t like she knew that, it was an abuse of power but it was the quickest and easiest solution. There was plenty time to question his decisions and feel bad later.
“Hi, I’m here to check up on (Y/N) (L/N)? There are a few questions we still need to ask her, what room is she in?” With as much fake confidence as he could muster, Spencer flashed his credentials and the woman peered across at them, then glancing up at him. They looked at each other with no words exchanged for a few moments, as though she was trying to look through him and directly into his thoughts.
Then, she leant back in her chair and smiled sweetly. She stood up and smoothed her white skirt down before excusing herself and stepping out from beside her desk. Spencer stood there awkwardly clutching his badge, partly running on whatever adrenaline had kicked in back at his apartment but also fear of what he was going to do if this actually worked.
Another nurse walked by and she was stopped, the two women chatted quiet enough for Spencer to not be able to pick up what they were saying. He narrowed his eyes and tried to catch a glimpse of her lips but his plan failed, thankfully the pair separate and the receptionist turned to him with a pleasant smile.
“This way.” She extended out her arm before turning and starting to walk down one of the long extending corridors, Spencer let out the smallest sigh of relief he could manage before following after her hastily. The hallway was a disgusting cream colour that went along with the bland colours the nurses wore, everything was white or an off-variety but it didn’t make anything feel clean, quite the opposite actually.
The hallway seemed to go on forever, like he was Alice and had fallen into Wonderland where nothing was quite like it appeared. Rain crashed into the windows as if it were trying to break in and Spencer cuddled deeper into his coat in response. Obviously the place couldn’t be too cold as patients were around but it wasn’t warm enough for him to even consider removing his coat, besides then everyone would see how half-dressed he actually was.
Eventually they reached the end of the hall and the receptionist peered her head through the partly open door. There was whispering at first, then the door opened wider and a nurse came through, stealing a glance at Spencer before the two women turned to walk back down the fairy-tale hallway. Spencer chose to ignore the strange behaviour and instead focus on what he was going to say, especially since he hadn’t thought about that yet- arguably the most important thing.
He took a deep breath before pushing the door open wider and walking inside, not confidently as he knew you’d spot the fakeness of it right away but instead softly. He didn’t want to spook you more than you must have been already, his blood boiled at the thought of you being in any sort of pain.
You were sat on the edge of the bed, from what he could see your arms had a few short, sharp cuts on them- probably from broken glass. Another cut across your cheek, the place where you used to apply blusher plentiful but your skin had become rosy naturally for you this time. Like him you were still in your pyjamas, pastel pink with white stripes and hanging loose on your body. It was only when the door creaked that you looked up from the spot you’d been staring at on the floor.
“Hi.” Spencer’s voice was soft in a way you hadn’t heard before. He was always gentle, shaky hands when he used to touch your skin or shy smiles shared across a room but this wasn’t like those things. It was guilty, sadness peeking out from behind the corners of put on-happiness, and by the look on his face you knew he didn’t believe himself to be convincing either.
The day had been so long already despite it being the early hours of the morning, all you’d wished for through the panic and the police talks, the hospital visit was for Spencer. It felt silly, he hadn’t been in your thoughts since you’d decided once and for all to separate yet in the midst of everything he’d somehow returned. While cuddled up in the back of a police car you’d stared out of the window, waiting patiently for him to appear out from the crowd, for anyone you recognised but he never appeared.
It wasn’t until Spencer hurried to your side that you realised you were crying. His hands found their way to your trembling shoulders and gently pressed down in an attempt to steady you, to be some kind of support despite the clear tension in the room. He always had the ability to calm any nerves you had, make everything appear like it was going to be okay and you needed that right now. What had happened hadn’t kicked in properly yet, shock was a good and bad thing in that case but it was starting to and it was terrifying.
“I’m here. You’re okay.” Spencer’s hands were hesitant as they trailed down to your bare arms, gently skipping over the cuts there that had been tended to. He wanted to wipe away the tears that were now trailing down your cheeks like the raindrops on the taxi window but he couldn’t step over that boundary, not when you were still so fragile.
By the time the tears stopped, Spencer’s hands had retreated from your arms and were instead laying spread out on his lap. You didn’t have to look at him to feel the tension, he held it tight in his shoulders and it travelled like poison down his veins till it settled in his hands. It wasn’t so obvious to those who didn’t know him but to you it was as clear as the sky, he couldn’t hide anything from you even if he wanted to.
Even before anything had happened between you it had been that way, like on some level deep below whatever surface similarities and flaws were on show there was something so innately similar. Whatever it was, it made it practically impossible for you to hide from him and for him to hide from you. It wasn’t always a positive, you would have much rather been able to put on a strong face and pretend as though you didn’t need his comfort. Pretending to be something was what you always thought you did best but when it came to Spencer, it was a foreign language.
“I want to go home.” The words were so small in your throat that you considered repeating them despite the embarrassment, thankfully Spencer managed to catch them and gave a small, curt nod.
Getting you out of the hospital was easy when he had his badge, you weren’t majorly hurt or a suspect so it wasn’t like he was going against protocol or anything like the sorts. That being said, Spencer already knew what Hotch and the rest of the team would say when they found out, it was easy to imagine the painted look of disappointment but not shock on their faces. The whole point of his job was to do the right thing, to stop the bad guys but he didn’t feel like that today, sometimes he wondered whether the braver thing to do was tend to the wounded, especially when it scared him more than the warzone.
The taxi Spencer had arrived in sat outside per his fumbled request and it was still pouring down like it had been when he arrived, which wasn’t a surprise since he wasn’t in the hospital for long at all. Before walking outside he slipped his coat off despite his pyjama shirt underneath and held it out for you to put on, the wool was damp from the rain but the inside was warm from his body heat. Plus, it smelt like him which was more of a comfort than you could recall it being.
“I want to take you back to my apartment, is that okay?” Not knowing the details of what had went down with the shooting meant he had to assume he couldn’t take you back to your home. Besides, even if that was a possibility he didn’t know if that was what you needed, to be back in the place where something bad had happened. Spencer asked the question once you were both safely tucked up in the back of the taxi, and without much thought you nodded in reply.
It was strange how the time of day could change the atmosphere of something, the sunrise could make any moment feel special even if it was as plain as can be. You leant your head against the window and looked up to the muddy orange sky. A new day, a whole world of possibilities, a change for a fresh start. The world felt strange from inside that taxi but it felt more real than it had done for months, for a long time.
The ride back to his apartment didn’t take long, before you had the time to process that time had gone by the taxi had already pulled up outside of Spencer’s apartment building. He clambered out first with his wallet in hands, pulling out whatever cash he had and handed it over to the driver through his open window before turning his attention to your door.
“Come on.” His voice was soft, airy like Victoria Sponge or something just as sweet. Spencer reached his hand out to you and in turn you took it, wrapping your fingers gently round his palm before he helped you step out from the taxi. The rain continued to pour down so after placing his hand firmly on your lower back, he started to guide you towards the entrance with thoughts of making sure you didn’t get ill from the cold running through his head.
It only occurred to you as you stood outside of Spencer’s apartment watching him fiddle with the keys that you hadn’t actually been inside before. You hadn’t even been in the building, an assistant had gone and delivered the flowers you’d requested to his home as at the time it hurt too much to imagine catching him by surprise. It didn’t feel much better standing there with shock and exhaustion pulling at your body, urging you to just collapse.
The vague image you’d created in your head wasn’t that far off, it was much darker than you’d expected it to be but still packed up high with books as you’d imagined. It was cosy, like a Hobbit hole or something of the sort. Even when Spencer flicked the light on, the dark wallpaper ate it all up and left them still in a dull room. It was better than the stark cleanliness of the hospital room though, so you said nothing.
Spencer managed to wiggle his shoes off without undoing the laces, kicking them to the side before dropping his back down in a heap beside them. The adrenaline had started to wear off and just how tired he was started to kick in, he knew he’d sleep better if you were alright so he started to make a beeline towards the kitchen
“Would you like something to drink?” He called back to you once he was out of sight, you took that as the opportunity to remove his coat despite the comfort it brought; was it too weird to keep it on? You pondered on the question for a few seconds as you started to walk around his apartment, looking at all the little parts of his personality he put up for display.
“Do you have any wine?” It was partly a joke but mostly serious, Spencer just laughed and found himself glancing through his cupboards despite knowing alcohol was not the brightest idea. What he really needed was coffee if he wanted to stay awake yet he pulled out two wine glasses and continued to rummage for the bottle he kept hidden at the back of his cupboards.
When he walked back into the living space he was met with the sight of you curled up on his couch, shoes sat on the floor and your legs curled up beneath you. For a moment he forgot all the voices in his head yelling at him to keep his distance, to focus on his life and instead remembered how good things had been.
It was only a short time but many important things had happened in seconds, tiny moments thrown across the world. He cleared his throat awkwardly and acted as though he hadn’t had a moment of weakness before walking over to you and placing the two wine glasses onto the coffee table in front of you.
“How are you feeling?” Spencer asked after sitting down beside you, making sure to keep a reasonable amount of distance as to not get any funny ideas. Out of the corner of his eye he watched you lean forward to take one of the glasses, swiftly drink the small amount of wine he’d poured inside and then slide the glass back down on the table.
“I’m tired, you must be too.” You turned to face Spencer, resting your cheek on the top of the couch. Tired didn’t even come close to explaining how you felt but it sufficed, it was easier than trying to come up with another word that encompassed everything else going on. It wasn’t that you were only tired because of the day so far, the tiredness had been dragging after you for months now and it was all coming to this dramatic halt- like most things in your life did.
“You can take a nap, if you’d like.” He didn’t know whether or not offering his bed would be inappropriate, then again he didn’t feel good making you sleep on the couch either. The whole situation was messy but in a calm sort of way, the bubbling in his stomach was scary but it didn’t hurt as much as it used to.
A nap sounded good, perfect even but it wasn’t the kind of tired you had been talking about. While having Spencer whisk into the hospital and take you away like some Prince Charming was a dream come true, why bother? You had gone past running round in circles, together you were tangled in knots and had left not bothering to trying to fix the mess. It was okay, coping with what could have been was going okay but it wouldn’t if Spencer kept returning.
“It’s not that kind of tired.” There was no need to explain any further when the look on Spencer’s face said it all, that same tiredness had bled over into his life and that only made you feel worse. Not only could you not keep yourself happy but merely being in his life had influenced Spencer’s happiness too.
Spencer stayed quiet for a few moments, turning so he could stare blankly at the coffee table as he gathered his thoughts. When he had done so he followed in your footsteps and grabbed his glass and proceeded to down the wine in a matter of seconds in the desperation for courage.
“What can I do to help?”
Your eyes darted back up to Spencer from where they had drifted off to stare down at the carpet, he had a firm yet slightly startled look- a deer in headlights ready to stand their ground. His question was loaded and your brain raced at what he could have possibly been thinking, it sounded kind enough but he was willingly inserting himself back into the narrative when he didn’t have to, and all along you’d thought you had been the one who’d been confusing.
“Just answer me this.” You said after a few moments of staring across at Spencer and in turn watching him stare back. He gave a small nod and after taking a deep breath, you asked the question that had been plaguing you for months. “Your job, is it worth it?”
Out of all the questions he had been expecting, one about his job had not come up. Spencer frowned and went over your words in his head trying to understand what you meant. Worth it? In what way? It was a good job, one that he was proud of but as time went on it had gotten harder and harder to handle. Things that had once not phased him now turned his stomach, he couldn’t look at someone without thinking who they were leaving behind.
“Sometimes.” He said simply. “Is yours?”
“I’m starting to think it isn’t…is that sad? I used to think that my career was all that mattered in life, that people would come and go but it was okay because fame was forever. It’s an awful way to think, only sad people put themselves over others.” It wasn’t easy to admit but if there was anyone who would understand, surely it had to be Spencer. He’d only seen hints of benefits of the life in the spotlight, the rest had been nothing but trouble.
Something ached inside Spencer’s stomach and before he knew what he was doing, words were spilling out of him like vomit.
“My job isn’t easy. It’s been harder these past few months, and I think that’s because I finally understood what it was to have someone who you’re terrified to lose.” He started slowly, turning his body fully so he could face you and placed his hands into his lap. “I have my mom but she’s been gone for a while now, something the doctors still can’t work out. If she were to die, it’d be heart-breaking but comforting at the same time.”
You wanted to say something, anything that would be of comfort but it was no use. Spencer had already continued on, you kept the topic of his mother tucked away for another day- if there was to be another day.
“But you…you’re all I think about, even when I don’t know it’s happening. It’s like you’ve wiggled your way into each little corner of my mind and now I can’t look at flowers the same way, the beach, ice cream, I can’t walk down the street without wondering if I’ll catch your name in the mouth of a stranger. I used to think that my job was everything, like yours is to you but now I know it’s something I did to feel useful, I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life.”
“You made one in mine.” You interrupted with a voice so small it could perhaps be mistaken for a mouse squeak. Spencer still caught it and smiled meekly, fiddling with his hands in an attempt to keep his nerves down and quiet.
“The first day we met, at the theatre. I thought you were the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, it’s remained true ever since. You whisked me up into your life and nothing has been the same since, it never will. It was never your fame or the fancy dresses that made you special, you’ve never needed any of that to be special because you already are. You always have been.”
By the time Spencer took a moment to breathe, your heart was pounding in your chest. It was one thing to have hope but to have everything you wanted and would want tangled in front of you on a gold string, it hurt more than anything to not know if it would be yours or if this was all leading to some sad ending.
“What are you saying?” Spencer didn’t even know where he was going, only that he needed to say something or else it would plague him for the rest of his life. He wasn’t one to think forward to such things, he struggled with always looking into the past but for the first time in a while he could picture himself in a future that wasn’t so bleak.
“I’m saying…maybe we have a shot.” He noticed how the rain had stopped, the sound of it bashing against the windows had instead been replaced with sunlight slowly streaming in through the windows. The early morning sun ridding the city of all that misery. “I don’t know how, or if you’re even willing. You might have someone else for all I know, but I do know that being with you made me realise how life was supposed to be. You made me better-“
Before Spencer could continue on with his speech, you leant over and cupped his face with your palms and practically fell into a kiss. His hands went to your waist like they had been trained to do, like it was second nature. The soft sound of surprise he let out against your lips was like heaven, it was better than anything you’d felt without him by your side.
“Let’s go somewhere, leave the city- leave all of this behind.” You mumbled in between kisses, not only to his lips but across his cheeks and nose as well. Spencer melted against your touch, all the tension he’d been carrying for months seemed to vanish into thin air at the simple touch of your lips to the tip of his nose.
“You would do that?” From the day you’d met Spencer knew your career was the most important thing to you, being a star was more important than anything else the world could offer. You loved it, the money and the attention and being the talk of the town so to speak. Simply put, he’d long since thought he was worth giving any of that up away.
“There was never anyone else. It’s only ever been you, you made me a better person. This life in this city? It isn’t worth living if I don’t have you beside me, so let’s run away. Somewhere nice, we can start a new life. You can go work in an office, I’ll stay home and cook- I’ll have to learn first but I’m sure it can’t be too difficult!”
Spencer laughed through thick tears threatening to spill down his cheeks and you kissed them away when they did fall.
“We’ll have a nice garden, we’ll grow Carnations and when we have kids we can build them a tree house.” You continued on despite realising that you too were crying. “We haven’t even talked about that yet! Do you want kids? What should we name them? It doesn’t matter because we’ll be together and it will be okay.”
In the end? All was better than okay. Few people ever got the fairy tale ending they were looking for but once in a blue moon, when it did happen, it was perfect.