Prompt(s) used: For the cutsy ones: established relationship - Amanda is gone, Adam gets a temporary pass from hospital every 2 weeks and goes stay with Reid. Something happens (a black-out, a flood, something annoying like that) and the poor boys end up having to "socialize" with the neighbors.
Warnings: Violence in a dream
Author's notes: This is so not the fic I set out to write, but I totally love it and I hope you do too, 888mph!
Watching Adam struggle for dominance over Amanda was one of the most painful experiences Spencer Reid had ever endured. He stood helpless as Adam screamed and groaned, crashing into Spencer's dining room chairs and pulling his hair so hard his hands came away with chunks of it between his fingers. Spencer had read "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" once and now understood what the transformation might have looked like.
"Adam?" He whispered tentatively, wanting to reach a hand out but he couldn't move a muscle. Panicking, he looked down and found himself strapped to chair that felt like it might break if Spencer breathed too hard. Looking back up Spencer saw the decaying walls of the hunting shack Charles had kept him in and the rancid smell of burning fish liver assaulted his nose. A shadow fell over him and Spencer looked up to see Adam standing with his back to him.
But it wasn't Adam. His shoulders were straight and his head held high. God, please don't let it be her. Don't let me have lost him again.
"God can't hear you," Amanda said in her soft southern lilt. But it sounded off, rough almost, like two voices speaking at the same time. "You expected me to stay away for two years? Especially when I'm so much stronger than Adam? Stronger than you?" She bent over him in the green dress that hugged her curves instead of the jeans and t-shirt Adam had been wearing. Suddenly her face morphed, only for a second, into Tobias' and Spencer understood why her voice sounded strange. It was Charles Hankel’s voice too.
"Adam is strong now, he doesn't need you. He has me." It was the argument he used the most in the months after Amanda was sent to the hospital and it was eventually the argument that convinced her to leave.
"No, I don't think so," Amanda/Charles said sharply as she abruptly stood up. "Because if I don't get to live, neither does he. If I can't control Adam, you can't either."
Before Spencer could struggle in vain against the ropes holding him down, Amanda lifted Charles' large hunting knife, her evil smile glinting like its blade, and drew it swiftly across her neck.
Spencer screamed as she fell. When her body hit the floor it jumped like an old film reel and it was Adam laying bloody and dead on the floor. The cries tore from Spencer's throat as he continued to struggle against his bonds. Suddenly Adam's head lifted up, the blood still pouring from his wound, his eyes clouded and strange.
"You promised to save me."
Spencer shot straight up in bed, his entire body coated in a cold sweat. His throat ached and when he scrubbed his face with his hands they came back wet with tears. He hadn't dreamt so violently in months, almost exactly since the hospital began to let Adam have visits every two weeks.
Glancing over Spencer was surprised to see his lover still asleep. He must have thrashed around, at least made some noise as result of the nightmare, but Adam had told him once he felt safe here so he slept deeper than at the hospital. And this time they'd both have a week of rest. The bureau had given the BAU team a week's vacation and though Spencer would have spent it with his mother, Adam's weekend visit coincided with the break and Spencer managed to pull a few strings to have Adam stay the entire week.
As his heart rate returned to normal, Spencer realized something else was off, something other than his terrible dream had broken him from a deep sleep. Now adjusted to the dark, the FBI agent’s eyes swept the room carefully, searching for a shadow that didn’t belong or an object out of place. His ears strained for a third set of lungs breathing in an out, the squeak of a stranger’s shoe. Yet he saw nothing but the brief flashes of lightning and heard nothing but the steady drum of raindrops punctuated by the rumble of thunder, all undercut by the soft breaths of the other man in bed.
Yet even as he tried to relax and go back to sleep, something tugged at the back of Spencer’s mind, whispering to him that something wasn’t right. He tried to ignore it but when Spencer closed his eyes he was back in the cold shack, blood pouring from Adam’s throat, his green eyes milky and pleading, his voice whispering and booming inside his head.
You promised to save me.
Spencer’s eyes flew open and immediately rolled out of bed and grabbed the gun from his handstand and held it out in front of him. Quietly, as not to wake Adam or the supposed intruder, Spencer crept out of their bedroom and into the hallway that lead to the living room of his reasonably-sized apartment. After doing a careful sweep of the bathroom across the hall from the bedroom and going so far as to check behind the curtains of the living room, Spencer entered the kitchen when he realized what was wrong.
The power was out.
There were no numbers glowing cheerily at him from the microwave, the refrigerator wasn’t humming sickly and when Spencer walked back into the living room he realized the nightlight beside the television had gone dark as well.
Movement caught his eye and Spencer immediately raised his gun at the shadow standing in the doorway from the hall to the living room. The shadow moved just when a large bolt of lightning struck and Spencer saw Adam raise his arms in defense.
“It’s me,” the younger man said, his voice gravelly from sleep. “What’s wrong?”
“I think the power outage woke me up,” Spencer lied with a sigh as he lowered his weapon. “I didn’t realize what was wrong until I came in here. I thought someone may have broken in.”
Adam shuffled toward Spencer and buried his face in the genius’ neck, his arms snaking around the thing waist. The older man returned the embrace with the hand that wasn’t holding a gun. “You don’t think someone did this on purpose, did you?”
Normally Spencer would spout off the numbers involving elaborate distractions during robbery attempts in apartment complexes, but he could tell by the fear in Adam’s voice and the slight shake in the body pressed against him that it wouldn’t be the best comfort. It was a lesson that had taken Spencer a long time to learn, but wanting to not set off Adam had been a crash course in self-censorship.
“I doubt it,” he said instead. “More likely the storm knocked it out.” He held Adam tighter and they stood in the pure silence for a while before Adam pulled back suddenly.
“What about Mrs. K? Should we go check on her?”
Mrs. K, or Mrs. Karkousky, was the only tenant in the building Spencer actually knew. Oh, he had had Garcia run a background on everyone in the building (under the radar, of course) so he knew that Lydia, down the hall in 4B, had a failing flower shop and that Mike two floors down was in the middle of a drawn-out divorce. But when it came to the elderly woman across the hall, he knew so much more. He knew her late husband had enjoyed fly fishing (he had once tried to get Spencer to come with him on a day he didn't have work, but was unsuccessful since Spencer knew it would have ended with no fish and him soaked), he knew her only son lived in Michigan alone, but successful in his online company. He didn't visit as much as she would like and Spencer suspected that was why she had become close with him and did things for him he never expected, but apparently was "what neighbors do."
She collected his mail whenever a case went long (though the first time she did it, he was confused as to why she had stolen his mail in the first place and even more baffled as to why she was returning it), baked him Christmas cookies and invited him over for Thanksgiving. She even knitted him socks for his birthday every year since he had moved in.
It was at his birthday last year that she met Adam. Their relationship was fragile (as was Adam), even more so with the pass the hospital had given him limited to one week every two weeks. When he had taken Adam's hand and introduced him to his recently-widowed neighbor who now had only him in her day-to-day world, he had been afraid she was going to say something bigoted and rude (people over the age of 65 had a higher percentage of homophobia than in other age groups, due to the social environment they had grown up in) but she merely smiled, gave him a huge and asked for his shoe size and birth-date.
Before Spencer could answer, a knock reverberated throughout the entire apartment. Both men stiffened and turned toward the front door, where the noise originated.
Gun leveled once more, Reid crept over to it while motioning Adam to stay back. It was too dark to see out the peephole, so the FBI agent opened the door slowly, his gun just out of view. He had not expected to be face-to-face (or rather chest-to-face) with the neighbor they had just been discussing. "Mrs. Karkousky?"
"Hello dear," the small woman looked even tinier engulfed in a polyester pink robe zipped to the chin. Her hair, once a fiery red, now sat tangled in pink curlers making her look like Medusa with silver snakes on her head. Spencer opened the door fully and her green eyes still full of spunk glanced at the gun in his hand. She raised an eyebrow. "The power’s out.”
Spencer briefly turned back toward Adam, who had walked up behind him when he heard the elderly woman's voice and now looked as bewildered as Spencer felt. “Yes Mrs. Karkousky, I know,” the young genius said as he turned back. “Is there something you needed? A flashlight or candles?”
The older woman’s eyes flickered toward his boyfriend and landed there for a moment before returning to Spencer. Ever since she met Adam she had favored him. She checked up on him when Spencer was called into work, she hugged him tightly before he left for the hospital, and though she insisted she didn’t need any help, she always smiled at him proudly when he offered to carry her groceries for her. “I came to see if you boys were alright.” And with that she walked in past Spencer, wrapped a frail arm around Adam’s tiny frame and lead him to the couch.
Clicking the safety on his gun, Spencer joined the pair on the couch, setting the weapon on the table. It was within arm's reach yet was less obvious than if he had held it in his hand. After Elle's shooting and his own kidnap, the young man never let the gun out of his sight though he knew it made Adam nervous, even when it fulfilled its purpose as protection. A lull in the quiet buzz of conversation beside him stopped and Spencer looked up to see his neighbor and boyfriend staring expectantly at him.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?" He asked with the least amount of weariness he could muster. It was late, his body was coming down from the adrenaline high of the nightmare (and thinking a stranger was in his apartment) and he wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and use the first of his seven day vacation to sleep in.
"I asked Adam what the plans were for his birthday and he said there weren't any. Spencer Reid, what kind of partner are you if you don't have a party for your boyfriend?" Though her voice was stern her eyes twinkled with amusement in the dark. At that very moment Spencer came to the conclusion that this woman was far too invested in his personal life.
"I told her we wanted to keep things low-key," Adam said quietly and he squirmed a little. No matter how much progress they made, the apologetic tone when he thought he did something wrong still hadn't left Adam's voice and it killed Spencer a little every time he heard it. He wanted nothing more than to wrap the still-fragile man in his arms, tell him he could do no wrong and Spencer would never leave but a certain silver-haired meddling neighbor stood in his way. He appreciated everything Mrs. Karkousky did for them, but there were some times (like now) he wished she wouldn't step in.
"He’s right, neither of us are fans of parties." Which wasn't necessarily true, though Spencer knew a cake hat and a round cake from the store shared before a case wasn't what their neighbor considered a party.
"But if you'd like," Adam said from his slouched position on the other side of the couch, his arms now at his sides with his hands in his lap, "you could have some cake with us."
Mrs. Karkousky beamed and Spencer belatedly realized the older woman must be lonely now that her husband had passed. That would explain why she had been to see them more often in the last year. Adam said the last time Spencer was gone for more than a few days, she had insisted Adam stay with her. Though he had tried to convince her he was fine on his own, he later admitted to Spencer it was nice to have someone fill up the empty spaces so he wouldn't have to think about how lonely he was without his partner. Spencer imagined it was same for their neighbor, especially since she and her husband had shared over half a century together. It was a statistically rare for the surviving half of such a partnership to last a year after the other had passed, so maybe it was up to them to make her remaining time pleasant.
"Yes, we'd like to have you," the FBI agent found himself saying. "Do you like chocolate cake?"
After an hour of discussing the benefits of regular cake over ice cream cake (a conversation Spencer never thought he'd have even if he did have relevant information stored away just in case) and using his long limbs to reach over their guest to entwine Adam's fingers with him, resulting in a soft smile on all three parties during said discussion, the power returned with a sudden flash of light and beeping electronics.
"Lovely," Mrs. Karkousky said with a sigh, pushing herself off the couch and shuffling back toward the door. "Now, Spencer, how long is your vacation?"
"A week," they said in unison as Spencer wrapped his arm around Adam's waist while the two followed the woman to the door. He could feel the younger man's blush and smiled to himself briefly. It still amazed him that the slightest touch could affect him so, though given their history with public displays of affection (or the lack thereof), it wasn't all that surprising.
"Well then, I'll make sure not to bother you boys until next week," the elderly woman said with a mischievous gleam that took twenty years off her face. Both men blushed and stammered as she chuckled roughly. "Good night boys!" She said gaily with a quick hug to them both before heading out the door.
"Night ma'am," Adam answered and they watched Mrs. Karkousky until she was safe within her own apartment.
With the door shut and locked, Spencer pulled Adam through the darkened apartment glowing softly with the blinking lights of clocks that needed resetting. “Come on,” he said as they crawled back into bed. “I’m exhausted.”
As Spencer slowly drifted back to sleep, his arms wrapped around Adam’s body, the younger man’s back flush to his front, the nightmare that had woken him flashed in front of him and he panicked. But then Adam sighed and pulled Spencer closer and he knew there was no way he’d let the nightmare become reality.