Author's Note: We have a couple of announcements for you all today. We're proud to announce that signups are open for the Fanfic Challenge - Round 4 on our forum, "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" or, as we like to call it, the "PYOP Challenge" (pick your own pairing challenge) through September 1st. For those interested, simply go to the forum to the PYOP Challenge thread and sign up with your favorite pairing. On September 2nd, we'll assign you a scenario to write provided by some of our lovely fellow authors. This will give everybody an opportunity to write what they love and provide readers with some awesome stories. Please sign up at the forum or shoot us a PM signifying your willingness to participate. So, please come join the fun and let's make this the most successful challenge yet!
We also have wonderful new interviews with the lovely Sarramaks and hot4cullenmen! Please check it out and let them know your thoughts!
We've also added two fun new prompt threads. One is called, "Fortune Cookie Fridays" based on an idea submitted by LoveforPenandDerek. Come by and check it out...perhaps, it will feed the muse. And the other is called, "Getting to Know...YOU! Tell us about yourself" It asks five simple questions that allow readers and authors alike to briefly tell us about who they are.
And, as always, thanks to everybody still reading, reviewing, alerting and favoriting our stories. We couldn't do this without your support!
Leaning back into the wooden rocker in the corner of the sunlit nursery, Spencer Reid carefully shifted the wriggling bundle in his arms as he stared down into the bright blue eyes. Whispering loudly, he urged the small baby, "Don't cry again, okay? Your mother and father are going to think that you don't like me, Elizabeth!"
The tiny baby waved her clenched hand then, her nose wrinkling for a moment before her newborn features relaxed. Letting out a sigh of relief as he watched her small forehead smooth, the baby wrinkles suddenly disappearing, Spencer pushed against the floor as he softly set the rocker into motion.
Shaking his head as he felt the baby snuggle closer against his chest, Reid felt himself beginning to smile as he realized how different things had become in such a short while. Smoothing his finger against the tiny baby's cheek, he said, softly, "I'm glad we've got this moment to chat before JJ and Dave wake up. Or should I say Mommy and Daddy? I don't want you to get confused about the people in your life. Although your mother has informed me many times over the past month that you are the smartest child she has ever seen."
Pausing for a moment as the baby cooed, he swallowed hard as he continued, his words halting for a moment. "My mother used to say that very thing about me, too, Elizabeth. And I loved her very much. Just like you're going to love your mother."
Shifting the baby to the side as she clenched her fingers around the edge of his sleeve, Reid murmured, "I don't profess to understand the workings of an infant's mind, but the recent studies purport that you can understand emotions already. So perhaps you already experience a form of love for your parents. And if you do, Elizabeth, you can rest assured that your parents return that love. Very much."
Watching as the baby's eyes widened for a moment, Spencer smiled softly as he held out his finger, unable to explain the inexplicable feeling that flooded through him as the tiny baby wrapped her fingers around it. "Although you may not love me when you get older, especially if you don't like the name Elizabeth. You see, your parents asked me to choose your name."
Rocking softly, Spencer continued his explanation as he watched the baby yawn widely. "Of course, your father had a few words about my first suggestion, so you can't really blame me. " Sniffing, Reid muttered, "I still think Gloriana is a perfect name. But Rossi…your father…he was of a differing opinion." Seeing the baby blink slowly, Reid carefully shifted again in the chair, rocking again. "I was named after Sir Edmund Spenser, who wrote an amazing allegorical poem called The Faerie Queene. And the main character, the faerie queen herself, is Gloriana. But your father was not willing to listen to that argument, no matter how hard I tried to sway him. He's a bit unreasonable at moments, Elizabeth. Make a note of that for the future."
Returning to his original thought process, he continued softly. "But I digress. The poem was written in honor of Queen Elizabeth. The first one, that is. You'll learn later that there have been two. And everyone agreed that Elizabeth was an appropriate choice for the child that will definitely be treated like a queen." Wriggling his eyebrows, he whispered, "That's a joke, Elizabeth. I don't make many of them, so mark this one down for posterity's sake."
The baby whimpered just then, her face scrunching tightly as she waved her small fists in the air. Deftly shifting her to his other arm, Spencer couldn't help but still feel amazed that he was no longer afraid of this tiny human being. And this baby, of all the babies in the world, seemed completely immune to what Aaron Hotchner had once termed "The Reid Effect."
Oh, he had felt those feelings of complete inadequacy in dealing with a newborn during her first few days on the earth, but Jennifer Jareau Rossi had been insistent that he get to know his goddaughter. And after the initial doubts and fears, he had become enamored with the baby girl over the past month, wanting to be in her presence constantly, amazed with her every movement and milestone.
She was life itself, the personification of the future that he had once thought out of reach.
Shifting the tiny Elizabeth Rossi onto his shoulder, he continued his soft speech as he gently set the rocker into motion. "You and I have a lot in common, Elizabeth. We've already talked about our mothers. Now it's time to review the father situation." Leaning his head back against the padded top of the rocker, he whispered, "I never thought I'd be able to talk about my father in a rational conversation, but that was before I learned what defines a father. It's not genetics, Elizabeth. Family surpasses any Mendelevian definition. You'll learn that one day, maybe, if your parents decide to share certain facts with you. But whether they do or they don't, it won't really matter. Your father is David Rossi, no matter what genetics say. He chose you, Elizabeth." Pausing for a moment, Reid swallowed hard against the lump in his throat as he whispered, "Just like Jason Gideon chose me. And we're both much luckier than most."
Feeling the baby's breath gusting against his neck, Spencer sighed as he pressed his hand flat against her back, shifting the blanket tighter around her now sleeping form. Hesitantly, he pressed a soft kiss against her forehead, still amazed at how it felt to just hold the little girl that was his niece. Sighing, he whispered, "One day, you might hear things about me, Elizabeth. I made some unwise choices because I didn't believe that I had any hope for my future. I was afraid of my own mind. But your mother refused to give up on me, and she made me see that I couldn't give up on myself. Just like none of us are ever going to give up on you."
While Spencer Reid murmured softly to the sleeping Elizabeth Rossi, the two couples watching quietly from the doorway smiled at one another. Dave wrapped his arm around JJ's waist as she wiped away the tears that were silently slipping down her cheeks. Pressing a kiss into her hair, he murmured, "He's better, babe. He's not the same as he was. You can see that know."
Watching as JJ merely nodded, her lips pressed tightly together, Ainsley stepped away from the door as she whispered, "He's made amazing progress. And he's looking forward to the future. All because of you, JJ."
"He did it. We just showed him that we're not going to sit by and let him think he doesn't matter," JJ managed to squeak out, leaning back against her husband. Smiling tremulously, she canted her head as she added, turning her eyes toward a silent Jason Gideon. "And I think he recognizes how much we all need one another."
"As long as he's no longer trying to leave us, I'm okay with all the other stuff," Gideon replied gruffly, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "No more drifting for our boy. Not at all."
And as they moved back toward the nursery doorway, they heard Spencer Reid's strong voice once again as he recited a stanza from his namesake author.
"Listen closely, Elizabeth," Spencer urged the tiny sleeping baby in his arms. "This is the best part of the Fairie Queen." Clearing his throat, he whispered, fully remembering his mother reciting the very same words once before. "Her angel's face, as the great eye of heaven, shined bright…And made a sunshine in the shady place."
And as Jennifer Rossi felt the tears of happiness once again flood her eyes, she realized that truer words had never been spoken. Spencer's shady places had indeed been turned to sunshine, and he was no longer drifting away.