Title: You Can’t Fight the Friction
Active Characters: Spencer Reid, Tony DiNozzo, Sam Winchester
Mentions of: Derek Morgan, Aaron Hotchner, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Abigail Scuito, Tim McGee, Dean Winchester, Bobby Singer, Gabriel
Time Periods: Unknown for Criminal Minds, Season 10 for NCIS, Season 5 for Supernatural
Song: Friction by Imagine Dragons
Word Count: 4049
Spencer stood in his living room, eyes closed, head back, letting the pounding rhythm fill his vein. He could feel it pushing away cravings and stress and loneliness and everything but the music. He was tired of feeling his way.
He was tired of feeling like nothing, like he was just a bother to society in general unless someone wanted access to the vast knowledge in his brain. He was worth more than they offered, more than they taunted him with. Once he’d been shown what his worth was. Once he’d known what he could mean to people.
His heart hurt. He felt like someone stabbed him in the chest. Nothing should feel this bad. Nothing was worth this pain. He was tired of trusting, and having that trust thrust back in his face. He was tired of being made to feel like he should be grateful for the scraps that he got from the people around him.
As if the little they bothered to offer was enough. Derek fucking Morgan… everyone’s favorite whore, tease, player… The one who promised he’d stand by your side right up until your gray areas didn’t fit into his perfect black and white world.
He could feel his head bobbing to the beat. He could feel the intensity of the music ramping up his emotions, but he didn’t even care. Maybe that was what he needed. Maybe he needed shoved out of his illusion of happiness and comfort. Maybe he’d needed someone to shine a light on the bullshit illusion that was his life, even if he’d thought that pumped up jock was his friend. At least now he knew. At least now he understood the truth. At least now he knew what a cancer his current environment was. At least he knew which direction he needed to go in to escape this bullshit existence he was living in.
For weeks there’d been something in the back of his mind tickling him to pay attention. He’d been ignoring it because he hadn’t wanted to leave the BAU, didn’t want to leave the safety of the family he’d thought he had. The family that it was apparent wasn’t really there. Maybe it was time to listen to that tickle. Maybe it was time for him to release this creature he’d been holding hostage inside of him. Maybe it was time to show the world who Spencer Reid really was. Maybe it was time everyone’s idea of perfection, Derek Fucking Morgan, learned his place, which was firmly underneath Spencer’s foot.
Why can’t you let go?
Like a bird in the snow.
This is no place to build your home
Why indeed? It was obvious that he wasn’t really wanted. He was just a commodity to be traded for knowledge, used for brains and then ignored until he was needed again. It was obvious now that this wasn’t the home that he’d hoped that it would be. So, what was he staying for? What was he suffering here for in the dark?
Everyone knew he didn’t like the dark. Every fucking one of them knew how much it terrified him, yet they’d just left him there to suffer, to quake screaming in silent agony as they just went about their lives as if his pain didn’t matter. If not one of them was willing to reach a hand out to save him, then not one of them was worth sticking around for.
So, what was he doing there when he should be out trying to find the light again? He’d had the light once. Light and love had both been his and he’d let them both go. They’d slipped through his fingers like sand. Maybe it was time to gather the grains close again and rebuild his castle. Maybe it was time to listen to that tickle and let it lead him to his salvation.
Decision made, Spencer grabbed his gun, credentials, and house keys before heading out the apartment door. He only hoped that he wouldn’t wake up Jack when he knocked on Hotch’s door. He knew his boss and friend, would argue with him, but his mind wouldn’t be changed. The dreams had to mean something. It was time to let loose the parts he’d had locked up inside his head for so long. The future couldn’t be put off any longer though. It was time to stop fighting the friction.
You can’t fight the friction
So ease it off
You can’t take the pressure
So ease it off
Don’t tell me to be strong
Ease it off
You can’t fight the friction
So ease it off
Tony stood in Gibbs’ basement. Hard blue eyes staring at him as if daring him to stick to his guns. He could tell there was no doubt in them who was it blame in this whole mess. There was no doubt in them who was in the right, and who was in the wrong. There was no compromising on whose beliefs were just and whose were to be case to the wayside, discarded like trash.
It wasn’t the director, who was so caught up in his grief over losing his wife that he’d lost sight of the line dividing right and wrong. It was certainly not Gibbs and his memories of suffering through his own wife’s death, clouding his judgment. It wasn’t the spoiled princess ruling her kingdom from the security of her lab.
It wasn’t the out of control assassin. She’d won Gibbs’ loyalty by sacrificing her own flesh and blood with a bullet to his brain so that she could advance her own greed and ambition. Never mind that she’d betrayed the country she currently lived in at the behalf of her daddy. Never mind that her urges to push forward were fueled by her own grief and need for vengeance. It absolutely couldn’t be Mr. MIT who knew more than anyone, whose ambitions made him so eager to be included that he forgot the difference between right and wrong.
Tony knew where the blame was being placed for this unending flare of conscience he was sticking to. It was the same place that blame was always placed when things didn’t go to the former sniper’s will. If it was fucked up it had to be DiNozzo who did it. The only problem was that this time good ol’ Tony wasn’t willing to lay down.
Good ol’ Tony had reached the end of looking the other way and pretending that he was comfortable with the lines being crossed. Good ol’ Tony was tired of pretending that he couldn’t break them all with just a stray thought. Good ol’ Tony was going to show them when you lost sight of innocence and guilt.
For too long he’d been ignoring the whispers that he had a better path, a more righteous path. For too long he’d pretended that the scraps of goodwill he’d been fed by this group of lepers who believed themselves to be some kind of dysfunctional family was enough. He had a place in the world, it just wasn’t here in this basement, or at NCIS, or with any of these fucking hyenas beyond possibly Jimmy, who in all honesty was way too good for these assholes.
Carefully Tony took the gun resting on his hip off, and placed it on the work bench. Credentials, and company owned cell phone were gently placed next to it as the anger and verbal abuse was let loose.
“What the fuck do you think that you’re doing DiNozzo? Quitting like some pussy boy? You fucking quit when I say you can quit, and not a minute before!”
Smiling coldly, Tony took a step backward, then another continuing until he’d reached the bottom of the stairs. “I’m tired of fighting the friction, boss. It’s been real.”
Turning Tony headed up the stairs, letting the barrier around the other half of himself open just slightly. Steadily without rushing he headed through the kitchen and toward the front door. As he placed his hand on the doorknob he could hear the screaming begin. Climbing into his car, he couldn’t help but smile. It was after all overdue.
No one should live in the past that long. Gibbs had abused those memories, and didn’t deserve them anymore. Tony was more than happy to play judge, jury, and executioner. Maybe the next time they met Gibbs would remember his place. Tony could only hope the Princess or the Assassin crossed his path again. He’d love to play in their minds too.
Pulling away from the curb, Tony smiled for the first time in months. He knew right where he needed to go to make sure his future got back on track.
Sam was walking down the cold DC streets alone… or as alone you can get in a city with over 650,000 people. The angry words from his most recent fight with Dean were still ringing in his ears, making the ever present load on his back even heavier. He was tired. Sam was more tired than he ever remember being before, even back at Stanford where he ran on no sleep, espresso shots, and what little hope he could muster. Now though…
Now there was no hope. There was only this sense that the world was going to crumble around his feet, quite literally, and it was going to be all of his fault. One bad decision piled on top of another until the weight that he carried was crippling. Secrets that he kept, not because he wanted to, but rather because he had to, weren’t helping the situation. He was tired of only being half the person he really was, and didn’t know how much longer he could take it.
He was tired of the ever present feeling like he wasn’t good enough, was never going to be good enough, and frankly had never had a chance of being good enough. He had all this inside of him and he just…
Get down with the victim
We both know you need them
You’re stuck in the middle
Of all irrelevance
Your heart is beating
‘Cause you know that you gotta
Get out of the middle
And rise to the top now
Lately things had been harder to ignore. Things he’d been trained to ignore. Things he’d been taught were evil, and had to be suppressed. Things his father would have hunted and killed. Things that freaked out his brother, even while he pretended that they didn’t. Things these days his brother might kill him for. He wasn’t sure though…. He just… He didn’t think he could pretend that he was normal any longer.
The thing was he wasn’t normal, and if the little bastard in his dreams was to be believed then it wasn’t Azazel’s blood that made him “special”. It was some higher destiny crap or something… some moment he was meant to face. Something like, oh maybe an impending apocalypse. That little fucker just kept snearing at him, jabbing at his insecurities, tugging at all of his loose threads until he wasn’t sure he wasn’t going to completely unravel. He wondered though if that wasn’t the point. His whole life he’d basically ignored that other part of himself that was something other than normal, and where had it gotten him.
Other than that brief period when they were fighting the Yellow Eyed Demon, he’d always just pretended that the visions, the telekinesis, even the killing demons part was a factor of some outside influence and not natural, not to be trusted, not to be used. But, what if that was wrong? What if he was supposed to use them? What if they could be trusted when used without the booster if you will? What if it was all there for a reason, and by hoping it didn’t exist, praying it would go away, refusing to acknowledge it was real he really was just making things worse? What if fucking Gabriel was right?
The little shit had very little tolerance for Sam other than to get his rocks off making him look stupid when he’d been alive. Then the dreams started though, and Sam found out that the little bastard was even more annoying when he was supposedly dead. Only… maybe he wasn’t. Maybe the dreams weren’t dreams like Sam had been assuming. They hadn’t felt like the visions he used to have but maybe…. Maybe that was the lack of Azazel’s influence. Maybe Gabriel really was trying to communicate with him. Maybe…
If Gabriel was real, maybe the other two were real two.
That thought made Sam stop abruptly. Eyes wide, breath quickened, ignoring the swearing of the guy behind him who almost ran into him, Sam stood there on the sidewalk as he felt whatever chamber he’d had inside of him keeping this shit secure unlock. They were real. The tall skinny college professor looking guy who was so goddamned pretty, Sam couldn’t help but wanna pound his ass. The equally tall Italian looking guy who practically oozed charm, and made Sam wanna be the one who was the bitch. What if they were real? No, not what if. They were real.
They were real and they existed. They existed, and they’d been talking to him, or rather he’d been talking to them or… something like that. They’d been in his head, in his dreams, reaching out to him, as he’d reached out to them. They had needed him as much as Sam needed them. They were real. Sam wasn’t alone. They were real, and there was hope. They were real. They were real, and there was a way. They were real.
The bounding bass line of a song blasted out the open doors of the club he’d stopped in front of. Glancing up, the club name practically screamed “Sam Winchester you are an epic moron” – Devine Triad. Quickly his brain pull up a line he’d seen on the Wiki page for Gabriel. It said “In the Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an angel who typically serves as a messenger sent from God to certain people.” Well fuck.
The smarmy little bastard had been trying to talk to him all this fucking time. Jesus, Gabe was right. Sam really was a blundering moron. Heading into the club, Sam paid the door fee, and wandered into the darkness. Stepping off to one side he let his eyes adjust to the darkness as he tried to regain his mental balance. He could feel the powers he’d had leashed for so many years surging through him, making his blood sing and filling him with this sense of euphoria. There was actually a fucking chance that they could get out of all of this without anyone else dying. Fuck!
Heading to the bar Sam pulled some cash out of his pocket, and after paying for a bottle of beer, turned back to scan the room from his new angle. There… back in the corner, almost completely hidden in the darkness they sat. The professor and the Italian were at a table just seeming to be staring at each other. Sam wondered if they were having the same “oh this this crap is real” moment that he was.
Making his way through the crowd, Sam saw the instant the Italian realized they were being watched. He saw the other man scan the crowd until he found Sam. With the way his eyes widened, it seemed to be apparent that this was something that was a revelation for them all. Now that he could see them in the real world, Sam let a sigh loose when he realized both men practically screamed Feds. Awesome, the two people he was going to save the world with, were immediately going to want to put him in jail. How fun. Couldn’t anything in his life ever be easy?
Moving the rest of the way to the table, Sam pulled out a stool and sat. The placement put his back to the crowd, which made him itch, but it couldn’t be helped. Taking a long pull from his beer, Sam swallowed hoping that his nerves went with the amber liquid, before setting the bottle on the tabletop.
“Hi, I’m Sam Winchester. I think we have some things to discuss. I’d appreciate if you’d hold off on arresting me until we have time to talk.” It wasn’t the smoothest opening he’d ever had with someone, but Sam had a feeling that they were running out of time. He saw the professor gaping at him in equal amounts of confusion and surprisingly enough recognition. Wonderful. When he looked toward the Italian though, there was just mostly amusement, at least on the surface. Sam had a feeling this wasn’t something unusual. He had a feeling this was the type of guy who used layers of masks to hide his true self, but then who at this table didn’t. They were all freaks. Hiding shit had to be engrained into their DNA by now.
“Well Sam Winchester, I have to say you win the award for unique introductions for the evening.” Sam rolled his eyes at the Italian, noticing the man hadn’t introduced himself.
“Sam Winchester is the younger brother of Dean Winchester. They mostly live off grid. Both were reported to be dead by Agent Hendricks roughly a year ago, before he himself died in an explosion. Both brothers have numerous outstanding warrants, although Dean is the more wanted of the two, including a case in St Louis where he was accused of serial rapes. There charges mostly consist of credit card fraud, impersonating a federal agent, and oddly enough grave desecration where they have dug up graves and then seemed to have burned the bodies.
Sam attended Stanford University until his girlfriend died in a fire. He disappeared after the funeral for the most part, but began showing up on police blotters along with his brother Dean not long after that. Although, you are apparently not dead….” Spencer trailed off again seeming confused.
“Holy encyclopedia, Batman!” The Italian gaped and Sam shook himself out of his stupor turning his eyes back to the other man, but quickly turned his eyes back to the professor when he began speaking again.
“At some point you’re going to ask so I am just going to get it out of the way,” Spencer said seeming frustrated. “I don’t believe that intelligence can be accurately quantified, but I do have an IQ of 187, an eidetic memory, can read 20,000 words per minute. Yes, I’m a genius.”
Sam couldn’t help but be amused. “I’m guessing you’ve said that once or twice before.” The professor just huffed at him again, and continued speaking. A quick glance at the Italian showed he seemed to be as amused as Sam was.
“You have no idea, Sam. As to the grave desecration, interestingly enough it is commonly believed that salting and burning bones, will get rid of a spirit trapped on earth. In more serious cases, an exorcism can be used to move on the soul. There are references to ghosts dating back to Mesopotamia. They believed that ghosts were created at the time of death, taking on the memory and personality of the dead person.
“They then were believed to move on to the Netherworld, where they were assigned a task, and led a life similar to the living. Relatives were to offer food and drink to ease their conditions, otherwise the ghost could inflict misfortune and illness on them. Usually people stop me from talking by now… Oh, you can call me Spencer. My name is Dr. Spencer Reid, I work with the Behavioral Analysis Unit for the FBI out of Quantico.”
Sam blinked amazed then smiled at Spencer. “That was… actually correct. Did you know that the Humn people of Sudan drink what’s called Umm Nyolokh. It’s made from the liver and marrow of giraffes, and contains DMT and other psychoactive substances. The drink causes hallucinations of giraffes, which they believe to be giraffe ghosts.”
“Holy McGeek! I’ve gone from one to two!” Sam heard and stopped speaking to see the Italian slap his forehead. “This has to be some punishment. Giraffe ghosts?” Sam blushed embarrassed that he’d forgotten himself for a moment, and out of the corner of his eye saw that Spencer seemed to be unfazed by the comment.
“Before you two start talking about ghost history from Tudor England or something…” Sam watched amused when the Italian held up a hand as Spencer started to speak. “That was not an invitation Doc. I am Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo with the MCRT team at NCIS. Until recently I worked under the very grumpy Leroy Jethro Gibbs, but currently find myself between occupations. I don’t have any fun ghost information to share myself. The only one I know is the tale of St. Anthony of Italy, which my Nonna DiNozzo would tell me when she was alive.
“So, Sam Winchester, you’re basically a ghostbuster? Say! Do you know the Ghostfacers? Those guys crack me up.” Sam sighs and shakes his head as Tony just grins at him.
“Yes I suppose you could say I am a ghostbuster, although… there’s more to it than ghosts. Yes, actually I do know the Ghostfacers team, and if you compare me to them I’m going to punch you in the throat. When do we get to the part where the two of you arrest me? Cause, we really need to get beyond that. There are more important things we need to deal with.” Sam looked from Spencer, who was biting his lip, to Tony, who was rubbing the back of his hair.
“I do not believe that arresting you would be best for society,” Spencer said soft enough that he was barely heard over the loud club music. “Since you currently are believed to be deceased I think it would be best if we just forgot that part. As you have said, we have more important things to do. Besides, I was advised when I died that you would come to me some day. Not that he gave a name, but he called you moose, and described you thoroughly enough that I am confident you are the man he was referring to.”
“Wait, you too?” Tony asked at the same time Sam asked, “who is he?”
Spencer frowned at the two men, then looked to Tony asking, “You too what?”
Tony shrugs. “I had the plague a few years back. Technically I didn’t die, but I was close enough I was having what I always assumed was hallucinations. I saw this annoying little prick who was nagging at me to find someone.”
Sam arched an eyebrow at the mention of the Plague, but filed that away to ask about later. “This annoying little prick as Tony described him. Was he short? Brown hair, annoying smirk, likes sweets, probably called himself Loki, and generally pisses you off with little effort?” When both men nodded Sam sighed. “Gabriel.”
Tony and Spencer both started asking questions at once, but again Sam held up a hand to stop them. “Look, if y’all aren’t gonna arrest me, then we need to think about taking this some place more secure with more privacy. The questions you want answered can’t be done here. All I can say is there are things going on in the world right now. Like world ending things. Monsters are real. The end of days is coming, for real, and we three are the ones that need to stop it. Now I have resources we need, but I can’t do it without you both.”
Feeling his phone vibrating, Sam took it out of his pocket to see Bobby calling him. Taking a deep breath, Sam hit ignore. He’d call Bobby back in a minute. He then shot off a text to Dean. If his brother wanted to be an asshole, well that was his problem. Sam knew now what had to be done, and he wasn’t going to let Dean’s stubbornness stop him.
“The first thing we need to do is save Gabriel from where he’s trapped. How do you two feel about Sioux Falls, South Dakota?”