This is it everyone- the FINAL CHAPTER! Well, thnx for the patience, and happy holidays!
Stranded in the Desert Place- Chapter 6
The Healing Process
Spencer was released from the hospital a day later with a prescription drug and a huge headache. He could live with it though; after all, it could have been worse. William and Hotch had arranged to take him home nonetheless, and with mild hesitation from the doctor, it was allowed. Hotch had suggested William take some time off work to spend with his son, and William had agreed without any hesitation. He had managed to get the whole week off, so he had decided to just come back with the two BAU agents. Now, Spencer was laying on his father in the back seat of the BAU's SUV. Spencer looked content- much to William's pleasure- and the older two men allowed a comfortable silence to fill the car-as if there was anything else that needed to be said, anyways. As William stroked his son's brown hair, he realized that he too was falling to sleep, and before he knew it, he was out like a light.
Aaron Hotchner turned his head back to look at the Reid family, a small smile pulling at the corner of his lips. He quietly turned the radio up to a respectable level of volume before turning his eyes back to the road.
About half an hour later, William woke up again and resumed petting his son's hair. He pulled his son closer to him, as if afraid to let go, and Hotch realized that he probably was. He would be too in his position. William didn't know half of the things that Spencer had dealt with on the job, but he did know that those monsters they had put away had hurt Spencer, and that thought alone was enough to scare any parent.
William and Hotch kept quiet for the rest of the short trip. They had ordered another ticket for WIlliam to fly back to Viriginia with them, and they were less than five minutes away from the airport currently. The trio soon reached the airport, and they reluctantly agreed to wake Spencer up. Spencer's red eyes blinked rapidly before realizing where they were. Spencer sat up stiffly and allowed his companions to help him out of the car. Once he was more awake, he was passed his go-bag and escorted into the airport.
Their flight to Quantico took off less than half an hour after they had arrived. Happy about the short way, the three men sat down in their seats and made polite conversation. Hotch quickly became tired, though, and he left the conversation between the now wide awake Spencer and his father. Spencer nervously fidgeted as he suppressed a series of coughs while William sighed; he hated the fact that Spencer had become so sick on his way to a seminar for the BAU. He couldn't help but to think that it was because of his job that he had become so sick.
That's right- because of his job.
William shook his; he couldn't even bare the thought any longer. Spencer loved his job; he could never ask him to give that up.
Spencer cleared his throat from the seat across from his father, smiling shyly when he blushed. William sat down the travel magazine he had been pretending to read in favor of his son.
"What is it, Spencer?" he asked.
Spencer lowered his head, as if ashamed of what he wanted to know. William frowned as he sat a supporting hand on his too-thin shoulder, making a mental note to stock up on groceries while he was in town.
"You want to know, don't you?" he asked softly. William frowned before he realized what his son was referring to, and he slowly nodded his head yes. Spencer sighed before turning to face his face, his arms wrapped protectively over himself- a position that William was too familiar with.
"You don't have to tell me now, but I do want to know. I want to know what's happened to you on the job. I know it's dangerous, and I know I probably don't even know half of what's happened to you, but I want to change that." William watched as his son propped his head against the seat he was sitting in, his eyes glazing over. William turned his armrest up and motioned for Spencer to lay on him again. He did so without hesitation. "Take your time; we have all week together, okay?"
"Yeah," Spencer nodded. He buried his face in his father's shirt as a chill travelled throughout his thin body. William wrapped his coat around him and told him to sleep. Although Spencer was sick of sleeping, he did so anyways, finding the will to stay awake too difficult to attain. Before he closed his eyes, he heard his father whisper something, but before he could realize what he had said, he was fast asleep again.
~* SITDP *~
Hotch drove William off at Spencer's apartment after reluctantly waking him up. The tired man was given a sympathetic smile from his boss and a concerned look from his own father before he was escorted back to his apartment at last.
William wasn't shocked to find antique furniture, walls upon walls of books, papers and pens lying almost everywhere and anywhere, and only a single picture of Spencer and his team on the red-wooded coffee table. He smiled to himself; he was glad he hadn't missed any changes in his son's style, at least. Antique and classic- the way Spencer and Diana had both always liked it.
"You can...you can just make yourself at home. I'm just going to try to sleep for a little while longer if you don't mind," Spencer yawned as he placed his coat in the hall closet. William just nodded his head as he watched his son tiredly drag himself to his bedroom. "We can talk tomorrow, I promise, I just need to sleep right now."
"That's okay Spencer; I understand," William reassured. "I actually would have forced you to sleep anyways. You were really sick; you need to recoperate."
"Thanks dad," Spencer smiled. As he turned around, he mumbled, "good night."
William waited for Spencer to close the door behind him before he too got ready for bed. He changed into his night wear before debiting whether to sleep on the spare bed that was covered with books in what appeared to be a make-shift study or to just sleep on the couch. Knowings that Spencer would have felt bad if he slept on the couch, he cleared off the bed and decided to sleep there instead.
He tried to sleep, but he was too wound up. 'What a shame,' he thought, 'this is a fairly comfortable bed.'
His eye caught the attention of a book on the floor, and he reached over to pick it up. A smile pressed on his lips as he realized that he had bought the book for Spencer's Christmas gift when he was seven. His fingers slipped over the pages as he skimmed over them in the old book. The pages were discolored and ripped in certain parts, but he was sure that Spencer was taking great care of it nonetheless. William sat the book down before deciding to look over the other books as well. There were dozens of them lined on the shelves, and he couldn't help but realize why his son had liked them so much. They were an escape for him, and although he wasn't much of a reader himself, even he could see the value they held.
William glanced at the clock mounted on the wall above him, seeing that it was now eleven p.m. Reluctantly, he made his way back to his bed and closed his eyes, hoping that Spencer would keep his word and talk to him tomorrow morning.
~* SITDP *~
"I'm assuming you still want to know." Spencer spoke slowly, hesitantly. William Reid nodded his head from his seat on the couch across from Spencer.
"You don't have to tell me now-"
"No, I do have to tell you now," Spencer sighed. He went to curl his legs into his chest, but he stopped himself, knowing that it would hurt him too much.
"Why do you do that?" William frowned. "You always used to sit like that, but now you keep stopping yourself," William observed.
"I was shot a few months ago," Spencer replied.
"Well, I think that's a good place to start."
Spencer couldn't help to smile despite the seriousness of the situation. "Yeah, I suppose it is," he agreed. He sat down his glass of milk before turning his full attention to his father. Finally, after keeping the secret dangers of his job that had haunted him for years, he let them all out, and by the time he was nearly finished, more than three hours had passed and he had cried so hard that even his father had to let tears fall.
"That...that all happened to you?" his father asked incredulously.
"Yeah, yeah it did dad," Spencer nodded, still shaking. "But there's...there's one more. It happened a few years ago, but I still think about it. It...it-ah happened right before Gideon left, which made it even harder, but what really hurt was the way I handled it. I was a coward, Dad, and I really hurt myself for doing it."
"His name was Tobias Hankel, the man who held the monster that hurt me, but his real name was Charles and Raphael Hankel," Spencer whispered. William once again put his hand on Spencer's shoulder, wordlessly telling him he didn't have to say anymore. "He torutred me...and he drugged me. In the end, I had to put a bullet in him. God, I hated myself for doing it. Tobias didn't deserve it; it wasn't his fault!" Spencer sobbed. "I felt so guilty afterwards, and I just wanted to forget. I didn't know how to make it stop- the images playing over and over in my head- and I took them. I took the drugs and screamed until they stopped."
William held his near-hysterical son closer to his him, pulling him into a hug as he whispered comforting words. "You've relived enough today; how about we try to move forward for once?" he whispered. Spencer sniffled as he took his head off his father's shoulder, silently wondering when he had become so touchy-feely.
"Yeah, I think I'd like that," Spencer smiled. William smiled along, silently wiping tears away as he did so.
"How about you and me stay in tonight and talk about things? Anything in the world- I want to know everything that you want me to know, even if it's just statistics and logic. I'm all ears."
Spencer nodded his head appreciatively before sitting cross-legged on the couch. He knew that he would later regret it, but for now, it was a position that he really needed to be in. Spencer cleared his throat and steadied his breathing before taking his father up on his offer. Inwardly smiling, he started off the night with a more happy-ending type of story, the type of g-rated fairy tale that children were told when they were young and impressionable.
"We didn't think we would be able to do it, and it doesn't happen often enough, but we finally saved a kid last week."
I'm sorry it's so...rushed, would it be?...but my gosh how hectic are things right now! Thnx for reading every single one of you, and thnx for sticking it out!
Cheers and Happy Holidays,