Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.


Chapter 12

Government Center T Station
October 16, 2010

The blast and heat from the enhanced radiation weapon, also known as a neutron bomb, collapsed the T station and vaporized the occupants. The high-energy neutrons from the fusion reactions escaped the flimsy casing of the reaction chamber. They radiated in all directions, penetrating buildings and vehicles and bodies. Inside bodies, they entered atomic nuclei of hydrogen, wherever hydrogen was found, be it in DNA or protein or water. The nuclei collapsed, taking with them the electron clouds that glued molecules together. The cells, bags of molecules large and small, apoptosed, dismantling themselves in an act of surrender. They took their bodies with them. The bodies had not chosen to be sacrificed, so their souls descended into a dark tortured afterlife.

In the blast zone, those who had not been vaporized experienced the immediate effects of radiation poisoning. Their bodies absorbed a dose of 20 to 80 grays. Vomiting, seizing, and pain dominated their final hours.

In humans, the LD50 for radiation poisoning was 6 grays. Half of all people exposed to such a dose died, with or without medical treatment. Such a dose made itself known within a circle of radius 1 mile. On the Shawmut Peninsula, the scrap of landfilled earth under the hub of the city, all the survivors rejoiced, thinking that they had weathered the crisis. They were wrong. At 6 grays, the latent period for radiation poisoning lasted no longer than a week. Once the symptoms appeared, the poisoned would die a slow painful death over 48 hours. Their hair would not have time to fall out. Everyone who retained their hair would die later, of cancer, most likely leukemia, caused by radiation-induced DNA damage on a cloudy fall day in October. By then, they would hardly be remembered, because the city would have been refilled, with earth and with inhabitants.

"Cut the red wire," Reid thought to himself as he jumped up and down over the floor, "Cut the red wire."

Knowing that his Physical Education class was coming to an end, Reid jumped harder. He jumped, and he thought, all at the same time. He was surprised that he could still scrounge up the energy to entertain himself with visions of the post-nuclear future. The intrusion relieved only some of his boredom. He would have to relieve the remainder with action.

Reid stopped jumping. He stumbled across the passenger car, steadying himself on poles as he made his way into the driver's compartment. It took some time to recover the rhythm of walking.

In the driver's compartment, Reid set the radio to speak. He spoke breathlessly into the radio.

"Mor...Mor...gan? Wha...vol...age?"

"Oh God, Reid! It's so good to hear your voice! 975! We're stuck at 975! Did you hear all that stuff about de-activating the device?"

"Yeah...Cut...th...r...ire..."

"Cut the red wire! Say it back to me, Reid."

"Cu...re...wi..."

"Come on, Reid, say it back to me clearly! Just once!"

"Cut the red wire!" Reid forced the words out of his burning throat.

"Yes! Do it, Reid! Do it now! Please do it!" multiple voices pleaded through the radio.

"Cut the red wire," Reid thought to himself as he wiggled his way out of the driver's side window, "Cut the red wire."

He flicked on a cigarette lighter to illuminate the dark subway tunnel. It was almost but not completely dark, but Reid was no longer afraid. Anything was better than jumping up and down over the floor.

Without hesitation, Reid embarked upon his journey. He knew what he had to do.

Morgan had told him what to do, clear as the cloudy day through the cracks in the station roof. As soon as he found the machine room, as soon as he picked the lock to get in, as soon as he located the wires through the hole in the floor, he would cut the red wire.

Reid was excited. His mission was approaching an end. All he had to do was infiltrate the chamber of the Queen to destroy the hive from within. Morgan had told him what to do, and Reid would do it just as Morgan had told him. Reid had always wanted to be a mindless drone, if only for a moment.


North Station T Station
October 16, 2010

Morgan stared at the other agents in the feeder station. The other agents stared at the computer screen near the switchboard. The computer screen stared back, frozen, displaying a number in small white letters in one of its windows.

The number jumped in a quantized manner, without the scrolling of digits. Previously, it had read 975. Now, it read 1,000.

The sudden transition sent a shock wave through the room. The room fell silent. Through the radio, all was silent as well. If one didn't know better, one would have thought that the universe was dying with nary a whimper.

"Morgan? I cut the red wire!" Reid's voice sputtered breathlessly through the radio. "I cut the red wire! Nothing happened! I cut the red wire! Nothing happened!"

"He cut the red wire! Nothing happened!" Agent Claire McDunkin was the first to respond.

"Nothing happened!" Agent Edward Laurentis, the Special Agent in Charge at the Boston Field Office, shed his shroud of dignity and hugged the visiting agent from the Counterterrorism Division.

"Nothing happened," Morgan sighed softly into his cell phone.

Screams erupted from the distant Round Table Room. Garcia's scream was the most readily identifiable, but Morgan could swear that Hotch was screaming too. Someone was crying, but Morgan couldn't tell who it was. The crying sounds were not all the same timbre, so Morgan guessed that more than one person was crying.

"Reid? You OK?" Morgan murmured into the radio.

"I can see the sky," Reid replied in his little girl voice.

"What?"

"I can see the sky again," Reid said, "I can see the sky through the cracks in the station roof. My cell phone has reception again...Two bars..."

"Shit!" Morgan yelled to himself.

"Shit!" Morgan yelled into the radio. "Wait there, Reid! Don't move! I'm coming for you! Wait on the platform! The southbound side!"

Morgan paused in mid-stance, giving the room a quick once-over before darting out the door of the feeder station. Inside, everyone was busy, hugging each other or sighing in relief or calling their colleagues to report the good news. No one noticed Morgan's panic. None of anyone else's friends was trapped in a collapsing subway station.

Without hesitation, Morgan embarked upon his journey. He knew what he had to do.

While he had prepared to confront the cult, he had spotted a Green Line train parked on the southbound track inside North Station. At the time, he had been jealous, thinking that he, not Reid, should have been the one who got to hurtle a train down the track at 100 mph. His chance had finally arrived.

Unlike northbound trains, southbound trains on the Green Line were powered by the third rail all the way from North Station to Kenmore, where the lines branched off and emerged into the open air on their way to the western suburbs. Today, the third rail, which normally operated at 600 volts, operated at 1,000 volts. For the train, more power meant more momentum. Momentum was what the train needed to ram through the walls of rubble that sealed off the fortress on either side.

As a profiler, a bomb expert, and an expert in obsessional crimes, Morgan didn't know what would happen when the train plowed into a wall of rubble. He didn't know anything about the thickness of the wall or the configuration of the rubble on the track. All he knew was that, regardless of the consequences, he was taking matters into his own hands.

He had won, so now was no longer the time for practicalities. Now was the time for ideals. No matter how well things worked out in the end, it was still wrong to sacrifice one life to save many other lives. Ideally, Morgan would choose the same thing every time. He would choose to sacrifice no one.


Green Line
October 16, 2010

The Green Line train hurtled towards Haymarket at 80 mph. It was an old train, and its rickety windows and doors rattled as air gushed past it. Chihuahua-sized rats, granted temporary reprieve from vaporization and radiation poisoning, skittered away from the advancing locomotive.

Near Haymarket, the train bore down upon the first wall of rubble. The driver engaged his sense of touch, pressing down upon the plastic buttons until his fingernails turned white and his knuckles turned sore. He slammed his left index finger into the button that increased the speed of the train. The train sped up, intoxicating the driver with its power. The driver braced himself between his seat and the dashboard, hardly daring to duck from the impact. His hand searched desperately for a missing throttle to clutch.

At 90 mph, the train plowed into a wall of rubble. The rubble crumbled before the momentum of the train. The wall collapsed downwards and sideways as the driver increased the speed to 100 mph. A hefty hunk of concrete flew through the front windshield, whizzing by the driver and slamming into a pole in the passenger car. Except for the physical reflex of ducking, the driver paid no attention to the flying debris. He was drunk upon the power of the train. He was high upon his own power. He recalled times in his life when, under the influence of endorphins, he had pushed past his physical limits to reach new personal bests. Such was his high. Unfortunately, as all junkies knew, highs never lasted. Fortunately, once junkies overcame their drug addictions, highs no longer needed to last.

Reid scurried behind the snack stand to avoid the stray pieces of rubble that came flying, with the train, into the T station. The train screeched and grinded against the rails, both running and third, as it decelerated onto the platform. Someone cursed loudly through a hole in the windshield. When the cursing stopped, Reid peeked timidly around the corner of the snack stand. He was greeted with curses.

"Damn it, Reid! What are you doing over there? Get on the goddamned train! Move your skinny ass! Come on!" Morgan poked his head out the hole in the windshield and gestured wildly towards the crumpled door of the first passenger car.

Reid moved his skinny ass, that which had gotten ever skinnier over the course of the arduous day. He had lost several pounds that he could not afford to lose. It took all his remaining energy to shuffle across the platform and climb up the steps into the dilapidated train. Once he entered, he collapsed onto the filthy floor and rolled himself under a row of seats. He gasped at the disgusting detritus that had accumulated under the seats over the decades. It did not alleviate his building nausea. He fooled himself into feeling better when he remembered that the nausea, now that the bomb had been defused, would pass.

"Go! Go! Go!" Reid yelled at Morgan from his fetal position on the floor.

"Going! Going! Going!" Morgan pushed the train into motion. "Brace yourself, Reid! Don't let the concrete whack your precious little head! Don't let the glass ruin your pretty little face!"

The Green Line train hurtled towards Park Street at 80 mph. It hurtled past Park Street at 90 mph. Near Bolyston, the train crashed through a wall of rubble at 100 mph. The rubble slowed down the train, enough to ensure its safe passage through the sharp turn west, away from the Shawmut Peninsula and towards the Back Bay. Stray pieces of rubble flitted into the gutters on either side of the track. One piece flitted into the braking mechanism of the train. Near Arlington, beyond the inner and outer hubs of the hub-and-spoke system, the train did not stop as the driver had ordered it to stop.

"Shit! Reid! The brakes are stuck!" Morgan yelled in panic.

"There's an emergency brake under the dashboard," Reid crawled towards the driver's compartment. "It's a lever! Pull it towards you! Pull it!"

"Where? Where? I can't find it!" Morgan fumbled under the dashboard with one hand while turning the steering wheel with the other.

"Right there! The red lever! Pull it!" Reid hobbled into the driver's compartment. "Move over! Move your leg! Let me pull it!" he knelt down and tried to grasp the tantalizing lever that he could see but not reach.

"Move over! Move over!" Reid yelled at Morgan.

"I can't! There's a curve up ahead! I'm trying to turn the train!" Morgan yelled at Reid.

"Move over, so I can sit down!" Reid demanded.

"What? Where?" Morgan screamed.

"Move! Move! Move!" Reid tried to pull Morgan out of the driver's seat, but sent himself stumbling backwards instead.

At the curve in the track, Morgan shrank back against the driver's seat while removing one hand from the steering wheel. Reid took the opportunity to plop into Morgan's lap. He perched sideways across Morgan's legs, from which position he could reach the emergency brake with his left hand. He fumbled under the dashboard, found the lever, and pulled it as hard as he could. The train screeched and grinded against the rails, only the running ones, as it emerged into the open air. It slowed from its maximum speed of 133 mph, pieces of concrete dragging behind it in the undercarriage. A few feet past the tunnel, the train disconnected its shoes from the third rail and connected its pantographs to the overhead lines. The overhead lines provided no power. The train came to a lurching stop, almost derailing into a nearby parking lot, as its drivers braced themselves between the seat and the dashboard. At the nearby shopping center, shocked onlookers called 911. Customers dropped their newly purchased wares to rush over and help the passengers. Little did they know that there were no passengers, only drivers, and that the drivers had disentangled themselves from each other's unwanted embrace and fled out a crack in the crumpled door as soon as the train had stopped. Above all else, they wished to avoid the attention of the many other lives that they would have sacrificed their own lives to save.

Reid and Morgan drifted aimlessly down a side street behind the shopping center next to the Fenway Park T Station. They swayed as they walked, unable to disengage their legs from the rhythm of the speeding train. They resembled a pair of drunks, like the ones who frequented the Fenway Park area after Red Sox games. At the nearest intersection, they turned left and ambled up Brookline Ave towards the smell of delicious hot dogs filling the dreary fall afternoon. For the inhabitants of Boston, the weekend had gotten off to the worst possible start. On Friday, the Red Sox had lost Game 1 of the ALCS. On Saturday, their subway system, the T that millions of people depended on for transportation, had been blown up by a cult for reasons that would remain murky for decades to come. Due to the bombings, Game 2, originally scheduled for Saturday, had been postponed to Monday, much to the ire of rabid Red Sox and Yankee fans alike. The postponement had little effect upon the hot dog vendors near Fenway Park. At noon, they had powered up their roller grills to serve the mindless drones of the two evil empires who had lined up faithfully - rain or shine, chemical or nuclear - to acquire tickets to games labeled "TBD" on the MLB calendar.

"Tickets to Game 7," said a short troll-like man in a black trench coat and Yankee cap. "You want tickets to Game 7? 900 bucks for the both of you...Bleacher seats...Game 7!"

Reid frowned at the mention of 900 bucks. Morgan frowned at the mention of Game 7.

"Hey man, who won the game last night?" Morgan asked.

"The Yankees," the man replied triumphantly, "Grand slam in the top of the eighth. Where've you been, man? How can you possibly not know who won last night?"

"Damn it! I knew it!" Morgan slammed his cell phone to the ground. "I knew the bullpen would give it up! Damn it! I knew the bullpen would suck when it counted!"

"Sorry, man," said the ticket scalper. "Hey, you never know what's gonna happen in a Red Sox-Yankees series. The Sox might come back and push the series to Game 7. You want tickets to Game 7?" he waved a pair of tickets at Morgan.

"Hey Morgan?" Reid asked curiously, "Is ticket scalping legal in Massachusetts?"

"I don't know," Morgan replied, feigning confusion, "Maybe we should test it out. You ready, Reid?"

"Ready when you are," Reid answered.

"FBI!" Morgan and Reid whipped out their credentials at the same time.

"Holy f..." the hideous blood-sucking ticket scalper dropped the pair of tickets and bounced down the street as fast as his stubby little legs would carry him.

Morgan picked up the tickets with a rabid expression in his eyes. He wiggled his perfectly plucked eyebrows at Reid, who shied away from the suddenly unrecognizable man.

"Morgan?" Reid snapped his fingers in Morgan's face, "You alright?"

"Tickets to Game 7," Morgan waved the pair of tickets in Reid's face.

"Yeeeeeeeeah?" Reid hesitated.

"Do you think there's going to be a Game 7?" Morgan asked intently, clutching his rabid fingers in a death grip around Reid's skinny arm.

"Uh...Sure there is...I'm sure there's going to be a Game 7," Reid darted his eyes back and forth, trying to avoid the rabid eyes that stared into his soul.

"Let's use these tickets to go to the game together," Morgan suggested, holding the tickets reverently in his palm.

"Yeah, OK!" Reid chirped happily.

"Great!" Morgan recovered his normal self. "I'll call Hotch. He can get those Boston asshats to pick us up here."

"You destroyed your cell phone," Reid pointed at the fragments on the ground.

"Oh yeah, I guess I did," Morgan realized, "You've still got your cell phone, right?"

"Yeah, I'll call Hotch," Reid said. "While I'm doing that, can you do me a favor?" he leaned wearily against a chain link fence and lowered himself gingerly to the sidewalk.

"Yeah, Reid, anything," Morgan said seriously, "Are you OK?"

"Can you buy me...um...10 or 15 hot dogs from those vendors over there?" Reid pointed towards the ballpark.

"Sure, Pretty Boy," Morgan laughed, "I could use a snack myself," he turned to cross the street. "You call Hotch. I'll buy hot dogs."

"Good," Reid speed-dialed Hotch, "See you when you get back..." he muttered distractedly towards the retreating back of his buddy and hot dog dealer.


Game 4, World Series
October 31, 2010
San Diego Padres Boston Red Sox

On Saturday, October 23, 2010, a pair of FBI agents had to abuse their law enforcement credentials yet again, when they were threatened at Fenway Park for presenting counterfeit tickets to Game 7 of the ALCS. Luckily, a senator happened to be passing through behind them, recognized their faces, and took them aside to laud them for a job well done. The agents never made it into the ballpark for Game 7, but two days later, they received a pair of tickets to Game 4 of the World Series. The senator had pulled some strings and managed to finagle the tickets from the remaining evil empire that represented the American League in the Fall Classic.

In the bottom of the second inning, in record time, Reid noticed that the game had started, when a player in a white uniform hit a solo home run over his seat on the Green Monster.

"Hey Morgan!" Reid nudged his friend in the arm, sending Morgan's Fenway Frank into his eye rather than his mouth, "Game's started!"

"Yeah, Reid, thanks for the heads up," Morgan wiped ketchup and mustard out of his eyelids.

"Oh sorry," Reid said apologetically, "Here, let me make it up to you."

Morgan stared in disbelief as Reid unzipped his navy blue MBTA jacket. The jacket had been stolen from the back of the driver's seat on a Green Line train - Morgan's train - as the drivers had vacated the vehicle after the Great Nuclear Near-Miss of the ALCS. Reid wore the jacket often, having discovered that it was warmer and more oversized than his perfectly warm, already oversized FBI jacket. Tonight, he was wearing it over his Halloween costume. He had dressed up as a Rabid Red Sox Fan in a brand new white home jersey, his only pair of jeans that he had cut holes in on the flight over, his distressed baseball cap from Game 1 of the ALCS, and the aforementioned jacket. Every few minutes, he made rabid eyes at Morgan and clutched Morgan's arm in his rabid fingers to complete the terrifying effect. Morgan considered dispatching his friend to one of the many hospitals near the ballpark, but changed his mind when Reid opened his jacket to reveal the goodies within.

The jacket was both a jacket and a snack stand. Its fleecy interior was lined with rows and rows of junk food in individual packages. There were Twinkies, Ho-Ho's, and several different kinds of chips in Ziploc bags. Juice boxes were spread out in strategic locations to maintain the load-bearing balance of the jacket. There was even a collection of s'more-making components - chocolate bars, marshmallows, graham crackers, and one of the cigarette lighters that had been pilfered, along with avalanches of junk food, from the Government Center snack stand. Reid had been pleased to discover that the assemblage added more than ten pounds to his body weight.

From the snack stand, Reid offered Morgan a Twinkie, a Ho-Ho, and a juice box. The juice box advertised itself as Capri Sun cranberry juice. It was not. It was partially distilled moonshine of kitchen stove manufacture. Morgan grinned his approval as he took a sip from the bendy straw. Reid grinned like a jackal as he assembled a s'more and made to flick on the cigarette lighter.

"No!" Morgan slapped the lighter out of Reid's fingers. "That's not allowed! No fires at the ballpark! No fires on the Green Monster!"

"Oh sorry," Reid said apologetically, tossing the unlit s'more under his seat, following the example of all the other fans who did not understand the concept of designated waste receptacles. "How do you like your drink?" he asked secretively.

"You know I like it," Morgan grabbed a second juice box out of the jacket. "Hey Reid, don't you have any game-related statistics to blab about tonight?" he sucked away the last of his first juice box.

"No," Reid replied, "I've decided to enjoy the game without dragging sabermetrics into it. I find it more meditative this way," he leaned back into his cold metal seat. "Besides, it's one of the last games of the season. There's a whole off-season ahead for statistics!"

Morgan laughed and leaned back into his own seat. He turned his attention to the ulcer that was spontaneously forming in his stomach. It was now the fifth inning, and the game was tied, 1-1. The game had turned into a pitcher's duel, and every pitch of ball and swing of bat enlarged Morgan's ulcer. He sipped at his juice box to alleviate the symptoms.

In the top of the seventh, a player in a gray uniform sent a solo home run whizzing over Morgan's head. Morgan was spared the nasty gut-wrenching one-of-a-kind stomach drop that came with being a Red Sox fan by the failure of Reid's leash.

Several minutes earlier, Reid had returned from a trip to the restroom. He had taken off his jacket, leaned forward in his seat, and buried his face in "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract". He scribbled equations onto a napkin while consulting a table of figures in the book. Apparently, meditation had lost out to statistics.

While Reid had leaned forward in his seat, the belt loops on his only pair of jeans had been exposed. Morgan had taken the opportunity to buckle Reid to his seat via a double carabinered bungee cord. The slack of the bungee cord had prevented Reid from noticing anything out of the ordinary. Morgan didn't think that Reid would have noticed anything anyway.

The whole operation was headed for success until Reid reached out with his baseball mitt (also part of his Rabid Red Sox Fan Halloween costume) to catch the home run ball that came whizzing over his head. The bungee cord stretched itself taut as Reid leaped out of his seat. The carabiner attached to the seat stayed put. The carabiner attached to the belt loop stayed put. The belt loop broke off from the jeans, sending itself flying towards the seat and sending its belted one flying face first towards the side of the Green Monster. Morgan reached out in panic, managing to grab a fistful of hair and wrench it backwards to prevent the gangly man from flipping over the side of the 37-foot-high wall over left field. Reid heaved a huge sigh of relief and put his head between his knees.

"Oh God, Reid! Sorry about that!" Morgan felt awful about almost killing his friend with the leash that had been meant to protect him. "I didn't mean to send you over the Green Monster!"

"What are you talking about?" Reid asked in confusion. "I was the one trying to catch that home run ball. It's not your fault that I can't stand up without tripping over my own two feet."

"Uh...Yeah...Right..." Morgan hastily averted his shifty eyes. "Too bad the ball fell back onto the field, huh? Don't worry, Kid, we can come back next season. We can come back every year. If you're lucky, you might catch a home run ball someday."

"Really?" Reid asked brightly. "You think we could come back next season? And every year?"

"Sure, why not?" Morgan asked, "We can always scalp the tickets. Plus, there's always the senator. He might send us tickets again. We can talk statistics too. What's baseball without statistics? You know, Reid," Morgan leaned towards his friend, slightly shy about his upcoming admission, "I've been thinking about your...endless geeky rants. I'm beginning to see the value in them."

"Really?" Reid widened his eyes in a hopeful expression of wonder.

"Yeah, one of your geeky rants kind of saved all our asses at the...you know," Morgan waved his hands to include all the asses in the ballpark. "You remember back in Game 1 of the ALCS when we talked about the Mesoamerican Ballgame?"

"Yes!" Reid answered in excitement. "The Mesoamerican Ballgame! A game similar to field hockey, played by Mesoamerican peoples over 3,000 years before the colonization of the New World. The winning team was showered with riches. The losing team was sacrificed to the gods."

"Yeah," Morgan said, "That was my tactic with the cult...With Preston...And the...girl...Vicki," he could hardly whisper the name.

"I know," Reid fiddled with his bendy straw, "I understand what you did. You sacrificed one person to save all the rest of us."

"I got my hands dirty," Morgan said. "It wasn't something that I wanted to do, and I'm not proud of it. I wince every time anyone congratulates me about it. But at the time, I kept recalling our conversation about the Aztecs and the Mesoamerican Ballgame. I couldn't get the idea out of my head. I kept thinking that if I were you, if I were smarter, then I'd be able to uncover an alternative solution. I couldn't. I couldn't do it in time. I ran out of time. I had to choose."

"I know," Reid tapped his juice box against his knee, "I know what it's like to get your hands dirty. We all do, to greater and lesser extents. It's one thing to kill an UnSub on a raid or in a hostage situation, in the heat of the moment, when you're trying to protect yourself and your friends. It's another thing to calculate the death of a living breathing person in front of you, no matter what kind of person they may be. Not having a problem with it would be the real problem."

"That was my problem for awhile," Reid continued. "I got my hands dirty, not by choice, and I didn't think that I'd ever be clean again, not after everything that happened after...Everything that went on and on for months afterwards. I just wanted to forget...I tried to forget. That was my mistake. You shouldn't try to forget. You should forgive yourself, but you shouldn't try to forget. There's no need to forget. Everything I've done on this job becomes a part of me, but I don't have to internalize it all. It's a part of me, but it doesn't have to affect my self. That's the only way I can keep doing my job."

"Yeah," Morgan agreed. "Once we do that, there's really nothing to be afraid of anymore. I mean, anything can happen. We can die tomorrow. We can screw up, and someone else can die tomorrow. We can commit pre-meditated murder, and everyone else can live happily ever after. And we'll just have to accept it and keep plugging away. There's nothing to be afraid of anymore."

"Nothing except being vaporized by a thermonuclear weapon in a subway tunnel," Reid retrieved another juice box from the jacket.

"Or having to jump up and down over the floor in the train for hours at a time," Morgan snorted. "Here, Reid, have another hot dog," he handed Reid a deliciously sizzling Fenway Frank. "You look like you're going to need this after all that jumping. How many pounds did you lose that day?"

"I don't know," Reid said, "I was afraid to check. See? Yet another thing to be afraid of."

"What about the dark?" Morgan asked, "Are you still afraid of the dark?"

"I'm working on it," Reid replied. "I'm going to revise my previous statement. It's not the inherent absence of light that I'm afraid of, it's the stuff lurking in the shadows when there's not enough light. My imagination switches into overdrive in the near-dark. Surprisingly, it accepts total darkness."

"You know, Reid, there's something to be said for an overactive imagination," Morgan considered. "There's something to be said for an overflowing factoid collection too. There's something to be said for both knowledge and imagination. As Albert Einstein once said..."

"The more shit you know, the more shit you can pull out of your ass to shove up the UnSub's ass?" Reid completed the thought through a mouthful of Fenway Frank.

Morgan gaped in shock.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Reid!"

"What?" Reid glanced sideways, putting his baseball cap back on as he finished his hot dog.

Morgan recovered a smidgeon of composure. He patted his buddy on the back.

"It's nice to see you acting normal for once, Kid," Morgan congratulated Reid.

"Thanks," Reid snorted, rolling his eyes beneath his filthy hat.

He reached for the jacket draped over his seat. From the limitless interior, he pulled out an elongated piece of plastic. He blew forcefully into the trumpet-shaped instrument. It produced the most annoying sound that Morgan had ever heard.

"Bzzzzzzz...Bzzzzzzz...Bzzzzzzz..." Reid blew the vuvuzela.

Morgan tossed away his juice box, swallowed his mouthful of moonshine, and pried the horrible instrument out of Reid's resisting fingers. He blew it once himself before he launched it into the air behind him, across several rows of seats, over the back wall of the Green Monster, onto Lansdowne Street below. Whether the instrument hit any vehicles or drunks or baby carriages was none of Morgan's business. His only duty was to eliminate its annoying buzzing noise from the dignified old ballpark.

As soon as one crisis was resolved, Morgan found himself in the midst of a new crisis. This one was completely outside his control.

The Red Sox were down 0-3 in the World Series. The Red Sox were down 1-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning. They were down to their last out, with a runner on third and a batter at the plate.

In the blink of an eye, the nearly-impossible happened. The runner on third stole home. The opposing pitcher and catcher lost their minds. The catcher called a horrible pitch, and the pitcher threw a horrible pitch. The batter hit an inside-the-park home run, the ball ricocheting around the stands in right field while the opposing right fielder scurried frantically over the warning track and the fans hollered embarassingly vile obscenities at him.

Pandemonium erupted within Fenway Park. The Red Sox were down 1-3 in the World Series. Now was not the time for any form of the word "lose".

"Hey Morgan!" Reid exclaimed while jumping up and down over the Green Monster. "Look, look! It's a base brawl! I've always wanted to see a base brawl!"

Morgan looked while jumping up and down over the Green Monster. What he saw was a bunch of guys laughing and hugging each other like little kids spared from having to go to bed early. He couldn't begin to understand how Reid had interpreted the behavior as a base brawl. He turned to correct the idiot.

"No, Idiot!" Morgan yelled at Reid. "It's not a base brawl! The Sox won the game! They survived elimination! We're headed for Game 5! Here! Tomorrow!"

"They survived elimination?" Reid asked incredulously, savoring Morgan's frustrated frowning eyebrows over his rabid frowning eyes.

In a flash of mercy, Reid decided to stop pretending. He had tortured Morgan enough...for the current evening.

"They survived elimination!" Reid yelled, staring at Morgan with rabid eyes and clutching at Morgan's arm with rabid fingers. "The Sox won! They won! They won! They won!" he screamed like a little girl.

"Yes! Thank you for acting normal!" Morgan yelled back, reaching over to hug the reformed idiot.

In that moment, the wall of rubble that he had built around himself, over years and years and years, collapsed downwards and sideways as he reached a decision. From now on, Derek Morgan would hug whomever he wanted to hug whenever he wanted to hug them. There was that one other time when Morgan should have offered Reid a hug, but he hadn't, because he had always needed to maintain some distance between himself and other men. Now was the time to trash the need. If a guy couldn't hug his best buddy and jump up and down in a 98-year-old ballpark the moment their mutual favorite team clawed its way back from the brink of death, then the universe might as well die with a whimper.

And so it was, that on a clear fall night, at 11:59:59 PM on All Hallow's Eve, when all order was suspended, and the barriers between the natural and the supernatural were temporarily removed, SSA Derek Morgan, the one who had recovered the child, and SSA Dr. Spencer Reid, the one who had never let go of the child, found themselves, like five-year-old children, jumping up and down over the Green Monster, in defiance, not intending to stop until Mommy and Daddy gave them their World Series rings. And so it was, that on a clear fall night, sometime in November and thousands of miles away, the Red Sox stormed back from 0-3 down to win the World Series.

Morgan and Reid were not there to see it. They were busy, raiding the house of a serial killer in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was a dangerous raid, and Morgan was almost shot in the head by the UnSub, before Reid shot the UnSub in the head with his trusty revolver.

Afterwards, when the body had been carted away to the Coroner's Office, when the blood had been washed off the hands that had produced it, Hotch came by and told them the news with a sly smile on his lips. He walked away as fast as he had walked over, leaving the two buddies to celebrate next to a fence of yellow caution tape. As rabid as they were, the buddies did not celebrate their World Series rings. They celebrated their state of living, beneath a star-filled celestial sphere, and the same thought intruded upon both of their minds.

The thought was not about crises, not chemical or nuclear, not serial or sporadic, and certainly not baseball. It was about living and dying, believing and trusting, self and others.

It could only be whispered softly in a solitary moment, but it applied to others as much as it applied to self. Once thought, it would find its way into the cold night air, through whichever pair of lips uttered it wherever they happened to be.

The man - the one, the other, or both - strong in body and strong in mind - strode towards his waiting vehicle. He inhaled the cold night air and exhaled the warm whispered thought.

"Faith rewarded," he whispered.


Author's Note: Woohoo! Complete! Thanks to all readers and reviewers! It was really fun blowing stuff up and making stuff up. If you have any thoughts about the story, please leave them in the reviews or send me a pm. The World Series matchup in this chapter is to memorialize the first baseball game I ever attended. :)

My current policy is to write a serious story and a fluffy story at the same time, so here's a preview of what is to come:

1) "Food and Drug", starring Reid and Prentiss. Reid and Prentiss infiltrate the Food and Drug Administration for a case. They bond over menial tasks, deal with a personal-ethical knot, and kick ass in dorky ways. Part medical mystery, part Clue-style "Who dun it".

2) "Minimans", starring Reid, Jack, and Henry. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Hotch and JJ have to leave their offspring with Reid for a weekend. Reid develops a unique set of parenting skills. This is after I finish "Laryngitis".