Fandoms: Criminal Minds/Heroes
Characters: Spencer Reid, Sylar (could be construed as Reid/Sylar)
Spoilers: Vague S4 for Heroes, Vague S6 for Criminal Minds
Warnings: References to mental illness and past violence
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
A/N: Written for crossovers_las for the prompt – “A New Brain.”
Summary: Spencer still wonders why he can’t have any normal friends. Sylar is probably the least normal of all of them.
Spencer Reid had once bemoaned the fact that he never had any normal fans. Upon reflection, anyone that would consider themselves a fan of someone like him, too smart for his own good, FBI agent and profiler, someone who learned how to interpret the minds of serial killers, would never be normal.
That’s how he’d met the man who called himself Sylar. He’d been the one person who hadn’t tried to test him, to see if he were actually for real. He’d been fascinated with Spencer’s mind, and if he tested him, it was only to truly challenge him. Spencer hadn’t had that in a while, not while off a case. Sylar wasn’t normal, Spencer knew that, but sometimes, when he was feeling so separate from his team, his friends, because of his differences, he was willing to look far past that.
There was a point past which logic no longer came into play. When the pain in Spencer’s head just wouldn’t stop, he was willing to try anything that could help. When the migraines refused to cease, when doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, when he was terrified that his mother’s schizophrenia was lurking behind the pain and he feared to take anything too strong because of his past addiction, all he wanted was an answer. He was even willing to take one from Sylar, the man who could figure out how anything worked.
It was Spencer’s job to put human monsters away, to stop them from hunting anyone else. But right now he just needed to stop the monster in his own head. And maybe Sylar was the one to do it. Something about Sylar put Spencer on alert, he always had, but he seemed to have a control about him lately that Spencer wished he had. For that, he was willing to dare that darkness that seemed to come hand-in-hand with his genius.
Sylar kept walking around him, staring at his head while asking the occasional question, sounding more like he was getting clarification for something he’d already figured out. He always seemed to work better while moving.
“How often do the headaches come?” “Sensitive to light?” “Your mother…?”
That, Sylar had seemed to relish, enjoying every prevaricating squirm Spencer made as he slowly dragged the story of Spencer’s schizophrenic, institutionalized mother out of him. Spencer was tense, on edge, caught between Sylar’s slow sipping on his pain, and Sylar’s genuine, intense interest in getting to the root of Spencer’s headaches. Every neurological specialist Spencer had seen had had that air of boredom and defeat around them, so convinced they were that Spencer’s symptoms were psychosomatic.
They weren’t. They weren’t!
“What do you think would stop it?” Sylar asked, low-voiced as he continued his pacing in front of Spencer’s chair. He seemed to be on the brink of something, just needing one last clue.
“What would stop you?” Spencer fired back. Sylar only raised an ironic eyebrow. “Fine, a new brain, for both of us,” he said, in mingled exasperation and desperation. It was a hip shot in the dark, but Sylar stopped as if he’d run into a brick wall.
“That would stop all the pain, all the differences we feel, if we had been born different,” he murmured, not looking at Spencer. His eyes unfocused, gazing into the middle distance, looking inside himself. He crouched suddenly, like a panther about to spring, and stared right at Spencer’s forehead, as if he were examining his frontal lobe with dire intensity.
“You may be right. A new brain is exactly what is needed.”
Spencer stood up quickly, self-preservation overriding Sylar’s hypnotic stare; the fascination of this unusual kinship trumped by a desire to live past the next minute. He groped for a gun he wasn’t wearing, wondering why, for the five thousandth two hundred and eight-fifth time, he couldn’t have normal friends.
Sylar reached out with the speed of a striking snake and gripped the side of Spencer’s face, his fingertips pushing into the bones of his skull.
“Isn’t this what you want?” Sylar asked, no, demanded. “You wanted me to help you, to fix you…” His control seemed to be slipping, a cruel hunger entering his gaze. Spencer swallowed hard.
He stared back at Sylar, putting together all the clues Sylar had dropped about himself over the years, purposefully or inadvertently.
“Is this what you want? To feel powerful again? This isn’t new for you at all.”
Sylar’s grip changed subtly; Spencer could feel him relax, the edge of danger draining away.
“No,” he said quietly, control resuming at Spencer’s words. “No, I don’t do this anymore.”
Spencer leaned into Sylar’s hand willingly as Sylar brought his other hand up to point at Spencer’s head.
“I can fix it. I can make it better.” The being that had supped on the pain of Spencer’s childhood was fading into the strange friend he thought he’d known, taking the momentary weakness of cruelty into the determination of fixing this problem.
“You can make it better,” Spencer said firmly, feeling the pain of tension drain away as he focused himself completely on Sylar’s strange method, his power, the one he couldn’t tell anyone about and be believed. “You can do something new.”
Spencer felt something in his head shift as Sylar’s free hand twisted slightly.
The brain feels no pain, Spencer thought inanely, aware of movement where nothing should move, and with that, a sudden, intense relaxation as the pain completely stopped.
Sylar tilted his head slightly in fascination as Spencer’s relief showed unshadowed in his expression. He dropped his hand from Spencer’s face slowly, a little smug and very stunned by what he’d done. Spencer’s silent gratitude was still so foreign to him that he didn’t know how to react.
Maybe he never would. Spencer smiled, completely free of pain. And that was new for both of them.