?

Log in

The Familiar Stranger 2/?

I hate to beg, but please comment if you read, otherwise I might stop posting it here--even if all you say is "reading." /beggin

Fic: : “The Familiar Stranger” Chapter 2/? WIP
Author: _nextboldmove_
Status: WIP
Rating: Overall NC-17, this chapter PG
Spoilers: All 3 seasons and Arthur Conan Doyle Canon
Tags: fic, rating: nc-17 category: slash, category: het, John/Mary, Sherlock/OC, Sherlock/John
Pairing: John/Mary, Sherlock/OC, Sherlock/John  Current het, eventual Sherlock/John
Characters: Sherlock, Mycroft, Moriarty, John, Mary, Eva Blackwell (ACD Canon)
Warnings, kinks and contents: drug use, domestic violence, emotional abuse, torture, rape, kidnapping, drowning, nightmares, sex, violence against a child, unhealthy sexual practices. Much of this is discussed as happening in the past.

Summary for the chapter: Agent Eva Blackwell reminds everyone of someone, but who?

*This WILL be Johnlock, but not right now, we have to work up to it. In the coming chapters, there will be more NC17 stuff, but I have to build the case first.

CHAPTER TWO
“Perhaps we should have called ahead to make an appointment,” mutters John as the trio approaches a locked door to the small community gallery. “Can we catch another cab before someone decides my head would look great on their mantel?”

“This is the East End John,” Sherlock looks in the barred window before trying the door again. “People around here don’t have mantels. Besides your skull is too round, it would make a better candy dish.”

“Can’t believe you said that,” John muttered.

“Don’t worry, a fair number of my homeless network operate around here, we’ll be fine.”
“Pity I left my bag back at your apartment, I have a lock pick set in there,” Blackwell bends down to examine the handle. “Gift from my first boyfriend.”

“Interesting,” rolls Sherlock.

“He wasn’t.” Blackwell stands and swiftly kicks the door directly below the knob. The wood splinters and the door gives, but it doesn’t swing open. “Chain lock, shit.”

“Where did you learn to do that?” John says, thinking that he only knows one other person with the audacity to do that. Sherlock. Or himself, if Sherlock asked him to.

“Standard training. Come on, I’m going to need some help to get this chain lock to budge. Mr. Holmes, kick in the center of the door. Dr. Watson, be prepared to catch one of us if we fall back and deliver medical attention if needed. Prepare for that one of us to be Mr. Holmes. Ready? One, two, three.”

Together, Agent Blackwell and Sherlock manage to snap the chain and the door swings open. Sherlock only stumbles a little bit, not needing medical attention.  “That was easy,” says Sherlock.

“Oh sure, easy as pie.” Blackwell turns around. “I’m going to find the office.” She disappears into the dark of the room.

Sherlock begins walking towards the gallery space, occasionally glancing at the walls to determine where the location of the now-missing painting was.

“She’s strangely familiar, Agent Blackwell,” remarks John. “Almost like she looks like someone famous maybe?”

“Ah ha, here,” Sherlock stops in front of a blank area of the wall, completely ignoring John’s question. “There is a nail and small card that reads A Woman in Red. This is where it was.”

“It went missing days ago, why didn’t they hang something else?” John reads the card. “Painted by unknown American artist, portrait of young woman.”

By the light streaming from the large windows, Sherlock squats down and wipes his fingertips against the floor, bringing them up to his face and rubbing them together. “Dust. A place that won’t even replace a missing painting and of course they don’t do the sweeping on a daily basis. John, footprints. Look for prints.”

John turns around and looks at the floor. “There are dozens.”

“Pattern,” Sherlock stands and points. “See how the shoeprints all go in a general pattern passing this painting? None of them go closer than mine. The police didn’t bother dusting for prints.”

“Yes, but Sherlock,” John reaches his arms out towards the wall. “I couldn’t reach the painting without getting closer than the prints.”
Sherlock reaches his arms out and touches the wall. “I can. Agent Blackwell can tell us how big Flack is.”

“Unless it wasn’t Flack who took it. What if it was Moriarty?” John puts his arms down. “What if Agent Blackwell came all the way here to chase a ghost?”

“I’ve got a name,” Agent Blackwell walks quickly from the dark towards the men. “There was a bill of sale in the office, sitting in the copy machine. Must have made a copy for the police.” She holds the paper up to the light. “Sold to the gallery two months ago for three hundred pounds. Shit, no address. But I have a name.”

“What is it? Asks Sherlock.

“Ah…John Smith. Shit.” Blackwell crumples the paper and shoves it in her pocket. “Figures. Find anything?”

“Was Donald Flack a tall man?” Sherlock squats back down on the floor and searches the ground.

“Uhm, yes, tall…” Blackwell shifts her weight and crosses her arms. “Strong, broad shoulders, not heavy but not skinny. Uh, yes, tall.”

“His arms would be long enough to reach for the painting from this distance,” Sherlock replies. “No close tracks in the dust.”

“There’s no monitors in the office, so no CCTV. I need to talk to the people who run this place.” Blackwell nervously tucks her hands in her pockets, only to immediately pull them out.

“How are we going to convince the owners of the gallery to answer a few questions when we’ve already broken the door down?” John says, turning to Agent Blackwell. “See, this is why he needs me. And you need me too, apparently.”

“No need,” replied Sherlock. “And I don’t need you, you like this.”

“If they are this complacent about security chances are they don’t know much,” says Blackwell. “However, it would be worth a try, perhaps they saw someone who was overly interested in the painting. I saw a sign on the front window, they are having a gallery showing tomorrow night.”

“They won’t answer questions about at theft when the place is full of potential buyers,” John crosses his arms. “Goodness, it’s like dealing with two of you.”

“Two of who?” asks Sherlock, not paying attention to the conversation.

“We don’t come asking questions about at theft, we come asking questions about the art. The artists. We could pose as journalists wanting the details about the theft of the blood painting.” Blackwell says, reaching a hand to her forehead to wipe a slightly sheen of sweat.

“Wrong,” says Sherlock. “They may be more likely to expound upon the truth for the sake of free press.”

“Mr. Holmes, we can separate the truth from the sensational. I’m a federal agent, I’ve done this before.”

“This time would you please try to make your cover story more convincing?” Sherlock’s voice rolls.

“For the record,” Blackwell walks around the men, “I have done a total of one year, six months, four days and thirty six minutes undercover and only once has it ever been blown…by you.” She closes her eyes as if in pain, swallowing hard.

“Agent Blackwell,” John rushes to her side. “Are you alright?”

She nods before opening her eyes. “Yes, just a bit exhausted. The most sleep I’ve had since that painting was stolen was while waiting for the two of you. I need my bag.”

“Right, we should get you some sleep. We can take you to a hotel. A nicer neighborhood.” John pats her arm. “We can stop and get your bags from Sherlock’s flat, or at a chemist sooner if you need something now.”

“No time for that,” Blackwell smiles and stands a bit straighter, the sweat still glistening on her brow. “We need to find Flack. For all we know he has another girl, somewhere. Lot good a headache and exhaustion when there is a woman being bled to death. We can pick up my things, though. It would be nice to have my lockpick set just in case.”

“So where should we look? Sussex? No, he’s too smart for that, that would be the first place he knows we would look for him,” Sherlock answers his own question. “We need more to go on.”

“He doesn’t know you are looking for him, as far as he knows, the FBI thinks he’s gone. Dead or in jail for something else. My assistant director has been very clear about not actively pursuing him until there is more evidence, there are plenty of current cases with hotter leads.”

“Must be nice, to choose which serial killer to stop and which to let keep killing,” says John.

“It’s a hard job, what we do,” Blackwell replies. “Either we chase this one who we think we can catch now and risk the other one killing a few more in the meantime.”

“You are a criminal profiler,” states Sherlock. “I’ve seen the way your eyes read people. Pity.”

“Yes I am, and why the pity?” Blackwell turns towards the door, yelling over her shoulder. “You can deduce what people do, I can tell you why they do it, which I argue is the better of the two.”

“If it’s that much better, than why did you come to my flat?”

“Because, Mr. Holmes, your reputation precedes you.“ Blackwell continues to glance behind her as she walks through the gallery. “You know the little clues, you look for things that even seasoned agents don’t bother with. Your ability to see those physical clues are what I need to interpret what they are going to do. Not to mention that I haven’t lived in London for more than a few months at a time since I was about eleven, and you have connections. So, while I need you, my work is the stuff that will get them caught.”

“Seriously,” John whispers to Sherlock as they follow Blackwell out of the gallery. “Doesn’t she remind you of someone?”

Sherlock hums. “Someone, no. Something, yes. Annoying. Arrogant.”

“Exactly,” replies John, shaking his head.When the men reach the street, they are greeted by an officer putting Agent Blackwell in the back of a car while another points a baton at them.

“Hands in the air!”

John complies. “I’ve started to lose count how many times this has happened.”

“Well, if you count the stag night…”

“Can it, Sherlock.”

~

“Which one of you would like to explain what you were doing first?” Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade sits behind his desk, with John, Sherlock, and Blackwell seated on the other side. “That will be all officer, thank you,” Lestrade nods to the officer who brought them in the room and he leaves.

“How did we miss a hidden alarm?” Blackwell turns to Sherlock, ignoring Lestrade’s question.

“There wasn’t one,” Sherlock says. “I don’t miss things that aren’t there.”

“Oh, well then,” Blackwell mouths in a mocking gesture.

“He’s right, the sod.” Lestrade stands up. “An old woman saw three people kicking the door down and called the police. Good think I have your name tagged in the booking system so if you are arrested I know about it immediately. Well, not me. Mycroft. And the Queen.” Lestrade turns to Blackwell. “Agent Dr. Eva Blackwell, I presume.”

She nods. “I see you had time to glance at my records.”

“Doctor?” asks John.

She nods. “Psychiatrist, specializing in behavioral science. Most of my doctoral research was on brain patterns predicting violent behavior. I studied sociopaths on the side, very fascinating.”

“It took them almost an hour to bring you here so I had the time,” Lestrade sits back on his desk in front of her. “Care to tell my why, when I called your assistant director to inquire about your identity, that he said you were not working a case?”

“I’m on leave, he wouldn’t pursue this one so I decided to go solo.”

“Hence why you hired Sherlock and didn’t ask for the assistance of local law enforcement. However, that’s not all he said.”

“Detective Inspector, what my director said has absolutely no bearing…”

“Suspension?”

Both John and Sherlock look to Eva. She takes a deep breath. “I’m not acting in official capacity and from what I gather Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson are not officers so what difference does that make?”

“Sherlock Holmes is currently under the employ of the Queen searching for the most notorious criminal in all of England, the last thing we need is for him to get arrested breaking into small dirty galleries in the East End searching for some missing painting.” Lestrade stands. “Now give me one good reason I shouldn’t tell your director what you were found doing and have you sent right back to America.”

“Moriarty,” says Sherlock. “I believe the case is related to Moriarty.” He stands. “Its location was not publicized prior to the newspapers after it was stolen. I looked.”

“Well, isn’t this one big coincidence?” Blackwell asks. “You researching my case while I’m falling asleep in your flat waiting to hire you.”

“This morning. I was already looking into the case before your arrival. I found it odd that such a peculiar piece was to go missing, when much more valuable artwork was readily available. The painting in blood, I figure, was a message from Moriarty. The last time I saw him, his blood was pouring onto the roof.”

Blackwell stands up. “Mr. Holmes, on the way back to your flat to fetch my things, you will fill me in on this Moriarty case.”

“That’s classified,” says Lestrade. “I should know, I’m one of the few who is permitted to know.”

“If Moriarty is involved in my case…”

“It’s not your case, you are on suspension.” Lestrade sits back behind his desk and picks up his phone. “If this is what you do on holiday, I can only imagine what you were put on suspension for. I’m calling your director. I’ll send a car to pick up your things and take you straight to the airport.”

“Gavin!”

“Greg.”

“Is that your name?” Sherlock shakes his head. “Agent Blackwell has information about Donald Flack that may be pertinent. She is a profiler, she knows Donald Flack’s case very well. Why else would she be here if she was not personally invested in the case?”

“Sherlock,” John says. “Is it possible Moriarty picked this painting simply because it’s done in blood, and knows nothing of the artists and his crimes? Is it possible this is a coincidence?”

“Anything involving Moriarty is not a coincidence,” Sherlock says before leaving the room.

John turns to Lestrade. “You also know that you are authorized to give Sherlock anything he needs to track down Moriarty. If he wants Agent Blackwell…I mean, if he wants her to work with him…”

“Agent Blackwell,” Lestrade turns his attention back to her. “Look, if you promise to stop breaking into art galleries, I can keep my mouth shut regarding your assistant director. I’ll tell him you got a speeding ticket or something, you are on holiday afterall.”

Blackwell smiles. “Thank you, Detective Inspector.” Her eyes wink very subtly and she quickly bites her lip. “Greg Lestrade? Nice name.”

“Are you, do you, would you like to get a drink? Have a drink, with me? Get away from these guys for a little bit?” Lestrade smiles shyly. “I know Sherlock Holmes can be impossible if you spend too much time with him all at once, and I think Dr. Watson wants to get back home.”

“Detective Inspector, as much as I like to talk through a case over a few pints, it’s still rather early in the day.” Blackwell reaches for a pen on Lestrade’s desk, writing on a pad of paper next to his phone. “I wouldn’t mind taking you up on the offer if I am not busy later, in fact, I hope you call around seven.”

As Blackwell and John leave Lestrade’s office, John cannot help but laugh. “He just threatened to have you shipped back home for working under suspension, and you are going on a date with him?”

“Not really. I find it always to one’s advantage to keep locals happy. On my side, especially when he can send me home.” Blackwell smiles. “Besides, who is to say that I won’t have a little time for myself after we get Flack? I am on suspension. Now can we please get me my bag, I could vomit I feel so disgusting.”
Fic: “The Familiar Stranger” Prologue and Chapter 1/? WIP
Author: _nextboldmove_
Status: WIP
Rating: Overall NC-17, this chapter PG
Spoilers: All 3 seasons and Arthur Conan Doyle Canon
Tags: fic, rating: nc-17 category: slash, category: het, John/Mary, Sherlock/OC, Sherlock/John.
Pairing: John/Mary, Sherlock/OC, Sherlock/John
Characters: Sherlock, Mycroft, Moriarty, John, Mary, Eva Blackwell (ACD Canon)

Warnings, kinks and contents: drug use, domestic violence, emotional abuse, torture, rape, kidnapping, drowning, nightmares, sex, violence against a child, unhealthy sexual practices. Much of this is discussed as happening in the past.

Summary for the chapter: It has been three months since Sherlock’s plane has turned around. Three months of cases that, if they had not been put into play by Moriarty, would have bored Sherlock to tears.

Notes: I haven’t written fic in YEARS, and this is my first in the Sherlock fandom. Even though I’m a Johnlock shipper through and through, this is NOT really a slash now, although I’m not sure it won’t end up being one at some point or another, even if it’s one-sided. Ever since The Last Vow, I’ve been going over possible season 4 plots in my head, and this is what I came up with. The title is taken from the song Flaws by Bastille. I think the song can be spoken as a letter from multiple characters to other characters in this “episode.”
***I feel like a Mary Sue warning should be here, however, I’m not so sure because, well I can’t tell you or it ruins the ending. I feel like his fake romance with Janine may have stirred up something, but like he does, he’ll get bored. I have taken some characters from ACD canon and inserted them into the BBC canon, so if you’ve read any of the ACD stories you will recognize names and some events.
--------------------------------------------------------
Prologue
“The only Man in Black in all of Great Britain, and here you are wearing mustard and brown.”

Mycroft does not avert his gaze from its current target. He was admiring the beauty of the city from the full-length window in this office. It inspired hatred him, that one of the oldest buildings in all of London has been renovated to include these large windows. It’s twilight. The sky not yet completely black, the lights of the city slowly twinkling to life. Perhaps this is why they built in these huge windows. It’s much easier to observe the beauty of the city from a distance. Easier for people in positions such as his to make the hard decisions when you are divorced from the all too real consequences.

“Mycroft,” repeats the man, this time with more consternation in his voice than before.

“I prefer antiquity,” Mycroft turns around, not at all surprised to see his companion wearing a slate grey suit, white shirt and muted blue tie. His hair is so perfectly groomed he probably ran a comb through it before stepping in the room. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Mr. Coddings?”

“It’s been three months.”

“I know how to consult a calendar.” Mycroft displays a big, tight-lipped smile that laughs at his own joke.

“Three months and not a word.” Mr. Coddings clears his throat and shifts his weight—a clear tell that he is about to pull rank on a man that he’s not all that secretly terrified of. “They are demanding results.”

“So is my brother.”

“They let a murderer free in London for the sole purpose of stopping Moriarty…”

“Which Sherlock is doing.” Mycroft turns back to the window just in time to see another light switch on in some nameless building down the street. “He has his eyes on suspected cohorts.”

“Eyes, we could have done that without him.”

Mycroft stiffens ever so slightly from the remark. “You know full well you couldn’t. Mr. Coddings, I have my brother on level 4 surveillance. He has already identified two individuals who were patrons of Moriarty’s…services.”

“Small-time criminals from what we have vetted.”

“Are you using the proper torture techniques?”

“We are not…”

“Of course you are.” Mycroft turns to gaze at Mr. Coddings. There’s something about a powerful man squirming that makes his heart skip a beat. “You know don’t ask my brother to turn them over so you can have them for tea.”

“Mr. Holmes…”

“Mr. Coddings, Sherlock is working. He wants Moriarty dead as badly as the rest of us. For real this time. Believe it or not, my brother did not fake his own death simply because he was bored. He was trying to stop him. He saved lives. He hurt the people closest to him in the world, and yes, before you say anything, he does care about a select few. Now, if there is nothing further, I would like to retire for the night. I have a date with a dressing gown and a bottle of Scotch.”

Mycroft doesn’t allow the other man chance for response before turning on a heel and leaving the room.

---------------------------------------

CHAPTER ONE
“JOHN WHERE DID YOU PUT THE PEANUT BUTTER?” Mary slams shut the cupboard and moves to the next one, pulling open the cupboard with a bit too much strength.

John Watson speeds into the room, pulling a light jacket over his jumper and grabbing keys off the table. “We ran out this morning, I’ll get some right away.”

Mary stops her fervent search and turns to smile at her husband. “Thank you love.”

“Anything else while I’m out?” John sighs, knowing that no matter what he will be going out at least one more time before this day is over. Mary’s cravings were less predictable than her mood swings. “I’m not going to come home to find you gnawing on a pencil again, am I?”

“I was just chewing it, not eating it,” she waddles over to him and plants a kiss on his cheek. “And yes, we are nearly out of herbal tea. And crisps. And whipped cream—the fat free kind already made.”

John moves closer to Mary, placing his palms against her belly. “I’ll return as soon as I can. Keep her there until I get back.”

“I’m not due for another two weeks! I hate calling her ‘her’ we need to settle on a name already.” She pushes his hands away playfully. “Peanut butter. NOW!”

John gives her another peck on the cheek before turning and heading out the door. John knows that the scans can be off by as much as three weeks, especially since leading up to the wedding they weren’t exactly refraining from sex. The truth is that she could very well go into labor while he was out fetching peanut butter from the market.

Once in the car, he pulls out his mobile.

Beatrice?

He gets a reply before he can put the keys in the ignition.

At St. Bart’s. Come quickly. –SH

In an hour, have urgency of my own. John replies.

I suppose. –SH
~
“It’s a terrible name.” Sherlock does not look up from the computer screen when John enters Mary’s lab at St. Bart’s.

“And hello to you to, Sherlock.” John strolls in, setting a takeaway cup of tea next to Sherlock’s cold takeaway cup of coffee. “Is that why you beckoned me here so urgently?”

“Please don’t tell me the urgency of your own was the birth of Beatrice,” Sherlock remarks, taking a sip from the hot tea John brought for him. “I haven’t sufficiently practiced correctly holding an infant.”

“No, Mary wanted…”

“Good,” Sherlock sets the tea down. “There has been a theft, an artwork from a gallery. In the East End.”

“Oh of course, what else could it be, found a tiny kitten stuck in a tree?” John sarcastically comments under his breath before remembering Sherlock’s earlier comment. “Practice?”

“I dropped the watermelon twice.” This piece is unique. It was painted in human blood.”

“That’s disgusting,” John mutters. “Wait, do you think it’s…”

“I can’t think of someone who would steal a painting done in blood unless Moriarty prodded them to.” Sherlock sighs. “I’m getting really sick of these petty little cases. Either he is enjoying the tease or he’s still planning his…something. So dramatic.”

“Listen Sherlock, Mary could have the baby any day now and I’m not sure I should be…I mean of course you are my best friend and I will do anything you need, but if it’s possible I would like to actually be present at the birth of my first child.”

“Beatrice is a terrible name by the way.”

“You’ve said that about every name I’ve asked you about except the name Sherlock.”

“Because all names except the name Sherlock are terrible.” A quiet ‘ding’ rings from Sherlock’s pocket. He removes his mobile and checks the screen. “Let’s go.”

“Where? I’m going back home, to my wife, who could have a baby at any moment.”

Sherlock grabs his coat and scarf. “Baker’s Street. We have a client waiting.”
~
“Oh Sherlock, she looks so tired. I told her she could sit upstairs and when I went up with tea, she was fast asleep. Poor dear.” Mrs. Hudson walks behind Sherlock and John up the stairs to 221B Baker’s Street. “John dear, why aren’t you at home with Mary? Oh, I can’t wait for that baby to be born!”

“Me neither,” John says politely.

“Have you picked a name? Something classic, British. Very fitting for the two of you.” Mrs. Hudson remarks as the trio arrives at the landing atop the stairs.

“Not Beatrice,” murmurs Sherlock as he steps into his flat.

The first thing Sherlock notices are three bags near the door. The first is a rolling suitcase. Red. Large enough for a week’s worth of clothing and personal items. The wheels are scuffed from use, heavy use. Either its owner travels frequently or it is second-hand. The second is an oversized handbag. Carry on. The black and white hound’s-tooth pattern is trendy, suggesting its owner is no older than forty and female, but Mrs. Hudson already told him it was a woman. The third is a black laptop case. Plain, professional, affixed with a metal nameplate indicating a brand that caters to the business world.  This bag is also scuffed around the bottom corners, indicating it travels more frequently than the other two bags.

“Sherlock,” John nods towards the couch. There is a woman, curled up asleep. Her face is obscured by the sleeves of her oversized knit jumper. Cream, worn. Probably her favorite garment. The type of thing a woman would wear when traveling for a considerable distance. Her hair, shoulder-length, is a copper brown. Wavy, with the start of a bed knot forming on the back of her head. Slept during her travel. She is wearing black trousers, fitted but not tight. The kind a woman would wear with a blazer in the office. Bright red socks, as she had slipped off her black loafers before putting her feet on the couch to nap.

“John, you wake her, the last thing I want is a screaming woman in my flat.” Sherlock pours himself a cup of tea from the tray Mrs. Hudson had brought up for their guest.

“Miss?” John gently touches the woman’s shoulder. “Miss, I’m Dr. John Watson, this is Sherlock Holmes.”

The woman stirs awake. Her eyes appear first as she moves her hands from her face and sits up. There are dark rings under her eyes. Her eyes are a dark grey-blue. Face is not quite round, but not long. Jaw is distinct but not masculine. She’s not wearing any cosmetics. Her upper lip is a bit thin compared to the bottom. Pink lips. Perhaps she’s wearing lipstick.

“I’m so sorry,” American. Midwest by the way she pulls out the “o”. She pulls at her jumper to adjust it over herself. Sherlock notices a red shirt peeking out from the collar. “That lovely woman said I could wait up here for you and I just…”

“It’s quite alright,” Sherlock interjects, pulling up a chair across from the couch. “Now, sit here.”

John nods before the woman can give him a questioning look. She takes a moment before standing. She couldn’t be more than an inch taller than John. Her build slim, not athletic but not emaciated. Her cheeks flush when she looks back to Sherlock. “I really didn’t want to, I mean, poor first impressions.”

John cocks his head, “have we met before?”

“No, no I don’t believe so,” the woman replies.

“It’s just that you seem so familiar…”

“Sit,” Sherlock demands. She does. Both Sherlock and John take their seats. “Now, tell us who you are and why you came here.”

“My name is Helen. Helen Stone. I’m…I’m here because the FBI has given up and I need to find the man who killed my sister.”

“What makes you think he’s here in London?” asks John.

She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a folded piece of paper, handing it to Sherlock. “I saw this on the internet. Happened a few days ago. I wouldn’t have known unless it had gone missing.”

Sherlock glances at the paper before handing it to John. “Why didn’t you bring this to the FBI then?”

“I did, but apparently they aren’t interested. So I did my research and discovered Dr. Watson’s blog. Managed to get a flight here last night, well, this morning mostly.”

John looks at the story printed on the paper. “It’s the missing painting done in bl…”

“Blood.” Helen tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. Pierced, diamond stud. Fake. “Since painting in blood is not illegal they won’t bother.”

“Sherlock?” John looks to him.

“The Sussex Vampire.” Sherlock looks back to Helen.

“I hate it when people call him that. His name was Donald Flack. My sister, Julia, was one of his victims.”

“Thank you for not being boring,” replies Sherlock robotically.

“Excuse me?” her voice tremors.

“And you think this painting is in, in her blood?” asks John.

“No. I mean, maybe. But, the trail has gone cold back in the States. They never caught him and he stopped killing so they gave up. What if he is here, what if he stole that painting?”

“Anyone could steal a painting,” replied John.

“When the Sussex Vampire, Donald Flack, stopped killing, many of his painting were taken into evidence,” stated Sherlock. “A rookie agent with the American FBI stole them and sold them at auction. They all sold, but not for very much.”

“After Julia was killed I researched serial killers.”  Helen wrings her hands in her lap, but softly, like it was a tic more than trying to repress intense emotion. Tears sting the corners of her eyes. “They like to keep trophies. Well, these paintings were his trophies. Don’t you see? He’s come back to collect his trophies. The FBI won’t help, I tried contacting the British government. Mr. Holmes, Dr. Watson, I need you.”
John wants to give her a hug and tell her everything will be alright. This woman has lost her sister and thinks she had a lead. Nobody will help her. As much as John wants to go home to be with Mary, he knows he has to be here, help Helen Stone.

John is pulled out of his thoughts by the stillness in the room. He turns to Sherlock. Sherlock is staring at Helen, his hands tented in front of his face, fingertips resting on his lips. He doesn’t blink. John has seen this look before. “Sherlock…”

“We will take the case.”

Helen smiles, her body relaxing. “Thank you, thank you. I…I brought money. I haven’t been to exchange it yet, but…our mother died recently and I kept most of her Commonlife payment…it’s not much but whatever it cannot cover I will in one way or another. Anything it takes money or….” She glances at Sherlock, “Anything else it takes.”

Sherlock puts his hands on the rests of his armchair, face tightening even further. “That won’t be necessary. Just pay me by telling me your real name.”

“SHERLOCK!” John stands up. “This woman has lost her sister, she is not one of his…”

“Mr. Holmes, Dr. Watson, please,” Helen tears up. “I know I don’t act like the crying family member you see on the television, but…”

“Your name, Miss.” Sherlock doesn’t break his gaze with her. "And where you are really from.”

She sighs, sitting up straight. She stops wringing her hands. Her face hardens. “I thought I covered my tracks rather well.” A British accent. “What gave me away?”

“Of course this is why you wanted to rush back here, Sherlock.” John stares at Helen. Or whoever she is. “You are working for Moriarty,” he says, sitting back down.

“Wrong,” replies Sherlock. “Your name.”

She looks to the ground. “Eva Blackwell. Agent Eva Blackwell. Well, Agent Dr. Eva Blackwell, FBI. And CIA, well, they borrowed me a few times.”

“American FBI? With a British accent?” John tosses his notepad and pen on the floor, having given up on ever being ahead of the plot in this flat.

“I was born in the US, spent my childhood in London, sent back when I was a teenager. Dual citizenship has some advantages.” Eva turns back to Sherlock. “I really am here about Flack.”

“Why, you are FBI what do you need us for?” Sherlock sips his tea.

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” Eva smirks. John looks over to Sherlock to see if he’ll take the bait.

“Your luggage, well worn. You travel for your job. The laptop bag is one a professional would use, completely against the rest of your colorful personality. Also, no identity tags. If you came straight from the airport there would be tags on the bags, which tells me you arrived here and realized that I would look at the tags and see your real name, so you took them off when you got here.” Sherlock smirks, knowing full well she was baiting him but being so full of himself he doesn’t care. “Should I go on?”

“Please do, I want to know what I’m paying for.” Eva sits back in the chair.

“You were sleeping on the couch with your feet in front of you, facing the door. I heard your breath hitch when we walked in, you were awake. Vigilant. Your accent, while good, needs a bit of work. The tremors were not emotion, but rather your attempting to pronounce words correctly when caught surprised. Also, you said you would pay me with your mother’s Commonlife. While they have that in the States, it’s not common. But it’s all over the UK. Oh, and you called the US ‘the States’ which is distinctly British.” Sherlock stands. “Remember, we are taking your case for free, so you can put away the money you don’t have because that too, is a lie.”

“I really was sleeping until you came up the stairs, the only flight I could get was the red eye. You forgot something,” Eva stands up, a bit more poised than before. Confident. “And I wouldn’t call it a lie as much as a cover story, poorly planned apparently but I’m not used to having to fool men like you.”

“The trophies,” interjects John. “I’m right, you talked about the trophies.”

“These days anyone with Wikipedia could find that out,” retorted Sherlock.

“Yes, but it is quite a leap for a regular person to make the connection between the missing painting and the killer trying to reclaim it,” Eva turns to John, “Nice work Doctor.”

John crosses his arms on his chest and smiles smugly. “See Sherlock, some people know how to give compliments.”

“Mr. Holmes, I do need your help. I am looking for Flack and I do think he’s the one who stole the painting.” Eva looks to the ground before look back to Sherlock. “My assistant director doesn’t know I’m here, he wouldn’t approve it. I took leave.”

“So is Julia even real?” asks John.

“Yes, she was Flack’s last known victim,” interjects Sherlock. “About a year ago.”

“Julia Stone was thirteen years old, Flack abducted her and killed her in a warehouse, called her mother to tell her where to find the body, from what we gathered he was already three states away.” Eva shakes her head. “I convinced the task force that he would take her to this abandoned house on Sussex. He either knew or I was wrong.” She tenses at the word. Like Sherlock, she must be boiling at admitting she was not right about something.

“You are wrong, but not about that,” Sherlock states. “It’s Moriarty.”

“Excuse me? Moriarty?” Eva looks perplexed.

“Sit back down, Miss Blackwell,” John guides her to his chair. “I suppose if it’s possible that this is Moriarty, you need to be caught up.”

“No, believe it or not American intelligence is aware of Moriarty, but he’s dead. The last the American’s were told is that he shot…”

“Trust me, sit down,” John interrupts.

“Nope,” Sherlock stands up and reaches for his coat.  “We need to catch a cab.”

“Where are we going?” Eva slips her red stocking feet back into her shoes.

“The gallery.”

Master Post for Criminal Minds Fiction

SERIES

The Least Expected Series
WIP. Multiple chapters/installments, best read in order. In this series, we start with a cross-over with SyFy show Ghost Hunters. Reid, a closeted gay man, falls for Dave Tango. This is basically the story of what happens to him and the rest of the team over the course of about 3-4 years. It is a Reid/Morgan slash, but does mention relationships between Garcia/Kevin and Hotch/JJ. Each 'installment' is heavily centered around a case and contains OC's.

Installment #1: The Least Expected

Chapter 1 *  Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 * Chapter 6

Installment #2: One

Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 * Chapter 6

Installment #3: Unfold

Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 * Chapter 6 * Chapter 7 * Chapter 8 * Chapter 9 * Chapter 10 * Chapter 11 * Chapter 12 * Chapter 13 * Chapter 14 * Chapter 15

Installment #4: This Feeling Won't Go

Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 * Chapter 6 * Chapter 7 * Chapter 8 * Chapter 9

Installment #5: Bones

Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5

Interlude (One-shot within 'verse):
SNOWMAN (The Interlude)

Trailer Video for 'I Need Sunshine': Trailer Vid

Installment #6: I Need Sunshine

Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 * Chapter 6 *
Chapter 7 * Chapter 8 * Chapter 9 * Chapter 10 * Chapter 11 * Chapter 12 *
Chapter 13 * Chapter 14 * Chapter 15 * Chapter 16 *

Interlude (One-shot within 'verse):
Smashed (Interlude)

Trailer Video for 'Rock Paper Scissors':
Trailer for #7: Rock Paper Scissors

Installment #7: Rock Paper Scissors

Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 *
Chapter 6 * Chapter 7 * Chapter 8 * Chapter 9 * Chapter 10 *
Chapter 11 * Chapter 12 * Chapter 14 * Chapter 15 * Chapter 16 *
Chapter 17 * Chapter 18 * Chapter 19 * Chapter 20
Chapter 21 * Chapter 22

Trailer Video for 'Crossfire'
Trailer for #8: Crossfire

Installment #8: Crossfire
(currently WIP)
Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5
Chapter 6 * Chapter 7 * Chapter 8 * Chapter 9


ONE-SHOTS

They'd Be Such a Good Thing
Hotch/Reid

Crazy-Amazing
MPREG, Hotch/Reid

You'll Be The Voice In My Head
Reid/Morgan, slightly AU, character death

Five Things That Emily Wants
Prentiss/Reid

Murder at the Profiler
WIP. Rossi and Reid own a gay drag-show night club called 'The Profiler'. When someone kills Elle and stabs The Profiler co-investor Aaron 'Aar' Hotchner, everyone becomes a suspect. Aaron's ex-wife is the Unit Chief of her BAU team and brings her team in to investigate.

Murder at the Profiler 1/?  
AU, Spencer/Rossi, Hotch/Prentiss...

Murder at The Profiler 2/?
AU, Spencer/Rossi, Hotch/Prentiss...

Murder at The Profiler 3/?
AU, Spencer/Rossi, Hotch/Prentiss...

4 Types of Rapist Behavior
WIP. Reid feels like he owes Gideon for everything he's done for him. Gideon's behavior escalates every time he victimizes Reid.

Power-Reassurance
Reid/Gideon, rape, pre-season 1

Power-Assertive
Reid/Gideon, rape, season 1

 

Oct. 19th, 2010

Title: Crossfire 9/?

Rating: FRT (series overall FRAO)

Pairing: Morgan/Reid

Summary: Derek is weary of Gideon, while Spencer is welcoming. But with Gideon comes more mystery, and another visit from The Nightmare Killer.

ConCrit: Better than Reid’s boy band haircut. Wait, nothing’s better than that :)

SPOILERS: Some canon from all seasons, but not always in the way it happened on the show.

*I may have injected some of my criticisms of how criminal risk assessment and profiling is used by the FBI into this story (via Garcia). Just a head’s up :)

*I know I keep saying that I will be turning out more chapters, and I want to finish this story because I’ve had the outline (and conclusion of the saga) lined up since before AJ got fired (spoiler???) and I want to wrap it up. Just...grad school is hard. Behavior Analysis is hard...they only make it look easy on TV cuz they are doing it wrong ;)

~~~

Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights or trademarks to Criminal Minds, the FBI, CBS or any of the characters within. No infringements of these copyrights are intended. Any similarities between original characters therein are a coincidence. I make no profit from the following fictional story. (Fictional, maybe, but I swear this happened all in my head).

~~~

The following afternoon, BAU offices at Quantico, WV

Agent Derek Morgan

I don’t like the way my skin crawls. It’s been crawling since I left Chicago. It feels like tiny little spiders are running races over my body, pausing only to laugh at me. This unsub is purposely playing with us, and its working. I turn around to see Spencer standing awkwardly in the elevator behind me. There’s a few other agents and employees in this elevator, or I’d say something. I feel like, since I got the call from my family, that I’ve completely ignored his support and care. It makes my skin crawl all the worse.

We get off on our floor and make a beeline to the round table room, where the team is gathered. They look tired. While Spencer and I were on the plane on the way to Chicago, they were having their families put into protective custody. Garcia is chewing on her lip, barely focused on her laptop computer screen as she types away.

“Hey momma,” I approach her calmly, putting my hands on her shoulders.

“I swear I’m going to kick this Nightmare Killer’s ass...I have no idea where my daughter OR my husband are!”

“I know Garcia, I’m sorry, we’ll catch him.”

“At least they are safe,” Reid says. “The safest they can be. And together.”

“My girl still needs her momma.”

I turn to look at Hotch. “We’ve got nothing from Chicago.”

“That’s not a surprise,” Gideon interjects.

I look him up and down. He’s dressed the way he used to dress, I guess some things never change. He doesn’t seem to have changed much at all. He’s still taking command, when he isn’t the leader of the team. I suppose it’s only been a few years, expecting him to have changed that much is unrealistic. That’s when I notice...

“Why does Gideon have a weapon?” I ask.

“He’s certified to carry, and Strauss gave him clearance, considering our unsub is targeting us he needs to be armed,” Hotch says.

I look to Gideon. “I suppose next you’ll be telling us what to do.”

“I’m only here to help.” He says, with that familiar smug grin on his face. I want to smack it off.

“I’m not so sure.”

“Derek, come on, when is the last time you ate anything?” Garcia touches my arm. “You’ve had a very long day.”

“I’m fine.”

“Agent Morgan, go with her,” Hotch says with authority.

“We have a case,” I retort. But the look on his face tells me that I better listen to him. With a huff and an eye roll, I follow Garcia out of the room and to her office.

Once inside the safety of her technological den, she hands me a wrapped muffin from her desk and huffs. “Dammit Morgan why are you trying to pick fights with Gideon? We need all the help we can get. My baby is in some safe house somewhere in danger, and if you decide to have a pissing contest with him and something happens to her I will fucking kill you.”

“Uhm...okay Penelope. I understand.”

She hugs me. “I’m sorry I threatened to kill you, but dammit Derek you best not stand between a mother and her kid.”

I kiss the top of her head. “Got it Mamma.”

She moves to her desk. “I’ve been doing just about every matrix, database, program I can think of to find any potential link in these cases. I’ve compiled all the data I possibly can and I just can’t seem to crack it.”

“It’s not a code,” I reply, taking a big bite of muffin.

“But maybe it is.” She beings to feverishly type on one of her many keyboards. “You guys look at the behavior, the scenes, and you totally make inferences based on other cases, right? Let’s face it, what you do is an art, not a science. Just because other serial killers wet their beds and tortured little kittens doesn’t mean this one did, or that those behaviors caused them to be serial killers. You can infer all you want to, but at the end of the day it’s just a guess, there’s no science behind it. And there are plenty of bed wetters that don’t grow up to gut women and hunt FBI agents.”

“True, but...”
 

“So, if you are looking at the art of it and getting nowhere, I’ve gotta come in and look at the science of it. Somewhere there is a connection, there is something concrete that can help us nail the bastard. I gotta find it.”

I pat her on the shoulder. “I hope you’re right.”

“Me too cupcake. Now get back in there and if you fight with Gideon I’ll cut your nuts off and Reid will have nothing to play with.”

Not that he’s playing with them at all, I want to retort, but now is not the time to get into that discussion. “Garcia, did you know where Gideon was this whole time?”

“What? Why?” She stops typing.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t try to track him down.” I give her a puppy dog eyes look. “Right after he left.”

“I couldn’t find him for almost six months,” she says quietly. “When I did find him, I didn’t want to tell anyone, I didn’t want it to get back to Reid. I thought it was just best to let him go and move on.”

“Good choice. Do you think Reid would have gone to try to find him?”

She shrugs. “He was messed up after Tobias Hankel. Who knows what he would have done. I was just trying to protect my genius.”

“Would you do me a favor? Don’t tell Hotch?”

“Geez Derek now is not the time...”

“Can you look into what Gideon’s been up to? It’s related to the case, he was targeted by our unsub for a reason, right? Maybe you can plug his information into your databases...”

“Why am I keeping this from Hotch?”

“Because he’ll think I’m just on a witch hunt.”

“Are you?”

I stand up and toss the muffin wrapper in the trash can. “I’m trying to find a serial killer and if dissecting Gideon’s time away from us is what I have to do, I’m going to do it.”

~~~

That evening at Dr. Reid’s home

Dr. Spencer Reid

“I don’t have much variety to drink, I’m sorry,” I walk into my kitchen, leaving Gideon to be stared down by Taffy and Sally.

“Tea?” He calls out.

“Sure,” I fill the kettle and put it on the stove. I walk back into the living room to see the cats sitting on the armchair, staring at Gideon like he’s not to be trusted. I wonder if they know something I don’t. Or do. I’m not sure. “Taffy and Sally.”

“When did you get cats?”

“I wanted cats, I just liked the idea of someone to come home to.”

“You could starting dating. Find yourself a good woman.” He settles onto the couch. “You are capable of it.”

“I’m...well, I’m sort of involved with someone.” I sit next to him. “I mean, it’s overly complicated is all.” I want to bite my tongue, wishing I hadn’t given him that much information.

“It’s only complicated because you make it that way. How’s your mother?”

“She was okay before she got taken into protective custody, I had to spend the whole flight on the phone with her, but then Derek talked to her and she seems okay.”

“Derek?”

I bite my lip. “I think I’m going to get some sleep. You need to call a cab to the hotel?”

“Actually, I don’t think it’s a good idea for any of us to be alone. I don’t mind taking the couch,” Gideon smiles at me. “I know Morgan is staying with Prentiss, JJ and Garcia are sharing a hotel room nearby and Hotch is no doubt pulling an all-nighter with Rossi.”

I stand up. “There are plenty of linens and towels for you in the hallway closet, please help yourself. I’m going to sleep.”

“Spencer, you know why I left right?”

I look him straight in the eye. “Yeah, I didn’t really figure it out for a long time, not until recently, but I get it. I don’t blame you.”

“Tough case?”

“I was kidnapped, raped, nearly killed. I watched...” I swallow. “It seems like a repeating cycle, just when I think I can do this, and one more bad guy is gone, ten more pop up in their place and they all have a gun pointed straight at me.”

“I read about the case in Deep Lake, where several federal agents were ambushed by rouge environmentalists that had been murdering and stealing from local campers. Was that the team?”

“Yes, it was us. JJ got shot, Prentiss was practically gutted, they slashed her throat and it’s only a miracle she can talk as well as she can now.” And you were high and thought you shot someone but you didn’t, not like you will let yourself absorb that and move on. “I was in the middle of the woods in a snow storm, I almost died. Rossi and Morgan came out there and found me. But we got them.”

“Is that all that matters though?” Gideon stands up. “I used to believe that too, that the outcome was worth the pain and suffering we took. That our sacrifices only had meaning if we got the right person to pay for what they did, if we took someone off the streets and gave a grieving family some closure. But what about you Spencer? What good can you be to anyone if you are just a shell of who you should be? That’s a lesson I learned. I’m nothing if I’m not Jason Gideon. This job took me away from myself and turned me into a machine. It wasn’t fair to anyone, especially to me. Anyway, I think it’s time to get some sleep.”

“Or at least try,” I manage to smirk.

“It shouldn’t have to be that way.”

I disappear down the hall into my bedroom and close the door behind the cats. I’m starting to think Gideon is right, that maybe pulling myself too thin is doing more harm to the people I’m helping than good. I was so broken that I got high on a case and cost a man his life. For what? Because I was using drugs to try to hold myself together?

I change and slide into my bed, instantly joined by Taffy and Sally. I haven’t slept well in a few days, not that I ever really slept well anymore. Not since I joined the FBI. Is this the reason Elle left too? She started to realize that she couldn’t only be SSA Elle Greenaway? I’ve thought about quitting, but I’ve decided to come back. I felt empty, somehow lost when I was teaching in Las Vegas, because I was so used to this job. Maybe if I really did leave the FBI, I could have enough time to adjust.

Or perhaps it’s too late. I either crack or die. Which one is worse?

I don’t get a chance to think about it, my phone rings. Derek. “Hello?”

“You okay? Prentiss and I could come get you.”

“I’m fine, Gideon is here. He insisted on staying on my couch.”

I hear a loud sigh on the other end. “At least he’s armed.”

“Why does Gideon bother you?”

“Because he only bothers to show up when the unsub targets him. Are feeling okay? We could come over anyway.”

“No, get some sleep. Did you contact the Marshal’s?”

“See, there you go with that big brain of yours reading my mind, yeah, I did and of course they gave me nothing. Like they are trained. But they did say that they only report to the lead on each case when there is a problem, and I called Hotch and he said he heard nothing.”

“It’s nights like these that I do miss you,” I mutter, laying back down. “It was nice not to be alone in this bed.”

“You know, if we figure this out, you never have to be alone again Spencer.”

We. He didn’t place blame nor take the entire burden. He said we. “Derek, I think Gideon was right. I need to put down this job and be myself. And I can be with you, and be happy, because I’ll be me. Do you know how many times I’ve nearly quit? I wasn’t going to come back after I was done with the undercover job. I was going to move back to Vegas and be with mom and I was scared of only one thing...leaving you.”

“Spencer, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Then get some sleep, so I can see your bright smile in the morning. Okay? Tomorrow night Gideon stays at the hotel. I’m coming home.”

“Good.”

We say goodbye and a close my eyes.

~

Five hours later

“Reid?”

I wake up to my name being whispered, it’s coming from my doorway. It’s Gideon. “Yeah, did I sleep through my alarm?”

“No, I uhm, I was going to head downstairs and see if I left something in my rental car when I saw something taped to the outside of your door.” He hands it to me, a piece of paper already in a Ziploc bag. “Hotch and forensics are on the way.”

It’s a copy of the painting, just like at the crime scenes. Except a picture of a face has been cut out and glued over the face of the woman.

Elle.



Title: Crossfire 8/?

Rating: FRT (series overall FRAO)

Pairing: Morgan/Reid

Summary: The Nightmare Killer changes his MO and makes it personal...

ConCrit: Better than Reid’s boy band haircut. Wait, nothing’s better than that :)

SPOILERS: Some canon from all seasons, but not always in the way it happened on the show.

I know this was a LONG TIME coming, and I hope to turn out chapters faster now. Grad school was so much harder than I thought. But I do get to write the story in a notebook longhand during work, I just gotta find time to type it up :) Thanks for baring with me!

 

~~~

Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights or trademarks to Criminal Minds, the FBI, CBS or any of the characters within. No infringements of these copyrights are intended. Any similarities between original characters therein are a coincidence. I make no profit from the following fictional story. (Fictional, maybe, but I swear this happened all in my head).

~~~

8:19 that night at Prentiss’s apartment

Agent Derek Morgan

“Do you think Reid is onto something?” Emily asks me before putting another fork of pasta in her mouth. We managed to make an actual meal. Fettuccine Alfredo with sauce out of a jar, and some frozen broccoli and chicken we cooked up. It’s been so long since I had a hot home-cooked meal that I forgot food could actually taste good.

“With what?” I reply, taking a sip of milk.

“The constellation, the arbitrary points. What if our unsub sees himself as an artist? His victims are just arbitrary points.”

“That would explain the fact that only two of the victims in any way are similar, and even that can be chalked up to chance.”

“Did you call Reid?”

“No. He’ll be mad if I do.”

“What happened last night? You didn’t come back, I checked my security system log.”

“I stayed the night.”

“Did you bang?”
 

“Emily!”

“What?” She smiles. “Okay, sorry. Did you have sex?”

“No. It’s, strange. He’s still unsure about himself and his undercover experience. Part of me wonders if something happened out there, something he may have not even debriefed.”

“He may have changed, but the two of you have a bond so tight that it would take God moving the planets and shaking you off the face of the earth to break that bond.”

“That doesn’t really make sense Emily.”

“You sound like him.”

“Take that back.”

She finishes her last bite and stands up. “I cooked, you do the dishes.”

“Take it back!” I call after her as she leaves the room. Smiling to myself, I finish my last few bites and grab the dishes.

There isn’t much, just a pan, a pot and our dishes. I run the hot water and think about what Emily said. Is our relationship that strong? It must be, because he recognizes that he still has feelings for me. They are driving him enough to attempt to fix himself. If he didn’t love me, he wouldn’t care enough. Unless he feels like he owes me something. I hope he doesn’t.

I’m just about to wash the first dish when my cell rings. It’s my mother. I better answer. “Hi Ma.”

“Derek, baby, it’s been too long since I last heard from you. Are you working?”

“No, I’m at Emily Prentiss’s house cleaning up after dinner.”

“You and Emily?”

“No, just dinner. We have a local case and we were working on it.”

“Oh. I thought maybe you decided to dip your pen in the company ink.”

“Ma, that’s not the kinda thing your baby boy wants to hear out of your mouth,” I smile, nearly dropping the plate I’m washing.

“I’m sorry. Your sisters and I are wondering when you’ll get to visit again. We miss you. Oh! Maybe we could come to DC for Christmas. I hear it’s very beautiful, they light up stuff and it would be really neat to finally see where you live.”

“Trust me, you think Chicago winters are brutal? Come in the spring when everything is really nice and warm.”

I hear some mumbling in the background and the sound of my sisters talking. “Speak of the she-devils!”

I hear my scuffling and Sarah comes on the phone. “You shut your mouth Derek! Butthead.”

“Did you hit your head? Did you forget I carry a gun? Don’t mess with me, turd muncher.”

“You’re gonna get it!” She laughs back. “Hold on,” I can tell she partially puts her hand over the receiver but I can still hear her talking. “What? What flyer? Creepy as hell...okay Derek I’m back.”

“Wait, what are you talking about?” I ask, setting a plate in the drying rack where chances are it’ll collect dust and have to be washed again before it’s used next.

“Ma just got a creepy looking flyer in the mail is all. Anyway Derek, when are you coming out here?”

I stop washing dishes and my stomach feels like it fell out of my body and plopped on the floor. “Sarah, what did the flyer look like?”

“Oh, it was just this paper folded and taped up. It was like one of those old paintings, but creepy, it had a lady on it with this ghoul thing and a horse...anyway I told Des to toss it. No more changing the sub...”

“Sarah, listen to me very carefully,” I take a deep breath. “Lock up the house right now. I will call 911 and have police and local agents sent to the house until I get there.”

“What? What’s going on?” She sounds scared.

~~~

Two hours and fifteen minutes later in Chicago, IL

Dr. Spencer Reid

I straighten my tie as I climb in the back of the local FBI SUV. Hotch sent me with Derek to check on his family. Derek told me what happened on the short flight out here, and his mother and sisters have been in protective custody since he got the call they got the photocopy.

I keep staring at a fax of the photocopy that all three women received in the mail. The locals faxed it to us while we were in the air. Printed address labels, the originals only dusted for prints, but so far the prints run check out with all known postal employees and the Morgan’s. Most likely wore gloves. Or he’s a member of the postal service. Highly doubtful. But what we already know is that the letter must have originated in Washington DC, because one of the fingerprinted employees works there. Garcia already determined, in her sleepy voice, that the office where she traced it back too would include the route that our latest victim’s apartment is on. He probably dumped these in the nearest mailbox.

“How are they?” Derek asks the local agent who picked us up.

“The home is surrounded by undercover agents, and there are two plain-clothes agents inside, posing as dates for your sisters if the unsub is watching,” the agent says. We are riding in an unmarked SUV with no lights. The field office listened to Hotch. I’m rather impressed. “We are in constant contact, your family is safe Agent Morgan.”

“You understand why we can’t tell you the details of the case?” I ask.

“Agent Hotchner explained to me that I was to take orders directly from you and Agent Morgan and to not let Agent Morgan’s family come to any harm. That’s all I need to know to complete my objective sir.”

I want to put my hand on Derek’s shoulder to reassure him, but even if we were alone I don’t think it would be such a good idea. He just spent the last two days looking at some horrific crime scenes and reading autopsy reports. There’s nothing that can take that image out of your head. Nothing.

We get to his mother’s house but pull down two blocks. Derek nearly jumps out of the car. “Wait,” I call out. “You’re jacket and hat!” I remind him. He grabs puts them on and casually walks out of the door and towards his mother’s home. Each step he takes makes me want to cry, and through the earpiece communication he and I set up, I can hear his breathing. He’s terrified, even though he knows they are safe right now, he’s still upset. I am too.

I lean back and close my eyes, attempting to remember what the home looks like. It’s been a long time since I was here. I can picture the wallpaper, the furniture, the clocks and pictures on the walls. The way the carpet and the tile felt under my shoes. My memory works best with what I read, and even with what I hear and see, but those tactile sensations are different. I don’t remember those any better than anyone else. I couldn’t tell anyone the texture of the carpet in my childhood home, but I can recall the way I sink into the carpet in the hallway of Derek’s childhood home.

I hear Derek knock on the door and his mother answer and usher him inside. “Oh Derek,” she says. “Are your sisters going to be safe?”

“I won’t let anyone hurt any of you, I swear,” he replies in a stern voice. “Ma, we’re putting all of you into a safe house.”

I hear a big sigh from her. “This is serious then?”

“I’m so sorry,” he manages to whisper. “So sorry.”

“I’ll just pack my things.”

“No, Ma, if you are seen with luggage...okay. Tonight Reid and I are going to stay here and hopefully whoever is doing this will come here tonight looking for you. We’ll be there to get him. The agents will get you anything you need, so please don’t hesitate to ask. No phone calls, not even to me. Please?”

“Okay Derek.” I hear some rustling, they must be hugging. “Your father would be so proud of you sweetheart.”

~

Fifteen minutes later, his family is gone. Whisked away by undercover agents to a safe house that not even we are allowed to know the location. At least Hotch knows. I take off my shoes at the door, as Ms. Morgan would prefer, and take my back into the living room. Derek is standing at the mantle over the fireplace, staring a picture of the family taken years ago. His father is standing proud, smiling, with his arm around a young Derek.

“They’ll be okay,” I say quietly. “The unsub isn’t going to hurt them.”

“You don’t know that,” he says quietly yet firmly.

“He’s testing us. Chances are he’s still in DC, perhaps even with another victim right now,” I suppress the urge to get up and put my hand on his back. We are in a holding pattern in terms of our relationship, if we even have one, and now is not the time to test that pattern. “That’s why the rest of the team stayed behind. We can’t even be certain he didn’t just pay some kid to deliver it.”

“So what do I do?”

“Your job.”

He turns around. “Are you hungry? Ma said there’s leftovers in the fridge and we should help ourselves.”

“I’m fine.”

“I’ll get you a pillow and a blanket, you should get some rest,” he moves down the hall and quickly returns with both, setting them on the couch next to me.

I consider telling him to do the same but I know that he won’t. Since the house is under surveillence, I don’t even bother asking Derek to sit with me on the ouch. I adjust the pillow against the arm in an attempt to get comfortable while I think about the case.

~

“MOONSHINE!” Strawberry twirls before falling onto the sleeping bags in our tent. We are in Colorado. I can smell the woods, and the river nearby. Up in the mountains, protesting mountaintop removal. I remember that I used to be scared of the woods. Not me, Dr. Reid. But I don’t remember why. I hope he forgets too. It’s only been three months since Autryville. The last mining protest we did.

“Goooood stuff,” I slur, laying next to her. “I like this. Just sssimple protest. No hidden agendas.”

“I should have KNOWN Barry was fucked up,” she says, “he was fucking ROUGH.”

“Did he hit you?”

She laughs. “Nah, but he was hard in bed. Angry like. Half the time he couldn’t get it up!” She sniffles. “I can’t believe what he did. Hank told me. I didn’t know...he blew up Persephone. He was the one killing those girls.”

“I’m glad the feds stopped him.” I yawn big. I am. Barry was bad news.

“Yeah, but now they are WATCHING us. Every time we show up somewhere, there are men in suits. Big Brother, Loki, Big Fucking Brother. You know, that’s why Hank gets us new cars and shit all the time, because they bug the cars. GPS. BUG THE CARS!”

I roll over to face her, feeling woozy from the alcohol. Of course the main car, the one we travel in with Hank, is GPS bugged. So Ringer can find me. He’s following me. Following Dr. Reid. “You’re beautiful. Why would you even fuck Barry?”

“I believed,” she rolls over, her face mere inches away from mine. “I believe in you. You wouldn’t be rough.”

She leans in to kiss me. She’s soft, warm, and the moonshine on her lips is sharp. She puts her hand on the back of my next and pulls me closer. I kiss her back. A good kiss is a good kiss. But this is crossing a line that I can’t cross. That Loki can’t cross.

I pull away. “I’m gay, Ber.”

She fake-pouts. “Of course. Ya know...Conor is gay.”

“I think it’s a BADDDD idea to get involved right now.” I roll onto my back. “If we get raided and split up again...if something happens...”

“Well, if it matters Loki, you kiss gooooooood...”

~

My eyes shoot open in a panic. I fell asleep? Not good, not now. I turn my head to see Derek sitting in the arm chair across the room. He’s bent over, his face hidden in his hands.

“Derek, sorry, I fell asleep,” I sit up and stretch.


“It’s okay,” he replies, not looking up. “You know, I saw my Dad get murdered.”

“Yeah,” I reply softly.

“I thought it was ketchup,” he looks up at me, puffy eyes and a sad face. Even at his worst, I have never seen him this vulnerable. It scares me. “The blood. I went to get a candy bar...I haven’t thought about that night for years. It’s funny, I can’t remember what happened between the time I saw him shot and the funeral. I never was able to tell the cops a thing. I couldn’t even catch the man who killed him.”

He’s expecting me to tell him it’s not his fault and that he was just a kid. Both things he’s heard before. “You’ve taken such good care of your family.”

He furrows his brow just a little. “Not enough.”

“I know you feel responsible for this, but you can’t change that now and as hard as you try, you can never absolutely prevent harm from coming to them. Strawberry used to say that things happen, its the cost for the privilege of life. But its up to us to live it.”

He lets a small smirk sneak out of the corner of his mouth. “That is kinda circular for your taste.”

“I guess so,” I let out another yawn.

“What was it like? I mean, in your life you are free to let your smarts show...”

“You tease me.”

“Because I love you.”

I smile. “It was hard at first. I bit a hole in my cheek in the first week. Strawberry noticed and gave me some oil on a rag to tuck in there at night.”

“Have you tried to contact her since the case ended?”

I shake my head. “The case is done. And the look on her face when the raid...”

“You two obviously had something, I think you should try.”

“I didn’t have sex with her,” I retort.

“Did she want to?”

I laugh. I know it’s just a coincidence, the dream and all. “She tried, I said I was gay.”

He laughs. “You know, I get it. I mean, going from one life to another.” He gets up and sits next to me on the couch. “That’s what I feel like. When I joined the BAU, I left this life behind.”

“You didn’t leave...”

“Not my family, myself. I became a new person, but that old Derek is still there. No matter what I do.”

“Maybe we should both try to stop separating the two and combine them. I think my therapist had it wrong.”

He laughs. “You should get your PhD in psych.”

“I’m not personable enough.” I smile again, feeling warm. “You know that they are going to be okay.”

“So are you,” he puts his hand on my shoulder. “So, should we talk about the Gideon-sized elephant in the room?”

“I’m done being angry,” I sit up, warm feeling gone instantly. “I’m starting to realize that he left to spare us. Spare me. He knew he was having a breakdown and didn’t want to put me through that. It was the best option.”

“Major depressive episode,” Derek corrects.


Aug. 23rd, 2010


Title: Crossfire 7/?

Rating: FRT (series overall FRAO)

Pairing: Morgan/Reid

Summary: An unexpected guest comes to the BAU and the investigation gets more interesting.

ConCrit: Better than Reid’s boy band haircut. Wait, nothing’s better than that :)

SPOILERS: Some canon from all seasons, but not always in the way it happened on the show.

~~~

Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights or trademarks to Criminal Minds, the FBI, CBS or any of the characters within. No infringements of these copyrights are intended. Any similarities between original characters therein are a coincidence. I make no profit from the following fictional story. (Fictional, maybe, but I swear this happened all in my head).

~~~

The next morning at Reid’s apartment

Dr. Spencer Reid

I’m standing over my kitchen counter, sipping my first cup of terrible coffee while listening to Taffy and Sally crunch on their morning meal. Derek’s still asleep in the bedroom, and that’s fine, I woke up nearly an hour before I needed to.

There’s a part of me that knew even if I did quit the FBI, I could never really leave him behind. Not at all. There have only ever been two people in my life that have never willingly abandoned me, my mother and Derek. Even though my mother was sick, she never meant to hurt me and she never willingly left. Even on the days when she would make me wear a tinfoil hat and keep me home from school, she was still there.

Derek? Even in the beginning, when I annoyed the living hell out of him, he was someone I could trust with my life and he could trust me with his. Of course, its an element of the job, but ours always ran deeper. He was supportive, ready and strong. All the things that I needed, and still need, to find in myself. I take a deep breath and another sip of coffee as I hear bare feet padding from the bedroom to the bathroom. I want to be with Derek, but I don’t know how.

But I’m finally getting to a place where I realize I’m never going to be the same Dr. Spencer Reid I used to be and that it’s okay. Maybe I can learn how to love Derek, and myself. Hell, perhaps I’ll even wear a sweater vest and a tie today. Perhaps.

After several minutes, Derek emerges from the hallway. He’s wearing a different shirt than yesterday. He walks past me to pour himself a cup of coffee. The cats, who have noticed his presence, stop eating and start circling our feet.

“Where did you get the shirt?” I ask him softly.

“I was checking your drawers to see if I had left anything here and I found this.” He rubs a hand down his chest swiftly. “Good coffee.”

“Thanks. It was kinda funny, we made coffee with either a press or by those campfire coffee pots. The first time I made coffee when I got home I nearly forgot how.”

He gives me an odd look. “You forgot?”

“Nearly forgot,” I smile.

I feel like I’m suppose to move closer to him, let our arms wrap around each other and our lips touch, like that’s the only thing I should be doing. But yet, it’s not uncomfortable not to. I almost feel uncomfortable because of that reason. I take another deep sip off my coffee. “We have plenty of time before Hotch expects us. You could go home and change.”

He shrugs. “I’m fine. I’m thinking about going in early to catch up on some of the files.”

“I’m certainly not going back to sleep. How about you go ahead, I’ll find up some real coffee and breakfast and see you there?”

He smiles. “I can do that.” He pulls his wallet out and hands me a twenty. “But it’s on me.”

I take it. “Fine. Now get the hell out of here before Taffy and Sally lay their claws in and not let you leave.”

He sets his coffee mug in the sink and makes his way to the kitchen table where he set his gun and badge the night before. A few moments later I hear the door open and close and the cats meowing at Derek’s departure. I walk to my bedroom and search for a sweater vest to wear before grabbing Derek’s twenty off the kitchen counter and leaving the apartment.

~

When I get to the BAU I notice that Rossi and Hotch are in their own offices, and JJ is tucked in hers on her phone. I’m sure Garcia is here, she’s...no. She has a daughter now, chances are she doesn’t come in early anymore unless she’s ordered. I make my way towards the round table room where Derek and Prentiss are reading files.

I set down the cardboard cup holder and hand Derek the paper bag. “It’s a breakfast sandwich from that coffee shop down from my apartment.”

He reaches into the bag enthusiastically. “That place just opened a few months ago, they have great dinners. I’ll take you sometime.”

I turn to Prentiss. “I’m sorry, if I would have known everyone was here early...”

“That’s fine, I’m on a strict yogurt for breakfast diet anyway,” she stretches in her chair. “As if we get time to eat real meals anyway.”

“I’m going to heat up these coffees, I’ll be right back.”

Running through the case in my head, I make it to the break room and heat our morning drinks. Placing the cups back in the paper tray to avoid burning my hands, I leave the kitchen and head across the bullpen towards the round table room when I see someone standing at my desk. I know who it is before he turns around to face me.

“Hi Reid.” His smile is tight, as it used to be.

“Gideon?” I manage to say. I’m not even trying to hide my confusion. “What are you doing here?”

He holds up a piece of paper. “I need to talk to Hotch. Is he still leading the team?”

I swallow. “Yeah.” I notice the paper in his hand. “Wait, The Nightmare Killer?”

Gideon looks surprised. “I got this two days ago. Taped to my front door. A photocopy of the painting, but there were no murders. I suspect he may be coming back.”

“I’m sorry, the FBI has no comment,” I spit. “If you’d like to file a Freedom of Information Act request, you can go to the first floor clerk’s office and get the necessary paperwork.”

“Hotch signed for my Visitor’s pass, he requested I go to his office,” Gideon says, much colder than earlier. He moves past me and to Hotch’s office. I watch him disappear before I go back to the round table room.

I hand Morgan his coffee and sit in my chair, biting my lip so hard I know if I don’t stop it’ll will begin to bleed. I know Prentiss and Derek can tell I’m upset, and I am.

“You okay Reid?” Derek asks me. “If you need a moment...”

“Gideon is in Hotch’s office,” I whisper. Almost a minute of heavy silence goes by before I dare to speak. “The unsub sent him a photograph of the painting two days ago. I just saw him in the bullpen.”

Derek instantly reaches for me, but stops short and pulls his arm back. He looks at Prentiss for a moment before turning to me. “This changes the profile. He never reached out to law enforcement before...”

“In fact he pretty much ignored them,” Prentiss finishes. “Doesn’t make any sense.”

“So that would indicate that either this is someone who is angry with the BAU, and may be trying to recreate past open cases...” Derek starts.

“Or it’s the original unsub,” Hotch says as he walks into the room, with JJ, Rossi and Gideon following behind.

Prentiss and Derek both stand in offensive positions, square jawed. Like they are protecting me. Or themselves. I stay seated, because I’m trying to show that I don’t care that Gideon is here. Despite the fact that I do. I listen to Gideon brief the team about the photocopy that showed up at his home in West Virginia two days ago. He’s wearing an outfit like he would have when he was still working here. Everything about him is the same as it used to be. He’s still confident to the point of being cocky. He still thinks he’s the best person in the room, and we are all here to make him look like an effective leader even though technically he isn’t. But what’s bothering me the most of all is how unapologetic he is.

“Let me guess, Hotch,” I stand up. “Gideon’s being given civilization consult clearance.”

Hotch nods. “I’ve already spoken to Strauss. We think it’s crucial he be allowed to work this case in an official capacity. This way we can also protect him should our unsub come after him.”

“He could always run away, he’s pretty good at that,” I reply simply. “From what we could tell, our latest victim has no ties to the previous victims or investigators.”

Glossing over my remark, Derek clears his throat. “I think at this point our only hope is that he either reaches out to the press or he contacts us again.”

“Or, he leaves more clues at the next crime scene,” Gideon says. “We might be waiting for another body.”

“What do we do until then?” JJ asks.

“JJ, keep the media in the dark,” Hotch says. “Reid, I want you to work the angle of the painting. Find any possible correlation with any victim to any meaning or historical reference to the painting. Gideon and Rossi are going to continue to go over the original case and brief the rest of us at the end of the day. Our unsub is brutal, the chance of another body showing up today is very low.”

I’m the first one to leave the room.

~~~

 

5:54pm at the BAU office in Quantico

Agent Derek Morgan

“God damned case with no new leads,” Rossi says as he enters the round table room.

“The only new things we’ve got is the crime scene and the photocopy to Gideon,” Prentiss says. “This new murder, other than being more brutal than the rest, doesn’t really tell us much anyway.”

“No prints, other than mine,” Gideon walks back in, after having visited Garcia’s office.

JJ slams her pen on the table, having just hung up one in a long line of phone calls. “Apparently a neighbor told the press that our victim was in Witness Protection and wasn’t protected enough,” she rolls her eyes.

“The only thing we know is that we know everything we have on the murders.” Hotch rubs the back of his neck.

“This most recent murder was brutal, and couple with the unsub reaching out to Gideon it’s possible he’s escalated. There could be another body as we speak that just hasn’t been discovered yet,” I add.

“So what, we go public and put every woman on high alert? We create public panic and feed our unsub,” JJ says.

“He never fed from the media before, but now he wants attention. Maybe we should give it to him, go public,” Gideon says.

“I’m still not so sure,” Hotch says. “If this is a copycat we’re just feeding his ego and he’ll kill again.”

“It’s not a copycat,” Gideon asserts, almost angrily.

Reid walks into the room, the dark under his eyes very thick. “I went to the Smithsonian and spoke with an art historian.” He stands near the door, arms crossed over himself. “We video conference with a historian in Italy who told me everything they know about the paintings. There are some interesting things with the painting, but nothing I could tie to our victims. It’s possible the painting has significant meaning to our unsub however.”

“Such as?” Rossi asks.

Reid comes into the room and stands before the board containing all the information about the cases. “The painter, Fuseli, was the 2nd of 18 children. His father, who was a painter, encouraged him to go into the church. He left the church after helping his friend, Johann Kaspar, expose an unjust magistrate. He then became the mentee of a portrait painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds, who encouraged him to go back to painting. He married a model, Sophie Rawlins, much to the disappointment of his lover Mary Wollstonecraft, a well known feminist of the time.”

“So we are looking for someone who identifies with Fuseli?” I ask.

“Perhaps, but it could be his work that our unsub identifies with. Fuseli favored the supernatural in his work. He’s an idealist who painted over 200 paintings but showed only a few. He had a technique for drawing of placing random points on a sheet of paper. He’d later use those points for extremities of his subjects. He likened it to creating a constellation from unconnected stars.” Reid takes a deep breath. He spoke a bit slower that he used to. Must be out of practice.

“You think he’s picking his victims at random and trying to make a pattern?” Prentiss asks.

“If he is, I can’t see it,” Reid replies. “But I’m going to keep looking. It’s very possible that even the unsub can’t see a pattern yet, or that whatever it is, it’s so specific that we won’t know until we catch him...”

“Or he makes a huge mistake.” I finish.

Hotch takes a deep breath. “Go home, get some food and sleep, we’ll keep working in the morning.”

“Hotch, why aren’t you going to the press? You could push him into panicking, making a mistake. He might hurry a crime scene and then you’d have something.”

“And create panic and distrust? We are supposed to protect the public, not put them in danger.” Hotch turns to the rest of us. “Go home.”

Gideon follows Hotch out the door, arguing the whole way to Hotch’s office.

~~~

Meanwhile, in Binghamton, NY

She’s asleep. Or at least she’s trying to convince me she’s asleep. I think she’s finally given up on trying to talk me down. She was one of the best at what she did, but I’m better at what I do. The best.

I pick her up and lay her on the bed. I already changed her into her final dress. I would have liked to spend more time with the former SSA Elle Greenaway, but they will be coming for her. They’ll want to see if she got a photocopy of the painting. Because Jason Gideon got one. That smart woman will track her down, and I’ve got to finish my job before they get here.

This is far from over.

They are going to come here, looking for former SSA Elle Greenaway, and I’ll be long gone. Somewhere else. I have eyes, I can see. They cannot. Still as clueless as they were before. Only even more so, because I’ve changed. Evolved is the word they would use.

Adapted is more like it.

 


Aug. 13th, 2010

Title: Crossfire 6/?

Rating: FRT (series overall FRAO)

Pairing: Morgan/Reid

Summary: While working on The Nightmare Killer case, JJ challenges Derek’s way of thinking. Spencer reaches out.

ConCrit: Better than Reid’s boy band haircut. Wait, nothing’s better than that :)

SPOILERS: Some canon from all seasons, but not always in the way it happened on the show.

~~~

Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights or trademarks to Criminal Minds, the FBI, CBS or any of the characters within. No infringements of these copyrights are intended. Any similarities between original characters therein are a coincidence. I make no profit from the following fictional story. (Fictional, maybe, but I swear this happened all in my head).

~~~

6:47pm at the BAU offices in Quantico

Agent Derek Morgan

I return to the round table room with a fresh cup of coffee to see JJ sitting on the far side of the table with a laptop and headphones, intently watching something on the screen. She sees me and takes the headphones off. “Hi, uhm, do you mind? I was feeling a little claustrophobic in my office.”

“I don’t mind one bit,” I reply honestly, sitting back down in my seat. Prentiss had gone to the DC Police station to pick up the physical evidence that was collected in 1996. I heard that Hotch and Reid were still at the crime scene while Rossi went with the coroner to the morgue. Garcia is sifting through electronic files, tracking down current whereabouts of people interviewed in the original investigation. JJ is going through media reports. “What are you working on JJ?”

“I’m putting together a profile based solely on the media reports about the original case,” she scribbles on a notepad in front of her. “Hotch suggested it, I’ve never actually done it before. But if I can narrow down exactly what the media reported, it will help you determine if this is a copycat and better profile him.”

“I know you are a media liaison genius, but I’m sure if you went to a few more courses and lectures, Hotch would help you become a profiler. Hell, you practically do it already.”

She smiles. “I’ve been thinking about it. I know it’s something I can do well, but its so frustrating to dance around the laws and the amendment and...I’m starting to get bitter about the US Constitution. The very one I work to protect.” She shrugs and slips on her headphones. “I think it’s time for a change.”

I settle back into a victim’s file. Change. I could really use a change. I know Reid needs one. I saw him earlier, with the Visitor’s badge in his hand. He said he left his badge, but he was wearing it. Did he mean he left his badge at the office? The last time he was at the BAU office he had his badge, he needed it to leave the building. I’ve had this tumbling around my head all day while reading these files and I know Reid is leaving the FBI. It’s my intuition, he was planning on resigning today. Question is, would he be leaving not just the job, but the rest of us?

“Do you ever think about leaving the FBI?”

“All the time.”

I’m taken aback by her response. “Really?”

JJ sets down her pen and headphones and looks at me directly. “I felt so stupid for coming back after nearly being killed at Deep Lake. I really did hate myself for not quitting. It felt so stupid to go back. I kept thinking in my head that it was a woman who would get beaten by her husband. But she keeps going back because she needs to keep her family together.”

“It’s not like that,” I interject.

“In a way it is. We spend our time catching these people. This job is like that abusive husband.” She shrugs. “Yea, I supposed it’s a terrible analogy, but that’s how I felt for a long time. That I wasn’t seeing enough of a pay out for all the hard word and personal turmoil I was putting myself through day after day. It’s hard. But I came back. I still wonder why, and now why I’m eager to become a profiler. I know that I can’t really leave this job. I’m in too deep.”

“We are all,” I reply, looking back down at my file.

~

9:14pm at the BAU Offices

I set down my nearly empty carton of fried rice and stretch my arms above my head. Prentiss long ago came back with more things to read. Garcia printed off enough lists and files to kill a forest. JJ is still pouring over media coverage and doing an amazing job of juggling the current media blackout. Rossi and Hotch are pouring through the hand scribbled notes and making phone calls to agents who worked on the original case in their offices.

Everyone except Gideon. The one person who knows this case inside out. Reid comes back into the room with the charger for his laptop and an open mason jar with some strange green liquid in it. He sits down and takes a long sip of the substance.

“What the fuck is that?” Prentiss pips up from the small couch in the corner of the room, where she’s reading and trying to make herself comfortable.

“It’s a health drink. Spinach, lemon, apples, watermelon...whatever else. I add agave nectar. Blend and enjoy.” He smiles.

“Why?” I ask.

“We used to drink this a lot back at the camp,” he replies very smoothly. “We would get a lot of produce and sometimes we didn’t have enough room in the fridge so we’d blend it into drinks. Saved room. Strawberry and I would gather dandelion...” he stops mid-sentence. “Oh.”

“Reid, it’s okay if you want to drink it,” I say. “It’s not a bad thing.”

“No, I’m supposed to forget everything about Loki,” he grabs the jar and leaves the room in a huff.

“You shouldn’t have brought it up Emily,” I huff, suddenly feeling angry.

“What? If I hadn’t, you would.” She buries her nose in her file.

“He’s having a hard time, quit acting like a bitch.”

“Derek Morgan, I’m acting the way I always act. The best thing is for him to get back to normal.” She scoffs. “You better go after him.”

“Why? He doesn’t need that right now.”

“Yes he does,” JJ interjects. “It’s what you would always do. So go do it.”

Just as I get up, Hotch, Rossi and Reid come back into the room. Hotch stands, while Rossi and Reid find chairs. “What do we have so far?”

“January 3rd, 1996, our first victim was found,” I point to the correlating ID on the board. “Last seen at a New Year’s party, she was beaten and raped, found posed on her back. She was wearing a white nightgown that, according to her family, she normally wouldn’t have worn. She was cut open, but her organs were otherwise undisturbed. She was brunette, 23 years old, a graduate student in psych at Georgetown.”

Prentiss stands. “January 29th, 30 year old blonde retail clerk found in her apartment across town, same thing.”

“February 10th, a 28 year old brunette. Valentine’s Day, 38 year old brunette,” Reid stands. “By March 22nd, there were a total of ten women murdered. Same position, but all the victimology was different. Different body types, hair, careers, and ages ranging from 18 to 46. The original investigators were unable to piece together any correlation with victimology, other than they all lived in Washington DC, and they all worked or had main offices within walking distance from their homes.”

“Which means they were most likely targeted when they were walking on the streets. None of them lived or worked near each other, but with the exception of two women,” Rossi points to the February 10th and 14th victims. “They both walked to work, and the common paths they took intersected near a park. Gideon’s notes suggest the Valentine’s Day victim was one of opportunity.”

“He was dubbed The Nightmare Killer by the media after the third body showed up and an overzealous cop leaked the information about the photocopy,” JJ adds.

“There was evidence with the others that he may of stalked them for an unknown length of time,” I reply. “He always seemed to take them when they had gaps in their schedule, days off, no laid out social plans. He beat them and murdered them in their own apartments.”

“But none of the crime scenes were nearly as brutal as the latest,” Hotch pins some new pictures up. “Our victim was completely gutted, blood and organs found around the room, which was tossed. CSI is still trying to determine if the unsub did it alone or if it was collateral damage from a struggle with the victim.”

“She was raped with a hunting knife,” Reid winces.

“She had taken a few days off to use up her sick time before it expired,” Rossi adds. “Her last appointment was two days ago. She had made no concrete plans to see any of her friends or local family.”

“Is there anything on her victimology that correlates to the others?” Hotch asks.

“Not that we can find,” Prentiss says.

“I’ve been working on the media profile,” JJ says. “So far it looks like the detail of the nail was left out of the press, as well the fact the victims were beaten for any length of time. The extent of the beatings and murders wasn’t specified, but it doesn’t make it out to look as brutal as the latest. He didn’t leave DNA at the first ten scenes, and most likely didn’t at this one. He rapes either with a condom or a foreign object.”

“It’s possible he could be a copycat and the nail is just a coincidence,” I add. “We know that unsubs make the best profilers.”

“If it is the same unsub, we need to find out why the absence and why the escalation,” Rossi says. “The first time around, they couldn’t predict the next victim. We still can’t. He could be stalking his next victim. Anywhere in the city. Any woman who commutes to work by foot.”

“Even if we weren’t in a media blackout, we wouldn’t be able to warn the public without creating panic,” JJ says with a tired and frustrated sigh.

“This attack was very brutal, it could mean one of two things,” Prentiss says. “Either our unsub worked off some built-up steam from not killing for so long, or he’s escalated. We can’t predict if he’s going to kill again right away for wait another month, like the first time.”

“I’ve poured over the dates and locations, I can’t find any specific or meaningful patterns to the dates or the location or the victims. They could have meaning to the unsub,” Reid says.

Hotch sighs. “Go home, get some sleep. Stay safe, high alert. Be here at eight ready to go.”

A few of us gather some files, knowing the last person out will lock the room so that not even the cleaning crew comes in. It’ll take too much time to put everything away only to pull it out again in the morning. I’m cleaning up some empty cups and food containers as everyone leaves. Except Reid.

“Derek?”

I pause. “Yeah Spencer?”

He bites his lip and I can’t tell if he’s nervous or if it’s sexual. “I’m leaving the FBI after this case.”

I swallow the lump in my throat. “I figured.”

He looks shocked for a moment before shrugging. “I know I’m supposed to get back to being Spencer Reid, but I’m not that guy anymore.”

“I completely understand. You know I’m here for you, whether or not your are on the team.”

“Do you want to come over?” He asks. “I’m not going to sleep tonight and I thought maybe we could talk. I know this is a bad time, we should have talked sooner.”

“No, that’s alright. Let me pack up and we’ll go.”

~

Thirty minutes later

We get inside the door and the cats are pawing at my legs and meowing loudly. I don’t get a chance to pick them up because Spencer wraps his arms around my waist and rests his head on my chest. “I miss you.”

“I’m right here,” I hold him back, meowing cats be damned.

“I miss the people we used to be. Before Sticks, before Davenport, before everything.”

“This is going to sound terrible,” I breathe in his hair. “But I wish we could travel back in time. Even if we never knew what it was like to be together, you’d be safe and happy.”

He sighs deeply. “I’m so torn. I want to leave the FBI, but part of me wonders if I can.”

“Don’t think about it now, focus on the case.”

After several minutes of holding each other in the living room of his apartment, we slowly make our way to his bedroom. He changes into his sleeping clothes, in front of me, and slides into bed. Without my go-bag, I strip to my boxers and crawl into bed. We don’t touch, and it’s surprisingly comfortable. The cats are curling up around our legs and the sound of his breathing makes me feel like I’m home. For a moment, none of the bad is here.

“I didn’t kill Toby,” he whispers.

“No you didn’t.”

“I might as well have.”

“No.”

“Seems like it.”

“I wish you didn’t feel that way.”

“Me too.” He rolls over to face me. I can see his silhouette created by the dim streetlight peeking through the window. “Before everything. Maybe we would have fallen in love better.”

“We fell,” I smile, turning on my side to face him. “We didn’t have a choice.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Nope, not one bit. But we fell. The only thing that would make me give it up is to make you happy.”

He moves close to me. “Is it possible to love someone despite all the baggage?”

“I don’t think it’s despite of, I think it’s all inclusive.”

Spencer nuzzles close to me. “I want to be with you, but I don’t know how.”

I hold him close, feeling myself drift into sleep. “Neither do I.”

~~~

Meanwhile on an Amtrak train towards Washington DC

He knew that someday he would go back. Deep down he knew that it would be because of a case. One of those open ones. They had more open cases than they ever let on, and luckily most of them died out of public interest so fast that only the few obsessed crime junkies were the only ones that cared that they were still open. Even the families and victims chose to believe the unsub was identified, They chose to move on.

He chose to move on. Until he had nowhere else to move to. Then he ran away. Now he’s being pulled back, just like a yoyo that got to the end of it’s string. He had almost let himself think the string had broken, but he was just being walked. Some sort of cosmic amusement.

Just another chess game.

“Excuse me sir, the observation car is closing,” a young woman in uniform says gently. “You should return to your seat or your room.”

He looks up from the paper in his hands and smiles. “Yes, thank you.”

Gently folding the piece of paper and putting it in his pocket, he stands and moves towards the door, the employee following him to lock it behind them. Once he is in his seat he settles into the dark. Lets his eyes close.

The demons have a funny way of saying hello. Last night they came back the first time since he left. The nightmares assaulted him like children chasing after an ice cream truck. They were giddy, torturing him with all the ones that got away, all the faces of those who couldn’t.

But it the faces of the ones he left to deal with the demons that haunt the darkness the most.


Title: Crossfire 5/?

Rating: FRT (series overall FRAO)

Pairing: Morgan/Reid

Summary: Reid makes his choice.

ConCrit: Better than Reid’s boy band haircut. Wait, nothing’s better than that :)

SPOILERS: Some canon from all seasons, but not always in the way it happened on the show.

~~~

Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights or trademarks to Criminal Minds, the FBI, CBS or any of the characters within. No infringements of these copyrights are intended. Any similarities between original characters therein are a coincidence. I make no profit from the following fictional story. (Fictional, maybe, but I swear this happened all in my head).

~~~

Two weeks later, 9:35am at the BAU offices in Quantico

Dr. Spencer Reid

I feel strange wearing jeans, a red plaid shirt and my FBI badge. I have a Visitor’s badge in my hand, because I’ll need it to leave. I’m resigning from the FBI today.

My therapist said I was ready to go back. She insisted I go back early. She thinks I’ve having ‘adjustment disorder.’ Isn’t that the understatement? I still haven’t thrown away Loki’s things, what little of them I have. I’ve only seen and talked to Derek the night he told me about Toby Bell, and I’ve seen Garcia and Jane just last night. I have been writing to my mother, but I’m afraid she’ll start to worry when she notices I’m not writing the same way I used to. My sentences are nothing like Spencer’s.

I bite the inside of my cheek as punishment for thinking that way.

I get to my desk safely, since nobody else is around. Did they take a case today? Maybe this will be easier than I thought. Meet with Strauss, give her my badge, leave a note for Hotch and walk away. A quick glance to the round table room reveals it’s empty. The lights in Hotch’s and Rossi’s offices are on, and through the partially opened blinds I can see they are both at their desks. JJ isn’t in her office, but the door is open and the lights are on. Upon further inspection I see Derek’s car keys on his desk near his computer monitor. They must be in Garcia’s office.

It’s just then when I see JJ rush into the bullpen, folders in hand, with an older man in a suit and a Visitor’s pass on his lapel. He looks a bit overwhelmed. When JJ sees me, she stops. “Reid, I didn’t know you were back already.”

“Oh, I have a meeting with Strauss.”

She nods and quickly moves towards the steps leading up to Hotch’s office. I swallow the lump forming in my throat. I have half an hour until my meeting, so I decide to start cleaning up my desk. Most of these things I can put into a pile to be filed by the clerks. A few things can be thrown out. I find a magazine in the bottom on my desk drawer. A tabloid featuring me and Lila. It makes me smile now, thinking about her. I knew I was gay, even then. But something about her wanting me was so...charming?...that it didn’t really matter. As inappropriate as it was, it was something that I secretly wanted to pursue, if only to feel wanted again.

I don’t notice how much time has gone by until I see Morgan and Garcia rushing out of the round table room with files in their hands. They stop when they see me. “Reid!” Garcia says. “Hi honey.”

I wave nervously. “Got a case?”

Derek nods. “Yes, are you back?”

I shake my head. “Nope.”

“Wait,” Garcia touches the Visitor’s badge on my chest. “What is this for?”

I bite my lip and take a deep breath. “I just didn’t remember to bring my badge.” Now is not the time to tell them.

Just then Hotch and Rossi storm through the bullpen, Hotch stopping in his tracks next to Garcia. “Work with JJ to cross-reference anything the media printed about The Nightmare Killer. If this is a copycat, we’ll be able to tell by what he doesn’t do more than he does.”

“The Nightmare Killer?” I ask, noticing Morgan running off wordlessly with Prentiss to work on a task already assigned.

“Are you familiar with the case?” Rossi questions, looking more upset than I’m used to seeing him.

“Serial killer, murdered ten women. Tortured and raped them for up to three days before posing them to mimic a pose in a particular painting. His signature was leaving a photocopy of the painting,” I finish his sentence, my memory flooding back to me. “When I was in the academy, Gideon took me under his wing and would have me consult on a case,” I turn to Hotch. “It was like a test or an exercise, I never thought it was a real case.”

“Reid, I know you’re on leave but if there is anything you can remember...” Hotch asks me.

“I can come back. I’m technically cleared for duty whenever I feel it’s appropriate.”

Hotch nods. “I know, I was forwarded your paperwork. Are you sure?”

I nod, feeling a sudden rush of adrenaline. “I’m sure, I know this case very well I could help.”

“Fine, then you are coming with me, Rossi and Detective Nelson.”

~

Once I’m settled in the backseat of the car (now wearing a new shirt, thanks to my go-bag strangely being at the office. They must have brought my things back from Autryville and they just never made it home), I check my sidearm for ammunition and the safety. I sit next to Detective Nelson, who is nervously looking out the window.

“Can you brief me?” I ask, since Hotch never had a chance to hand me a file.

“This is Detective Jason Nelson with DC Metro Homicide,” Rossi starts.

“I contacted your liaison here this morning as soon as soon as I arrived at a homicide this morning.” He clears his throat. “I still don’t have pictures, the crime scene techs are still there. Got a call from a landlord. She had an appointment to pain the walls of a tenant’s apartment and when she used her key to get in she found 32-year-old Diane Walters dead. She was laid out on the couch, head and arms hanging to the floor. She was wearing a long white nightgown that wasn’t zipped up in the back, indicating it was forced on her or put on post-mortem. She was gutted, her organs all over the room. And in the mess we found the painting.”

“In 1996 there were a series of murders in the area,” Rossi begins. “Ten women were murdered. All found wearing a white nightgown, all showed signs of being tortured and sexually assaulted before being eviscerated and posed in a fashion similar to the painting. I read about it when I joined the BAU.”

“I remember reading about that in the papers,” Detective Nelson says. “That’s why I came here. I figured I had a copycat and who better to catch a copycat than the people who caught the bastard in the first place?”

“The BAU never caught the original killer,” Hotch frowns, making a harsh right turn. “Gideon profiled that he got arrested or perhaps passed away.”

“At every scene he left a photocopy of the second version of Henry Fuseli’s famous painting ‘The Nightmare.’ First painted in 1781, it was his most popular work. Due to it’s popularity he made three versions of the painting, but only 2 are really known. Each depicts a woman in white with her head and arms hanging off a bed. There is a demon and a horse looking upon her with frightening expressions,” I supply.

“I have JJ doing a media blackout,” Hotch says. “We are saying nothing. If there are leaks, deny them at all. Lie if you have to.”

“Hotch?” I’m surprised. “Do you really think The Nightmare Killer is back?”

I get no answer.

~

We arrive at the apartment building fifteen minutes later. The scene is nothing like I expected. I’m used to vehicles everywhere, yellow tape, authorities bustling about and on-lookers. Instead there is an un-marked black cargo van and now two unmarked SUV’s. Have things changed that much in the past year?

“Where is everyone?” I ask Detective Nelson as we walk into the building.

“The moment I recognized this case, I ordered low profile. Then when Agent Hotchner mentioned a black out, I ordered everyone away but my partner, one crime scene tech and the coroner.”

“You have excellent instincts,” Rossi says. I can tell he’s already but Detective Jason Nelson on his suspect list. It does seem a bit strange that someone would remember this case, I will admit that to myself. Then again, it was local. The case that I studied mentioned that the lead profiler ordered the media go public with part of the signature and the condition of the bodies when they were found in order to draw him out.

“Were you a detective when The Nightmare Killer was active?” I ask as we acsend the stairs.

“I was a beat cop in Bethesda.” We reach the third door on the second floor. “I was gunning for a promotion, which took me a year later, and so I was researching open cases like a fiend. The signature struck a strange chord with me.” He takes keys out of his pocket and begins to unlock the door.

“How long were you a beat cop?” Hotch asks.

“Only three years. I was a high school teacher and needed a life change and when I was a kid I always wanted to be a cop. I taught math to kids who didn’t care. This way I feel like I can actually make a difference.”

The door opens to a scene right out of a horror movie. Blood spatter everywhere, it almost looks like too much blood for one body. There is a crime scene tech taking pictures of spatter along the far right wall of the main room. The coroner is kneeling next to the body, which is laid out on the couch. The room was tossed, and it’s not clear if there was a robbery. There isn’t one of course. The unsub probably did it either in rage while he was torturing the victim or afterwards to confuse the police.

I kneel next to the coroner. “What do you have?”

“Extreme bruising to her inner thighs, back and shoulders. The rate of healing suggests this all started at least twenty-four hours ago, maybe even forty-eight.” He points to her face to show me what he’s talking about. “She was alive when she was eviscerated and raped. Liver temp and the lack of fully dried blood in the deepest of the blood pools indicates she was killed around 2am.”

“Rape? You were able to determine rape already?” I ask.

“I lifted the dress to examine the body. The fucking bastard...” he clears his throat. “He left the knife inside of her. The bruising tells me she was raped repeatedly over perhaps a whole day. The blood present indicates that he sexually assaulted her with the knife immediately before or after she was gutted. All while she was still alive. But I’ll know more after the autopsy.”

“Thank you,” I stand, feeling weak in the knees. Of all the cases to come back to, it had to be this. I don’t remember the case I studied to be this brutal. I can’t trust my memory anymore. I walk over to Rossi, who is examining a day planner splayed out on the floor.

“Her last appointment was two days ago,” he says. “We’ll have to find out if that was the last time anyone saw her.”

“I’ll call Garcia,” Hotch offers. “I need her to crosscheck prison records too, find a correlation.”

I feel myself trembling. This is weird. I don’t react this way on the scene. I’m composed, focused. I don’t get scared. I don’t get scared. “He was very brutal with her,” I reply quietly.

“How so?” Rossi asks.

“He raped her with the blade of his hunting knife,” I swallow, surprised that I can. Hotch hangs his head and moves towards the door with his phone in his hand. I turn to Rossi. “I don’t remember it being this hard.”

“Hard?”

“To be at a crime scene. I feel like I’m on my first case but different. I know what to expect, yet I’m still having that first-time reaction.” I cross my arms in front of my chest. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m coming back or it’s this case in particular.”

“It will get easier, at least I’d like to think it would,” Rossi says.

I lower my voice. “I was at the office today to give Strauss my resignation.”

He doesn’t even bat an eye, which is exactly why I told him. “And?”

“I’m not leaving the team during this case.” I turn around to look at the dead body. “I’m not leaving her.”

What the hell is wrong with me?

~~~

Meanwhile at a house in Binghamton, New York

She wakes up in darkness. She feels heavy, and when she goes to move her arms she can’t. She remembers being ambushed when she came home from walking the dog and the dog...why didn’t he bark? Did her attacker hurt him? Does her attacker know her? Did he rob her and leave? She starts to run through the possibilities.

“Good morning,” a deep voice cuts through the still air. He’s watching her.

“What do you want?” She screams, realizing the darkness is because there is dark fabric over her head.

The voice chuckles. “You have no idea who I am, do you?”

“Just take what you want, I never saw you so I can’t turn you it. Please.” She suddenly remembers her training from a job so long ago. “I have two parents, a brother. My name is Stephanie...”

“Why must you lie to me? I know who you really are. The name on your licsence doesn’t fool me.” His voice is closer.

She starts to tremble as her captor drags a cool metal item against her thigh. She can only guess it’s the blade of a knife, teasing over her with just enough force so that she can feel it, but not so that it will rip through her jeans. “I don’t know who you are.”

“Don’t you?”

She bites her lip hard and stifles the urge to scream when the knife cuts into her leg. She attempts to recall all of her former training, her guts, and her smarts. It’s been a long time, but she’s been through much worse and came out in the end. Right?

“I was a little sad that you didn’t try to fight me harder.”

The knife cuts into her other thigh. Deeper.

“Why aren’t you screaming?”

“B...because that’s what you want,” she manages to pant out.

“You think I’m a sadist? That I get off on the pain?” He cuts her thigh again. “Answer me.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re torturing me. You want to see me suffer.”

“Oh I want you to suffer alright. But it’s not because I want to see the pain on your face.” He pulls the knife away from her and lifts the fabric off her head.

She’s stunned and who she sees in the room with her. “But, but...”

“I want to see the pain in theirs.”



Title: Crossfire 4/?

Rating: FRT (series overall FRAO)

Pairing: Morgan/Reid

Summary: Spencer reaches out to Derek, but things don’t go as planned.

ConCrit: Better than Reid’s boy band haircut. Wait, nothing’s better than that :)

SPOILERS: Some canon from all seasons, but not always in the way it happened on the show.

~~~

Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights or trademarks to Criminal Minds, the FBI, CBS or any of the characters within. No infringements of these copyrights are intended. Any similarities between original characters therein are a coincidence. I make no profit from the following fictional story. (Fictional, maybe, but I swear this happened all in my head).

~~~

A week later at the BAU offices in Quantico

Agent Derek Morgan

“In heaven, they haven’t even heard of paper,” Prentiss groans from her desk as she closes another file and puts it in a box to her left. That’s her ‘Done’ box. It’s paperwork day after almost 5 days in Mississippi trying to track down a group of alleged KKK members who went rogue and thought gutting white people who associated with people of color was a good idea.

“Well, too bad there ain’t a heaven,” I reply, taking a sip of now cold coffee.

“Derek Morgan doesn’t believe in heaven?” Garcia comes up behind me. I don’t hear her anymore, she doesn’t wear heels that clatter. She’s also stopped wearing accessories because Jane is fascinated with pulling them off and putting them in her mouth. Yet she still so beautiful and full of character. It’s like she never needed all those colors and baubles in the first place. She’s still my God-given solace in any package. If there ever was a god.

“There’s no proof,” I reply, stand and grabbing my cold coffee.

“The proof is in your heart,” she says, pressing her palm against my chest.

I shrug. “I need more than that baby-girl. I’ve lived on faith for too long without results.”

As I turn and head towards the break room I hear her say to Prentiss “I really miss that man.”

Yeah, I miss him too.

~~~

Meanwhile, at his psychologist’s office in Washington DC

Dr. Spencer Reid

I hate this room.

She’s meant well, keeping the colors neutral. There are throw pillows on the very comfortable couch, boxes of tissues readily available, and she has a ‘no shoes’ policy for her office. She’s warming in an honest way, and there is part of me that wants to push her to see just how honest she can be. I’m willing to bet completely. She outright admitted she was intimidated by my credentials and job experience, but that she knows it doesn’t qualify me to handle this.

We’ve had three sessions since I got back. This is my fourth.

“How was your visit with Jane?” She asks, setting her digital recorder on the table between us. Dave Tango gave me a recorder. I still have it in the bottom of a box in the hallway closet.

“Not as overwhelming as I thought it would be,” I reply honestly. I haven’t been dishonest with her at all. “She’s so beautiful.”

“You said last time that you felt guilty for missing her birth.”

“I do, but I realize that I was doing something to protect them. I wouldn’t have been much help in the beginning anyway, I don’t have luck around kids.”

“Have you seen Derek?”

I told her all about Derek and I and everything we’ve been through, except for me killing Toby Bell and being high on the job. That I have to hold back. “No.”

“Called him? Sent him a text or email?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“I still don’t know what to say.”

“He knows you are going through a hard time. I think you’d be surprised at how helpful talking to him could be. He knows you better than anyone else.”

“As good as anyone could know me.”

“I want to do an experiment,” she reaches over and shuts off the recorder. “I want you to profile him.”

“We don’t do that, we have a rule about profiling each other...” I begin to detest. But in reality, we have had to profile Derek before. During the Carl Buford case. It was the most confusing case I’ve ever worked, because it challenged my assumptions in a way I didn’t think they could be challenged.

“Not an entire profile, just a relationship profile. I want to know how you see his gears turning.” She settles back into her chair. “I want to see you at work.”

I clear my throat and get equally comfortable on the couch, letting myself sink into it like a child in a chair too big for him. It feels like a hug. “Derek is warm and personable. He likes to project that he’s honest and supportive. But it’s a partial mask, his honesty comes when he’s forced by extrinsic factors. He’s guarded, after a life peppered with tragedy and a job that pits him against the worst of the worst. He is trusting, but will always hold a part of himself back.”

“How does he treat his friends?”

“He’s loyal to the point of forgetting himself.”

“To you?”

“To everyone.”

“That’s not what I asked.”

“He’s always been there for me.”

“Above and beyond anyone else?”

“He flew out to Las Vegas when I left to teach. But I don’t blame him, I didn’t tell him.”

“To try to bring you home?”

“To make sure I was okay. He came back to take care of me after a surgery too.” I swallow. “He wrote home to my mother while I was gone, he took care of the cats. So yes. Above and beyond anyone else.”

“You know what I’m going to say, right?”

“Of course. I know, rationally, that I should not feel the way I feel and yet I still feel that way. That’s what has been the most confusing to me.”

“In criminal profiling, you have to not only rely on your knowledge and past experiences, but also trust your instinct, right?” She reaches to turn on the recorder again. “That’s what I’ve read anyway. In David Rossi’s books.”

I smile. “Yes. But I can’t treat Derek like an unsub, or the relationship like a case.”

“I suppose not. In cases you are looking to solve them, close them, and move on. So no, you can’t. But what I’m trying to get you to see for yourself is that your instinct and emotions are not a betraying weakness, but rather a valuable asset. Use them.”

I look her straight in the eye. “So none of this ‘learn to love yourself’ crap?”

“Is that what you were expecting? Once you figure out how to best utilize your assets, the rest will just fall into place.”

~~~

That night at Prentiss’s apartment

Agent Derek Morgan

Emily and I walk through the door of her apartment, kicking off our shoes at the door. She quickly makes her way to her counter-top wine fridge to pick out a bottle of white while I slide into one of her armchairs in the living room. We were only in Philadelphia for a few hours consulting on a bomb-threat case, but sometimes it’s those quick-and-easy cases that can really wear a person out.

My phone starts vibrating in my pocket and I answer quickly, fearing it’s the Philadelphia PD calling to say they have the wrong guy. “Morgan.”

“Derek?” It’s Spencer. He sounds flustered. “I think I need your help?”

I spring to my feet. “What’s wrong Spence?” Emily comes into the room and looks at me with worry.

“Taffy has an ear infection and...well...I can’t seem to hold her down to give her the medicine and I thought since she likes you and all that maybe you could help me? Whenever, if you are free.”

“I’m free right now, of course I’ll be right over. Have you eaten yet?”

“Yeah, but there is still half a pizza here if you’re hungry.”

“Be there soon.” I hang up. “One of the cats needs meds.”

“Don’t forget to take your go-bag and put it in your car,” Prentiss says.

I roll my eyes. “Not going to happen. I have your spare key in case you’re asleep when I get back.”

~

When I arrive I knock before letting myself in. There’s a few things out of place, some of the pillows from the couch are on the floor. Two towels are strewn about the living room. I picture Spencer trying to ‘net’ Taffy in a towel and being extremely unsuccessful. The visual brings a smile to my face. “I’M HERE!”

“WE ARE IN THE BATHROOM!” I hear him yell back. Setting down my keys, I go to find Spencer sitting in the tub, one leg hanging out, with a blanket in his lap. “I’ve got her wrapped up in here, but I can’t free her head.”

“What does she need?” I kneel next to him.

“I got the pill down her throat earlier, but I can’t hold her and put the ear drops in at the same time.” He exhales loudly. “Three doctorates and I’m outsmarted by a housecat.”

I take the bundle from his arms and gently uncover Taffy’s head. I instantly scratch being her ears in the favorite spot until she’s purring. “I hate to say this, but she hasn’t seen you in a long time. Perhaps she has to relearn to trust you again.”

He reaches into his pocket and prepares the dropper with medicine, managing to get the dosage into her ear and rub it in before she hisses and I let her go. “Sally didn’t sleep in bed with me for four days after I came back.”

I help him out of the tub and we make our way back into the living room, cleaning up the mess as we go. “You said you had pizza?”

“In the fridge, but I think it’s still warm.”

Too hungry to care, I open the fridge and pull out a cool slice. When I return to the living room, I take a long look at Spencer. He’s wearing jeans with one knee blown out. Mismatched socks. One red, the other yellow with black stripes. His brown long-sleeve shirt is big on him. “Nice outfit,” I reply, sitting next to him.

“Oh, I got this shirt during our trip to Salt Lake City.” He sits up, seemingly more animated. “We took a road trip with seven RV’s to do a sit-in at a nuclear waste site and on the way we stopped at this amazing flea market. I got Strawberry a Strawberry Shortcake doll and this shirt.”

“So it wasn’t all miserable being Nathan Villisca?”

He sighs. “Sorry, my therapist says I have to stop talking about that life. Apparently it’s good for me to force myself to move on. I really should throw these clothes out, but I feel really comfortable in them. I look in my closet and wonder why the fuck I was so into sweater vests.”

I burst out laughing. “Spencer Reid, if Garcia could hear you right now...”

He looks at me and begins to laugh along. Its good to see his face light up and his smile return. For just a moment, he’s happy and perfectly content. If only I could make sure he stays that way forever.

“It was good for me.”

“What was? Buying jeans?”

He shakes his head. “It was good for me to get out of Dr. Spencer Reid. I’m so miserable, Loki isn’t.”

“Spencer, you aren’t Loki anymore. There is no more Loki, he’s not real. You are real. You might be miserable right now...”

“I don’t remember the last time Spencer was happy.” He looks at me painfully. “Even when we were together, I was still carrying that secret about Deep Lake. I never let myself be happy with you.”

Then I remember...he doesn’t know. “You didn’t kill Toby Bell.”

“We’ve been over this...”

“No. I told Prentiss. We were undercover, hiking in the mountains and I told her because I couldn’t hold it back anymore. She called Garcia and Garcia pulled the file. Toby was killed by a bullet out of a rifle that shot him in the back. You had fired a round but they recovered it from a nearby tree. You didn’t kill him.”

I have never felt stillness like this before. I think even the cats were holding their breaths. The whole world just stopped. I can’t even breathe, afraid that something will break.

“I think you should go.”

I’m stunned. “Why?”

“I’m...I don’t know but I think you should.”

“Spencer?”
 

“Please?”

I stand up and head to the door. “I’ll do whatever you need me to do.”

The whole drive back to Emily’s feels wrong, but I fight the instinct to go back anyway.


Jul. 26th, 2010


Title: Crossfire 3/?

Rating: FRT (series overall FRAO)

Pairing: Morgan/Reid

Summary: Spencer goes to the BAU for the first time in a year. Derek dares to profile Spencer and comes to a scary conclusion.

ConCrit: Better than Reid’s boy band haircut. Wait, nothing’s better than that :)

SPOILERS: Some canon from all seasons, but not always in the way it happened on the show.

*Formatting errors with LJ, so I couldn’t italic/bold stuff. Flashbacks are marked by // marks. Sorry about that!

~~~

Disclaimer: I don’t own any rights or trademarks to Criminal Minds, the FBI, CBS or any of the characters within. No infringements of these copyrights are intended. Any similarities between original characters therein are a coincidence. I make no profit from the following fictional story. (Fictional, maybe, but I swear this happened all in my head).

~~~

9:48am at the BAU office in Quantico

Dr. Spencer Reid

I catch my reflection in the shiny elevator door just before it opens. I look terrible. I’m at the thinnest I think I’ve ever been (but my medical examination yesterday showed I was okay, just lost weight because of stress), I didn’t sleep so the rings under my eyes are darker than they have ever been, and I feel weak. I was so tense during my early morning phone call to my mother than I felt like I had run a marathon by the time I hung up the phone. I felt guilty she talked about every single one of Derek’s letters and how she hopes he won’t stop writing just because I am home and how happy she is that I am safe again.

I step off the elevator and cautiously follow a mail room attendant into the bullpen. From a distance I see Prentiss at her desk. She’s pretending to be reading the file in front of her but her eyes aren’t following the words and she’s nervously tapping her fingertips on the paper. I don’t even see Derek. Anderson has a box sitting on my desk and is placing a few things inside. He must have been using my desk while I was away. Team cohesion, I can practically hear Hotch explaining it. It shouldn’t bother me, and it really doesn’t, but it does make me feel out of place.

I take a deep breath and walk up to Prentiss. “Hey.” I hold up my hand in a wave.

She looks up from her file and drops it on the desk. The look of surprise mingles with tears in her eyes and she stands and pulls me in for a hug. “Oh I know you hate hugs but fucking shit I missed you.”

I hug her back, trying to convince myself it’s okay. It’s more awkward than hugs from people I care about. When we finally part I nod to Anderson. “Hey Nick.”

“Hi, it’s good to see you. I hope you don’t mind,” he gestures to his box. “Morgan went to get your things from Garcia’s office. He was hoping to have it set up by the time you came in.”

I smile and nod. “Oh, it’s perfectly fine.”

“I know Hotch, Rossi and JJ are in their offices,” Prentiss says. “Do you want to go see Garcia? She has about a million pictures of Jane to show you. She thought about bringing Jane in today but I talked her out of it.”

“Oh thank you,” I smile in honest relief. “It’s just...”

“Overwhelming?” She laughs. “I thought so. I mean, I don’t know what it’s like to be gone for a year, but I know what you are like.”

I wave again to Anderson and walk towards Garcia’s office. The door is open. I see Garcia and Derek sitting in front of her terminal. Garcia has a worried look on her face and Derek’s head is in his hands. Just seeing Derek again makes me feel like I have to turn around and run for my life. I’m not looking forward to this. I don’t know how. I’m not the Spencer he remembers from a year ago.

Garcia notices me first. She gently taps Derek on the shoulder before standing and approaching me, slowly. “Spencer Reid...” I expect her to say something, but instead she starts to cry and pulls me into an uncharacteristically gentle hug. “Honey it is such a relief to see you. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for a year.”

We part and I find myself somewhat relieved by her calmness. Comforted even. “It’s good to see you too.” I look past her shoulder to see Derek standing, hands in his pockets, looking just as confused as I am.

“I’ll let you two be alone for a few minutes.” She grabs a box with my name on it. “I’ve got some surprises for you.”

I wait until she closes the door behind her before I take a breath. “She looks good.”

“There are about a million pictures of Jane in furry pink frames in that box,” Derek says warmly.

“Jane, that’s a pretty name,” I say, reaching up to itch my cheek.

“You look hungry,” Derek says, inching closer. “Did you have breakfast?”

I nod. “I did, I just...the past few months in particular were really stressful and I just lost weight worrying I guess.”

I let Derek approach me. He puts his arms around me and pulls me into a hug. I return the hug, feeling less awkward than I expected, but still awkward. He whispers in my ear, “Are you okay?”

“No,” I reply quietly as we part. “It’s just...I don’t feel like Spencer anymore. Right now. Uhm, this is all so weird to me.”

He nods. “I’m not going to lie and say I understand, because I guess I didn’t go through it the way you did. But I’ll try. Prentiss told me you saw me in the hospital, after the explosion.”

Suddenly my stomach feels like it falls out of my body again. The very thought of seeing that bomb shakes me.

///Barry takes a cell phone out of the glove box, a different one. A cheap one, most likely pre-paid. “I just want you to trust me, why can’t you trust me?”

“Barry...what’s that for?”

He dials a number and hits ‘send’ without holding the phone up to his ear. A second later I hear an explosion from nearby. I look up to see dust and smoke come from a few blocks ahead. Near the police station. Instantly I get out of the car and stand there, hoping for a better look. It was just a car bomb, just a car bomb, right? He didn’t blow up the...///

“Spencer?”

I open my eyes to see Derek, worried before me, hands on my shoulders. “I was standing several blocks away when Barry set it off. I had no idea he was going to blow up the station...I only knew about the mine.”

“It’s okay. See? I’m alive. Hotch is alive. I can take you to his office and prove it.” His eyes are welling up. “Dammit. I missed you.”

“Uhm, Derek, I’m...I’m not quite okay yet. I mean, I don’t feel comfortable being back so I’m sorry,” I bite my lip. “I don’t know what you’re expecting.”

“I moved my stuff out of your place this morning. I’m staying with Prentiss until I find my own place. I realize it wasn’t a good idea for me to just move myself in...”

“No Derek, I understand why you did. I’m glad you did. And, you don’t have to look for your own place. I just need some time.” I’m not sure if that’s a lie or not, but I’m not about to figure that out now. “Thanks.”

“Say, why don’t you go see JJ and Rossi and Hotch? I’ll go make sure Garcia doesn’t paint your desk pink.” He pats my shoulder.

“Thanks,” I reply, waiting for him to leave the room before I let myself cry again. Why is this so hard?

~~~

That evening at Prentiss’s apartment

Agent Derek Morgan

I settle into the couch, hoping to convince Emily that yes, I really am comfortable. She offered to share her indulgent king sized bed with me tonight. Even though I would be more comfortable, I feel like I need the distance. If it wasn’t for Emily’s insistence, I’d be in a hotel. But Spencer needs space. He spent the last year being someone else, so all those issues he was dealing with, all that self loathing and fear, has just come right back as strong as it was before. He should have never taken that assignment, and Hotch should never have let him. Spencer would have been better off if he sat in a cell in federal custody while Hotch fought the DHS. Fucking Patriot Act.

Emily didn’t want me alone, but since I arrived she hasn’t said a word to me. She brought me pillows and blankets and disappeared to her room. I think she knows I want space. She needed to have me here so she could feel peace of mind. Sometimes I hate this profiling thing.

I turn off the lamp and let the first floor of her apartment slip into darkness. When I was a kid, I was scared of the boogeyman. After my father was shot, I was scared of men with guns hiding in the shadows. When I joined the BAU, I thought I wasn’t scared of what would hide in the dark. I know just how evil evil can get. I’m not afraid of it anymore, because fear is lack of knowledge. I know. Or at least I did. Love is absolutely terrifying. Falling in love with Spencer is uncertainty. It’s something unknown hiding in the showers. Its something I have to chase, I have no choice. It’s my job. But I’m scared again. Scared because my love for Spencer has hurt me more than I could have ever imagined, and I fear that it can hurt me even worse.

I close my eyes, as if its going to be some sort of respite from the darkness. Or my thoughts. Never was, never will be. Is this what Spencer was trying to escape with Dilaudid? What Tobias Hankel did to him put those monsters back in the shadows? All new ones, ones he never anticipated. The Dilaudid may have helped for a while, but maybe it was too costly. Or maybe it brought on more shadows, more monsters in the darkness. More that he didn’t feel he was strong enough to deal withm

The Dave Tango came into his life. Maybe he thought Dave Tango would chase the darkness away. But it didn’t happen. He did Tango in the darkness along with his own sexuality. More things that scared him, things he turned into monsters. Richard Felix came along with a shadow that was darker than dark, taking up all that space that pushes some of Spencer’s monsters into the light. His sexuality mainly. Deep Lake scared him back into those shadows. It scared all of us. It nearly killed us. Arizona nearly killed him. All over again.

He’ll come back to the BAU. I can tell he doesn’t want to, there was something in his eyes before Autryville. He’s been thinking about leaving for a while. He’ll come back, but he won’t stay. Spencer will leave in the middle of the night, asking us not to chase after him. I’ll want to, I’ll always want to follow him to the edges of the earth just to make sure he’s okay.

I’ll want to, but maybe I won’t this time. Maybe it’s better to let him slip into my darkness.

//”Derek, why don’t you go with your father to the store?” Mom smiles at me. “Take a trip. You can help your dad carry the milk.”

“Mom, Dad’s a police officer!” I roll my eyes. At ten I’ve already gotten over calling him ‘Daddy’. “He can carry a gallon of milk.”

“I wanna go! I wanna go!” Sarah cries out. “I can carry it!”

“This is just a boy’s trip,” Mom says. “You and Dessy can come with me to the salon tomorrow.”

That seems to keep Sarah quiet, and she crawls into Mom’s lap and watches TV with her. I turn to Dad, who is standing in the doorway. “I’ll help you old man.”

“Old man?” He laughs. “I don’t think so.”

I follow him out to the car, and he won’t even start the engine until my seatbelt is on. “See Dad? It’s on.”

“Good,” he backs out of the driveway. “How’s school going Derek?”

“I aced my math test,” I reply happily. “I always ace my tests. Even spelling.”

“That’s my boy,” Dad reaches over and ruffles my head.

“DAD! Hands on the wheel!” I joke. “Or I’ll place you under Citizen’s Arrest!”

He rolls his eyes. “I should have never told you about Citizen’s Arrest, you are abusing your power.”

“Someday I want to break down doors and catch the bad guys just like you,” I say proudly as Dad pulls up in front of the store.

“Derek, you already make me so proud,” he smiles as we get out of the car and walk into the store.

There are cars in the parking lot, but I don’t see anybody. Not even Miss Ginny is behind the counter, and she’s always here. Or her brother Mr. Herbert. When it’s daylight, I bike down here a lot and get ice cream bars with change I earn by bringing my neighbor her mail every day after school. She has a cane and can’t walk to the mailbox anymore. She’s nice.

“I’ll get the milk!” I offer, turning to my right and going down the aisle with the car stuff to the back of the store where they keep all the cold stuff. I open the glass door and grab a gallon of milk. It’s heavy, but I’m tough. I can carry it all the way home if I have to.

I turn around and go to the candy aisle, because Dad always gets me a small bit of candy when I go on trips with him to the store. I have to be shy about it, like I’m ‘just looking’ and waiting for him. Then he’ll tell me to pick one and I have to eat it in the car before we get home so Dessy and Sarah don’t see. I know he gets them candy when they take trips with Dad, they are stupid girls and they tell me so.

When I look up to find the chocolate, I see red stuff on the floor. Someone spilled ketchup. Miss Ginny must have gone into the back to find a mop. I step over it very carefully. I get to the candy bars when I hear loud yelling from the front of the store. Then my Dad’s voice.

I turn around and see a man wearing all black, facing away from me. He’s holding a gun in his hands and aiming it at Dad. That’s dangerous, Dad always told me if I saw a gun to get a grown up and never touch it no matter what. They are dangerous.

Dad’s holding his hands up. Like people on TV when robbers come in.

This guy is a robber.

But Daddy’s a cop.

Daddy.

Real guns sound nothing like they do on TV.

And real blood doesn’t look like ketchup.

//

*This has been one of my favorite chapters to write in the whole series, as angsty as it is.