Criminal Minds

One Word Prompt: Headache; Reid

Suggested by: tearbos

It was the cases like these that always gave him a headache.

He did not mean the type of headache that one claims to get when they're tired. The types of headaches that he contracted weren't of the metaphorical variety – someone saying that 'it was a headache'. No, the headaches that these types of cases gave the young, socially awkward genius were real. They were the types of headaches that pounded on the edge of his brain and made him want to close his eyes.

He pressed his fingers to his temple now while his team attempted to relax on the jet. It wasn't an easy task with the case they'd had, but he figured it was considerably easier for them than it was for him. He'd found that life worked in that way for him: being 'special', as his mother had put it, or 'different', as leering peers had put it, had never been an easy task. Being different made life harder even when it made life easier.

It had been like looking in a mirror coated with film: distorted, off, ugly, and just a pinch from being a carbon copy of the person looking into the mirror.

He hated these types of cases.

They didn't scare the young man, no, they terrified him.

He'd seen himself in the young man they'd profiled today. He couldn't use the word UnSub in his mind.

Owen Savage was what Spencer Reid could have become.

He pressed his fingers to his temples again, trying in vain to force the headache to leave. He should have known better: these weren't the headaches that could be solved with Advil or resting. He hadn't bothered even trying with either this time.

Owen Savage had been tortured by his peers. It had been nothing short of the horror Reid had gone through on that football field when he was young. The images were still sharp in the genius' mind; they were painful as the blade of a knife pressing against his pale skin. Time hadn't faded them. He doubted that time would ever fade any of it.

He had an eidetic memory. He had an elephant's memory.

And elephants never forget.

He couldn't quite understand why he had turned out any different than Owen. He'd gone home every day to a mother who he was unsure would even be mentally present. She hadn't been that day he'd finally managed to come home from the football field. She'd been having one of her episodes.

It had hurt. It still did.

Why had he come out on top? Was he really that much different than Owen Savage? How had he managed to continue onwards without outright hate towards those who'd put him through it all?

He didn't think that he'd ever know. He couldn't understand.

Perhaps that was why these types of cases gave him a headache.

It always made him want to run. It made him want to run and hide from the fear that he'd turn out one day like Owen Savage or he'd turn out like his mother, alone and afraid of her own mind.

No, he didn't know which was worse.

He swallowed once and turned towards the window. All he wanted was some understanding. It was all that he'd ever asked for: understanding of why people did the things they did to others. Understanding of why his mother was the way that she was.

Understanding of all that he was and he wasn't.

It might have been why he was different from Owen. It might have been why the mirror he'd looked through was a distorted view and not a crystal clear image.

Where he'd wanted to understand, Owen had acted.

He still didn't understand. But it kept him going.

Author's Note:

This is the beginning of a 100 One Word Prompt Challenge I started for myself on a livejournal community. I asked for others to give me one word prompts and this is the first one that I managed to complete. I hope that you enjoyed it; please review. It means the world to me.