A/N: I tried real hard, but it seems I can only do angst. Please note…self harming …please do not read if this is an issue with you.

The Stresser.

Disclaimer: not mine.

People react to things in their lives if very different ways. Some get divorced and are depressed…some throw freedom parties. Some people get hurt and hit back at others, but some people get hurt and need to protect. Others fall on the road of self destruction. This is called the Stresser. The thing that makes you curl into a ball and howl. The thing which makes you want to scream. The thing with makes you need to feel that pain and release every day. Every waking moment. Forever. Its OK, no one will notice. No one will see that you aren't eating anymore. No one will miss you not going to the bar after work, because you are not really that noticeable anyway are you? No one will be able to see the cut marks on your arms. Keep them covered. No one will ever know. Fiddle with the files on your desk…clasp your hands tightly now…you are shaking. Don't let them see you tremble like that.

"Oh I have drunk too much coffee." You can say if they notice something. You probably have. That and candy bars are really the only things which go into your mouth now, and the candy doesn't taste sweet anymore, and it doesn't stay down for long either. Spending time vomiting in the BAU bathrooms has become quite a habit for young Dr Reid.

"You OK Reid?" Morgan will ask…and you will say "Yes I am fine…Couldn't sleep last night." And Morgan will know the reason why. He knows about the nightmares. He will be happy with the answer: for now.

"Reid, I need to talk to you in my office." Gideon will instruct. You will be told that you need to go home and change. That you need to shower. That your clothes look like you have slept in them. Gideon will ask what is going on. He will demand another blood/urine test. He will assume it's the drugs again. But its not. He will get his answer to the test and he will wonder. What is going on?

He will profile Reid. He will see how often Reid is away from his desk. He will make notes and watch. He will never know though. Spencer Reid can keep secrets. He is a genius after all. He can wind his way around those profiling tricks of Gideon's. If he is your mentor you know everything. You know what he is looking for. He taught you the same. So give him what he needs. Don't show him what he wants to see.

Standing here alone waiting. Money in your pocket. Needing. Trembling. It's not total darkness. The street lamps glow orange and give a strange sheen to everything. Still waiting. How long will you wait before you give up and try somewhere else. You know plenty of people why are you bothering to wait here. It's too hot. Too close, but you are still in long sleeves and sweater vest and jacket. You can't stand still….so you pace…up and down this little corner of hell. Sweating in the heat. Sweating from the need. Where the hell is he? He is always here. Maybe he isn't coming tonight. You give up and go back to your apartment.

Its small…its full of books…Old and new. The windows are shut tight against the world. There is a space where the TV once was. CDs lay thrown across the floor, and a big old chair beckons from the corner of the room.

You can put a side light on. Keep the big lights off.

That little blade on the table is looking at you. Its saying I can help you and you will know it is right. You will remove your jacket and drop it to the floor, then pull off your sweater. But keep that on your lap, just in case. Emergency. You can never be sure. Even a genius can't be sure. Unbuttoning your shirt and pushing up the sleeves will be where you could start.

You will be able to see the scars on your stomach. You will be able to see the marks on your arms. The scabs healing over. Start by removing the scabs. That's always a good feeling. You will see how you have bitten down all your fingernails except for one. The one you use to pick and pick and pick with. Little pin pricks of blood will appear. You know it will make it feel better. Now you will be able to lick the blood and find and good place to start again.

Your hands will be shaking too much to use the knife yet. You will have to prepare properly. You cannot afford to make a mistake and cut where someone will see. Where Gideon will see. Where Morgan will see. Where Garcia will stare at. So for now pick and pick and pick, and lick.

You will be annoyed that your contact wasn't there today. You needed that tonight. You needed that pain. When there is pain you can almost pretend that you exist. That someone might notice you are getting painfully thin. Someone might notice that empty hollow look in your eyes. Someone might even say -

"Hey Spence, how you feeling today?"

But that someone can't even look at you in the eye anymore. That someone was nearly eaten alive by rabid dogs because you got over excited and ran off and left her. Left her alone. And you have seen the fear and pain in her eyes too, and you can't look at them anymore. She can't see you anymore with those big blue sad frightened eyes.

It's a good idea to make sure your phone is nearby. You might need it. Tonight might be the night. Tonight you are still shaking and trembling, when usually you have calmed down. Usually you would have used the little sharp knife by now, but tonight the man wasn't there, so tonight you will have to cut a bit deeper. But you can't yet, so you will have to pick, because now you can't hold that little knife. That little bit of shining hope that will make you feel real again. You are still shaking too much.

So now you will sit and think back to everything which has made you what you are. Fluke of birth gave you a brain which works differently from everyone else's. Just a fluke of nature. Nothing special. Something went wrong when your mother was carrying you. You are a birth defect. A freak. Your father had been right to get out of the house when he did. Little freako here could care for his sick mother. School bullies. Everyday something. Everyday a taunt. Things stuck on your locker. Things posted on notice boards. It didn't really matter. In the end they didn't really effect you too much did they? Working with the BAU you thought as an adult you would be free of the bullies, but Morgan just can't help his self. You knew Morgan was kidding with you, but the time he gave you that whistle? That time you just wanted the ground to open up and swallow you? You remember don't you? Sure you do!

So sit now and hold your cell phone. In case. Because you never know.

Hey look at your hands now. They are still. The shaking has stopped, but the need hasn't. That deep burning need to know if you are real. So you will pick up the little knife. You don't really have an option do you? Your heart will be hammering, blood thumping in your ears. You breathing will become fast and shallow.

The little knife will drop to the floor as you look to see the results. Too much. Too deep. Not enough pain.

Fingers flickering over the cell phone. You will have to speed dial someone. Anyone. It wont really matter now. You will feel yourself slipping…You will feel the blood trickling down your fingers. You will hear it drip drip drip to the floor, as you make your call.

The voice on the other end will say "Hey genius. What's wrong?"

And you will say "Help – help….h h h help me." Only your voice will be so quiet Morgan will hardly be able to hear it.

"Reid? Where are you buddy?"

"At h h home..I am at home. Help me Derek."

You will have caused alarm bells to ring. You never call him Derek. He will know something is wrong. He will come to rescue you.

It's OK…you can sleep…you will wake up in hospital and Gideon will be there looking tired, and you will know this time its all going to be good. This time you wake up and know you are real. You will hear the bleeps of the machines, and you will feel the pain of the tube down your throat. You will gag and gasp, and flail your bandaged arms around. and someone will come to help you. It will hurt. It will feel good.

For now.

But what about next time?