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spencer flinches horribly as jack fires the gun, the bullet sprinting forward and burying itself into ryan’s forehead like a crude finishing line, clawing its way through the flesh casing of his skin, slicing through bone. the pellet fracturing the white shell, spilling yolk onto tile. his head exploding like a blooming flower in the spring, overwhelmingly red, underwhelmingly quick.

spencer’s eyes widen as he takes in the sight of the blossom, his mouth parted in shock. the echo of the shotgun casing hitting the ground followed by the gun itself rings in spencer’s ears, his eyes are still glued on the violent red in front of him. not processing when jack walks out with lindsey, arms wrapped around her protectively. he’s replaying the blooming racing cracking vivid red flower egg in front of him over and over and over as the rest of his team assess the scene, soon filing out one by one.

spencer barely registers morgan asking him if he’s okay, responding on auto pilot, telling him he tried, that he couldnt, asking what was going to happen to jack. he feels morgan’s hand on his shoulder like an outsider, like he’s watching it happen slightly above him, curled in the upper corner of the tiled room. he continues to stare at the visceral cracked shell of the flower, replaying the same three seconds over and over and over. one two three. crack finish bloom.

spencer’s still standing there with his eyes wide and mouth parted as a crime scene crew come to clean the room and collect the shell, he watches as they scrape and pry the petals from the tile, the disgustingly loud squelch of flesh separating from ceramic, the fleshy pink of brains scattered against the wall, the muddled red, the speckled white. he’s still standing there as the crew leave with the flower shell packed neatly into a bag, wheeling it out of the bathroom. they ask him to move out of their way and he does.

spencer’s still standing there as hotch does one final sweep of the room, making sure everyone has left and is ready to drive to the airport for the flight home. his eyes are glued on that corner, of where ceramic and plastic and metal hinges meet together to form the stall, of where those three seconds continue to flash in his mind, of where the yolk has stained tile.

he doesnt realise he’s been steered out of the bathroom until he’s met with the unpleasantly bright light of the sun as the door to the schools hallway is opened, he doesnt register where he is or where he’s being taken, he just walks. his body just walks, autopilot. he’s fuzzily aware of the sound of a car door opening, of him sitting down, buckling himself in. he’s watching it from the outside again, through the eyes of the shaking creature in the corner of the room. he can distantly hear hotch getting into the car himself, buckling his own belt and starting the ignition. spencer feels the car purr under his feet, feels the car wake, stir, become alive. he thinks about those three seconds over and over and over, the drive to the airport passing in unfocussed eyes and blurry trees, road lines and street signs zipping past him in quick succession.

one two three, one two three, one two three.