|Ibuprofen and Plasma
Author: Ren Kayashima PM
Spencer Reid stumbles into a coffee shop looking for his daily dose of life support and winds up finding a lot more than he ever expected to find.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - S. Reid - Chapters: 33 - Words: 107,353 - Reviews: 341 - Favs: 175 - Follows: 256 - Updated: 05-02-13 - Published: 06-09-11 - id: 7065067
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author: Ren Kayashima
Disclaimer: Alas my top secret mission to steal the rights to Criminal Minds failed. At the last minute my repel line broke and I was arrested for trespassing on ABC ground. If you would like to help me with bail money…
January 1, 2012
Spencer walked down the quiet hallway of the Bennington Sanitarium gripping his shoulder bag tightly by its strap. He was staying in a simple motel down the street because his mother's doctor wouldn't let him sleep on the couch for more than one night. It was far from the chaos of the Strip, so it was quiet, comfortable, and close to the only family he really knew.
After spending five days in the Thompson house, Spencer had learned that embracing the chaos of a large family was sometimes the best way to appreciate family in all its forms. Now, he was in Vegas with only one thing on his mind. He was going to enjoy the short amount of time he had in Nevada with his mother.
The night before, Spencer sat on his mother's couch, listening to Diana read some of Chaucer's poems to him. They stayed up to greet the first couple seconds of the new year with chocolate, good literature, and fine conversation. Reid only returned to his room at the motel when his mother fell asleep in the middle of a reading of "The Wife of Bath's Tale" from Canterbury Tales.
Today, he was meeting his mother for breakfast in her room, and they were going to work on another one of Diana's famous lectures on fifteenth century literature. Even if Reid had heard it a thousand times, he would still listen again. The lectures brought a certain light to Diana Reid's eyes. It was similar to the way they looked as she read Dante's Inferno, or the way she told Spencer about the meaning of Bob Dylan's songs. It was connected to a long line of happy memories that Reid often forgot. Most of the time, he remembered the 'episodes' his mother would have.
Spencer stopped just outside of his mother's door when his phone let out a shrill tweet. He quickly dug into the pocket of his tan slacks and pulled out his phone. His screen lit up with a text message from Greg. The robots are ready to test when you get back. Aunt Gwen says that we can use the parking lot behind the condo.
Reid quickly typed out a message back and turned to knock on the door. "Mom?" he asked curiously. He found it odd that her door was closed. Most of the time, it was left open for nurses and doctors to get in.
"You can come in, Spencer," Diana called back from behind the door.
Reid opened the door and stepped in, looking at his shoes, wondering how a large spot of caked dirt ended up at the tip of his shoe. He looked up as he pulled his bag off his shoulder. He froze on the spot, his bag swaying back and forth in his hands. "Dad?" Spencer asked. His forehead creased in confusion.
William Reid was sitting on the couch next to Diana. In his lap was an old book that sat open. William smiled genially. "Hello, Spencer," he greeted. He closed the book gently and set it down on the side table.
"What are you doing here?" Reid asked his tone more curious than bitter. Despite knowing the truth about why his father left, there was still that feeling of abandonment that never seemed to leave the doctor. It was a feeling that generally didn't sit well with anyone, and Spencer was no exception to this. He felt himself stand a little taller in an attempt to make his father think that he was unfazed.
"Well… I wanted to see you mother," William said. He looked at the book on the side table and turned so that he was angled toward Diana. "We were just talking about books."
Spencer glanced at his mother. She was rubbing her neck as she looked at a notebook full of old lecture notes. She looked up at her son and he could see that it was one of her clear days. "Happy New Year, Spencer."
"Hi, Mom," Spencer waved.
"Have you spoken to Gwenevere today?" Diana asked. She looked towards her desk. In a large decorative box, one could find all of the letters that Spencer had sent her. The most recent letter had been chronicling his time with the BAU and his time with Gwenevere. "You shouldn't keep a lady waiting. We tend to get vengeful."
Spencer sat down on the edge of Diana's bed. "I called her back at the hotel," he said. He dropped his bag next to him.
"Who's Gwenevere?" William asked, looking at his son. He had to assume that this was some new woman Spencer knew in Virginia.
Spencer clenched his jaw. Somehow, he wasn't inclined to share the details of his relationship with the man who had walked out on him. Gwenevere was special to him, and he didn't feel like his father had earned the right to know about her. They had barely spoken since they met back up after twenty years, and now he wanted to know about Gwenevere.
"That's Spencer's girlfriend," Diana answered. "Spencer's been spending a lot of time with her and her kids."
"She has children?" William asked getting a little excited. "I always wondered how you would do with kids. I've wondered what kind of father you would be."
"They aren't really kids, they're teenagers, and they're Gwenevere's niece and nephew," Spencer corrected politely while he started picking at his nails. He never really thought about being any sort of father figure to Greg or Lizzie. "Greg and I have been working on a robot. It's ready to test, too. The one I told you about, Mom."
"Is it one of those battle robots that people compete with?" William asked. He could hear the forced pleasantness in his son's voice, and he was only trying to keep the line of communication open for the moment. He couldn't blame Spencer, but he hoped that this would help the strained relationship they had.
William had spent the last two and a half years trying to come up with a way to fix the father/son bond, but two and a half years hardly made up for the twenty years William was absent from the geniuses world. It was a long road of baby steps, and William was willing to make the effort if it meant being a part of the more substantial parts of Spencer's life. That included girlfriends.
"It has a spring-loaded hammer, and paintball gun," Spencer answered. He started to move his hands around as if the robot was right in front of him. "The paintball pellets are actually filled with a sticky goop that has the potential to jamb gears or slow down the wheels." He hoped that the explanation was enough.
William nodded. "And Gwenevere is okay with it?" he asked.
"Gwenevere entered the design in a contest for Greg," Spencer answered. "She's been assisting Greg in finding the rest of the gears and the materials we need. Greg's been working really hard to get some practical work in before his senior year because he's hoping to add it to his applications to MIT and CalPoly."
"This competition has a scholarship attached, doesn't it?" Diana asked. She didn't always remember the finer details of Spencer's letters, but anything related to the world of academia tended to stay with her.
"That's great!" William grinned. "What about Gwenevere? What does she do?"
Reid glanced at his mom. He had avoided mentioning Gwenevere's job as a private investigator because he knew that the news would likely have Diana talking about the watching eyes everywhere. "She's a political columnist with the Washington Post. She writes a lot of satire for it. She's also been doing some local news pieces. She's good at it, too."
"What does she think about your job?" William asked. It was a fair question. Spencer was always traveling to cities, towns, sometimes another country to help with a case.
Spencer felt the muscles in his jaw tighten. "She's from a family of cops, so she understands," he said tightly. "We met during a case. Just before, actually."
William studied his son. Despite the guarded information, Spencer's face told more. The way his eyes softened when he talked about Gwenevere's job, the way his smile grew as he talked about the robot and the upcoming completion. There was a tone of protectiveness when Spencer corrected Diana about Gwenevere being an aunt and not a mom. Everything William saw told him something, Spencer was falling in love with this woman.
"I'm happy you found someone, Spencer," William grinned. "I always knew you would."
William looked around the room as the silence grew. He settled his attention on the woman he had loved, and still loved. "Diana, I should go."
Diana stared at her husband silently. "Thank you for reading with me," she smiled. The hand that had been rubbing her neck settled in her lap.
"Any time, Diana." William bent down and kissed Diana on the cheek. He quickly turned to Spencer. "It was good to see you."
Reid suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. "You too," he said half-heartedly.
William patted his pockets to make sure that everything was in place before giving the room one last look. "I'll come back another time, Diana." He shuffled to the door and left the room with an awkward wave.
"He's trying, Spencer," Diana stated, giving her son a hard look. She was very adept at picking up facial cues from her son.
"Maybe he should have tried sooner," Spencer said, moving over to the couch to sit closer to Diana.
"He sees it, too," Diana hummed. She looked at Reid's confused look. "The love you feel for Gwenevere."
Diana held up a hand to cut him off. "I've been in love, Spencer," she said wisely. "I know what it looks like, and you are in love with this girl. I'm crazy, but that hasn't stopped me from feeling the emotion in your letters. I can tell when you're happy."
Spencer looked at the ground. He was certainly happier around Gwenevere. She challenged him, respected him, and even changed him for the better. Did that mean he was falling in love, or possibly already there? He smiled at his mom. "Yes, I'm happy with her," he said.
"Sherlock!" Walter groaned, banging his fist on the table. "You're killing me." He grabbed a leftover Christmas cookie and bit into it.
Gwenevere laughed as she collected their finished plates of snacks and carried them into the kitchen. She came back and took a long sip from her beer bottle. While Lizzie and Greg had retired upstairs, Gwen, Walter, and Emily had taken up residence in the kitchen at the small dining table. Gwen had pulled out a chess set and had challenged Walter to a game. "You had to know it was coming," she said. "I mean, you left your queen open for the taking."
"Yeah, yeah," Walter grumbled. He sipped his glass of soda. "Keep drinking beer and we'll see who wins."
Emily sat at edge of the table hugging one propped up leg. The bemused grin on her face was partially a product of the two beers she had had, and the other part was due to the playful banter that had been going on all week. She was starting to see why Reid liked being with Gwen and the kids. They worked through their problems, and they spent time together as a family. This was a break from a tough job, and even she found herself enjoying the closeness. Sure it wasn't perfect. Gwenevere and Scott had gotten into an argument the night before about an article she was writing about an investigation. Apparently, Gwen was on good term with the officers on the case, and had been told to write the article by her editor. She was trying not to cave into the pressure to write about how bad the police were doing, but today they had moved past that and were talking again.
Mary came in holding her wine glass. She looked at the chess board. "I don't remember Gwenevere ever completing a game of chess. She was more interested in action packed video games or something like clue."
Emily looked up at the author. Mary had been talking about all of her kids all week. It was always little tidbits about their lives growing up. The stories were charming and heartwarming. "Really?" she asked.
"Spencer is teaching me," Gwenevere answered. "We play after Lizzie and Greg go to bed, but Spencer keeps winning."
Emily nodded, not finding this surprising in the slightest. "He's got a lot of chess theory in his head," Emily stated. "He played all the time with Gideon."
Walter looked to the agent. "Who's Gideon?" Walter asked.
"He's one of the best profilers in the world," Gwen answered. She stretched slightly to get rid of the stiffness in her back. "And he was a mentor to Spencer before he left the BAU five years ago."
Walter nodded and looked at the chess board, thinking about everything that Gwenevere had told him about Spencer Reid. "I don't know if I've ever seen you this happy with a guy before," he said. He smiled towards Gwenevere, ignoring the looks that Mary and Emily gave him. "Even when we dated, you weren't this happy."
Emily blinked and glanced at Gwen's small smile. "Wait, you're not gay? Reid said that you were gay," she said. She turned to face Walter.
"I am gay. Gwen and I have been friends since elementary school, like Jenny. We hooked up for mutual benefits. I avoided bullying from our close-minded classmates, and Gwen didn't get singled out for being single. Some of the things that the other students did to single girls weren't very nice. Downright cruel sometimes."
"We protected each other," Gwen said.
"But now Spencer can do that for you." Walter stood up and yawned. "What time is it?"
Emily looked at her watch. "Midnight."
Mary walked over to Gwen and rested a hand on her daughter's back. "Honey, I need you to put the trash bin out by the road."
"I'll do it right now," Gwen smiled.
"One moment," Walter started. He held a finger up so that he could get his friends attention. "Gwenevere, you know I love to put you on the spotlight. So, answer me this, and don't deny it. When did you really know that you were in love with Spencer? Satisfy an old friend's curiosity."
Gwen grabbed her winter coat off the back of her chair. She pulled it on mechanically as she looked up at the ceiling, thinking about how to answer. "Probably when he didn't shoot me back in our laser tag game back in October," she answered. She lifted her hair out of the coat and grinned. "I'll be right back."
Gwen jogged to the front door and attempted to shield herself from the cold. She wouldn't be out there too long, but this wasn't going to be fun. The cold air and the cover of night always made her feel jumpy, as if she was being watched.
At the side of the house, Gwen found herself kicking the trash bin forward as she tilted it back. She listened as the wheels crunched the dead leaves, and rocks on the ground. She started to hum one of the newest Lady Antebellum songs cheerily. If she could convince herself that the dark wasn't frightening, maybe she could be done sooner.
The PI looked around when she heard a twig snap. After finding nothing in the dark she blew out a breath and mused to herself about the cloud of condensation that hung in the air. She jumped around and turned around looking for the person or animal that made the crunching sound as they stepped on the dead leaves.
The rushed footfalls came from behind her and she had only a quick moment to turn sharply and see a dark figure before something hard and cold clashed against her skull.
Author's Note: Greetings from the boondocks of California. I'm here to see my cousin and her fourteen other senior friends' graduate high school. May I just say that being in a town of 1100 makes me feel a little more "city girl" and not so much "the girl from the suburbs". I can walk everywhere, the people are nice, and there isn't a chain store in sight. That last part isn't so good because I am in desperate need of a Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte.
Anyway, I'm working on a couple of projects at the moment now that the summer season has kicked into high gear. I hope to have a new chapter out quickly, but work and family obligations come first.
Don't forget to review.