So. A Niall who embodies ‘lucky in cards, unlucky in
love’. But like, in a truly brutal way, because he’s been making fortunes since
before he was of legal age to gamble, has more money than he could spend in
several lifetimes (and he’s tried,
okay – has bought cars, a yacht or two, watches, clothes, apartments, drugs,
you name it) and has finally reached a point where he realizes that spending
doesn’t make anything better. That material objects and a reputation as someonewho’s got it all doesn’t
cover anything up of fill up those hollows inside of him, because the losses
he’s suffered cling to his insides. Are raw in Las Vegas noise and neon lights.
It’s a brother who couldn’t stop with the drugs that Niall’s money bought them.
A mother who passed away after a gruelling fight with cancer. A father who lost
himself in sorrow, who no longer saw the world clearly, who couldn’t quite
understand the changes Niall was doing for him, to show him that he could do
better. Be better. Be that son he always thought he’d be when he was a kid.
Niall’s got his life as together as he can, now, which
isn’t very together at all, but his surface seems alright. Isn’t a picture of a
guy who’s got it all, but an image of someone who’s fought to be where
he’s at. Someone who owns a successful hotel and casino in Vegas and knows
every damn aspect of it. The staff, the guests, the facilities, the lot of it.
There is a spa on the fifteenth floor, and a penthouse that is entirely his
own, and a popular bar at ground level that promises classic rock. Rolling
Stones. Pink Floyd. Acoustic versions of bone-rippling songs from the past, to
sink into with alcohol and merriment. It’s Niall’s favourite place, apart from
his home higher up in the building. His go-to place when papers are signed and
the sky looks lonely because Vegas happens downstairs without it. Without him.
And it’s a Friday night and Louis is working the bar
– is grabbing Jameson before Niall’s had the time to sit down at his usual
spot at the end of the wooden counter, and Niall is settled. Fills up with companionship. Lets wounds within scab over,
here, in friendly presence of a long-time colleague, and drinks in whiskey and
surroundings. A bloke on stage, unknown, stealing attention from each table
with long, skinny legs and enticing, barely-there flutters of eyelashes
attached to closed lids. A man, singing his heart out through low, molten
flecks of syrup. Vowels drip right out of him, become light and soar like smoke
in the air moments later, and the room’s never been so in love before. Neither
has Niall, because he doesn’t want to lose anyone else.
He doesn’t realize that the Earth keeps spinning,
moving, rotating with the galaxy through space and time until Louis stops his
thoughts from rushing in the opposite direction with childlike, infatuated
enthusiasm, humming an agreement of, “Mhmm,” and preforming a
wiggle of understanding eyebrows. He’s impressed as well, with the star that’s
snuck through the sky and landed on their stage.
“How did he do that? There’s not – ” Niall
stutters. A scratch on the stage, on the building, out on the street, he
wants to finish. Maybe one on my heart. A shocked crash of a hello to
startle it back to life. Hi, here I am, I collided with you. “I
haven’t hired him.”
Louis refills his glass – alerts Niall through that
gesture alone that the thing burning upon his tongue and in his throat isn’t
his heart burning itself; that Niall’s just downed his liquor. “Liam did,
after I’d made you swear to delegate some of your workload. You can thank me
with a raise.”
“Yes,” Niall says. “No – no.
This is bad. It’s gonna be bad.”
“He’s brilliant,” Louis points out, in
cahoots with an audience that chimes in with its cheering for the supernova in
the room, the explosion of minds and hearts as the last notes of Starman are sinking into appreciative
walls. The world is fucking ironic. Niall’s not amused. Is already
feeling the effects of the alcohol – doesn’t drink much, these days. Not with
Greg’s old sobriety coin in his back pocket, heavy with guilt and reminders.
With lost love and the desperation to never ache that badly again – to never
think that he can mend those wounds again, to give that shit another try.
“He is,” Niall agrees. The whiskey cheers.
His stomach’s jittery. “It’s bad.”
But it’s not like he can fire the guy. He wants to.
Has the position and right and mind to, but his lips are going numb by the
time midnight has come and gone, and this won’t work out turns into
where have you been all my life and they keep drinking until the morning.
Talk about music. About youths spent in London, in Camden, in daydreams of
taking over the world. Talk about careers not working out, of people met never
to be seen again, lost in rushes to go places. Wonder aloud how they both ended
up here – how they’ve both taken whiskey from the bottle Louis left once he’d
closed up the bar and dropped more and more of their professionalism down the
neck of it. And Niall doesn’t care, just wants to talk more and more until that
natural rasp of Harry’s voice has become something decadent enough to truly
belong here. To stick around in Vegas air and locked in secrets of drunken fuckups.
To never want to leave.
It spins on after that; the planet, the galaxy,
Niall’s mind and heart and tongue as it talks. Says the most idiotic things to
a Harry Styles who only laughs back as though Niall is charming. A Harry who
blushes no matter how many times Niall praises his work, his talent, the
artistry that runs in veins and fingertips and – which Niall doesn’t
say – makes Niall feel beautiful whenever Harry rubs a hand over his shoulder,
side, or back in appreciative friendship.
And there’s protection to find in their positions. A
boss and his employee, being a bit too friendly, maybe, but still nothing that
can’t be swept away with jokes and laughter because that’s how it goes around here.
Friendships that tie everyone from the bar to Niall’s front door together and
make this place so fucking successful.
But then there suddenly is more. Is a searing kiss. Wandering hands. Lost breaths that
make the hollows inside of Niall burn before they’re soothed over by the sounds
Harry make into his mouth. Clothes discarded, personal rules broken over and
over again as an elevator brings them home, into bed, into bliss and a brand of
desire that will burn Niall down to the soles of his feet.
Harry’s slim, but broad. Has a waist to dig fingers
into. Kisses like he means it more than anything he’s ever sung over strange
heads and into Niall’s chest. He touches Niall with feverish want and fills him
up until the world scatters around the edges of Niall’s vision, and he hasn’t
felt like this before. Has never been so happy and desired and scared in his
life, and he can’t tell Harry that he loves him, after. After night upon night
spent talking about their lives, confessing secret desires and stories suffered
and daydreams reflected in the other’s eyes. Can’t say it, because he’s lucky in cards, and Harry’s not one.
Harry’s a star. A world. Is everything but a game, so Niall would lose him if
he said it.
(Only, after weeks of mind-blowing sex and Niall being
a martyr, trying to let Harry go to give him a shot at proper love, after Harry
breaking down in a heap of shouts and emotion and consequently breaking Niall’s
heart, too, he says it in a rush of terror and want and is rewarded with Harry
in his arms, with Harry sinking into
him, into chest and bone, into hollows and wounds that won’t ever heal fully
but that seem to beam from inside of him as though the memory of his family is
proud of him, and HAPPILY EVER AFTER STUFF.)
You had assumed that Reid had been good on his word, because that evening you were bombarded with messages.
Why aren’t you coming? Rossi asked.
Girl, we miss you...Garcia had written.
Hot Stuff! It’s an excuse to get pretty! Morgan had enticed.
But the best one? Spencer’s message.
I really hope you’ll reconsider coming. I really am sorry.
Like you weren’t going because of him.
“Selfish,” you thought, tossing your phone over to the side as you primped your hair.
Staring at yourself in the mirror, with your mustard yellow cabled sweater, the over-sized collar gracing the bottom of your chin-length Y/C/H hair, and your yellow and white plaid stockings helping your feet to slip in nicely to your simple black flats.
You felt ready for tonight.
Grabbing your purse and slinging it over your shoulder, you grabbed your keys from the toss-bowl beside your door and slipped out of your flat, the smell of freshly baked bread hitting you on the way out.
“I guess she’s really not coming,” Rossi says, taking the glass of wine he poured for you and funneled it back in to the bottle.
“Anyone know why?” Hotch looks around at his team, Rossi striking up his stove as he gets to preparing the meat for his next Italian dish.
“Maybe it’s because a certain someone was a douche,” Morgan mumbles into his glass, eyeing Spencer from the corner of his eye.
“Hey, I apologized!” he yelps, Prentiss looking in his direction.
“Yeah, well…what you didn’t know was that she closed herself in the bathroom stall, cracking her joints while sniffing.”
“She…was crying?” Spencer asks hesitantly, swirling his wine in his glass as a defeated look overcomes his face.
“I don’t know why you don’t like her,” Garcia pipes up. “I have these girl evenings with her, and she’s awesome. She has his witty sense of humor, and sometimes her references fly right over my head!”
“Sounds like fun,” J.J. jokes. “but really, I’ve had her over a couple of times for dinner, and she is great with Henry.”
“She’s met Henry?” Hotch asks.
“Oh yeah, she’s even babysat for me. Henry loves her,” J.J. brags. “I bet if you asked her to watch Jack, she would. I bet Jack would love her as well.”
“I’ll have to think about that,” Hotch ponders, taking another sip of his wine.
“Let’s not dwell on the negative,” Rossi says, coming over and plating everyone’s noodles, “She’s the one missing out on a wonderful family dinner,” he says, giving a wiry grin that tells how disappointed he is that you aren’t here.
“Yeah, forget about her,” Spencer mumbles, sighing as he turns to his plate.
Shaking his head, Morgan looks down at his plate, taking a deep breath before saying what everyone else was thinking.
Walking into the cathedral, you meander your way over to the stairs, taking your phone out and turning it off just before making your way down into the basement. Walking thru the dark corridor, a door to your left opens as a head pokes out of the dim light spilling into the hallway.
“There you are!” Polly screeches…which is exactly why you called her Polly.
“Hey! Sorry I’m late, my team is absolutely insane,” you say, wrapping her in a hug.
“Still haven’t told ‘em, huh?” she asks, eyeing you with curiosity.
“Not their business as long as I don’t backslide,” you say, giving her a smile.
“Well, today is a very important day, I figured you would’ve wanted someone to be here with you!” she squeals, taking you by the shoulders.
“You’re here, aren’t you?” you ask, giving her a light wink before she draws you in for another hug, leading you over to get some hot apple cider as the fall air begins to blow in through the open window.
“Everyone, sit down! We have an incredible speaker here with us tonight.”
As everyone takes their seats, you set your purse down on a chair behind the podium, not listening as Polly introduces you.
As Spencer yanks the laptop from Garcia’s lap, he bangs on the keys, trying to figure out how to trace your number.
“Reid, stop!” Garcia yells, trying to yank the laptop away from him.
“Spencer! That is enough!” Morgan growls, grabbing him by the waist as he picks him up in to the air. “This is why she can’t stand you!”
“She’s at her 1 year sobriety meeting!” Prentiss yells across the room.
As everyone falls silent, tears streaming down Penelope’s cheeks, Emily walks over and puts her hand on Garcia’s back, pulling her in for a hug.
“She’s at her weekly AA meeting getting her 1 year sobriety coin,” Garcia chokes out amidst her sobs.
“…and I have never been more ashamed, or disappointed, to be associated you guys,” she finishes.
As the guys look back and forth at each other, tears springing into Rossi’s eyes, Emily takes Garcia’s hand as she says, “I think we have somewhere better to be,” walking out of the house and shutting the door behind them.
“I had the perfect upbringing,” you began. “A wonderful mother, a hard-working father, a nice middle-class two story home with a decent backyard that I always played in with our poodle named Rascal while my mother watched from the kitchen as she drank her coffee in the mornings. I loved that dog…”
As Polly looks up at you, a big smile across her face, you continue.
“School was alright. I made okay grades…I wasn’t a genius or anything. But high school was particularly rough. I took on weight as puberty hit, my hair was a mess, I had braces AND glasses, acne I couldn’t control, and a desperate need to fit in. I exercised to try and combat the weight, and as soon as I got my braces off I begged my mother for contacts.”
Hearing the door in the back open, you guide your gaze back to see Emily and Garcia walk in, smiling lightly as you nod to a couple of chairs in the front row.
You were secretly elated that they had chosen to come.
“But when I hit my junior year, I was invited to a party by one of the cute seniors. I had dropped 15 pounds, saved up my money from working in a grocery store part-time to buy all of the latest fashions, and I was incredibly excited to try my hand in make-up for my first ever party…”
Taking a deep breath, you continue, “…but when I got there, not understanding how make-up actually worked, I was the butt of all of the jokes swimming around the perimeter of the room. I heard phrases like ‘dime a dozen hooker’ and ‘blowfish’ and ‘bozo’…and I found that the drinks were enough to drop my shields and make light of myself as a joke.”
“Soon, I was invited to all the parties as the comedic relief. How outlandish my make-up could be started to be the highlight of the parties, and pretty soon everyone wanted a piece of ‘The Clown.’”
As your eyes start to water, you dip your head and take in a ragged breath, Prentiss and Garcia furrowing their brows as they were not familiar with this origin story.
“There was one party that got incredibly out of control. Lots of drinks, lots of laughter, and lots of boys. And one in particular had caught my eye…”
Watching them close their eyes as tears started to fall, you couldn’t help but cry yourself, muddling your speech as you went along.
“…the last thing I remember was telling him my name. The next morning I woke up with my clothes, torn and in a corner, my legs scratched and burning, and blood between my legs on the sheets of the bed. I grabbed my stuff, got dressed, hauled ass out of the window to the backyard, and never looked back.”
Wiping your tears away, you continue. “I drank myself through college, and somehow managed to keep a decent enough GPA to even be considered for the police force, and eventually worked my way up to being readily competitive for a position in the FBI…all the while drinking my weekends away as if I had no life outside of work and the bottom of a bottle…
“But when my now boss had called me one Wednesday afternoon to tell me that he wanted me to come in for a face to face interview a few months ago, I realized that if I was going to seriously consider this job-”
The door closing again caught your attention, and whipping your head up, you see the men of your team, plus J.J., strewn against the back wall, tears running down their cheeks.
“…in order to actually take this job, I couldn’t drink my weekend away. I needed to be sober. So, I decided that if the interview went well, I would quit. And if it didn’t go well, I’d treat myself to some high end tequila and a nice, clean gigolo.”
As Morgan’s eyebrows raise, he leans in to Rossi and mutters, “Gigolo? You think she was serious?”
Turning your gaze back towards Hotch, you continue your story to him. “Not only was Aaron Hotchner kind and intelligent, he was elated that I was considering the position, and when he shook my hand, I knew right then and there that I would get sober for this job. That I would get sober for him.”
As the entire audience sniffles and silences their sobs, you look to Rossi, whose shoulders are now shaking.
“I knew that I would get sober for them all.”
Stepping back from the podium, the audience rises to their feet and claps, whoops and hollers coming from Morgan as the girls wipe their tears away, stepping up on stage and standing on either side of you, taking your hands within theirs.
“It is with great pleasure,” Polly says as she adjusts the microphone, “That I present to Y/F/N her 1 year sobriety coin.”
As the claps start up again, you step up to the podium and take your coin, hugging Polly instead of shaking her hand.
“Thank you for everything,” you mutter in to her ear, causing her to grip you tighter around your neck.
And as the crowd continues to whoop and holler for your celebration, Spencer stands off in the corner, his hands to his face as he continues to sob into his palms, shaking his head and wondering how in the world he could have ever treated someone just like him as badly as he has treated you these past few months.
“Oh, my god,” he sobs into his hands, “Oh, my god…”
To others, he was ambitious, always perfecting an art within weeks of trying it and studying hard, but he knew, deep down, he was afraid of failing himself or the ones he loved; he constantly tried to better himself because he felt anxious if he didn’t. As he grew older, he began disregarding these fears entirely, as they had controlled his life for quite some time. He felt like he needed a change.
Anna sat on the balcony in silence staring out into the deepening twilight that encroached upon the Duarte residence. Above, the moon was just a sliver in the sky. What remained of the light was fading fast and soon there would be only darkness. From somewhere inside the house the sounds of music drifted out on the thick humid air; mingling with the melodies of the waking wildlife in the blackness just beyond the meagre light from the house.
Anna sighed, and a hand drifted into her pocket, absently fingering the now-worn sobriety coin that she had managed to hang on to through everything.
Anna pulled the coin out of her pocket and rubbed it slowly between her hands. It’s once shiny and engraved surface was now discoloured and worn smooth along the edges. Like her, it had taken a beating and transformed into something different from what it had been. A quiet sound of dismissal escaped the woman’s lips and she shoved the coin back into her pocket, clasping her knees with her hands.
Her thoughts drifted to the vision Janus had shown her; she hadn’t been able to set it aside and it haunted her. The war was on its way. She’d told Ben as much. She’d talked to him a few times about the vision; tried to explain all the things she’d seen.
“The ground it started shaking, the bombs are falling. The cities are on fire and everything is burning, We had a warning, and we were waiting…”
She hadn’t been sure that Ben had believed her at first, about the vision, she had insisted he remain there, lay low, but he refused and she didn’t want to admit it but a part of her was afraid of being left… abandoned… again with nobody to trust.
“Anna” Ben had said as he prepared to leave, packing a small duffel of his belongings, “You asked me how long I’d stay by your side. I may not be here, physically, but I’ll always be available. We’re in this together now. There’s no going back. Promise. Till the casket drops.” He had been true to his word, but she had also been there for him when he needed to reach out, “We could have walked away, Ben, but I’ll fight them till my dying day.”
Anna couldn’t help but let the hint of a smile cross her lips as she stood up. With a sigh she walked back inside the home. There were things that needed to be done.
This story hasn’t been too popular as it has continued (or as well-written, honestly), so I’m going to go ahead and close it out. I hope those of you still reading it enjoy this part! Here it is, comin’ ‘atcha!
As you walk side-by-side, watching as Spencer opens the door for you to enter your favorite hibachi restaurant, you sigh lightly as you shuffle and approach the counter to order your food.
“Can we sit down before we talk about this?” you whisper lightly.
Sitting down as you wait for your food, Spencer comes back with your sodas as he slides your slowly towards you.
“You alright, Y/N?” he asks as you watch him take a sip of drink through his straw.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine,” you lie.
“Y/N…” Spencer trails off.
“Look, it’s just-…overwhelming, alright?” you sigh, trying to side-step the subject.
“Food for you,” the waitress says, setting your food and sauces down in front of you as you smile lightly and nod, silently thanking her for interrupting the conversation.
But Spencer wasn’t having it.
“What didn’t you like about it?” Spencer asks as he unravels his silverware from the napkin.
“It’s not that I didn’t like it, Spencer,” you breathe as you roll your eyes.
“Talk to me, Y/N,” Spencer urges.
How did you articulate to him the things swirling around in your head? How did you put into words the shock that ran through your system when you saw all of the prominent people sitting next to you, battling their own demons with the job? How could you talk about your awe when Spencer stood up, everyone clapping around him as he accepted his massive 5-year sobriety coin?
How in the world did you even begin to tell him that you didn’t think you could do it?
As you mindlessly begin to twirl the noodles onto your fork, your hand trembling with cravings as you feel your stress levels begin to rise, you feel a warmth cascade through your forearm as you drop your fork into your plate, the metal landing with a clank as you slowly raise your teary gaze up to Spencer.
Feeling him slip his soft skin down to your hand, he pulls it lightly towards him as he maneuvers his other hand above yours, pressing lightly something down into the palm of your hand before closing your fingers over it.
The confusion wafted heavily across your face as you pulled your hand back to your body, your fingers unraveling in your lap as your eyes widen and shoot back up to Spencer.
“I can’t take this,” you say, moving to give it back to him.
But all he does is put up his hands, giving you no way of thrusting it back out to him without someone around you seeing.
The shame coursing through your system was still strong with grief.
“Spencer,” you warn.
“You keep that,” Spencer nods to the coin in your lap, “for as long as you need to.”
“Spencer, this is important,” you urge.
“Don’t worry, I have one in my pocket already,” he says as he smiles, patting the pocket that housed his newly-acquired 5-year coin.
It was then that you looked back down into your lap, your eyes slowly taking in the detail and wonder of Spencer’s 1-year sobriety coin.
“When I hit 10 months my second time around, I struggled a great deal. There was this case, and a boy-”
The audible hitch in his throat caused you to turn your gaze back up to him as you watched his own eyes glaze over with emotion.
“A man stopped me outside of the meeting. A man that was instrumental in my sobriety journey, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. He uh, he gave me his 1-year sobriety coin, and said that he would expect it back when I got mine.”
You sniffle lightly as you begin to twirl the coin in your fingers.
“Keep that in your pocket, Y/N,” Spencer says as he slides in beside you, his body warmth encompassing you as he wraps his arm around your shoulders, “and squeeze it every time you feel a craving coming on. Let it be a reminder for a journey that you’ll travel for the rest of your life. Like dedicating yourself to eating healthier or improving at your job.”
A heavy sigh heaved your shoulders as he leaned in, pressing a long kiss to your temple.
“And I’ll take that back from you when we’re exchanging my 1-year sobriety coin for yours,” he whispers lightly.
Stepping off to the side as everyone swarms the refreshments,
the girls come running up to you with tears in their eyes, throwing
their arms around you as they sob on you shoulders.
“I had no idea,” Garcia sighs.
“You are incredible,” Emily coos.
Smiling as you thank them for coming, your gaze slowly drifts back to
the back wall, the rest of the team lined up as the girls furrow their
brows at your expression and turn around.
“Uh oh,” Garcia nervously muses.
“Y/N, I swear we didn’t-”
Holding up your hand as Emily getting nervous, you smile lightly as you
say, “It’s alright. Now that it’s out in the open we can continue on
with one less secret between all of us.”
Watching the girls audibly sigh their relief, you put your arms around
their waists as you guide them towards the coffee and cookies, watching as the team
pushes themselves off of the wall to meet you halfway.
“Y/N, I had no idea,” Rossi muses with his arms outstretched, bringing
you in for a strong hug.
“What an accomplishment,” Hotch says, putting his hand in between your
shoulders as he gives you a kind smile.
“You should be incredibly proud
of that,” J.J. says, pointing to the coin squeezed tightly in your hand.
“I am,” you respond, a light smile playing on your lips as you catch
Spencer out of the corner of your eye.
“It’s not much, but come get some coffee and cookies,” you say, holding
out your hand as you usher them to the refreshments.
“Girl, that story…”
Turning around, you take in Morgan’s physique, hi shoulders lightly slumped
and his eyes red from unshed tears.
“I am sure you have a sponsor or something…but if you ever need anyone
to talk to, I can’t say I understand, but I can always listen.”
“Thank you, Derek,” you smile kindly, his hand reaching for a styrofoam
cup of coffee.
Seeing Spencer still standing in the corner, you grab a cup and throw 4
packets of sugar in, stirring as you slowly meander over to where he is perched.
“Here you go,” you say, holding out the coffee cup as his eyes raise to
Taken aback by his frail state and his reddened face, he slowly takes
the cup from you, smiling weakly as he nods.
“Thank you,” he says meekly.
Standing there awkwardly, you turn to go, only to feel a hand place
pressure on your forearm.
“I didn’t know…”
“Hmm?” you ask, turning back around to face him.
“I am so sorry. I-I didn’t know…” he trails off, taking a light sip of
his coffee as his puppy dog eyes raise once again to meet yours.
“Not something I advertise,” you say, hoping that his sentiments would
Feeling relief wash over you as he stops talking, you turn to go again,
only to feel the same pressure.
“Spencer, what is it?” you huff, spinning around to meet his gaze again.
“I just wanted to let you know that…you know…if you ever need someone to
talk to who, you know, understands…”
Furrowing your brow as you cock your head at him, he pauses his
sentiment and says, “Dilaudid, 4 years sober.”
Your lips slowly forming an “O”, he continues.
“If you ever feel yourself slip, o-or need someone who understands, I’m
always here,” he sighs, finishing his sentiment as a light smile crosses
“So long as it’s in between that 1 hour and 12 minute window, right?”
you retort, your anger rising in your throat.
“Huh? W-what?” Spencer asks, stumbling over his words.
‘Enjoy your coffee,” you say flatly, turning on your heels and walking
away from him, leaving his defeated posture and puffy eyes in your wake.
You awoke with a start to the sound of your cell phone.
Groaning as you reach over, you flip it open and hold it to your ear.
“It’s Hotch. We have a case.”
“I’ll see you in 30,” you respond.
Throwing the covers back, you slip your nightgown down around your feet,
kicking it off as you stumble in to the bathroom and fumble for the
Flipping it on, you shield your eyes from the incandescent bulb as your
eyes slowly adjust, your face coming in to view in the mirror.
Sighing, you reach for your concealer, your hand shaking some out into
your palm as you dip your triangular sponge in the middle, bringing it
to your face as you stop to take in your scar.
The lengthy scar that spanned from the top left corner of your forehead
all the way down to the right lower corner of your jaw.
Pushing the triangle to your face, gliding it across your skin as the
thick substance slowly layers on to cover your basic reminder, you finalize your last strokes as you slap on some powder, sealing it on to
your skin as you walk out and throw clothes over your body.
Reaching for your go-bag, you raise back up and head for your door,
reaching for your keys and setting your alarm as you take one last look
at your reflection in the mirror, your hand shaking as you reach for the sobriety coin that you had tossed into your catch-all bowl when you
had arrived home.
It wasn’t that you weren’t proud, and it wasn’t that you had lied with
your story earlier that evening.
You had just…skipped the worst of it.
After all, the incident neither started your drinking nor fueled it.
It just…made sobriety harder.
Sighing once more as you open your front door, you close it behind you
as you hear your alarm arm itself, locking the door as you hear a
familiar voice behind you.
Jumping as you yelp, your body whipping around, you are met with
His haggard, sleepless face.
“Here,” he says, taking strides toward you and placing a large cup of
coffee in your hand.
Looking blankly from the coffee back to him, he flashes you his
nervously crooked smile as he says, “Paying you back for earlier this
“Uh huh,” you retort, holding the coffee cup up and twisting it around,
your brow furrowing in confusion.
“Well, we should probably get to the office,” he says, turning towards
Did he take a cab?
“What are you doing here?” you ask, stopping him in his tracks as you
hear him take a deep breath.
“I haven’t had anyone besides my sponsor who understands. You know…who gets it,” he says, slowly
turning around to face you,
“And I wanted to tell you that…that the
episode I had with you cracking your joints was…was because I…I
“…struggling,” you finish, the realization dawning on you as his
facial expression confirms your accurate guess.
Standing in your driveway, the nighttime sky blanketing your bodies, you
unlock your car as you start around to the driver’s side.
“We should definitely be getting in to the office.”
Closing the taxi door behind you, you tip him well as you grab your things, clutching the brown paper bag close to your chest as you limp up to your doorway.
Ring ring. Ring ring.
Sighing as you dig for your phone, you see Spencer’s name crawl across your screen as you furrow your brow.
“Hello?” you ask, fumbling your keys in your hand before sticking them into your locked door.
“Hey there, Y/N, I just wanted to make sure you got home safe…” you hear him say.
“Yep, just arrived,” you say, throwing your door open as you step through, kicking your bag in with your foot as you slam your door behind you.
“T-that’s good,” you hear him stammer.
“Spencer, what is it,” you sigh as you set the brown bag on the kitchen counter and slowly pull out the Jameson.
Your fingers trembled as you ran them across the label.
“I’m just really worried about you…” he trails off.
“Well don’t be,” you snap.
Hearing a pause on the other end, you sigh as you say, “I’m sorry. It’s just been a really long case, and I just want to be alone, and none of you will fucking leave me alone.”
Gritting your teeth as you close your eyes, you take a deep breath as you remind yourself to keep your cool.
“Please forgive me,” he says weakly.
“For what?” you ask, your brow furrowing as you shake your head.
“For everything. For snapping at you when I was craving, for tiptoeing around an apology instead of just saying it. For always seeming like I invade your privacy when all I am is worried…”
Hearing him trail off, you throw open your cabinet as you eye a glass.
Putting your phone on speaker-phone, you toss it on the counter as you meander to your fridge, your mouth salivating at the sweet relief that is about to wash over your body.
Hearing a horn honk in the distance, you take your ice-filled cup and look out your kitchen window, grabbing the bottle of Jameson as you unscrew the cap.
Until you saw a pair of lights turn down your street.
“Spencer…?” you ask hesitantly, “Where are you right now?”
“That’s the other thing I need to apologize for…” he trails off.
“Spencer. What have you done?” you ask, the unscrewed bottle shaking in your arms as you watch the car pull slowly into your driveway.
“I had Garcia keep tabs on your banking records.”
Feeling the heat rise in your face, you watch as Spencer and Morgan’s faces slowly come into view, the car lights shutting off as the sit in your driveway, eyeing you through your kitchen window.
With an open bottle of Jameson in your hands.
“Spencer…” you say through gritted teeth.
“We know where the cab driver took you after you left the hospital. We know that you are struggling. And we know…I know…that right now is the last moment in your life that you need to be alone.”
Feeling tears well in your eyes, you look down at your cup as you slowly pour the Jameson into your glass, the amber liquid gliding over the rocks of ice as your heart pounds furiously in your chest.
“Y/N!” you hear Spencer yell over your phone.
“I never asked you to come. I never asked you to keep tabs on me. I never asked you to apologize and I never asked you to show up at my damn AA meeting!” you yell, your entire body trembling as you plant your palms into the counter of your kitchen, your tears dripping into your glass of alcohol.
“All I wanted was-”
“To be left alone,” Spencer finishes.
“But you’re never going to be alone. Not with us,” Morgan chimes in.
Feeling your jaw clench as you tremor with your unshed tears, you suck in a deep breath through your nose as you wrap your hand around your glass.
“I won’t come in there unless you ask,” Spencer says.
Looking up and out your window, you see Spencer’s body, one foot hanging out of the car door, ready to plant himself on your porch.
“I will not even approach your door unless you ask,” he adds.
Panting with rage as your face flushes deep, you pick up your phone and flick it shut, cutting the phone call as tears rumble down your face, your lips quivering as you yell out into the darkness of your home.
“God damn iiiiiiiiiiit!”
Picking up your glass, you whirl your body around and throw it behind you as it shatters against the fridge, the ice and amber liquid and glass covering the floor as you press your back up against the kitchen counter, your body curling inwards as you crouch down, your hands covering your face as you start to heave.
Hearing scurrying outside your door, you hear something fiddling with the lock before it clicks over, your door being thrown open as the strong patter of Spencer’s feet clamor across your foyer and over into your kitchen.
“It’s ok, Y/N,” he says, gliding over the broken glass and spilled liquid as you rock back and forth, your face in your hands as you hear a car crank up in your driveway.
“I’m here, and it’s going to be alright,” he murmurs into your hair as he picks you up in his arms, your body curling into him as he walks you out of your kitchen and over to your couch.
“It’s just me. Morgan’s going home,” he says, watching you nod as you try to choke back your tears.
“Let them fall,” he urges, his thumb rising up to brush them away as your body hiccups with sobs, your hands trembling as you lay them on your legs, palms up.
“What have I done?” you squeeze out, your voice light and high as your throat constricts with embarrassment, “Oh god, what did I do?”
“Nothing. You did nothing,” Spencer stresses as he wraps a blanket around your shoulders, sitting himself on your coffee table in front of you.
“Let me in,” he pleads, wrapping his hands around yours as he squeezes them lightly, his eyes searching your puffy, red, wet face as you slowly raise your gaze to his.
“Don’t leave me…” you whisper.
“Wasn’t planning on it,” he says, wiping a stray hair out of your face as he smiles weakly, “You’re stuck with me for at least the weekend.”
Nodding slowly as your gaze falls back to your lap, he leans in and presses a light kiss to your forehead.
“I’m going to go clean up the mess in the kitchen,” he says as he stands, releasing your hands, “And then we are going to curl up on this couch, turn on your favorite movie, and order some dinner.”
Nodding lightly as you sniffle, you wipe your nose on the blanket as he squeezes your knees, getting up and walking behind you as you hear his shoes crinkle over the broken glass.
Closing your hands as you shut your eyes, your brow furrows as your eyes fly open, looking down at the object in your hand.
“Keep that as a reminder,” you hear Spencer say behind you, “Until we can find yours.”
And as your eyes water at the sight of his three-year sobriety coin, you take a deep breath and lean back into the couch, pulling it in close to your heart as you listen to the rhythmic sweeping of your broom across the floor.
After multiple conversations with Garcia, who essentially begged you to tell Spencer how you felt, the team had landed back in DC, in the middle of the afternoon, ragged and exhausted from the case they had just closed.
Not an ideal ending, but it was done.
Sighing as you lob yourself down the airplane steps, you feel a set of fingertips close around your wrist as your tired gaze slowly pans over to your left.
“Hey there,” you say, catching Spencer’s glazed-over stare as he smiles weakly.
“I could use that coffee,” he says.
“Now? Y-…you want to do this now?” you exclaim breathlessly.
“I’m scared that if I don’t, I never will,” he says, his eyes imploring yours as you feel his grip tighten.
Sighing heavily as you close your eyes, your head shaking lightly from side to side as you bend down and grab your bag, you usher in front of you over towards your car as you reach into your bag and hand him your keys.
Sitting at a corner table in the dimly lit coffee shop, your coffees at your lips as the two of you catch glances of each other, you finally drop the caffeinated goodness from your lips as you dart your tongue out, catching a rouge droplet as your body wills itself to find the energy for this conversation.
“Do you want to start? Or should I?” you ask, your gaze panning up to his.
Watching him as he slowly sets his coffee down, you catch his hands trembling as he grasps his cup harder than he should.
“If you aren’t careful, that lid is gonna-”
Watching the lid pop off of the cup, spewing droplets of coffee as it lobs off to the side, hitting the wall as he cascades to the ground, you bring your hand to your mouth as you stifle a giggle.
“…pop off,” you finish your statement.
As a chuckle rises from Spencer’s throat, the two of you sit there and giggle over the event, you both reaching down for the lid as your fingertips graze his.
“Oh. Sorry,” you say, jerking your hand back as you sit up quickly in your chair.
“I want to ask you something…you know, before I make my statement,” he says.
“Alright,” you acknowledge, your eyes becoming nervous and hesitant as you bring your coffee back to your lips, focusing intently on the lid as you hear him speak.
“In the elevator, you said that had I not left, you would have asked me to join,” he states.
Coughing as a spittle of coffee flies down your chin, you bring your hand up to wipe it away just before it drips itself onto your white shirt.
“Uh…say what?” you croak.
“You said that-”
“I know what I said,” you say, holding your hand up as you smirk, your cheeks flushing themselves with embarrassment.
“Was that a figure of speech?” he asks.
Bringing your gaze back up to him, his eyes staring you down intently, you take in a shaky breath as you let out a heavy sigh.
“No,” you whisper, your eyes darting around the table as you lower your gaze.
After a few seconds of thick, awkward, uncomfortable silence, you close your eyes as you swallow hard, your fingers trembling as you settle your hands in your lap.
“I love you,” Spencer spits out.
Feeling your eyes fly open, your gaze shoots up to his, his eyebrows floating mid-air on his face as his jaw clenches itself shut.
“You what?” you ask breathlessly, swearing your ears had betrayed you.
Staring at each other for what seemed like hours, you lurch out of your chair and scoot it towards Spencer, plopping back down into it with a crash as you scurry to take his hand in between yours.
“What did you say?” you ask, cocking your head towards him as your eyes glare into his shoulder, your ear positioned perfectly up to his face.
“I love you, Y/N,” he whispers before bringing his lips to your ear and kissing it lightly.
Closing your eyes as you feel a shiver work its way down your spine, you feel your entire body relax as it plummets onto his shoulder, tears of relief working their way out of your eyes and onto the fabric covering his beautiful body.
“Oh, Spencer,” you choke out, his arms flying around your waist and pulling you close.
“Please don’t cry,” he whispers, his hand raising to pet your hair down as you smile against his body.
“Not a bad cry,” you murmur as you nuzzle your face into the crook of his neck, the legs of yours and his chairs now intermingling as the two of you try to get as close as is appropriate for a public coffee shop.
“I was petrified that night,” he starts as he continues to hold you, “you were in such a bad place, and I had found you in such a bad condition, and we had gone through such a bad case…and I figured that piling all of this onto what you had already endured was too much, and way too complicated, for one night.”
Finally rearing back as you quickly wipe your face off with the palms of your hands, you sit back in your chair as you let out a half-sigh-half-laugh.
“I used to hate you, you know,” you say, eyeing him playfully as you cock an eyebrow up onto your forehead.
“Well I used to be worth hating,” he says as a smirk plays on his lips.
“What will you do about the popping of my joints?” you ask as you lean forward, your elbow resting on the coffee table as you prop your head against your hand.
“Not an issue unless I’m craving,” he says.
“In which case, I can use it to figure out when you’re struggling.”
Booping him playfully on the nose with your finger, your expression slowly falls as the realization of both of your addictions hits you in the face.
“You know…there might be times where we both struggle…” you linger off.
“I know,” he says as the smirk playing on his face slowly slides off.
“What will we do then?” you ask, fear crossing your eyes as you dart your gaze back to his.
“Well…we can always lean on each other, no matter what,” he starts, “…but we will always have these.”
Pulling out a sobriety coin from his pocket, you furrow your brow as your gaze lingers in his hand.
“But yours is still…”
“I know” he says as he grabs your hand, placing your one year coin in your palm before curling your fingers delicately over it.
“…which means I’ll be needing mine back,” he whispers, his forehead slowly dipping down onto yours as your gaze stays locked onto your hand, your tears of shock and joy dripping down into your lap.
“Where did you-?”
“Morgan and Rossi went back to the crime scene that night,” he starts as his hand works its way up your arm, his large palm splaying across the side of your neck and he holds your head steady against his, “and they found the trash can out back where the unsub had throw your old clothes away.”
Feeling your lip begin to quiver as you close your eyes, you draw a ragged breath as Spencer kisses your forehead.
“Breathe…” Spencer coos as your body begins to shake.
“I know,” he soothes, his finger crooking under your chin as he tilts your watery gaze up to his, “I know.”
Smiling lightly at him as you bring your closed fist to your heart, you hold your coin close to your chest as you close your eyes, sighing as you lean back into your chair.
“So…what do we do now?” you ask as you open your eyes again, watching Spencer as he crosses his arms and leans back as well.
“I don’t know about you, but I feel like I could sleep the next week away,” he comments.
“God…me, too,” you say as you let out a gigantic yawn, your mouth prying itself open as another set of tears is elicited.
“Then why don’t we go do that?” he asks.
Searching his face as you watch his lips tick lightly up into a grin, you snicker and shake your head as you shuffle quickly in your chair.
“I mean…your place is close,” you state.
“Mhmmm,” Spencer draws out.
“And it is unsafe to drive when you are this tired,” you reason.
“It is…” he muses as he leans forward and puts his hands on your knees.
“And I suppose I already have a change of clothes,” you retort as your eyes flicker down towards your go-bag.
“That you do,” Spencer smiles.
And as a smile breaks out across your face, you find your hands migrating to his as your fingers splay against the back of his hands, your coin sitting situated between the palm of your left hand and back of his right, as you lean into his body, your head tilting up as your lips flutter against one another’s, causing Spencer’s breath to catch in his throat.