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Relentless

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There is something to be said about the way drugs burn inside the veins of a submissive body. It's dark, like you can feel the weight of the burden it will bring but sweet; a lullaby you can confide in. But It's so cruel, with it's euphoria and bliss, masking the physical and emotional pain of life.

And Reid loves it.

He can't seem to get enough of it, even when he has to turn to stealing and starving, just to get his next fix. It's pathetic, but he knows it like the back of his hand. He's studied it in his sobriety; 'how to prevent relapse' and 'long term effects of Dilaudid' , but no health effects or warning can help him now.

It was always in the back of his mind, scrambling for a reason, any reason at all, to relapse; to stick that needle over his scars and create new ones. He always knew it would come to this, so he welcomed the cruel, sweet burn with open arms and bitten tongue. Of course he wouldn't tell anyone, he was already almost 28 now and the FBI didn't need nor want a brain marinated in chemicals, no matter his IQ. So he stuck to secretly carrying glass bottles everywhere and getting high in his freetime, completely aware of how pathetic he was.

Reid took out the needle and released his grip on the tourniquet, surrendering himself to the sweet drug induced euphoria that followed. In this state, he usually let his mind wander to places he'd never thought of before; memories he hadn't thought of in years. So he laid down on his couch and closed his eyes, releasing an emotional dam in his mind and relenting to his past trama.

First, he thought of when he was a kid, coming home to his schizophrenic mother and messy home. It happened quite frequently, actually, his mother and her episodes, and even at the age of 5, he could tell his mother wasn't like any other. She would lock him in his room when she raged, throwing things at the walls and violently screaming the whole time. He had to cover his ears and hide in the closet to muffle the noise, tears streaming down his face, but his mouth unmoving.

Reid frowned. The mornings after one of her episodes were always eerily silent, his mom exhausted from the meltdown. He would silently go to the kitchen, where his mother couldn't hear him, and make his lunch, getting ready for school. It stayed like this through college until he had his mother admitted. How could he do that to her? His own mother. Then again, she needed help and he was too much of a coward to admit it.

Then, Reid thought of the people he lost, Emily, being the most prominent. It wasn't like they were romantically involved at all; he saw her as one would view a sister or best friend. That's how he saw everyone at the BAU; as a family. His family. And well, losing one of them was as traumatic as it would've been if he had lost blood family. Reid cried. Boy, did he cry, but nothing came close to the numbness of dilaudid. He tells himself that this relapse is justified by a friends death, but deep down, he knows he was just looking for an excuse to escape his overwhelming mind and succumb to a blank silence. It was the only time he wasn't required to think and maybe thats what he was addicted to; the need for cerebral silence.

And his mind continued in a state of existence; still and floating. He seemed to fade in thought, relaxing into his mind and enjoying the darkness.

Somewhere in the distance, Reid heard his phone ring and he absently(out of habit) reached into his pocket and answered.

"Hello?" He cleared his throat and sat up, rubbing his eyes. A bit of drool had dried around his mouth and he wiped it off, looking outside at the bright sun and getting up to close the blinds.

"Hey Reid. Where are you? It's already 8:36. I've called you like 5 times." Morgan's voice came through the receiver, assertive, but worried. Reid checked his watch. Huh. When did he fall asleep?

"I'm sorry..I fell asleep and forgot to set the alarm. I'll be there in 15." Reid walked as he talked over to his bedroom, to find some clothes to wear for the day. He kicked some empty bottles aside so he could open his closet.

"Uh...huh...well, hurry up. Hotch is starting with the debriefing. I'll update you when you get here."

"Okay, sorry about this...It won't happen again." Reid shifted the phone to his other ear.

"No. It won't." And with that, the line went dead and Reid let out a sigh. How could he fall asleep like that?

He shedded yesterday's shirt and looked in the mirror. He was losing weight again, his skin was pale, his cheeks were hollow, and his eyes were darker than usual. Great.

With a brush of his teeth, change of clothes, and some coffee, he made his way to work(after stopping by his living room and stuffing two bottles into his bag).

-----------

To say that tensions ran high when Reid walked through the door was an understatement, as everyone stopped what they were doing to glance at him. However, he decided to ignore the looks and sit down in the only open chair available in between Morgan and Seaver. Garcia cleared her throat and continued on her briefing, staring daggers into the side of Reid head briefly. Reid stayed in a dazed state most of the time and didn't really hear when Hotch said the famous "wheels up in thirty" so when everyone started to leave, he scrambled. As he got up and turned around, he almost ran into Morgan.

"Woah, woah. Hey, what's the rush?" Morgan grabbed Reid's upper arm to stabilize him.

"N-nothing." He cleared his throat. "I'm sorry. Can I just-"

"Nu-uh. Not until you tell me what's going on with you lately. I mean, I'm broken up over Emily's-" Reid flinched, "..death, too, but you seem to be doing the worst of us. Do you need help?" Morgan's voice was knowing and transformed from rough and demanding to smooth and sweet, like he was coaxing a child to sleep.

"No. I don't need any help. Why don't you people just leave me alone? I'm not a child you have to babysit. I'm an adult that's capable of rational thought! How about instead of sticking your nose into other people's business and projecting your own misery unto them, you go and find yourself a shrink or something?" He hadn't meant to snap, but all that rage just boiled over and revealed itself as hate. Immediately, Reid regretted his words, but Morgan's face was unchanging.

"It's not my misery I'm worried about, Reid."

"Then stop worrying! I'm fine! I swear!" His grip tightened on his bag and he pushed past Morgan and onto the walkway, where he could feel all of the stares. However, he ignored them and stormed off into the bathroom, hastily retrieving his bottles of Dilaudid and shooting up in record time. He smiled as he felt the bitterness and resentment melt away, leaving only bliss in it's place. Maybe he shouldn't have been so harsh toward Morgan. He did only want to offer his help and Reid will at least admit to himself that maybe he needs it. Maybe he really fucking needs it, but fear has always crippled him in times like these. Exposing his vulnerability like that is just too much for him. The fear of judgement, of the hateful stares, and going through rehab yet again. This is the only reason he hates it.

****

The hum of the engine bore deep in the back of his mind, as he laid his head against the cool wall and closed his eyes. It was relaxing, he guessed, but he wasn't dumb and he knew everyone was shooting concerned glances at him from the other side of the jet. He chose to ignore them all. Bringing light to an issue that could get him fired was not favorable to him, so instead he listened to their hushed conversations. Mostly, they were about the case, but occasionally he heard his name be mentioned.

It had been like this for weeks; almost an entire month, actually, and Reid could feel the tension in the air, ready to snap like a rubber band at any given moment. But alas, he wasn't the type to admit his troubles and so the pattern continued.

"Reid? Do you have any input?" Hotch's voice startled Reid.

"What...? Oh..uh..no." Reid cleared his throat, sitting up fully and blinking a few times to fix his hazy vision.

Hotch frowned deeper(if at all possible).

Rossi jumped in, "Really? No input at all? Not even a statistic?"

"Well...um..the unsub is most likely from a rural part of the state and since he dropped the body in the middle of the woods, he most likely knows the area." Reid tried. He really did, to pay attention, but his mind kept dabbling into a daze.

"Yeah, Hotstuff, and how many people live in rural New York?" Garcia's voice presented itself from the small laptop that sat on the table.

Reid thought for a minute, calculating the amount slower than usual, "2,373,875."

"There's the boy genius we know and love." Garcia smiled and Reid nodded absently, "Well, with about 2 million people to chose from, I think it's safe to say the unsub is a white male in his early 30s who most likely works an unsatisfying job where he feels insignificant. Right?"

"Yes, and he most likely has no significant other, either, because of the seemingly personal attacks on women." Morgan interjected, flipping through the file.

"Alright, well Rossi and Seaver, you guys go to the last crime scene. Morgan, you and Reid head to the morgue and follow up with the ME. I'll get us set up at the police station." Hotch looked at everyone sternly, lingering for a second longer than usual when his eyes landed on Reid, before leaning back in his chair and going over the file once again.

_______________

"There are many different lacerations on the wrists and stomach, ranging from shallow to deep. Hesitation marks here and here indicate more than one culprit, because the rest are extremely clean. 4 Stab wounds in the lower abdomen. If I had to guess, I'd say the hesitation wounds were made by a child." The medical examiner showed Reid and Morgan around the metal table, pointing at the various injuries on the woman's body.

"What makes you say that?" Morgan asked, studying the corpse before him. Reid lingered behind, deep in thought.

"You see right here-" The ME pointed to the lower abdomen, "-the cuts are small, shallow, and the person would have to be incredibly short to stab from this angle."

Morgan nodded, a bit horrified at this information. He turned his head to Reid, who was staring at the corpse, making the face he does when he's processing information. Morgan sighed internally, but decided to focus on what the ME was saying.

Eventually, Morgan got around to calling Hotch, subsequent to them talking to the Medical Examiner. Reid was sitting in the car, waiting for him.

"Hotchner."

"Hey, Hotch. The ME said there are most likely 2 unsubs."

"Okay. We need to rethink our profile a bit then. Thanks."

"And Hotch?"

"Yeah?"

"One of them is a kid."

Silence.

Deafening silence.

Morgan could physically SEE Hotch's face hardening up at this information, refusing to react.

"Oh, well, then we REALLY need to rethink our profile. We'll speak more when we all meet up."

"One more thing, Hotch." Morgan glanced at Reid, who was leaning back in the car seat and closing his eyes.

"What is it?" Hotch's voice was as monotone as ever, but if you've known him for 8+ years, like Morgan has, you'd be able to hear the small waver in his voice as he spoke.

"It's Reid." Morgan sighed, "We all know what's going on so why aren't we saying anything? I mean, you know the overdose rate in relapse. If we don't do something...-"

"Morgan. I know we need to do something. I'm trying to find a loophole so that we can bring light to the situation without firing him. As his boss, if I officially acknowledge his...problem..I'm required to report it. If I don't report it, I could lose my job. You know this, Derek."

Morgan sighed deeply, raising his eyebrows in worry as he took another glance at Reid, who hadn't moved, "Yeah...I know...but I just--there must be something we can do."

"Right now, all we can do is be there for him as friends. He needs stability, so just don't pester him about it for now. I don't want to have to fire him, Morgan, so just give me more time so both of us can keep our jobs."

"Yeah, okay Hotch. But hurry. It's bad." Morgan wiped his free hand over his bald head.

"I know." Hotch solemnly ended the phone call with a click.

***

It took two full days of scrambling, hesitation, and thought before they finally caught the unsub. He ended up being Edward(or Ed) Johnson, a man who was severely traumatized by his abusive father.

After stabbing and killing his own father, he started killing animals and mutilating his own skin. In his own sick and twisted mind, he thought kidnapping adults and children and making the children kill the adults was a morally acceptable thing. Well, he started deteriorating fast and made plenty of mistakes that led to his capture.

At the end of the day, everyone entered the jet worse for wear. Every one of them, besides Rossi and Reid, fell asleep the moment the jet took off. Cases like these always ended terribly; there simply was no winning when dead children were involved.

The plane, silent save for the occasional snore from morgan, rocked gently as Reid read silently in the corner. Rossi, who was sitting across the aisle, looked at an oblivious Reid before deciding to speak up, "Hey, Kid."

Reid turned his sunken eyes to Rossi, "Hm?"

"You okay? You seem a bit...off lately.." Rossi had to admit, maybe that wasn't the best conversational route to go with, but everyone already seemed to know the depth of Reid's depression besides himself and Seaver so he thought maybe a fresh set of eyes could clear the air a bit. He may not know the entirety of Reid's problem, but it was such a bummer to see the kid so distraught that it actually started to worry Rossi. So, sue him for not pussy-footing around the problem like everyone else seemed to be.

Reid's eyes changed dramatically; going from distant and curious to closed off and frustrated within an instance.

"Hey, there's no reason to get upset, Reid. I'm not just a teammate, you know. At this point, we're family. So if you're struggling with some stuff that you need to talk about without judgement or questions, I'm always here. Just an ear to listen. I'm not saying you have to talk to me or any one of us, I'm just reminding you that you're not alone in this. We're all suffering."

Reid gave a grateful smile, "Thank you, Rossi. I will keep that in mind."

Rossi looked him in the eye to show him he wasn't joking around and nodded firmly before they both went back to their previous tasks.

Reid smiled into his book and thought that maybe, just maybe, there was hope for him yet.

****

Upon landing, each went their own separate ways. Reid went home to his disorderly apartment, JJ went home to her husband and son, Hotch went back to the office to fill out some paperwork, Rossi drove around the city for a bit to think, Morgan went on a run, and Seaver went to a local firing range. All were determined not to think about the case they had just closed and continued to pretend everything was fine.

That was, until Hotch got a phone call.

____________

 

Birds chirped on the nearby telephone pole and Spencer decided instantly that he hated everything. He sat up stiffly, his body aching and his head swimming. Damn these stupid drugs. Was he really withdrawing ? He could've sworn it was only a couple hours since his last shot.

Fuck. Maybe he really needed help.

Slowly, he stood from his place on the couch and moved to the windows to shut them. The breeze reminded him of summer days as a kid and Spencer really didn't want to think about that right then.

He couldn't help but look out the window briefly as he considered something. What if everyone was right? He could tell Morgan wanted badly for him to get help. Hell, Rossi didn't even know what was going on but still managed to ease Reid's mind more than the others had. Everything was just so hard after Emily died. No one seemed to care as deeply as he did; or if they did, they were hiding it well.

Reid sighed.

After agonizing over the pain of his lost friend, he just couldn't stand it anymore. The nightmares wouldn't relent, the shakiness he had wouldn't dissipate, and the terrible feelings of powerlessness hit him over and over until he lay crying on his couch facing the wall. He was tired of this; exhausted even. Nothing helped but drugs, and even those were starting to fail him.

The sun outside disappeared behind a cloud as Spencer frowned. But what if Hotch fired him immediately? It was very likely, considering the fact that he had barely gotten off the last time this shit happened. But what if everyone hated him for it? Resentment would be appropriate, Spencer decided. After all, he was destroying his brain cells, and effectively his intelligence and this was the one thing that made him an asset to the FBI. But surely he couldn't just...let this happen. He wouldn't destroy his career and friendships over this.......would he?

It was this thought that sparked something within him. Reaching over to the coffee table, Spencer searched blindly for his phone before bringing it close to his worn out face.

His finger hovered over the 'call' button for a minute. With a long, deep sigh, he managed to press the button and hold it to his ear as it dialed.

Once.

Twice.

Click.

"Hey man, what's up? You doing okay?"

"Yeah Morgan I'm fi--actually...No I'm not. I'm pretty terrible actually." Reid gave a half-hearted chuckle at his own honesty.

Morgan seemed stunned by his honestly, as evidenced by his silence, "Do you need me to come over?" The seriousness in his tone startled Spencer briefly.

"Uhh...sure. Could you bring some food, too? I'm starving."

"Sure thing, Pretty Boy. See you in a few." Click.

Well that was the shortest conversation he'd had in a while. He almost couldn't believe how fast and willing Morgan was to help him, especially when Reid didn't even tell him what it was about. Although it was kind of obvious what it was about if he was honest; he knew Morgan knew and Morgan knew Spencer knew. It was just a matter of time until Reid opened up about it.

Spencer breathed deeply as he laid his head on the back of the couch. He guessed now was the time. Maybe he should clean his apartment a bit and get rid of the empty bottles and bags of drugs.

There was no going back now. He was really going to do this.

******

An hour later, Spencer had been tying off the trash bag filled with all the empty shit around his apartment when he heard a light knock at the door. He set the bag down and checked the mirror on his fridge to make sure he looked alright before he walked over to the door.

With a deep breath, Spencer unlocked the door and opened the door slowly to reveal a grinning Morgan with Chinese takeout in his hands.

"Hey Reid. Let me in, would you? This shit is hot."

"Oh..right. Yeah. Sorry." Reid stepped aside to let Derek in before closing and locking the door behind them.

Morgan looked around his dark apartment curiously as he set the food in the coffee table in the living room. "Man you should open the curtains or something. It's depressing as hell in here."

Spencer sighed, "Yeah I know." He made his way to the windows and slid the curtains open to expose his living room to the warm mid-afternoon sunlight. Something about it made Spencer breathe with more clarity than he had in a while.

"So...." Morgan spoke casually as he unboxed the food and sprawled it out across the table, "What's been nagging at you?"

Spencer walked over to the couch and sat down next to Morgan, refusing to meet the other's eyes. The particular spread of food on the table made Reid's stomach growl. When was the last time he had had a decent meal? He couldn't place when exactly but he knew it had been a long time. "Um. Give me a sec; I'm gonna go get some plates and forks for us." He got up from his place and walked to the kitchen.

The words caught in his throat. Maybe he couldn't do it. His hands started shaking as he brought the dishes down from the cabinet. Man the withdrawals were getting bad. He needed more.

No. He didn't need more. He needed help. And thats exactly what he was going to get. The social deprivation had taken a toll on Spencer's anxiety though; he was suddenly more elusive than he intended and this made it hard for him to talk to people, let alone his friends. But he had to. Or he wouldn't make it out of this alive--he was sure of it.

Reid made his way back to the living room and handed Morgan a set of cutlery and dishes before sitting down himself and serving himself some food. Morgan did the same, putting a rather hearty serving of sweet-n-sour chicken on his plate. Reid was surprised with how patient Morgan was being with him; although he could recognize that Derek was using an interrogation strategy on him(whether he was aware of it or not). Silence was an uncomfortable thing for people in general and most would scramble to fill it as soon as possible. Good thing Reid wasn't most people.

So he let the silence stretch on for as long as he wanted, slowly eating his meal and enjoying every bite. Man, even shitty Chinese food tasted great if you hadn't eaten in a while.

Spencer took another bite as he noticed Morgan look at him out of the corner of his eyes.

"You're looking pretty thin, Reid."

Reid hummed in acknowledgment. He knew he looked sickly at this point; Morgan was right about needing to eat more.

"Have you been eating? Or sleeping?" Morgan set his food down and moved to face Reid, who was anxiously tapping his foot on the ground as he desperately avoided eye contact.

"A little." Reid admitted.

"Damn Pretty boy, you gotta start taking care of yourself better."

Spencer looked down in shame, Morgan was right. His body would start to shut down if he didn't give himself more attention.

"I know. I just--I haven't been doing so well I guess."

"Yeah well no shit."

"It's more serious than I thought it would be." Spencer finally set his own food down and brought his knees up to his chest as a way to conceal himself from the world.

"What do you mean?" Reid could tell Morgan was walking on eggshells around him; he couldn't blame him either. Reid had been kind of an asshole whenever his well-being was brought up by anyone--especially by Morgan. Cursing his past self for his poor behavior, Spencer finally looked up and made eye contact with Morgan.

"I need help."