WARNING: This story is dark. If you cannot handle or simply prefer not to read dark stories that involve conversations of death, suicide, or depression/grief, you should skip this story entirely. You've been warned.
Author's note: It is written in JJ's perspective.
Blood trickled down from the cuff of his shirt onto the floor. I stepped closer, though I felt like any minute my knees were going to buckle at the sight of his blood. Though I knew what I was seeing, it wasn't registering, if that makes any sense. It was definitely blood. A pool of dark red blood forming beneath his turned-over body, but it didn't actually entirely occur to me. It was like something else was going on in my head. Someone else was controlling me. It's a good thing, honestly; If it were me controlling me then, I don't think I would've been able to get any closer. I would've just fell to my knees and cried or threw up or both.
I crouched down before him, being very unaware of my trembling hand as I touched his arm. Freezing cold. I whipped my hand back, horrified, then tried to catch my breath. It's just cold down here, I told myself. I kept telling myself that repeatedly as I forcefully rolled him over on his back to get a better view of his injuries. He didn't fight me on it, he just laid there, eyes closed, body stiff and cold. Wrists bloody and still oozing it. I tried to run backwards, but I was still in crouch-position, and instead tumbled back, my eyes widened so wide they burned and teared and my ankle became sore from laying on it funny. Once again, I wasn't really grasping what I was seeing.
I just stared at him. Lifeless and cold. His blood was different than stranger's blood. His blood scared me so much I couldn't look at it any longer. My stomach cramped up and felt like it was curling and twisting, just tightening around my abdomen. I put my hands on the cold floor, instantly cooling them, and then rested on my shaking knees. I tried to inhale, but instead vomit rose up my throat and came pouring out uncontrollably, and soon I was vomiting my entire day's diet.
My forehead began sweating and sweat trickled down my eyes, making it hard to see. I crawled back over to him and took his hand in mine, which was now drenched in his blood. I had to cup my hand over my mouth to keep from puking on him. I couldn't focus on anything but, Don't puke on him. Don't puke on him.
I just sat there, completely unmoved, feeling very far away and distant and like at any minute I might faint. My body feels weak and I think I might vomit again, but only dry-heaves come up. I pretty much puked myself out all in one sitting. I crawl on my hands and knees over to the basement stairs, and grab my purse, which I laid on the last step. I lean against it and attempt to dial 911, but I'm so shaken I keep hitting the wrong buttons. I can't even think I'm so rattled. I decide to call Hotch instead. He's on speed dial, it's much easier.
"Hello?" Hotch spoke into the phone. "JJ?"
My throat's sore and dry from throwing up. I feel like asking him to bring water. Then I realize how incredibly selfish and horrible and disgusting that is of me, but for some reason, the guilt doesn't hit me either. "You need to come here. Now." I speak very gently, my words shaky like my hands.
"Come where?" Hotch sighs, trying to get through to me. "Where are you, JJ? What happened?"
I can't stop shaking, I feel like I'm freezing. "I'm at..." I have to keep swallowing. I need something to drink. I look over at him, and I can't stop watching him. I'm partly afraid he'll jump up, but I'm really hoping he does. I know he won't. "I'm at Reid's. Reid's apartment,"
"Something happened to Reid?" he asks, as softly as possible. I can just barely make out the sounds of concerned voices in the background. My heart aches for Morgan. Then Garcia. Then Prentiss. Then Rossi. Like slideshows, I picture each and every one of them gathering around Hotch's phone to get the latest info on Reid. He's so loved.
"JJ?" he asks about two seconds later.
I realize I didn't actually respond. "Yes, something happened." I clarify. It takes me a while to realize I haven't blinked.
"What happened?" Hotch nearly screams into the phone. Just then, the voice changes, and Morgan's taken over the line. "JJ, what's wrong with Reid?" Morgan practically demands.
"He's -" I can't find the words. I can't say them out-loud. "He's injured."
Morgan sighs. "How bad is it? Your at his apartment?"
I nod again. "Yes. Just hurry."
Morgan agrees to come, with the ambulance in tow, and I just sit there, clutching my phone. I can't explain why I didn't tell them the truth on the phone. Why I made it so sound little, like a broken bone. I crawled over to him and stroked his hair back, tears actually forming in my eyes. But I couldn't cry. Not in front of him. I felt like he was watching. And Reid wouldn't have wanted me to cry for me.
I just sit there staring at him, for however long it takes for the team and the ambulance to get here. Morgan pulled in before the ambulance had a chance to, storming in like he was about to jump an UnSub, calling out his name nervously in each and every one room. I still sat at the very end of the staircase, just staring. I didn't have the strength to call Morgan down. Morgan was smart though, and found us pretty quickly. He saw me sitting there, and instantly he flushed a pale color. "JJ?" He asked, sounding very shaken himself.
I lifted my hand and lazily pointed to Reid, my eyes still staring directly forward. I was seeing Reid dead, but when I looked at him, I didn't see death. I saw his familiar long hair, his soft lips, his cardigan sweaters and weird pointy boots. I just see Reid, just a darker version. Morgan very slowly goes down the stairs. He must know. He was in such a hurry before he saw me, now he's dreading the walk down the staircase. He peers from there, his hand still on the railing, and once he spots Reid, he almost trips over me running over to him. He falls down to him and grabs his face in his hands, slapping it gently, screaming at him like if he yells loud enough he'll just wake up.
I want to tell him it's over. To stop wasting his time, to stop yelling at poor Reid. That Reid's not in there anymore. But this sight breaks my heart so much I curl my knees up to my chin and hug them, crying again. Except I'm still not crying for Reid. I'm crying for Morgan. Morgan's voice became shaky as the ambulance screams in, and I can hear his front door swinging open upstairs and hitting the other side of the wall. I crawl over to Morgan, putting my arms around him, trying to pull him away. He refuses to let go.
"Reid, wake up." he whispers, a tear falling.
"He's gone," I say out-loud. I hate myself for admitting it. Hotch soon shoots down the stairs, then Prentiss and Rossi, their footsteps loud and heavy on the staircase. They all bump into each other once they spot Reid. Morgan falls and just sits beside me, and Hotch and the rest of them don't get any closer. I looked up. I'll never, ever forget the looks I saw on their faces. Prentiss looked like she herself was about to upchuck. Rossi, for the first time I can ever recall, looked truly tragedy-stricken. Something flashed in Hotch's eyes, sadness beyond what I can explain. Maybe it was him giving up, I don't know. I imagine there comes a time when you see so much death you just stop caring.
Soon men, strange men I do not know come running down with a bunch of equipment. "That him?" one man asks. Hotch nodded and stepped aside.
I want to jump up and yell at the guy for asking such a dumb question. No, sir, that's not the man we called about. Though he is the only person in the room bleeding and showing any physical pain whatsoever...huh.
Morgan and I just sit there; my arms still wrapped around him like I need to keep him tamed. They check Reid's pulse, check for breaths, check for heartbeat. Nothing. I closed my eyes and imagined a different reality, where Reid suddenly starts coughing and he comes back to life, and we're so overcome by joy we all jump up and maul him and yell at him for giving us such a scare. Morgan will slap his back and say, "Thanks a lot, Pretty Boy, I almost cried in front of JJ."
But when I open my eyes, Morgan left me and is now gone. And they're just scooping up Reid, like he's nothing now.
The police ask all of us questions like we're suddenly a part of his death. At first it irritates me to no end, like they're intentionally doing this. I can tell it's pissing Morgan off just as much. Hotch, Rossi and Prentiss however remain calm, though I can see when Prentiss returns from the bathroom, her make-up is smeared and she was crying in the short time she was in there. Hotch's eyes also look remarkably bloodshot.
"Why are you interrogating us?" I heard Morgan shout from the other side of the apartment complex's front lawn. "We didn't do this. We just found him. Instead of you guys investigating innocent people, why don't you get off your asses and find the man truly responsible for this?"
I look angrily at the man interrogating me and nod in Morgan's direction, to silently say I agree with him. The man sighs and lowers his pen and pad. "Ma'am," for some reason, the way he calls me 'Ma'am' just infuriates me that much more. "We understand how difficult this is for you. We're not blaming you. We just need to know this," he sighs and stares at me hard. I want to look away, like a big spotlight's been cast on me. "You should know this better than anyone. Your job, you must deal with plenty of people in this exact same situation."
"Sir," I hear the man reply to Morgan's comment behind me. I'm not listening to the guy asking me questions anymore, I'm just hearing Morgan's guy talking. "We're not saying anybody did this just yet."
"Excuse me?" Morgan said through gritted teeth.
"Well, the way Dr. Reid," he looks at Morgan quizzically. "His name is Dr. Reid, correct?"
Morgan looks incredibly appalled by this. "Yes," he responded sharply. "You can't even remember his goddamn name?" Hotch scurried over and touched Morgan's shoulder, trying to calm him.
"I'm sorry, sir, my apologies."
Morgan nods at him like he's about to kick his ass.
"The way Dr. Reid died..." the man looked at Hotch right then like he's supposed to help him along. Hotch just looks down, and lets the guy take care of this. I walk over to them, completely ditching the guy talking to me. I hear him calling out for me, but I keep walking until I'm directly beside Morgan.
"Well, it's possible it was suicide."
Hotch's, Morgan's and my jaw drops and we're so taken aback - which shouldn't be that surprising if you think about it - we're just shaking our heads rapidly.
"No, sir, you don't understand," Hotch cuts in. "Reid would never have done this."
Morgan nods furiously. "You don't know him," Morgan stops himself and looks like he's about to punch someone, and I'm almost scared he might hit me, but recovers and keeps talking. "You didn't know him, I mean. He wouldn't have ever done this, Hotch is right."
The guy nods like he understands, but really, I can tell, he's thinking we're in denial. His sympathetic nod only enrages me, and suddenly I find myself wishing Morgan would punch him.
The guy shoves his pen in his pocket and nods at us. "This'll be all for now. I wish you guys the best of luck." he says halfheartedly as he walks over to consult the other detectives.
Morgan's still fumed, I can tell. "What an asshole." he mutters, loudly, so they could hear him. They did, I can tell. I'm glad.
"Morgan, calm down," Hotch scolds him.
Morgan whips around. "Calm down? Hotch, he just said Reid committed suicide!"
Hotch nods at him. "I get why you're so upset, but can you blame the guy? The way Reid died -"
"No way," Morgan shakes his head, suddenly not so frustrated anymore, but extremely overwhelmed and taken over by hurt. It's like it totally embodied him. "Are you saying," he shakes his head again in disbelief. "No way."
Hotch raises his hand. "I'm not saying I think he did it, of course not." Hotch sighs and looks down. "I'm just saying any coroner would beg to differ."
"Screw coroners! They don't know the people before the death. They don't know anything but how the death happened. They never figure out why or how who they were." His words make sense, but I quietly agree with Hotch on one thing. Freaking out isn't going to do us any good.
Hotch sighs, giving up. He walks over to Prentiss, probably figuring he'd have better luck comforting her.
"God, I can't believe this shit." Morgan says, shaking his head.
I touch his arm. "Reid didn't commit suicide," I say, the first full sentence I can actually say since I found him dead. "I'm positive of it."
"Of course he didn't." Morgan agreed. He looked over at Hotch, sighing. "Do you think Hotch really believes that?"
"I think it's easy to doubt it, considering the," I almost say it, but the words feel so ugly I choke on them. Slit wrists. I keep hearing them in my head, like my head is tormenting me.
Morgan shakes his head sternly. "Not if you knew Reid."
I nod in agreement. He's right. Reid just wouldn't do this. Not like this. Maybe, maybe, if he absolutely had to end his life, he'd at the very least leave a note of some kind addressed to those closest to him, like us and his mother. Maybe even to his father. Hell, maybe even to Gideon. He wouldn't go so silently, in his basement, cutting his wrists. Reid kind of has a phobia with needles, if I recall the time we had to get a flu shot together. Nothing of this made sense.