A/N: An anon request for a Spencer x Reader where the reader has a rubber band around her wrist. She used to cut as a young woman, and this is what she uses to cope instead of that during particularly rough cases. One day, Spencer asks her why she does that, so she tells him. @coveofmemories
Warnings: Talk of cutting and past sexual abuse
“Late last night, two girls, identified as 8-year-old Kelly Clavin and 9-year-old Alyssa Smith were found raped and strangled just outside of Kelly’s home,” Garcia started, clicking the remote to bring the girls’ pictures up on the monitor. Your lovely technical analyst was to pure for this world, and would rarely look at the gruesome pictures for fear they would change her as a person. She was fundamentally cheerful and didn’t want to compromise that.
You were a different person however.
Over many years, you’d experienced some shit. After being sexually-assaulted in college and then told by the school that they weren’t going to do anything about their star athlete because you happened to be drunk, you were determined to go into law enforcement. If you saved one person that kind of torment, your life and experiences would have been worth it. The assault had sparked a hatred of yourself inside you, and for quite a few years, whenever you needed a release, you would take the blade from your cabinet and slice at your thighs.
One night, you took it further, cutting your wrists and passing out in the bathtub, only to wake up a day later with your crying mother at your side. She’d begged you that day to go to therapy and you’d reluctantly agreed - for her sake more than your own. As a single mother, she didn’t deserve this, so you helped yourself for her. In the course of your therapy, your doctor had suggested you wear a rubber band around your wrist as an alternative release.
And now here you were.
Garcia continued to brief the team on the circumstances of the case, but all you could focus on were the light bruises around the girls’ necks, reminding you of your own - the ones you had to cover up with a turtleneck all those years ago. You had been nearly 10 years older than Kelly and Alyssa at the time of your attack, and although you’d been somewhat drunk, you remembered every bit of fear that coursed through you that night. If you were petrified at the age of 18, then how were an 8 and 9-year-old feeling in their final moments.
Your doctor had said not to focus on one bad thing for too long, so you tore your eyes away from the screen and turned your attention to your wrists that were under the table. Snap. Snap. Snap. Snap. Snap.
It was a dull sound, but it provided the release you needed and everyone was too focused on the case to pay attention to whatever the sound was or where it was coming from. “Right now, this seems like an isolated incident,” Hotch said, “But considering this was a double child murder in a town that hasn’t experienced much more than an armed robbery in the course of the past decade, the locals called us in. They are at a complete loss. Wheels up in two hours.”
As the rest of the team filed out of the room to grab their go-bags, you leaned back and continued to flick at the band on your wrist. “You okay?” Spencer asked, his eyes soft and caring. Spencer was another one who somehow always managed to keep somewhat positive despite the things you’d seen. And he was infinitely caring.
“Yea,” you said quickly, not realizing that you’d started snapping the band even more quickly. “Just this case. Cases involving kids are always more difficult for me.”
Spencer nodded. No one could handle kids’ cases very well. “I just noticed that you’re snapping a rubber band. I haven’t heard you do that before.”
You looked down. The snapping had gotten much louder than you’d anticipated. Normally, you tried not to draw attention to what you were doing. “Sorry,” you said. “I didn’t realize how loud that was.”
“It’s okay,” he said with a shy smile. “I doubt anyone but me actually heard it. I’m just pretty sensitive to noise. Ummm…do you mind if I ask why you do that? You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
As the gap between your past assault and subsequent cutting, and your present got wider and wider, you found yourself more comfortable talking about these things. You didn’t go around parading the information, but if someone asked, you’d answer. “Sure,” you said, flicking at the band a couple more times. “When I was in my first year of college, I went to a party, got a little drunk, and the star of the football team took me out back and assaulted me.” Spencer’s mouth dropped open. He was about to tell you that you didn’t have to continue, but you wanted to. “I tried to get him off me, but I couldn’t and he assaulted me and I remember very distinctly about the bruises around my neck afterwards.” You motioned toward the screen where the girls were still staring back at you. “Anyway, after it happened, I was obviously very disturbed, and I started cutting myself. When my mom found me in a bathtub, she took me to the hospital and the next day she begged me to get help. My doctor suggested this as a way to handle stress as opposed to cutting.”
Spencer’s mouth was still agape. “I’m so sorry. Did…did anything happen to the man that assaulted you?”
“Not at the time,” you spat quickly. “Back then, I was a poor kid there on a scholarship, but he was there on a full-ride scholarship as the school’s star athlete, so they did nothing. After, he went on to rape someone else, a woman with more money and a dad who had more pull than my parents did, so she took him to court and he went away for ten years. I think he’s still there.”
“Can I…can I hug you?” he asked. You smiled and extended your arms. Spencer was without a doubt one of the sweetest men you’d ever known.
“Of course, Spence.”
“I’m glad he went away, but I’m sorry you didn’t get any justice for yourself,” he replied, rubbing his hands up and down your back. For a moment, you just stood in his arms as he told you how sorry he was for what happened and for even asking.
You pulled away and smiled. “It’s okay, Spence. I wouldn’t have answered if I didn’t want to.”
“Well,” he said, grabbing your hand and giving it a slight squeeze, “If you ever forget your rubber band, or you feel like you want another option, I’m always here. However I can help.” He blushed, not used to being the one offering comfort and instead being the one asking for it.
Leaning up, you kissed the side of his cheek. “Thanks, Spence. I think I might just do that.” You looked toward the screen one last time and then out the door. “Now, let’s go grab our go-bags and go get some justice for Kelly and Alyssa.”