Title: Sleepless Nights
By: mindless fear of fire
Pairing: Reid/JJ
Rating: PG-13
Warning: WiP
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Nada. And so therefore I would beg that I am not sued! Although with Christmas coming up, if anyone wanted to be nice, I certainly would not say no to Reid!
Summary: JJ and Reid fight their feelings for each other after Georgia.


Spencer Reid slowly cracked open a tired eyelid, letting out a groan of frustration as the incessant blaring of his alarm clock. Sweeping a nimble hand wearily in the general direction of the noise, he quickly calculated through the fog of fatigue that he was aiming several degrees too high. A quick adjustment saw his clock knocked to the floor with a heavy clunk. He simply lay where he was, tangled up in his sheets, and slowly recalled the dreams that led to this entanglement. It had begun with his customary nightmare. Once again he was staring down the barrel of a gun, once again he could feel the ropes aground his legs and wrists biting into his flesh, and once again he felt overwhelmed by the sense of paralyzing fear, helplessness and resignation. He could still recall with appalling clarity the distinct click of the gun, the feel of his heart seemingly stop beating, and the crushing expectation of pain that he had experienced in those excruciating moments. However, his dreams had slowly morphed into a much more pleasurable, albeit exotic one, which, he reasoned, was much more likely to be the cause of his current position. He suddenly felt the need for a cold shower, not only to wash of the sweat from his dreams, but also to wake his wandering brain up to the true way of life

Not even waiting for the temperature to regulate, he jumped straight in, and instantly regretted it as the scalding hot water burnt his flesh, then left it bitterly cold. Jumping out of the spray, he leaned his head against the cool tiles until it became a steady nippy temperature. As he stood relishing the feel of the water, he allowed his feelings to surface. He could feel, as ever, the lust that coursed through his veins at the very thought of her, but this was followed, as usual, by an agonising understanding that she was simply too sassy, too sophisticated and simply too good for him. The reality crushed him as he committed his dream to memory, knowing once again that this dream was as good as he would ever get.

Across town, Jennifer Jareau lay awake, staring blankly at her ceiling. Glancing at her clock, she saw it was barely six am. She knew the rest of her team would be getting up soon, and again felt relieved that her job at least allowed her to come in at a more reasonable time. Flopping over quickly, she scrunched her eyes closed, in yet another attempt to get some sleep. But, not surprisingly, they fluttered open barely minutes later. For months now, her dreams had been plagued with thoughts of him. She knew, with a great deal of certainty, that she would never forgive herself for what he had been forced to endure due to her total incompetence in Georgia. The image of Spencer on his back tied to that chair, with foam around his mouth from his fit and dead to the world was one that had haunted her ever since, and showed no sign of ceasing. But, even worse, she was feeling a feeling totally different to the guilt. It was a feeling she had absolutely no control over, and yet she could feel it become even stronger each time she saw him. She had denied her feelings for him ever since he had taken her to the Redskins game. It had been….disastrous. She could feel her lips slowly curve in a smile at the memory, knowing that there was simply no other word to describe it. But when he had been kidnapped, and she had insisted on watching the heart breaking footage of his torture, she had realised that what she felt was not just a fling, not just attraction, but love. And she had felt her heart break a little more each time she saw him, knowing that she had been the one to force him to move on, and so she was the only one to blame for loosing her chance.

Spencer draped himself over his chair as he nursed his third cup of coffee, wrapping his slender fingers around it to try and coax a little more heat out of it. Bringing it up to his nose to take in a long whiff of the soul sustaining caffeine, he noticed JJ sauntering into the bullpen, and noted with a touch of satisfaction that she had left her hair down today. He loved her hair. It intoxicated him, made him want to reach out and run his fingers through it. As she drew closer however, he saw that she looked tired, even with the make-up she used to try and hide it. He felt a surge of concern for her, and, as she hurried straight up to her office, he stood and crossed to the small kitchenette, quickly fixing her a strong cup of coffee, with cream and sugar, just as he knew she liked it. He carefully carried it to her office, wondering as he went how best to see if she was ok.

Deciding an honest approach would be safest, as she had picked up many tips from the profilers she spend so much time with, and would certainly know if he was hiding something, he knocked on the door before he could allow himself to over think anything.

JJ jumped in surprise as she heard the knock at her door. Quickly calling out for whoever it was to come in, she silently cursed to herself. She had a fair idea who it was. She had seen him watching her with a concerned look on his face, but had hoped he wouldn't pry. As he stepped in though, bringing with him a delicious smell of coffee, she couldn't help but smile. Even though she had hurt him, he still was willing to help her and still cared. Gratefully accepting the cup, she looked at him inquiringly.

"Did you know that caffeine wakes you up by binding to adenosine receptors in your brain, and therefore reducing the effect that the sleep inducing adenosine enzyme can have on your brain?" he quickly blurted out, suddenly forgetting what he had planned to say. JJ simply laughed, shaking her head. It never ceased to amaze her how he could always come up with a random fact, no matter what the occasion.

Spencer cautiously opened his mouth again, wondering how best to approach his question.

"How are you, JJ" he asked hesitantly. She instantly recognised where he was going, and help up her hands defensively.

"I'm fine Spence, really. Thanks for the coffee." She hoped he would take the hint, and turned around, walking to the seat behind her desk. However, he simply took a rather tentative step towards her.

"I didn't say you weren't. But you look tired. Are you sleeping ok?" He didn't want to push, but he knew that, if she was suffering from nightmares, it would be easier if she talked about them. Not that he could really talk though, under the circumstances it was rather hypocritical of him, he mused. Tuning back into his surroundings, he realised JJ had swung round to face him, and she didn't look happy. He gulped.

"Would you go and look in the mirror Reid! Everyone can tell that you aren't sleeping properly, and we all give you space. So do the same for us!" Suddenly she stopped. Crap. What had she done! He looked lost, looking anywhere but at her. It wasn't his fault, and it was only to be expected that he would suffer from nightmares after his ordeal. Now he would never talk to them about them.

"Spence, I'm sorry. Really, I am fine. I just didn't have such a great night last night. I didn't mean to take it out on you. And I'm sorry for saying that, it was out of line." He looked at her, still in shock. He hadn't realised that it was so obvious to them. He realised he was going to have to try and hide them better, especially around her. She had always been slightly more astute at reading his mood than the others. Slowly he began to move towards the door.

"No, its ok, I get it. I shouldn't have interfered. Don't worry, I won't mention it again. I don't think the others will notice; it's well hidden." Then he was gone, and she was just staring at the empty space. She knew he would hide it all the more carefully now, and kicked herself for being so harsh when he was only being nice. She was going to have to apologise to him. But for now, they had work to do.


JJ sat down heavily behind her desk, glaring at the case files before her. She hated this, having to write up all the reports on each case they solved. Picking the top one up, she swiped the rest to one side, adding to the organised chaos that was on her desk. Glancing through the file, she found she couldn't concentrate. Her thoughts kept slipping back to what she had said to Spencer. Feeling guilty at the way she treated him, she took a long sip of the coffee. However, she immediately felt even worse, realising it was exactly the way she liked it. Turning her attention back to the case files, she began to read again. However, after another five minutes of reading the same line over and over again, she gave up. Jumping up, she practically jogged out of her room. Standing on the walkway that overlooked the bullpen, she realised he wasn't at his desk.

Quickly trying to make her face look neutral, she walked at a more sedate pace down towards Morgan and Prentiss. As she approached, Morgan called out.

"Hey JJ. Got a case for us? This paperwork is getting kinda tedious!" He grinned at her, but she could see the hint of concern on his face.

"Would you quit complaining!" Prentiss quickly exclaimed. "Are you saying you'd rather we had a case? That means victims!" Morgan realised his lack of tact, and the grin rapidly slipped off his face. However, JJ barely listened to their banter, and asked over his apology.

"Have you seen Reid? I need to ask him about something." The two gave her a slightly strange look, and it was Prentiss that answered.

"I think I saw him head to the toilets, about ten minutes ago. But he was coming out of your office." Muttering her thanks, JJ didn't bother to answer her unspoken question, but hurried off in the direction of the toilets. As the two watched her disappear, Morgan turned to Prentiss and raised his eyebrows.

"What was that all about?" He asked. Giving him a look that said "If you can't guess, just leave it", she glanced back at JJ's retreating back and sighed.

It wasn't until she reached the door that she realised that these were the men's toilets – she couldn't go in. As she stood, bouncing on the balls of her feet as she tried to justify barging into the room, Hotch walked past. Grabbing his arm just a little tighter than she intended to, she practically begged him, "Hotch, can you do me a favour? I need to speak to Reid. Its important, but and I think he's in the toilets. Could you go and see if he's in there, and if so get him out? Please!" Hotch looked at her, trying to work out the real reason for her odd request, but, seeing the near desperate look in her eyes, he sighed and turned into the bathroom.

As he walked in, Reid was leaning over the sink, seemingly lost in his thoughts. He was now thoroughly pissed off. He had only been trying to make sure she was ok. He knew she didn't need his help, but she usually wasn't quite so blunt. The worst of it was that he knew she was right. He didn't look well, hadn't for months now, and the team had been a silent, unobtrusive yet major source of support. Refocusing on his reflection, he took in his pale complexion, the big dark circles under his eyes, the gaunt look that enveloped his face, and realised that he needed to sort something out. He couldn't continue go days on end with minimal sleep, it was killing him slowly. He remembered the article he had read that stated that lab rats could only go between two and three weeks without sleep before it became fatal. He was in the middle of making a mental list of the medical complications long term sleep deprivation could bring about when he noticed Hotch's reflection staring at him worriedly in the mirror. Whirling round, he saw the worry that was written all over his face, and immediately felt guilty. He knew the team all had enough problems of their own, they certainly didn't need his on top of all that. Forcing a fake smile, he managed to choke out,

"Hotch, sorry, I didn't see you there! How long have you been there?"

"Not long" he replied, but his expression read "Long enough." Gulping, Reid looked away, and quickly asked,

"Is everything ok? Do we have a new case?"

"No, not a new case. JJ's outside, she wants to talk to you. Says it's urgent. But before you go, are you ok?" Hotch knew the time had passed for him to be silent. Reid blanced slightly. Even knowing the question was coming, he still didn't know how to answer. The information that JJ had sent Hotch in to look for him had made his brain go fuzzy, and he found himself garbling for a reply.

"Eh, yea, I mean, no, em, no, no, I'm fine. Yea, I'm fine. Fine. Thanks though. So, I'd, em, I'd better go, see what JJ needs." With that finally stuttered out, he quickly ran from the room, colliding with JJ in his haste. Hotch stared after him, wondering what he was going to do.

JJ tried to spring out of Reid's way as he barrelled out of the toilets, but they still managed to crash into each other. At the contact, JJ suddenly felt that the room had become much smaller, and oxygen had just been removed from the air. As the temperature seemed to drop several degrees, Reid realised that he was just standing there, almost on top of her. They both jumped away from each other awkwardly, both silently cursing to themselves. Reid could feel himself blushing like a tomato, and turned his head away in embarrassment, but JJ smiled at the sight. This was more like the sweet, innocent Reid she remembered, before Georgia, before he began to waste away before her eyes. As he began to mumble his apologies, she tentatively reached out her hand, hoping he wouldn't mind. She wanted to touch him again, even if it was just for a moment.

"Hey, why are you apologising?" she chastised him gently. "If I recall right it was me that completely overreacted there. I'm so sorry, I was just grouchy. But I should never have taken it out on you." He looked up at her through the hair that had fallen over his eyes, and she raised her hand from his arm and gently tucked it behind him ear. It was only then that she realised what she was doing and quickly pulled her arm away.

"I better get back to work now" she said quietly, before turning and hurrying away. Just before she rounded the corner, she turned back to where he stood and called out,

"By the way, thanks, the coffee was just how I like it." With a small smile, she disappeared.

Thoughts were running through Reid's head in a pace even he could barely comprehend. The feel of having her in such close proximity lingered, and her smiled slightly as he replayed the feel of her hand brushing his hair out of his eyes. Oh, he had wanted to kiss her so much. But then she had come to her senses, realised what she was doing, and had hurried off. He sighed deeply in disappointment, his shoulders slumping, and he slowly moved off to complete his report on the previous case. As he entered the bullpen, he glanced up at JJ's office, but the blinds were shut, and he crossed to his desk to work

JJ watched through the cracks in her blinds as Reid walked into the bullpen. Her heart squeezed painfully as she watched him, and she mentally slapped herself for her actions. She was sure he would avoid her now, and all because she couldn't control herself. But, she had never felt so turned on by simply touching someone's hair before. However, she knew she had never felt like this about anyone else either. As she watched him settle down and begin his work, she desperately wished she could see what was going on in that brilliant mind of his. Groaning in frustration, she slumped down at her desk and desperately began to plod through the pile of paperwork that awaited.


Once again, Reid could feel that irrational urge to glance up at JJ's office, and once again he resisted. He had been trying to distract himself all day, and knew that looking for a glimpse of her every two seconds was idiotic to the point of stupidity. With a bored sigh he glanced at his watch again, seeing with not any small amount of frustration that time had spend up in the seconds since he last looked at it. Not for the first time that day, he mentally cursed the speed of his brain. Logically, he knew his boredom was partially self-inflicted, but that didn't stop his internal rant. When he had reached the bull pen, he had immediately buried himself in paperwork, in the hope that it would take his mind off what had just happened. Or rather, not happened. He should have realized that all he would succeed in doing was to have all him paperwork completed in less than two hours, leaving him to sit and struggle with his thoughts with no distraction. He had tidied his desk (twice), cleaned the kitchenette, and even made Morgan and Prentiss a cup of coffee. He had nearly made one for JJ as well, but had decided that she would probably rather he simply left her alone. However, that had simply brought his thoughts back to her, which was how he suddenly found himself speaking to Morgan and Prentiss as he brought their coffee to their paperwork laden desks.

"Hey guys, I've finished my paperwork, I'll help with yours if you like. Otherwise, you'll be here all night." Morgan stared up at him in pretence shock, but Reid could see the smile crinkling at the corners of his eyes. With a false gasp, Morgan kidded

"You mean to say you're gonna actually help us out today! Normally you throw our files back at us in disgust when we ask you to do them!" Reid snorted.

"Difference is you don't usually ASK, sure you don't! You slip them in my pile hoping I won't notice! But today, for one day only, I'm offering. But if you don't want help, no problem. Em, I can take double of yours now!" Smiling slyly, Reid smirked at Morgan, feeling that this friendly banter work wonders for his head. Pushing his worries about JJ to the back of his over-active mind, he took a slight pride in the slightly shocked look on Morgan's face, and the impressed one on Emily's.

"Cat got your tongue?" he quipped to Morgan. Recovering quickly, Morgan didn't take long to reply.

"Nope, my tongue's simply waiting on a good reason to get active." He laughed.

"Such as that reason sashaying over there?" Emily asked quietly, a glitter in her eyes, as she indicated an oblivious Garcia as she headed back to her office with a fresh cup of coffee in her hand. With a mock glare in her direction, Morgan acquiesced under the attack and, with a grin at Reid he gathered up a few files and thrust them in his direction.

"All right, I give in! Thanks for your help Reid." He turned back to his work, and Reid lifted a handful of Emily's and returned to his desk. As he sat down, he felt as though something was drawing his gaze to JJ's office, and caught a sight of her beautiful blond hair as she moved away from the window.

JJ groaned. Her head felt ready to explode, and her pile of paperwork had barely been dented. She simply couldn't concentrate. She had seen Reid make the others coffee, and, glaring at her empty cup he had brought her earlier, she knew it was her fault he didn't make her one. She shivered slightly. He was so easily hurt, and she had just piled one hurt on top of another. He must be so angry with her. He hadn't glanced at her office once all morning, that much she knew. She could always feel when he was looking at her. Hearing laughter float up from the bull pen, she stood up to watch the antics. She was glad to see he looked happier, but she could see his worry even behind the mask he had applied. As she watched, she felt a pang of jealousy that she couldn't do that with him. She was always up in her office, unable to simply joke with him to break the monotony. With a barely audible sigh, it suddenly occurred to her that she could have spoilt her chance of having that at any time with him now. As he turned away from the others, she suddenly knew he would look up, and dived away from the window. Glancing back when she thought it was safe, it tore her heart to see the pained expression that lined his face, and she had to physically hold the edge of her desk to stop herself from running down there and kissing it away.

Reid had taken much more time on the paperwork this time, a fact that was not lost on either Hotch or Emily. She and Morgan had both offered to take some back, having finally finished their own, but, even though it was time to go home, he had refused, under the guise that he was nearly done anyway. Morgan had left, after several minutes of assurances from Reid that it was fine. Emily had fiddled at her desk for a while, wondering if she should go and speak to JJ. It had not escaped her notice that she had not left all day, ever since Reid had come back from the toilet. She couldn't help but wonder what had happened between the two, but she realized that if she went to JJ, he certainly wouldn't. Catching Hotch's eye from across the bullpen, she walked over towards him.

"You know, I think I might head on here. I know Reid and JJ are still here, but I'm hoping they can resolve whatever happened earlier if we leave them to it." Hotch looked at her thoughtfully.

"This needs to be resolved sooner rather than later. But you might be…." Hotch died off as he saw Reid stand up, glance at JJ's door, then promptly sit down again. Barely containing a laugh at the half haunted look on Reid's face, he turned to Emily again.

"If you want him to actually go up, and not just consider it, you might need to say something." With that he walked off to collect his things.

Emily turned and walked back to her desk slowly. When she got there, she began to pack up her things, and casually said

"You know, JJ has been in that office all day. Is she ok do you think?" Reid fidgeted nervously, silently berating himself for not realizing that the others would notice. He hoped that if they talked to JJ, they wouldn't blame him for overreacting.

"Yea, I think she was just busy though, we all had a lot of paperwork to do." He hoped that she would buy his lie, but, when she made to go up to her office, he quickly jumped out of his seat exclaiming

"You know, maybe I should go and check her. Make sure she realizes that it's home time and all. I'll go and say now once I finish this last page, why don't you go on home?" Emily smiled, but Reid, with his head bent over his desk to avoid looking at her, missed it. Barely containing a chuckle, Emily bade him goodnight, and walked out of the door with an equally amused Hotch, who had been watching from the door.

Letting his head drop into his hands, Reid folded himself down into his chair. He knew this conversation could go very badly, especially if she thought he was trying to pry again. Glancing at her door, he decided that another coffee might help calm her if necessary. As he trudged towards the percolator, he mused over the fact that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia in the 9th century. Working quickly, he immersed himself in other random facts to stop his brain from over thinking the conversation he was about to have, and hurried up the stairs as quickly as possible. However, when he reached the door and he lifted his hand to knock, a strange sound stopped his hand. Listening quietly for a few moments, he realized with a sickening jerk that JJ was crying. He felt his heart nearly explode with emotion. He had never seen JJ allow her emotions to get the better of herself, she liked control too much for that. Thinking she would rather not be seen like that, he began to walk away. But the heartbreaking notion that he was the one to blame for her tears made him dash through the door.

She hadn't even felt the tears coming. She had been struggling on with her work, even though it was seeming to become more and more futile as her concentration wondered. He mind had been replaying that look on Spencer's face all afternoon, and each time it did her gut seemed to twist into more knots. But she had been completely unprepared for the sudden onslaught of tears that suddenly enveloped her as she saw Emily leave beside Hotch. Putting her head down, she knew no-one would hear her up here. After all, only Spencer was left, and there was no way he would come near her. And so she let go, for the first time in a long long time.


Spencer threw himself in through the door, tripping over his feet in his haste to see if JJ was ok. He wobbled precariously for a few seconds, just a short distance inside her room, before losing the battle to stay upright and continuing his journey to the floor. As he fell, he twisted his body in an inane attempt to avoid the chair, but in doing so only managed to hit his head off the edge of the table, his hip still smashing into the arm of the chair. He let out a pain filled moan before he succumbed to the overwhelming darkness that enveloped him.

JJ let out a startled yelp when her door slammed open, wiping her tears away manically. She looked up when she thought the most of the tears where gone, to see Spencer teetering on the brink of falling. Still in shock at his abrupt entrance, she could only stare at him. The few seconds in which he struggled to retain his balance felt like hours to JJ as she looked on, but when he began to fall it seemed to free her body. Jumping up, she ran around to try and help, wincing as she saw his head crack against the table. Dropping to her knees by his shoulder, she realised he was not conscious, and with a cry she quickly checked for a pulse. Finding one, she let out a breath she hadn't realised she had been holding, and let out a strangled sob. She jerkily reached out and ran her hand over his skull, trying to find out what damage he had done. Although she couldn't feel a fracture, she knew she couldn't be sure. She absently began stroking his head as she worried, the gentle movement calming her more than it should have. She could feel the tears rushing to the surface again, and her throat felt restricted. The image of him lying there, prone and unconscious, was making her feel physically sick. She began calling his name softly, begging him to wake up.

"Spence? Spence, wake up! Please Spence, please, wake up, open your eyes, come on….. please….." she broke off as her tears finally overcame her again, dripping down her face to land on Spencer. Sobbing in earnest now, she pulled his head onto her lap, wrapped her arms around his stick like body, and cried into his hair, allowing the familiar smell of it comfort her.

Spencer could hear someone calling his name somewhere in the distance, and could sense the fog surrounding him clearing. As he slowly drifted into consciousness, he could feel something tickly over his face, and could smell a scent he knew he liked, but couldn't quite place. It wasn't until his brain registered the sound of someone sobbing that he remembered where he was and what had happened. Slamming his eyes open, he immediately had to close them as JJ's hair fell into them. Stiffening slightly as he realised he was wrapped in her arms, she was instantly alerted that he was awake. She jerked her head back and stared into his face.

"Are you ok? What the hell was so urgent! You hit the desk, is your head sore….Sorry, that's a silly question, of course it is…." JJ trailed off as she realised she was babbling. Spencer chuckled slightly, but immediately regretted it as his head pounded at the noise and vibration. Twisting his face in pain, he realised that, due to the speed he had been going and the angle he had hit the table at, there was about a 64 chance that he could have a slight concussion. Hoping he wouldn't, he refocused on JJ's concerned face.

"Hey, don't you worry, I'm gonna be fine, I just have a bit of a head ache." She snorted disbelievingly.

"Sure, a BIT of a headache. We both know you could have a concussion. She leaned closer, peering into his eyes to see if she could see any disorientation. Spencer couldn't control himself, and reached up his hand, cupping the side of her face.

"I'm sorry, I didn't want to worry you. I just was….I heard you crying….I thought that it was my fault…so I kinda panicked." She lent into his hand subconsciously, and murmured.

"You mean you fell because I was crying?"

"No, no, I fell because I was an idiot. And I made you cry, didn't I?"

"I… I thought you were mad."

"JJ, I could never be mad at you. You're not just my best friend. You're…" suddenly he stopped, biting his lip.

"I'm what Spence?" JJ whispered. She could feel her heart beating as though it would jump out of her chest, but she needed to know. "What?"

"You're…you're why I keep going JJ. You're just… just amazing. You're smart, strong, beautiful… I know you're out of my league, but if I was mad, I would be denying myself even the pleasure of your friendship." Spencer was suddenly very red, and began focusing anywhere but on JJ. He was so busy looking away that he didn't see JJ dipping her head down towards him until her lips brushed his ever so slightly.

Spencer stared at her in shock, then pushed his torso away from her, pulling on the edge of the desk in a vain attempt to get to his feet. He couldn't believe she would play with his emotions like that; especially when he had just told her how he felt. His head was pounding, but he ignored the pain, still struggling to rise. Glancing at her face, he saw a mix of hurt and confusion in her eyes. Silently she reached out, pulling him to his feet as she rose with him. However, once he was standing he stepped out of her grasp, gasping in pain as he put his weight on his injured hip.

She couldn't understand what he was doing. She had thought her heart might explode from the overwhelming wave of emotions that had swept over her with his words, and she had finally allowed herself to give in to her feelings, thinking he wanted the same. But now she could see how stupid she was. How stupid to believe, even for a moment, that he would want to be with her. She helped him up, not trusting herself to speak, and felt her heart break a little more when he stepped away, not even caring that he was hurting himself in his quest to put as much distance between them as possible. When the look of pain had faded from his eyes, she recoiled at the unbridled anger that was smouldering in his normally calm and caring eyes.


"How DARE you? I am not just a pawn for you to play with, do you realise that?" He was snarling at her, he knew that, but he just couldn't stop himself.

"I…what? Spence, what are you talking about? I wasn't playing!" She was really confused now. What was that supposed to mean?

"Oh, so telling me you only want to be friends, then alternating between flirting and barely talking to me, then running off this morning and now kissing me, that's just normal for you, is it? Because it's not for me!"

"Spence…I'm sorry, really I am." She quickly held up her hand, seeing he was about to speak. "No, let me finish. I didn't mean for it to seem like I was playing with you. Honestly, I didn't. The only reason I acted like that was because… well, I was trying to come to terms with my feelings for you. After Georgia, I knew something had changed. At first I thought it was just the guilt, but then it began to get worse, and I knew it wasn't. Spence, I'm sorry, really, you deserve way better than me. I know I pushed you away, but that was because I was scared. I was scared of this new, strange feeling I couldn't seem to escape. And so I took it out on you." She broke off, choking back a sob. There was a deafening silence following her little speech, and a quick glance at Spencer showed her he was still trying to comprehend her words. She stepped up to him, hoping to emphasise her words, when he suddenly squeaked out,


"Yes, really. God, I am so sorry." He looked at her, seeming surprised at how close she was to him. He had been concentrating too much to notice.

"JJ…" She cut him off with another kiss, harder this time. But when he still didn't respond, she moved back a little, sighing in defeat. Suddenly, Spencer seemed to come to his senses, and he grabbed her hip, pulling her closer to him again, crashing his lips onto hers. It took barely a moment for JJ to respond, and her tongue, quickly bored with the chaste kiss, was soon begging his lips for entry. He instantly relented, allowing their tongues to do a passionate battle for dominance, until JJ relented, allowing him full access to explore her mouth. She suddenly felt very weak at the knees, overwhelmed by the amount of pent up emotion both of them were pouring into the kiss. She lent against him, allowing her hands to explore his back before moving up to twist her fingers in his long hair, revelling in the ability to finally do such a simple thing. Realising he couldn't stand without a little support, he pulled JJ back with him until he was leaning against the table. Then, he hesitantly placed one hand on her head, pulling her even closer to him than she had thought humanly possible, while allowing the other to explore the rest of her body. The air was electric, the room palpitating, their bodies screaming for air when they finally broke apart. Smiling slightly, Spencer lent his forehead against JJ's, murmuring cheekily,

"So I take it it's safe to say we forgive each other then?" JJ laughed, swatting him playfully on the chest. She leaned against him, relaxing into his lean but comforting frame, but the small action sent tremors of excruciating pain up his leg. Jumping back, she started apologising profusely, and, wrapping an arm around him for support, began to lead him out of her office.

"Eh, JJ, I don't mean to be rude, but where exactly are we going?" Spence was worried, he knew he wouldn't be up to any physical exertion, and he didn't want her to think he just didn't want it. JJ stopped, looking up into his eyes, quickly understanding the worry she was there. Reaching her hand up, she stroked his face, still amazed at the ability to do such a simple act so freely, and, caressing his cheek, she quickly quelled his fear.

"It's ok, I'm just taking you to the hospital." Spencer shivered, his old worries replaced by a haunting feeling, one he had associated with hospitals for years. He suddenly realised he hadn't been near a hospital since he had been released after Georgia, and he could feel his feet begin to drag. JJ stopped again, sensing something was still wrong.

"What is it Spence?"

"It's…it's nothing. I… just don't really like hospitals, that's all." She took his hand in her free one, giving him strength through the one simple gesture, and she quickly reassured him.

"Hey, it's ok, I'll be there with you, I promise. We can do this together, because you really need to get that leg and head checked out." Nodding apprehensively, he allowed her to continue steering them towards the elevator. When the doors pinged shut behind them, he lent against the wall, closing his eyes momentarily to try and calm his nerves. When he opened them, JJ was gazing up at him concernedly, and to reassure her he lent down and kissed her chastely on the lips. Wrapping their arms around each other, they just stood there, and, with her support surrounding him in the form of two long and slender arms, he allowed himself to hope that he could do this.


The glass was cool against his clammy forehead, the heating in the car feeling several degrees too warm, and his hands, tightly clasped in his lap, where shaking slightly despite his death grip. Closing his eyes tightly, he inhaled several deep breathes, once again giving a vain attempt to calm his beating heart and stop the wild thoughts chasing through his brain. He began to assimilate all the positive facts he knew about hospitals, running them through his head to stop his imagination from digressing any farther. "The Sri Lankans are thought to have introduced the first dedicated hospital to the world…there are two types of patients in a hospital, inpatients and outpatients… many hospitals with pre-20th-century origins began as one building and evolved into campuses…there are several types of specialised hospitals, such as trauma centres, children's hospitals, geriatric hospitals… psychiatric hospitals…" As his thoughts slipped back into dangerous waters, he could feel the shaking increase, and silently cursed his mind once again. Shaking his head slightly, he groaned as the simple action left him feeling dizzy and woozy. JJ glanced over in concern, quickly taking stock of his stiff position and weakening composure.

"Are you OK Spence?" When she received no answer, she reached out her hand tentatively, brushing her fingers over his arm in an attempt to get his attention. She could feel the goose bumps sitting up prominently on his skin, and she slipped her small hand over his, separating his hands and taking one into her own. Reid glanced up at her in surprise, but he could feel the shaking ease already. He squeezed her hand gently, in a silent gesture of thanks. The two rode out the rest of the journey in silence, Reid drawing as much composure as possible before they arrived, and JJ worrying about what was going to happen when they did arrive.

Slowly, JJ pulled her car into a parking space at the farthest end of the parking lot from the front door. Killing the engine, she turned to face Reid again, who, feeling her eyes on him, glanced up warily.

"Are you gonna be OK in here? I know it's gonna be hard for you, but if I can help, tell me, OK?" Reid nodded slowly, and JJ slipped out of the car, jogging round to help him out of his seat. Quickly wrapping her arms around his waist so she was supporting a large portion of his weight, the pair made their slow way towards the door of the ER. As they moved, JJ let her thoughts drift. She knew that hospitals brought back all the memories of his attack in Georgia, and those of his 'cold turkey' experience they had all had to watch him suffer after the drugs, but she also knew that there was more to it than just these memories that made him hate hospitals so much. She could remember as clear as day the haunted look that his eyes supported all the while he had been in hospital, and the clear relief that etched itself over his face as he had finally managed to limp out the doors to go home. She hoped that he would trust her enough to tell her soon, because it was tearing her up to watch him go through this alone.

Reid looked at JJ nervously, instantly put on edge by the look he could see on her face. She was clearly contemplating something, and he had a feeling that many of the teams profiling skills had worn off on her. He knew she had already realised that his dislike of hospitals was derived from much more than she knew, but he had hoped he could avoid explaining it to her. He still hated himself for what he had done to his mother, there was no way he could expect her not to hate him as well. Smiling nervously at her, he purposely avoided eye contact and forced himself to stumble on into the hospital. As he entered through the double doors, the smell of disinfectant hit him like a sledgehammer. He had to gasp for air as the smell evaded his mental barriers and brought on a rapid series of flashbacks from his childhood. "no…Spencer, you cant leave me here…come back…don't abandon me…SPENCER!" Jerking suddenly, he realised JJ had been talking to him.

"Sorry, what was that?" JJ gazed at him in concern, but didn't call him on it.

"I was just saying, you go and sit down, I'll get you sorted out at the reception, ok?" With that, she steered him over to the uncomfortable red chairs and plonked him down, pressing a soft, reassuring kiss to his head before moving towards the desk. Spencer sat in a daze, but he could feel the skin where she had kissed him tingle, spreading inexplicable warmth down to his chest.

Although it seemed like much longer, it was only a few minutes until JJ reappeared at his side, armed with a pen and a clipboard. Without further ado, she slipped in beside him and began filling out his details, only stopping to check how best to describe his injury. After jotting down the final few words, she handed the form back in and returned to her seat.

"It should only be another few minutes apparently, we seem to have hit them at a good time." When she received no reply, she once again reached for his hand.

"Spence…?" He glanced at her.

"JJ…sorry… I just hate these places…"

"Why?" Her hand flew to her mouth. She hadn't meant to even ask, never mind so bluntly. "Sorry, that's none of my business..."

"Its ok, really it is. I think…you deserve to know. But please…don't judge me too harshly…" He trailed off again, taking in a deep breath. He didn't want to have to do this, but he knew he had to. It was only fair, since she was the one there with him.

"I wont judge you at all Spence, you can trust me."

"I know I can." He replied simply, his eyes betraying how much that simple statement meant to him. "You remember my mum, don't you?" When she nodded in affirmation, he continued. "Well, when I was ten… my father walked out. He left a letter on the kitchen table, saying he had been offered a new job, and had taken it, because he couldn't cope with either of us anymore. Mum... she had become difficult, her mood swing where unpredictable, she had long periods of depression and temporary insanity. I cared for from then onwards, in between my studies. I used to come home at lunchtime, get her something to eat, get her changed, then head back for my afternoon classes. But, when I turned 18, I had just finished my first degree and had been accepted to do my second. But I felt I couldn't manage to care for her anymore, her condition had deteriorated so much she rarely got out of bed, she hardly recognised me. I know now that it was my fault, I should have tried harder, but I didn't think that at the time. I forced her to go into a psychiatric hospital. I'll never forget the look in her eyes as they led her away. I had betrayed her, in the worst possible way. Even now, I hate going to see her. Sure, I write every day, but visiting? No, I use work as an excuse!" Groaning in anguish, Spencer rubbed his head, trying to alleviate the building headache.

"Spence, look at me." Spencer knew he couldn't look at her, for fear of what he would see in her eyes. He knew that there was no disgust or negative emotion shown in her voice, but he knew that her eyes would betray everything to him. She reached over, tugging his chin up so he was facing her, but even then his eyes avoided hers.

"Spencer, look at me!" With ever growing trepidation, he finally risked a glance at her eyes, and what he saw made him feel glad he was already sitting down. They bore no malice whatsoever, only concern, empathy and, if he allowed himself to believe it, love.

"You were right back then and deep down you know it! There was nothing whatsoever you could have done except what you did, and it was the best decision for your mother as well as for you, even if she didn't see it at the time. You never betrayed her at all, you did a lot more than most people could have, and ten times more than what your father did." Spencer looked at her in confusion.

"But I ended up no better than him, in the end, I left her too. I left and came here, instead of staying with her like I should have. I chose myself over my mother!"

"No, you chose to have a life. There was nothing more you could do for your mother, and as you said yourself, she hardly ever recognised you. So you could either have wasted away in Vegas, or come to Quantico, to save the amount of people and do as much good as you have achieved since you arrived. You made the right choice Spence, don't beat yourself up about it, please." Spencer squeezed her hand gratefully, feeling his chest loosen a little at her words. Just then, a voice called out over the empty waiting room.

"Spencer Reid? Can you come on in please?" With one final longing look at the door, Spencer braced himself, and, with JJ's help, pushed himself forward to meet his fears.