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Criminal Minds - Bully [Gen, Reid, PG13]

Title: Bully
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Spencer learns that you can't always believe what you read.
Disclaimer: Any familiar characters are the property of CBS. I own nothing.

A/N: This is one of the first fics I posted, written around a year ago. Just some young!reid angst, but appropriate in light of the recent episode. Part of my Reid FF100 series.



"The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius." - Oscar Wilde


Spencer Reid made his way down the street from his school, his nose so deeply buried in 'War and Peace' that he could hardly turn the pages fast enough. That was his first mistake. While the young boy hated to waste any amount of time that could be put to use filling his head with more knowledge, his fascination with the book left him deaf and blind to the world around him. For an eleven-year-old child genius, that was downright dangerous.

His second mistake was letting his guard down. While it had been almost two weeks since anyone had confronted him on his way home, he'd been at school long enough to realize that it was only a matter of time before somebody found him walking home alone. The squeal of bicycle tires halting their turn abruptly on the damp pavement in front of Spencer was enough to remind him of this hard-earned fact. His chest tightened as he raised his eyes from the novel in hand and found himself staring at two boys twice his size.

"Where ya going, Spencer?" The taller one, Jeremy Tatum, taunted. His friend, Lenny Dawes, smirked at Spencer's knowing expression. Both boys, though six years older than him, were in Spencer's grade and enjoyed harassing him at regular intervals.

He stood perfectly still, willing himself to stay silent. The two boys dismounted, laying their bikes to rest on the pavement.

"Whatsa matter?" Lenny asked, his beady eyes narrowing as he drew closer to Reid. "Aren't you gonna answer us? I thought you were supposed to be some big genius. Can't even put a sentence together?"

Lenny had circled behind Spencer as he talked, and Reid knew he was trapped.

"Yeah, genius," Jeremy spat, knocking the large novel from Spencer's small hands. "Always showing off! Not so smart now, are you?"

Spencer's wish that they would just get on with it was soon granted as he felt Jeremy shove him straight back into Lenny's waiting arms. The other boy grabbed his wrists and held them behind his back; a useless action - Reid never fought back anyway. He didn't stand a chance against the two of them.

Jeremy growled. "Come on, genius! Say something!"

His fist connected with the smaller boy's cheekbone, and Spencer let out a small moan of pain as he felt the world spin. Another fist landed in his gut and knocked the wind out of him. The world tilted again, and Spencer wondered for a few seconds if he had another concussion before realizing that one of the boys had pushed him to the ground. The side of his face pressed into the tarmac, the two older boys resumed their attack.

'Bullies are cowards - if you stand up to them, they'll back down.'

The words flashed before Spencer's eyes as clear as if they were written in the air. He had read them his very first week of school, while sitting in the Vice Principal's office, waiting to explain why he'd shown up late to his history class with a black eye and fresh bruises. In the ten minutes he was waiting, he'd read all of the informational pamphlets in the office, on topics ranging from failing grades to teenage pregnancy. He had still been deciding how to explain to Mr. Dunn that five guys from the freshman class had ambushed him in the boy’s washroom when he reached for the pamphlet on bullying.

Someone's foot - Spencer had given up keeping track - bashed his nose, a spurt of blood errupting from it and landing just short of his forgotten novel. Another foot kicked him in the gut, knocking the air out of him a second time.

'Tell someone about it.'

Mr. Dunn had questioned Spencer about his injuries, and the boy had quickly given up the identities of his tormentors. The five of them were swiftly dealt detentions, and Reid was sent back to class, happy to put the experience behind him. Three days later, he'd made the mistake of being the last boy out of the locker room after gym. The five freshmen gave him a broken arm and a fresh set of bruises to remind him about the importance of staying quiet. After that, Spencer kept his mouth shut about his occasional wounds, much to the Vice Principal's chagrin, and so began the pattern of beatings that were Spencer Reid's high school career.

In some ways, Spencer didn't mind very much. He told himself that bullying was a very common problem in elementary schools and high schools throughout North America. He rationalized that being picked on actually made him more normal. And he knew he had it better than some, who had to go home and face their parents' disappointment at the fact that they couldn't stand up for themselves. Spencer's dad had left almost three years ago, and his mom was often too absorbed in her own world to notice when he came home with a black eye. But all of his rationalizing didn't stop him from reading the displeasure in the teachers' faces when he showed up to a class with fresh marks on his head and arms.

Spencer closed his eyes and waited for it to end. He knew they'd get bored with him eventually - they always did. He tried to remind himself that pain was all relative, as he'd read in a few of his books, but another kick to the face, resounding in a loud crack that he could only hope were his glasses breaking, knocked this thought from his concentration. The two older boys were laughing, still throwing off insults as they ran back to their bikes and sped off, leaving Spencer, injured and bloody, a motionless heap on the tarmac.

'Bullies lose their power if you ignore them.'

If only he could believe everything he read.


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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 18th, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
The concept of the VP's poster-platitudes and the reality of life is a great one. It's not something touched on often even in discussions on bullying, much less Reid fanfic (which tends to focus on post-Revelations trauma).

However, this is a touch overdone. Bruises and humiliation fall into a gray area, but once broken bones and "bloody heaps" are brought into the picture the situation moves into an entirely different realm. It is highly unlikely a caring principal like the one in your story would fail to take such a golden opportunity as a broken arm to expell the boys, assuming, of course, that the police didn't become involved in the matter. Instead of severity of injuries, you might want to focus more on humiliation, repetition, and the effects of a long duration of terror/waiting for the next time.

But still -- a stellar idea worthy of a remix. I loved the irony in reading "War and Peace" right before it all went to Hell.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )