*I don't own criminal minds, or any of the characters, or anything like that. Less violent than my other story, if you've read it- as in, no children will be murdered. It seemed to offend people last time. But there still might be character death; I haven't decided yet; so considered yourself warned. Rated T for the later chapters, subject to change, I don't know yet.*
"Well, Reid, are you coming?"
Reid swiveled around in his chair and came face to face with Morgan. He paused for a moment, contemplating.
Morgan let out a huff of irritation. "Were you listening to anything I was saying?"
Reid turned back around, away from Morgan, "Sorry, I was thinking."
"Apparently. We're all going over to my place for drinks. You in?"
"Ah…sorry," Reid said quickly, "I have plans."
"Plans? With who?"
With my couch and my pajamas. "Well…I'm just busy, that's all," Reid muttered evasively. In all honestly, he was exhausted and just wanted to go home; he had been working since five in the morning, and he needed to get away from people for a little while.
"No, you're not," Morgan said sharply, "Come on, Reid. You need to have some fun once in awhile. I'll even give you a ride."
Reid didn't understand why everyone assumed he didn't have fun at home. But then again, he didn't want to hurt Morgan's feelings. "Well, alright," he muttered at the floor, reaching for his bag.
"Wow, don't sound so excited, kid," Morgan said sarcastically. Reid shrugged and followed Morgan out into the parking lot, rubbing his head. It had been hurting more than usual today.
He got into the passenger seat and sighed, staring despondently at the dashboard ahead of him. It was going to be a long night. And he was missing Star Trek. And he hadn't written to his mother. And he'd only had one cup of coffee today.
"Kid, you're acting like I'm about to force-feed you nails."
"No…I'm really excited. It's going to be fun." Reid tried to pump enthusiasm into his voice but failed miserably. "I'm sorry," he said quickly, "I'm a little tired."
"You mean your head hurts?" Morgan asked casually as they pulled out of the parking lot.
"Yeah…a bit," Reid murmured. "I only had one cup of coffee today," he added as an afterthought.
Morgan snorted. "So you're going through caffeine withdrawal, is that it?"
Reid shrugged. "Actually, caffeine withdrawal can be pretty serious. It's been known to lead to headaches, obviously, but also depression, vomiting, insomnia-"
"Insomnia?" Morgan raised his eyebrows. "That doesn't make any sense."
"No, it's true, there have been studies, actually 76 percent of people who normally consume-"
"Okay, okay, I believe you," Morgan said quickly.
There was a silence.
"I don't drink that much coffee," Reid said, simply for something to say.
"Yes, you do, and it's not good for you," Morgan chastised, although his tone was joking. Even so, Reid felt a small frown creeping onto his face. Everyone seemed to know what was and wasn't good for him.
"Hmm," Reid muttered, for lack of anything else to say. They sat there in silence for the rest of the ride, each immersed in their own thoughts.
They arrived at the house long before anyone else; Reid sat awkwardly on the couch while Morgan went into the kitchen to get drinks and snacks.
After everyone else arrived, it got very loud. Reid just reclined against the sofa, refusing to take off his sunglasses despite everyone's protests. Finally, after an hour or two of him sitting there silently, everyone had apparently had enough.
"Alright, Reid," Emily snapped, turning towards him, "What would you rather be doing?"
Reid blinked, although they couldn't see, and turned to frown at her. "What do you mean?"
"You look like you're in physical pain. Are we boring you? What would you rather be doing right now?"
Sleeping. Sitting at home, with ice cream and ibuprofen. "I'm sorry," Reid muttered, "I should go. I didn't mean to ruin everyone's fun." Despite the protests, and Emily's apologies, Reid quickly got to his feet and made his way towards the door.
It was at this point that he realized he did not have a car.
"Reid, sit down!" Garcia's voice called from behind him.
Reid didn't want to. The subway was only a mile or two away. He closed the door behind him and stepped out into the cool air, letting out a sigh of relief.
"Reid!" Morgan's voice came to him from inside the house, and his older colleague jogged outside. "You know she was just giving you a hard time," Morgan assured him. "She didn't mean to-"
Reid cut in. "It's not that; I don't feel well; I shouldn't have come. Tell Emily I'm not angry, or upset, or hurt, or anything, but I really need to get home." With that, he turned around and began walking down the street.
It was true; he shouldn't have gone. He had enough trouble socializing when he was feeling normal; his headaches made it downright impossible.
As he made his way down the street, he began to feel slightly better; the cool, autumn air was doing wonders for his headache, and he inhaled deeply, closing his eyes as he walked.
Reid wanted to moan aloud; who was it, and what the hell did they want?
It was a very young man; he was very thin, with an abundance of messy brown hair falling into his face. "Dr. Reid!" he called again, waving his hand higher. Reid gave him a weak smile and a small wave.
"Hi," the man said breathlessly, finally catching up to him. "I go to Georgetown. You gave a lecture there last week. I wanted to ask you a question, but everyone else was asking, and then you left right afterwards, and I saw you just now, so I thought, maybe, I could…" the man trailed off, putting an end to his rambling. "My name is Tucker," he said, offering a hand.
Reid shook it politely, thinking that he looked a bit old to be going to college. "Nice to meet you, Tucker," he replied. Now that he thought about it, he did remember him. "Second row to the back, on the left," Reid said suddenly.
Tucker looked ecstatic. "That's right! You remembered…I'm just walking back from work, I work at that restaurant over there-" He turned around and pointed over his shoulder. "Where are you headed?"
Reid swallowed. "Oh…I was just headed home."
"Haven't you got a car?"
Reid laughed. "Yes. But I took the subway here."
"Do you need a ride home?" Tucker was practically trembling with excitement by this point. "I have a car. I parked it in the garage over there."
Reid contemplated. The last time a kid had come to talk to him on the street, he had turned out to be a potential serial killer. "That's alright, Tucker," he said, "It's not that far a walk."
Tucker's face fell. "Oh, alright," he said. Reid instantly felt guilty. Tucker reminded him a bit of himself when he was in college.
"Maybe we could get a cup of coffee?" Reid offered suddenly, "And you could ask me some of those questions you had."
Tucker's face lit up. "Really?" he asked.
Reid instantly regretted his words. What had happened to going home? "Well only…only if you wanted to," Reid muttered, gritting his teeth.
"Oh, that's great! There's a coffee shop right around the corner, it's the best, I'll show you." Reluctantly, Reid followed a jabbering Tucker down the street, wondering if he really was masochistic after all.
"That's when I explained to him that he had misquoted Becker," Tucker was saying as the waitress came by with their coffee. "The Denial of Death was the name of the book, and Terror Management was the theory."
Reid laughed loudly, surprised that a Georgetown professor would make such a stupid mistake. He was enjoying himself much more than he'd been expecting, and the coffee was beginning to make his headache go away.
"So what year are you in Georgetown?" Reid asked.
"Fourth," Tucker said with a determined air, "I'm ready to graduate; my major is in philosophy. I know, I know, I'll never get a job," he said, waving his hands dismissively.
Reid laughed. "At least you're an interesting conversationalist," he remarked.
Tucker shrugged. "True."
Reid hesitated for a moment, then asked, "How old are you?"
Tucker smiled, but also looked a bit uncomfortable. "Twenty-eight," he said, "I entered college late."
Reid frowned. "Why?" Then he realized that this might be considered a personal question, and replied, "Sorry."
"No, it's alright," Tucker said. "I went to college when I was eighteen; like everyone else; but I had to drop out after the first semester. My mom got sick, so I went home to take care of her."
Reid was instantly seized by guilt. "Oh," was all he said, before leaning forward to take a sip of his coffee. Tucker had dropped out of college to take care of his mother; Reid had sent his mother to a sanitarium.
Tucker looked rather unhappy now, fiddling with his napkin and biting his lip. His eyes were glued to the table.
"My mom is schizophrenic," Reid blurted out before he could stop himself.
Tucker frowned, and looked up at him with a wide mouth. "Really?"
"I…yeah. I sent her to a mental hospital when I turned eighteen. I think it's…" he trailed off. "I think it's amazing that you would leave college to stay home to take care of your mother. You're a better man than me."
Tucker's face turned red. "No, don't be ridiculous," he said, but he looked rather pleased. "And...my mom didn't have a mental illness. She had skin cancer." He paused. "She died a few years ago, so I went back to college."
"I'm sorry," Reid said. Tucker just shrugged.
Tucker stared despondently at the tablecloth for several more moments before Reid started talking again about philosophy, and this seemed to perk him up. They chatted amiably for the rest of the evening and well into the night, long after they had both finished their coffees.
Finally, Reid stood up. "I really have to go home," he said.
Tucker got up, too. "Let me give you a ride," he said, grinning. "It'll be faster."
Reid eventually consented; besides, it could be risky to use the subway this late at night. Tucker insisted on paying for the coffee; which had cost a total of four dollars and sixty cents; and they started towards his car. "You know," Reid said, "I was supposed to spend the night with some colleagues from my team…but I had more fun with you."
Reid doubted Tucker's grin could have gotten any wider. He unlocked the doors and walked around to the driver's side while Reid got into the passenger's seat.
"My house isn't that far," Reid said, ducking his head so as not to hit the roof of the car. He heard Tucker get in behind him. "Just a couple of miles." He reached out to close the door; and that was when he felt the strangest pricking sensation at the back of his neck; like a needle.
Reid froze up in panic. "Tucker?" he asked, turning around to look at the other man; but everything was already going blurry.
"Don't worry," Tucker said, his grin not fading, his blue eyes sparkling with excitement. "We're going to keep having fun."
This is typical, Reid thought to himself, slumping against the seat. He tried to reach for the door, but his hand wouldn't move; he could feel the car starting as his eyes blinked closed, and he slowly slipped into unconsciousness.
*So…yep, Reid is in trouble again. Poor guy. Review please and tell me whether or not you like it so far.*