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glitch

Fic: A Glitch In My Soul [5/7?]

Title: A Glitch In My Soul - Chapter 5 - Built All My Dreams In The Sand
Author: freakingdork
Pairing: Morgan/Reid
Rating: FRT
Word Count: 2411
Summary & Disclaimer: see chapter 1
Chapter 5 Warnings: discussions of bullying

*****

Chapter 5 - Built All My Dreams In The Sand

*****

“Jordan's his beard,” Austin states on the drive home from their double date.

“Really?” Spencer asks sarcastically, huffing out a laugh. “You know, it would have been less obvious if you hadn't choked on your water, so thanks for that.”

Austin smacks his arm. “No one likes a show off.”

“Don't hit the driver, you asshole. Besides, I know you love it when I'm a genius.”

Austin rolls her eyes.

Spencer grins back. “No, but how did you figure it out?”

“She told me.” Spencer glares at her. “No really,” she protests. “She told me and then she asked me out. I do feel kinda bad turning her down.”

“Well, I'm sure she'd rather know you're straight now rather than down the road.”

“Yeah, I know.”

Spencer focuses more on driving for a bit, sitting on the question before asking, “Did she say anything else?”

“I didn't press, but she's definitely comfortable with her bisexuality, so I'm not entirely sure why she agreed to come tonight.”

He just shakes his head and Austin changes the subject, which he's more than grateful for.

It isn't until Austin's inside her house before Spencer realizes she's left him a slip of paper with Jordan's phone number on the seat. He tucks it away in his wallet for later.

***

Bowling shouldn't be this fun.

Spencer doesn't even like beer, the shoes smell, and he's never been terribly athletic. Derek offered to get them to put the bumpers up, but Spencer's rare competitive streak came out and he'd given Derek the most scathing glance he possibly could.

But once they start, he realizes there's nothing that could keep him from this. Nothing.

He doesn't know when it happened, but slowly, he's recently come to the conclusion that he's possibly in love with Derek because it's no longer deep platonic feelings of a close friend that he's experiencing. And while the physical was what had initially caught Spencer's interest, it's not just lust either. The more he'd thought on it, perhaps their relationship never had been entirely platonic; Spencer thinks maybe it was the moment Derek first opened his mouth that he'd fallen head-over-heels for the other man.

It's the worst thing ever.

One sleepless night, JJ's warning came back to him and he couldn't begin to comprehend how stupid he was for not believing that he might actually have trouble letting go when it was all over. He can't imagine leaving without Derek, but he can't realistically imagine Derek leaving with him either. Spencer knows it can't happen or rather that it won't; no matter how Spencer feels or even how Derek feels, Derek's far too entrenched in this idea that his sexuality is disordered and needs fixing.

The crack of the ball hitting the pins snaps Spencer back into reality. It's a split and Spencer smirks at the sight.

“What are you gonna do about that?” Spencer asks, a bit smug.

“Whatever man, I get it sometimes.”

“Not as often as you'd like.”

“It doesn't matter, I'm still whooping your ass anyway.”

“I'll catch up!” Spencer protests. “It's all angles and spin. I can figure it out.”

“I'm sure you can, genius,” Derek says, smirking.

Spencer shoves him a little. Playful. Normal. But that's not how Derek reacts. He reacts like he's been burnt and all Spencer can do is stare, embarrassed by his inability to remember himself. It's not like it's something new; the whole time he's known that certain things aren't allowed, but it's like he can't stop himself sometimes.

Finally, Derek takes a deep, shuddering breath. “It's your turn. I'm gonna go get us some more beer.”

He'd like to laugh, he really would; how will imbibing a substance known to lower inhibitions going to help keep them from moving closer and closer together? As Derek walks away, Spencer catches himself staring at his ass, thinking about how well the man fills out his jeans and then sighs because really, he shouldn't be doing that. It's hopeless and pointless and perhaps mildly cruel to the both of them. Spencer knows he should be focusing on his writing and not taunting himself with things he can't have.

But it's like they're on a path where the ground keeps moving forward, no matter how hard they try to run against it.

***

Because he'd been sending out new chapters and edits on a near weekly basis, Spencer had been getting frequent calls from Rossi to talk about the progress of his book. He wasn't always sure he liked the intrusion since it occasionally made it difficult to fully keep that world separate from the life he was currently living, but he understood why Rossi continually pestered him about his writing. Even if Rossi was like family, he was still Spencer's editor and he still had to make sure Reid's book would make a profit for both of their sakes, especially with the fact that doing this story required so much time.

So while Spencer isn't surprised by the call itself, he is surprised by Rossi's accusations.

“I think you're losing objectivity.”

“What are you talking about?”

“This guy, Jim...the way you're writing him is troubling.” When Spencer doesn't respond, Rossi continues, “I showed those parts to Professor Blake.”

“I can't believe you would even...!”

“Spencer,” Rossi interrupts. “There was something off and I needed to get someone else's perspective, especially someone with a linguistic background so they could really...parse out what's going on with you.” He pauses. “She's worried too.”

Spencer can feel the rage building inside him, even though he realizes it's pointless and uncalled for. In the back of his mind, he knows exactly why Rossi is worried and he knows that Rossi has every right to be worried. There's no way to deny that he has feelings for Derek. It'd been accidental, something that snuck up on him and slowly continued to grow stronger. He had no idea that it had seeped into his writing though and that is rather upsetting to him.

“I didn't mean to.”

“Do I need to pull you Spencer?” Rossi asks.

“Nothing's happened.”

“That's not what I asked. Do I need to pull you?”

“I don't think so.”

“Fuck Spencer, I wish you could at least sound a little more confident.”

“Me too, but I just...I have so much invested Rossi and it's not like I would do anything. It wouldn't be...he's not...he won't and there's no way I'd push him into anything. That'd be wrong on so many levels...I didn't change his past that much. You know I wouldn't...”

“I do Spencer, I know you wouldn't do it on purpose. If you stay, it's only for a few more weeks. I don't care if you don't get everything you feel you need for the book. You have to pull out early. Don't make me send Erin or Blake down there to get your ass back home.”

“Okay, okay...I'll push harder for the last few things and then I'll come home. I promise.”

***

He never knew how much a smile could hurt, how much someone else's happiness could burn and burrow it's way deep inside him. It doesn't matter how many times he sees Derek smile; each one feels new and he can't resist the pull, especially when those smiles reach his eyes. It tugs him further and further in and there's nothing he can do to stop it.

But the tender expression when Spencer shares in group hurts in a different way. The concern displayed on Derek's face is genuine and Spencer almost wishes it wasn't.

The only problem is there's no possible way for Derek to know that Spencer doesn't even deserve the slightest amount of pleasure or pity.

***

“Back in middle school,” Tobias starts, “a lot of kids used to make fun of me, said I dressed like a homo...”

Spencer should have seen it coming; school was often a hellhole for anyone who was even slightly different and he'd had his own experiences in that area. The one thing Spencer realizes he'd never considered was how being a preacher's kid could magnify the abuse a kid might suffer at the hands of his peers. As Tobias continues to lay out multiple incidents, Spencer's stomach clenches in sympathy; he can hardly stand to hear it, much less what comes next.

“Well, boys will be boys Tobias,” Jason says with an air of callousness. “It's part of growing up and you can't really hold it against them, especially not after all this time.”

When he catches Derek staring at him, Spencer belatedly realizes he's clenching his fists in his lap and grinding his teeth. A deep breath helps, but not as much as he wishes it would.

“It's really not that big of a deal.”

“No,” Spencer says and without realizing it, he's standing up, turned towards Tobias. “No, it is a big deal, it's a huge deal, and I'm sorry there weren't people who listened to you back then and I'm sorry you're still getting told this, but what you went through matters and anyone who says differently is a bully themselves.”

Tobias looks at him like he's absolutely lost it.

He doesn't look at Jason. He doesn't look at anyone else.

He just walks out, feeling everyone's eyes burning on his back.

***

The text is short.

DOA and pizza no arguing

He might have even smiled if he wasn't so agitated.

***

As they wait for the pizza to arrive, they play video games. It has the dual effect of letting him work off some of the rage and keeping conversation to a minimum. The knock on the door signals the pizza's arrival, but it's not until the pizza's on their plates before Derek speaks.

“Spencer.”

He looks up from his plate and wishes he hadn't. Derek's eyes are shining slightly and they shouldn't; pity isn't what he deserves.

“You know, you're not the only one who identifies with Tobias.”

“Excuse me?”

“I don't look it now, but I got beat up every day for years. This,” Derek says, gesturing to his body, “was never about vanity Spencer. It was about survival.”

And that's when the dam breaks. The words tumble out of his mouth without any thought about how Derek might take a story of a young boy being bound naked to a flagpole after being lured there by his biggest crush, the captain of the football team. Spencer's voice cracks and breaks when he talks about his mom being too sick to notice, but he doesn't cry. He hasn't cried about it before and he won't start now.

Spencer changes the subject immediately after, shaking it off as best he can; Derek nods slightly and follows along.

***

“Penelope, I'm just...I'm so lost right now.”

“How so?”

“I haven't been entirely honest with you about some aspects of what's been going on for me.”

Penelope smiles kindly. “That's not entirely uncommon, even for people as cognizant of their mental state as you are. So what's up?”

Spencer stares off into space for a bit. It's difficult enough to tell Penelope that there are things he'd been ignoring. For all his understanding of therapy and psychology, he never once thought he would hold something this big back.

“I'm attracted to one of the group members.” Penelope sits back in her chair, waiting for more. “It's bad enough that my publisher wants me to go home early.”

“Is it Derek?” When Spencer glares at her, she says, “What? You talk about him more than the rest of the group. It was a logical leap to go from that to who you might be attracted to.”

“It's not like I can really tell him how I feel, but at the same time, it's eating me up inside to just wallow in it. Derek's become my closest friend down here and even though I'm leaving early, I feel like I can't tell him because he'll start avoiding me. Which is so completely illogical, I know, because he should be avoiding me.”

“Logic and feelings don't always go together Spencer.”

“I wish they did!” he yells, completely frustrated with himself. “I wouldn't be in this stupid position if I could find a way to separate my feelings from what I have to do and I'm sick to death of bottling all this up.”

“It's human to feel this way and I hate to tell you that you can't make it go away, as much as you'd like it to.”

“I just want Derek to be happy, you know? Not this bullshit pious crap that he really doesn't believe in. You know, they are constantly talking about sin and hellfire, at church and sometimes at group, but Derek never does. He says wrong and dirty and unhealthy and I can't help wondering if he had something healthy, if he wouldn't just...walk away.”

“Spencer...”

“It's unrealistic, I know. I just wish it wasn't,” he says and then turns to look out the window because there's not anything else to say.

***

All Spencer wanted was to write a book. It would be a book that could maybe save people the heartbreak of ex-gay therapy or that could give people the tools to understand what their loved ones put themselves through.

Now all he wants is a way to save the one person who definitely doesn't want to be saved.

Spencer gets it, in the vaguest sense. He can only imagine how difficult it must be for someone who was sexually abused as a child to fully come to terms with their sexuality. Spencer can see the way it makes sense that Derek wants to avoid it, that he feels his orientation is the problem rather than the abuse. At the same time, it doesn't. He knows he'll never fully know what it's like, but still, he tries to understand.

And maybe that's why the last thing he imagined happening was sitting across from Penelope three weeks later to tell her just how royally he's fucked things up.

*****

A/N - If you have not seen last week's CM episode (8x15, Broken) and you're reading this fic, you must go watch the episode! It dealt with ex-gay conversion camps and from my 7 months of researching and writing this fic, I will vouch for it being extremely accurate to what I've read (which of course means it's absolutely heart-breaking). And if you are here because you were intrigued by an ex-gay AU due to watching the episode, welcome!

I want to be upfront: chapter 6 is not completely done and might not be released right on schedule (March 14). So if the next chapter takes a little longer to come out, please know that I'm working on it. Thanks for (potentially) being understanding!

Comments

oh god this is going to hurt.
we both know you are very good at predicting things. ;-)
Looking forward to chapter six, whenever it comes. :)
awww thank you!
This is a fantastic AU. I love the way you are building the relationship between Morgan and Reid and how seamlessly you've put Tobias and Gideon into the mix. It's great.
oh wow, thank you!
me

November 2013

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