Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Criminal Minds. I make no money from this work.
A/N 1: No, this story does not consist entirely of letters. That's just the plotline.
A/N 2: So I created some fanart for a challenge at the Deviant Art group called Sunnydale Crossing, and, in turn, came up with the plotline for Letters. I won the challenge and the group leader, Nurseygirl, wrote me a prize one-shot based on my idea. I talked it over with her and decided to write it into a chapter story to develop it further. If you'd like the link to Nurseygirl's one-shot, send me a PM or mention it in a review.
Prologue: Crossed Paths
"Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call destiny." -John Hobbes
"She lives for your visits," the nurse said.
Spencer opened his mouth, prepared to reply with an excuse. Because he always had a dozen ready when he walked through the doors of the Bennington Sanitarium. Work. Distance. Injury. Those were the best. His worst was cowardice. It was further down the list, and he didn't need to say the word aloud.
He licked his lip, caught her with the corner of his eye, and realized that she was no longer speaking to him. Brow furrowed, he cocked his head, staring past a bun of gray hair at the other visitor.
A somber, green gaze caught him staring, and he quickly turned away. The blond looked about his age, which probably meant she was a few years his junior. But something in her eyes remained with him, even though he was now studying the small stack in his arms: a poorly wrapped book, one he was certain his mother hadn't yet read, a fresh notebook, and two letters he'd decided to hand deliver.
Rita, a nurse with a daunting retirement upcoming, leaned towards the young woman with a conspiratorial lowness to her voice. Spencer wasn't sure when Rita had forgotten his presence, and he wasn't sure if he should go on without her. He almost always took an escort to the activity room.
"I probably shouldn't say this…"
"Well, now you have to tell me," the young woman insisted. She winked in Spencer's direction, obviously enjoying the nurse's gossipy nature.
Caught eavesdropping, Spencer felt his ears redden. He hid his own grin.
"I'll tell you, I heard Dr. Keller speaking to one of his colleagues when Dana first came to live here-he was certain she'd never improve, not after her history. Don't tell anyone, but he wanted to send her to another facility, despite your group's considerable contribution," Rita said, her brow high. "But, she's surprised us all over the past couple years. And Dana always brightens so much when you or one of her other friends stop in. But especially when you visit, Buffy. What do you two talk about in there?"
Buffy. Spencer bit his lip, knowing he wouldn't forget the name anytime soon.
"Destiny," was the quirky reply. "Destiny and shoes."
Spencer felt his phone vibrate against his pocket, and he quickly plucked it, the humor dropping from his face.
"Reid," was his only hello. Hotch's stern voice greeted him. Just beyond, he could hear the nurse still beside him.
Rita chuckled. "Fine, fine. Secrets are secrets. Just keep doing whatever you're doing. Dana's out in the garden at the moment. Do you want me to walk you there?"
Spencer covered his free ear, taking in every word out of Hotch's mouth. A case. Young mothers. Nevada. "It's only an hour and forty minutes away," he contributed-a walking GPS.
His supervisor continued. Still, he could feel them, eyes on his side, observing him. Buffy watched on with interest. Her stance was rigid but in control, her face, naturally soft and childlike in its heart-shape, was frozen in a frown. Sexual sadist left Hotch's mouth, and she took an instinctive step towards Reid. But surely she couldn't hear what Hotch was saying, not from the distance.
Green eyes told him she could. A shiver ran down Spencer's spine. Not possible, he thought.
"I'll get started on the geographical profile," he repeated, causing Hotch to pause.
A silence passed. A knowing between friends.
"Reid." Spencer remained quiet. "I'm sorry to interrupt your visit," Aaron finished. His words were filled with regret, but also with confidence in his youngest agent. Reid would do the job, no matter his personal loss.
Spencer ended the call. Buffy. Buffy with the pale green eyes was gone, and Rita, now facing him as if she'd been just as eager to assist moments ago, was the only person remaining in the foyer.
He frowned, holding the package out to her awaiting hands. How many times would this happen, how many times could he put off the next meeting? The next reminder of what his future might hold. "Could you deliver these to my mother, Diana Reid?" he asked.
Rita took them, chiding him for the quick departure.
But Diana Reid was already at the back of his mind, and he buried his guilt with her and with the memory of the green-eyed visitor. The new case was priority, not the strange behavior of a pretty blonde. Nevada had a serial killer.
End Notes: Ok, so the letters portion begins in the first chapter. I've never actually written for Criminal Minds before, so I hope this turned out ok. Tell me what you think.