I should be studying but I'm not. This is a prompt of a thread on the Criminal minds wiki forum. What does Reid's house look like and what does he do in the evening after work? I will make it into 3 or 4 chapters. If you have an idea you would like me to include, please drop me a line.
Chapter 1-Come home with me
SSA Spencer Reid, groped in his messenger bag for his house keys. It was good to be home, he thought.
After a quick glance around at the neighbor's yards he was relieved to find no newspapers were left uncollected on the stoops, a tell tale sign of something amiss. No lights were turned on in the living rooms either as it was only 5'oclock in the afternoon. However, most everyone would be rolling in soon to begin another evening of traditional suburbia life with homework and meatloaf all under the eye of a flickering television set. Reid didn't linger long with his observation as he quickly ducked into his own house eager to avoid Sally Mocher, the neighbour's teenage daughter. In his opinion, she appeared to have taken an unhealthy interest in him, from the way she deliberately flashed him through her bedroom window last weekend. He would have to deal with that eventually but for now he had bigger problems. He was so focused on avoiding any unpleasant encounters that he had forgotten to do his pre-opening the door ritual.
As he pressed his back against the hard wood, he felt his heart hammering in his chest and a sweat gathered on his brow. A familiar pit of dread coiled sinuously in his stomach as he closed his eyes seeking for the appropriate set of pictures in his mind. For as long as he remembered this had been his way of coping with the unpredictable events of his childhood which included that spectacular day when he had come home to find his spineless father packing his bags. Ever since then, he would close his eyes and summon the best moment of the day and hold it in his mind before he opened his front door. That act had helped him to face whatever was on the other side. Sometimes when he walked inside he had been pleasantly surprised to find his mother making his favourite soup but more times than not, she would be passed out in the same clothes she had on in the morning, buried under her precious books.
As a teenager, he hadn't a lot of experiences to draw on and he usually rehashed the same memory over and over but now that he had his extended BAU family he had his pick of happy memories. Today he could pick from Garcia's awful telephone greeting, lunch with the team, an exciting shouting match with an old professor from Yale and a game of hide and seek with Jack but the memory he chose was one of Jack's father: Aaron Hotchner.
The genius had chosen to take his morning break in the archives section of the FBI building. This comprised an entire floor, three flights down from the BAU. Now that most records were computerized, hardly anyone came here but for Reid the smell of books, paper and glue binding were as welcoming as a warm bath was to others. This floor had inbuilt nooks with seats, obviously a throw back from the days when this section was a hive of activity. His favourite one faced the east and by this time the enclosure was probably flooded with sunlight. As he hurried forward he had glanced across to wave a greeting to the archivists. They usually smiled back and waved genially, not even blinking when they saw his signature mug of coffee. They knew he was a kindred spirit and his reverence and excitement for books and documents matched theirs. Their library was in safe hands even if one of the hands held potentially dangerous paper staining coffee. Reid paused as he looked in concern at his colleagues huddled together as if in fear. They pointed furtively and shook their heads down one of the corridors. The young genius peered around the bookshelf curiously. SSA Aaron Hotchner was prowling the aisles with the air of a wounded animal.
At one time he would have joined the archivists behind the desk or jumped back into the elevator rather than face the grim faced agent. But he couldn't afford to make mistakes like that anymore, not when Elle and Gideon had been here one moment and gone the next.
'Sir?' he had said in greeting.
Reid had tried not to stare as Hotch's red rimmed eyes glared at him for interrupting his prowling. The senior agent had mumbled an excuse and moved to brush pass him but stopped in surprise as Reid had pressed his hand firmly against his chest holding him in place. Hotch could have easily used his strength to push him to one side but he hadn't, secretly impressed by the nerve being showed by their youngest. Reid had taken his arm then and towed him to the reading nook. It had been a bit of a squash as it had only been built for one, but he has insisted that Hotch sit with him. Aaron sat with his arms tightly folded and lips compressed just waiting for his subordinate to ask him what was wrong.
The inquiry never came.
Slowly Hotch began to relax as Reid busied himself with a slim volume of poetry and sipped his coffee. It was much nicer here in the bright sunshine, the older man conceded and his troubling thoughts of his recently deceased ex-wife seemed to evaporate in the sparking rays that shone around them. Reid could feel the tension drain out of his colleague like a deflated old tire and smirked when Hotch stole his cup for a sip of coffee. The older man swallowed the Soy vanilla bean latte and caramel with a choke before he stuffed the mug back into his thin hands. He would have to tell Mr. Calendar that this new coffee sample he had given the agent last night was not going to make the cut. But since everyone knew it was a sin to waste a cup of coffee, he gamely persevered with the too sweet for comfort drink.
Hotch took the book from him, curious as to what he was reading now.
'Is that Arabic?' he had asked unsurely, 'I didn't know you read it?'
Reid had expected the man to ask him why, or what the book was about etc. etc. but he hadn't thought the man would ask him to read one of the poems to him.
Well since it was a day for odd occurrences, he did.
Hotch looked over at the bent head of his agent as his voice changed into the melodious chanting that could only be achieved when reading the divine language. He didn't know what Reid was saying and neither did he care. Hotch had never heard anything so unearthly beautiful in his life. When Reid was finished he looked up and he could see the wonder in the lead agent's eyes.
Reid held on to that proud and slightly embarrassing moment in his mind and he could feel the tension in his lungs ease as his breathing came back to something more normal. Slowly he opened one eye and then the other, absorbing the mismatched furniture in the living room. As always, everything was as he had left it and his mother was not sprawled on the floor with a forgotten kettle or pot bubbling dangerously on the fire nearby.
Spencer knew that logically, the horrors he saw on a daily basis should have already burned away the trauma he had experienced as a child but who said that fear was logical. As he un looped the messenger bag from his neck, he gently touched the little night lamp that he had left burning in the hallway when he had left for work. Morosely, he looked over the almost empty looking room. Maybe if he had sold his mother's furniture, instead of flying it half way across the country he wouldn't have this problem anymore. Gideon had visited a couple of times to play chess and on one of those occasions he had asked his mentor if he should get rid of the furniture.
Gideon being Gideon of course didn't give him a straight answer. He had said when the time was right he would know the answer to that question. Reid turned away and switched on the kitchen light. The time was not right, just yet.