Fandom: Criminal Minds
Alright, I've been writing this since last summer, and I wanted to get it posted before season 4 inspired too many more ideas.
This is a collection of prompts revolving around Spencer Reid. Some are longer, some are quite short. Some are sad, others silly, angsty, fluffy, serious, or romantic. Mixes of Reid/JJ, Reid/Emily, Reid/Elle, Reid/Garcia, or Reid/OFC, depending on how you interpret some of them (many are intentionally ambiguous). Not all of the prompts are in the same continuity as eachother; some are set before, during, after, or independent of the current television series. There is also some mention of character deaths. Basically, this is where I jammed all of my ideas that were too short to be turned into full oneshots (although, some may still be expanded upon at later dates).
As for some of the goofier ones, don't take them too seriously. They're only meant for a laugh. References are made to many episodes in the series, so SPOILERS for anything up to 'Lo-Fi', but please remember that some of it is AUish of the series.
Disclaimer: I own none of the recognizable characters or franchises.
"There are in our existence spots of time, that with distinct pre-eminence retain a renovating virtue...Such moments are scattered everywhere, taking their date from our first childhood."
- William Wordsworth
1. First Date
His hands were sweaty, and he rubbed them nervously on his pants as he stammered a greeting. He felt overdressed next to her football jersey and jeans - both of which were surprisingly flattering on her - and he stumbled to tell her so.
She grinned, hooking her arm through his as she led him towards the car, her ponytail swaying behind her as they walked.
"Relax, Dr. Reid. I won't bite."
He stands under the stream of near-scalding water, the first decent shower he's had in over a week. His foot no longer hurts to stand on - his crutches abandoned to the corner of his bedroom - and he scrubs his skin with fevered dedication. The dirty water swirls down the drain near his feet, and for the first time since this whole mess began, he begins to regain some semblance of normalcy.
But all the soap in the world can't seem to wash away the stench of burning fish hearts.
"Penelope's House of Worship. Enter if ye be worthy."
The scrawny young man opened the door slowly, his apprehension increasing at the sight of her blue-tipped blonde hair and bejewelled glasses.
"M- My name's Dr. Spencer Reid. I'm l- looking for the BAU's technical analyst. A- Am I in the right place?"
Penelope grinned, delighting in how easily the young man before her began to blush. She could already tell - teasing Dr. Reid would be fun.
He cleared his throat anxiously, trying to quell his foot's nervous shaking. "A-Actually, there's evidence of purposely fermented beverages existing as early as 10,000 BC. This suggests that- that alcoholic beverages have be-...been around..." he trailed off, watching in mild confusion and disappointment as she waved to a group of women and walked away.
Morgan smiled sympathetically, throwing an arm around his friend's shoulders as he swiftly guided him towards the bar.
"Happens to the best of us, pretty boy," he assured him, a confident grin taking over his face. "Come on - I'm buying."
He lowered the gun, eyeing the billowing target with a hint of pride. Behind him, Agent Wilcoe removed his ear protection, granting the young profiler a satisfied nod.
"Congratulations, Dr. Reid. You can have your gun back."
His eyes fell to the weapon in his hands, remembering the lifeless expression on Dowd's face as he fell to the floor, and suddenly it didn't seem like much cause for celebration.
"Laugh it up, Morgan," he grumbles as they leave the concerned guidance counsellor behind, crumpling the 'Anorexia and You' pamphlet in his hands before tossing it in the nearest trash bin.
It was bound to happen at some point - with all of the hotel rooms they shared, and the constant running between suites during that key part of a case when inspiration struck - it was only a matter of time. Besides, they were all adults. It was nothing to be ashamed of. No big deal.
At least, that's what she told herself as the image of the slender, blushing genius fumbling for his towel rushed through her mind once more.
He wakes in a cold sweat - his heart beating loudly in his ears. He sighs, rolling over in his bed, telling himself that it was only a dream.
The team would never put him in the same sanitarium as his mother, anyway.
Morgan ducked behind the desk, ignoring the strange looks the pair of them were receiving from other agents as they awaited the inevitable scream from Agent Strauss' office.
"Remember, genius," he panted, glancing sidelong at Reid who was crouched wide-eyed with a mixture of fear and excitement beside him. "If we get caught, this was your idea."
He stared at the file he'd hidden under mounds of paperwork days ago in an effort to put it off. Part of him wanted to bury it anew, delaying the inevitable for as long as possible, but he knew the report was overdue. He already had everyone else's accounts; his was the only one that was missing.
With a heavy sigh, he set pen to paper, knowing it wouldn't get any easier with time.
'I dispatched agents Jareau and Reid to the house of Tobias Henkel, believing him to be a witness...'
11. New York
"Shouldn't we be getting back?"
"I thought you wanted to see the city, Reid," Morgan grinned, throwing an arm around his colleague as they walked past Times Square, fighting the sea of pedestrians. "Hotch and Gideon won't take off without us."
"Besides, I haven't done this tourist stuff since I was a kid," Elle commented, her eyes on the ridiculously oversized Coca-Cola sign.
"Can I at least take this off?" Reid questioned, glancing up at the newly purchased Statue of Liberty foam hat perched upon his head, clearly marking him as a tourist.
"Not until we take a picture to send to Garcia," JJ happily replied.
12. Muscular Training
Morgan kept an eye on the heart monitor, each steady beep sending a small wave of relief through him. He knew it could have been much worse, but seeing Reid's broken and bruised body lying in that bed would plague him with nightmares for weeks to come.
He shook his head, sighing. "That's it, kid. When you get out of here, you're gonna learn how to fight."
"He came after me."
Her voice was completely steady as they waited for Detective Callahan to return, and if not for the way she was avoiding his concerned gaze, Reid might've actually been able to convince himself that Elle was telling the truth.
14. Happy Endings
"Should it be taking this long?" Emily questioned, turning to the others.
"It's not unusual for it to be quite lengthy the first time," Hotch replied, glancing sidelong at the young genius who was strumming his fingers nervously on the arm of his chair, Garcia holding his other hand with concern.
Morgan sighed. "Reid, relax. She's going to be fine."
Reid's reply was cut off as a man came jogging out of the ward, stopping next to them. Will grinned at the group with nervous excitement.
"It's a girl."
The latest case had hit them all pretty hard, and he had just slumped into his desk with every intention of drowning himself in paperwork when he spotted the small package with his name on it. He tore the paper off with curiosity, opening the box to find a note sitting atop a wad of fabric.
'We all need a little colour in our lives. Welcome back, my beautiful genius.'
Reid could only smile as he wrapped the lavender scarf around his neck.
"It's not that hard; a Dalmatian could do it!"
Hotch's voice was filled with hate, and he struggled to remind himself that it was all an act. Another blow landed, and he welcomed the pain - relished it - because even if it was all a trick, the beatings were always easier to take than the taunting that went with them.
He's got a high school degree, and his university professors think he has a good shot at trying for his Ph.D. in a few years, so Spencer can't help but be a bit annoyed when the manager of the book store insists they still can't hire anyone under the age of fourteen.
He cleared his throat as he eyed the throng of students before him, memories of previous painful experiences causing him to briefly entertain the idea of making a run for it. He fought the urge, willing his heart to beat steadily as he addressed them.
"H-Hello. I'm Supervisory Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid, and I-I'm a profiler for the Behavioural Analysis Unit of the FBI."
It sounded every bit as cool as he'd always hoped it would.
"Aw, come on, pretty boy. Suck it up. It wasn't that bad."
Reid glared as the doctor finished the stitches on his bottom lip and moved on to the ones on his cheek, the young genius readjusting his grip on the ice pack keeping his bruised leg at ease.
"That's the last time I help you with hand-to-hand demonstrations."
"I gotta admit, Reid - you sure can make a scary jack o'lantern," Morgan laughed, admiring the carved face of Agent Strauss sitting atop the genius' desk.
Emily grinned her agreement, "You'd better hope Hotch doesn't see it."
Reid only smiled, turning the pumpkin with the familiar scowl of the section chief to better face the rest of the bullpen.
"Are you kidding? He was the one who suggested it."
"I've got a son about your age," Gideon confides, and Reid looks up from their chess game in surprise at the unexpected remark. "Stephen. He just graduated from university." There's no mistaking the pride in the father's voice as he moves his bishop forward.
The older man quiets again, and Spencer wonders why he suddenly feels like he's lost something.
No one mentioned it outright, but they each had their own way of marking the occasion; from the troll doll Garcia left on his desk to the subtle pat on the shoulder Hotch gave him at the end of the morning briefing. But it was John's gift that Spencer treasured most of all, fingering the new coin in his pocket as he made his way to the front of the crowded room.
He cleared his throat. "Hi, my name's Spencer. I'm a drug addict. And, uh, it's been a year since my last fix..."
"Are you sure you did it right?" His voice squeaked anxiously as he paced the length of the apartment.
"I am perfectly capable of peeing on a stick, Dr. Reid," she replied somewhat irritably, clasping and unclasping her hands.
He sat heavily beside her on the bed. "I'm sorry. I- I think it's been long enough."
The two agents looked at the test, and felt their world turn upside down.
He's never been one for unprofessional displays, but as the younger agent wraps his arms around him, Hotch can't help but think that, for once, his example might have been the right one.
"I thought you said this route would be faster," Morgan grouses, laying on the horn again. "If they catch the guy without us, it'll be your fault, genius."
In the passenger seat, Reid only ducks his head, knowing that much of his colleague's frustration isn't aimed at him. The thought that they're so close to finding the unsub who's been terrorizing the community for months has all of them on-edge. He jumps as his phone rings, flipping it open as Morgan swears at the driver in front of them.
"Hey, Hotch. Tell Gideon that Morgan and I are on our way. We're stuck in traffic along the--"
"Reid. Gideon is..." Hotch interrupts, and Spencer can barely hear him over the commotion in the background. "We've got the bomber in custody, but something's happened."
The shudder in Hotch's voice makes Reid's blood turn cold.
"--Actually, did you know that the first photocopy was made using a zinc plate covered with sulfur? The inventor, Chester Carlson, was a patent attorney suffering from arthritis--"
"Does he always sound like this?" Rossi questioned, tuning out the genius' ramblings as he turned to his new colleague.
Morgan smirked. "You have no idea."
"See, this slant suggests helpfulness and- and an aptitude for making reliable purchases. And the way you dot your 'i' here indicates that you have a talent for knowing other peoples' interests. And this 't'--"
Elle shook her head in amusement as the genius continued his dissection of her case file.
"Reid, if you want me to help you pick out a present for JJ's birthday, all you have to do is ask."
28. Code Words
Morgan flinched under his friend's glower. "What? How were we supposed to know? You sounded fine on the phone."
"I asked about Fluffy!" the tired, sore, and frustrated genius exclaimed. "'Fluffy, the dog you don't have'? The international code for 'I'm being kidnapped, send help'!?"
Derek shrugged, helping Reid as he limped towards the ambulance. "Well, now we know for next time."
His hair hung in front of his eyes as he concentrated on re-buttoning his shirt, his gaze everywhere but on the seated woman facing away from him on the bed. The others would be getting up soon, and it wouldn't do for him to be caught leaving her room. She pulled the sheets tighter around her chest, a detached coldness in the eyes that couldn't face him.
"This never happened."
"See, her brother is married to his sister, but neither of them remembers it because of the plane crash, and now they think the brother died at sea. But really, he's been working as a racecar driver on an island on the Pacific under the name 'Luis', and he's dating the daughter of a hotel manager, but what he doesn't know is that the hotel manager has been paid to have him killed, and he's rigged Luis' car to explode when he crosses the finish line. And that guy is Faith's ex-boyfriend, and he just got engaged to her mother..."
Hotch closed his eyes, tuning out Reid's explanation of the daytime soap he'd insisted on watching. He knew he owed Reid his life, but if the nurse didn't bring them both some drugs soon, he felt that he might be forced to smother the genius with his pillow.
She told herself it didn't matter. She was tired and she'd never been particularly good at poker. It had nothing to do with the way they'd been avoiding each other like the plague since he'd come back. She wasn't hurt.
She turned to face the window, her plan to lose herself in the sight of land passing below them backfiring as the darkened sky instead reflected the pair of agents sitting across the aisle from her. Closing her eyes, she almost didn't hear him shyly clear his throat.
"Hey, Emily - do you want to play Texas Hold'em?"
"Where do you think she goes every weekend?" Morgan questioned curiously, watching as JJ attempted to walk out of the bullpen at a brisk but non-suspicious pace. Reid only shook his head, a pang in his chest as he remembered the plane tickets to New Orleans he'd seen on her desk.
His hands shake as the nightmare replays in his mind. It isn't the first morning he's come to work plagued with images of the previous night's disrupted sleep, and he knows as he prepares a cup of bland BAU-style coffee for himself that it won't be the last. Not for the first time, he wishes for something stronger to jolt him from the waking clutches of the dream. Sipping the tepid liquid, he sees JJ gesturing him from across the bullpen, the file in her hand suggesting that another murder-filled day awaits them, and he sighs.
Some days, there just isn't enough sugar.
34. Straight Perm
Morgan's teasing he can put up with, but it's when Garcia remarks that he's now officially a bigger diva than Cher that he begins to rethink his latest hairstyle.
He waits a while, to be certain. Long enough, he thinks, for the effects of hero-worship to dispel. Long enough for both of them to be sure.
One not-so-very-special day, he picks up his cell phone and dials the unlisted number he'd programmed in months before.
"Hey, this is Lila. If I'm not here, I must be out having fun. Sing your song at the beep!"
A male voice speaks in the background, and she giggles as a loud tone cuts them off.
He hangs up.
"Settling in alright?"
Morgan glanced sidelong from his conversation with agents Kendry and Dobson to where the BAU's new Boy Wonder was nodding at Hotch. Hotch gave as close to a smile as he ever did, continuing on to his office as the kid returned to the files he was working on, shuffling them around Agent Lowell's old desk. Derek still wasn't sure what Gideon had been thinking - sure, the kid was smart, but he was as green as they came.
"...free drinks until midnight. You in, Morgan?"
"Uh," Derek faltered, quickly returning his focus to their conversation. "Yeah, sure. I wouldn't want to deprive the ladies of my company."
The other agents smirked, returning to their desks. Morgan's gaze slid back to the kid, watching as he began loading his shoulder bag with the files he hadn't finished. "Hey, genius, you doing anything tonight?"
"Quadruple sugar - not sweetener - just the way you like it!"
She placed the cup on his hospital tray, pulling the contraption closer to his bed as she helped him sit up. Morgan chuckled at the excited look on the injured genius' face before resuming his watch near the door for intrusive nurses.
Reid sipped the steaming liquid gratefully, his first cup in almost three days. "Thanks, Garcia. You're a lifesaver."
"This thing almost hit me in the face. Do I have to remind you that projectile weapons are not permitted outside of regulated areas?"
Hotch took the film canister from a red-faced Agent Strauss, his mouth a thin line as he glanced at his terrified subordinate.
"Reid, can I see you in my office, please?"
He'd have to remember to yell.
39. Contact Lens
"But the lenses hurt my eyes," he protested, making another grab for the glasses and letting out a horrified squeak as his friend snapped them in half.
Morgan only shook his head, solemnly tossing the broken rims in the trash. "Reid, trust me - I'm doing you a favour."
"You don't have to do this. You can still fight it."
Nathan's fingers tightened around the handle of the knife, edging it closer to her stomach. "I thought you'd understand. It's better than I ever imagined."
He could see the others flanking around him, guns drawn, quietly finding a safe angle. He forced himself to hold his own gun steady as he met the younger man's beady eyes.
"I don't want to hurt you. Just put the knife down and we can figure this out."
Nathan smiled softly under his long, curly hair. "I knew it would be you."
The knife came down fast and a shot rang out.
41. Plaster (Band-Aid)
"I'm really really sorry," he repeated anxiously, handing her another Band-Aid. "She's normally so good with people."
"It's okay," JJ smirked, applying the plaster to her newly acquired scratches and ignoring the glares of the brown-and-black tabby perched across from her on the couch. "I guess she just doesn't feel like sharing you with another woman."
His voice is dry and scathing, but he can't ignore the glances of concern from the others at the table, and - for a moment - a part of him remembers that they really do care.
He reads it again, although the words have already been memorized and put in their own special compartment inside his brain - the one marked 'betrayal'. There are tears in his eyes, but he doesn't notice them until the page in his hands begins to blur. Hastily, he puts the letter down and looks around the cold room expectantly - as if its writer might be hiding in a corner somewhere, merely testing him - but finds only empty shelves and broken promises.
He gives no thought to the time as he presses speed-dial on his cell phone - ignorant of which number he's selected - his only focus on how quiet it is in the cabin and how badly he needs to hear someone else's voice. His hands tremble as he waits for them to pick up, belated dread settling in at the thought of having to explain the situation aloud.
The line clicks and a tired voice identifies itself. "Hotchner."
His voice cracks along with his courage. "He's gone."
She's trying her best to remain composed and professional, but as she watches the gun come to level with Reid's forehead, she can't help but shudder at the idea of seeing his amazing brain splattered all over the cabin walls.
He's not one to put much stock in fortune cookie sayings, but as he watches Morgan jokingly mimic his horrible chopstick skills, JJ coming to his defence with a well-aimed spring roll, he can't help but think 'Count your blessings by thinking of those whom you love' is completely appropriate.
They've always competed - ever since they first met. Grades, spelling bees, internships, science fairs - friendly or not, competition is what they do. And although they never brag to anyone but each other, Spencer knows he usually comes out on top. There aren't many people who can best a child prodigy.
But as he stares up at the stage, watching his friend do something he loves, Reid can't help but wonder if Ethan won when it mattered.
47. Time Limit
"...But the new series doesn't even follow the same timeline as the original! Episode fifty-seven clearly states--"
Morgan held up his hand, effectively silencing the young genius, who frowned at him beseechingly. "Nuh-uh. No pouting, youngster. Remember the new rule?"
Reid nodded with a slightly self-conscious smile. "'No longer than five minutes on discussions involving fictional characters or outer space'."
"I'm so sorry, Spencer," Gideon whispers, a sharp pang of guilt in his chest. But no pain can match the one of betrayal in Reid's eyes as the doctors lead him inside the sterile-looking building.
49. Hair Clips
"That's not too mean, is it?" Prentiss worried, surveying her unconscious colleague with a mixture of guilt and amusement.
"Of course not," Garcia assured her, pulling another colourfully feathered elastic from her purse. "If he wants to fall asleep on our night out, he should expect retribution."
Beside her, JJ giggled, her gin and tonic finally starting to have an effect as she held another ponytail of Reid's brown hair for Penelope to 'decorate', the pair of them rapidly running out of room on their youngest member's scalp.
Morgan grinned, signalling the waitress for another round as Garcia snapped pictures with her cell phone. "That should teach him not to let his hair get so long."
It's been months since it happened, and they haven't spoken of it since Oregon. He's an adult, she tells herself. He's perfectly capable of asking for help if he needs it..
He's happier now, at least on the outside, but she knows it isn't real. There are times when she begins to wonder if he'll ever really recover.
But when she sees him getting the now-dusty chessboard out of the plane's cupboard, asking her if she wants to play a few rounds before they land, she thinks maybe he's going to be okay.
His eyes roamed over the crowd of hugging parents and embarrassed children, camera flashes blinding his every move. He couldn't help but grip this newest diploma tighter at the sight of Ethan hugging his mom and sister as his father gave him a firm handshake - a small bit of jealousy bubbling through him as he looked upon something he no longer had.
Agent Gideon made his way through the sea of people effortlessly, putting a warm hand on Spencer's shoulder.
"Congratulations. I'm proud of you."
"I know what it's like. I know what the voices are like."
And some part of Elle's mind disconnects from the deadly situation at hand to wonder just how much she really knows about geeky Dr. Spencer Reid.
Weeks pass and they all forget about it until they land a case in Michigan. Reid and JJ interview the witness, and the bright spring day permits a walk outdoors. He tries to concentrate on what the witness is telling them, but his focus is invariably pulled to the actions of her young daughter and the neighbourhood children. The little girl chants along with the others as a red-faced boy runs away from their group, and Reid frowns as he tries to recall where he's heard that song before.
The drive back to the station is silent, each of them lost inside their heads for very different reasons. It is only as JJ pulls the SUV into the parking lot that he turns to her in surprise.
"Wait - Garcia and Kevin are dating?"
'He was nice to play with. You can have what's left.'
The others tense around her as she shakes the envelope the message came in, a clump of blood-matted brown hair falling into her open palm, and she feels like she's going to be sick.
"How much longer?"
Morgan grinned, jogging in place. "It's only been a couple of blocks, Reid. Suck it up."
The younger profiler clutched his chest through the sweat-soaked, oversized t-shirt Derek had loaned him as he veered off towards a park bench, panting.
"Nuh uh, youngster," Morgan crooned, grabbing his partner by the arm and pulling him back onto the path. "We've got another nine blocks to go. And after this, we're hitting the gym."
She groans as she rolls over, grabbing her cell phone and flipping it open with tired ease. "Sweetie, even goddesses need sleep."
He doesn't waste time on their usual banter. "You have to fly out here. We're at the unsub's house and we need you to crack into his computer system."
"They have other techs in Georgia, don't they?" She whines, falling back onto her pillow with a disappointed sigh, so sleepy that she almost misses his hesitation.
"...He's got Reid."
She's already at the door, not even bothering with her makeup. "I'll be on the next flight out."
He settles down in his chair and sets pen to paper, his new teammates reviewing case files nearby. The small pile of files he'd been trusted with were complete, and rather than take Agent Gideon up on his offer, he decides to have lunch at his desk and get a head start on today's letter.
'Dear Mom...' His mind is brimming with the experiences of his first week at the BAU, but somehow the first thing he writes is, 'I met our press liaison today...'
Hotch sighed heavily, closing the file with a glance at the officer standing behind their suspect.
"We're through here."
The cop grabbed the unsub by the arm, pulling him up as much as his handcuffs would allow. Aaron stood near the door, watching as the orange-clad Reid was led out of the room, young brown eyes meeting his own in a cold glare.
"You would've done the same thing in my place, Hotch."
Emily blinked, eyeing the blobby mess of pink and red pastry in front of her with some trepidation. "Is it safe?"
Derek shrugged, "Who knows? I love my girl, but she can't bake to save her life."
"So, what do we do?" Prentiss questioned, not wanting to offend Garcia, but uncertain whether the bonds of friendship extended to eating questionable Valentine's Day goods.
Morgan grinned and gave his pastry a gentle nudge with his pencil, pushing it to the far corner of his desk, before nodding at the unsuspecting agent walking through the glass doors.
"We wait for Reid to eat it first."
"We have to stop meeting like this," she jokes, a smile on her face as she grips his hand, but he can see where her mascara's smudged from crying, and he promises himself that next time he'll be more careful.
"Reid? They're closing now."
The younger agent nodded distantly, still staring at the painting as if it contained some hidden answer to all of life's problems. Gideon smiled sadly.
They'd each quirked an eyebrow when Spencer had announced his desire to see the contemporary art show before their scheduled takeoff that evening, but Jason had merely shrugged - he'd heard the rumours of Lila's engagement, too, after all - and offered to come along. The pair had spent hours perusing the gallery, Reid stopping at each painting to stare with undue concentration, his frustration growing with each work of art.
Gideon stayed silent, dutifully following the lanky young man to canvas after canvas, but in his heart he wished for a way of telling the genius that just because he didn't feel anything didn't mean he never would.
"Reid, we're going to a crime scene - not arctic dog sledding," Morgan nagged, rolling his eyes as his friend's seven-layer parka and balaclava.
The younger profiler frowned, pulling a toque over his earmuffs as they exited the station and were met with a cold blast of air.
"This is why all climates should be deserts."
"Mind his head," she cautioned, and he let go a small smile at how protective she was already. He held his breath as the baby cooed, pulling the bundle closer to his chest.
"He's so tiny," he marvelled quietly, thinking how nothing in his life prepared him for this moment.
She watched them tiredly, smiling up at her husband and son. "What should we name him?"
"Spencer," William said softly, unable to take his eyes off the small face. "Let's call him Spencer."
There are times when Morgan's teasing reminds him too much of the jocks he knew in high school, and he's overwhelmed with annoyance and frustration at the man's childish jibing. There are other times when it feels like he's doing everything he can to gain Morgan's acceptance, and he swells with pride each time his friend grants him an approving smile.
He never had a brother. He supposes this is the next best thing.
Hotch stirred in his seat, opening his eyes to search the dim plane cabin for the source of the disturbance. His gaze landed on Reid, sleeping fitfully on the couch, tangled in the coat that served as his blanket.
"No...don't want it..." the young genius mumbled against the cushions, and Hotch stood and tucked the coat more firmly around his skinny frame.
Taking the seat across from him, he stood watch, and wondered - not for the first time - what had happened when the camera was off.
Emily smiled innocently. "Having trouble, Reid?"
The genius glared at her, dropping the device on his desk in annoyance. "The premise of the game is flawed. Manual dexterity is not an accurate measure of intelligence."
Garcia grinned, taking back her Nintendo DS as Morgan collected his winnings from JJ. "You're just mad because you can't make it past a 'brain age of 19'."
"He does seem the type, doesn't he?"
Hotch wondered if Gideon was even aware he'd spoken, his pained and regretful voice sounding out harshly across the waiting room as JJ and Prentiss dozed fitfully in the hard plastic chairs nearby. The unit chief only shook his head, his hands clenched as Morgan paced the floor in front of them.
Reid might be the type to die young, but that didn't meant they'd let him.
"So, this is why we're not supposed to talk about Reid counting cards," Garcia guessed, giggling, still tipsy from her first two drinks and trying desperately not to spill her third as the men in black suits guided the four of them out of the casino.
Hotch frowned, crumpling the altered picture as he glared at the two cowed subordinates before him. Reid and Garcia had the decency to wince under his intense gaze, and the unit chief vowed he would never allow the pair to be alone together in any room with a computer or 'Photoshop' again.
Besides, he decided, it wasn't even a very good likeness.
"Psst. Hey, you."
He felt a split second of terror as no one else glanced up. Was he the only one who'd heard that? He gulped down the bile threatening to climb up his throat. It couldn't be happening here. Not at work. Not in front of everyone.
"Uh, down here?"
He didn't let the relief reach his face as he gave an awkward chuckle and hurried towards the laptop. "I knew that."
"Good thing you're handsome, doctor," she replied, and the others laughed at his expense, but he could care less as he tried to stop his brain from listing statistics on auditory hallucinations.
The talking-down from Strauss regarding the appropriate personal hygiene for an agent of the federal government still stung, but as he walked into the bullpen the following morning only to be greeted by an unexpected fanfare, he decided that maybe his hair had been getting too long.
"Ladies," Derek greeted, his Cheshire grin in place as he set his drink on their table and held a hand out to each of the beautiful strangers. Turning back to gesture the other man closer, he smiled.
"Have you met my friend, Dr. Reid?"
The music drifts around them, almost making him forget why they're there. Belatedly, he wishes he'd ordered a drink - just to give his hands something to do - but he figures in light of what he's about to admit that it wouldn't go over well.
He knows the other man will wait until the end of the world for him to be ready, and he wonders if he'll ever be ready. But Ethan's song hits a crescendo, and this has gone on too long.
He takes a breath. "...I didn't tell you everything about Georgia..."
"Don't look at me like that, man. We'll take them off as soon as you agree to stop scratching."
The genius' kitten glower only intensified. Moodily, he tried again to ease the itching of the red dots on his arms, unsuccessful through the thick material of the oven-mitts on his hands.
Emily watched his predicament with no lack of amusement. "Do you think the duct-tape was too much?"
Beside her, Morgan only grinned as he changed the channel on Reid's TV, laughing as the genius tried once again to paw at the tape covering his mouth. "Nope. If I had to hear one more statistic about chicken pox, it would've been me needing a week off from work."
The stench of blood and sweat and rotting fish hung heavily in the air of the ambulance, but the paramedics seemed neither to notice nor care. Mindful of their work, Gideon gripped Spencer's hand, calming his young protégé.
"It's all over now," he soothed, a quick glance at Morgan betraying his worry.
But Reid couldn't shake the feeling that it was just beginning.
He doesn't comment when he first catches him watching her during the meetings, his eyes lingering a little too long on her curved figure and soft features. Nor does he speak up when he sees his gaze following her around the bullpen, more than professional appreciation in his expression. He dismisses the mild pang in his chest as unfounded concern for a colleague and nothing more. They're both adults, after all, and she hardly needs him to rescue her. It's none of his business.
It is only when Reid catches her returning the glance that he resolves to purge his apartment of everything ever written by SSA David Rossi.
"It's a really good job. Most people only get in after years of being in the Bureau. And- And Agent Gideon thinks I have a lot of potential. I'll be helping people."
She still refused to look at him as he kissed her on the top of her head. His plane to Virginia left in an hour, and he didn't want to be late.
"I'll write you every day. I promise."
"I told you I've never driven standard before," he explained to a queasy Morgan as the older agent stalked away from the vehicle, turning back only briefly to glare.
The room is dark, but for once he's thankful as he crouches in the corner of Hotch's bedroom, trying to ignore the sounds of his friends arguing outside the door. Morgan is shouting again, but Reid can still hear Tobias mumbling on the other side of the room, and he bites his lip to keep from dragging his fingernails across his arms until they bleed.
"You know, once they lock you in there, they'll never let you out," Nathan whispers, and Reid turns the stolen kitchen knife thoughtfully in his hands.
"Oh no, you don't - the doctor said no solid food for at least three days," she scolded, taking the muffin out of his hand and replacing it with a bowl of yellow custard as she ushered him towards the couch.
Reid lowered himself onto the cushions with a grimace, mindful of his still-aching midsection, and resisted the urge to roll his eyes at her mothering as she set about grabbing him a pillow and blanket. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had someone make such a fuss over him. She tucked the blanket in around him and he tried not to smile as he swallowed a spoonful of the sickeningly sweet lemon concoction.
It felt kind of nice to be looked after.
81. Sharing Body Heat
Morgan grumbled, shifting his position on the cold forest ground. The night air was biting as he tucked himself begrudgingly against the warm mass beside him.
"You tell anyone about this, kid, and I swear, they won't find the body."
'I'm sorry, Reid, but getting excited over news of the seventh Harry Potter movie is not a valid excuse for having spilt coffee all over Garcia's computers. The damages will still be coming out of your paycheck.'
Morgan stopped mid-sentence, his gaze fixed on a point over the shoulder of the beautiful young thing he'd been chatting up. Distractedly, he excused himself, walking purposefully to the other side of the bar, but Hotch had already beaten him to it.
"Is there a problem here?" An inexperienced person might've mistaken the unit chief's tone for casual, but his dark eyes were cold and serious. Reid fought a blush as Garcia and JJ moved to flock around him, the pair of them glaring at the threatening man he'd made the mistake of beating at pool.
The man tightened his grip on the front of Reid's shirt, eyeing the four of them with no lack of resentment. His gaze settled on Morgan, who was standing with his arms crossed and stance at-the-ready, one millisecond away from tackling the guy into the floor.
"No." His grip loosened as he offered the group one last glare before brushing past Reid. Five pairs of eyes followed him as he walked out of the bar.
Garcia smiled, helping Spencer to collect his winnings off the floor as JJ hugged one of his arms playfully. "Come on, sweetie - you can buy us all another round."
Her hand brushed his as she gave him the utensils back, an encouraging smile on her face. He blushed deeply and tried again, a shiver running down his spine as her fingers guided him. Their eyes locked and his stomach did a flip.
He'd have to order Chinese food more often.
She hugs him tightly as she cries, her usual rainbow of colours muted in a sea of black lace and veils, matching lines of smudged mascara running down her cheeks. Her face is a tragedy in itself, and he can still find cruel irony in the fact that he'll never be able to comfort her like he could've. Her fingers grip his arm, and he remembers the promise he made to look after her.
The others start to leave, but the pair of them stay, re-reading the epitaph, some part of them still hoping it isn't true.
He knows the statistics on 'line of duty' deaths, but Reid never thought it could happen to someone so strong.
He'd learned long ago not to draw attention to himself; getting a reputation was a quick way to gain enemies, and he'd had enough of those to last a lifetime. It was better to stay under the radar - winning enough to come out a little bit ahead, losing enough to avoid suspicion.
The others groaned, throwing down their hands in defeat as he collected the pile of chocolate-covered treats that served as their winnings, and began to deal again.
It was nice to know that cheating would only be met with smiles among them.
"Well, excuse me for not having three doctorates!" Morgan rages as Reid stands his ground, neither of them caring about the growing crowd they've attracted. "You know, maybe if you weren't such a freak, you might actually get a date once in a while!"
As soon as he says it, he knows he's gone too far, and Derek worries that no amount of apologizing will wipe the betrayed look off Reid's face.
He knows that he's being insensitive, but he decides that changing the subject is more tactful than explaining to JJ how having only a letter to remember someone by isn't any better than having only a voice message.
She watches him from across the small waiting area - his fingers moving faster than either one of them can follow - the penny disappearing and reappearing from sight. His eyes calmly track its movements with undue interest, only the compulsive shaking of his leg betraying the nervousness he's been fighting ever since they got the call from Bennington.
The doctor approaches - briefly mesmerized by the movement of the coin - and clears his throat.
"I'm sorry. We did everything we could."
The penny hits the floor with a small clang.
Morgan threw a strong arm around his shoulders, effectively guiding him out of the bullpen, Emily in close pursuit. "Nice try, kid. Garcia already told us you don't have any plans. You're buying."
91. Playing House
"You ready for this?" she asks, adjusting the hidden microphone in her blouse as she glances at him in the mirror of their borrowed home.
He nods, putting his earpiece in and trying not to fiddle with the ring on his finger as he leads her out the door.
She smiles, holding his hand as they were instructed, and he sighs, thinking that even if it's only for one case, at least he'll get to know what it's like being married to Jennifer Jareau.
The sight of the bullpen had never looked so inviting, each of them relieved to be home and eager to work off the horrors of their last case. Reid's eyes darted around expectantly as they filed in, searching for the ones who'd been missing from their ranks. He stopped cold at the sight of the cleared-out desk across from his, a sickening realization settling in the pit of his stomach.
Hotch walked down the steps from his office like a man being led to his death, his expression offering Spencer an unnecessary confirmation of his fears.
"I need to speak to all of you in the conference room."
She had never even said goodbye.
93. Not-So-Happy Endings
"We- we're not going to get out of here, are we?"
Across the room, Reid pulls on the handcuffs with little enthusiasm, avoiding JJ's intense gaze. For once, he has nothing to say.
He doesn't recognize the return address, but the handwriting is unmistakable. Brief thoughts of what the sender could possibly want are quickly replaced by indecision over whether or not he cares to find out.
"Reid? You coming?"
"Yeah." He gives the envelope another once-over before dropping it in the trashcan next to his desk and following Morgan out of the bullpen.
He's had enough letters from William Reid to last a lifetime.
"Why?" Hotch croaked, raising an arm in defence, still reeling from the blow to the head as he tried not to focus on the mangled body of the media liaison lying only a few feet from him. "Why are you doing this?"
Reid smiled beatifically.
"I had to save them, Hotch. Just like you told me to.
"Don't worry," he added, raising the hammer above his head. "I'll save you, too."
96. Mother's Words
He hovered by the door, watching the new parents with mingled excitement and trepidation. She glanced up, a tired smile gracing her lips as Will beckoned them closer.
"And now, meet the rest of your family."
"Reid, I liked Mr. Rogers as much as the next kid, but stealing his wardrobe is not going to bring the show out of syndication."
He watched her whisper in his ear, soothing words for only the two of them. She pulled him tighter to her chest, letting him rest his head on her shoulder, and he bit his lip.
Glancing up, she caught his eye, smiling demurely. "Jealous?"
He took the child from her arms, giving his dozing son a final hug before laying him down to rest. "I guess I just want you all to myself."
Hotch was solemn as he approached Reid's desk, waiting for the young profiler to look up before he spoke. "The verdict came in this morning. Death by lethal injection."
Reid nodded, his mouth stiffening into a thin line.
"We knew what to expect," Hotch added gently. "He killed eight people. And there'll be appeals. It could still be a couple of years."
Spencer nodded again as Hotch gave him one last look of sympathy before patting him on the shoulder as he made his way to his office. Though the case had been over a year ago, the memory of that sunny day in Texas was still fresh in his mind. He knew he'd done the right thing, however temporary a reprieve he'd been granting the young boy.
Reid close his eyes and tried not to be comforted by the fact that at least he wouldn't have to watch Owen Savage die in front of him.
100. White Knight
Izzy shivered as the door rattled, hugging her legs tighter at the thought of the Scary Man returning. She closed her eyes with fright as the lock gave way, trying to make herself invisible in the endless dark of the cellar.
She looked up in surprise at the soft voice - so unlike the rough tones of the Scary Man. Her heart leapt at the sight of the tall, skinny man in the blue vest before her. He smiled, kneeling next to her, unlocking the handcuffs on her scrawny wrists and ankles.
"My name's Spencer. I'm here to take you home."
Well, there you go. Like I said, I wanted to get this posted before I got too many more ideas for it (I had to cut quite a few from the list to make it an even 100), and also before Season 4 disproved a few of them.
Like it? Hate it? Suffering from serious eye strain? Let me know - please take a moment of your time to leave a review! Any and all feedback - especially concrit - is greatly appreciated!
10 days until season 4!!
Keep Smiling! ;)