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New Roads

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Feeling like an outsider was normal for Spencer Reid. He was used to it. He just hadn't thought that those he called family, the family he'd made for himself, would make him feel like that. Most of the mourner's eyes didn't leave the casket or the preacher, but two sets did. JJ and Will looked up at him. There was sadness in those eyes but more than just sadness for the death of the woman Hotch was once married to. There was a sadness for him as well.

JJ nodded at him and Will gave a small wave, totally unnoticed by everyone around him. Until Christmas, this was the last he'd see of them. He was going home. He needed to heal both body, heart, and even on some level, soul. DC had too many memories. Now that he was able to move around on his own and didn't need help, he was cleared to leave. The FBI was paying for all of his medical bills now and in the future, as it was an injury that he sustained on the job. John had seen to that, even without Strauss making a case for him. He'd been left alone to cover a target and while the circumstances were something that would never be repeated, the FBI wanted to cover their asses, so bending to taking care of him was a small thing they could do.

Spencer should have been there walking beside the casket. On his crutches still, but there even though he would have been a pallbearer if not for his leg. He could just make out Jack, beside his father. The little boy who he could have seen himself loving as a son one day. His heart ached for father and son, but they weren't his to worry about anymore. Truly, Jack had never been his to worry about. Just hopes and dreams that came from reading too far into the discussion he and Hotch had, following Spencer's brush with anthrax. What he had thought Hotch was talking about was a try at forever for the both of them. A try to build a family between the three of them. Hotch's meaning of caring for him had to be very different from his own. Because he'd come out of surgery with only Will with him and never a word from Hotch or anyone on the team. Will had sketchy details on Hotch that first day and little after. He'd been forgotten, on accident or on purpose, he would never know.

By the time that Spencer had been told that he'd never walk without a cane again and his field agent days were done, there had been nothing from the team. In the dead of night, Spencer had made his decision. He'd told the staff of the hospital that only Will and JJ were allowed to see him and then asked for pen and paper.

The letter of resignation was short. He cited his now damaged leg as the reason. Nothing more was needed. He'd called Strauss first thing and given his verbal resignation, letting her know that his letter was going to be on its way as soon as he could get a courier. It hadn't taken him long to set up a job in Las Vegas. Or to start the transfer of everything to Vegas. He paid off the lease on his apartment and secured a nice hotel room for the rest of his stay in DC. The day he had got out, Spencer had been set.

No one on the team noticed a single thing wrong. He had no calls or messages until the day Hotch had come back to work and he hadn't. By then his resignation and all his paperwork was buried on Hotch's desk. Strauss had been upset to let him go, but she had fast tracked it all, understanding why he was doing it. She felt for him and wanted to call the team on their behaviour, but Spencer had talked her out of it. Because he didn't want their sympathies from being told that something was wrong when he should have had them from the start. Spencer had ignored and continued to ignore all calls from anyone that wasn't JJ and Will.

Spencer had never needed to be heartless before. He never thought he would have to be, but he was finding that it was easy. It was almost too easy. It sucked for Hotch with Foyet attacking him, threatening Jack and Haley, then the death of Haley. But not once did any eyes but JJ's and Will's turn to him. He'd been pushed into the back of an ambulance and forgot about. He hadn't regretted his decision to cut everyone but JJ and Will, and by extension Henry, out of his life. He didn't want anyone who didn't seem to care that much about him in his life. He'd lived that enough in childhood. The people who knew that his father had left, but didn't seem to worry about him and his mother, even knowing what his mother's issues were.

Hotch was standing at the graveside with Jack in his arms. He wasn't sure what everyone else was seeing but Spencer was seeing nothing but anger in every single line of his body. Spencer wondered if that was directed at him. If Hotch was placing the blame of Haley's death at Spencer's own hands, he wouldn't be shocked. He couldn't be a whipping boy for him though. He wasn't going to stay and be that for him or a vessel of the team's own guilt at leaving him alone.

Shifting on his crutches, Spencer turned to look back at the cab that was waiting for him. He looked back at the group and turned to walk away. He'd been standing for a little too long and stuttered a little on his crutches. When he was settled, he started forward again. Looking at the cab, he walked towards his new future. He was looking forward to it like he'd never looked forward to anything in his life.