I Do It Because I Have To
Chapter One: I Do It Because I have To
Spencer Reid woke up to the sound of his cell phone ringing one early morning. He groaned and rolled over clutching at his night stand attempting to find it. He cracked his tired eyes open and saw PENELOPE GARCIA flashing on his screen. He heaved an exhausted sigh and swiped his screen, answering the phone.
"Hello, Garcia," Spencer said into the phone.
"Sorry, Boy Wonder. It's bad and we need everyone in immediately," Garcia apologized.
"Okay, I'll be right in," Spencer said without hesitation. He placed his phone back on the nightstand before turning off the alarm clock and checking the time. The clock flashed 5:15 AM.
The team just got home late last night from Kansas City, because of a serial arsonist who was burning down high schools to get back at the principal who molested him in his high school years. The unsub, Jake Roberts, ended up being talked down by Morgan while he had his former principal at knife point. They will both be receiving jail time for their crimes.
Not even six hours later they are being called on another case to who-knows-where. They were going to study who-knows-who. And they were going to learn who-knows-what.
Spencer reluctantly got out of bed and went to take a quick shower. When he finished, he got dressed, poured coffee into a thermos, grabbed his messenger back along with his to-go bag and got into his car for the drive to Quantico. It was about a twenty minute drive from his apartment to the FBI Federal Building. He parked his car next to JJ's car before getting out and entering the building.
Some agents, who had to arrive early, said hello in passing as he made his way up, but he didn't stop and converse. The elevator ride was short, and soon Spencer was in the bullpen. He placed his stuff at his desk, before going to the conference room coffee in hand. Everyone was here except for Blake who had the longest drive. The wait was short however since Blake was a fast driver.
"Okay, crime fighters, this one is a doozy," Garcia announced, once everyone had sat down with the files in front of them. "You are going to Portland, Oregon and it is not for the fresh food. Over the past two weeks there has been a series of five deaths. The victims were James Matheson, Cassie Rogers, Lee Johnson, Angelina Harris, and Andrew Wyatt. They were all caused by an overdose."
"Two weeks? Why did they wait so long to contact us?" Blake asked.
"At first they thought it was coincidental. Then they noticed one thing completely similar between the victims," Garcia answered.
"The drug they overdosed on?" Hotch guessed.
Garcia nodded grimly. "That is unfortunately correct, sir. All five victims overdosed on one overly addictive drug: Dilaudid."
Blake and Rossi were confused as to why the atmosphere in the conference room suddenly got so tense. No one was saying anything, but it was clear that something was up.
"Um, anyway, that's not all," Garcia said awkwardly. "Each of the victims had an addiction before their death. James Matheson was currently addicted to marijuana. Cassie Rogers was addicted to cocaine when she was in high school. She went to rehab when she graduated and has been clean since. Lee Johnson was in the midst of a custody battle because his ex-wife felt his addiction made him unfit to care for his two kids. Angelina Harris was been taking hallucinogens since she was eighteen. And finally Andrew Wyatt was addicted to Meth and has been for ten years."
"The only thing similar between each of the victims is the fact that they were each addicted at one point or another," Hotch stated. "Everything else is different. Different genders, races, looks, sexual orientations. Garcia, have you found out if the victims knew each other or not?"
"As far as I can tell, they never met before," Garcia answered quietly.
"Okay, wheels up in twenty," Hotch decided.
Everyone grabbed their stuff and moved out of the conference room. Spencer was about to make a beeline for the door when Hotch suddenly called him back. Spencer didn't want to, but he turned to look at his boss.
"Reid, if you can't do this case we will all understand," Hotch told him.
"No offense Hotch, but I am the only person on this team that understands the victims," Spencer told him sincerely. "I'm not going to run away when someone else out there could be in need of our help."
Hotch nodded. "Okay, but if you don't think you can handle it, or just need time, let me know. Understand?"
Spencer nodded back, and said, "Yes, sir," before leaving the conference room. He grabbed his bags and went to catch up with Blake for a ride to the airstrip.
After the briefing on the plane, the team split off. JJ was texting Will. Hotch and Rossi were discussing the case with Blake. Morgan was listening to some music and Spencer was attempting to read a book.
When Spencer got up to refill his thermos, Morgan made the move to follow him. Spencer noticed Morgan's expression and sighed not wanting to have this conversation yet.
"Hey, Kid. You know no one would think less of you if you decided not to do this," Morgan's voice was quiet and understanding as he said this.
"I know," Spencer said.
"Then why are you coming?"
"I do it for the same reason that you continue to work cases involving child molesters. Or JJ works suicides. And Hotch works child abductions. I do it, because I have to. I do it, because if I didn't I would be running away from the problem and that is the last thing I want to do."
"Promise me something?" Morgan asked.
Spencer raised an eyebrow.
"If you feel yourself giving in, promise me that you'll take to me about it?"
Spencer nodded. "I promise."
"Morgan, Reid, we'll be landing soon," Hotch called over to the two friends.
They both nodded and made their way back to their seats. The rest of the plane ride only lasted a few minutes. The lead detective, Detective Kerch, met them at the airstrip with two SUVs waiting for them. It was pouring down rain so the team ran to the warm dry cars.
From the airport they split off. Hotch and JJ went to the police station to begin the profile and talk to family members. Spencer and Blake went to the morgue to discuss the bodies with the medical examiner. Meanwhile, Rossi and Morgan went to check out the abduction and dump sites.
At the morgue, Spencer and Blake met with the medical examiner, Kathryn Long. As they looked at the victims' bodies Spencer got a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, almost as if he could have been the one on this metal table if he hadn't quit. He pushed his dread down and continued to listen to Kathryn Long speak.
"They victims didn't have any food or water in their systems at the time of death. Actually they were each very thin, I'd guess that your guy held them captive, starved them, and injected them with the drug," she told them.
"If you had to guess, how long would you say they were held for?" Spencer asked.
"With my best guess, I'd say a week, maybe more," Long guessed. "Also there was something odd found in each of the bodies."
"Odd?" Blake asked.
"There was salt water in their systems," she said.
"Wait, so there was salt water in their blood, but they weren't drowned?"
"That would be correct," the coroner said.
"Thank you for the help," Blake shook her hand before following Reid out of the morgue.
When they got into the car they called Hotch.
"What did you find out?"
"Each of the victims were held captive, starved, and were given the drug numerous times before they were given the overdose," Spencer informed him. "Also salt water was found in their lungs, but they died of the drugs."
"Okay," Hotch said, "I want both of you to come back to the station. We need to dig deeper into these victims' lives. Reid, take me off speaker please."
Spencer did so then placed it back at his ear. "Yes?"
"They need to know, Reid," Hotch said. "Blake and Rossi, I mean. They need to know the truth. They need to know everything. It could help us."
Spencer closed his eyes and sighed. He was hoping that he would be able to avoid telling them. It was bad enough having Hotch, JJ, Morgan, Garcia, Emily, and Gideon know when it was happening, but now he has to tell Blake and Rossi the truth about Tobias Hankel and the aftermath of it.
"Okay," Spencer reluctantly agreed. "Fine. I'll do it."
"Good. We'll see you both in a few minutes." With that both men hung up their cell phones.
On their way back to the station, Spencer drove about five miles under the speed limit so he could prolong the inevitable. Blake watched him curiously, but didn't comment on his speed. The drive took twice as long as it should have. When they finally did arrive Spencer was trying to keep himself from having a panic attack as he and Blake got out of the SUV.
The station was busy with the usual busy cops working on unrelated, but still stress filled cases. Some were chugging down back coffee. Others were working on paperwork at their desks. And some were talking with victims for different cases.
The two FBI agents found their colleagues in the conference room with the bulletin board set up as well as the coffee pot. Everyone was already there waiting.
"What did you find at the morgue?" Morgan asked.
"The victims were held captive, starved, then drugged who knows how many times before they were given their lethal dose. Also salt water was found in their lungs for some reason," Blake informed the team. "What about you? Did you learn anything new from the families?"
"That is what's odd," Hotch began. "Cassie Rogers got sober shortly after her high school graduation, but she had a relapse."
"When?" Rossi asked.
"About a year ago," he answered. "However, her boyfriend told us that she was going back to DA meetings. She was trying to get clean again."
"As it turns out she wasn't the only one," JJ commented.
"Each of the victims was trying to get clean?" Spencer guessed which caused JJ to nod.
"So this guy is going after drug addicts who are trying to quit, captures them, starves them, then kills them with one specific type of drug," Morgan put together. "Why? Why this particular drug?"
"Well, heroine is one of the most addictive drugs out there," Blake commented.
"It's also the hardest to quit," Spencer said softly.
Hotch watched Reid with a careful expression, but other than that didn't do or say anything.
"Maybe the unsub is addicted to Dilaudid himself," Rossi suggested.
"He's not," Spencer answered. "He may have tried it before, but he's not an addict."
Rossi raised an eye brow, silently asking him to elaborate.
Spencer sighed and did so. "The reason that drug is so addicting is because of how it makes you feel. It makes you feel happy, you forget the bad stuff, and it takes you away from reality. Dilaudid doesn't have a bad crash either. If this guy was an addict then he would want that needle in his arm every second he had. He wouldn't be spending his time killing other addicts. He'd be finding ways to get more of the heroine."
Rossi and Blake both watched Spencer with an odd expression, while Morgan went and closed the door to the room.
The message was clear: Time for the truth to come out.
"A few months before Rossi joined the team we had a case," Spencer started. "The unsub would attack people in their homes and upload videos of their deaths online. JJ and I went to a man named Tobias Hankel. There had been complaints about his dogs getting loose in the past and we had seen the same dogs in one of his videos."
JJ picked up the story. "He wouldn't let us in no matter how many times Spence asked to use his bathroom." Her tone was light and humorous which made most of the team laugh except for Spencer. "Anyway, Spence went around back and found a room full of computer screens. Tobias saw him and ran off. We ran after him but were forced to split up. Spence went into the corn field while I went into the barn."
"I was searching the corn field when I was suddenly hit in the head with something hard," Spencer recalled. "It was a shovel. Tobias picked up my revolver from the ground and pointed it at me. Then it started happening. Tobias was a split personality. He had three personalities: himself, his abusive and strict father, Charles, and Raphael, a ruthless angel insistent of fulfilling God's will. That was the first time I saw Tobias argue with his father's personality. The next thing I knew, I blacked out from the pain in my head."
Morgan who was sitting closest to him set his hand comfortingly on Reid's shoulder which he accepted grateful.
"When we realized that we'd sent the two of them to the unsub's house with no backup we immediately panicked," Morgan continued. "Neither of them was answering their phones so we got in the SUV's and rushed to the house. JJ was in the barn, she was forced to shoot the bastard's dogs. She was out of it for a bit, but we got her calmed down once we were able. Meanwhile, I went out to the back to find Reid's cell phone lying on the ground and Reid was nowhere to be found. We called Garcia and had her come out. We immediately dug into that guy's life as if it didn't kill us not knowing whether Reid was alive or not."
"When I awoke, I was in a small, dark shed." Reid tried to push down the fear that threatened to compile him. "The team later told me that I'd been missing for two days. It felt so much longer . . . it still does." Reid took a deep breath. "Through those days, I was hit and abused by Tobias's father, Charles. Tobias wanted to put me out of my pain so he did the only thing he knew how. He injected me with dilaudid." Rossi and Blake's faces flashed with understanding as soon as those words registered in their heads. Now they understand why this case was so hard on him.
"When I came to Charles set up three video screens. They each showed houses with people inside of them. He also sent a live video feed to the team so they could watch. Charles forced me to choose one of the families to save using Russian Roulette. I did and the team was able to save that family. I had to watch on the screen as Raphael killed one of the other families." Reid took a deep breath for a second, trying not to let it get to him again. Meanwhile Hotch picked up the next part which involved Garcia and Gideon sending him a virus on the computer which stopped the world from watching Reid's torture. "He blamed me," Reid said. "Charles blamed me for the virus and began to beat me. It became too much stress on my body. All I remember is it being hard to breathe. Oxygen wasn't coming to my lungs like it was supposed to. Then suddenly everything went black."
"You died?" Blake guessed.
Reid nodded. "Tobias resuscitated me, but Raphael found it strange. He thought the team was the seven Archangels in the book Revelations in the Bible. He used Russian Roulette to make me choose which team member would die. I chose Hotch and said that he was a classic narcissist, which is false and misquoted a passage in Genesis. Hotch was able to put the clues together and found me. By the time the team found me, I was digging my own grave." Spencer lowered his voice even though no one outside the conference room could hear them. "Off the record, I was addicted to dilaudid for a couple of months before I finally got myself clean and began going to NA meetings."
Rossi and Blake were silent taking it all in. This guy was thirty-one and he has been through hell and back. He'd been through much more than either of them. Although, when it comes to working for the FBI, drug and alcohol abuse is not uncommon.
Rossi cleared his throat. "So this unsub isn't an addict?"
Spencer was grateful for the change of subject. "No," he said, "at least not to dilaudid."
"Then, why use dilaudid? And what's with the salt water in their lungs?" Morgan asked.
"I'm not sure," Spencer admitted. "But I'm going to find out."
A/N: So who else found last Wednesday's episode of Criminal Minds completely creepy? I mean who kills to save a marriage. That's just weird and wrong.