Title: The Letters Series: Struggle

Author: Kuria Dalmatia

Rating: FRT, PG (drug use)

Characters: Gideon, Reid

Summary: It's a familiar dream.

ARCHIVING: my LJ and FFNet account anyone else? Please ask first.

SERIES: Criminal Minds

Feedback always welcome.

DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. Salut! I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying to get these images out of my head.

TIMELINE/SPOILERS: 2nd and 3rd seasons, including quotes and references specifically from "The Big Game", "Revelations", and "Jones".

lj-cut text="Struggle, Part 1/1"

COMMENTS: Viva Las Vegas! Written after viewing "LDSK", "Derailed", "The Big Game" and "Revelations" while on a trip to Las Vegas.

Some people gamble. I write. Go figure.

***/***

The pianist is good, although the melody is a bit too modern jazz for Gideon's taste. He prefers more dramatic pieces, those with a rumbling basso and soaring mezzo-sopranos. The wingback chair is comfortable, cushions broken in just enough and the upholstery fits in with the earthy decor. The club is smoke-filled yet without the stale cigarette smell that he's come to expect from the jazz clubs in New Orleans.

As always, Gideon is surprised at the snifter of brandy he's holding, because he prefers an aged ruby port as an after-dinner drink. One glance to occupied seat next to him and he knows exactly why he has that particular beverage.

As always, Gideon says, "Your friend is good."

As always, Spencer admits, "I'm struggling."

As always, Gideon dispenses the advice: "Well ... anybody who's been through what you've been through recently ... would. Now you're questioning whether or not you're strong enough to be here? I have been playing at this job in one way or another for almost thirty years. I've felt lost. I've felt great. I have felt scared, sick, and insane. I don't know. I guess the day this job stops gnawing at your soul and your hands ... your hands stop feeling cold ... maybe that's the time to leave."

As always, Spencer vows, "I'll never miss another plane again."

Then, Gideon finds himself in the Smithsonian private archives, admiring an original hand-colored Audubon etching entitled 'turdus polyglottus' and still holding his snifter of brandy. Funny, in all these times, he never has taken a drink.

He leans over, admiring the detail of the fangs.

Suddenly, Spencer says, "See how they fight the rattlesnake for their nest? They have no concern for their own safety."

Startled, Gideon looks up to see the younger man standing across from him, belt pulled snugly against his upper arm and a syringe protruding from his inside elbow.

But it's not Spencer.

It's his own son. "I'm struggling," he says.

The snifter slips from Gideon's fingers.

The glass breaks.

The amber liquid spills across the Audubon.

***/***

Gideon bolts upright in his bed, sheets tangled around his waist as he gasps for breath.

"Just a dream," he says aloud as he runs a hand over his face. "Just a dream." He glances at the clock – four-thirty in the morning – and he knows that he will not get back to sleep. He yanks the sheets off and gets out of bed. In this small cabin – so different from the one he had in Virginia – the kitchen is only ten paces from his bed. He puts the kettle on for tea – he gave up drinking coffee when he moved out here – and pads over to his desk.

Gideon pulls out the inkwell and the fountain pen, inspecting the nib before setting them down next to the vellum.

And just like he has done after every time his has this particular dream, he sits down and begins to write.

Dear Spencer

***/***