A/N: Written for nevcolleil's prompt at LJ's Bite Size Fic. It turned out to be a bit too long for a comment. I, of course, own nothing more than this.

5 people Spencer Reid could have fallen in love with...

1. Alexa Lisbon.

Yes, he was five years younger, and yes, he was eleven, but she was his first crush. Spencer learned quickly that logic vanished whenever his hormones kicked in. Easily the prettiest girl in school, puberty ensured he was finally at an age to notice it. Shyly, he'd watched her down the hall, flipping her golden hair, and giggling happily with her friends. Dreams ran wild as he imagined that laugh shared with him. So when Harper told him Alexa wanted to meet him, he was stupid enough to hope maybe this was his chance.

The football team – and, of course, Alexa herself - took care of that.

2. Olivia Lawson.

Olivia, unlike Alexa, attracted him because she didn't laugh. Specifically, she didn't laugh when he walked into her classroom and stood at the front podium, ready to deliver his first lesson. While usually oblivious when in lecture-mode, it was his first class, and he'd always had a problem talking in front of people anyway. So the whispers and snickers of the new CalTech freshman class that had just realized a sixteen year old newly minted doctor was going to teach them math were impossible to ignore. Olivia, on the other hand, had her notebook out and sat in perfect attention. But it was against policy for teachers to date their students, and Spencer wasn't about to jeopardize his position at the prestigious university. He was still only a young teenager, and wanted to work on a few more degrees before his counselors finally agreed he might actually be able to go off on his own.

Besides, the fact is it's just too awkward dating someone two years older than you who calls you "Professor Reid."

3. Ethan

It was only after Ethan had walked away from their six year friendship that Spencer had recognized the depth of his emotions. Ethan had been his only real friend over the years, and they had shared a lot of milestones together. Forever locked in competition, Spencer's only true intellectual peer had delighted him when he'd announced he'd join the FBI Academy as well. It wasn't until Spencer was reading the good-bye note that the unbidden memories started. All the shared meals. Movie nights where he'd fall asleep on Ethan's shoulder. Study groups that always seemed to end with just the two of them left, quietly still sharing highlighters as they continued reading long into the night. Private jokes only they understood. Even the picnic last week that he now saw could have been labeled romantic. Then realizing his own unspoken assumption that they'd share a life together after they became qualified agents. Apply for postings near each other, get an apartment for the two of them, maybe even a pet. Spencer had always wanted a dog, but only Ethan was good at getting along with them. Spencer had spent that first lonely night fighting tears as he reviewed all his memories searching desperately to find the opportunities that he'd missed.

Sometimes he wondered if that was the real reason Ethan had left. That if Spencer had only realized his own feelings sooner, they'd still be together - and happy.

4. Jennifer Jareau

When JJ joined the BAU, she was the nearest person to Spencer's age. Only two years older, she exuded a calm, competent, and mature aura – everything Spencer wanted to be. She was also kind, beautiful, and always treated him with respect. A rarity in his life, so naturally he developed a crush on her. Thus, when Gideon had gently pushed him to ask her out, he didn't argue. His mentor was wise, and maybe he had seen something Spencer hadn't. Maybe JJ felt the same way about him he felt about her.

Their one and only date, however, quickly proved that opposites don't always attract. If there was a mistake to be made, Spencer had inadvertently made it. Not even her sweater had been spared thanks to his clumsiness. Although close in age, it was obvious they were miles apart in every other way. At the end of the night, JJ had been her usual kind, beautiful, and mature self. She'd kissed him gently on the cheek, told him one day he'd find someone he'd be happy with, but they both knew it just wouldn't be her.

In the end, Spencer hadn't minded the disappointment. She was still his family, and even after she fell in love with Will LaMontagne, they continued to maintain one of the deepest friendships he'd ever had.

5. Lila Archer

Lila was the first person his body ever sexually responded to. The emotions that welled in him after they parted confused him for a long time. They weren't the quiet, tame ones he associated with his other crushes - the emotions he assumed were the standard precursors to love. No, these emotions were hard, fast, and overwhelming. They riled his body and made his thoughts race. They even overrode his logic and interrupted his reasoning. For the first time in his life, he ignored his responsibilities – especially his job as her protector - in favor of more time in her arms. She was his first kiss, and it had taken all his willpower to pull himself away from everything she was offering. To realize she was most likely only transferring her emotions onto him because of her fears about her stalker, and that she didn't really want him.

Even though he hadn't actually slept with her, Lila was his introduction to the idea that sex can be very, very powerful. He finally understood why sex was the drive behind so many serial killers, and the most common method they used to exert their power over their victims.

...and the one he actually does:

Spencer had never been good with children; babies even less. Yet the moment JJ placed her son in his arms, he felt his heart swell and a lightness fill his body. The tiny infant let out a yawn, and Spencer fell – and fell hard. Henry loved Spencer's voice. Cuddled up against him, the child listened for hours, no matter what subject Spencer rambled on about. Excitement always lit Henry's eyes whenever Spencer came over. Henry never rolled his eyes at him, never acted as if he couldn't wait to escape, and never gave him the look that clearly said "What planet are you from?" Watching Henry sleep filled Spencer with a sense of peace not even the drugs had given him. For the first time, he thought about finding his own love, and raising his own family.

After his mother, Henry was the first person to accept him as is, no questions asked. He taught Spencer that love didn't always have to hurt.