by C.M. Decarnin
His arms across himself. It felt weak. But he couldn't...
He didn't know what exactly. And his arms were no defense, not even really folded, just loosely slung across his body.
He didn't know how to do this. What if he...
Air embolism. Infection. Overdose.
Someone had once told him it took a lot more air than you would think, to amount to an embolism. And he knew how to sterilize needles. Suck bleach up into them a couple of times, then water -- a brochure in some waiting-room. He couldn't, for the life of him, remember what he'd been waiting for where there'd be such literature, but the line drawings and hyper-simple phrasing were there, like every other page he'd ever read.
He'd seen how full Tobias filled the hypodermic.
He'd retrieved that too. In case he couldn't get one at the hospital.
He wouldn't overdose.
Just the idea of sticking a needle into his own skin. Into a vein...
He never had been brave.
If he didn't he would never have that freedom ever again.
Just free of all of it.
The freedom filling up like a balloon with pleasure. Sweetness of sensation. How to name, describe, a thing that felt that good. The point was not to name it; but to get it back.
Thank god for the private jet. No security searches.
With shaking hands he rolled out a clean dish-towel on the kitchen counter. It was like those first years, when he used to set the kleenex close, and get into bed knowing he was going to masturbate. Anticipation laced with fear of getting caught, transgressive excitation at what his fantasies would be. He remembered how he used to shake with the thrill and tension.
He got out the bleach.
When it was clean he realized he couldn't do it in the kitchen. It had to be somewhere he could lie back after...
He ended up on the living room couch. Doing it in bed... just a little too reminiscent of those teenage nights.
If this hadn't happened to him... all the horror... he would never have known this either.
They wouldn't understand.
That was for sure.
They hadn't tried it. Maybe wouldn't even be affected the same way. Maybe if Hotch...
You couldn't risk that. Ever. They would never understand. Only saw the evil.
Not the beauty.
Not the power, that he needed now, so much, to make it stop. The blood --
He curled forward.
It kept breaking through, hunching his body like a blow, the memories, his horrible complicity, the woman falling, then the man. His fear and cowering. Irretrievable blame.
He pulled off his own narrow belt, made a loop through the buckle, and thrust his arm through it. Do it, do it. He picked up the vial and needle.
But pulling the Dilaudid into the chamber he stopped.
Tobias had banged him hard, knocked him into a seizure and full arrest. He'd probably given Reid as much as he himself was used to taking.
He eased the needle out of the vial, having filled the syringe only a little more than half as full as Tobias had.
Holding the belt in your teeth would be embarrassing. Like movies about addicts.
But he really couldn't think of any other way.
He got the length right, pulled tight...
No veins bulged up.
It was exactly like giving blood. He'd never been able to tell how they picked the spot. It was never the most obvious blue line below the skin. He ran his fingertips across and felt a slight bump.
He swabbed the spot with alcohol.
He was breathing too hard. Adrenaline.
He picked up the needle.
Steadied his hand against his forearm.
At least he knew it had to slide in almost parallel, not that bizarre perpendicular tv jab as if they were giving an intramuscular injection -- sometimes even into the neck! So disturbing to watch, not just because of the disastrous consequences that should ensue, but for its implications about a whole cast and crew's stupidity. It was so hard, sometimes, to know what it was fair to expect of minds not his, but surely everyone had had blood drawn. They ought to know.
Unless they couldn't bear to look.
The point touched his skin. He pressed and it sank in. How would you know if you were in the vein? He should have looked this up. There was a sudden slight sense of easing pressure -- he stopped. Carefully edged back the plunger, and blood flowed into the plastic barrel. He'd done it!
His breath made a wet sound around the belt. He eased the tension on it, and without stopping to think he pushed the plunger slowly home.
Take it out, take it out before you --
Breath let out. The belt fell. Gasp of oxygen, and his whole upper circulatory system burst into glorious soft flame, like stars of eiderdown. Open.
Was his arm swinging, hand setting hypo on the coffee table? Or was he just falling, back, back, no thoughts of how far, not trying to stop --
Emotion flooded and washed, cleansing, unhurtful, unresisted.
It wouldn't have occurred to him to raise a barrier. Air and feelings, thoughts and blood, Dilaudid, simply circulated, his muscles had relaxed as if after huge exertion, everything that hurt stopped hurting.
His back hit the couch cushions.
Sweetness and joy spread out to every limb.
Hotch. Hotch understood him, hadn't been angry at him. For the lies, lies lies lies, he'd told to hold, hold Hotchner's attention to his message, words only he would understand, and he had, and held -- held him, without being wounded by the cruelty --
-- and J.J., he had showed her, hugging her, he didn't blame her for not being there to have his back -- they shouldn't have split up but whose fault had that been? It had been his idea; and besides it takes two to go in different directions. But he knew she'd feel it, just as he would have if she'd been the victim of their mutual greenness in the field.
And so he'd hugged them both, just those two. To heal it.
The others wouldn't need it of him. Maybe he should have hugged them anyway. But -- Gideon.
Tears sprang in his eyes and trickled down the sides of his face at the safety he'd felt that Gideon was there.
Because he'd kept -- so totally irrationally -- having nerve twitches to look around for Charles Hankel and Rafael there in the cemetery in the dark, though they lay dead in Tobias's body. And so immediately he'd lied to him, Gideon's being there giving him the strength to ask to be alone, send him away, in the only instant he would have before police and others swarmed the scene, to get the vials from Tobias's pocket. Saved.
If Gideon had ever felt this, he might understand.
They didn't, though, they wouldn't. Okay. It was okay. He'd lived with others' limitations all his life, this was one more.
Hugs. Seeking and bestowing benediction. Bene dicere. Benedictionem.
All was well.
All was forgiven.
Tobias was meat.
He'd had to shoot him, there'd never been an instant's doubt what he would do if he got a half a moment's chance. Tobias hadn't had that chance, his mind had split, he'd not been strong. What would I be if my father had taken me? We both went with the crazy parent. But Mom had not been... wicked. And I had not discovered -- this. This shelter from so many winds of storm.
Moments, golden, without guilt or pain.
A bath of bliss.
A smile without force enough to push his muscles up, around his mouth. A tide of gratitude. Thank you, Tobias. Thank you. Thank you.