AN: This is just an idea that would not leave me. This is the first time I have written using this style, switching from 2nd to 3rd POV. Hope it's not too confusing. Let me know what you think. Unbetaed so sorry for mistakes.
AN2: This story is dedicated to my 18 year old cousin-Ian, may your bipolar disorder be finally balanced by the correct medication.
AN3: Based off a true story...
One of your few close friends dies in a car crash. You met him at college, the first college you went to. He was also younger than most students so you two hit off right from the beginning. His death hits you hard, harder than you thought it could have.
You continue going to work, arranging your facial features into a mask to hide your sadness. You conceal your emotions from the team, you know how to deceive them, how to beat them at the profiling game but it requires concentration. You do not want to deal with their pity so you do what it takes to keep the knowledge hidden.
You make it through that day and the weeks that follow. You begin to notice that you are struggling in your work. You can't focus and your emotions are all over the place. You attribute this to your friend's death until one day you hear something that shocks you to your core.
You realize that voice in your head that has been getting louder isn't your inner voice talking to you. You realize that this along with your unbalanced emotions is not a good sign. You know that the mood swings and voices will only get worse. You've read the books and seen it happen. You've been waiting for this to strike since you found out from your mother during a moment of lucidity from her ever deteriorating mind that your father's sister was bipolar. You knew that with both bipolar and schizophrenia genes in your DNA you had not a chance of escaping mental destruction.
You call Hotch and tell him you need some time off. You make up some lie about the stress getting to you and he believes it. You knew he would, why would he doubt the trustworthy, young Reid? You tell him it may be a while. He tells you take all the time you need.
JJ calls the team together in the conference room, carrying a stack of files in her arms for presenting another case. Everyone slips into their usual chairs, Reid's left oddly empty.
JJ begins with an announcement, "I was unable to contact Reid."
"He's taking some time off." Hotch replies causally and indicates that JJ should continue.
JJ moves on with a worried look at Hotch. She could see the team's concentration waver as they shoot anxious glances at each other and the team leader. After they board the plane, the less senior members, Morgan, Prentiss, and JJ congregate together and brainstorm but despite their acute profiling skills no one has any idea about Reid's disappearance.
Rossi leans over to Hotch and remarks, "The rumor mill begins," with a wry grin.
"I would try and give them more information but I'm as surprised as they are. I thought Reid had been coping fine lately. He has been a little moody and tired however I thought it was a side effect of the job." Hotch replies his inner being concerned for Reid.
"We'll just have to wait for him to come back to us."
After six months, the team is still one man down. JJ walks by Hotch's office, seeing him hang up the phone and sink his head into his hands. The call widens a small chink in Hotch's outer armor.
"Still no word?" JJ inquires softly, sticking her blond head through the open doorway.
Hotch sighs and shakes his head no, "I keep receiving his answering machine. I'm sure he's fine. He told me he may need plenty of time off," he mutters more to himself
than to JJ.
JJ leaves walking down the hall to her office, her unease about Reid's vanishing act increasing.