In a world filled with endless probabilities and odds, Spencer Reid had decided long ago that he should never gamble in a group. Because he had a problem that precluded his ability to succeed in such a social situation. He couldn't bluff. His analytical mind denied him the opportunity to offer subterfuge in any form or fashion.
And it really sucked.
Because by his logic, his face was an open book for all to read, his thoughts and actions written in black and white. And just lately, it had become glaringly evident that he really couldn't afford for anyone to look too closely at the pages. Or they'd know.
They'd know that beneath the absent smiles and empty chuckles, he was sinking deeper each day. Losing himself once more in the drugged utopia that only came with a purposed high. And so far, he'd managed to keep it under the radar, away from the probing rays. No one suspected.
Well, almost no one.
Smiling grimly to himself, he wondered how much longer David Rossi would continue staring curiously at him before he was approached. Rossi knew him the least. It made sense in an odd way that he'd pick up on the vague behavior changes Spencer had exhibited. The older profiler didn't have a skewed view of his unique personality. He would notice the subtle nuances. He didn't find his quirks charming. He wasn't mystified by his intellect.
Drugged or not, Spencer Reid knew one thing with certainty. David Rossi was not impressed by him. Not in the least.
In fact, if he had to take a theoretical guess, he would lean toward the notion that he disgusted the elder profiler. Rossi knew about his addiction. His professional jacket was an open book to any senior agent that cared to look. And he knew that Rossi had analyzed each of them upon his return to the behavioral unit he'd helped to found.
And he suspected that the older man wasn't thrilled to know that his fabled legacy had been left to a group of agent that included a weakling. An addict. Such a thought would have stung him in a past life. But the drugs helped take the edge of his disappointment. Not that he cared about the disappointment anymore, his chosen escape having stolen that ability from him, too.
Staring aimlessly into space in the darkened bullpen, Reid was caught off guard when he heard the strident tone of David Rossi's voice asking for the Greathouse file. He'd thought all his colleagues had vacated for the weekend hours ago. He'd only seen the occasional janitor pass through and, consulting his watch, he realized that had been over an hour ago.
Handing over the file with a flourish to the waiting man, Spencer knew he should keep his mouth shut. Nothing incriminating could be said if he didn't open up his mouth. But looking at the hardened face standing impatiently in front of his desk, he couldn't resist posing the question. "You think I'm weak, don't you, Agent Rossi?"
Meeting Reid's glazed eyes steadily, Dave shook his head at the question as much as the matter-of-fact tone it had been asked with. "I think your actions are weak. I think you're wasting your God given potential. And I think you're a smart enough man to know better."
"So you know," Reid said, more a statement than question, his fingers rubbing against the welts in his corduroy pants.
"Yeah, kid, I know," Rossi snorted, tapping the file against his leg, his gaze solid on the younger man.
"Why haven't you said anything? To Hotch?" Reid asked, frowning as he tried to extrapolate his way between the facts as he knew them and Rossi's obviously warped logic.
"I hoped you'd be smart enough to speak for yourself, Doctor," Dave mocked, his jaw clenching as he stared at the young man wasting his innate genius. Propping a hip against the younger man's desk, Dave narrowed his eyes. "Tell me, Reid. Why are you doing this to yourself again?"
Studying the man in front of him, Reid considered his response, hoping for a moment that he could compose a thoughtful answer that would satisfy both his questioner and himself. And realized he didn't have a reason. Nothing had happened. He'd endured no trauma. No psychopath had kidnapped him recently, drugging and torturing him into submission. No radical had taken him hostage within a compound, matching Biblical wits with him over a God he didn't believe in. What excuse did he have?
"I'll assume by your silence that your considerable intelligence can't come up with a salient explanation?" Rossi said sarcastically, his jaw clenching as he watched the intelligence literally drain from the Bureau's best mind.
"I've found that oblivion is preferable to the reality of this life," Reid declared philosophically, his chin pushing out with profound understanding.
"Really, is that what you'd recommend to your godson, Reid? Is this the kind of example you'd like him to follow?" Dave asked conversationally, wondering why he was breaking every known rule in psychological profiling, attempting to debate with someone under the influence.
"Of course not. Henry is new...fresh...untouched by atrocity," Reid frowned in disagreement, still able to comprehend that thought.
"Other than what his godfather exposes him to," Rossi replied, giving Reid a hard stare as he watched the man's eyes dilate and contract.
Now that was a thought that hadn't yet slipped into his consciousness yet. "I don't know how to stop," Reid offered softly, his hands raising and falling uselessly in the darkened room.
"So it's easier to continue in this vein than find an alternate avenue of escape," Dave snorted, his opinion of the younger generation falling astronomically by the second. "Are they positive that you're a genius?"
"Are you always this condescending and arrogant?" Reid responded in kind, his tongue made looser by the handful of pills he'd popped earlier as the elevator door had closed on his various colleagues.
Smiling grimly, Dave nodded as he cocked his head to the side in agreement. "That's fair, I suppose. I am a condescending, arrogant bastard. And YOU are a junkie. Wanna know the difference, kid? One of us could change those things. And it ain't me."
"I've tried to change," Reid muttered, dropping his gaze as his cheeks flushed, this time from embarrassment rather than the drugs.
"Try harder," Dave demanded harshly, flicking the edge of the folder against the metal desk, the sound popping in the quiet room. "You have too much promise to squander it, Reid. So you're going to have to come up with something better than it's too hard to convince me that you can't stop this madness. You have a brilliant mind. You can overcome an addiction if you want to."
Jamming his fingers into his disheveled hair, Reid dug his fingers into his scalp, the slight tingling underneath his skin pulsing against his fingertips. He wasn't supposed to make sense. He knew for a fact that his IQ was well above David Rossi's. Wasn't he supposed to be able to outthink anyone? Wasn't that one of the benefits of being a genius?
Only when you believe the other person is wrong. Knowing that they're right puts an entirely different slant on circumstances argued his barely rational mind.
"All it takes is three simple words, Reid," Dave said quietly, staring down at the younger man's bent shaggy head. "Just say it," he quietly urged, praying that the astute man in front of him would do the right thing. Hoping against hope that the kid wouldn't force him to destroy a promising career.
"I need help," Reid whispered raggedly, his stomach rolling at his confession, his eyes barely able to lift from the dark linoleum floor as the words slid from his throat.
Releasing a quiet sigh, Dave nodded, gently grabbing Reid's arm and guiding him out of the chair. "Then let's find it for you, Dr. Reid."
His shoe slid against the slick floor as he tried to find his footing, his legs not cooperating with his mind. Feeling Rossi's grip tighten on his sleeve, Dr. Spencer Reid could have sworn he heard him mutter as they moved toward his office, "It's okay. You're not going to fall this time."