Title: Bad Day
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Characters/Pairing: Reid, Hotch, team – gen, but potentially a little pre-slashy
Summary: Spencer Reid's FBI career has been uncharacteristically dramatic, and today is no different.
Warnings: Somewhat crack!ficish, so don't come here looking for good characterization or plot.
* * *
A Bad Day
Kidnapped, he thinks to himself.
It's dark, and his wrists chafe against rope. He shifts experimentally. Tied to a chair.
So very cliché.
He tries to speak.
Gag in the mouth. All that comes out are a few indiscernible grunts.
It's Hotch's voice.
Not alone, that's something.
He tries to remember what possibly could have landed himself and the Unit Chief in this kind of mess; for him, it's commonplace, but Hotch doesn't usually spend his spare time tied to chairs in dark motel rooms.
And the day had started off so well.
* * *
Seven hours earlier.
The hot, dark sweetness hits his tongue, and he revels in the taste of it. Sometimes coffee's the best thing about waking up in the morning, but today Spencer Reid has a slight spring in his step.
'I completed my Philosophy B.A,' he says, when Morgan asks the reason for his mood. The answer elicits a raised eyebrow from the older agent.
'You're happy about not having to learn anymore?' The question almost sounds like an accusation, as though the thought is almost inconceivable.
'Not at all.' He doesn't bother to hide the smirk – he knows how to push Morgan's buttons. 'I plan on studying further – there's a British University that offers a course in "Equestrian Psychology."'
'You want to be a horse whisperer?' asks Prentiss, as she dumps her bag underneath her desk. 'I can't imagine we'll have any unsubs with hooves any time soon.'
Stranger things have happened.
Stranger things have yet to happen.
He wonders how many people are killed by horses each year in the US; it's not a statistic that he's come across in his readings, but he can't imagine that it's as high as car-related deaths (around 40,000) or even death by influenza (approximately 20,000). They're not statistics that he routinely spreads around - it's the "gunshot deaths per year" and the "ritual homicides" per year that are necessary for the job.
If he really wanted to, he could calculate the odds of a single FBI agent ending up in hospital six times in a given calendar year; he wonders if there are others like him, or he just happens to attract trouble. A gunshot wound he can deal with – that's expected – but anthrax? He knows for a fact that there are a few agents with "Spencer Reid Injury Bingo" sheets. He only needs to fall from a multi-storey building for Morgan to tick off the last box in a row.
The prize pool is getting pretty high.
'Got a case,' JJ says as she walks past, on her way up to the briefing room, and that effectively ends the conversation.
Prentiss gives a shrug and, clutching her coffee as though it's some kind of lifeline, takes off after JJ. Morgan follows her.
Reid stares down at the massive piles of paperwork that he'd been planning on finishing off today. He takes solace in the fact that it will still be there when he gets back. Better than that – there'll be more of it. He's fairly sure he's the only person in the entire building that enjoys doing paperwork, which is probably why files from cases he hasn't even heard of seem to end up on his desk.
"Notorious Reid" they call him. Fastest penslinger in the not so wild, wild, west…well…not even west, either, really. He lives on to write another day, but first, there's an unsub to catch.
* * *
Four hours later, they're in another city, another state. Things are different – the weather, the atmosphere, the culture, the unsub, the victims. Last week it had been half a dozen women stabbed to death. This week, it's two men shot execution style. But not before the torture.
Sloppy torture, really. The kind of torture someone would use if the only experience they'd had was the latest espionage movie. Cutting off fingers, stuff like that. Showy torture. With sufficient time and equipment, there are much more efficient ways of making someone talk.
Not that Spencer Reid thinks about things like this in that way. He doesn't think, he just knows. A side effect of the whole "never forget anything" deal. Sometimes he wishes he could just turn it off, but then he'd be just like everyone else.
JJ co-ordinates with the local police, Morgan goes to the morgue, and Rossi and Prentiss hit the first crime scene, which leaves Reid and Hotch to deal with the second.
It's a motel room. Paid for with cash by the victim. Not even a particularly nice motel room, even without the blood splatter.
Reid kneels to the ground, his fingers hovering over a still-drying stain.'
'Do you have something?' Hotch asks, leaning over. Reid feels the slightest bit of awkwardness. He'd let go of his need to impress Hotch a long time ago, but sometimes the thought still lingers.
'I…' he starts, but before he can say a single thing, the door is kicked in. He's fumbling for his gun, and to his side, he sees Hotch doing the same, with, admittedly, much greater success, but it's too late.
The Taser hits him square in the chest and he goes down fast.
* * *
Kidnapped, he thinks to himself. But not really.
Abduct (verb): to carry off illegally.
In all technicalities, Spencer Reid has been abducted a grand total of once. Most other times would be classed, at worst, hostage situations, and beyond that, general peril.
They're still in the same motel room, which means this isn't an abduction yet. Already that tells him one thing; they're dealing with idiots. Torture and other such shenanigans at a still active crime scene is quite possibly the dumbest thing these guys could be doing. Two of them – one thick, heavyset, the other short and wiry. The element of surprise is the only reason they'd gained the upper hand, but Spencer Reid still kicks himself.
Or he would, if his legs weren't taped to the chair.
He grunts, sounds unintelligible through the piece of cloth that's gagging him.
They're both in this mess.
Two of them. Both with Tasers. He remembers now. Two dumb guys. It kind of hurts, knowing that he got taken down by them.
Two men, tortured, then shot in the head execution style. The unsubs were looking for something. Makes sense that they'd hang around the motel room. Looking for anyone who might be able to give them information.
Makes Spencer Reid feel kind of stupid for not realizing it before. Stupid is not a feeling that he likes. Especially not when it's about to get him tortured.
The gag is ripped from his face, the short and wiry guy saying, by way of explanation. 'You talk too much while you're unconscious.'
He's not sure how to process that information.
'Let's hope your lips are just as loose while you're awake.'
He doesn't really like the sound of that either.
'Where's the money?'
Money's one of those things that people are willing to do anything to get. Anything including torture and kill.
Reid says nothing.
'Where is the money?!'
He jerks backwards as the fist hits his face, there's some pain, but he's still a little numb from the Taser hits.
'We're FBI Agents,' Hotch says, his voice dangerously calm. 'We don't have your money.'
'Stop bullshitting!' he yells. 'I know Jimmy had feds in his pocket, and one of you is going to tell me where the money is, or I'll put a bullet in the other one's head.'
'I can show you,' Reid finds himself blurting out. 'But you need to untie me first. I can't concentrate like this.'
The one that seemed to be in charge considered it. The good news was, Reid had his own physical stature on his side. For a long time now, people have dismissed his capabilities as a field agent because he looks like he'd snap at any second. Today, he's going to use that to his advantage.
After what seems like an eternity (it's not – it's actually thirty-six seconds. Reid counts them off) the short guy finally nods. Finding their money must be pretty damn important.
He cringes as the tape is ripped off his legs, and rubs his wrists as soon as they too are free. 'I need a map,' he chokes out, keeping up the façade of nervousness. 'I don't…I can't remember without a map.' The words are enough to let Hotch know that something's about to go down, because Spencer Reid rarely forgets anything.
Through the open glass door, he sees the S.W.A.T team moving past the pool. Neither assailant seems to notice. Once they're through, Reid edges a little closer towards the window. Short and wiry follows him.
'I need the light,' he shrugs.
He hears the footsteps outside, and he's not the only one. Short and wiry looks towards the door, and Reid finds himself acting on impulse. He grabs short and wiry around the waist and pulls him through the open door, away from the potential firefight.
He hadn't counted on the amount of momentum, which he really, really should have – what good's a Ph. D in physics if you don't use it? In any case, it's too late to stop, and a few seconds later, he finds himself flying.
No, not flying.
The water engulfs him completely, soaking him to the core, and filling his mouth and nose. He can't let go yet, though. Short and wiry still has the gun, and it's a near miracle that it hasn't gone off yet.
There are suddenly two more bodies in the mix, and he gets a vague flash of an FBI Kevlar vest, which means that he doesn't have to be worried about being killed by an idiot with a gun looking for money.
'You alright, Reid?' he hears, when his head is finally above water. He coughs and splutters for a few seconds before calming considerably. He takes a moment to look at the scene – Morgan's cuffing the unsub – short and wiry – and Emily's holding Reid up above the water, which he's somewhat grateful for, because he's not so sure he isn't going to collapse.
Morgan heaves short and wiry out of the pool for a local cop to deal with, and turns back towards Reid and Emily. There's a beat of silence.
'That counts as falling out of a multi-storey building, right?'
'Oh, come on. He didn't fall, he jumped.'
'That was clearly an unintentional drop, Prentiss.'
With a sudden surge of energy, Reid wriggles out of Prentiss' grip and climbs out of the pool. He's not in the mood to be present for that particular argument right now. An EMT hands him a blanket, which he wraps around himself. They check him over, shining a flashlight in his eyes, and wrapping a blood pressure cuff around his arm, and all those other things.
'…he's bound to get beaten up by somebody's pimp eventually.'
He blocks out the voices, his concentration locked on one thing.
He's uninjured, and Rossi's at his side, clapping him on the back, which means that the raid of the motel room had gone down without a hitch, in spite of his heart-pumping trip off of the balcony.
'That was quite a display, Spencer,' Hotch deadpans. Reid can see the slightest hint of a smile playing at the edge of the Unit Chief's lips.
Reid plays it cool, as though it had been his intention all along to tackle an unsub into a pool from the second floor of a squalid motel. 'I'm thinking of taking up base-jumping,' he counters. 'It's not the most intellectual of pursuits, but I think it's time I try something a little different.'
The EMT gives him a clean bill of health, and he passes back the blanket. He has a ready-bag full of clean clothes – this is quite possibly the shortest case they've ever worked, but by no means the least dramatic.
'…this means you're buying tonight you realize,' he hears Prentiss say, reluctantly handing two fifties over to Morgan. Reid doesn't really want to know exactly where the money had been kept during the impromptu swimming session.
'Hey, pretty boy – you coming out for drinks?' Morgan asks. His voice is slightly muffled through the towel he's drying himself off with.
Reid shakes his head. 'I'm…I'll be fine.' He still needs to process the events of the day, and he can't exactly do that with Morgan drooling over every single woman that walks into the bar, or with Prentiss growing more and more depressed as she keeps drinking.
Hotch raises an eyebrow, but says nothing until everyone else is out of hearing range. 'If you'd prefer a more private drinking session, I'm sure we can write off mini-bar costs as a work expense.'
Cheaper than therapy, Reid thinks to himself, but he doesn't say anything. All he says is, 'I'd like that.'
But the day's not over yet.