A/N follow up to The Stresser. I didn't plan on doing a sequel, but sometimes the brain just won't stop.

Feeling Real

Disclaimer: Still not mine /sigh

We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities, but pain insists upon being attended to. – C.S. Lewis.

You will lay there in your hospital bed with your hospital gown, and hospital smells, and Gideon will watch you.

Its not a clever thing you did you know? Morgan will be beside him self. JJ…What must JJ think? But still the pain, it just won't go away.

You will turn onto your side and curl up foetal and hug your knees and cry.

You will hate yourself for what you have done to your friends. The hate will be so much that you need to escape. Pull the wires from your body, and get away from the smells, away from the guilt. Someone will stop you. Gideon. His arms around you. Saying nice things to you. Calming you down. "It's ok Reid. It's OK."

It's never going to be OK though. You will fight Gideon for a little while, then realise that there is no point. You will have no strength to push him away, and really you don't want to. Not now. You will need to feel someone holding you tight. It means you are real.

It's dark now. You lay on your bed still with the bleeping monitors next to your head. You will feel the bandages on your arms and you will start to pull them off. Slowly unwinding them to see what is underneath. You will want to see what damage you did. You will need to see the marks left on your pale skin.

They will be deep. They will have been stitched up and closed. The blood held back under the skin. Just a little please, just a little. Pulling on the stitches you will open the wound up and watch the blood ooze out. You will have to be careful now, because you don't want anyone to see what you are doing. Keeping to your normal routine you will feel the desire to lick the blood off. To taste it in your mouth proves that it is real. That you are real.

But someone will be there….someone will put their hands on your arms, and alarm bells will start to ring as people come to see what you have done.

You will fight them off you, kicking, biting, scratching. You need them to leave you alone, but eventually you will let them do their job and lay still as they re-stitch and make shssshhhing sounds at you. You will cry your deep, deep, sorrowful cry. Great sobs of pain and anguish, and you will beg them, "Please, please…leave me alone. I I I need, I need to do this." But they won't hear you above the alarms and shouting of doctors and medical staff. You will fall asleep. I expect they will have drugged you. And you will be watched from now on.

Your family will be informed. Not that mad woman at Bennington, but your real family. They will come to see you with worried faces.

JJ cries and sits by your bed. Her hand will move slowly and she will rest it on yours. "Spence?" she will say, and you will try to smile at her, but there is too much pain, so you will cry.

Gideon will stand and watch you. He will look worried and will pace the room muttering "Why didn't I see this?" He will stare at you laying there looking so much like you are dead.

Hotchner will come and sit in the same chair JJ did. Sweet JJ. He will lean over you and push your hair off your face and behind your ear. His eyes will be playing back all the horrors he has seen. All the death. All the monsters. He will say he is sorry.

Prentiss will some to see you and leave a card Get well soon it will say, and inside it will just be signed off: Emily xx

Garcia will walk in quietly, and stand looking at you. She will see how thin you are and how you cry. She will get a damp cloth and wipe it over your hot face and talk about nothing and everything. She will call you Sweetcheeks and massage your feet.

"Hurry up and get better Hon." She will say before she leaves. "We miss our genius."

Morgan will sit in the chair and stare at you. His face will look sad and angry. "Why did you do this Reid?" he will ask you, but you won't be able to answer. How can you explain? So you will say "Sorry" in a voice so quite that Morgan almost thinks he imagined it.

JJ will come back though. She will have composed herself and her eyes will be red and puffy, but she will sit again and get a book out of her bag. JJ will sit and read Proust to you. The words will sound familiar and comforting:warm and bonding.

The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. She will read softly in her sweet hurt sad voice.

And you will begin to understand what you need to do.

From this hospital they will obviously insist that you get transferred to another. You will still not talk about why you do this. You know you will have to though. Eventually.

You will be forced to sit in a circle listening to other people rant about their problems and lives, and you know soon they will ask you. So you will sit with your arms wrapped around you, looking at your feet. Picking at your arms. Pinching and nipping at the flesh with your nails where they can't see.

They will ask you.

"Spencer, would you like to share with us today?"

but you will just slowly shake your head and whisper "No."

Your hair will fall over your face and hide you from these people who are asking to you tell them what you don't know. Then you will need to pinch harder and pick deeper to stop the sobs from coming from that deep dark place you keep hidden down inside.

One day you will be sitting in your room, at this place and JJ will come to find you sitting alone on your bed.

"Spence?" she will say quietly, not wanting to make you jump. "How are things going?"

And it will be her soft voice and her bottomless blue eyes you will look into and feel the anger and guilt and rage storming over you so hard that you need to release.

You will say "JJ. JJ. I am so sorry." And you will cry again. Like you always do when you see JJ and her sweet face and smell that sweet smell you remember from the past. From when times where good. From the time at the football game. From all those times she stood a bit too close to you, and suddenly the happy memories will flood back. The times spent laughing. The times just sitting looking at her.

JJ will sit with you and hug you and you will tell JJ that everything is going to be alright.

"I'm so sorry." You will say again.

Talking to strangers isn't something you will find easy. But they will let you go home if you talk to someone first. So you will tell them it was an accident. You will tell them that you didn't mean to really hurt yourself like that. You will hope they believe you. You can lie when you want. You are a good profiler, and they will tell you that you may go home if there is someone to keep an eye on you.

It will be Gideon who comes to get you. He will still have his sad face on. He will see that you are still far too thin. He will see the dark rings around your eyes, and the dull hollow look to your face. He will see the bruises up your arms. Pinches and scratches. He will look, but not say anything.

"Let's get you home." He will say in his comforting quiet way, and Gideon will drive you back to his place.

You will shower. Water a bit too hot, making your skin tingle and blush, but it will feel good. You will wash the smells of hospitals out of your hair, and you will sleep in the spare room. You won't know that Gideon has set up a small motion detector outside your door so if you leave the room he will know. But for tonight that is OK…you will sleep tonight, curled up and hugging your legs to you, rocking back and forth, crying until it is the morning.

Pancakes. You smile at Gideon and sit at the breakfast table. He knows you like pancakes, and has cooked enough to feed the entire population of Virginia. You will laugh about this with your mentor and friend and you will eat the pancakes and ice cream. When you excuse yourself to use the bathroom you will kneel at the toilet and bring it back up again. The pain in the back of your throat will feel good. You won't know that Jason it listening at the door, and you will run your fingers over the scars on your arms and wonder and say quietly to yourself. "I want to feel."

Wearing sweat pants and a T-shirt Jason will take you for a ride in the car. He will take you to a park. The sun will be shining and you feel happy. You have always liked the sunshine. He has arranged a picnic. The whole team is there.

"Hey Reid!!" they all wave and shout and leap up to hug you. They will feel how thin you are and they will look both happy to see you and worried. You will feel awkward and gently pat them on the back, not feeling comfortable enough to hug them back. You will enjoy the feel of the arms around you though. It makes you feel wanted and loved.

Garcia will have made the biggest desert ever. But she has bought you ice cream because she knows you like it. JJ will smile at you and lean gently on you and wrap her arm around your waist and pull you down to the blanket where you will sit and grin happily.

Today you feel real.

But what about tomorrow?