The best and most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or touched, but must felt by the heart." – Helen Keller
Another day, another Travelodge. Why? Because the Travelodge gives the government a discount. At the moment Spencer would have given just about anything to be able to remain in this particular Travelodge for the rest of his natural life. Not that it was any better or worse than any other Travelodge, but remaining inside was marginally less painful that going out into the bright, hot Miami sun.
"Hey, man, you OK?" Morgan asked him.
No, I am not okay, Spencer thought. My head is about to explode, I'm seeing double, and I had dry toast for breakfast again in the hopes that it wouldn't make a return trip on the way back home. At the moment I may be the only man in America hoping he's going to go to the doctor tomorrow and find out he has a brain tumor or an aneurysm or something because then he can ask his friends for help and he'll never have to go to the hospital alone. Dear god, I hate being alone. I never want to be that terrified again.
"Yeah, I'm fine." He said to Morgan as he adjusted his glasses and headed outside.
Morgan moved away to load the file boxes into the SUV. For reasons he would never understand, Spencer walked a few steps in the other direction, toward the corner of the building.
Spencer looked up with a wince as the light thrust two sharp sticks through his eyes and started beating on the drums inside his skull. It was Julio, the priest that had been working with them on the case, the one who had had the religious experience in front of him. This morning the larger man looked exhausted, haggard. "Julio" he said, by way of greeting.
"I spoke to the saints last night." Julio said. "They had a message for you."
"Is this more about how I'm being chased by ghosts who want to make my head explode?" Spencer asked. At this particular moment he rather thought the explosion might be a pleasant relief. Get it over with, move on. The sensation of my grey matter baking on the wall of this particular Travelodge might actually be pleasant by comparison.
"Some." Julio nodded. "They said you are not the only one being chased. Right now the egun are on your head, but they have been on the others before, and will be again. You anger them, the ghosts of the dead, all of you."
"As far as I know, the other people on my team have never had a problem with headaches." This is utter nonsense, Spencer thought, pure mythology, no more real than tales of the Norse gods, of Olympus. So why am I standing here listening to this?
"No. But the leader of your team lost his wife, no? Did Death not try to destroy his soul? Agent Morgan was arrested for a murder he did not do. The one you call Garcia, she nearly died. And ask Agent Prentiss about the time her nose bled." Julio shook his head. "They already sent away three of your people, the soldier of God, the mother of your godchild. They turned the other to evil to break her soul. They try with you once, but an ifa helped you. Did you not ask where your friend got that tea?"
Tea? Helped me? Spencer thought. Ethan... "How do you know all this?"
"The saints told me. Now they are after you because you are vulnerable. They have pushed away those closest to you but one. The gods wish to return the balance, so now there will be a battle."
Lovely. Mythical deities are fighting over me. "And what do they want me to do?"
"Hey!" Morgan saw who Spencer was talking to and started heading in that direction. The last thing the kid needed was more creepy talk after the past few days.
Spencer frowned as Julio started walking away. "Which God am I supposed to pray to?"
Julio looked back and nodded in Morgan's direction. "His." Spencer winced as a new bolt of pain struck behind his eyes. By the time he could look back up, Julio was gone.
"What the hell was that all about?" Morgan asked, when he came within speaking distance.
"I don't know." Spencer replied, trying not to let the pain filter into his voice. "Tell me it's time to head to the airport."
"Yeah." Morgan said. "Let's go. Miami is not good for you."
Southeastern US Airspace
Spencer sat in the furthest corner of the plane. His eyes were closed, a book open in his lap, but he was neither reading nor sleeping. He couldn't truly do either, not with the pounding, throbbing pain behind his eyes. Instead he was thinking about the others on the plane with him. They were his friends, people who cared about him, but….
Seaver was new. She looked at him like he was some strange beast crawled out of a display case somewhere. No, it wasn't that, she looked up to him. She was probably his age, or close to, and yet she looked at him like he was this sage, this wise old man with all the answers. She makes me feel ancient, he thought. I've felt about 90 ever since the first time she joined us and I realized I didn't have a chance because she thinks of me as the Fount of All Wisdom, and far too old for her to ever consider as a potential date.
Conversely Rossi treated him as a kid, and not in a good way. He could never get close to the older man, mostly because of his habit of gently hazing everyone. He called it "opportunities for personal growth" when confronted, said in his day agents did it to each other all the time. Yeah, well, whenever it even felt like he was going to pull that kind of thing, even on one of the others, all Spencer could do was hear the jeering of the kids around the goal post again, could feel his pants about to come down. It wasn't that far off, maybe Rossi hadn't realized how hard it would be to climb out of that ditch, but now he was just waiting for the older man to try something else, only worse.
He knew how much he annoyed Emily. They could barely have a conversation without her rolling her eyes and trying to run away. What was he supposed to do, apologize for not having the social skills of a diplomat's daughter? Sorry, Emily, I know I'm wired weird; I'm an embarrassing, annoying freak. We have to work together, so could you at least pretend to enjoy my company once and a while. I'll continue to try to hold my tongue as much as possible, and never tell anyone what I'm thinking, since they never truly want to know.
Hotch had always intimidated him, the perfect, quiet leader. I came in under Gideon, because he had so much pull with the Bureau, and now that he'd gone I keep waiting for Hotch to say that I really don't belong here. That I really ought to go off to the Academy to teach, where I won't get into anyone's way, or embarrass anyone. Where he'll never have to explain that yes, I'm a real agent, even though I still look so young, where he'll never have to worry about Strauss finding out about the NA meetings, where he can stop wondering if I'm going crazy on him. I just know that one of these days he'll decide that I'm more trouble than I'm worth.
And then there was Morgan. Morgan had always been his big brother, perhaps one of his best friends on the team. But ever since he took over as team leader for a time he'd felt like Morgan was just waiting for him to make a mistake, any kind of mistake, and he made them all the time. I'm not a perfect cop. I'm not even a good FBI agent, honestly. I'm a walking computer, and I know Morgan would dearly love to just put me behind a desk and leave me there to process information. He thinks he's doing it to keep me safe, but he's really doing it so he doesn't have to worry about me screwing up somehow, again. That's probably why he's doing that more and more these days, and he's probably right.
So Seaver makes me feel old, Rossi makes me feel scared, Emily makes me feel like I should shut up, Hotch makes me nervous, and Morgan makes me feel like a screw up. I call them friends, but how do you define friends? We have nothing in common. We spend no time out socially anymore because I can't go out drinking after work. I can't talk to them about anything. I can't tell them that I live in the crappiest apartment in DC because I'm sending a third of my paycheck to keep Mom in Bennington, and putting away another third to cover myself in case I end up there, and the remaining third does not stretch far in DC. I can't tell them that the walls are paper thin, so it's never really quiet, or that the Indian place downstairs makes the whole place smell like stale grease and curry. I can't tell them that I'm scared out of my mind that these headaches mean that I'm starting to become schizophrenic like my Mother. I can't tell them that having to keep coming out like this, having to act like Wise Old Dr. Reid while never saying more than what's important to the case and while confronting evil, horrific acts over and over again is causing my stomach to turn against me, that I throw up for every case now because I have to repress every feeling in order to allow them to trust me. I can't tell them I suck down coffee like its water because I have so many nightmares I haven't had a decent night's sleep in years. I could have told JJ, I could have told Gideon, they were kind and gentle and quiet and tried to understand. When they were around things were different. It's different now. These are still my friends, they care about me I'm sure, but I feel so alone. I want to go home, but I don't know where that is.
Julio said I have bad egun on top of me, whatever that is, and it's spoiling my head. I wish it would just get it over with. Maybe if I was in an asylum drugged to the gills I could finally feel warm and safe and home.
Personal note: I'm going to attempt to track this story along with the rest of season 6, or at least the next few episodes, so there probably won't be more than one or two chapters a week for a while. Eventually I'm sure it will go off the rails into its own universe. And yes, I will be finishing my other stories as well.