the ghosts with relationship problems

It’s not the ghost of you that haunts me. It’s the ghost of who I used to be.
—  another-broken-hello
The July 17th Paradigm

This is a Spencer x Reader requested by anon. It was supposed to be angsty, but it doesn’t really get that way until the end (it’s been awhile since I’ve written angst, sorry if it sucks, oops).

Spencer is convinced you’re cheating on him even though you aren’t. He makes it obvious that something is bothering him, and people notice.

JJ noticed first, that Spencer was acting odd toward you. She had watched, from her office above the bull pen, as you walked warmly over to your boyfriend, lingering between cubicles and desks.

“Hey, babe,” You smiled, “Wanna get lunch?”

Even from so far away, with nothing to go on but her faulty lip reading skills, JJ could tell that the way Spencer uncharacteristically darted away, replying with some incohesive excuse, was absolutely no good.

You stood in the bull pen and frowned after Spencer, who immediately buried himself in work that didn’t matter as much as he claimed. JJ watched with sympathetic curiosity as you slunk, resigned, into the break room to lunch on slightly-stale donuts and lukewarm coffee.

Emily noticed next, the body language and surprising resentment between you and Spencer was achingly obvious.

She decided it best to hang back while you said goodbye to him, a private conversation that seemed to need to be followed by another.

“You staying?” You asked, kicking casually at the ground and pulling at the strap of your purse.

Spencer hummed in response, pointedly distracted by scribbles of paperwork.

“What time do you think you’ll be home tonight?”

“Dunno, late probably.”

Spencer didn’t even notice you frown as you said, “Again?”

He nodded noncommittally, “Yep, have fun with Emily, y/n.”

“Goodbye, Spencer,” You sighed, leaning in to press a kiss to your boyfriend’s cheek, something you had done a thousand times before.

But Spencer pushed away at the last second, looking up at you with a tight-lipped smile and avoiding the physical contact at all cost, “Bye.”

You hesitated, nodded softly, then decided it best to just to leave, to let your boyfriend stew with his thoughts and his big, big brain in the barren bullpen. In front of the elevators, you let out a long sigh that Emily just couldn’t ignore.

“What is going on with the two of you?” She asked, mildly agape, “You two are usually so nauseatingly cute together that I feel like I have to go to a dentist, and now you’re being all… distant and weird. What happened to you two?”

You stared resolutely at the closing metal elevator doors, very much in need of that drink the two of you were supposed to be heading out for, “I honestly don’t know, Em. I don’t know.”

Emily stayed quiet, watching as the doors opened out into the parking garage, “Yeah, we need drinks,” She decided aloud, “Lots and lots of drinks.”

You couldn’t find it in yourself to disagree, even as your mind roamed over every second of interaction between you and Spencer and came up completely empty without any sources of sudden contention.

Rossi and Spencer had been put in charge of interviewing the many, many witnesses at the crime scene. There had been a party on the beach which thus resulted in the third dead rich kid in the county within the past week. Not your typical body count, hence the BAU.

“Alright, kid,” Rossi said, “How are we gonna do this? I interview the ladies, and you interview the guys?”

Spencer nodded absently, and snorted mildly, then said under his breath, just low enough for Rossi to barely hear, “We should have y/n interview the guys. She’d be great at that.“ 

"What?” The older man frowned. He couldn’t have heard that right, could he?

“Nothing, never mind.” Spencer said, and walked off, leaving Rossi alone on the pier to stare contemplatively after Spencer who walked purposely in the direction opposite of you.

He had noticed it, just like the others. An out-of-place mistrust had seemed to root itself in Spencer, a remiss feeling that fit Spencer like a badly tailored tux, and it was so odd, he felt obligated (Rossi always felt obligated, but especially in this case, okay) to stare after the young genius.

Rossi found himself struck with uninterrupted curiosity as he watched you crouch unpleasantly over the freshest body, a frown on your face, and even if he knew it wasn’t any of his business, Rossi wondered what you possibly could have done to cause Spencer, your so-in-love-with-you-that-it’s-nauseating boyfriend, to avoid you at all costs.

“Hey, Spence!” You called to him as his long legs took him in the opposite direction, “Come look at this!”

Spencer kept walking. Even Rossi, the Man With Too Many Failed Marriages, could tell that something was most definitely wrong in paradise, but he had no idea what.

Garcia darkly coined it the July 17th Paradigm (July 17th had been when the earliest of Spencer’s ‘symptoms’ had been noticed by anyone), as if you and Spencer’s relationship problems were some ghost story that campers whispered under their breaths around campfires for centuries past.

Everybody at work watched had noticed (they were profilers, what else would you expect) as Spencer danced around you and stared grimly in your direction when you weren’t looking. It was truly odd.

The worst part for you, though, was that Spencer didn’t even try to hide the contention all that much, would just burst right out with it right in front of your friends and coworkers. And frankly? It was kinda embarrassing.

From deep in one of Penelope’s swivel chairs, you groaned, flicking a paper clip aimlessly at a bright purple pen across her desk, “Pen?” You asked her, utterly miserable, “Does Spencer ever talk to you?”

She froze minutely, then shrugged shyly, “I don’t know. Our boy genius has bee a little distant to everybody lately.”

You sat up in the chair, “Towards you, too?”

“Well, not as much as he has been towards you, but… yeah.”

“Why? What did I do?”

Garcia frowned, patting you sympathetically on the back, “Oh, honey, don’t worry about it. Sometimes Spencer gets like this. It’ll probably pass.”

“You think?”

Penelope flashed a reassuring smile, more lipstick and teeth than anything else, “We can hope, hun.”

You didn’t like any of her answers. You wanted your Spencer back, and you sunk back into the seat with a resigned sigh, “Ugh, but- why?

“I don’t know, y/n. Nobody knows what that boy is thinking.”

It lasted just about a week before you decided that yeah, you needed to know what Spencer was thinking. You hated the distance, the late hours, the embarrassment.

Hotch watched from the doorway of his office, piping hot coffee in hand, as you hit your breaking point and finally cornered Spencer. At first, Hotch has to strain to hear the words (he’s a quiet guy who takes pride in not getting overly-involved in his coworker’s love lives, but at this point, the July 17th Paradigm is famous around the office, so really, he reasons to himself, how can he not listen, just this once).

“Spencer, what the hell was that?” You hiss, fed up and cheeks ablaze.

Spencer looks like he’s rolling his eyes, but he doesn’t really do that, so the expression that flashes across his face is the closest thing to it, a step short of something near-pretentious that sets your veins on fire and piques Hotch’s interest, “I’m just trying to refill my coffee, y/n. What’s your problem?”

You scoff, admittedly and quite obviously bitter, “My problem? My problem? Spencer, my problem is that for a month you have been sidestepping me, avoiding me. We live together for Pete’s sake, and it’s like you’re some kind of stranger. That’s my problem.”

Spencer just glares, expression settled intensely, and that’s how Hotch knows this must be serious for him. “Can I get my coffee now?” He asks quietly, and that is just about the point where you explode, volume raising steadily so the entire office can hear. Penelope steps into the bullpen and moves to stand beside Emily and watch quietly in the abrupt shadows.

Insults and admissions are viciously spat back and forth like some cruel tennis match in which the bright yellow ball has been replace with pent up anger and hostility and mistrust. It’s an awful sight, an uneven match in which the spectators themselves somehow feel like they’re losing, too. 

“You don’t have to pretend, y/n,” Spencer hollers, throwing his hands dramatically up in the air, “I know I’m way out of your league.”

You scoff bitterly, as if amused, fingers twitching and fists rolling. 

“You could do so much better.” The words tumble virulently out of his mouth like heavy, riverside stones, “And yet you’re stuck with me anyway.”

You roll your eyes, stamp your foot a little against the rough carpet.

“I’m not surprised you’re cheating on me.” Spencer says, so matter-of-fact, so sure of it as he uses that tone he gets when he recites something he’d read verbatim. Only he didn’t. For once in his life, Spencer Reid was so wrong, and it absolutely infuriated you.

Excuse me?!” You screeched, and honestly you wouldn’t be surprised if you were on fire, every square inch of your body was ensconced in that glow of rage that somehow accompanied odd, out-of-body betrayals, “Is that what all this was about? You assumed, that just because you’re not the biggest fan of yourself, that that automatically meant I was cheating on you?”

Spencer’s eyes hardened, and you could feel the entire room take a collective breath, sharp and observant like the damn eavesdroppers they were. You knew everybody was there, listening, and you only laughed louder, more shrill, because of it.

“Spencer, who the hell do you think I am?” The rage was burning hot through your voice, “I am not some whore. I chose to be with you because of your heart and your kindness, but I maybe I was wrong about you if this is what you think of me.”

Spencer tried to argue, because that is what he does, argues and refutes and offers valid rebuttals, but the words sink impotently on his tongue against his lead-lined lips and his lips are pulled into a frown as you talk over him.

“Just don’t, Spencer,” You glare, feeling hurt and torn and beyond betrayed, “Goodbye.”

Spencer and Hotch and Penelope and all the rest of the room watched as you tore open the glass doors and left, red and blotchy and angry.

An unsure eeriness settled over the bullpen. Everything felt sticky, like a swamp after a hurricane, with Spencer at its rattling epicenter. Not a sound was made, silence reigned above all with its guttural cries of horror and embarrassment. 

Hotch retreated into his office. Penelope and Emily snuck to Garcia’s Tech Cave. Agents silently slipped back to their desks. Slowly, the humidity of the room rose to the ceiling, and typical work-day volume was completely restored. The world resumed. The July 17th Paradigm was (more or less) solved.

But Spencer just stood, a few steps away from his desk, empty coffee mug in hand, entirely dazed. Your words sunk in, slowly, like an indestructible rock falling through lava or like a plane stranded and fiery among ocean waves. More than ever, Spencer felt completely and utterly alone. A blue-green chill trickled down his spine, like rain in a crooked gutter the day after a storm, and Spencer wasn’t sure what to do as the weird uncertain feeling pooled in his fingertips.

Spencer realized, awfully, that he had lost you. Just like that.

And even worse, he realized that you had lost him long before.  Oh, God.


I need help with this girl.. I like her so so so so so much but she doesn;t even notice me. I’m like a ghost to her… The problem is that she’s already in a relationship and I’m socially Awkward


Artist Spotlight: David Michael Chandler aka The Daily Doodles

What GIF best describes how you are currently feeling?

That’s a tough question, probably this one––

I am always at my desk writing and drawing and endlessly clicking on my laptop.  If my internet dies, it doesn’t remove a distraction for me, it makes me much more distracted as I endlessly try to get the internet to come back on.

When did you first start making GIFs? What was your first GIF?

I believe my very first GIF was in April of 2012…?  I forget exactly, to be honest.  I had been doing the Daily Doodles for a year and a half at that point, and they were always regular ol’ illustrations and I think evolving them into GIFs was a natural process. Here is the very first GIF I posted (the great Kyle Harter assembled my drawings for me into the GIF as I didn’t know how to use Photoshop or anything)–

Before then, I had lots of ideas that I felt would be better if GIF’d, but it took me some time to both have a laptop that could handle GIF'fing, and be smart enough to make them on my own.

The first GIF I made entirely on my own was this––

To make my GIFs I use a combo of Photoshop and Adobe Premiere (a video editing program), and I was running those on a super tiny Notebook laptop that groaned each time I moved the mouse.  I am on a better laptop now, thankfully :-)

What attracts you to the GIF format? How do you decide when something is finished at a still illustration or if you are going to turn it into a GIF?

Growing up I always wanted to be a movie director, so most of my ideas involve movement and editing, and turning my illustrations into short animations has been a lot of fun and helps satiate that desire to make movies or TV.

I try to only do what I am interested in at that moment, even with the commissions I do, and right now I much prefer making my drawings into GIFs over standard illustrations.  I’m not that great at drawing, and I think they just come to life when I add movement.  It adds something that I think makes the drawings and stories better.

Everything is still drawn and coloured by hand, and the combo of movement and illustrations done with coloured pencils (and the textures coloured pencils create) is fun to me.

If I have an idea that would be pointless to GIF, I wouldn’t force it into being a  GIF (there has to be a reason for it or it’ll be boring), but it’s no coincidence that the ideas I favour are the ones that need to be animated.  

The short length of GIFs is also attractive since it’s so much less daunting than trying to do an actual animated short; I’d likely never even try to do animation if a GIF wasn’t possible.  It’s been a perfect way to educate myself on how to make my drawings move and to tip toe into the world of real animation (of which I still am a total moron, but it doesn’t seem as insurmountable as before).

What has been inspiring to you lately?

Another tough question!  I think I can get inspiration from anything, and I always make sure to write down every idea I get immediately into my “idea pads.”  They’re spiral notebooks that have thousands of image and story ideas, and I reference them when figuring out which drawing to do next.

Plus I know I will forget the idea very easily if I don’t jot it down right away.

Watching shows about space, nature, documentaries about worlds I’m not familiar with, all inspire ideas in my head.  I also will kinda’ meditate to think up new ideas or solutions to current ideas… letting my brain float around almost always works.

Do you have a personal favorite subject you like to illustrate?

SPACE!  I love drawing space-themed illustrations, and I have to tell myself not to do it so much so I’m not repetitive.  I also love drawing old TVs, as watching stuff I shouldn’t be watching was such a big part of growing up, and I love how blocky and big old TVs are.

Who are a few of your favorite artists?

Probably too many to name, but I’ll try!

Several of them helped teach me how to GIF and were very supportive as I was learning to draw––

Kyle Harter 

Chiara Adams



Other artists I love include (but certainly not limited to):

Max Capacity

Dain’s GIFs


Saskia Keultjes

Pretty Whores



Michael Carini

Growing up I loved classic comics such as Lil’ Nemo in Slumberland, classic E.C. Segar era of Popeye, Pogo, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, Tony Millionaire, Tintin, and too many movie directors, writers, and photographers to list.

What is your favorite GIF?

Of my own work?  I was mostly happy with this one––

but I’m also annoyed at myself with certain elements I can do better.  Every thing I’ve done has elements I just have to do better at executing, so I dunno if I can really say one is my “favourite.”

Besides current GIFs made by other artists, GIFs of out of context moments from old/weird movies are my favourite (like this)––

And I also love a perfect loop, like this one––

What’s next? Any fun projects you are currently working on and can share with us?

I’ve also started working on another book starring one of my reoccurring characters, "The Ghosts with Relationship Problems.”  It’ll be an illustrated picture book showing different moments from a bad relationship two Ghosts are stuck in over several years.Making my first book has probably been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, as making the drawings good enough while also updating my Daily Doodles site, doing commissions, has meant I haven’t had a day off in over 3 years.

Hopefully, the books end up being pretty cool and people like them!

Want more? Check out more GIF art from THE DAILY DOODLES on!