A/N: Finally, my first ever Criminal Minds story is finished! (Took forever despite the fact it was supposed to be a simple oneshot. Blasted rabid plot bunnies...) Please enjoy!
AU. I tried to stay in character as much as possible but there are some reactions and some places where I really had no reference to go on; I apologize if these characters do not fit with your conceptions of them from the show. This is slash, although nothing blatantly physical happens; those looking for lemons, look elsewere. Those looking for a more in-depth interpretation of these brilliant characters, read on. With that, you have been warned.
Everything up to this is the same as in the episode. If you haven't seen it, you're not going to understand a thing. Come back when you have.
Respective rights to all owners who are not me.
"Hey! What, did we turn him loose?!" Officer Dennison said, storming back out of the previously-occupied interrogation room.
Reid's already stooped posture sagged and he leaned back against the desk to stay on his feet as relief swept through him; at the same time, he felt his his heart drop somewhere into the vicinity of his non-standard dress code converse shoes.
He was relieved Derek was out of the Chicago PD's hands; Derek was experienced and street-smart enough that he could hide for years without being caught and buy Reid and the team enough time to clear him, which they would do because there was simply no other option. It was unthinkable to Reid that they give up on him; he was surprised the possibility even crossed his mind but he knew it had occurred to the others.
But this latest action only made Derek look guilty as hell, which he had to have known before he left; everyone left in the room was now wondering 'Why run if you're innocent and truly believe you've nothing to fear?'
Exactly!, Reid thought as he watched Hotch's eyes tighten at the news Derek had escaped. The formidable team leader strode forward to deal with the oncoming situation, flanked by Gideon and Emily; JJ stayed back, her eyes watchful for a sign she'd be needed. Reid didn't bother to join in the arguing, he knew he didn't have the forceful personality any of the others had in spades and the team would certainly defend Morgan's honor for him. He'd be rather more of a hindrance in this situation than a help.
Instead, Reid turned his formidable brain to trying to read Derek's motives for his actions. Despite appearances, in Reid's experiences it was rare for Derek to just go off and act without a thorough evaluation of the situation; he would have had to have a reason for what he'd done, no matter how personal this case was turning out to be.
Hands tapping the air distractedly, Reid bit his lips together and considered and discarded the first, most obvious solution, which was that Derek was guilty; Reid was 98% certain that he knew the other man better than anyone else and, despite being the youngest on the team, was just as good of a profiler as any of the others. He'd have noticed something; serial unsubs simply weren't capable of hiding themselves for that long, especially in the (in Spencer's case, extremely close) vicinity of the BAU. There was always something that gave them away.
Rooting around in his bag, Reid grabbed out a notebook and a pencil; his thoughts were beginning to race and he didn't want to miss anything that might be important to consider.
Scribbling and thinking, he next he discarded the possibility that Derek was afraid of being wrongly convicted; the BAU was his friends, his protectors, his family. He'd have faith in them that they could solve this before it came to that. Even if they didn't get him off and he was convicted, did he really think they'd have left him in jail, that Reid would have?
Reid knew exactly how deep his loyalty ran; he'd lose his job, his career, his pride, everything, but he'd do it all by setting Derek free. At the very least, Derek had to know Reid would never give up on him, so he wouldn't run for that reason.
There had to be something more, something they didn't know. Hadn't Hotch said Morgan was defensive about them getting into his past? Reid underlined the word defensive; Derek was one of the most open people he knew, at least outwardly, and it was very rare for him to get defensive even with personal questions.
So what had him so bothered about the fact they were learning his past? Garcia had told them about the criminal record he technically didn't have; Reid had already known about that even before her news, he'd been the only one unsuprised when Garcia had revealed it, though he'd tried to act like he was.
So it had to be about his past, but the record wasn't it; Derek hadn't been upset when he'd told Reid about it a month or so ago.
Hotch had also said Derek had told him that he wanted to "keep something to myself." Was there something else, something he didn't even want Reid to know? It would be serious, extremely so, if that was the case, something that would make him feel insecure enough not to want to share.
So what were the things that made him insecure?
Reid considered that with the same focused intensity, the paper below the pencil turning into a complicated mess that likely only he would be able to decipher later. That was abnormal, his usual stream of consciousness thoughts were normally much more organized, almost an outline actually, but right now he was stressed almost beyond measure. Shaking off the distraction, he refocused.
What did he know about Derek? He was the consumate tough-guy; the physique, the attitude, the clothes were all designed to hide the gentleness Reid knew was just below the surface.
So why act the part? Reid pondered.
Because intimacy makes him insecure, another part answered. Keep people away, keep yourself safe was how Morgan thought. Look how long it had taken him to get up the courage to ask Reid out; before that, he'd been on an impressive streak of one-night flings that hadn't been exactly secret. He had not one, but four different residences, almost another way of hiding or protecting himself; no one person would see anything more than the one place and he could hide at any of the others if he needed to.
Reid stored that away for a possible place to check at a future time if he couldn't resolve this now and continued thinking.
It had taken even longer before either of them had gotten up the courage to do anything truly physical, and in the end it had been Reid that initiated that, although Derek took control shortly after, which was fine with Reid.
All of this only reinforced Reid's impression that Derek was afraid of someone getting too close. But now the hesitancy, the reluctance to take things physical stood out, a red flag about what was going on; once they'd started seeing each other, shouldn't the hesitancy have decreased rather than increased? Reid would have staked his future at the BAU that it was connected, but how?
Reid shrugged away from the desk and walked outside, no longer able to ignore the disturbance that was still getting underway in front of him; with the short time it had taken him to work his way through all that logic, the fight was still in its early stages.
What were the causes for insecurity? he wondered as he pushed open the glass doors to the precinct and stepped out into the Chicago air. The answers were there practically before he'd finished the question. Nearly all of them involved a childhood trauma of some kind: bullying, neglect, abuse, excessive pressure to succeed, anything that pushed a child to feel that he or she wasn't and would never be 'good enough'.
Reid knew his own insecurities came from bullying but the personality for those types of problems was usually to become almost painfully timid (as in his case) or to become the aggressor themselves; Derek was neither. Derek's symptoms showed in his problems with intimacy and trust, suggesting he'd been betrayed by someone he'd idolized.
Well, that makes sense, but betrayed how?
Derek would've recovered from something so simple as an adult deserting him; he'd already proved he'd had minor difficulties when his father died but his relationship with the youth center director and his family had cured that. To cause this much difficulty, the problem would have been prolonged, as in months or years of it, and would likely have been something he couldn't take to either of those support groups, something that made him feel isolated and alone with the problem.
Abuse by someone he trusted…
Reid tensed, eyes staring startled and introspective as he studied the little paper in front of him, trying to see another way that this could have played out, another option he might have missed. It was chess, the most important chess game of his life that had huge repercussions if he was wrong; but all the facts fell neatly into place and not a single sign was missing. How could they have missed this?!
Without another thought, he darted back inside and snatched the keys to one of the SUV's off the desk where they'd been tossed before rushing back outside. Distractedly, he noted that the team and dectectives had apparently moved off to another location and Reid didn't stop to tell them what he'd realized; if he was right, and he was rarely wrong, it would be better that he handle this alone.
The fewer people that knew Derek's secret, the less it would break him to learn it wasn't a secret any more.