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Characters this chapter: Tony DiNozzo, Brian O’Connor, Spencer Reid, Aaron Hotchner, Emily Prentiss, David Rossi,
Relationships this chapter: Spencer Reid/Tony DiNozzo/Brian O’Connor
Chapter Warnings: Aftermath of Anthrax, Mentions of Drug Addiction
Word Count: 4,731/112,298
Chapter Summary: We have a Spencer-centric chapter. First the boys find out that he hasn’t refilled his Anthrax medicine after an uncharacteristic outburst at work. This leads to Spencer having to open up about some things he’s been holding inside. Then, Spencer finally gets that Philosophy degree, and the boys want to celebrate. Spencer however is more than a little confused by their request, and kind of just hopes the whole thing will go away.
Chapter Fourteen: Not Crying Wolf when you should and Pomp and Circumstance
~~* July 2012 *~~ * ~~* Not Crying Wolf when you should *~~
Tony was frowning at the answering machine in Spencer’s office when Brian wandered in. He had a landline phone number only because on the rare instances that his mother called him, she refused to call a cellphone because of her belief that the government listening in. Tony desperately wanted to point out to her that they’d been listening in on landline conversations long before cellphones, but he didn’t. It was after all Spencer’s mother, and she was the only one of two parents among them that had really deserved the title. Since Brian’s mother had died when they were children, she was the only living one who really mattered. Not to mention, her illness made logic difficult on the best of circumstances. The fact that she would occasionally call her son was miracle enough. Why Spencer had given the landline number to the pharmacy though he didn’t know. From the message it’s possible that it was an emergency number. The message definitely seemed like it was important enough to warrant it.
“What are you doing?” Brian asked, only to have Tony turn his frown on him, before leaving the room. Confused, Brian followed Tony to the bathroom that Spencer used. When Tony started going through the medicine cabinet, Brian tried not to imagine the worst. “What’s goin’ on, Flyboy? You’re freaking me out. I need you to use actual words.”
When he saw Tony take a deep breath, and noticed his hands had moved to grip the sink lip tightly the blonde shifted to stand straighter from his position leaning against the doorjamb.
“I’ve noticed things at work and home over the last week or two with Spencer. He’s wheezing. He’s drinking more coffee than is normal for even him, and goes to bed earlier only to sleeping longer. I also hear him coughing more. He’s been… twitchy, anxious, and… I mean Spencer is always OCD about some things, but…”
“I saw him rearranging the cabinets in the kitchen before I left on that job a couple days ago,” Brian admitted softly. He’d just gotten back from a quick three day surveillance job where he’d needed to blend into surroundings. The team he’d assisted hadn’t had anyone that the target didn’t know, and Brian was thankful for an easy job like that.
“I realized something was seriously wrong when he about took Derek’s head off today. I mean, yes, Derek tends to take the whole teasing Spencer thing too far at times. At those instances I wouldn’t blame him for taking a chunk out of Morgan’s ass. This wasn’t one of those times though, and to be honest, Spencer took his anger way too far. I honestly believe that he was trying to hurt Derek.”
Brian flinched, and knew there was a serious problem. Spencer and Derek were as thick as thieves. While they may bicker like brothers, he normally wouldn’t do anything to hurt his friend. As Tony continued talking, Brian tried to stop all the suspicious thoughts going through his head. “Hotch pulled Spencer in his office to tear him a new ass, and Emily stole Derek for a long lunch to try and calm him down. I asked Rossi if I could check something out. I don’t know why I thought of it I just…”
Tony took a pill vial out of the cabinet. “This is his Zoloft. It’s empty.” He tossed the vial in the sink, and then took a round disc out and shook it. “This is his Flovent. It’s also empty. I know for a fact the rescue inhaler he keeps in his bag is empty because I saw him use the last dose and throw it away. He keeps other meds in his bag for emergencies… things he doesn’t have to take daily. I am fairly confident that they are all empty. Especially after listening to the urgent message from the pharmacy.”
Throwing the disc in the sink, Tony took out what Brian knew was Spencer’s joint pain medicine, and Brian sighed. “Lemme guess, empty?” Tony nodded and turned leaning against the sink. “He probably forgot, Tony. You know how Spencer is. You don’t think he did this on purpose do you?”
Tony sighed and shrugged. “I would hope not, but… he’s been off lately. Something with his mother has freaked him out. I think he’s having nightmares again. John… AD Evans asked me how he was doing the other day. He hinted that someone that he’s close to has started using again. I inferred that he was talking about someone at Spencer’s meetings. If I interpreted what the man was saying then some medication that he was taking triggered it. There was a lot of double talk and vague references. He was doing his best as Spencer’s sponsor to help without betraying a group trust.”
Brian reached back and rubbed the back of his neck. “All of this medicine is from when he got Anthrax, right? I did research after you explained your plague attack. I came across articles about those Anthrax attacks back in ‘01. It said that some of those people are still dealing with odd symptoms that they shouldn’t have. I also recognize some of those breathing medicines from what you take. I think the asthma medicine is the same right? You don’t think…”
“No!” Tony snapped, then took a deep breath. “Sorry, it’s not your fault I’m worried. No, I don’t think Spencer is using, again. I think his big brain though ran the possibilities using whatever factors that he has, and he got too many of the wrong outcomes. It freaked him out. I think on top of it we’ve been busy at work, and you know how he is about asking for help.”
Brian snorted. “I thought you were bad. Spencer would literally cut his own arm off first. Hell, he makes you look needy.”
Tony nodded smiling slightly. “I also think something is going on with his mother that has contributed to it, because he’s been mentioning her more lately. You know, telling stories from good days before she got really bad when he was a kid. I think that everything all just… they came together in the perfect storm. Would you be willing to make a call for me?”
When Brian nodded, Tony took a deep breath. “OK, here’s what we do. I need to go get all his medicine. I need you to call Hotch, and have him bring Spencer home. I am gonna call Derek on my way to the pharmacy, and give him a general hint about what happened. Spencer can explain better when he fucking apologizes. I don’t want Morgan to assume the worst, and he will. I could tell him and Emily both were suspecting the worst. After all they were all around when Spencer was using, and I have heard that his personality changed. From what I heard this outburst today isn’t far from what they experienced. Then when Spencer and I are both home, the three of us will have a little meeting, because this shit ain’t happening, again.”
Over an hour later when Spencer got home, he slammed the front door petulantly. Somewhere in the back of his head, he knew that he was acting like a brat, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. “In the kitchen, Spencer,” he heard. Recognizing Tony’s ‘I am gonna verbally kick your ass, and you’re going to shut up and listen’ voice, he scowled deeper. Tossing his bag onto the couch on his way past, he moved to the kitchen area stopping when he saw both Brian and Tony seated at the table. On the top were his medications lined up in a row.
“So, it seems as if we have a problem, Doc,” Tony started pushing one of the pill vials along with a bottle of water forward. “Take that. Right now. Actually take all of it right now. Then we’ll talk about what happened. I gotta be honest, I’m pretty fucking upset, a lot fucking worried, and slightly freaked out right now. I’m also not taking your attitude, especially when I know,” Tony waved his hand at the medication Spencer hadn’t filled, “all of this could have prevented it. I am trying to be calm and understanding, but if you push me I can’t guarantee I won’t push back. Especially after your deplorable behavior toward your best fucking friend in the whole world today.”
Sliding into one of the empty kitchen chairs, Spencer took all of his medications, and twisted his fingers together tightly. “I’m sorry,” he offered softly looking at the table top. His anger and defiance from just a few minutes prior had disappeared.
“Doc, look at me,” Tony ordered equally as soft, and Spencer lifted his gaze to the man. “Understand this, Spencer. I love the fuck out of you. I’m upset, worried, and freaked out because I fucking love you. We care, Spencer. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now. I know you don’t like asking for help, but goddamnit…” Tony’s voice cracked at the last word, and he had to stop talking or he’d lose his composure.
“We both have noticed something isn’t right, Doc,” Brian pointed out gently. “Hell, Tony and I are the last ones to throw stones about not asking for help. What we also know though is that when we don’t do it, you get upset when you know you could have helped. This really isn’t any different. Let us in. Tell us what’s going on.”
Spencer chewed on his lip. His hands were shaking which made opening some of the pill bottles difficult. He would have continued struggling if Tony hadn’t stood, and come over to open the bottles putting the correct dosages on the table. When the older man sat down, Spencer couldn’t look at him, because he was embarrassed. He had known he was being foolish. He had known what not taking his medications would lead to, but after Riley fell off the wagon…
“I have a… Someone I know from my… A friend that I… from my meetings… He’s…. he’s been going longer than I have. He’s… he’s so careful, almost paranoid about everything that he takes because his… his wife told him she’d take his kids if he ever… ever…”
When he felt someone cover his hand, Spencer looked up and smiled weakly at Tony. He hadn’t felt the man move to sit next to him. “She did it. She… He got… he got sick. I don’t… I don’t know what, but he got sick. He wouldn’t tell me… he wouldn’t… I just know he got sick, and the doctor had to give him medicine. He had to get a new one because of whatever it was, and even though he told them about… they… something they gave him was addictive, and he… She took them, Tony.
“She took his kids, and it wasn’t even his fault not really. He tried so hard, and when she took them he… The jumper off the bridge last month… that was him. He couldn’t… he…. It wasn’t my fault! I didn’t ask for this, and I could lose everything because of my medication. I didn’t ask for any of it! I can’t… I can’t lose… I can’t…”
As Spencer fell apart, he felt first Tony then Brian wrap their arms around him as he cried. He was only vaguely aware of being picked up, but when he eventually calmed down, noticed that they had moved to the couch in the living room. Brian and Tony were sitting side by side, and Spencer was mostly sprawled out across the both of them.
“What’s going on with your mother?” Tony asked softly, and Spencer huffed burrowing further into the man’s arms.
“Her meds aren’t working. They have to change them up. What’s the point of taking the risk of losing everything if the fucking things are going to just… stop working someday?”
“The point is that her medicine is different from yours,” Brian offered softly making Spencer frown. “Your mother has been on her medicine since you were a kid. How often does it really get changed? I know that it’s rough right now while they get her off the old stuff and onto the new ones. How often do you really have to do this though?”
Brian wanted to kiss Spencer’s shoulder, touch his cheek, even take his hand. He’d already pushed things though with the hug, and with how close he was sitting right then. He wasn’t sure how much more would be accepted, and didn’t think that this was the time to push it. “Also, while I am not an expert, I did look up lung medicine after I found out about Tony’s plague attack. From what I can see your asthma medicine especially is much more stable than her medicine would be, I am guessing.”
Tony rubbed Spencer’s arm drawing his attention. “Brian’s right, Spencer. I’ve only had to change my medicine once since I started requiring it regularly. That was because the doctor felt the new stuff was more advanced, and therefore would be better for me. That could be the case with your mother, too. There’s also the part where you aren’t alone in this whole… making sure you don’t relapse thing. We want to help you. Brian and I both have experience in dealing with people who have additions, Doc. We know what to do to help, and what not to do to help. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by cutting off the people who have the experience to help keep you on track.”
Brian nodded, and couldn’t help but add his thoughts about the friend had died. “I think I can safely speak for Tony when I say that I am crushed for you hearing that your friend died. I wish that you’d shared this with us then. Even if it was just a – Hey I know this guy, and he died He was important to me, and I’m scared that my meds are gonna make me relapse. I don’t know what to do. – kind of thing. Not only would we do anything we could to help you, but my guess is Penelope Garcia would hack every freakin’ pharmaceutical company on the planet to find out the information you need to feel safe about your post-Anthrax drugs.”
When Spencer snort giggled softly, Brian counted that as a good sign. From the thumbs up he got from his lover before he took over, he guessed that Tony agreed. “I think as a whole we three need to work on our communication. None of us are good at it, but we need to start… this shit needs to be shared all around. So, I promise I will try my best to ask for help when I need it if you guys are willing to do the same?”
When the others quickly nodded, Tony smiled and relaxed against the couch back. Tomorrow would be an interesting day. Things between the three of them might have been worked out, but Spencer would have to make amends with the team. Right at that moment though, all that mattered were the two men on the couch with him, and the endless future possibilities for them as long as they never stopped trying to work this shit out.
~~* Late March & May 2013 *~~ * ~~*Pomp and Circumstance *~~
“So, Doc, when is graduation?” Spencer heard right before a paper ball hit the back of his head. Straightening, he turned to glare at his boyfriend who was grinning at him unrepentantly. Cocking his head, he ignored the object knowing dangerous things happened when Tony got bored. They hadn’t had a case in almost three weeks, and to say his friend was bored was an understatement.
“What are you talking about?” Spencer asked noticing Emily had looked up from her papers to listen in.
“Your BA in Philosophy. This is your last semester, correct? You told us the other night that finals were coming up sometime next month, and that you’d have your degree when it was over. When is your graduation? When do you walk? I need to know when to tell Rossi we’re having the party at his house. You know he gets grumpy when he has to plan things last minute. Something as important as this, he’s gonna want time to make plans.”
Further confused, Spencer just frowned at him. Feeling someone ruffling his hair, he looked around to see Brian walking by. “What are we talking about?” The blonde asked as he perched on the corner of Tony’s desk.
“Tony is trying to get Spencer to tell him when graduation is. I didn’t know you were that close, Spence. I better be included on that ceremony list.” Emily explained to Brian, and demanded of Spencer in the same breath.
Looking at the three of them, Spencer could sense nothing but genuine honesty in their interest. It only served to confuse him further. “I… graduation is the weekend of May 19th to the 21st. We won’t know for sure until we get closer. If it’s nice they’ll hold it on the lawn. You want to come? I don’t…”
Tony cocked his head, and took a deep breath before speaking. He suddenly wished that he’d brought this up at home. “Spencer, hasn’t anyone ever celebrated your degrees with you before?”
Spencer shrugged before shaking his head. “I’ve never actually participated in the graduation ceremonies. My first few I was too young, and it was intimidating. I would have just been alone anyway. Later well… I mean… the alone thing never really changed. It isn’t like you have to walk to get your degree.”
“Well I expect that will be changing this time,” Spencer heard from behind him. Turning he saw Hotch standing on the ramp above where they sat.
“Count Jack and myself in on that ceremony attendance request. I expect Rossi and Morgan will want to go as well, and heads will roll if Garcia doesn’t get an invite.” Spencer noted that he didn’t mention JJ, and wasn’t surprised. “That will have to wait though. BAU team to the conference room. We have a case.”
“THANK THE GODS!” Tony exclaimed jumping up and running toward the conference room only to get a head slap from Derek as he ran past the man.
“It’s tacky to be happy for a case man.” Derek pointed out smirking, only to get a similar slap from Rossi who was following him.
“Then maybe you shouldn’t have done the fist pump in my office when Hotch let us know, SSA Morgan,” Rossi pointed out. Emily and Spencer just snickered as they followed them in. Brian mentally started planning the party on his way to the elevator.
While Spencer may have put the conversation out of his mind, thinking that it was just a product of Tony being bored, the rest of the team hadn’t. Quietly arrangements were made between the team and Spencer’s college friends. The entire team minus JJ was coming. She had made her disinterest clear, but Will and Henry on the other hand were both planning on going. Henry was interested in what was going on, and Will was determined to show his support no matter how big of a child his wife was being.
The morning of the ceremony, Spencer was curled up under his normal mound of covers when he smelled the scent of the Gods. “Coffee?”
Brian laughed from nearby causing Spencer to open his eyes. “You have to get out of bed to get it. C’mon, Doc, you gotta get a move on. You have a busy day.”
Spencer tried to think of what he could possibly have going on that day that required he be awake at an ungodly hour on his day off, but couldn’t come up with anything. Intending to just get comfortable again and ignore the man hoping he’d go away, he found his covers disappearing and shrieked. “Hey!”
“Chop Chop, Doc!” Tony said from the end of the bed grinning. “Get up, drink your coffee, then get in the shower. I will have your clothes laid out for you when you’re done. Stop wasting time, or I will carry you in there.”
“What… I don’t…”
“I think he means it, Spencer,” Brian pointed out as Tony moved around the bed.
“OK, OK!” The genius pouted sitting up and draining his mug. “I don’t… what are we doing today?” When the two just rolled their eyes at him, Spencer frowned.
“Ten minutes. I have the shower already running. Get a move on li’l doggie!” Tony clapped, and Spencer scowled harder as he wandered out of the room.
A half hour later he was still confused. He was sitting in the backseat of Tony’s Torino trying to determine where they were headed. He could tell they were on their way toward DC, but wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t until he recognized the turn off for Georgetown that things started to click.
“I umm… I didn’t…”
Brian turned grinning. “Your advisor took care of everything for you. They are excited that they finally get to be the ones that lured you to attend a graduation ceremony. You’re giving a speech. Don’t worry. Tony and Rossi wrote it already for you. Just stick to the notes.” Brian passed some papers not bothering to hide his grin at the younger man’s surprise.
Tony too was grinning when he looked in the rear view mirror. “Your advisor’s TA is meeting you in front of the building and will take you to get your robes and things. He gave us a list of people from school you might like at the party later. You didn’t tell us you were top of your class, Spencer!”
Spencer blushed and shrugged studying the words his boyfriend and mentor had written for him. “I’m always top of my class,” he admitted absently not seeing the eye rolls in the front seat. “You… you really want to see me graduate?”
Spencer looked up to see Brian looking at Tony then turn to look into the backseat at him. “Yes, Doc, we wanna watch you graduate at the top of your class at Georgetown University. We’re extremely proud of you, and we want to share this moment with you. We want to meet your school friends. We want to tell strangers that you’re our partner when they talk about how freaking smart you are. We want to show you off as the intelligent, gorgeous, and loving man that you are. We love you, Doc.”
Spencer was quiet until Tony stopped the car outside of the building. “Thank you,” he said softly before leaving the vehicle. He honestly didn’t know what else to say.
Later he was sitting in Rossi’s backyard, watching those around him. He didn’t think that he’d ever been so complete in his entire life. His school friends were there. His work friends were there. His family, the team, was there. His mother had actually talked to him via Skype! AND, she’d watched the graduation online! He didn’t know how they had managed that feat, but he knew how much she’d had to overcome to do such a thing.
His face hurt from laughing. His various friends weren’t just there they were all talking! The career students and his fellow Philosophy majors mixing with FBI agents talking about life, sharing stories of him, or arguing about Big Bang Theory of all things. Spencer was a little bemused, but found it wonderful. He’d heard more than one offer of a job or recommendation if needed. He’d heard laughing and friendly arguments. He’d never in his wildest dreams believed that his two worlds could interact so flawlessly.
Feeling hands on his shoulders, Spencer looked up to smile at Tony. When he looked back at the crowd, he saw not only was Tony sitting with him, but Hotch and Rossi had joined them as well. Sometimes he wondered if there wasn’t something secretly going on between them. Usually though just as he started to contemplate it, something happened to distract him.
A plate of food had been placed in front of him, and he noticed that they all had one. “Having fun, Civetta?” Rossi asked, and Spencer nodded enthusiastically. The nickname was new. It meant owl in Italian. He noticed Rossi’d taken to calling Brian “Boemo” as well which was Bohemian in Italian. It was a take on Tony’s nickname for the blonde which was BoBo. Spencer had learned that it stood for Bohemian Boy. A name that Tony had given Brian when they were in Alpha Chi Delta together. Once he’d learned the nickname, he had to admit that it was fitting for their boyfriend.
“I am!” Spencer answered smiling big. “I never imagined that all of my friends could get along like this. Did I hear Emily’s boyfriend offering Edward a job?”
Hotch nodded smiling. “More like a recommendation for another department, but essentially yes. He told me the department was getting desperate because they’ve been looking for the right person for almost a year. He thinks he will be perfect for the position.”
Spencer hummed happily as he dug into Rossi’s homemade lasagna. It was one of his absolutely favorite things in the entire world, and was glad that it had been on the menu for the evening’s food.
“They’re good people,” Tony offered covering Spencer’s hand smiling at the younger man with obvious affection. “I think I heard Brian making plans to go to a car show with Rachel and Louis.”
Spencer perked up at that nodding with a big smile on his face as he ate. Eventually his advisor came over, and a discussion started over early serial killers. It was one of the rare times that his work could be an entertaining dinner conversation without making people uncomfortable.
Later, when most everyone had left, Spencer stood in the backyard looking up at the stars. He could faintly hear Tony and Rossi inside singing some Sinatra song as they washed dishes. He’d offered to help, but been advised that he wasn’t allowed that night. Brian was outside with him somewhere. Probably watching him.
He wanted to go to him, and he would. Once he was done processing everything that had happened that day. He’d never felt like his educational accomplishments were anything other than just part of who he was. They’d never been celebrated, or treated as if they were more than what was expected of him. Not until today. Not until two men came into his life, and treated him as if all parts of him were precious and rare.
When he’d proposed this relationship with Tony, he’d never really expected it to last. He hadn’t had much real hope down deep in his soul that it could last. It had though. It would be three years in December. They’d have been living together for two years on Halloween. He thought about his mother, and the pride that was so clear on her face when he’d talked to her. He smiled at the demand to meet his wonderful two other halves. It would happen. If he knew Tony at all, he knew the man would move mountains to make it happen.
Considering his life, Spencer thought that he could honestly say that he had everything. He had the love of two marvelous men. He had friends & coworkers who had formed an amazing family around him. He had support for his mother, which extended to that family. He had an amazing job, and an ongoing education that was supported by everyone in his life. He had a beautiful home that he shared with his loves. He literally had everything.
He’d spent a lot of year’s afraid and lonely, thinking that he’d never be enough. It was nice to know that all that pain had been the prelude to something wonderful. It almost made it all worth it. No, it did make it all worth it. As long as this was always what it was meant to lead up to, every second of pain had been worth the price he’d needed to pay for this happiness. Love he had learned was always worth it.
End Notes: The next chapter seriously has just about everything in it. There is some serious Tony and Gibbs ‘Comin’ to Jesus’ type talk. There is some character death. Not telling who, but not anyone who has played an important positive part of this story. Lastly there is the absolutely FABULOUS Mardi Gras trip which came out MUCH more slashy than I expected. My musi don’t usually like writing sex scenes, but… there is a fun one in chapter 15. I will update the pairings when I post it though to warn you. Yes, you read that right. It will require additional pairing warnings. Let your little imaginations run wild. LOL