Title: T is for Tremor

Prompt by westmoon

Author: Kuria Dalmatia

Rating/Warnings: R (profanity), Sixth season

Characters/Pairing: Reid/Prentiss, established relationship

ARCHIVING: my LJ... anyone else? Please ask first.

COMMENTS: The Great A-Z Multifandom Drabbling Meme. Unbetaed.

Feedback always welcome.

DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. Salut! I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying to get these images out of my head.


"You're an asshole." It wasn't a playful, teasing remark. Emily was serious, complete with pursed lips and hands on her hips. She shut the hotel room door in Spencer's face, the 'Do Not Disturb' sign swinging from the handle.

Spencer crossed his arms over his chest and went back to his own room. What he had done was well within the accepted social norms of a relationship: he defended his girlfriend (not that anyone knew she was his girlfriend). To the rest of the team, it probably came off as Spencer coming to the rescue of his female colleague enduring lewd comments from some businessman.

Granted, the guy wasn't exactly a threat. Rumpled suit and scuffed shoes translated as someone unsuccessful, especially since the buttons of his wrinkled dress shirt strained against the paunch of his belly. Not everyone could be as striking as Hotch, Morgan or Rossi, but Spencer knew that with just a little effort, the guy could be a bit more presentable.

And it wasn't like Spencer humiliated the guy. No. He simply went up to Prentiss, did a simple magic trick, and talked about the difference between grain and potato vodka. The guy slinked away midway through the distilling process for potatoes. Spencer had no idea why Prentiss was so pissed at him but he knew she wouldn't discuss it until they were back in Quantico, probably on the way to her place.


Maybe not.

He certainly didn't think that her declaration could quite possibly be the last words she ever spoke to him.


"Lyndon Murphy, thirty-two years old, account manager for a small beverage distribution company specializing in imported flavored vodkas. It's his seventh job in eight years, he's up to his eyeballs in credit card debt, and…" The team could hear Garcia tapping her keyboard. "…winner of a TRO in Kenton County for stalking one Candy Cane…oh girl, your parents really did have too much of the holiday spirit...Sending her photo to you now."

Once glance to their phones and all four men let out harsh sighs and muttered curses. Hotch and Morgan then went over to the lead SWAT commander, leaving Rossi and Reid by the makeshift command center.

"You had no way of knowing," Rossi said quietly. "None of us did. He was just some guy in a bar, hitting on Emily. You stepped in and stopped it. If it hadn't been you, it would have been one of us. You know that, Reid."

"My words last night triggered this," Reid spat back bitterly. He stared at his feet. How could he have been so arrogant? He knew better. He wasn't usually like that. He knew Emily could handle herself just fine. He remembered hearing how she effortlessly put Viper in his place.

"Anything could have triggered this," the other agent shot back, anger lacing his words. "Now get your head out of your ass and let's figure this out."

"You don't understand, David," he whispered. He could hear the tremor in his voice; he knew it gave away everything. He wanted to care, because he promised Emily that he would do everything in his power to keep their relationship secret. It hit him why she was so pissed off last night; she thought he had given them away. Shit.

A warm hand settled on his shoulder. "What I understand is that we have a federal agent being held hostage by some loser who thinks that waving her own gun in her face is gonna frighten her. What I understand is that we have a hostage who isn't gonna panic, but is gonna do everything in her power to tilt things in our favor. What I understand is that we have the top negotiators in the FBI right here, right now, assessing the situation. What I understand is that, unlike some hostage situations, we've been here from the outset. We saw the guy last night. We know what set him off. The guess work is reduced substantially because of it." Rossi paused. "What I understand is that Morgan and Hotch each owe me a Benjamin because you told me first. Shit, there should be a bonus payout because I predicted you'd only say anything under duress."

The last comment jolted Spencer from his misery. He met Rossi's gaze, surprised at the warmth and concern he found there, not anger or accusation. "You bet on us?"

"What? You think they hand out profiling licenses in boxes of Cracker Jack? Jesus!" Rossi then smiled toothily and patted him hard. "For the record, Emily gave it away, not you. Twelve weeks ago. It must have been one helluva rodeo because she didn't stop smiling or squirming in her seat for the whole goddamn day but she pointedly ignored you. So when we get her back, she's got no reason to be pissy because you defended her honor."


"You're gonna have to negotiate with this guy, Spencer," the man said quietly, his hand never leaving his shoulder. "And you're gonna half to go all 'Alpha Male' on his ass." He held up his hand as Spencer began to protest. "Don't make me list the times you've gone bad ass on a suspect. I've witnessed it. If I swung that way? I'd say it's the hottest thing I'd ever seen, but since I don't, I won't."

"But you just said…"

"Get you head in the game, Spencer," Rossi interrupted. "And get your girl back."