A/N: Hello again! Just a quick drabble that wouldn't let me escape without putting pen to paper. Hope you guys enjoy it.

Walking in Darkness

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
~ Helen Keller ~

It had been an exhausting four days.

Sometimes it seemed as if for every criminal they put away, two more appeared. The BAU's own personal Hydra.

For JJ, it seemed as if every case brought more death and destruction than the last.

This last case, a spree killing in Tacoma, Washington that left five women dead and one changed forever, had taken a toll on the team. But none more so than Reid. Each of the victims had been targeted because of their mental illness - schizophrenia.


He's off by himself, occupying his usual seat on the plane, eyes turned towards the clouds, but unfocused. Lost in thought. Sometimes, she wishes she could experience his mind, the way it works, the way it makes connections. It's an amazing thing, and something she'll never really get to experience.

Ever since Emily's death and subsequent resurrection, he'd been distant. Maybe not as distant as he had been - when the anger and the hurt he'd felt had overwhelmed the relationships between all three of them - but still somewhat distant. Not that I can blame him.

Sometimes, in the darkest parts of the night, she wished she could do things differently. Not necessarily her role in Emily's protection - but how they handled the rest. If she could go back, to that day in the hospital, would she tell Reid the truth? Would Emily be at even more risk by that one allowance?

She didn't know. Couldn't know. The past is the past. It was done now. Funny, how the past could still hurt you.

"Hey. You okay?"

"No, not really. I can't get what Waters said out of my head. No matter how many times we see someone mistake mental illness for the manifestation of evil - it never gets easier. Maybe that's because of my mom? I don't know. But for these women to lose their lives because of something they couldn't control, something they never asked for, I'm just having trouble accepting that. More so than usual, anyway."

"We all are Spence. Because we know the truth. But Malcolm Waters was sick. And sometimes, no matter how hard we try to, we can't understand why an unsub does what he does - whether we know his motivations or not. Just remember that we caught him. And he can't hurt anyone else, ever again."

She watches as he nods, a smile on his face, but it doesn't fool her. Not after eight years.

So, she tries again. "Hey, you know you can talk to me about anything right? You're my best friend Spence. No matter what you tell me, that won't change. I promise. Okay?"

"Yeah. I know." He seems to hesitate, but continues speaking anyway. "You've always been there when I've need someone to talk to JJ. And I don't think I would've last this long, doing this job, if you weren't here."

She can't help the grin that spread across her face at his words. She's always felt the same, even if she's never admitted it to herself. Out loud, anyway. "Same here Spence. What we see, as gruesome and terrifying as it may be, it's worth it if we get to bring a little bit of light to those affected. And being able to do that with someone who is as important to me as you are, makes it all the more satisfying." She doesn't know what else to say, so she starts to stand and excuse herself, "I better get some sleep. Karen can't stay with Henry this afternoon, so I told her I'd head home right after we land. And we both know my son isn't likely to let me get any rest!"

He stops her with a hand on her forearm before she can get up, intent on heading back to her seat and getting some sleep, "Hey JJ?"

Turning back to look at him, she watches as he hesitates, suddenly unsure. So, she helps him out, "Yeah Spence?"

With a grin he answers her, "You're my best friend too. There's no one I'd rather walk through the darkness with."

"And don't you forget it, Spencer Reid."

With that, she was gone.