“Agent Reid---” – The nice-looking middle-aged bespectacled and graying psychologist greeted as the young man entered his office. He was sitting in a comfortable leather armchair, completely relaxed and had a notebook on his lap.
“Doctor.” – Corrected the youngest agent of the BAU merely out of habit as he quickly but effectively assessed the environment and the non-threatening man in front of him.
“I’m Doctor Spencer Reid. It doesn’t really matter; I mean I don’t care if you call me that or not but Gideon thinks it’s important to emphasize it so that people will take me seriously. According to Hotch, it’s because I am so young.”
“I see. Doctor Reid then, please, take a seat.” – The man motioned to the other armchair right next to his and Reid was glad he didn’t have to lie on a couch or something like that. It would be so cliché. – “So, do you feel like others don’t take you seriously?” – The psychologist asked as soon as his young patient had sunk down.
“No, as in: no, they don’t take you seriously?”
“No. No, as in: I don’t feel like that.”
“But you just said you had to always emphasize your title so that you’d be taken seriously… Would that mean you fear being looked upon as a child?”
“No. I just told you what Gideon and Hotch said. I don’t have feelings about that particular matter.”
“So, do Gideon and Hotch often tell you what you should and shouldn’t do?”
“Of course: they’re my bosses. Well, Hotch is, officially. Gideon is my mentor and a senior agent. It figures they would tell me what to do.”
The man looked long and searchingly at him, making Reid fidget in his seat nervously.
“Does it bother you?”
Now the young agent blinked confusedly. Where were they going with that? Was this kind of conversation a normal part of a psych eval?
“No. Should it?”
The psychologist quickly shook his head in a placating manner and scribbled something into his notebook.
“There are no wrong answers here, Doctor Reid, this is not an exam.”
“I like exams! I’m good at them.”
“Okay. But you can be honest: do you feel like they’re trying to repress your personality?”
“There’s a strict chain of command within the FBI and also within its units. Following that isn’t ‘repressing personality’.”
“It’s one thing to know that and it’s another thing what you feel. Do you feel like you can’t be yourself in your current job?”
“No, as in---”
“No, as in ‘I don’t feel like that’.
“I see…” – The young psychologist looked a bit put out to have his theory fail. – “So. You mentioned that Gideon is your mentor but not your boss. What does that mean exactly?”
Finally, something he could answer!
“Hotch is unit chief, so he is the boss. Gideon is senior profiler and therefore the most experienced of us all. He is one of the founders of the BAU. A legend! We all respect him a great deal. Also, he was the one to bring me to the FBI and---”
“Aha, I see.”
“Yes. He helped you get where you are and now you feel like you’re in a way indebted to him. Is that right?”
“Absolutely not. Gideon is like a father to me. He would never expect anything in exchange for helping me. Besides, I didn’t even ask for help. I hadn’t considered the FBI. This whole thing was originally his idea.”
This seemed to be the wrong thing to say, if the expression on the older man’s face was anything to go by.
“So, he forced you into something you didn’t want? Maybe because his own son didn’t meet his expectations and he was looking for a replacement?”
“No: he told me he thought I could make a good profiler and would gladly help me, should I choose this path.”
“Oh… But you had always needed a father figure? I can see in your file that your own father left when you were a little child. Is that correct?”
“He left, yes.” – He didn’t wish to elaborate the topic further and hoped the man would respect it.
“And you had wanted a father figure and that’s how you met Gideon…”
No such luck then.
Again, Reid shook his head in negation.
“I met him when he gave a lecture at the university I happened to be attending, working on my third PhD. I found his work fascinating, asked a few questions, threw in a couple of ideas… And he called me back after class to talk to me privately. That’s when he presented the idea of my becoming a profiler.”
Another note and a bit of ‘hmmm’-ing.
“Did you feel like you couldn’t say ‘no’ to him, perhaps because of his status or age or anything else?”
“Actually, I did say ‘no’ at first. I wanted to focus on my studies.”
“Oh.” – The man was starting to lose confidence again; it was clearly shown by the thin sheen of sweat on his forehead. – “But later you agreed?”
“He asked me to accompany him to the Bureau to consult on an ongoing case where the serial killer was raping and torturing women in their mid-twenties then dumping their naked, mutilated bodies in secluded areas; each with an encrypted note.” – The psychologist turned green at the graphic description but Reid didn’t seem to notice or care. – “I met Hotch and Morgan there for the first time and I liked working with them a lot. Gideon asked when we finished the case if I had changed my mind and this time I said I’d like to give it a try. I was worried about getting through the training, since, as you can see, I’m not exactly your average G-Man type but I got a lot of help from both Gideon and Hotch so I managed in the end.”
“And Morgan? You mentioned that you met him there.”
“He was one of the agents working for the BAU at that time. The three others are sadly deceased by now… I’m sure you’ve heard about what happened in Boston…”
The man nodded compassionately.
“I did. How did that make you feel?”
“Sad, obviously. It’s horrible to lose agents like that. But I was still at the academy at that time and I hadn’t really got to know them that well. Mostly, I was sad for Gideon and worried for Hotch. He got seriously injured there.”
“And Morgan? What is he like with you?”
“Oh, Morgan is like the annoying and bossy big brother I never had.” – He said with a fond smile.
Having found a topic to explore, the psychologist eyes started to sparkle with anticipation again.
“He bosses you around then? Is he maybe even violent? Does he hurt you?”
Reid took a few moments to seriously think about the question.
“Well, he did switch the sugar with salt in the container once. My tea turned out terrible and everyone was laughing at me for nearly choking on it! But I got back at him by stealing his to-go bag and replacing his plain white work T-shirts with silly scripted ones. My favorite was the ‘Keep calm and text Sherlock’ one. I had a badge that said Sherlock and my cell held ready in case he needed help understanding what was going on. He didn’t have normal shirts to wear for four whole days in LA and it was too hot for sweaters.” – He laughed at the memory, obviously still quite proud of himself for pulling the whole thing off and live to tell the tale.
“Ahm… this is not exactly what I meant with the question... Anyway: do you feel threatened by him?”
“I don’t have to feel that. He told me after that I’d regret ever being born.” – Laughed Reid.
“Oh, my God! And did you report it?”
“Yes, abuse like that can’t go on within a unit, especially not between people of such a big age- and weight difference as you two… I think I’m going to---”
“Wait, wait! It’s not over yet!” – Reid was positively bouncing in his seat, excited to continue his story, totally oblivious of the other man’s worries about his well-being. He couldn’t wait to tell the rest. – “The best part is coming: on the next case, we had to go into a bar in Seattle to interview a few people there about a triple homicide with elderly people as victims. Their eyeballs had been stolen...” – The psychologist nearly fell off his chair and gave a small yelp. Reid, again, ignored him and went on as if nothing had happened. – “Anyway, without me knowing, he told the bartender that I was… ahm… you know… into men… khm… and looking for a companion. So, the man flirted with me during the whole time I questioned him; giving me smiles and winks… In the end, he forced me to take his number to call when my shift was over. Morgan had a field day telling everyone about it.”
“He teases you for being homosexual? But that’s awful and it could cause serious damage to your self-esteem!”
“I. Am. Not. Gay! And I registered him on Tinder after that and his phone chimed every five seconds with matches. He was sooooo angry! So…”
“Is that some prank-war between you two?”
Finally, the man was catching on. There was still hope for him after all. Reid nodded happily.
“Yes. And so far: I’m winning.”
“All right. What about the others on your team? Can you tell me about them?” – The psychologist said, wishing for a safer topic, preferably without blood and gore.
“Sure! Well, there’s Garcia. She’s a bit of an eccentric but in a good way. She calls me ‘Baby Boy’ and pets my hair and---”
“Isn’t that disrespectful?”
“Not if it’s Garcia doing it. She’s… well. She’s Garcia.”
“I can’t say I understand but please: go on.” – The man was writing frantically into his notebook again and it was starting to get on Reid’s nerves.
“JJ is like a big sister. Gideon made us go out on a date once but we can only look upon each other as siblings. We’re too close for anything else. It’s fine though, we enjoyed the game anyway and I think I understand some rules of football now. She laughed at me when she found out I didn’t have a clue and pinched my cheek. It was a bit embarrassing.” – He admitted blushing.
“Gideon MADE you go out with her?” – Now the man couldn’t even write anymore, he was so perplexed. – “And how did he do it?”
“He gave me two tickets for the game and told me to invite JJ.” – Shrugged Reid, before dismissing the matter altogether and moving on. – “Then there’s Elle. She’s the newest member of the team and an expert in sexual offense crimes. She can describe at least ten different ways to rape someone.” – The man looked ready to throw up at that but, like before, Reid remained completely oblivious to his discomfort. – “I don’t really know her yet but I trust her: she’s nice, she didn’t tease me too badly when I failed my firearm qualification exam.”
“The others did? Tease you, I mean.”
“Well, yeah. Morgan gave me a whistle to use if I needed help… but in the end, I threw it right back at his face because I was able to shoot Dowd in the middle of his forehead even after being repeatedly kicked by Hotch.” – He declared proudly.
“KICKED!? Your boss kicked you?”
The young agent nodded.
“He needed to; it was part of his plan.”
The psychologist narrowed his eyes.
“Let me get this straight: your boss’ plan was to kick you?”
“Yes, and verbally insult me as well. He said he hated me and that he could barely put up with me and that I am not fit to be an agent. He did it to make Dowd believe he really despised me so that he would let him beat me up.” – He said it as if it were the most logical thing in the whole universe.
“Okay… you know what? Let’s move on to the tests, shall we?” – Squeaked the horrified man and not waiting for an answer, he pulled some papers out of his briefcase and presented them to the young man sitting in front of him. – “I would like you to carefully read through these and then answer my questions.”
Reid quickly leafed through the pile before looking up to meet the man’s eyes.
“All right. What are the questions?”
“You have to read the papers first.” – Reminded the psychologist.
“I just did.”
“You only got them like five seconds ago, Doctor Reid. You have to take these tests seriously.”
“Our unconscious minds can process eleven million bits of information per minute.” – The man just blinked at him tiredly. Reid thought he might not have understood, so he added helpfully: – “I finished reading. I read 20000 words a minute.” – Still no understanding. Was that man dumb? – “You can ask your questions.”
“Oookay… khm…” – Any confidence the man might have had left were long gone by now. – “So, what do you think of the situation described?”
“I think it’s absolutely inaccurate.” – Stated the young agent simply, handing back the papers.
“Well, for one, according to that study, 45% of children under the age of 5 died of malnutrition between 2000 and 2003, which is not true: I read another study once that said it was 53%. It’s true because I looked it up elsewhere then. Also, it completely neglects to mention that poverty can have more reasons than just the lack of education. I mean, what about war, civil disorder or---”
“I meant your opinion, Doctor Reid.”
“Oh. Well, my opinion is that if someone wants to write a study, they have to do their homework properly first and then---”
“What do you feel reading a report like that? I mean: it’s about children dying of hunger.”
“What I feel?” – Repeated Reid, not understanding the question.
“Yes. What do you feel?”
The young agent became suspicious.
“Is that a tricky question?”
The psychologist sighed but gave up and replaced the study with other papers instead.
“I would like you to look at these please.”
Within 1,5 seconds, Reid handed them back again.
“I did.” – He explained, foregoing any misunderstandings.
“These are pictures, please, keep them. I’d like to talk about them with you.”
“I just looked at them. We can talk.”
The man now looked absolutely exhausted.
“How, if you don’t have them in front of you anymore?”
“I have an eidetic memory. I’ll still remember them in 50 years. I could even draw them for you? If I could get papers and a pencil---””
“I see.” – Said the man for the umpteenth time during that session. He just wanted to finish and go home and sleep, sleep, sleep… - “Okay. What did you see on the first picture then?”
“Well, it is a laser-printed black and white picture. Probably 300 dpi, given the quality. The edges are a bit blurry, I’d say, because of a problem with the printer. Its size---”
“The shape itself, please.” – Tried the man patiently.
“Oh. Sorry. So. There are two ‘tongues’ at the top which could be seen as sketches of towers. The towers symbolize a strong structure; they hold their own against wind and attacks. Also, they’re standing on top of a big hill, which in turn, means a big obstacle to be tackled, maybe a problem to solve. There’s also a smaller hill beside it which, I guess, could make us realize the insignificance of a single person compared to the whole universe. Well, in heraldry---”
“It’s a bunny, Doctor Read.”
“Oh.” – Reid swallowed nervously. – “I guess, the towers are the ears and the small hill is the tail then…”
“Did you know that rabbits can be totem animals?”
The man sighed again and rubbed his eyes.
“No. I can honestly say I didn’t.”
Reid became excited again and explained rapidly.
“But they are! And they mean those souls are creative problem solvers! Now, the beavers, for example, are ingenious builders so they mean we can build on our dreams and coax them to become reality, while-------”
“I am so sorry but I’m afraid our time is up!” – Interrupted the psychologist, not looking apologetic at all.
“So soon? But you haven’t even asked me about the shooting yet.”
“Do you feel bad about shooting the man?”
“Well, it’s settled then. I’ll have my report ready in no time. You may go. Goodbye, Doctor Reid.
“Well. Goodbye. Maybe some other time…”
The man just looked at him strangely, waving his hand in a dismissing manner. Reid shrugged and walked out.
CM * CM * CM * CM * CM * CM * CM * CM * CM * CM
Morgan, JJ and Elle were sitting at their respective desks and working on their reports of the latest case when Reid entered the bullpen. They shot him a sympathetic look since everyone knew how tiring a session with a ‘shrink’ could be.
Morgan cleared his throat.
“Kid. You all right?”
“Of course, I am.” – Replied Reid as he, too, sat down at his own desk and eyed the lack of files on it with some amount of melancholy. He liked having something to work on. So much so, that the night before he had stayed late and finished all his paperwork – along with some of Morgan’s and Elle’s as well. Everyone knew but nobody talked about how those two usually slipped him some extra files from their own piles. He wished now they had given him more and considered asking them for some. – “It went fine. Actually, I don’t know why I was so reluctant to talk to a psychologist that I weaseled my way out of all the mandatory evals before.”
“What, you mean to say that you’ve never had an eval before? Not even when you became an agent? How is that even possible?” – Marveled JJ.
By now, Reid had started on creating a whole squadron of paper boats, filling his work desk with them with lightning speed.
“Ah… well. I didn’t want to do it so I didn’t rush. In the end, I was scheduled for one anyway but I had already started here by then and we just happened to get a case that day… we travelled to Cleveland and stayed there for five days. So… yeah. Everyone just forgot about it afterwards and I didn’t remind them.”
“That’s incredible! I didn’t know you had it in you, Kid! I’m proud!” – Laughed Morgan.
Elle smiled mischievously.
“Maybe we all could try it too?”
At that moment, a grave-looking Hotch strode down the stairs and made his way towards the three agents, closely followed by Gideon; whose expression was totally unreadable of course; and an agitated Garcia trying to keep up with them in her high-heels and incredibly tight skirt; nearly falling down the stairs and only avoiding tumbling down when she held on to the arm of some unsuspecting, surprised male agent who just happened to walk by.
“Woa, Mama, careful!” – Warned Morgan but he was soon silenced with just a glare from Hotch who had, in the meantime, already reached their spots in the bullpen and stopped right in front of Reid, waving a thick folder to try to divert the boy’s attention from his desk, now overflowing with colorful paper boats in varying sizes.
“Reid, what is that?”
The young agent finally looked up.
“Ah… It looks like a file, sir. Another job?” – He guessed, hopefully.
“No. Try again.” – Shook his head the angry boss.
“I really don’t know then… Would you like me to do your paperwork? Because I’d like to, really. I usually do some of Morgan’s and Elle’s…”
“REID!” – The two instantly hissed, and Hotch opened his mouth to say something, only to be interrupted rather rudely by the senior profiler.
“Aaron! Calm down. We’ve talked about this.” – Warned Gideon as he steered Garcia towards an empty chair and gently nudged her into it, not wishing for any more accidents to happen.
“Right.” – Hotch took a deep breath as if to prepare himself for anything with the youngest agent. – “Reid. I just heard that Doctor Montague, the psychologist you just talked to, demanded an immediate transfer to the west coast. Do you happen to know why that is?”
“No, sir. I have no idea.”
“Well, he did it right after writing notes about how we are all unstable and potentially dangerous, while you are; I quote: ‘… deluded to the point where he believes himself to be some prodigy with superhuman abilities like speed-reading and a photographic memory---”
“Eidetic.” – Reid corrected but shut his mouth when he realized Hotch probably didn’t care to listen to how it wasn’t exactly the same right now. He was proud of himself for it: finally, he had managed to read a social cue right.
“--- and a loving work-environment with colleagues who support and encourage him in everything he does. In reality, he is being severely mistreated, sometimes even outright abused by his teammates. With a physically violent unit chief, a manipulating senior agent and an alleged friend who ridicules him at all given opportunities, he has lost all the self-confidence and any grasp of reality he had ever possessed. From the female agents on his team, he can’t hope for any help at all as they only see him as some kind of ‘cute puppy’. He talks about death and torture without blinking and describes horrific scenes in a detached manner. He finds explanations and justifications to every humiliation that happens to him and doesn’t understand how things could be different. He’s very young and vulnerable and the other members of his unit clearly misuse these attributes. In my professional opinion, that unfortunate young man needs to be pulled from this environment as soon as possible and immediately after that extensive therapy has to begin in an attempt to help him. Only time will tell if complete healing is possible.’ There are also some other interesting observations, but I will spare you from having to listen to them for now. I, as a ‘physically violent unit chief’ certainly wouldn’t want to… what was that again? Oh, yes. ‘Humiliate’ and ‘ridicule’ you.” – Hotch finished. He reminded Reid of a dragon about to breathe fire in his anger.
Reid looked around and saw that all the others had been rendered speechless. Gideon was the only one who looked at least somewhat amused, so he addressed his next words at his mentor.
“Gideon. I never said those things. This man must be rubbish at his profession.”
At that, Gideon laughed out loud. Ignoring the dark glare he received from Hotch, he asked the young man instead.
“What did you say, son?”
“I told him that the kicking was a necessary part of us getting out of that situation alive. I also told him that Morgan didn’t really want to murder me and that Garcia flirted with everyone and I didn’t feel intimidated by her. Certainly not sexually abused.” – Hotch paled, Morgan opened and closed his mouth a few times without getting a word out and Garcia quickly covered her entire face with her hands, as if wishing she could become invisible. – “JJ and Elle are nice, I never said they treated me like a puppy, I just said they were like sisters and sometimes teased me.” – The girls at least had the audacity to look somewhat sheepish. – “Also, I told him you are my father figure and you got me into the FBI, Gideon.” – He looked around apologetically, meeting everyone’s eyes. – “And I do have an eidetic memory and I can read fast. It’s not my fault if he thought I was being disrespectful by not wanting to look at his ridiculous pictures longer. They’re etched into my memory forever anyway. That ‘bunny’. Grrr.”
Since nobody else seemed to be able to say anything, Gideon took it upon himself to save the day.
“All right. Guys: from now on, Reid isn’t allowed to talk to any psychologists anymore. I don’t care what happens; he won’t talk to them. Though professionals, they’re clearly not ready to deal with his level of genius just yet. Garcia, you’ll make sure that Reid’s file checks out and nobody realizes he misses his mandatory evals.”
“Yes, sir.” – the blond woman agreed immediately.
“As of this report: since Doctor Montague will be leaving shortly anyway, we’ll have the opportunity to make it disappear. I will write the evaluation myself and Hotch will co-sign it. This incident never happened, am I understood?”
“Yes, sir!” – Piped everyone, except for Reid, who just blinked confusedly.
“Gideon… Did I do something wrong?”
His mentor smiled and patted his shoulder.
“No, son. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just that you’re fairly ahead of our time and the world hasn’t quite caught up to you just yet.”
“And probably won’t for another 500 years or so.” – Muttered Morgan, barely audibly.
“Don’t worry, son. We love you as you are and we understand you. Well, most of the time, anyway.”
Contented with the assurance, Reid went back to his paper boats while the others scattered away to do their respective tasks. It was just a normal day for them all after all.