TITLE: Foxtrot Whiskey Bravo

AUTHOR: Kuria Dalmatia

PAIRING: Reid/Elle


WORD COUNT: ~12,600

WARNINGS/SPOILERS: profanity, violence, graphic sexual situations, adult content. Set during the first season.

SUMMARY: Reid's self-sufficient in his own way, and while his social awkwardness can be a source of amusement, Elle knows that he can use his intellect to ruthlessly cow someone into submission. Like now. She's at his mercy, because of all the slings and arrows she can shoot at him, his genius is his shield and his sword.

NOTES: Written for coffeecocktails as part of the 2010 Criminal Minds Fanfic Exchange. A combination of two prompts: They're both so damaged already that they're either the perfect match or a disaster waiting to happen, and two people who didn't expect love find a prickly sort of affection together (and then something more).

Thanks to lira_alicia for the Spanish translation. Thanks to pabzi for the beta and moon_raven2 for the beta and for challenging me about Morgan. Any mistakes left are all mine! And, yes, I took some liberties with Elle's background.

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.


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." – Plato


It takes twenty-three days, sixteen hours for the cold hard fact that Spencer shot and killed a man to hit him.

Of course, it happens at one of the most inopportune times: on the way back from a relatively simple kidnapping case. They located the missing boy ten hours after he was abducted; the boy was physically unharmed, the psychological damage wasn't as bad as it could have been, and the UnSub (the boy's biological father) taken into custody without incident.


Routine, if they have such things in the BAU.

A win, which always feels good.

But on the flight back to Quantico during those precious post-case hours usually spent sleeping, Spencer's psyche decides it is time to deal with the whole Phillip Dowd thing.

He barely gets to the toilet before vomiting and he makes sure he closes his eyes as he's doing it. The last things he needs to be stuck in his brain are the details of the inside of the jet's toilet bowl. The smell is bad enough. At least he manages to get the door closed and, hopefully, he doesn't wake anyone in his effort.

Spencer does not want Morgan handing him an air sickness bag and cracking some joke. The whole whistle thing still stings (irrationally, he knows, but still…), although Morgan now treats him with a bit more respect.

Because you put a bullet in Dowd's head, his brain reminds him and that triggers another heave. He then closes his eyes and counts to twenty. Afterward, he knows his stomach is settled (for now). Spencer closes the lid and flushes. He washes his hands, rinses his mouth (not caring that the water is technically not potable; it's not like he's drinking it), and wipes his face. He looks like shit; the dark circles beneath his eyes are more pronounced than ever. Spencer still tastes the metallic tang of bile and he wishes he had mouthwash or something to get rid of it. Of all the things he carries in his messenger bag, Listerine isn't one of them. He won't make that mistake again.

Spencer takes another three deep breaths before he opens the door and nearly stumbles into Elle. She steps back quickly, but then holds out her hand. The small tube of toothpaste and a mini bottle of water gleam in the galley's low nights. Elle gives them to him, murmuring "They're all crashed out" as she nods to the others before sauntering back to her seat.

Which, of course, is the one closest to the lavatory.

He doesn't get a chance to say thank you before she curls up, head turned away. Spencer goes back inside and uses his finger to scrub the gritty toothpaste on his teeth, tongue and gums. He's grateful for her thoughtfulness and knows that she won't rat him out to Morgan or the rest of the team.

When he finishes, he exits the restroom and stops by her. Spencer holds out the toothpaste but she waves him away.

"Keep it," she tells him quietly and then pulls the blanket up over her shoulder.

He desperately wants to thank her, but his vocal cords lock up as he catches movement out of the corner of his eye. Gideon is stirring and the last thing that Spencer wants his mentor to see is any sign that he can't do the job. Instead, he stares at Elle for a few moments, watching her lips curve into that small smile as she nods. Wordless, which is a new thing for him, and Spencer goes back to his seat and settles down for the rest the flight. He doesn't think about Phillip Dowd or his own petulant remark about looking like a teacher's assistant without his gun.

No. He thinks of Elle and her silent kindness. Spencer vows to be there for her if she ever needs him.

It's unlikely, because it's Elle, but he makes the vow to himself nonetheless.