Paperwork had always been slightly soothing to Spencer. Though people liked to tease him about it, he didn't really mind. It was easy, mostly repetitive at this job, and only took a small amount of focus. He could do paperwork without thinking too hard about what he was doing. Just enough focus to get it done and make sure all the details were there, engaging his brain just enough that it wasn't left without anything at all to focus on, but not enough to really make it hard work. Spencer Reid could—and had—spend hours filling out paperwork and walk away from it with a sense of calm that always had people giving him strange looks.
Today, it was working especially well for him, not only helping his mind to focus but taking away that hint of a buzz that was echoing at the edges of his mind. A buzz that he'd been living with since puberty and which would sometimes get a little louder and a little more insistent than other times. It'd push itself forward, demanding attention, and if he wasn't free to indulge it he had to find a way to work around it.
There were very few people in the world who knew that little fact about Spencer and who would've understood some of what it meant. Only one other person out there truly understood. But neither Spencer's team nor anyone else in the Bureau knew, and he worried sometimes that none of them would've understood, either. That was why he'd never told them. He'd never once even hinted to his friends the truth.
Spencer was a mutant.
Knowing that he was a mutant would be hard enough for the Bureau to deal with. If they knew what it was that he could do, that he had the ability to connect with and manipulate electricity—which, aside from the obvious electric style attacks, also granted him the ability to hack into different types of technology, download information, and break past their best firewalls like they were tissue—there was no way they would've let him anywhere near the Bureau, or any other government facility. He'd gained so much knowledge from his time here, a lot of it inadvertently.
For the most part he tried to keep away from technology. He let people think he was a bit of a technophobe so they wouldn't get suspicious about why he didn't want to touch any computers, tablets, or anything like that. If he didn't touch them, he wouldn't be as tempted to reach out to them.
That didn't mean the temptation wasn't there, though. Part of his powers meant that Spencer could sense the electrical current all around him. When he was inside a big building full of electrical currents—computers, cell phones, the big server room downstairs, tablets, iPods, watches, beepers, scanners, their security system, the elevators, door locks—it made an almost constant buzz of energy in the back of his mind, one that he had to force himself not to touch.
It was why he liked to distract himself with paperwork. He was doing a rather good job of it at the moment when he suddenly felt something very, very strange. One of the rooms nearby suddenly had what he recognized as a dampening field around it. It was something that could be put up to make sure that no bugs would get in or out of the room. This one was strong, too. It would work well enough against Spencer for a while. He'd have to actually push to break through it and get enough electricity to the deice that created it so he could get around it all.
There were very few people out there with access to that kind of technology. There was only one he could think of who would be brazen enough to come into the FBI to use it.
Spencer was already twisting around to look when he heard someone call out his name. "Reid."
He looked up to find Aaron standing in front of his office. The man gestured him forward with one hand, his expression serious.
"Uh oh." The sound of Derek's low voice had Spencer sneaking a glance at him while rising to his feet. His best friend raised his eyebrows at Spencer. He was sitting on JJ's desk and had been speaking with JJ about something to do with their paperwork when Aaron had called out Spencer's name. He was watching carefully now, always a bit protective of Spencer. "You do something I should know about, kid?"
Spencer straightened up and pushed his chair in. "Not that I'm aware of."
"I'm sure it's nothing." Alex chimed in from her desk. She sat back in her chair, watching carefully. She wasn't quite as good as the rest of them yet at hiding her worry. Little lines showed at the edges of her smile that gave away her worry.
Doing his best to not show his own worry, Spencer made himself smile and shake his head as he passed his friends. "You all worry too much. Just because Hotch wants to speak with me doesn't mean I'm in trouble."
He wished, as he made his way up there, that he believed his own words. Instinct told him that there was some kind of trouble here. That only seemed confirmed when Aaron gestured him on towards the round table room. "You have a visitor." The way that Aaron said it, how he stared at Spencer afterwards, made it clear that the Unit Chief was worried as well. That really didn't make Spencer feel better. He turned towards the conference room with trepidation.
It wasn't until he was inside the room that he saw who was waiting for him. When he did, he knew he'd been right to be worried.
Nick Fury turned away from the windows to fix Spencer with a stern look as the young genius walked into the room. "Shut the door behind you."
Yeah, that didn't really make him feel better. Spencer shut the door while never once taking his eyes off of the other man. With practiced skill, he forced his spine straight and made himself meet Nick's stare. This couldn't be good. For Nick to come here, it couldn't be good. "What's going on, Nick?"
Usually the two were slightly formal when they met. Spencer called him 'Director' while Nick called him 'Doctor' or 'Dr. Reid'. Right then, Spencer didn't want to waste time with formalities. Something important was happening and he wanted to know what it was. Because there was a sick feeling building in his gut that told him he already had a pretty good idea.
Nick's one eye seemed to, as someone close to Spencer had once put it, a glare strong enough for two. The man stared at Spencer for a long moment before he sighed. A bit of tension bled out of him. "I get the feeling you know why I'm here."
"No, sir." Spencer said immediately. Then, when Nick tilted his head and his look turned a bit dry, Spencer sighed and tried not to let his own tension show. "I can guess, though. What's he done now?"
Neither of them had to say 'who'. They both knew who they were talking about.
Nick folded his hands behind him. It was a defensive pose he used when he was about to deliver bad news. Spencer logged that away before he got caught up in the words that were said next. Words that tilted Spencer's world completely. "He's gone missing. Complete radio silence for three weeks now."
"Three weeks?" The words tumbled past Spencer's lips before he could stop them. He faltered a little, stumbling forward a step so he could grab the back of a nearby chair. A small part of his brain was trying to remind him that his team was probably watching through the big windows. They'd be staring at him and trying to profile what was going on and he really shouldn't give away anything. That little voice was drowned out by a much louder one shouting out 'Three weeks!'
At least Nick had the decency to look a bit guilty at that. Only briefly, though. "We wanted to be sure before we spoke with you. We've exhausted every avenue we can and we've picked up no trace of him whatsoever. The other Avengers are looking, but they're coming up with nothing. I need your mind on this. You know him better than anyone and you're the one best suited to finding him. We need you to head to the Avengers Tower immediately. If he's just vanished, that's fine, but we need to know. You'll work with the other Avengers to find and bring him home."
Work with the other Avengers. Nick wanted him to work with the Avengers. The people who had apparently been paying so little attention they'd lost a teammate. The ones who couldn't even find him. And who had no idea about Spencer's existence. At least, not as far as he knew. Clenching tight to the chair back, trying to find his calm, Spencer managed to ask, "Do they…?"
"No." Nick said firmly. "And we're trying to keep it that way."
Spencer nodded in understanding. This was the kind of secret that could cause a lot of damage. A secret that Spencer had been keeping pretty much his entire life. If the general public found out that Dr. Spencer Reid was the younger half-brother of playboy Tony Stark, it would put Spencer at huge risk, and that was something Tony would never allow. He was far too overprotective to be okay with Spencer putting himself at risk.
Looking over towards the windows, Spencer watched as his teammates tried to look up at them without being caught staring. He knew them well enough to be able to tell what they were doing. It wasn't hard. Especially since he knew he'd be doing the same thing if he were in their shoes. "What am I telling my team?" There was no way he could just vanish on them without them being told something. Focus on the details. Just focus on those. It was the only way he was going to be able to stay calm.
Of course, he really should've figured Nick would have it all planned out.
The man picked up a couple files off the round-table and held them out Spencer's direction. "You're going to be consulting with us on a mission with a security clearance that the rest of your team doesn't possess. As far as they're concerned, we need a profiler and you're the only one whose clearance meets the requirements."
"That'll work." Spencer agreed. Though his team had no idea just how high his security clearance was, he knew both Derek and Aaron knew that it was rather high. Aaron knew because he had Spencer's file and he knew the things that Spencer had consulted on in the past—or, at least, the things Aaron was cleared to know. Derek knew because he and Spencer had got to talking one night and Spencer had almost spilled a story he wasn't allowed to tell. He'd cut himself off, mentioning that a higher clearance was needed to hear that, and Derek hadn't been satisfied until he pulled from Spencer just why he had such a high clearance. He didn't know the real reasons, but the ones that Spencer had given him were true enough. Even if Spencer hadn't been connected to Tony, or to SHIELD, he still would've had a high level clearance simply because of his mind and because of the things the Bureau had him consult on.
Standing here figuring out all these little things was the last thing that Spencer wanted to be doing. He didn't want to have to walk out there and deal with his team, even though he knew he had to. Every inch of him was screaming to get out of there and go find Tony.
The last time Tony had gone missing, Spencer hadn't been able to do a damn thing. He'd been on case after case and there really hadn't been anything a profiler could do at that time. Not even his special… skills… had been any help.
Spencer wasn't going to sit idly by this time. He was going to find his brother. Come hell or high water, he was bringing Tony home.