Follows "Face the Dark"

Disclaimer: I own nothing except my original characters and storylines. Characters are fictional and not a depiction of their portrayers.

Summary: Reid tries to cope despite his condition, but Morgan may be the one who truly needs someone to bring him back from the dark.

Pairing: Morgan/Reid pre-slash. (If this changes to a romantic pairing it will be noted accordingly.)

Warnings: None that I can see...but I've been wrong before.

Notes: I know not everyone was happy with my decision to cut this story into two parts, but here's the deal: when I started this story I had only one, simple scene in mind and that was all I wanted to write. As time has gone on this saga has taken on a life of it's own and gone in directions I did not set out for or expect. Even while writing the below it changed on me yet again. Sometimes writing just does that to you, and sometimes that's the best kind of writing. It was also important to me to make a clean break because I believe "Face the Dark" (despite some people's nay-saying) DOES have an ending. It's just a sad, dark, painful ending. But in terms of the story surrounding the cave in, that part was over for me, and I COULD have stopped there. Honestly, I almost did. But I can't. The other reason I am considering this a "part 2" or "sequel" or "conclusion" (whatever you want to call it) is because for the first time ever, I am writing in Reid's voice. I have never tried this before...I always write from Derek's perspective...and this makes me a little nervous. And excited. Yet again, this is something I did not expect to happen, but suddenly I found myself in Reid's mind and, well, I couldn't get back out again. If you've followed the storyline from "Face the Dark," welcome! If you are new to this story, welcome! If you are unhappy with my decision and don't want to stick it out, that's fine too. To each their own. I respect that.

~DNM

Not season specific. Apologies for any OOC behavior. I have very limited knowledge of the FBI and the medical field.


Finding the Light

Once, he had stared down the barrel of a gun knowing that the single bullet left inside could take his life in an instant. He had always wondered, since that moment, if he had been brave to look death in the face or if he had simply lost hope, was done submitting to torture and desperate to protect those he loved. He still did not know the answer to that question, whether he was brave or a coward, whether he was giving up or sacrificing himself. In the end it didn't matter. He had succeeded in using his wits to save his life. It had also cost him a portion of his soul he was only now beginning to regain.

He felt as though he was looking down the barrel of that gun once more, only now there were only two chambers; one with a bullet that would end all hope, and one, empty, that would be his salvation. He thought he might prefer the gun. The decision would be made for him in an instant, not this long, slow, torturous waiting. A fifty-fifty chance. That is what he had.

He had put his life in danger before, willing to sacrifice himself for his team, willing to take a chance if only it would protect the innocent. He had made impulsive decisions, run ahead into dangerous situations, taken off his bullet proof vest and faced a mad man, all the time knowing what he was risking, but acting on impulse and relying on his mind to save him.

He could not use his intellect alone to get out of this one.

He hated – hated – feeling helpless, as he did now. He had begun to resent his friends for acting like they understood what he was going through, because there was no way they possibly could. He had even begun to resent Derek, and he despised himself for that, because Derek had been his rock since the day he had opened his eyes and found himself in darkness.

He heard the lock of the front door click and leapt up, determined not to let Derek know he had spent all day in bed. Again. And that he had forgotten to eat lunch. Again. When his right foot hit the ground it jarred all the way up to his hip and he cursed under his breath. 3 months of torturous physical therapy that he'd driven himself through with a desperation to have control over something in his life had succeeded in healing most of his injuries and strengthening his injured legs, but his right hip was stubborn and didn't seem to want to catch up to the rest of his body.

"Spencer?"

"Be right there!" he maneuvered his way to the door, counting his steps until he reached the hall and turned toward Derek's voice. His heart was in his throat. This was a conversation he had been putting off for weeks now, but it was one that needed to be had. He wasn't looking forward to Derek's reaction.

He could hear Derek stepping onto the linoleum floor of the kitchen and setting bags on the counter. He reached the doorway and stopped, a hand on the frame. "Hey."

A pause, and he was sure Derek was assessing him. "Did you stay in bed all day again?"

"No," Spencer retorted, and mentally cursed his petulant tone.

"Did you eat lunch?"

"Yes, mom."

"How's the hip?"

"Not bad. You're off the clock, you know? You can stop with the interrogation."

An audible sigh and then Derek was walking toward him. He felt fingers running through the long strands of his hair, snagging on a tangle. "Your hair's a mess."

"And who, pray tell, am I supposed to be brushing it for?" He was being snotty but he really didn't care. He could tell from the accusation in Derek's tone that he knew Spencer had been lying.

Spencer pushed past the larger man and reached out to grab the back of one of the kitchen chairs. He eased down into it, stretching out his right leg. He had to get this over with.

"What do you want for dinner?" Derek said, at the same time Spencer said, "We need to talk."

There was a beat of silence. "That's probably one of the most dreaded phrases in the English language."

"Fine. We have something to discuss." Spencer waved his hand toward the far side of the table, indicating for Derek to sit.

He heard the scrape of a chair on the floor and Derek sitting down heavily. He could practically hear the tension vibrating off of the older agent.

"So? What's this about?"

Spencer took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He wet his lips. "You know," he finally said.

Silence. "I really don't."

Spencer sighed. "Do I really need to spell it out for you? I think it's time for you to move out." Wow, he could have said that a lot better. He didn't mean to be such an asshole but it seemed like everything put him on edge lately and he really didn't see the point of niceties.

There was a very long pause before Derek said, "I don't think that's a good idea."

"Well, it's what I want, so it doesn't really matter what you think."

The chair moved again as Derek stood up from the table in a huff. "Why are you being like this? You've been making such good progress, full speed ahead, and suddenly you don't want my help anymore?"

Spencer felt horrible. "It's not…that," he said, forcing his voice to gentleness. "Of course I'm thankful for everything you've done for me. Moving in here and helping me find my way around, driving me to and from my physical therapy sessions…" Being there for me in the middle of the night when I woke up screaming. He would not say that. It was something neither of them would acknowledge the next morning. "I just…I think I need to be on my own again. I think I'm ready."

"Look…kid…I know you are in great shape now and can find your way around this place like clockwork…"

"Exactly."

"But what if…you need something?" he finished lamely. Needed someone to drag him out of bed in the morning and make him face the world, is what he meant. Needed someone to make sure he ate three times a day, because otherwise Spencer was liable to find himself trapped in his own thoughts while the hours ticked by. "Besides, won't you be lonely?"

"I've lived on my own for years, Derek. This shouldn't be any different. Besides, you insist on spending any more nights on my couch and I am not paying for your chiropractor bills."

"Har har. Look, you know I will do whatever you ask me to, but I'm not happy about this."

"You don't have to be. It's my decision."

He could hear Derek pacing back and forth across the kitchen floor now, mumbling under his breath. Obscenities, if Spencer had to guess. Finally the footfalls silenced and Spencer waited patiently for the older agent to speak. "Fine," he said, stiffly. "If that's what you really want then…then fine. I'll get my stuff together and be out of your hair by the end of the week." His tone was bitter, but Spencer knew he didn't mean for it to be. He was worried, not angry. And that's one of the reasons Spencer needed him to leave. Derek was constantly…constantly…worried about him.

Not that he didn't have reason to be.

"Tomorrow morning," the words hung heavy in the air.

Derek sighed, long and deep. "Tomorrow?"

Spencer gave a nod, forcing a look of determination onto his face.

Derek was kneeling before him, he could tell by the movement and sudden body heat near to his own. He captured Spencer's face in his hands, and Spencer wondered if Derek was looking into his unseeing hazel eyes. He wished he knew. More than anything, he wished he could see Derek looking back at him.

He swallowed a lump in his throat as Derek moved his thumbs gently over Spencer's cheeks.

"If you want me out tomorrow," the older agent said softly, "then I will leave tomorrow. Even though I don't think it's right to leave you alone. Even though it's not what I want to do."

Spencer tried to speak and had to clear his throat. "Thank you," he managed, his guilt swallowing him up.

He could be selfish and admit the truth…that he wanted Derek to stay with him. That he never wanted Derek to leave. But that would be undoing everything he had just set in motion; the first step to reclaiming his life.

Spencer felt the gust of Derek's warm breath on his cheek. Then, just as suddenly, the hands left his face and he knew the older agent was climbing to his feet. "Now," Derek said, signaling the end of the conversation. "What do you want for dinner? I know you're starving because you didn't eat breakfast or lunch."

Spencer scowled. Derek could always see right through him. "Doesn't matter to me," he said quietly.

"Kid, if you don't eat on the regular after I leave…"

"I will. What do you want me to do? Call you every time I sit down for a meal?"

"If I said yes would you report me for stalking?"

"Probably. You need to stop spending so much time worrying about me. I mean, there must be plenty to think about at work. The BAU gives you tons to agonize over every day. I shouldn't even cross your mind!" There was a sudden silence that dragged on for so long that Spencer shifted in his seat uncomfortably. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore. "What?"

"Spencer…" Derek said softly. "I…uh…"

Spencer's heart was beating double time in his chest. "What is it?"

"I wasn't going to tell you yet, but now that you've decided to kick me out, I guess now's as good a time as any." There was an audible sigh. "I…Spencer, I...quit the BAU today."

TBC